Wednesday, April 30, 2008

"Hilary Homemaker"

So last night, D and I were hanging out on the couch watching TV. Maya was kicking up a storm (or maybe she was punching? I can’t really tell yet…). At one point I lifted up my shirt and pointed out an area on my belly and said, “Honey – watch this spot right here”. D and I both stared at the spot intently. After about 10 seconds passed, we were starting to give up when all of the sudden – POP! – my belly jumped! D got this huge grin on his face and said, “I saw that!!” He was so excited. I’ve been watching my belly twitch and jump for a couple of weeks now, but this was the first time that D was able to see it. To see D so excited and happy made my day, week, month…

Baby girl had a couple of quiet days earlier in the week (which were total agony for me), but thank goodness she has been active again lately, which I just love. Keep it up, Maya!!

I am in total countdown mode to maternity leave. I have 4 weeks to go (after this week) but next week is my last “full” week. I am using some banked vacation time to take a couple of days off during each of the remaining 3 weeks. Maternity leave in Canada is a full year, and I feel so lucky to live here. But I feel even luckier to be having this baby girl - seriously, somebody pinch me!

I plan to be Little Miss Happy Homemaker once I'm on maternity leave. My job will be to take care of the house, the cooking, the cleaning and of course – the baby.

I think it’s time to buy an apron.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

24 Weeks Today

24 Weeks = 6 Months! Hooray!!

I am starting to get bigger by the minute. To think that not that long ago I was complaining that I didn't think I looked pregnant. Well now, there's no hiding it. And everyone tells me the belly size increase takes off exponentially from here.

Last night D and I went to our friends' place - L and S's - for dinner and a video. While I was sitting on the couch, L looked over at me and exclaimed, "Wow Hilary, you are looking SO pregnant!". I love that people are starting to say that kind of thing, I must confess. Being visibly, noticeably preggers makes me feel really beautiful, despite the acne, gas, bloating, heartburn.....but I digress.

Baby girl's movements have been a lot more frequent lately and I love it. She still has no real pattern, but over the last week I have been lucky enough to feel her at least 3-4 times a day and usually even more than that. Additionally, I am becoming more keenly aware of what I'm feeling - what is actually baby movement and what is something else (gas, twinges, etc.). Every morning I wake up excited to feel more of those gorgeous movements.

Here's some exciting news: On Friday I was contacted by the National Post (it's a large Canadian newspaper) and asked if I would be willing to be interviewed with regard to my experiences with infertility and IVF for an article they're doing in May. They got my information from Dr. T. I am super excited and flattered to be thought of. I am very passionate about raising awareness about infertility (plus, I love to talk people's ears off about the subject) and I feel really honoured to have been asked to do this. More info on this to come as the details roll in!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Understanding Her

Well, since my baby girl doesn’t seem to like being at all predictable, in response to my last post, she’s definitely been more active. I hope I’m not jinxing anything by saying this, but indeed her movements and kicks have become more constant over the last few days. I am in seventh heaven when she kicks. Nothing makes me smile more.

As it stands now, it seems like she puts on a little show every 2-3 hours or so. Her movements don’t seem to be in response to food; rather, I tend to notice movement when I’ve settled, either sitting or lying down comfortably, after I’ve been walking around and busy. The lack of MY movement seems to get her going. I can’t confirm this pattern yet, but I am paying close attention.

I’ve also noticed that she tends to “sleep in” in the mornings. I usually don’t notice much activity before early afternoon. Of course, it’s about 10am right now and I am feeling little flutters as I type this. Oh my little girl really doesn’t want her mummy to catch on to her mysterious ways. No complaints out of me though – the more movements the better!

My husband told me this morning that, for the first time in our relationship, I snored in my sleep last night. Actually, he eloquently stated that it sounded as if “someone was subduing a wild boar”. Thanks, honey. (For the record, he sounds like a chainsaw when he sleeps, so there!)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Quiet Again...And Then...

Baby girl has gone quiet again over the last two days. I swear these quiet days are absolute agony for me. I even had to bust out the ol’ Doppler this morning just to put my mind at ease (and thank goodness, everything is fine).

I just don’t get it. It seems like she was more active over the last two weeks than she has been this week. Am I being crazy? Is 23 weeks too early to expect frequent movement?

Thankfully, I have felt her at least once every day, even on her quiet days. But her movements have indeed been softer and less “kicky”. What could she be up to in there?

I am so curious about other people’s experiences, I am posting a poll. Please see the top right corner of this blog.


In other news, over the last two days, I have really “blossomed”. Hehe this is a nice way of saying my belly has gotten HUGE. I don’t know when exactly it happened, but I woke up yesterday feeling big and after I got dressed and checked myself out, I discovered the mirror was definitely agreeing with this sentiment. All of the sudden, I am shaped like a big ol’ pregnant pear. A big pear with big boobs. And a fat ass. OK, maybe I’m shaped more like a “B”. Yeah, that’s more accurate.

Oops! Maya just kicked me. Hooray! It’s almost like she can sense that I’m writing this post and had to let me know she is just fine in there. Another kick! There she goes again!

I think I’m really starting to get a feel for baby girl’s personality now... She really likes to keep ‘em guessing. That’s my girl.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Kickity Kick

23 weeks and baby girl’s movements are starting to get more regular. She definitely still has her quiet days (which are agony for me) but in general, I think I can safely say I am feeling her more often and the movements are getting stronger. She was super active on Friday and Saturday – then she went quiet on Sunday. Now today (Monday), she is a busy bee again and I LOVE it.

Lately I have been feeling like my stomach is a bottomless pit, reminiscent of the first trimester. And the need to eat feels so urgent. I really am trying to show some restraint, as per my doctor’s orders, but I am finding it difficult. I am just loving food so much right now. I’ve already gained a grand total of 16 pounds and my doctor says 30 is the max for me. Honestly, I am not one of those women that care about the numbers on the scale – really, as long as Maya and I are healthy. But I don’t want to put myself at greater risk for gestational diabetes so I truly am trying to behave myself.

Speaking of stomachs, mine is definitely getting bigger, but I am not *quite* at the point where I look “obviously pregnant” to strangers. This bugs me. Those that know me can easily see the change in my belly and to them, it’s obvious; but to everyone else, I think I just look chubby. I am very excited for the day that a complete stranger approaches me and mentions something about my being pregnant. Right now, I don’t think anyone would dare.

Everyone keep asking me if I’m having any cravings, but I’ve had no pregnancy cravings really so far. I will say, however, that I do love those little mini-oranges called Clementines. Those puppies are crazy de-lish. Other than that, my “cravings” generally consist of whatever delicious food is in front of me at the moment.

I always heard that the second trimester was the “glowing” trimester. Some even refer to it as the “Honeymoon” trimester. But I gotta tell ya, I have been more tired, more hormonal, more achy, more gassy and more bloated during this trimester than I was during the first. Plus, my face is quite reminiscent of a pizza right now, and I normally have fairly cooperative skin. The third trimester should be interesting. But all sarcasm aside, I can’t wait!

Despite all these silly annoyances, I absolutely LOVE being pregnant. I just adore it. I honestly wouldn’t care if I turned purple and grew antlers, just feeling this beautiful life growing inside me is soooo worth it. Without a doubt, pregnancy is everything I hoped it would be and so much more. It has permanently altered my perspective and my reality. I’ve never been involved in anything so important, meaningful or fulfilling. I lack the words to describe how this feels. I am a different person now. I’m a mum.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Friday, April 18, 2008

Wet Dreams

I was awoken this morning by some serious kicking! At first, I incorporated the sensation into my dreams. But a few minutes into it, I woke up realizing what was happening. The kicks were higher than I’m used to – above my belly button this time. Let me tell you, there is nothing more magical and wonderful than being woken up by little kicks. You know it’s going to be a good day.

Maya’s movements still have no rhyme or reason yet. At nearly 23 weeks, I’m not sure what kind of regularity I should expect at this point. She has her quiet days and her busy days. Sometimes I feel nice (relatively) hard kicks and other times I feel really light taps and twitches. Sometimes I feel her barely once a day and sometimes I feel her 2-4 times a day for 10 minutes at a time. Is this normal? When will her movements get more “regular”? I would sincerely appreciate any comments and insight about this.

I also discovered this morning that I had “leaked” again. Not nearly as much as the other day, but still noticeable. I think I’ve all but convinced myself that I am pissing my pants in my sleep. I honestly don’t know how this could be possible because I wake up, like, at least 8 times every night to pee. (Oro – to answer your question, I am shamefully lax at doing my Kegels – I hate them. Perhaps this might be a contributing factor?)

In my defense, I don’t think I’m actively pissing in my pants – I think it’s more like maybe it doesn’t completely stop trickling out in small amounts even after I think I’m done.

Wow, this is an embarrassing confession to type to all of cyberspace.

Hello, my name is Hilary and I’m a bed wetter.

In any regard, none of this can be confirmed quite yet – more observational testing needs to be conducted before a final theorem on “The Night Pissing Epidemic” can be formed.

In other news, it’s Friday! This week has gone by relatively quickly because I’ve been sick with this stupid head cold most of the week and haven’t been going in to work. But I finally feel like I’m on the mend now – just in time for the weekend!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

There's Nothing Like Spending The Day At The Hospital

I woke up this morning at 2am because I had to pee - only to discover that I had SOAKED the boxer shorts I was wearing. My first thoughts: Did I pee myself? Is this sweat?? WTF??? I changed out of the wet shorts and into fresh dry ones and went back to bed. When I woke up again at 7am I discovered that I had also drenched the new shorts. Sudden panic. Was this (gasp!) amniotic fluid?

I called my doctor's office when they opened at 9am. I told them what had happened. They advised me to immediately go to the hospital. The possibility of what could be happening was becoming all too real and terrifying. When I arrived at the hospital, I was met by a lady with a wheelchair. The wheelchair was my ride. They also had me don one of those plastic hospital bracelets. At that point, I just started balling. When you're sitting in a wheelchair wearing a plastic hospital bracelet, it's hard not to let the "what ifs" take over your brain.

I was told to change into a hospital gown and was promptly hooked up to all kinds of monitors and fetal stress testing stuff whilst they readied my paperwork and prepared the exam room. Baby girl seemed to be doing just fine - she had a normal heart rate and I could feel her kicking and moving all around. Then they took some measurements - all normal.

From there, I was the sent into the exam room where a doctor basically gave me a pap to see if she could find any traces of amniotic fluid. While they processed the swab results, I went back to the first room and was told to lie down. It didn't take long - only about 5 minutes - until the doctor came in. She said that everything looked great, and there was absolutely no trace of amniotic fluid to be found. In other words, she had no idea why I soaked my shorts last night.

Just to be extra sure, I was also sent for a detailed ultrasound to check amniotic fluid levels. I had to wait for nearly two hours for this ultrasound, and while I was sitting in the hospital room waiting, I realized that I hadn't eaten since the night before. In all the excitement, I forgot to eat breakfast and it was now past 2pm. I suddenly felt sick and faint, like I was going to pass out. I stumbled out into the hallway and found a nurse and begged her for something...a cracker, a cookie, anything. I offered to pay. She was grumpy, but did say, "I'll see what I can do". About 20 minutes later, I was presented with a tray of hospital food which consisted of a cold hamburger, a cold cup of soup, two room temperature containers of milk and a package of saltines. I couldn't bring myself to touch the nasty hamburger, but I scarfed up the rest of the food in about 10 seconds flat. Thank you, grumpy nurse, from the bottom of my heart.

About 30 minutes after that, I was finally brought in (again, by wheelchair) for the ultrasound. Baby girl looked great. HOORAY!! Amniotic fluid levels totally normal and at the 75th percentile. HOORAY!! Baby girl measured right on target at 22w3d (which is exactly what I am today). HOORAY!! Maya was even showing off, doing some serious gymnastics with feet above her head and all that. The sonographer said that everything looked "awesome". HOORAY!! And THANK G-D.

And guess what else? My cervix is still holding strong at 3.2cm - the same length it was at 14 weeks. This tells me that this cervical length, while on the short end of acceptable, is just normal for me. I have short fingers too. The fact that it hasn't gotten any shorter is freakin' fantastic news as far as I'm concerned. The doctor told me today that based on this information, she thinks I am in no way at risk for PTL. No more than the average Jane, at least. HOORAY!!

After the ultrasound, I got wheelchaired back into my hospital room. I was told to change into my clothes and the doctor would come and talk to me about the results. This took another 45 minutes, and when the doctor finally came in, she basically said everything was totally fine, no need to worry, and that I could be discharged and go home. Sweet, sweet relief.

So what caused my nocturnal pajama soaking? Cause undetermined. Could be a by-product of this nasty head cold I've been fighting, or perhaps a big ol' sweatfest that my body produced to try to stave off a possible fever. Whatever it is, it's NOT amniotic fluid and I am so grateful for that.

It's about 7pm and I just got home about an hour ago. And that, my dear friends, is how I spent MY day.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Today's Appointment...

...went great!

I had my monthly OB/GYN appointment this afternoon and all went well. I talked to my doctor about a few concerns and questions I had - especially about my cervix. As you may recall, they had forgotten to measure my cervix on the last ultrasound (the "big" ultrasound) that I had a few weeks ago and so I was wondering if I should go for another cervical scan. My doctor thinks that at this point, it will be fine to just check my cervix manually at my regular monthly appointments from here on out. And she checked my cervix today and said that it was "good" - long and closed and hard. Yay!

She also said that while she never tells her patients they can relax completely until after a successful birth, I can breathe a small sigh of relief once we get to 24 weeks as she said the majority of incompetent cervix problems become evident before this time. She then went on to say that I have an over 90% chance of having a full-term baby at this point. Of course I would have appreciated something more along the lines of 100%, I do like those odds and I really hope that "less than 10%" truly doesn't amount to anything more than a statistic. Interestingly, she also said that after 32 weeks, we can breathe a bigger sigh of relief as the fetal morbidity rate after 32 weeks is the same as that of full-term babies. So in other words, once we make it to that point, if the baby is born it will have the same health outcomes as a baby born at 40 weeks.

This was the first appointment that Dr. R measured my fundal height (the size of my uterus). I was totally concerned about measuring small (I just feel small!) but much to my surprise, my little Maya is hanging out in her own personal mansion. I am 22 weeks and my uterus measured 24cm - or 24 weeks! This made me happy. Of course anywhere between 19cm and 25cm would have been considered normal.

I stayed home from work today because I've come down with a nasty head cold. I asked my doctor about this too and she said it definitely won't affect the baby. Thank goodness for that.

All in all a great appointment and once again, my fears and concerns were put to rest - at least for today. Oh yeah, and PS - I gained ELEVEN pounds in the last 4 weeks. Yikes! Doctor says to lay off the Haagen Dazs...

Sunday, April 13, 2008

22 Weeks Today

Twenty-two! Yippee!!! Only 18 or so more to go :)

This weekend has been busy, and also a little bit stressful because after Maya's busy busy week, she was almost completely not active at all over the past two days. Despite the fact that I kept telling myself that maybe she's turned inward, or that perhaps she's just chillin' out for a bit, or going through a growth spurt, I couldn't help but wonder if she was OK in there. I felt the need to use the Doppler at least a couple of times this weekend, just to check in; and thank goodness, all is just fine. And this evening, I've felt her a little bit more, but she's still not being as active as she was last week.

It's funny - my worries about when I would start feeling her movements have been replaced with worries about the consistency of her movements. I guess I just need to accept the fact that there is no rhyme or reason to when babies like to party, and I'll just keep looking forward to those times when she goes crazy. I love it when she goes crazy.

I spent all day Saturday with my mum. It was a gorgeous sunny day and we went for a long walk and ended up at Baby Gap. Do they ever have some cute stuff for girls right now. My mum couldn't resist Baby Gap's sweet allure and she ended up buying Maya a cute little outfit. My little daughter is already so spoiled.

Today I went to Babies R Us with my friend L. L wanted to buy a crib comforter set and I just went along for the ride. It was fun (and a bit overwhelming!) to look at all the stuff we'll need to be buying in the next few months. I'm glad I have L to give me the real lowdown on baby purchases. There is so much stuff out there and I am having a hard time figuring out what is really necessary and what we can probably do without. I'm definitely taking her with me when I register. I didn't buy much - just a few packs of child-sized clothes accommodate for Maya's ever-growing wardrobe!

So now it's Sunday night and we'll be headed off to bed soon. Here's hoping Maya spoils me with some more kicks tomorrow!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Happy Friday

This week has been a milestone of sorts, in that this is the first week I’ve felt baby girl move at least a little bit every day. I don’t think her movements could be considered “kicks” yet; they feel more like strong muscle spasms to me. I REALLY love feeling her move, I just can’t seem to get enough of it. And because of this increased activity, I am using the Doppler less and less, which is a good thing I think. At this point, my poor little girl has certainly been subjected to her fair share of ultrasound.

D has felt her move twice so far. This is becoming so real for both of us. We are both so excited for this kid.

I don’t think I’ve remembered to mention yet that we’ve finally resolved the dispute we were having about Maya’s middle name. We have decided to name her after our fabulous RE who got us pregnant. Our doctor’s name is Dr. Taylor (she has been referred to as Dr. T thus far in this blog). So, Maya will be “Maya Taylor”. I love this. I really wanted Maya’s middle name to have a special meaning, and to me, it doesn’t get any more special than this. This is the best way I could think of to thank and honour the person who finally got us pregnant. It feels like the least we could do. I am very happy with our decision.

Mum is coming over tomorrow with “an enormous bag of baby clothes,” as she says. I guess I’m going to have to break down and finally buy something for the nursery: Some child-sized hangers so we can put away Maya’s giant new wardrobe! Speaking of wardrobe – have you seen these? And these? Good Lord.

I’m glad it’s Friday. Another work week bites the dust. Only 7 more weeks until I go on maternity leave…FOREVER!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

How Can I Say Thank You?

I have recently been informed of a friend’s tragic miscarriage. She has been “trying” for as long as I had, and we’ve bonded throughout the process.

When I found out she was pregnant, I was so excited. But the news of late is not good, and unfortunately she wasn't able to keep the pregnancy. My heart just breaks for her. This is a pain I remember all too freshly, and she really does not deserve to go through this.

Her story has been a huge reality check for me. Of course, I realize how lucky I am to be pregnant. I am so thankful for this pregnancy and this baby; it underscores everything I do, think, feel and say every second of every single day. To say I’m grateful is a serious understatement.

But actions speak louder than words. And every time I worry, fret and stress about the details of this pregnancy, in a way, I feel like it’s an insult to all those who are trying desperately to conceive, struggling with infertility, coping with a miscarriage, etc. If I’m not ecstatically happy and excited during every single minute of this pregnancy, in a sense, it’s an affront to everyone out there who would give anything to get to experience this amazing gift that I am so.incredibly.lucky to be experiencing.

Granted, there are a lot of worries that come along with pregnancy. No one can deny that. But if I don’t try to keep a balance going, then it’s almost like I’m not being appreciative of everything I’ve been blessed with. I never want to take a single second of this magic for granted.

Certainly, every day gets a bit easier. The more I feel Maya moving and the further along I get, the less anxiety I tend to have in general. But somehow, I always seem to find something. Whether my worries are insignificant or justified, I never truly let myself be completely 100% happy. I guess there is some superstitious part of me that is afraid I’m going to jinx myself.

So how can I say thank you? How can I begin to be worthy of this gift of all gifts? By having a little more faith, a little more confidence, a little more trust, in this miracle. I am the luckiest girl in the world. I think it’s time to start acting like it.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Like Sleeping In A Hug

I ordered the Snoogle maternity pillow a week ago and it finally arrived yesterday. I took her for a test drive last night and WOW – what a difference. After weeks of having mediocre sleep, I finally got a good night’s rest. (Of course I did get up about 5 times to pee, but that’s not the pillow’s fault.) The Snoogle is like sleeping in a hug. If you’re having trouble getting comfortable in bed, I can’t recommend this pillow enough. And PS- it doubles as a nursing pillow!

For those of you unfamiliar, this is what I’m talking about:

Being officially over half-way through this pregnancy has certainly afforded me a new perspective. Granted, I’m still superstitious as hell and my anxiety still plagues me every day, but I’m starting to dare to envision that I just might come out of this pregnancy with a A daughter. This summer.

D and I talk about baby girl and our plans for her every day. Last night we discussed how we’d tuck her in at night and what bedtime stories we would read to her. We talked about Saturday morning cartoons, raising our daughter to be confident, and Halloween costumes. Slowly but surely, everything is becoming more…real.

Every hope and dream, want and need, prayer and wish, I’ve ever had in my life comes down to this baby being born healthy, strong, perfect and full-term, this August 2008.

Viva La Maya!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

21 Weeks Today

To celebrate the 21-week mark, Maya has been extra active today. I've felt her at least a handful of times every few hours. I LOVE IT. I have never experienced anything more magical or transcendent than feeling my baby, busy and kicking, in my belly. I just love her so much already.

She even let D feel her from the outside again today. This time through clothing, so her movements are getting stronger, I think.

Like my little daughter, I also had a busy day. I went to acupuncture this morning - which was much needed - and had a great session. Baby girl seemed to like it too; she started moving all around from the moment we sat down in the waiting area. After that, I met with our soon-to-be childbirthing class instructor (classes will start in June). She suggested that I pick up a couple of books from her to start preparing for classes. We have decided to have private classes at our home, because D's schedule is way too crazy for him to be able to attend a standard, regimented class. Fine with me. I think D and I will both benefit from the individualized attention. We will be taking the Birthing From Within childbirth series - more on that later when class dates loom closer.

When I got home, I found our friends L and S and their brand new baby boy hanging out with D at our place. What a wonderful surprise. We had a lovely visit with them, and after they left, D and I settled into the final DVD of our brand new Firefly box set (we do enjoy our Sci-Fi!). Baby girl kept busy the whole time.

A very good Sunday indeed.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Tap Tap Sleep

This is the first week where I’ve felt baby girl move at least once every day. I’m still not feeling kicks (at least I don’t think I am); what I’m feeling is more akin to 'taps'. Tap tap tap. It feels like someone lightly flicking the underside of a water balloon. To date, I’ve felt her three times from the outside. I have to be quick though – she is a crafty little thing and prefers to remain unpredictable – I think she likes to keep ‘em guessing. That’s my girl.

I have been trying to figure out her activity schedule pattern – or at least some rough semblance of one. It’s still early, but what I have been able to figure out is that generally speaking (and I do mean generally), she tends to be most active between dinner and bedtime. This seems to baby girl’s party time. If I’m lucky, I’ll also feel her a handful of times throughout the rest of the day, although her movements are sporadic and random to say the least. I still haven’t felt her move while I’ve been asleep.

Over the last two days, she has been quieter than she was earlier in the week. I have felt her tiny taps here and there, but as mentioned above, she refuses to be predictable. I think she sensed that her mummy was starting to figure her out, and changed things up accordingly, to keep the mystery alive.

I am really looking forward to some nice, hard, full-blown kicks and punches.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Definitely TMI - Anyone Had This?

So I'm sitting at my desk at work this morning, when I got that "feeling" that I had to run to the loo to do number two...

As soon as I stood up and started walking toward the washroom, I felt a RIPPING, STABBING, SEARING pain of considerable intensity sweep over my entire lower abdomen. It really hurt! I almost had to catch my breath! The pain lasted for about 30 seconds in total, and then subsided completely.

I called my doctor's immediately because at that point I was thinking I was going to head straight for the hospital. My doctor wasn't available so the receptionist said she'd get her to give me a call. When I finally couldn't take the waiting anymore, ducked out of work, went home and checked the baby with the Doppler. Thank G-d all was well - baby's heart rate was about 155.

I haven't felt that pain again at all since it happened. Once I was able to shake the panic, I've felt totally fine, totally normal.

I think what I was feeling had something to do with my intestines - perhaps related to *clears throat* number two. Has anyone experienced this? Should I just chalk this up to one of the many mystery aches and pains that come along with being pregnant?

Unsettling Dreams

Last night I dreamed that I kept forgetting my baby in random places. I'd find myself at, say, the grocery store and suddenly come to the startling realization that I forgot my baby daughter - unattended - at home. So I'd rush home, get her, and bring her to the grocery store, only to head home again and realize that I left her at the store!

I woke up in a cold, panicked sweat. I think subconsciously I'm a little daunted by this whole prospect of being a mother. I really, really, REALLY want to be a great mum. I am confident to a degree, but obviously there is a little part of me that is kinda nervous!