Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Today is Tuesday and this is my first official day off work. I finished on Saturday and when I put my finished document onto the server I cried a little. I wasn't even sure why because I couldn't pinpoint how I felt. I just knew I'd completed my final assignment for a year's time. Technically I'm on vacation until March 1, and then my maternity leave really begins, but the effect is the same. I'm home, as usual, and not at my work computer (Unusual).

And this is all well and good because sitting at my computer makes my feet swell up like hot water bottles. Yes, I've reached that stage. I'm 38 weeks tomorrow and various other body parts have started to fail me in small ways. My feet don't hurt, per se, though they certainly are uncomfortable. When you press fingers into them, there's actually an indent. The Dude has been massaging them nightly, which makes me feel both like a grateful wife and also that it's really the least he can do.

Our nursery is pretty well set to go, minus this item, which is en route in the mail via allposters.com.

Tell me this isn't the cutest thing ever, like ever.
At this point, I'm really keen to do things with friends. I can't be making long-term plans, nor can I leave town at this point (Well, I can, but my luck would have me going into labour). However, I can do dinner, coffee and Sunday night we threw our annual Oscar party. It's nice to socialize, still free of responsibility. I also want to see a movie or two. The only thing I'm a little bitter on is that we might well miss The Book Of Mormon on stage. It's all sold out (Unsurprising since it's only from April 30 to June 9), and if they don't increase their run, it'll leave the city and that'll be that.

It's astonishing how fast motherhood is approaching me. The birth tub is getting delivered this Sunday (So at this point, I really hope I don't go into labour. Not only is Matt not off until March 9th, but I want my tub, dagnabbit). I have my in-home midwife appointment this Saturday. Strangely my main concern  through all of this is that my water will break while I'm on the couch. Not out in public, but on my nice new couch.

At my last midwife appointment I learned I was about 157 pounds. I think I misread previous scale readings because supposedly my weight hadn't budged in a month from 148. I started at 126. 22 pounds isn't unreasonably small, but it was bizarre to me that a month could pass without me gaining anything when I was clearly getting bigger.

But let me tell you, reading that sudden increase freaked me out. It had only been a week since my previous appointment so this apparent 9-pound gain was only over a week. That's the sort of thing that can make your average weight-conscious North American woman shit a brick.

It occurs to me that the vast majority of my blogging has surrounded my pregnancy. Somewhere along the line, I became a themed blogger. I always had focused on life stuff, musings about getting older and nearing 30. But it never really was a theme for all that. Now it's sort of a Pregnancy Sucks and Here's My Cute Nursery blog. Well, turns out when you're gestating a new life, it's damn hell ass hard to find other things to write about, especially considering new crazy bojangles are happening to your body all the time and your life no longer follows a discernable pattern. Every week it's new.

I used to have dreams I was stuck in stations and airports and unable to catch my flights, or that I was in a hotel and people were getting in my way and I couldn't pack things or find my travel documents. Dream journals said this was symbolic of feeling stagnated in life. I haven't had a dream like that since getting pregnant. What I did dream about last night was having quintuplets, four of which were misshapen. One was flattened out. I don't even want to know what that means.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


No matter what, I'm pretty sure I'm going to continue to give a massive shit about my vanity. I'm not a gorgeous woman, but I'm pretty enough, in a cute sort of way, and I want to maintain my appearance. My figure has never stopped traffic, but I like my legs and I've always had a nice bum.

What I am faced with post-pregnancy is totally uncertain and my Google searches are littered with queries like "shrinking rib cage after pregnancy," "post natal stomach", and "breasts after weaning". I think they equal the number of searches I've done on actual baby care, antenatal information and fetal growth.

Currently my bum has flattened out. The Dude says he doesn't think it has, but then he'd never tell me the truth about that. I think it shrunk, and not just relative to the size of my belly. I think it's less round. Probably my spreading hips are the culprit. Even my loosest pyjama pants I can't haul up around my buttocks anymore. I hate the thought of going through the rest of my youth with a flat ass. I'll accept it when I'm a senior citizen, but I would really like to enjoy my 30s on a nice rump.

I have no stretch marks (Yet. Knock on wood) and at 37 weeks, that's not too shabby. But oh God, will I have loose skin around my midsection? I can't bear the thought. I was given a Belly Bandit from my cousin and his girlfriend and I fully intend to use it. It's supposed to help the uterus shrink back to normal size in a timely fashion. I'm hoping it'll also do my ribcage a favour, as it's spread about two inches. I'm already short waisted and small breasted. The last thing I need is to be barrel shaped. I'd like to regain some semblance of a waist, something suggesting an hourglass.

I've started to gray, something I mentioned long ago. Hair falls out after pregnancy. You barely lose any for nine months, which in my case has bestowed upon me more hair than I know what to do with, and then after birth you lose everything you retained. Some women get bald patches. My hair is naturally so thick, I'm not terribly concerned about the loss of volume. What I am thinking about is the gray hair. All the hair that falls out could come back white. I could have a salted red head.

And I don't know what kind of baby I'll have and whether he or she will be calm enough to take to the hair salon, which I'll be quite desperate to do should my fears come to light. I could wind up looking like a witch.

And let me just say, the very last thing I'm interested in hearing is how it'll all be worth it. I wouldn't have subjected myself to this had I thought my looks were too precious to risk. They're not. I do think, though, I'm allowed to have conflicting emotions about my bodily changes. I also don't want to hear that I won't care. I'll still be me and, yes, I'll still give a damn what my body looks like.

At least my shoe size hasn't changed. I don't have an extensive collection, but I would be incredibly bummed to have to lose out on ever wearing this pair again:

Of course right now it's winter,
and my feet are too swollen currently to wear them.

Monday, February 18, 2013


When you're in the last month of gestating your first baby, it's entirely too easy to hemorrhage money. I managed to add in the neighbourhood of $3,000 to our savings over this time, and work plenty of baby things into the monthly budget, so as not to touch said savings. But now that's over. Time to dip in.

For example, this weekend cost us somewhere around $400: Bassinet/playard (Used, thank you, Kijiji), vertical drying rack, nightstand, toy box, hamper, baby bath tub, drug store things for the birth, plus other normal household stuff like groceries and cat food, and a Zipcar to grab all this stuff.

This month was also the Dude's birthday and Valentine's Day. We didn't blow the bank, but we also didn't let the days slide. Pre-parenthood special days should not be neglected.

And that's all on top of the other stuff I ordered online/bought last week: baby carrier, breast pump, BDA pants, crib sheets, changing pads...

The baby has dropped. I now feel like I'm carrying one of those 5-pound bowling balls in my pelvis. I waddle. When the baby squirms, my cervix cries. I'm 37 weeks in a couple days and more or less I'm term. Almost. I am so looking forward to being done with this. The fact I risk massive vomiting every time I cough and that I cough after every meal I eat got old many moons ago.

We're hosting one last party before the birth. Most people thought we might skip our Oscar party this year, but oh no. I'm not losing the chance to do this one last shindig sans bebe. I may be a huge beast of a person right now, but there's no wee one crying or needing anything and I intend for the Dude and I to make the most of our last bit of freedom.

It's so funny. Everyone talks about how hard and awful having a baby will be, but generally think pregnancy is exciting and sweet. Having looked after children (pee, poo, vomit, tantrums and all) and having now experienced pregnancy, I kinda think it's the other way around. You suffer for a purpose and then you enjoy (occasionally lament and curse, but mostly enjoy) your offspring. I sort of feel sorry for those who love pregnancy, in a strange way. It's a temporary state that you only experience so much of and then it's done and gone. My memories are going to be of looking back over these months with total gratitude that they're over. I try not to laugh too hard when someone tells me I'll miss it.

Also, I think having IBS in comparison to dealing with this will really put things into perspective. Your body can always be a bigger asshole. I won't have as much life freedom, but my God, I'll have bodily comfort again. That's my new idea of what freedom is: feeling good in your own skin. Oh, how I'm looking forward to that.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Pregnancy Sleep.

Coming to you live at 6:23 a.m., it's me! Tired and confused over broken sleep that abruptly ended around 3:30 this morning. Yep. So I've been surfing the internet and washing dishes. I've heard this nonsense lack of sleep in a random unfathomable pattern is nature's way of ensuring I'm accustomed to the sleep deprivation that is new parenthood. Well, colour me used to it. I am, in my way. Don't much care for it, but I can deal.

I'm not really expecting to enjoy motherhood at first. I'm not doing this because I think 2-month-olds are charming and fulfilling companions. Oh, I'm sure I'll love my baby, but what I'm really looking forward to is having a smiling baby who is learning words, and more than that, a child, one that can walk, talk and dress him or herself and say silly shit. This is not the fun part, and nor will the immediate future be either. I consider it all an investment in my future joy.

Yesterday I found a glider rocking chair on Craigslist for $200. I haggled it down to $175 and the Dude picked it up and now it's in our nursery. I'm too lazy right now to take a picture of it in the room, so here's the picture from the ad:
It also came with a matching ottoman.
Chair normally retails for $500 before tax.

I have this lamp en route:
From Lamps Plus.

And this nightstand will be the last item I require.

Sears item. Handy for holding my water, snacks and Kobo reader.

It's taken a lot of work to find sales, but the savings has been somewhere in the neighbourhood of $600+. Not to say we'd have spent more without sales (We wouldn't have), but we would have had to sacrifice quality. We've borrowed a few things, like a Jolly Jumper and a bouncy chair. McPal gave us his old rug. The diapers were a sale item, as was the crib, car seat and lamp. The stroller was both a gift and sale win. The glider is possibly my biggest coup. I feel very satisfied with my shopping, all of which, and this is no exaggeration, was done online. I don't know how anyone can haul ass around the city looking for sales and not lose time and patience (and of course the best prices). I love the internet.

Today is the Dude's birthday. There are literally no special plans afoot. He wants to order in Indian food, watch TV and open a present. That's it. I'll make him a morning coffee in a couple hours and also some pancakes. Maybe we can have nachos for lunch. He's not much for his birthday, but he certainly enjoys a day of having nothing to do. Since those days will soon be behind him, I can understand the day of laziness he's asked for. I was hoping we'd go out for steak, but it's not my birthday.

In order to have today be free of responsibility, he re-organized the kitchen yesterday. I can't even believe it. The fridge, once a haven of expired random shit now looks empty and gleaming. Under the sink is now debris and garbage-free. The cupboards are clean and organized. There's actually storage space available now. Someone's nesting in this apartment, and it ain't me.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Nursery 2.0

I think third trimester exhaustion has arrived. I'm tired. Not right now, of course, when it would be convenient, but throughout the day. Occasionally it hits me that I have roughly five weeks left of childlessness before my life changes for all time.

The Dude and I (Mostly me because that's how I roll) have been budgeting with care, trying to get the last things together, and otherwise putting the finishing touches on the nursery.

Charming mobile!

The rug, doing what rugs do.

Matching crib sheets.
No, the toys won't be in there when baby comes.

Interestingly my back hurts a lot less. I quit my exercise routine early December, the start of my third trimester. I think the working out did me a lot of good, but now I'm just relaxing, taking it easy and making sure I stay hydrated, fed and rested. Also, with all the stuff we've needed to buy, there just simply wasn't the money available for the gym.

I've been noting the largeness of... me. I'm huge. I thought I'd be this size when I was ready to give birth. Oh ho ho, no. I have 5 cm of curvature to go. I learned from my midwife that from the top of the uterus (The fundus) to my public bone, I should measure in centimeters how many weeks I am. This thing is going to stick out a million years.

There's still soooo much movement. Baby's still doing somersaults, jumping jacks and generally living large. Decreased movement? Ha. No. Whoever's in me is not letting a smaller space slow him or her down. There's a party in my womb and no one else is invited. I'm beginning now to detect actual limbs, not just a bulbous mass warping my insides.

One thing I've not yet tackled is daycare. Yes, I work from home. No, I can't do both at the same time, not unless my child is born with a mute button and can be silent and independent for hours at a time when I need to meet tight deadlines. I should really start making calls... Maybe I've been putting it off because I'm kinda freaked about the reality of finding quality care we can actually afford.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


My friends threw me a super adorable shower this past Sunday at the McPal house. It was cutely decorated and there were yummy sammiches and cake and cheese and such. My Toronto friends were all there and they gave me some really nice things for the baby, like a charming mobile and books and blankets and sleeping gear. It was a really nice day. I love my friends.

We also got a used rug from McPal, and it's in the nursery now. It really fits in and makes it more of a bedroom space. Touches like that really make it complete and, because I can't help but say so, really ties the room together.

The McPals are the one household I know that have their own helium tank and actually get a lot of great use out of it. We took home many balloons in our Zipcar. The Dude considered leaving them in the trunk for the next person to open it and be assaulted with a ton of helium balloons. But no, they're in the living room. The big one is still holding on. The cats approached them cautiously at first and then nothing exciting happened, which was too bad. I'd hoped maybe Sprinkles would pounce them like the clown she is. Smokey was scared of balloons in his day. Poor old guy probably would have had a heart attack.

And wildly, with the showers over and me being about 35 weeks, that means I have a little over a month until I'm due to give birth. The crunch time to acquire the remaining items has begun, and I have three weeks of work left until I can stop and relax and focus on the baby. It's all happening stupidly fast now.

But the list of things to get has shrunk a ton:
Play yard/bassinet
Bedside table
Gliding rocking chair
Cloth wipe solution
Wrapping baby carrier
Breast pump

But in all honesty, the pump and bibs can wait. Well, hopefully the pump can wait, otherwise the Dude will be running an errand shortly after the birth. I don't want to think I'll have issues breastfeeding, but it happens.

I also investigated a daycare in the area. $1450 per month for an infant. $1450. Even if it drops a couple hundred for a toddler, it's still so much money. So, we won't be going there. There's one even closer to our house that I'm going to check out, which my in-laws use. Hopefully it's not also $1450. Jesus, this city is expensive. I mean, I knew that, but hell.

I've already been asked a lot by some family when I'm going to have more and now I think my answer is I'll consider it if someone wants to pay me $1450 a month for three years. Crazy, but having two kids would literally make the difference between ever being able to buy a house, or not.

Just think, a working class man's income alone used to be able to buy a house and provide for a family of six. Now? Pfft. Not bloody likely!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Home Birth

So, I want to talk a bit about home birth. That's my current plan of attack/transformative milestone/shot in the dark approach to delivering my baby.

I think that it's important to put this into context. Home birth is not something the average first-time mother chooses. Most home birthers tend to be second-time moms who had a poor experience at the hospital and wanted to explore another option. Generally, there is an element of apprehension involved in doing something this intense for the first time and the "just in case something goes wrong" reasons ultimately guide a new mother to the hospital.

So why not me? Because I have come to believe over time that if I want to be safe and maintain my bodily autonomy, I need to stay out of the hospital.

It may have been the time I needed a vaginal ultrasound and the male technician, after his exam of me, ignored my discomfort and the female supervisors requests for him to stop, and continued to penetrate me against my will.

Or perhaps the time when I went to the hospital prior to my IBS diagnosis (And access to a family doctor) and the doctor insisted I be anally examined and did not allow me to say no. It happened against my will and I went into a panic. I hyperventilated and even once I caught my breath, I could not stop the tears for 30 minutes. It was very disconcerting to sit calmly in a hospital bed crying without actually crying.

My doctor berating me because I can't treat a pap smear like a handshake hasn't helped. Being given shots without any discussion about my right to refuse or the side effects (Laying me up for two weeks with pain and lethargy) lessened my faith in the medical establishment.

Overall, when I'm in the hospital, I feel as though I'm treated like a thing, a project, a subject. Not a person, not someone with feelings and hang-ups and needs.

I'm bypassing all of it.

If my health were in jeopardy or the baby was found to have problems or there were any indicators of risk, I'd resign myself to the hospital and work with it the best I could. I'm a little over five minutes from the hospital as it is, so there's easy opportunity for me to get there should I need to.

As it is, I have two midwives, one for me, and one for the baby, who are trained to understand normal birth and distinguish between normal labours and pathological issues. I have a doula, who will act as a support person for all us while I labour and birth. I've rented a birthing tub to have as an option if I want it. And importantly, I'm not afraid.

When you've had kidney stones, appendicitis, and live with IBS, you come to understand the nature of abdominal pain. It bothers you, yes. It's upsetting, sure. You sometimes cry or pant or moan. But you learn how to cope and the thought of future episodes doesn't worry you because you know you're able to handle it.

With this birth, it's not going to be a pathological pain. It'll be bringing me what I want. It'll be the baby and I working in tandem to meet each other. I'll know why it's all happening. I'll be supervised by medical professionals and an experienced wise woman and my husband. I can meet the intensity. I have faith in myself. I'm going to be in the driver's seat of this experience, and that will benefit me. And what benefits me will benefit the baby.

Avoiding the hospital and staying in my cozy home, on my own turf, gives me confidence and a sense of calm about the birth. No IV to distract my attention or have to cart around with me. No fetal monitoring to restrict my movement or make a machine the centre of the room. No pitocin or epidural to alter the course of my labour and potentially cause problems. No unfamiliar nurses entering my space and wanting to insert their fingers into my vagina. No one clocking my labour and planning a C-section for me if I take too long. No labouring and birthing on my back.

Again, if I develop an issue, I give myself up to the medical institution and I'll put myself at their mercy to handle the problem. That's the beauty of modern medicine. It can handle ailments and illnesses that previously could have meant death. But birth itself is not inherently a problem. I don't see my current state as something that needs fixing, managing or direction. Just support. No pre-emptive procedures. I don't want to be around anyone who doesn't think I can do this. I don't want to have people around me who don't have faith in me. I'm a woman. I was built to do this.

If other women want to opt out of the full bodily throes of labour, I salute them for knowing themselves and wish them well. Do what you got to do. Be comfortable with your choices and caregiver and place of birth and go for it. I've often seen birthing without medication described as "having something to prove" or "being naive". For me, it's about being in touch with who I am as a person.