Yep I’m Still Pregnant

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40-Week Bump

Well here we are at 40 weeks and no baby yet. Which isn’t unusual of course, as most first pregnancies are over their due date. This due date thing, any how, is slightly annoying. It’s nothing more than a guidepost. Less than five percent of women give birth on their due dates. But everyone seems so focussed on that date. People seem to think it’s freak-out time if the baby hasn’t arrived yet. I lost count of how many strangers have said to me, “When’s the big day?” To which I reply, “I don’t know—I don’t have a crystal ball.” And they look at me like I’m insane. Oh, the “big day” is the “due date”? And here I thought the “big day” was the day I give birth to a human being.

I know, I’m being cynical. But I’m so ready to get this baby out and thoughtless questions from people I hardly know isn’t really what I need right now. Nor are statements that point out the very obvious. “You’re still pregnant!” they say emphatically when they see me. Yes, I am all too aware of the fact that I AM STILL PREGNANT. I guess it’s news to them.

I still can’t feel most of my fingers and my hands hurt. It’s more annoying and painful than I care to write about and I’m sure you care to read about. I’ve had a few minor meltdowns but generally I am doing quite well considering. I attribute that to the fact that I am sleeping most of the night. If I wasn’t sleeping, I’d be totally hysterical. Wearing hand splints at night has helped a lot, but really I’m sleeping at night because I upped the dosage of my sleeping meds. Good rest is the most important thing for me right now. But, getting cracked at chiro, eating hydrating foods, drinking plenty of fluids, and not doing much with my hands that will aggravate the symptoms also helps with the carpal tunnel. (I almost cried after making banana bread last week.) I ice my hands 4-5 times a day to keep the swelling down too.

Not too much going on physically to indicate that Little Nixon is ready to enter the world. He definitely dropped some more yesterday. I hardly have to bend forward at all to feel my tummy on my thighs. And I can feel much more pressure from his head on my cervix. He’s dancing around upside down quite a bit at this very moment. It’s not painful; but it feels pretty strange. I’ve had a few nights lately of this.

This afternoon I had laser acupuncture from my lovely friend and laser therapist to get the “blood moving” and hopefully encourage baby too. She put a very small needle in each ear to calm my mind, which I’m finding very effective. The needles will stay in my ears for a few days, and she’ll be adding more in the coming days. Got some tuina and a foot massage too, which always relaxes me. (Tuina massage is utter heaven in my humble opinion. Highly recommended by yours truly.)

I’m hoping for a weekend birth…as this would be ideal for the ladies on my birth team, who both have busy weeks with work commitments. If y’all want to send your good birth vibes on Saturday I would be most grateful! Over the next few days I plan to work on naturally inducing labour with pretty benign stuff like walking, eating a spicy meal or tropical fruits, acupressure, and maybe even a little dancing! Normally I would be the type to just wait it out, but this mama needs to get the feeling back in her hands and fingers STAT. Cuz it’s the kind of thing that can drive a pregnant woman bat-shit crazy. And we don’t need any of that around here.

April 23, 2014 Pregnancy No Comments

Taking it One Day at a Time Here

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39 Week Bump

One more week until Little Nixon is due. An eviction notice WILL BE PROMPTLY POSTED if he hasn’t arrived by then! I didn’t post an update for 38 weeks because all I really had to write about was how I am battling carpal tunnel caused by edema, as well as a pinched nerve in my back. It’s awful and not very much fun for anyone. I’m just trying to take one day at a time because it’s too overwhelming to think about all the days I could have to go through before this little baby is born. I wish I could just put my feet up and relax, but it’s better for me to keep moving and take short rests.

My days are filled with tending to my swollen hands, going for walks, keeping the house tidy, drinking corn silk and red raspberry leaf tea, eating hydrating foods, running errands, seeing caregivers, wandering around the house rather aimlessly and bored, visiting the loo, folding and unfolding baby clothes (this is surprisingly fun for me)… I can’t do any one thing for very long. Lying down and sitting for extended periods compresses the nerves even more. I’m a wee bit stir-crazy…but in good spirits despite the pain. If only the feeling would come back to my fingers, it would all be so much more bearable! They are numb, but hurt at the same time. It’s sort of like that feeling your hands get when you come inside to the warmth after making snowballs outside in the cold. That burning tightness.

Well according to the midwife, baby has “dipped” a bit in the past few days. I’m still breathless at times, but my tummy suddenly seems like it’s in my lap when I sit. He has a bit more to go, but I think he is getting ready. My bet is that he’ll be here in 7 to 10 days. But who knows! It’s all a guess. We are so close, that’s for certain.

Still feeling a wee bit scared about the whole “giving birth” thing but I’m trying not to let the “what ifs” take over my thoughts. Just seeing what they are about, and then letting them go. Focussing on an easy, gentle and comfortable birthing time, and holding that sweet little baby in my arms.

Those “OMG I’m having a baby” moments are becoming more frequent again too. Sometimes I just can’t believe this is happening to me. I’m trying to wrap my brain around how my life is going to change but it’s so bizarre to imagine having a baby. Bizarre, but kinda thrilling too. *glee* I can hardly wait to meet the little human being I’ve been growing for the past 9 months. What a wondrous moment that will be.

April 16, 2014 Pregnancy 2

Misery Needs Company

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37 Week Bump

I must admit, it has been a difficult week. Sleeping well is now an impossibility. Beware, this is where I get to whine a bit. Okay, maybe a lot. But I gotta tell the story!

I have edema in my hands, wrists, feet and ankles. Yes, I’m that swollen pregnant woman now! Ick. The heels of my feet are hard and achy and it’s exhaustingly painful to stand in place for even just a few minutes. No waiting in line at the grocery store for me. My hands are tight and I have little sausage fingers! (Gross.) I may have a bit of carpal tunnel too as they are sore constantly.

It wouldn’t be so troublesome but for the fact that my arms and hands become numb and tingly when I lie down in nearly any position, so I can’t sleep or rest comfortably. Thankfully, after many sleepless nights, I was able to sleep in three blocks of about three hours each last night, although only on my back, neck straight up and arms spread out—about the most uncomfortable sleeping position for me. I must have been just too tired to NOT sleep. Still, when I woke up, my left arm and hand was all numb and tingly, and it took about 45 minutes of icing and stretching before the sensation went away.

Frankly, I’m totally miserable. I can’t believe I might have to do this for a few more weeks. Omg.

I’m at my wit’s end with every day being such a struggle. I’m drinking tons of lemon water, a homemade “sports drink” (water, maple syrup, orange juice and salt), and store-bought chocolate milk (seems to be most helpful actually) to fight off the edema. All those fluids aren’t making it better, but I think they are keeping the pain from getting worse.

And here I thought I would have the last few weeks to take care of a few final things. Ha. I wish someone had told me a long time ago to have EVERY SINGLE THING ready by week 34. Then I’d have weeks to just put my feet up and get cozy with Netflix. Ahh…that would be so nice right now. Instead I’m trying to get my to-do list finished. Which is proving to be rather gruelling seeing that I can’t do any one thing for very long. But the essentials are taken care of. We have diapers, clothes, a car seat and a place to Little Nixon to sleep. And a new slow cooker. We’d be okay if he decided to make his entrance into the world this very day. (Knock, knock. Hey baby, you’re welcome to make your appearance if you’re ready! No, really, it’s super awesome out here. I promise!)

I am super thankful for Bob’s formula for women iron supplement. Since I’ve been taking it, the incredible fatigue I was suffering from has dissipated. We also hired a house cleaner, both for a deep clean of some areas, like the kitchen (OMG how did it get so dirty??) and for regular cleaning, for at least a couple of months while we find a routine with the little one. We hired a gardener for this coming week too, to clean up the garden because it’s impossible for me to do any time soon. And of course I’m thankful that I’m on the home stretch. Just a little longer…

I also made a mommy friend. She is super nice and thoughtful, lives right in Maple Bay and has a four-month-old who is totally precious. So she doesn’t mind talking about pregnancy and babies all the time. And she likes to shop online so I’m sure we’ll be fast friends in no time. Honestly though, it’s really nice to have a friendly ear when all you want to do is whine and sigh about how much being nine months pregnant kind of sucks. Misery indeed loves company. And a cup of warm nettle tea.

Thanks for listening, my friends.

April 6, 2014 Pregnancy No Comments

Don’t Squish the Butterfly

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36 Week Bump

“I know that when a woman births on her own power, and finds her rhythm, and her postures, and her sounds, and her moment of ecstasy with birth, that she is a changed woman, and she is a fierce mother.” ~Ina May Gaskin

I’m 36 weeks + 4 days pregnant, which means baby is just days away from being full-term. After this Wednesday, I will exhale a massive sigh of relief because Little Nixon can come any time. And he’ll be welcome sooner rather than later! Because all those women who said the last month is the worst were absolutely correct. Most of the time I feel pretty awful and enormously uncomfortable. I am awkward and restless. Everything is difficult to do. Finding a relaxed position to sleep in can take hours not only because of my belly, but also my hands and arms become numb. The swelling in my hands and feet is painful. And I’ve been having quite a bit of fibromyalgia pain in my arms and legs this past week.

Omg I am SO done with being pregnant. It was actually kind of fun up until a couple of weeks ago!

But I do hope Little Nixon stays in for a few more weeks. I still have some mind training to do. One of the primary pain relief methods I am working on is hypnosis, through the program called Hypnobabies. Hypnobabies retrains your brain to think of childbirth as easy and comfortable, and uses hypnosis and deep relaxation to reduce or eliminate labour pain (create a natural anaesthesia). One aspect of the program is the replacement of certain words and phrases with ones that are positive in order to reframe the experience. For example, contractions are “pressure waves” (this falls in line with Ina May Gaskin’s substitute—“rushes”), labour is “birthing time”, transition is “transformation”, and pain is “intensity” or simply “pressure”. But it goes farther than just changing the language used—the program attempts to replace the fear and expectation of pain with confidence in the body’s ability to birth comfortably, safely,  gently and—of course—painlessly.

“Hypnosis advocates give several explanations of how the process works. One theory holds that when a woman feels fear during childbirth, her body releases stress hormones that trigger the body’s “fight or flight” response. This causes muscles to tighten and interferes with the birthing process. By training the subconscious mind to expect a safe, gentle birth, they say, women can avoid going into the fight-or-flight state, allowing for a smoother birth.” ~BabyCenter

There are 12 half-hour hypnosis sessions to listen to over the course of six weeks or longer. Each has its own intention and instruction, such as breaking down old beliefs, relaxing in your own sacred place, releasing fear, learning how to put yourself into a state of hypnosis, creating anaesthesia, and pushing the baby out. I could be a tad behind if Little Nixon arrives early—I’m in week three—but it’s actually working. I’ve been using the finger drop technique to put myself into a deep relaxation when I’m feeling pain or am very uncomfortable in bed at night, and the pain honestly decreases. I do have trouble, however, maintaining the reduced pain for very long, as I tend to lose focus.

(During the past year, I’ve noticed that when I’m in a lot of pain but my body is in a state of tension and my mind is upset, the pain intensifies. If I go for a walk or meditate, the pain is reduced. I just haven’t been disciplined enough to keep the pain away completely or regularly through entirely natural means. That would require a lot of work that I haven’t had the time for. I don’t even know if I could—chronic pain is a devil beast to tame. It’s easier to take medication to dull the pain. Although I am sure there would be great benefit to using hypnosis during especially nasty flares.)

Other relaxation methods during my birth time might include breathing (4 count in through the nose, 8 count out through the mouth is working well for me), visualizations, affirmations, keeping my mouth relaxed by making noise (groaning, mooing like a cow, or blowing “raspberries”), trusting that my body knows what to do, walking, resting, using my personal mantra, releasing endorphins, and humour (apparently a good belly laugh is an effective form of anaesthesia). I’m open and willing to do whatever helps create a “pain-less” birth.

I really think I can do this. My mind is very powerful, and with the right tools, it can accomplish great tasks—mentally, physically and spiritually. I am a strong and fearless woman about to become a mother. I am going to BREATHE this baby out and it will be the most empowering experience of my life.

And then there’s the “but”. That part of me that questions. The part who has suffered through considerable physical pain since January of 2013 and who is terribly scared of not only being in pain I can’t handle, but of feeling like I FAILED at the challenge I have given myself if indeed it does become too much for me. I’m scared that it will hurt MORE for me because I have fibromyalgia. I’m afraid of having complications and being transferred to the hospital. What if I just totally fall apart?

One of my midwives said something a few weeks ago that resonated with me. “Hold your intention here,” she said, her hand outstretched, palm up. “But don’t squish the butterfly.”

Que sera sera.

March 30, 2014 Pregnancy No Comments

35-Week Baby Bump

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35 Week Bump

35 Week Bump

Just a short update. I’m too weary and bone-tired to write much. My brain is functioning at CAPACITY LOW. In fact, I feel absolutely awful.

But just look at that belly! It’s so smooth and soft. Not even a hint of a stretch mark. (I attribute this to both my genetics and my pregnancy diet.) Incredible. I am so lucky. Although, it ain’t over yet!

Cole’s notes update over the past week:

  • I’m actually starting to gain a little bit more weight.
  • My belly is often quite tight and I have small, short contractions more often.
  • Small amount of swelling in my feet and hands. So I’m drinking water constantly.
  • Combine more water with a crushed bladder and the bathroom and I are quickly becoming intimately acquainted.
  • I’m too tired to do any yoga and that makes me sad.
  • I don’t even know what happened to last week it went so fast.
  • I found a dresser for the nursery. It’s painted YELLOW and I love it.
  • Lots of fetal movement.
  • I still have an innie!
  • We can’t decide on a name.
  • I’m trying Bob’s Formula for Women iron supplement. Only been a few days so nothing to report yet.
  • One of our midwives is coming for a home visit next Thursday. Shit is gettin’ REAL.

I wish there was something to help me feel better!

OMG baby’s due in one month tomorrow.

March 22, 2014 Pregnancy 3

The Birth Plan

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34 Week Belly

Check out 28 weeks in the same shirt. Does my belly seem that much bigger now?

Had my blood tested again and even though I’ve been taking an iron supplement for the past three weeks, my iron has dropped from 23 to 13 ug/L. So I’m now iron deficient, although my hemoglobin isn’t under 110 g/L, so according to BC Guidelines, I’m not quite anemic. That mid-afternoon fatigue is still crushing me, and I’m pretty sure now that it has to do with my iron being so low. Steak and spinach salad on the menu tonight…?

The baby countdown is ON. Six weeks to the due date? Hold a sec, I’m going to blink now and have a baby in my arms. Oh yes look here he is and he’s adorable!

Depending on what I’m considering, six weeks is either not enough time or feels like an eternity. EVERYTHING is more difficult. And not just little things. Walking, showering, moving, BREATHING. This belly is heavy and awkward. It’s like having a 10-pound bag of sugar strapped to your mid-section. Squiggly alien sugar. Gawd this kid moves a lot. I’m grabbing feet and elbows and tapping on his bum. Being pregnant is awesome…and really kind of annoying sometimes, like when he decides to flail about at 4 in the morning. Sometimes I’m like, jeez how am I going to do this late April? Get him out! Sometimes I’m all, omg no I’m so not ready for this! Can someone put the brakes on the time for me please? Too many things still to do. Most of them are just not going to get done. In all honesty though, I’m not really freaking out about it. It’s more the “tiny living breathing fragile human being” I’ll be responsible for that’s freaky.

So. Birth plan. We are planning for a home birth. Which means a few obvious things: I can wear whatever I want, walk when I want, shower when I want, eat and drink when I want. I can move into any position I feel comfortable in at any time. I can do yoga. I can listen to music. I can dance this baby out. Having a home birth means you get to do a lot of things YOUR way. And that is absolutely the WAY for ME.

There are also a few things that can’t and won’t happen because we are having a home birth, and that’s because I don’t want them even available to me unless I need them. These of course include pain and induction medication, constant fetal monitoring, IV, and other medical services/assistance that aren’t necessary until the situation calls for them. The values of the midwifery standard of care are smack in line with my own and thank the heavens I live in a place where these values are upheld and defended by my primary caregivers. We are so blessed.

I need to be comfortable for this to be the experience I want it to be. Hospitals are not comfortable. Hospitals are for people who are sick or injured. It seems a bit weird to me that it’s normal to go to a hospital for an event that is totally natural. Birthing centres within hospitals seems like a great idea—many of the comforts of home with the safety of a doctor and medical services immediately available if needed. But even though I’m 40, I’m healthy and baby is too, so my pregnancy is considered low-risk and I’m okay to give it a go at home. If we end up transferring to the hospital, it’ll be because I NEED medical intervention that is beyond the scope of the midwives, and that’s just fine with me. Otherwise, I see no need to be there.

I’m contemplating a water birth but not feeling a strong pull for it, so I’m not sure yet. Here are some of my birth preferences/requirements.

OMG I might even try placenta encapsulation after the birth. (Here’s a good read, with PICTURES.) Yep, that means EATING my placenta. *shudder* I had no plans to do this, but after all the research I’ve done, I think the benefits are incredibly valuable, and there are no risks, so why not? Because it sounds gross? Don’t be silly.

What is plan B? Well there really can’t be a plan B. Plan B is if something goes awry and we go to the hospital, in which case some decisions will be made at the time and my midwife will make sure that nothing happens that I do not want or need. But I’ve set the intention for a quick, pain-less, home birth. Yes, I said pain-less. No snickering, ladies! Next week I’ll write about how I intend to birth with as little pain as possible.

March 15, 2014 Pregnancy No Comments

I Peed at Least Eight Times While Writing This

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33 Week Belly

33 weeks! I missed my 32-week update so this post incorporates the past two weeks. It’s definitely getting more difficult living with this belly. Sleep is a challenge some nights as there is really only once position I can sleep in now and it requires adjusting a myriad of pillows all around me. And even though I go to the bathroom before getting into bed, of course 10 minutes later I have to pee so bad I think I might not even make it five feet to the bathroom. I’ve been battling some kind of fatigue that just cripples me. I don’t know if it’s pregnancy or FMS but it’s more likely a bit of both, but it’s kinda of like running straight into a concrete wall after someone’s being throwing you the punches from head to toe. Oh, and you haven’t slept or eaten for two days. But I also have blips of feeling pretty good and having lots of energy. I started taking Pranin curry iron about two weeks ago but I don’t really feel much of a difference. Having my iron tested on Monday to see where I’m at.

Oh, and leg cramps. I had the worst charley horse last night that my calf is still sore.

What’s AWESOME is that the button hook (tearing muscle) in my belly is finally gone. It’s an enormous relief. Gawd that was awful. That’s an understatement. It was actually a little torturous.

Last Thursday I went to the mainland to visit my mama. We went into Coquitlam and Richmond and had a baby shopping extravaganza (well we went to two stores but spent A LOT of time in each). A huge thank you to my mom for helping me pick out some awesome baby stuff. We settled on the Peg Perego infant car seat, which we think was a great choice, and it’s super stylish. Happily, the crib I wanted was $150 off the regular price, and I ended up getting $100 off the Phil and Ted’s Navigator stroller I had my heart set on too because they had two floor models. Major score. We had a wonderful experience at West Coast Kids—the sales lady was super friendly and helpful, and they even stayed open after closing so we could finish up our shopping. Gosh it feels good to have the big stuff taken care of. I was feeling some anxiety around that in the past few weeks.

On Saturday my brother took my mama and me for breakfast at a diner in Deroche, then we visited my nephew, his wife and their two little ones. They just had their second baby Monday from last! It was a super strange feeling to hold a five-day-old baby in my arms, while my own almost-here baby kicked in my belly. It was like he could sense being so close to this new young soul and was saying hello. Incredible that my baby is so close in age to my grand nephew. Incredible that my mom became a great-grandmother for the fifth time last week, and in two months or so will become a grandmother for the fifth time—the last time being over 20 years ago.

Baby Nixon's Crib

Spent this week getting more things ready around the house: Buying diapers (OMG I’M HAVING A BABY), washing sheets and baby clothes (k, I swear they all shrunk even though I tumbled dry low; am I going to suck at this?), searching for a dresser, spending way to much time on etsy searching for handmade baby stuff. Tomorrow I SWEAR I’m starting Hypnobabies. If Baby Nixon arrives early I won’t be finished the program. If I cross my legs real tight will he stay in until I’m a master at birthing hypnosis?

K, I promised a post on the birth plan but that’ll be next week now. It’s time for a little rest now…

March 7, 2014 Pregnancy No Comments

Taking it Easy

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31 Week Bump

31 weeks on Wednesday. So I’m in the 32nd week now.

It’s been snowing all day and I’m in a peaceful heaven. I could watch snow fall for hours; it’s just the prettiest darn weather. On snow days as a kid, I would lie down on the floor of my mom’s house with my head at the sliding glass window, so I could be warm and cozy inside but watch plump snowflakes come tumbling down over me. The gentleness and tempo soothes me. It’s a meditation. 

60 days to go until my due date. When I look at in terms of days, it’s not very far away. And my days seem to go so quickly—consumed by research, reading, education, thinking about baby, rubbing my belly, walking, yoga, eating, household chores, watching “Midwives” and “One Every Minute” on YouTube, journalling, and some art projects. Despite feeling rather crappy most of the time, I’m so appreciating that I am off work now. I needed some rest time desperately.

The past week has been difficult. I’ve been very tired and fatigued. Breathless. I think my low iron is starting to show its effects. Trying to get the iron from my diet but I think I may need to add a supplement to boost the stores. Baby is taking all of it and likely depleting me even more. I’m dead tired sometimes. Walking up the stairs can obliterate all of my energy. Ah so *this* is what it’s like to be pregnant! Finally I have a common symptom…

Every week I quickly check the pregnancy websites for updates on how baby is growing, and they all have a section on “common symptoms” during this time, like pregnancy is some kind of disease. And it’s always the negative: headaches, difficulty sleeping, varicose veins, stretch marks, baby brain, etc. What about the good things? Like the connecting and bonding time, the reactive movements, the growing anticipation, your beautiful round belly to show off, all the wonderful attention you receive from strangers, the fun of coming up with baby names with your partner, SHOPPING. Sure of course there are the unfavourable and likely unwelcome symptoms, but these websites don’t look at all the good things too.

I’ve been taking Brené Brown’s e-course “The Gifts of Imperfection” for the past six weeks and the journal I’m working on is magnificent! So this week I started a little gratitude journal and have been writing down five things I am grateful for each day. That is where I am storing all those “good things” that are happening during this incredible time. The best part lately has been the playing. He kicks, I push back, he replies with more movement. And I’ve been singing to him a lot more, and he often responds. Very cool.

I finally got a decent video of baby’s movement in my tummy. Watch closely—I tried not to breath with my belly—that’s all baby moving. It’s becoming less like little kicks and more like elbows and knees and feet and hands stretching out and across my belly. It’s a rolling, not a kick or bump. It’s just so awesome. I know, I say that every time I post an update, but I just can’t get over how amazing it feels.

Next week: the birth plan.

February 22, 2014 Pregnancy 2

Something Remarkable

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Here I am now at 30 weeks—10 weeks to go (April 23 is the due date). I have books to read, a nursery to furnish, supplies to buy, a birth plan to put together, dogs to train and prepare, my labour and birth “tool box” to establish, a yoga pose guide to put together…omg it all feels just a tad daunting.

30 week belly

AND! Of course I keep having these moments of HOLY CRAP I’M HAVING A BABY. Moms reading this will understand. It’s like it doesn’t really sink in, even though I think about the life growing inside of me nearly every waking moment these days. I imagine him from head to toe: his smooth white hair, tiny feathery eyelashes, wide inquisitive eyes, that squishy newborn mouth, his little fingers curling out and then into a fist, that little elfin bum, those scrumptious little baby feet that I will nibble on and inspect with the curiosity and intensity of every first-time mother. But it won’t be REAL until I am clutching him to my chest, all wet and warm. I honestly can’t believe sometimes that this is happening to me. For most of my life I didn’t expect I would do this.

Lots of people over the years told me I would change my mind. Those people usually explained that at a certain age women just naturally develop an insatiable “urge” to procreate. I didn’t have that. What changed me was more of an uneasiness with my life, a feeling that something was missing. From reading the stories of mothers, I came to realize that a child can be a woman’s most influential teacher. And I want that for myself. I want a teacher. Heck, I NEED a teacher. My life is becoming less and less adventurous as I grow older, and my spirit is calling out for something truly remarkable in my life. (Climbing a mountain or travelling the world aren’t things I crave to do. I’m quiet. And I like being at home.)

Then I read this article on how *not* having children was defeatist. The article’s general argument was that couples who decide to be childless because of the frightening political state of the world, because of the exceptional expense, because of the drain on our valuable natural resources in a time when they are becoming so depleted…these couples are admitting defeat. They are defeated by the cynicism, the pessimistic future, the unfavourable conditions likely to plague planet earth in the coming decades. And that’s when it really hit me. Those reasons shouldn’t be WHY a person decides to have children or not, and those reasons had definitely shaped my decision (and my husband’s) to not have children. Pair that with my rapidly approaching mid-life digits (the “ticking clock” if you will) and many discussions, and the choice was made to expand our family, to create a human being to join us on our life journey.

For all the shite in this world, there is much more awesomeness, and much more wonder and beauty to behold, to hold dear, to nurture and cultivate, to create, and to be a part of. That’s what I am most excited about: creating and nourishing an awesome life for our child. I want him to say one day, “My mama and papa made my life awesome and they made the world a better place for creating me.” I want him to know that he was created from love—to love wholeheartedly and to be loved wholeheartedly.

——

Remember my comments on the lack of consensus around the gestational diabetes test? My midwife called on Tuesday afternoon to let me know that the guideline numbers for gestational diabetes had JUST changed (yet again) and I don’t need to have nutritional counselling (unless I want to). My 1-hour test was 10.3, which now falls under the new number of 10.6. Still close enough that I should be a tad careful, but nothing to be all insane about, so BRING ON THE VANILLA LATTES and CHOCOLATE BROWNIES and BEN AND JERRY’S ICE CREAM. Yes, all is good.

The past week has been busy…I honestly don’t know where my time goes. I’ve been walking almost every day at the estuary, even though I’m actually feeling quite fatigued and a little breathless at times. The exercise is good for me, and I cherish my walks with the pups. It’s a moving meditation. My hunger has picked up noticeably, and the baby’s activity has increased dramatically. I literally felt him change positions over the course of a few hours earlier in the week, from the left side to the right. It was incredible.

We’re taking a childbirth class this weekend. Day one was this morning. I’ve read enough books and watched enough movies to not be learning all that much actually, but I think it’s quite helpful for Tyler. Myself, I was anticipating more hands-on learning.

Yesterday was kind of a crummy day. I did not feel all that well when I woke up, and after trying to accomplish a few things on the computer, I went to bed and stayed there all day. I felt depressed, my arms were throbbing and aching, and I just had a general feeling of malaise, and I cried on and off. I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t concentrate on a book, so I cuddled with the dogs and my belly. Even though it was a painful day, Baby Nixon and I communicated through touch for hours on end. He would poke me with an elbow or foot, I would poke back in that spot, and then he would respond with a gentle nudge. Back and forth we would play. Sometimes I would tap once, and he would answer with one kick back. I would tap twice, and he would react with two kicks. This book I’m reading, Nurturing the Unborn Child, said to try this in the third trimester and I was amazed that it actually works! Not all the time, but enough to show that my baby can feel what is going on outside the womb and that we can communicate with one another. This is mind-blowing stuff. So my awful day was also a wonderful day of connecting with Baby Nixon. Maybe I needed to feel rotten in order to stay in bed all day and rest. I keep pushing myself every day and I have to slow down, but it’s hard when there is so much to be done.

Like having that sweet, succulent, heavenly latte. With whip on top. Oh mama.

February 15, 2014 Motherhood 1

Keep on Keepin’ On

By

29 Week Belly

29 weeks! This past week has been rather busy, despite the fact that I am off work now. Lots of niggly items to check off the list as I settle into a pattern of self-care and preparing for baby. Actually, my list of everything is about as long as me head to toe—I’m feeling rather overwhelmed to be honest, and I have to let go a little bit.

I have been practicing yoga nearly every day. I had stopped yoga for nearly two months because my arms were so achy that I felt a lot of hesitation about holding poses. However, I just need to remind myself that modification is okay, and moving my body is most important. I have been doing Twee Merrigan’s sessions on My Yoga Online, which are very gentle and focus on body movement that is open and natural. There are also some great sessions on YOME that I am enjoying. My plan is to practice yoga everyday and to put together my own program that will help with labour when it’s time.

This week I visited one of my two midwifes. I’ll be going every two weeks now until the end of March, and then it’s once a week. I’ve been trying to deduce which way baby is situated but it’s difficult. I asked my midwife as she was poking my tummy. “Well I know where his head is,” she says. “Want to feel?” Ahh, YES I DO. Amazing! I felt a body part! It’s hard. His head is down already and hopefully it stays there for the next 11 weeks. He seems posterior and facing to the left, as the most movement happens on my left side. He’s super active and I seriously can’t get enough of it. There are no words—it’s just such a wondrous feeling to have a growing, spirited, human being alive inside. Being pregnant is really extraordinary.

I have to visit the diabetes clinic for nutrition counselling due to my slightly elevated 1-hour GD test. My midwife said not to worry too much about the numbers, but I am watching my sugar and carbs a bit more closely. However, this article cites a recent study that showed a low-carb diet didn’t affect pregnancy outcomes or change the need for insulin for women with gestational diabetes. I’m really questioning all of the GD information out there—there just isn’t any consensus on a variety of levels, from the testing itself to what to eat. Common sense tells me to continue eating the way I have been: I eat frequently, consume as many whole foods as possible, and ensure my body is receiving the minerals and vitamins it needs to grow a healthy baby. However, I have quite the sugar cravings, and I usually quell them with a sweet decaf coffee drink or fruit (or ice cream!), or I snack on whatever is near me to satisfy my appetite (usually nuts, seedy crackers, cheese…). So I’ve put the brakes on high sugar foods. My cravings aren’t insane so it doesn’t bother me much.

My iron levels were 117 in November. I was the Valedictorian of Iron Stores! I eat lots of meat, as well as other healthy sources of iron. There’s also iron in my multivitamin. My iron levels a week ago? 23! Which means I’m almost anemic now. However, I do not feel overly fatigued or tired, nor do I have any other symptoms of iron-deficiency. My midwife suggested that I continue to eat the same and to start drinking nettle tea. I had no idea nettle tea was high in iron, as well as a host of other vitamins and minerals, including Vitamins A, C, D and K, calcium, potassium, and more. I found this informative article on safe teas to drink during pregnancy. I started drinking red raspberry leaf tea this week as well, which also has many beneficial vitamins and minerals, and helps tone the uterus. There is also evidence that it can help lower blood sugar. ALL GOOD THINGS. (Pregnant women should talk to their doctor or midwife before drinking any herbal tea.) Adding 3-6 cups of tea a day to my diet has helped me to get more water in too. I seem to be drinking less water now that I’m not working. Need to put a system in place at home for drinking plenty of water… My scale says I’m down almost 4% water in the past few weeks.

My fibromyalgia pain has been at about a constant 4 (with 10 being the worst pain) or higher and it’s always my arms that ache the most. I’ve been able to manage it mostly by modifying my daily activities, and walking and yoga helps. I worry about how I will manage after baby arrives. Sometimes I can’t hold my arms up for more than a few seconds. But I’m sure we will find a way to manage.

This was a pretty factual update. Next week I’ll try for something more emotive!

February 8, 2014 Pregnancy 5