Monday, December 31, 2012

More Sales

I made my cloth diaper purchases. There was a sale and thus I couldn't not do it, not when saving money was on the line.

BumGenius 4.0
(I got the snaps version)
I spent $472 on 18 diapers, two medium wet bags, one large wet bag, and 24 washable wipes. Sounds like a lot of money, but that was after I saved $72. I still need laundry bags and newborn diapers. I bought everything thus far on Caterpillar Baby and I'm going to get the rest I need from Ava's Appletree. Oh, the expense of it all. And yet disposables can cost $2,500 by the time you're done with them, so as expensive as this is right now, it's cheap.

I still look at my favourite online clothing stores and pore over the pretty, pretty dresses that no longer fit and which I can now not afford to have anyway in light of my looming maternity leave. And besides, I need to be able to nurse and that means clothing that grants boob access. It's an understatement to say I miss my clothes. I will not be able to wear my lovely things for over a year from now. And that's if they fit.

Many people are telling me I'll have more than one child. I don't know what they're basing that on other than their own family preferences. It can't be based on what they know about me personally. I'm an introvert. A small family will best enable me to get more opportunities for me time. I'm frugal. One child is less money spent total than any other option. I'm practical. One child means a likely ability to pay for post-secondary education. I'm pragmatic. One child means no sibling rivalry and thus no fighting in the house to referee.

Plus I don't want to be pregnant again. My sleep schedule doesn't exist. I now just sleep when I'm tired for however long and it doesn't seem to matter what time it is or isn't. While I look forward to motherhood with an open and ready heart, I also relish the fact I'll have my body back, though I'm nervous about what it'll look like. I think I'm already prepped for disordered sleeping patterns. I'm living that now.

Two and a half months to go.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Home From Christmas

Christmas has come and gone. We took a whirlwind trip up to our hometown to spend Christmas eve with the Dude's mother, Christmas day with my aunt and uncle and then Boxing Day visiting Buddy B's mom and then home to Toronto before the storm hit.

And we did it all in a pretentious Land Rover. We reserved something sensible, but none were returned on time so we were upgraded for free. The Dude has been on a motorized cloud nine and I just felt embarrassed. I don't care for overt opulence. Also, people on the highway didn't want to let us through. Probably because we looked like young yuppie jerks in that thing. Though the seat warmers were nice.

It was nice to see everybody. Everyone was interested in how I was doing and asked all the usual baby-related questions and fussed over my bump. Obviously it got touched. Some asked, some didn't think to and gave a quick touch, and a few tried to snake in there against my comfort zone and crowd me with rubbing. The first two I allowed with a smile. The latter I fought off, once with a dinner plate.

It was all in good fun until my dad, with whom I have a struggling and distant relationship, was one of those who attempted the crowd n' rub, which really creeps me out. I blocked him and he told me to "go away" while still trying to rub me. I really, really find that unpalatable. Even with permission, I prefer people to allow me to guide their hands to where I'm comfortable being touched. Being indiscriminately rubbed down is nauseating.

Whereas others laughed when I blocked their invasive attempts and knocked it off, my dad took it poorly. He has a habit of trying to force intimacy out of me in front of people for show, like those awful men who propose marriage at stadiums hoping the social pressure will garner an acceptance. Thing is, I don't care. I value boundaries. After I shook off his forceful handling a few times, he stormed off and that was that. It created an awkward situation. But I make no apologies, not when I fancy myself able to select if I'm touched in personal areas of my body and by who and when.

Otherwise the trip was a success. We ate well, received some nice things and had quality time with our families. We fielded a lot of questions about when we were going to bring the baby back up, say, for Easter. And of course there's no way we're doing that.

I'm due in mid March, Easter is March 31. The idea of travelling one to two weeks after giving birth is my idea of Hell. I'll be waking up every few hours to nurse, I'll need to sleep when the baby sleeps, and I really don't see how travel will be beneficial at that point. And of course I may go overdue, which would means I could be pregnant within days of Easter, making travel insane. Plus I'll be on mat leave so we wouldn't be able to afford a rental car so soon after taking a big pay cut. And that's too early to expose a newborn to a swarm of people. And there's no way to go to our hometown without stopping at three separate households unless we want to cause offense.

I can appreciate that we're loved and people want to visit with our baby, but I think this is one of those areas where it would be best to not bother trying to accomodate others. I'm pretty sure we won't be setting foot outside Toronto until summertime. Loved ones who can't wait are free to visit. We don't have a lot of family around these parts, so I'd be happy to have people come over.

God, I can't believe 2012 is nearly over. 2013 is going to be unlike anything I've ever experienced.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sale

Six days?! I sometimes just don't blog. But more importantly, it's two days till Christmas. Well, sort of. It's technically the 23rd, but I haven't gone to sleep yet, making it still the 22nd mentally.

And it's 3:30 a.m. and I'm up, battling sour heartburn as usual. Also, I took a long, long nap today accidentally (The nap was intentional, the fact it went three hours was not).

I had to get up at the ungodly (not really) hour of 8:30 this morning to go to the hospital to get a blood product to prevent my body from potentially attacking future fetuses. I'm O- and the Dude is B+, hence if blood mixes, I create antibodies, and so on. Bad news. Except I ain't doing this more than once, dagnabbit. But the medical community don't see the sense in closing doors on yourself. So very well.

Yesterday we got our first baby gifts from Matt's dad and stepmom, plus a couple others from our hometown who wish us well. It made it so real. Painting the nursery? Having a crib delivered? Seeing the ultrasound? Feeling actual kicks inside of me? Somehow I've managed to experience them in the abstract. Tangibly holding things my baby would wear really hit me. How's that for weird?

Holding a little toy lamb and soft blankets and infant pyjamas really hit me. I mean, right now my baby is kicking me so hard it's moving my abdomen up and down. But holding the things I'll use to care for and nurture him or her really moved me. And there was the horse. Matt's stepmom painted this gorgeous carousel horse for the nursery and I love it. Handmade and sentimental, the sort of thing my own mom would have given me. I'll take a picture of it soon, when it's not almost 4:00 a.m.

Our stroller was delivered yesterday too. The aforementioned generous dad and stepmom gave us $500 to buy a stroller a couple months ago. We had budgeted around $200, but SM insisted we needed something of quality and wanted to gift us a stroller. So I looked around online, reading reviews and we tested this bad boy out:

Urbo stroller from Mamas & Papas
It retails for about $579 in Canada, which after tax is an exorbitant amount of money, about $654. When one receives $500 for a stroller, paying anything further out of pocket just feels like frivolous bad planning and parenting over-excess. So I waited. And waited. And hoped the dang thing would go on sale, though I sincerely doubted it would.

And then it totally did, a whopping 25% off, and after tax I got the thing for $502. Boom. Sales fill me with joy. Good deals sing in my ear. This elegant contraption, which is now the closest thing we own to a vehicle, turns on a dime and is the lightest full-size stroller we could find/afford. It's narrow and more compact, making it a less intrusive option for taking it on the TTC. It's got thick single wheels that are good for snow, and is welded and sturdy. The seat comes off and can hold a car seat, and the actual seat can face either direction and it reclines.

How it performs for us over the next few years will obviously colour my feelings significantly. But it's designed for urban life, which I live, so I have reasonably high hopes.

My next big purchase will be cloth diapers. For the brand I want in the amount I'll likely need, the cloth wipes, the washable diaper pail bags, and wet sacks for a diaper bag, it'll probably run me about $850. That's less than what it costs per year in this country to diaper a baby in disposables, and it'll be all I need for the whole duration of pre-potty training life.

Actually sitting down and committing to spending that amount upfront? It'll take awhile. And anyway, sales. There could always be a sale.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Mystical Journey

Occasionally I attempt to be a normal person who does social things during the day. I have realized that I am a liability to a good time. Or at least I feel that way. I need to be able to sit down every hour, otherwise I get exhausted on my feet. I also might get sleepy and need to leave early. Funny thing is that never happens at night when I'm home. Here I am, nearly 4:00 a.m. and awake as it gets.

I went to lunch in the Distillery District today with Buddy B, his girlfriend, and the Dude. Other friends had suggested the Christmas Market there earlier and I turned it down, knowing my need to sit would go unmet at that location. But brunch? An hour of sitting? Well, that sounded doable. I was weary about the potential for walking around for hours, but I've been growing worried about not getting out enough while I can. Well, I didn't need to worry about walking around.

You know, I normally hate rain in the winter, like most normal people, but this time it really saved my ass. Any browsing of stalls and lingering on our feet was circumvented by the weather and my need to escape the situation and go home and nap was appeased immediately without me being a wet blanket. Sad, right? Yay rain for ruining a good time so that I wouldn't have to?

I fell asleep on the way home and when we got in, the Dude unzipped my boots for me, I made a beeline for the couch and slept for four hours. I suppose I'm paying the price for that sleep now. And on top of my crazy sleep/non-sleep, I've had a sinus attack that's lasted nearly 48 hours. This is increasingly common. Along with my unending hacking cough, I really feel quite sick. I know now the only cure is giving birth.

The pregnancy photo shoot was fun and yet it feels like a giant lie. I look glowing and healthy and joyous. I feel anything but. It's hard to know if I'm being too harsh when people ask me how I'm doing. I've been honest. Is it too much? Too negative? Off-putting? Disappointing? I don't know.

I've been trying to remind myself I don't need to like this. I'm angling for the result. The experience of getting there need not be a mystical journey. I wish, though, that I could be one of those women who loved it. I had thought I would be. I guess you can't predict life.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

27 weeks

I have hit a terrible stage in this gestation thing. Sour stomach. Along with heartburn, I can no longer lay down without a sour burn making me nauseas. All I ate today was bread. Nutritious? No. But it was sustenance and it was the only food I could manage; perhaps it helped soak up the excess acid ruining my life.

I'm at 27 weeks. That's a little more than six months. I have at least 11 weeks to go, but likely 13, and possibly even 15. I don't like this. I really, really don't. To hell with the expectations of what this should be like. It's awful. Even the kicks. I appreciate the reassurance of a healthy, incredibly strong baby inside me kicking and rolling, but it would be nice if it took a breather once in awhile so I could get comfortable.

The only nice thing is the social aspect from time to time. People like me to sit, often in the best and most comfortable seat, and I can accept guilt-free. I'm hearing how great I look, which is nice. I don't recall the last time I got so many compliments. For all I know, this whole thing could destroy me, so I should probably soak in the good feedback now.

The Dude took some maternity shots of me.
I was feeling pretty good the day the above picture was taken. Achy back and heartburn? Well, yes, but otherwise I was in good spirits. Now I'm completely exhausted, tired of feeling like hell for days straight. I felt like ass before, but it's been downgraded. As I typed that, my baby just kicked my stomach like Riverdance. Buddy, really? Come on. I know you're in there, trapped in my womb like I am in my body. We'll both be free soon. Cut me some slack.

It's 2:00 a.m. and I can't go to bed. I'm propped up on the couch to avoid choking on my own bile. My greatest worry right now is that this is what I can expect for the rest of my pregnancy. I wish more women talked about how hard this can be. Maybe I would have been more prepared. There seems to be some kind of cone of silence surrounding the ordeal this is.

I wish I could sleep.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

20s Reflection

Did my 30th birthday post feel a little anti-climactic? Well, it certainly felt rather anti-climactic. It is a milestone birthday, after all, but it's not like a loud siren goes off in the sky alerting the world to your new decade of life, loud and obnoxious like you're a goalie who let a puck through for the hometeam. And thank God for that, right?

So I'm 30. I adjusted to that imminent reality all year, mostly I think through this blog. I really faced it head on and owned it, so no emotional crisis for me, no worries or concerns, no lamenting over my 20s.

I mean, I made good use of them. I did so much, learned a ton and made major life decisions I'm happy about. I lived in all sorts of different places, with friends, students, alone, boyfriends and now a husband. I dumped and was dumped in significant relationships. I travelled around the country and abroad and explored alone and with others, and also did the resort thing and relaxed.

I nurtured friendships as well as made new ones, did life modelling, beaded jewellery, finished college, got a good job, saw my childhood pets through their senior years and adopted new kitties. I've avoided going into debt and I've acquired proper adult furniture and have some decent savings. I got married, had the wedding I dreamed of and was on reality TV.

I have new boundaries with my father, healthier boundaries that allow me to stay mentally well. I got therapy to work through it all and regained my confidence. I learned to belly dance and have managed to stay in shape for most of my 20s, either through dance, the gym, and even a stint of Tai Chi.

I learned a lot about myself emotionally, and also indulged in pretty clothes and spa treatments. I learned how to feed my soul emotionally, spiritually and intellectually while also finding room to give into guilty pleasures. I let go of the Catholicism I grew up with and developed my own ever-evolving beliefs and ideas about life and the world. I've been intellectually curious.

I'm really pleased with my 20s. They were worthwhile and well spent. I concluded them by getting pregnant and will usher in my 30s with a new wave of life experiences and responsibility. When I look at where I am now and how far I've come over the past 10 years, it strikes me how slow and yet steady I've grown as a person and as a woman.

Dude, I'm a fucking grownup.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

WTF, I'm 30

I'm 30. It has happened.

I got this in my email from futureme.org, a letter I wrote myself years ago:


Dear FutureMe,
You're 30. I'm 27. I'm envisioning motherhood, marriage, home ownership and a better job.
If you're not dancing, get back to it. It makes you happy and confident, not to mention healthy and in shape. You have the time, no matter what. It's a priority.
I've changed in the last three years, and I can't know who you are anymore. Hopefully someone better than I am. A little wiser, a little more patient and someone you'd want to know.
If you're a mother, please be the kind that doesn't get trapped in the idea of needing too much stuff. Don't sweat the small things. Encourage good manners, empathy, kindness, authenticity and imagination. Let your children fall down and learn.
And maintain who you are as a person and don't neglect your marriage. I have high hopes for you.
Good luck.
Thanks, me. Now I have to figure out if I need to change my blog title.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Cozy Christmas

After years of going without, and then a couple years of only having the Charlie Brown Christmas tree...

Which isn't a bad little tree.

...we finally bit the bullet and bought an artificial tree. And lights. And ornaments. I think all in all we plunked down about $200 on the whole caboodle. The Dude went to the store without me, while I stayed home and worked, feeling under the weather, and he wound up calling from Home Depot asking for instructions on which tree to get. Pre-lit or not? How big? Which ornaments did I want?

I went online to look at everything and said things like, "I like the sparkly blue balls," and the Dude was like, "That's in the blue aisle, I'm in the red aisle!"And I'd say something like, "I didn't know there were colour-coded aisles! I can't see you!" "Why aren't you here? Ugh!" "Next time we buy a Christmas tree, I'll know better!"

It was wildly inefficient. But I must say the tree looks great. I had us budgeted for ornaments under a certain price and the Dude, in a fit of bravado after we got off our ridiculous phone call, made some independent holiday purchase decisions and loaded the cart with about twice the amount of Christmas we could sensibly afford.

But behold!

And I got my star instead of an angel, like the Dude wanted.
This was a harder sell than choosing baby names.
It's nice to have a Christmas tree. I think us having a baby soon is really the only reason we splurged on it. We're going to want to have some holiday joy already bought and in the house while we have a wee one and I'm on mat leave.

It's rather charming. Got my husband, my cats, my baby on the way in our cozy apartment and now we have a Christmas tree. It's so homey and typical. It's comforting. I had a lot of uproar when I was a teenager. I don't really value that sort of life. This is where it's at for me.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Les Mis

Aching back. Oh, the back of aching misery. Why, oh why, oh why... Well, I know why. I'm carting around more in front than ever before and despite the exercise I've been getting, my body is having a hard time keeping up in any kind of comfort. So every day I have a sore back.

And a cough. I've been coughing for two months. Apparently this can happen. And my heartburn is constant. I eat Tums like candy. The Tums container says eat 5 per day. I tell the Tums container to mind its own business.

This is really getting me down, I won't lie. I wake at night almost hourly because in my sleep I roll over onto my back, which is uncomfortable and wakes me up. This doesn't leave me feeling entirely refreshed in the morning.

I'm heading into my third trimester soon, roughly around my 30th birthday. What is now a cute bump will turn bulbous and frightening and what aches I feel now will no doubt grow into something more insidious  I have no idea why women say they enjoy this. I really don't. Perhaps it comes from trying without success for awhile, or maybe the psychological joy is taking over and clouding everything else out, or maybe women who are done birthing babies just plain forget how awful it is to carry one to term.

And to put this in perspective, I'm young and healthy. I'm 24 weeks and I've gained 12 pounds. I have no complications to speak of, no risk factors being monitored. This pregnancy is normal and uneventful. And here I am, feeling like a pile of disjointed discomfort.

Being pregnant is not for the weak. Hell, being a woman is not for the weak. Oh man, I am having a rough time with this.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Twilight Sexism Issue

Oh, cursed be my hesitation. I  waited too long to request my vacation time for some reason, thinking foolishly that it was too early to do so. Now rather than a glorious stretch of 17 days off, I have to work December 27th and 28th, which cuts into our trip to our hometown a bit and breaks up my holiday joy. Nuts. 

I've been thinking lately about something that kinda bugs me. Hating on people's guilty pleasures is a favourite pastime for people. I try not to do it. I mean, sometimes it's hard not to be a little judgemental if all a person seems to like are guilty pleasures, and then you wonder if there's anything that person enjoys that isn't McDonald's for the soul.

But everyone's got some. Really bad movies, for example. Or dramatic reality TV. Or Ke$ha. Trashy novels, or really expensive coffees or tabloid magazines.

I never feel too guilty about my guilty pleasures. I figure since everyone's got some and I'm allowed to have fun, screw it. So I see the Twilight movies in the theatre. 

Are they based on well-written books? Great dialogue? Fascinating characters? No. Not really. Frankly, it's beautiful people, sexual tension, a love triangle and surrounds the idea of a girl being nothing special and yet being wildly desirable and important to sexy and/or rich and/or devoted young men. And then the girl becomes special, gorgeous, rich and is hand-delivered a perfect child and home and eternity with one of the devoted beautiful men and his totally loving family.

I mean, let's be serious. The appeal is pretty obvious. So easy to tap into the old teenage me and swoon.

But the part the gets me is the constant hate on the series. I'm pretty sure it's entirely based on sexism. I mean, Transformers is equally as poor in the character and dialogue category. You go to these movies to see robotic monsters smash things. They got a lame guy to be the lead and he gets to be with a woman so far out of his league it's laughable. Where's the hate for that franchise, one based off a cartoon pretty much designed to sell toys to kids?

Oh, right. There was minimal vitriol despite the hype because it's target demographic is male.

The 2 Fast 2 Furious series, with no character development and no meaningful plot, all surrounding cars and women and being cool. That's it. Literally, that's all there is. People roll their eyes, but no one goes on a boner-inducing hate-on for the movies. Why?

Oh, yes, of course. It's for guys. It's stupid, but men like it, so... 

But here is this guilty pleasure franchise for young women, a largely untapped market in this arena. A feminine fantasy-driven product that delivers a boost to the happy centre of the brain for a couple hours. Well! It's stupid. It's unrealistic. It's harmful to young women!!!111! Vampires don't sparkle, I'm outraged! RAWR! No one should see this EVER! DOWN WITH TWILIGHT SFGJDFGbdfmgndfmgndfGDFG!

Okay, honestly, I'm over it. 

Also worthy of note is no one would give me much flack for watching the dude-geared movies I listed above, but try watching a guy do so with Twilight. My femininity is not impaired because I like the Terminator movies (obviously another ridiculous plot hole-ridden mess of a series) but that is because culturally male stuff equals good and female stuff is less than. So a man who is supposed to be superior and above femaleness is raked over the coals if he enjoys something like Twilight. His guilty pleasures are supposed to be masculine.

I saw one guy get lambasted yesterday for saying he was seeing the Breaking Dawn movie with his wife. Let him enjoy himself. A part of me was chuckling, though. I think he likes riling people up. If they're going to get that upset about his movie-going experience, that's their problem. He was going to have fun. All these people trying to talk him out of what he likes and it was in one ear and out the other.

Well, I say fuck it. Fuck the wall of complaints. No one has to watch or read this story. It doesn't have to affect anyone in any real way. My advice for the devoted haters? Just don't bother with it if it's not for you. Leave your misogyny at the door when you hear people talking about it. Or at least be an insufferable critic about every other bad movie out there, and make sure there's nothing you enjoy that's worthy of criticism, ever. 

Good luck with that one.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Two weeks till 30

So, I'm turning 30 in a little over two weeks. TWO WEEKS (and change). Oh, what a world. With gray hairs sprouting, fine lines developing and a bun in the oven, I'm approaching the milestone year with a relative amount of acceptance, if not unaccountable bewilderment. You go through life feeling like you'll never get old, that somehow an exemption will be made in your case. Not so. Though, like my godmother said, aging beats the alternative.

I'm not sure what the plans are. The Dude said he would sort something out, so I'm leaving it to him. So strange to have named my blog after this pending birthday and now it's approaching at an inhuman speed.

One thing I realize I forgot to include back at Halloween was a picture of my costume!

I posted this on Halloween:

Bumble bee minus antennae.

This is an old costume from 2009 that somehow still fits thanks to the powers of spandex. The Dude threw on his Super Grover costume and we sat out on the porch and handed out candy. Or at least we tried. We actually got snubbed by a lot of families! Heck. I mean, it's free candy.

Then at the McPal party the following weekend I had on my real costume:

Greek goddess, and yes, the Dude is Mugatu and loving it. 
Now, when you're pregnant, no matter what you dress up as, it's going to be seen as a pregnant something or other. There's really no escaping it without being a pumpkin. Pregnant nun. Pregnant witch. Pregnant Cookie Monster. So, you roll with it, and thus what was I the goddess of? Fertility.

The party was, as always, a great time and had a record turnout. It's really awesome to be out and about, enjoying my friends. Time is really ticking for me on the hang out freedom front and it's important not to take this time for granted.

The Dude started painting the nursery and we've ordered the crib. Inch by inch I'm growing and piece by piece we're putting together our new lives.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sound of love

I've been listening to a lot of classical piano music lately. When I was a child I took piano lessons that fruitlessly led nowhere. I'm not musical. My parents bought me a keyboard when I was 8 and didn't get me lessons until I was 10, the instrument sitting unused all that time collecting dust.  I think my mother was secretly hoping I was some sort of prodigy who would teach herself. I taught myself to draw, but my artistry never strayed from the visual.

But I still appreciate the piano. In fact, I'd say it's my favourite instrument. It always catches my ear and moves my soul. It's enchanting to hear piano live. And symphonic music, oh, how wonderful. I've always wanted to go to see a symphony.

But I've never been much for live rock shows. Honestly, I find them boring and noisy. I hate standing for long periods of time in rooms too loud to hear my own thoughts and ideas. Plus, maybe it's just me, but I rarely can make out the lyrics. I mean, I'm a human being, thus I like music. But I prefer it when I'm comfortably seated and I can allow it to gently enter my ears and enhance the cerebral experience of thinking and feeling. A live rock show makes me feel like I'm being held hostage.

I don't have a favourite band. I rarely ever have. I liked Bush when I was 13, Alanis Morissette when I was 14, Jewel when I was 15, Our Lady Peace when I was 16. But I never gave a hoot about concerts or merch or their personal lives. Meh. I would have claimed those bands as my favourites as a teenager, but really they took up very little mental space in my brain.

I've not spent much time seeking classical music out, even though it truly moves me and I love it. I suppose because it's not widely out there I just don't bother and simply enjoy it when it's around. But lately I've been craving it. Which is funny because food wise I crave nothing. But the relaxing nature of a beautiful piano melody makes me so happy I sometimes cry.

I'm going to need to actually build up a collection of classical music to listen to. It can be hard to know where to start, but I can imagine labouring through something like the song below. It sounds like what I think love feels like.



I'm listening to this now. The baby is kicking. I feel so at peace it hurts.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Movement

Okay, just now I was laying in bed and feeling not kicks, but swathing large movement. So I rolled up my shirt to view my tummy and I watched a rolling ball of something pass past my bellybutton.

You can be intellectually prepared for such a thing, but not emotionally. Emotionally? I gapsed and went, "OH my GOD!" Oh man, oh heck. That was weird. Weird. I have something nearly viable inside me and it's rearranging me and feeding on me and floating around like it owns the place.

Pregnancy is a means to an end. I want a child, this is how it's done. I never fully appreciated how all-encompassing this is physically. I want to step outside my body and go for a long walk without my feet hurting, in one of my pretty dresses. And then have a few drinks. Wear some less sensible shoes.

Then I'd be happy to suit up into the pregnancy body again and get back to business. Oh, but there's none of that. And nursing of course will dictate my wardrobe for some time, that and an inflated body recovering from this whole ordeal.

I can't wait to actually meet my child. If it weren't terribly dangerous, unhealthy and distressing, I'd be more than happy to just give birth now.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Baby Musings

I'm a round snowman-like entity. My abdomen has expanded to the point I look undeniably pregnant and I have roughly four months to go. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't rather horrified about the prospect of my body's humungous future. I've googled "40 weeks pregnant" and it ain't cute. Them bodies mean bidness.

I'm trying to wrap my head around caring for an infant, even when I'm tired, or sick or not in the mood. I'm visualizing leaving the house to go to various types of places with a baby and how to manage all its needs and still maintain a life. I want to breastfeed, and I'm nervous about doing it out in public, which I'll have to do if I leave the house for more than a couple hours at a time. I'm thinking about my friends and how dinners out will be over for quite some time.

I'm wondering how the cats will react. I'm concerned about getting a colicky baby who drive me crazy. I'm worried about taking a stroller on a streetcar (Oh, how I wish those new streetcars were out now) and whether I'll be a pain in the ass who blocks people or if I'll be able to lift it myself up the old school streetcar steps.

Leaving for the weekend? Not without the baby. How will I make a hair appointment? I can't take a baby into a salon and the Dude works late hours on a random basis so he can't be counted on to be home to take over. I read so many women who wax poetic about how vital their mothers are when they have a baby. Awesome. Well, that's a luxury I don't have.

I know we will make this work. It'll work because it has to. There's no other options. But damn. Adjustments. I'm in for such a ride.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

4 More Years

Barack Obama won the American election. Pretty much most of the world is happy with this decision and a little over half of the American population. The other half is unimpressed. Very polarized nation the States has become. I feel like we're on our way there ourselves these days. Harper is a negative guy, what with his attack ads all the time, robo-calls, anti-democratic omnibus bills and general careless spending on big ticket items while nickel and diming the important things.

I envy the States Obama. Now, granted, he'd be a Progressive Conservative in this country and I never voted for them. But he's a pretty sincere guy who legitimately gives a damn and doesn't seem ruled by ideology in favour of reason. I never fully understand those who call him a socialist or a communist. I mean, Obamacare still has people paying through the capitalist system for healthcare. I mean, hell, here it's government funded and there's no private option allowed. And we're still not a socialist country, not really.

We went to my buddy's for the election and he and his girlfriend had a little party with scorecards. I don't think I did well. I needed to have mine scored for me. I can name all the states, but I don't necessarily know where on the map they're all located.

I was also pleased to see the Tea Party rape squad was roundly defeated. The most stupid one, Akin, who didn't understand rape can lead to pregnancy? Out. Murdoch, the ass who said rape babies were God's will? Gone. Then there's Mr. Some Girls Rape Easy. No dice. There's a few more and they were all shown the door with a "Don't let your misogyny hit your ass on the way out."

I feel in a way the American people have let politicians know there is a limit to crazy. A line has been drawn somewhere. Some lessons perhaps have been learned from this election.

1. Don't treat hispanic and black people like fringe votes you don't need; they have say as citizens of the country and they'll vote. Deal with it.
2. People generally don't enjoy open rape apologists running for office.
3. Gay people also are voting and they'd like to be treated equally to straight people. Oppose their rights at your own peril.
4. Don't count on more than half the country being anti-healthcare for all.

Perhaps the Republican party with rethink their crazy. They don't need to be this insane. Surely. Historically they haven't been off their rockers. It'd be great if our neighbours to the south had better conservative options. Frankly, we could use that ourselves.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Meaning

I've been thinking a lot about loss lately. And life. And the way those two things intermingle.

One of my least favourite sayings is that everything happens for a reason. This is ludicrous. Many things happen for no reason, with no benefit to anyone. "Everything happens for a reason" is used to justify some pretty inhumane stances in life like, for example, forced pregnancy for rape victims.

No, I don't care for that one bit. People's hearts get broken, sometimes arbitrarily and through betrayal because they dated a jerk. Rainforests are destroyed, not for any nobler use of the land. People are murdered because bad people exist. Sometimes there is no higher purpose or reason because the world we live in is chaotic and random shit goes down.

There is no proof of any higher being orchestrating the details of our existence, formulating a divine cause and effect to bring us joy. I mean, hell. People are being slaughtered en masse in Sierra Leone, starved in the Sudan and raped to death in Congo. I fail to see how any of that is happening for a reason.

Actually, it's sort of a privileged belief that our lives in this hemisphere are somehow fated and organized into better things after pain when such mindless, godless suffering is happening elsewhere for no rhyme or reason. Frankly, life is a crapshoot, and opportunities in many ways are luck of the draw, sometimes boiling down to where and when and to whom you were born.

Having said that, I think of my own losses. I mention my mother a lot because to date she's the single greatest loss of my life. I was visiting my aunt in Vancouver and she was musing over how things would be different if my mother had lived.

Very different. Undoubtably better in some ways because I think the world was a better place with her in it. But my life would be unrecognizable and I have no idea where I'd be right now and if I'd be truly better off in every respect. That's impossible to gauge.

For instance, I inherited enough money to leave my hometown and go to college in the GTA without taking out a loan, and then taking whatever program I was qualified for without concern for paying for it. Starting out life without debt changed the course of my life.

I moved into downtown Toronto with only an internship and no job and was able to sustain myself for half a year while I looked for good work, while also taking a three-week trip to Europe alone, something that helped me grow as a person. This changed me as well. Without that money, I would have had to move back home to my mom and I likely then would not have found my job, the job I still hold today, and all the enhancements to my quality of life that has brought me.

I thus wouldn't have met my first love (In Toronto) and had that meaningful two-year experience. That break-up coincided at the perfect time to reconnect with the Dude and here we are, married and expecting a child. I'm happy, contented and comfortable. There is no way I can see how I'd have married the Dude had this chain of events (which also shaped who I am and taught me valuable lessons) not occurred.

Had my mother lived, my aunt would not have moved to Vancouver, something she's always firmly maintained. Thus her children would not have moved there, something they did to stay together. My cousin met her husband in Vancouver. Their lives have altered forever too.

A person's death has a ripple effect that spreads wide and far and changes people and their lives forever, making permanent diversions from the path they were taking. When those paths are negative, it's easy to pinpoint the cause of suffering. When they're positive it's tempting to say it was all for a reason.

But no, I think it's simpler than that. I think that when we reach a healthy place with our loss we're able to manage to find joy in our new situation and get on with the business of life. My mom didn't die so that I could marry the Dude one day and have a baby with him. There was no cosmic force behind that. That's what "Everything happens for a reason" thinking suggests. Rather, after my mom died, I made a point of living the new life I was given as well as I could and this is the result.

So, as much as I want my mother here for the birth of my baby, I have to accept the reality that this specific baby I'm having wouldn't be here had my mother lived. My baby, the one I'm having in this life, can't coexist with my mother. The loss of one lead me indirectly to the creation of the other. In another reality, where my mother lived, I may have met someone else and had a different child, one who would have been meant to meet his or her maternal grandmother. But that's not the life I'm living.

I don't think my mother died for any particular reason or for a grander scheme. But what I do know is that every beautiful thing that happens to me in life that I couldn't guarantee would've happened had she lived serves to reconcile me to my life the way it is and the loss I suffered. It wasn't all for a reason, but one can still find meaning in one's pain.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Eve of Frankenstorm

Storm's a brewin'. Well, in New York, storm's a here and storm's a floodin'. What madness. I defy anyone to argue climate change isn't happening. New York is not prone to tropical storms, and the yearly storms and intense weather, be it extreme heat, drought, massive rainfall and lightning, is all getting out of hand.

The Dude and I had his oldest brother over for dinner. The Dude cooked steaks out on the BBQ, which couldn't get hot enough due to the wind and rain. In several hours, the storm will hit Toronto full steam ahead, and while floods aren't the major concern, the wind could reach 100 km per hour. I'm wondering if the power will go out. I live in a hundred-year-old home and there are some seriously old trees around this joint that I'm not entirely sure will sustain the gusts.

Mother Nature is so intense. The only time growing up I remember anything intense was Ice Storm '98. I was in grade 10 and had just turned 15. There were a few days off school, the power went out and we had to go to my Dad's, while my mom went to my Poppie's condo. The power lines were down and coated with ice. The entire neighbourhood was sleet and shining. Mom had driven home from work that night with McDonald's for us, and we were totally unaware that there even was a storm, having spent the evening hanging out in the rec room in the basement. I remember the whole thing being exciting.

This I'm not as jazzed about. No power in a house that retains heat very poorly could mean a chilly time. No hot food or drinks either. Storms are dark and so other than reading by candlelight (Where is a lighter in this place again?) I could wind up bored, bored, bored alone in this house for hours. As much as I enjoy a day off, I'm pretty hopeful the power will remain.

Being a kid during a storm is fun. Being an adult who has to be concerned about the logistics of life, not so much. But I really can't complain. I could live in New York. That's where the real problems are happening. What's a little power outage if at least I'm not being flooded out of my home?

Friday, October 26, 2012

38 days till I'm 30

I had my second and final ultrasound yesterday. I had every intention of finding out the sex, but as it turns out, the results were inconclusive. The technician, who seemed to be in training, at first thought it was a boy. But then he back-peddled and said he wasn't really sure. And the shots we got looked like they could be male, but... not in any definite sort of way. The sex was not included on the final report to my midwife.

So I'm about 70% sure I'm pregnant with a son. This means neutral colours (But not yellow. Ugh, don't care for yellow) and sticking to buying the basics rather than getting caught up in gender-specific items. Which is fine. Between all our family members who've had children in recent years, there will be many hand-me-downs for whatever sex we wind up having.

I have mixed feelings. On one hand, a boy would be charming. I'm always so charmed by boys. They're sweet when they're young and it'd be nice to put a good man out in to the world. But then I've always felt I would have a daughter and pass on things to her, knowledge and stories, feminine things. There's a gain and a loss with either, and since I don't care to have more than one (This may change, I suppose, but seriously we can only afford one. Daycare is monstrously expensive) it's best to get on board with whatever nature has selected for me.

Everything else on the ultrasound looked fine. I'm in good shape, the baby is progressing normally and there is no need for another scan. From here on out, I think it's just a waiting game.

I've been trying to think about how I'll spend my 30th birthday.I have a month and change till that happens and going out for drinks is off the menu. I have the odd glass of red wine here and there, but I'd rather plan a birthday that doesn't involve a late night with booze. A little booze, sure, but not a lot. I know other people would have fun, but I might get a little bitter having to sit out on my own birthday. Maybe an afternoon of tea. Or just taking myself to the spa and mellowing out, with friends coming over for cake later on. That might be more my speed these days. Oh, I'm old!

And to think I labelled this WTF I'm Almost 30 and I'll likely wind up hitting 30 with dull roar and a nap. Go figure.

Monday, October 22, 2012

20

Sleep has taken over and ruined my life. My patterns are nonexistent. If I need a nap, there's no waiting till later, there's no fighting it off. Coffee does nothing (And though I haven't given it up, I've reduced the amount I drink, so piling coffee into my system each day would be stupid).

Yesterday the Dude and I went out for brunch and grocery shopping. I was dead beat from this, despite sleeping in until noon. So around 4:00 I took a snooze, fell into a deep sleep and didn't move until after 6:00. So, not only did I literally sleep away my day, but I also guaranteed today was going to be significantly spent in bed due to the domino nature of big-ass naps. I got up at 1:30 p.m.

I'm not sure what to do about this. I have a job. I have gym classes. I can't be living this way, and yet here we are. Also, I think my body is lacking iron. As I typed that, the baby kicked like, "Eat some steak!"

But seriously, I think I'm having iron issues. I can't seem to keep up with my body's new needs. I should be eating steak. I'm occasionally dizzy and forgetful, which is a bad sign of iron deficiency.

I'm 20 weeks today, which means I'm halfway done cooking. Or something. I could have anywhere from 18 to 22 more weeks to go. I have occasional fits of HolycrapwhathaveIdone?! But more often I am just excited about meeting the kid who's been feeding off of my nutrients and then kicking me in thanks. When you think about that, a fetus is certainly rather rude. I guess we all are savage creatures, really, deep down. We definitely start out that way.

I mostly wonder what sort of a person I'm going to raise. The Dude and I are so incredibly similar in many ways: introverted, artistic, sensitive, quirky. He's more of a people pleaser than I am, and I have more willpower. He's got an addictive personality and I'm a scatterbrain. He's able to focus on things longer and has a good technical mind and I'm articulate and think ahead.

I take a lot after my mother. I look like her, certainly. She was a little quirky, herself, and also artistic. I think I am more of those things than she was. She was also introverted. She recharged by reading and playing Tetris. Our old Nintendo was set up in her room and I used to watch her play at level, like 99 or something zooming shapes into crevices to stressful music. And then she commandeered my Gameboy and kept draining the batteries to play Dr. Mario before bed. She was also allegedly terrible at math, something I strongly relate to.

But I'm like my father too, in a way. The Dude likes to tell me I'm my biggest fan, possibly because I love laughing at my own jokes, something my mom always told me I shouldn't do, perhaps because my father, also his own biggest fan, loves to laugh at his own jokes.

I suppose I'm not expecting an extroverted math prodigy with no sense of humour. I'd wonder where such a kid came from. But it could happen and it's fun to guess at the possibilities. And that's what gets me the most excited about motherhood. Not the cute clothes, not the sweet baby giggles, not even the love (though I'm really jazzed about the love, don't get me wrong). It's the discovery of who my child is going to be.

To think that right now a brain is developing that will contain who my child is, and it's happening inside of me, kind of blows my mind, even though it happens every day all over the planet. Making life truly is one of the most banal and commonplace miracles in the world. But this one is my miracle, damn it.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

19 Weeks

I'm 19 weeks along today. The baby is kickin' up a storm. I'm used to it now. I wasn't at first, but it's become a regular part of my day. I've grown to enjoy the kicks as a reassurance that things are normal and healthy. Pregnancy is starting to agree with me more.

I find the whole thing a little strange still, emotionally, though. I have amusedly come to the realization that I do just prefer to be the only occupant of my body. I'm growing excited to meet my baby and find out the sex and start this whole motherhood stage of life. Not only is it what I want for myself, but my pregnancy will be over.

The Dude is growing happier about the baby all the time. He's started work on the nursery. That is, he's cleared out his junk from the space that will become the nursery and now it's ready for a transformation.  We're going the Ikea route. It's cheap, has clean lines and is reasonably sturdy and reliable furniture. We'll paint, get a durable cute rug in there and get a decent used gliding chair on Kijiji or something.

I haven't been taking any pictures of my belly. I'll get to it. The Dude will take some nice shots of me once I'm a little bigger, maybe in December. Some women go all out cataloguing the experience. I guess I am too, in my way. I'm blogging. Perhaps if I found it more magical, I'd be getting photographic evidence rather than journaling my conflicted feelings.

On an unrelated note: Apparently the fetus can hear stuff now. I think about that from time to time when I watch Criminal Minds marathons.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Mail Christmas

Today was something like Christmas. Mail Christmas. A couple weeks ago I ordered a board game from the Dude's childhood that he really wanted, The MAD Magazine Game. Today it arrived and it is as foolish and nonsensical as the Dude promised it would be.


The goal of this game is to lose your money. It's the anti-monopoly. You move counter-clockwise, you may only roll with your left hand and the cards are random. Some are only valid on Fridays or if your name has certain letters in them or if you're a girl.

And if your name is Alfred E. Neuman,
you get this if you land on a special square.

Even the board has foolish rules. For example, there's a dead end.


The other mail delight was our Halloween costumes. The Dude is going to be Zoolander's Mugatu (I first wrote Mugato. Apparently that is something else). Mine I'll keep secret because due to my bulbous state and lack of craftiness/inclination, I had limited options. So for fun, I'll reveal that at a later time.

I have one more item arriving to me soon, and that is my winter coat. I picked something that only buttons up halfway and has a lot of room, which struck me as perfect for my current circumstances, but which also could look chic and retro once I've shrunk again.

The colour is pretty much amazing.
Sometimes I feel silly when the mailman brings me yet another package. I'm always home in my pyjamas. I wonder what he thinks I do all day.

Friday, October 5, 2012

17.5

I think I'm turning an emotional corner on my pregnancy. I'm four months now. I get aches, pains, fatigue, but the kicks are becoming a gentle reminder of what I'm doing this all for. And that helps. I went to the midwife today and apparently feeling them at 16 weeks is early. Not inconceivable, but early, especially for a first-time mother.

What can I say? I have IBS and no torso to speak of. I'm intimately in tune with my body's inner workings at all times. Usually it's doing something unpleasant.

The Dude the other day wanted me to take Tylenol for my aches and I got annoyed. I thought he was tired of having to massage my back. But after getting grouchy I realized that wasn't it. He just gets frustrated seeing me in pain and wants there to be something I can take to make it all better.

Well, if I took a painkiller every time I felt uncomfortable, I'd be dead of a Tylenol overdose. I've long known I had a cervix, but only now am I acutely aware of it as I get sharpish jabs from time to time. My menstrual cramps were always something I felt in my legs, like my blood was too thick to circulate and laid there stagnant and pulsing. So I never really sensed my uterus before. Now I do, all the time.

It's such an in-body, out-of-sort experience to lay your hand low on your own abdomen and feel a firm melon-like presence there. I just felt a kick. It's doing some manner of jig in there.

I feel a number of old concerns of mine slipping away. I'm freed from the worry I'm so bloated I look pregnant. I am pregnant. No more sucking it in for me. I'm not conscious of my waddling walk (due to bowed legs and misaligned feet-- thanks for pointing that out and making fun of me throughout school, classmates) because waddling is just so much more natural feeling now. I don't worry about my productivity or excessive sleeping. I'm sorta busy making something every day and I'm totally allowed to nap, nap, nap.

This is also the only thing I feel like blogging about right now. I live with this 24/7. Each moment is a moment spent pregnant and I find it impossible to forget about it. I find myself able to converse about many other topics, but my overwhelming need is to let these thoughts out and share them. I'm being physically transformed too quickly to get used to the changes. I'm really along for the ride, basically.

It's 3:00 a.m. Perhaps to bed?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Thanksgiving Schlep

You know what sucks worse than taking the bus back to your hometown for Thanksgiving? Paying $320 to get there. Seriously. The Dude's licence expired over the last MTO strike, so he had to start over and since I don't drive, myself, he only has his G2. Which means no renting a car for us. And a car would have been slightly cheaper. And it would have been a car.

So, we'll be spending the holidays with my family, as usual. There's always a big family dinner of at least 20 people and tasty food. It's been dwindling and growing simultaneously over the years, as people move, find love and/or have children and either defer to their spouse's family or remains with us. I'm not 100% sure what category the Dude and I will fall under after the baby is born.

I imagine we'll still make the trek from time to time. We have family in the same city, so it'll be important. And car rentals are inexpensive compared to owning a car, which due to the TTC I don't believe we'll need regularly, so not having a vehicle of our own shouldn't be too much of an impediment to travel.

But still. Changes. Life chugs on. It's going to be time for us to create our own traditions in our lives, and packing up our child and driving three hours to see extended family each holiday isn't likely to survive. The commute is a bit much for a small child, who likely would rather stay home and hunt Easter eggs or open presents from Santa than schlep to various houses in a city hours away.

Probably we'll be able to keep up with Thanksgiving. The big family dinner is exciting and delicious and a time to enjoy little-seen family members. Nothing we could do at home would be able to match the fun. But as for the rest of the year, I'm thinking random trips up will be all we can manage. And they'll be packed and harried with all the different households we'd have to visit, never mind trying to see friends. How easy life would be if we all lived in the same spot.

I feel the baby kick more and more all the time, especially at night. It's a reminder things are about to get very different very fast.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Kicker

Feeling a baby kick inside of me is so weird. I appreciate the assurance that my fetus is alive and well, but... dude. Something, a human entity I've not met yet, is poking me from inside my body.

I have a real love of children. I want a family. I enjoy being female. And the most feminine of womanly things you can do (use your uterus to make life) ain't coming naturally. I mean, it is. It's all working without my input or continuing participation. I don't will my pregnancy to fruition each day. It sorta handles itself. But whereas some women rejoice in every kick and flutter, I'm like, "Huh? The heck? Oh. Right."

Thoughts of the future are pretty much taking over my thoughts these days. I'm trying to mentally prepare myself for an infant, attempting to visualize how I'll manage, the way I'll spend my days. For awhile babies poop every time they nurse. And they nurse every two to three hours. Think of that. Think of the poop.

I wonder sometimes at the ability to bond with a fetus. I want to be pregnant, I'm pleased about it, but other women go gung ho and are over the moon about their unborn. I'm not. I know nothing about him or her. I don't think I'm capable of real love without interaction. I'm 17 weeks along in two days. That's not even halfway there. It's mind-boggling for me to consider.

I'm thinking of what it will be like to see my baby for the first time, to see a first smile and hear a first word and listen to baby giggles. Those thoughts soothe me when I think of the poop.

Something that's getting me is the hormonal sobbing fits. I've been crying over things like my mother, or even Smokey. And then for good measure, I get weepy over old episodes of the Gilmore Girls or especially sentimental commercials. I'm not irritable at all. Just overly emotional about memories, people, feelings and ideas. Basically life.

I wish I wasn't doing this alone. Women are getting pregnant and giving birth all around me, except in my actual life. I could use a friend at the same stage of life, someone to whom this isn't foreign or far behind them. Maybe at prenatal class I'll meet someone I connect with.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Home

I'm back from my trip to see my family in Vancouver. And just like that, it's done. I can't believe I'm home. When I'm with them, it's like old times. A large part of the visit is always revisiting the past. We experienced so much joy together and went through so much sadness. And I have a deep emotional need to discuss these things and remember and reminisce, and only with them can I truly do that. With everyone else, I'm telling stories.

It was hard to say goodbye. With my cousins, they saw me off earlier, but with my aunt it was at the airport and the finality hung in the air. I was going and I didn't know when I was coming back. My aunt looked sad and I lingered at the security gate and waved. "It's not forever," I said. But it kind of felt like it might be.

My aunt is sick. And I think she's likely to get sicker still if she doesn't retire and care for herself. But she said she's lonely. Work offers companionship, contact with other people. All her old friends who love her are back here in Ontario. I can see how this problem would contribute to her poor health.

My cousin is planning on parenthood in the very near future and I think having a grandchild would transform my aunt's life for the better. The social life at work wouldn't be equal to the joy of being a grandmother. She's a big believer in people changing. Maybe that would be the change of life that would get her to slow down and get better. I don't want to consider life without her. She's so far away, but I would feel the loss terribly.

My cousin has a lovely co-op apartment that she's recently moved into. It's gorgeous, well-maintained, . The co-ops in this city are old, crumbing or in poor areas. The few charming ones have closed wait lists. There is a real rental crisis going on in this place. They could take lessons from the Vancouver area. Not in the homebuying market, no, but with rentals at least there seem to be good options.

My other cousin was doing well. He's such a charming and anxious sort of person. It's hard for anxiety to be sweet and pleasing, but he manages it with a great sense of humour. Sensitive soul, he is. His sister is the practical one, the planner, reliable and always thinking forward. I like the idea of us both being pregnant at the same time, which is very likely to happen.

I felt the baby move for the first time while in Victoria. We spent the weekend there touring around, taking it easy and while resting in the hotel room, there it was. Boop. Boop. And I knew what it was. It was the first non-painful, rather pleasant sensation of pregnancy I've had thus far. It was nicer than the ultrasound, which flared up my heartburn and forced me to hold back bile from escaping. It was sweet.

My abdomen has grown and I'm obviously and noticeably pregnant at only 16 weeks. I really want to enjoy this. I do. I've quit trying, but I'm still holding out hope it'll start to feel positive soon. It kind of reminds me of one giant IBS attack. Maybe if it stopped feeling like that, I'd enjoy myself more.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

This sucks, and that's okay with me

3:00 a.m. and all is well. I'm getting on a plane in 13.5 hours to go to Vancouver to see my family (w00t!) And no, I'm not asleep in bed. Can't sleep, Clown'll eat me. Colour me an insomniac, an insomniac who hasn't packed. A scatterbrain.

So, I'm not a hesitant packer. I have a toiletry bag and I'm not picky about what I choose to bring with me anywhere, my laundry is mostly all clean and available, so I'm not concerned. But I could forget things. I do that sometimes. I forgot my wallet when I was 21 when I took a solo trip to the UK for three weeks. That was an adventure. You'd think I'd be super vigilant now and planning ahead and such.

Nope.

I did, however, make time today to get my hair done. After nearly four months of looking like ass, I'm cute again and my head looks presentable. Priorities.

It was fun talking to the salon ladies about my pregnancy. They were happy for me and found my offhand complaints about it funny. I enjoy making a well-worded complaint. It's very satisfying to laugh at your irritations and acknowledge them with jokes rather than putting on a fake smile and trying to behave the way you're expected to.

I know maybe not everybody would enjoy my distaste for pregnancy. People like glowing, happy pregnant women flush with excitement over new life, feeling connected to their babies. But dude, that just ain't me. It's not going to happen. I thought it would. I hoped I'd feel differently, but I accept now I simply prefer if I am the only entity occupying my body. And that is totally okay.

Some women might feel a little movement and get emotional, wondering if it's the quickening. I feel flutters in my lower abdomen and I think, "That's either my kid or a fart collecting momentum. If it's a fart, I better not be in public this time."

At the ultrasound, seeing the fetus for the first time, an excited mother-to-be might marvel over her baby and feel a wave of love. Me? I cursed my heartburn while watching my baby flip around, thinking it resembled a frog.

I've describe the sensation of the ligaments in my womb stretching as "My uterus is elbowing me." Because it totally feels like that. My midwife assured me it was natural and healthy. I was like, "Yeah, that's good. What a pain in the ass." It doesn't hurt exactly, but it always surprises me. I could be sitting around anywhere and then ZAP. POKE.

(The Face. Awesome YouTube video.)
Come on, uterus. That's not cricket.

I dunno, somehow by embracing the fact this sucks, I'm starting to dig the whole thing a bit more. I think the key is not being concerned about how other people feel. It's my experience and I'm completely allowed to think it blows, say so, and make jokes at my own expense, if that makes me feel better. And it does. I love dark humour. It makes my world go round.

There are "anti-brides" out there who march to the beat of their own drum. I'm the anti-preggo. Imma eatin' sushi. I'm gonna colour my hair. I will plan a natural home birth and research cloth diapers, and nuts to anyone who tries to talk me out of these things. I shall kvetch and moan about my warped and mangled body and crazy symptoms and laugh at the indignity of making life. I will develop a yelp for when people touch my belly without asking permission. I will follow my midwifes' information and my own judgement over other people's hysteria or misinformation about what I can and cannot do.

And in these ways, I'm reclaiming my body. Oh, I'll still share it, willingly and without reservation. Roughly 25 more weeks of sharing left. Have at it, you little avocado. Enjoy my calcium. But I don't have to follow anyone else's script about who I should be, what I should feel or what I should say while I'm doing it. I'm doing pregnancy the way it feels right to me.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Preggo sick

I have a cold, a cold I can't treat with plentiful amounts of over-the-counter offerings. I want so badly to take things that would offer me some refuge from this. I can honestly say that a pregnancy cold is something more insidious than your non-preggo cold. You're already more tired and achy than normal, so throwing cold symptoms on top of it without the ability to take whatever drugs you want for it, you're in for a bad time.

I don't normally get sick, but pregnancy does lower your immune system, which is to protect your fetus from being attacked as an intruding force. And that sorta makes sense. "Hey you! Yeah, buddy, you who's feeding off the organs there! Knock it off! Pew-pew!" A lazier immune system that'll give this foreign body a pass is something of a must. Too bad getting sick fast and hard goes along with it.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

14.5

I'm 14 1/2 weeks pregnant. I have started to transition from being thick to popping out, but if I eat or drink anything, my abdomen explodes into massive proportions and I look like I'm five months along. The only time this works out is if I'm about to take the bus. Looking pregnant on the bus tends to get you a guaranteed seat. At least so far.

God, it's so bizarre to be with child. I mean, I always thought I'd like it. It was a life experience I looked forward to. But I think I had rose-coloured glasses on. I'm excited at the thought of my own child, but I don't love being pregnant. Mostly, I don't relish the constant fatigue I'm experiencing. In six months I'll be busy and encumbered by responsibility and now is the time to get out and enjoy my freedom. But I'm too dang sleepy.

The Dude has started clearing out his unnecessary junk and has begun selling off things we don't need, all to make room. It's step one to baby prep. I enjoy the growing sparseness. I know we'll be bringing things back into the house (crib, stroller, high chair, etc.) but I really want to keep things simple. I don't want to over-do it. Any time I've walked into someone's house and it's been taken over by children's things, I shudder. Not in my house.

My mom had all our toys out of the living room. Most of my stuff was in my bedroom, and a couple things in the rec room. There was sanctioned adult space and that's what I hope to create in my own home. Obviously with a baby, you have to be relaxed about things, but I can ban battery-operated noise-and-lights toys from my house, at least. Actually, that reminds me of another rule my mom had: no toys that require batteries. 

(Actually, there was one exception: my Gameboy. Mom got super good at Dr. Mario. God, I miss her.)

I keep thinking ahead to the first few months of breastfeeding, waking up at night, changing diapers and doing lots of laundry and developing a routine and trying to get some sleep. It's going to be a wild ride. I really hope I won't have to do it alone. This is where I try not to think about my mom too much, because I know she'd come down for two weeks and stay with me. It's better not to focus too much on what you've lost. You can drive yourself crazy that way.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Tired

So, cat's out of the bag. I'm "out" about my pregnancy. Keeping it on the down low was a challenge. I found it hard to write anything because many aspects of my day related to my symptoms, which were taking over my life.

I'm feeling better now. I'm at 14 weeks and I'm no longer sick to my stomach and hating most foods, so I'm no longer suffering. But damn, I am tired. And when I'm not tired, any physical exertion makes it happen at a shocking pace.

The Dude and I went out for sushi with my cousin and his girlfriend, new to Toronto. We had a lovely meal, and then suddenly I was exhausted. I had to go home because I wanted/needed to spend the rest of the evening lying down and resting.

We had brunch with Buddy B and his girlfriend, and had a nice afternoon, walking around the neighbourhood, and whammo. I needed a nap, and wound up taking one that lasted nearly three hours.

Despite this recent social activity, I am actually seeing my friends less. I've become lame. My energy levels are at a minimum and though everyone assures me they understand ("You're making life. Of course you're tired!"), I can't help but feel like a wet blanket. I make fewer calls and I get fewer calls. I'm too worn out most of the time to initiate plans and I think everyone believes me too tired to join in the fun now, which has thus far been the case many times.

I keep waiting for the fog to lift, so to speak, but the fatigue remains. I get lonely sometimes. And then I go take a nap.

I can't help but feel too that if my mom were here, I'd really be enjoying my pregnancy a lot more. It seems on top of the physical symptoms there's a world of "Pregnancy: you're doing it wrong" advice out there that is souring my experience. I think a big part of the picture I'm missing is my mom's excitement and good vibes.

Frankly, I've been looking forward to and dreading this time in my life since she died. I knew doing this without her would be painful. And it is. It's an isolating sense of loneliness because no matter how many other people are happy for you, if your mother is gone, the person (other than your partner) that you need most and who would be the most involved is missing. You feel it. Sometimes it feels like a gaping hole.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

First Trimester Chronicles

I'm pregnant. I'm 13 weeks up the pole. I've told my family, friends all know, my boss is informed and now that I'm out of higher-risk miscarriage territory, I can share my news. I was going to wait till later to tell everyone, but screw it. This is kind of big stuff for me.

And I've catalogued my first trimester in secret, which I will now publish.

I'm writing this in sections, as I'm not "out" about my pregnancy yet and I'll publish this in its entirety when I begin my second trimester.

Thursday, July 19

Pregnancy sucks. I'm six weeks along and I'm tired. I can't really sleep that well, but I'm tired. And I'm hungry, but I have food aversions and I can't figure out what I want. Currently, the only acceptable foods are butter chicken and chicken caesar salad. I was on an avocado kick until suddenly the thought of one made me want to die. I'm nauseas. I'm thirsty. My breasts? Sore. A little bigger, but who cares because they're aching and untouchable. My moon time feels like it's going to start any minute; these cramps have been haunting me for two weeks.

The Dude is onboard with me. He's making me foods I can eat, rubbing my back and generally giving me a little extra TLC. I appreciate the support. At first he thought maybe I was milking it, but a thorough explanation of my symptoms with the qualifier, "And I can't take a break," helped him understand.

I knew I was pregnant about a week before I missed my period. I just knew. I got dizzy at the gym and was so hungry all the time and I could feel twinges in my uterus, which for the first time ever was doin' stuff. The Dude didn't believe me at all and balked at my buying a pregnancy test, convinced that I couldn't know so soon. The movies and TV, after all, always show a woman vomiting and missing her period before realizing she's knocked up. Well, turns out that ain't the way she always flies. I was convinced and I was right.

We decided to try almost in a passive way. A sort of we're ready but we're not going to be all proactive about it. It'll happen when it happens. And it happened instantly. Like right away. I'm excited and happy, but Jebus.

I currently have an abstract idea about a baby. I wonder if it's a girl or a boy (We think it's a girl) and what he or she will be like. Will I have a fussy baby? A quiet baby? A needy baby? A cheerful baby?

But I haven't 100% adjusted to the fact I'll be an honest-to-god mother yet. Give me time, say 30+ more weeks. I'll get there.

Saturday, July 28

So, I'm almost eight weeks and I'm always thirsty. I'm peeing twice a night. I'm nauseas. And holy Moses, I am bloated as heck. I actually look pregnant, despite being too early to show properly.

I'm experiencing food aversions, and to things I usually love like hamburgers and avocados. I have to think long and hard about what I can eat that won't make me throw up. I haven't thrown up, but I feel like I could very easily. I need naps. I'm in a mental fog and right now making progress on my novel is too damn difficult. Blargh.

Thursday, August 2

A little over eight weeks, enjoying some nightly heartburn and daily constipation. My nausea is easing up a little bit, which is great. Food is still iffy, though not as monumentally awful as it's been. My nutrition has been crap.

I saw the midwife for the first time on Tuesday and signed up for care. She was great. I felt comfortable and I got a 45-minute appointment. She took some blood, and I requested all the genetic testing and doodads. I was reassured about food and some travel plans to Vancouver.

Honestly, it's really weird to be pregnant. I'm onboard and everything, and a part of me thinks I'm insane for bringing a child into this world. I want a child. But actually making a new person really makes you question the future.

Friday, August 10

Finishing up week nine and I'm kinda fazed how quickly this is going already. I haven't even told the family yet and I feel like I've been pregnant forever. Probably because it's tiring and I'm always hungry or tired or feeling twinges and aches in my uterus. So bizarre. It's like period cramps... but not. My waist is already 2 inches thicker. No one else would be able to tell I'm knocked up, but I sure can. I couldn't zip up three of the dresses I tried on today. I'll be honest, I was sad.

At least my boobs look awesome.

Saturday, August 18

I'm almost at 11 weeks. I'm a bit away from my ultrasound, about 9 days or so. I'll see the heartbeat and affirm that, yes, I am gestating. I can sense the changes, but without the belly yet, I kind of just feel under the weather.

I'm feeling better these days, though. I have to tell you, 24/7 nausea and constant heartburn really is no way to go through life. For the life of me I have no idea why so many women are encouraged to do this. I mean, if you want to, you'll do it. The drive to procreate can be strong, after all. But if not, if pregnancy and motherhood is not desired, what a damn burden it would be to endure this. Hell, I feel irritated about it and I really want to be a mom.

I'm only partially looking forward to sharing the news. I feel deeply uncomfortable when people fuss over me. I learned this from my wedding. I like support and good vibes, but otherwise I like to be treated normally. Except from the Dude. He may fuss all over me as much as he wants. Heh.

Friday, August 24

I am Bloat Master J. I've quit trying to hide it. My belly pokes out and I look super pregnant, and since I actually am, why not fly with it, even if I'm deceptively less pregnant than I appear. I mean, it's sort of freeing in a way. IBS expands me on a regular basis, but now I can just let it hang out. People are looking at my belly and seeing pregnancy and not gas. I've gotten offers to sit on the TTC (Always middle-aged women, actually, which is interesting). I feel like I'm cheating because I'm not even in my second trimester yet. But hells bells, knocked up is knocked up and my belly is nonsense big.

I bought maternity clothes a few days ago, just so when I outgrew my generous dresses, I'd still be able to leave the house. I tried them on over a strap-on belly at the store and nearly shat myself. The belly took up my entire torso, my torso being short to begin with. And despite this startling image, I was still looking into a much more adorable version of pregnant me than is going to happen. My breasts small, my face thin, my legs not swollen. The end result is likely going to be a lot more frightening.

My first ultrasound is in a few days. I'll be 12 weeks on the mark. Dude.

Wednesday, August 29

My first ultrasound went well. And the Dude's family knows about the pregnancy. The jig was up when I saw them at the lake over the long weekend. My fatigue and apparently my boobs gave me away. I'm waiting to tell my family till I can see them in person. It's hard not to talk about it, you know, since it's pretty much taking over my whole life.

But back to the ultrasound, things looked good. The fetus was flipping around and doin' stuff. I had heartburn and the whole thing was rather uncomfortable. But it was wild. I had half a mind that maybe I wasn't pregnant somehow. Well, that thought is out the window. I am most certainly gestating.

Too bad being preggo is turning me into a wet blanket. Constant fatigue sucks.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Time

The fact that it's nearly September is seriously mind-bending. Each passing year the calendar seems to have fewer days to experience. It all blends into a blur of activity and meals. In a couple of days the Dude and I will be with his family on the lake. And later in the month, I'll go to Vancouver to see my godmother and her family. I miss them incredibly.

That's the thing with missing people. I can compartmentalize. I can shelve the feelings for later. But whenever I'm on the verge of seeing my Vancouver kin, I get antsy and anxious for time to speed up. I can go long stretches, but it's the last couple hours that always get me.

I've done my best this summer to have fun and make the most of the season. I saw plays, movies, went out to the lake, swam, brunch with friends, barbecues... and fall is my favourite time of year. And even so, I always get a little wistful when fall approaches. It's the beginning of the end of another year. I've enjoyed getting older. I've learned things, become more content in my own skin, and I've really made peace with myself as an adult. But all the same. There's a nostalgia there.

Time is funny. There are so many things in the future I'm hugely anticipating. And yet, the passing of years bums me out. I wouldn't mind if, just briefly, time could stand still, just a little bit. It feels too fast.

Frankly, I can't believe I started this thing before my 27th birthday. I'm a little over three months from 30. Despite chronological evidence on this very blog, I still don't know when that happened.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Womanhood 2012

It's a scary time to be a woman in the United States these days. It's been scary for women for an agonizingly long time in the Congo, Afghanistan, Iran, Egypt and India... many places equal rights are a dream, sexual assault is often justified and almost expected in many instances, and where you're reduced to/exploited for your ability to procreate, and otherwise ordered to close your legs.

But American women, who won their freedom to choose their own reproductive path decades ago have been watching their rights erode over the past few years. How far can Republicans go to restrict women and take them back to a time where their fetuses and embryos had more rights than their mothers? Well, read here. And thankfully this link is the President's reaction, which should offer some semblance of sanity in an insane situation.

In Canada, there are nuts out there who are seeking to re-criminalize abortion by asserting the personhood of fetuses. Now, I do think it's a shame when a pregnancy occurs to an unwilling party. It's sad because no one goes through life hoping that will happen. I mean, "unwanted pregnancy" pretty well outlines this is undesired. And it's undesired because all the options available suck.

Abortion? Well, I know of no woman who dreams of having one of those. But the other options require you to endure a pregnancy, which is no small matter, plus a delivery (Also a massively huge deal) and a recovery process, which can take a long time. And if you're unprepared for parenting, you have to consider whether you'd be capable of going through all of this and then giving your baby away, a baby every hormone in your body is urging you to love and keep. Adoption is not so cut and dry as many would like you to think. All you have to do is empathize and you can see how impossible it would be for most women. Those who can do it, kudos. But most cannot and should not be put down for that.

So, in light of these sensible understandings of human nature, why does anyone wish to mess with a woman's right to choose? Who else but her can understand her mind and body better?

I've been getting deeply upset with the anti-choice commercials I've seen on TV lately, the ones with the missing children on milk cartons, that talk about all the lost children due to abortion in Canada. I see red every single time. I mean, there are women who have had abortions seeing this. Why do they deserve to be shamed for making a decision about their bodies and future that they thought was right? It is a legal entitlement to defer or prevent motherhood if you find yourself unexpectedly pregnant.

Luckily, as ass-backwards as our current political party is, our Prime Minister recognizes that the climate in Canada is in favour of leaving people to make their own medical decisions. As many people who are morally opposed to abortion, they don't want to send doctors or women to jail for private choices. Trudeau said the government had no place in the bedrooms of the nation, and that's become a cultural belief.

But still. I don't feel entirely protected. There's a massive push against abortion right now and I don't know what conclusion will eventually be drawn. I will never understand why this is happening.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Crazy Parents

Forgive me if I find this sort of development in parenting to be ludicrous.

Allow me to summarize. Parents out there no longer want teenagers watching their children. They want  pediatric nurses and early childhood education teachers. They want to pay $18 per hour for this.

Back in the dark days known as the '90s, I babysat starting from the age of 13 in 1996. I took a babysitting course and my mom promoted me to others, starting with my next-door neighbours. She set my wage at $3 per hour, which was really low, but I guess a green 13-year-old sitter shouldn't command that much income. By the time I was 16, I had three regular families and charged $5 an hour.

I read that teenagers get $8 to $10 per hour now, which I guess keeps up with the cost of living, especially in Toronto. $10 seems sensible for an experience teen babysitter. But a nurse? A teacher? Seriously? Are the lives of these coddled children become so overly scheduled and precious that when parents get the night off to go to the movies, the kids can't just park in front of the TV and chill out too?

Does every moment have to be educational? Are kids so fragile they need nurses to care for them? I mean, wouldn't parents themselves be rather inadequate caregivers if an actual nurse is needed? I mean, most parents have zero medical background. Are they good enough then if another fellow layperson is not? Let's get real here. A few hours of fooling around is not harmful, along with a number of other things about childhood that seem to have gone out of favour for some reason.

I remember seeing a news report about kids in the park playing alone and the reporter was actually saying no 10-year-old child should be left in the park alone unsupervised. Um, what? I was 8 when I was allowed to bike to the park alone. Kids are entering high school as young as 13 and 10 is too young to be allowed to go solo to the park? Where in that meagre three-year gap is independence supposed to develop?

I've complained about pampered kids and hovering parents before, but every now and then I see more and more evidence that parents have lost their collective minds. Employing nurses as babysitters. You've got to be kidding me. I just don't get it.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Gen Y - No Future

I think about the future a lot, especially lately. Article after article is out about my generation, Gen Y. And although 1980 - 1982 is a hazy grey area, which is where the Dude and I fall under, I identify with Y. My teen years had the internet, which frankly I think set the tone for Gen Y's understanding of the world. Gen X grew up without it, for the most part, and didn't get cell phones till well after college. I think in many ways the technology we have as kids and teens is what really changes our cultural experiences.

But being at the very front of this generation has meant not having been inundated from a young age with everything we've come to take for granted. It's also meant getting into the job market before the larger wave of us hit the scene right in time for the Great Recession. And in my case, not getting the university degree, opting for three years college, I really got in the door at the right time. My job would be impossible to get at my pay grade now, and it's union protected.

So I'm lucky. I'm not in my dream job and there's no room for advancement, but I make okay money, I have benefits and a defined benefit pension plan and therefore I'm better off than a lot of graduates with masters degrees looking for work right now. By virtue of being older, basically, because I was at the front of the new cohort of young adults and didn't take much time in post-secondary. That's it. That wound up being the magic key.

Something I didn't get in the door for: a house. A house! That just plain ain't happening. We can't afford it in this city. Toronto is insane. Something drastic would have to happen to the housing market, decimating prices, which would of course rock the economy and ruin us all, so nothing really can be done and there's nothing to hope for except stagnated prices, perhaps a small drop that won't ruin anyone's lives, and then give frugal living a chance to build some savings. Sigh.

And yet I still worry. With all the stability I've just mentioned, I still have concerns about my future, I guess because it's not as bright as I'd hoped it would be. Letting go of the dream of home ownership has been a small blow. I mean, I love renting because I don't have to pay for any repairs and my water bill is included. I don't get hit with property taxes. I like that. But psychologically, it's hard to feel like a proper middle class adult when you can't buy your own house at nearly 30 years of age.

I wonder what the next 10 years will be like. For the first time in this country's history, the parents have not left the country in better shape for their kids. Honestly, I think Gen Y is lost, with the youngest of us in the worst shape of all. Over educated, under-employed and without opportunity. Crappy interest rates making saving a nightmare, housing prices through the roof (which only benefits the boomers who are downsizing and getting a massive return on investment), and food and transportation is more expensive than ever. Throw in the income gap between rich and poor, which hasn't been this pronounced since what? The Great Depression? To put it plainly, I'm not terribly optimistic.