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baby g

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Our Birth Plan

I can’t believe I’m posting about this, because every time I hear the phrase “Birth Plan”, I am reminded of this fabulous article by McSweeney’s.

Excerpt:

Dear Hospital Staff:

Thank you and congratulations for being on shift for the birth of our child. The following sets forth our wishes for our stay. If a medical emergency requires you to deviate from this plan, please refer to “Jamie and Jeff’s Emergency Birth Plan.” (Tab J) Please note: Jamie is RH Negative and BPA-free.

Philosophy

While we do not have a traditional “philosophy” of “childbirth,” we have been heavily influenced by orthodox Wholefoodism and the “(d)well baby/good design” movement. We believe strongly in the power of the female body and a long-term night nurse. We are opposed to torture/gluten. In the event you are ever unsure how to proceed today, please ask yourself, “What Would Gwyneth Do?”

Anyway, the basics of my birth plan are as follows: Have a healthy baby. Period.

However, our midwife suggested that I might want to be a little more specific, so (hopefully) without heading into McSweeney’s territory, here is our birth plan for little Baby G:

  • I would like Adam to be present during the cesarean section surgery
  • I would like the surgical drape dropped so that I can see my baby being born
  • I would prefer for Adam to announce the sex of our baby
  • I would like Adam to go with the baby for any checks, tests, or baths given by any medical staff
  • If all is well with the baby, I would like skin-to-skin contact as soon as possible after birth
  • We would like the baby to recieve antibiotic eye ointment and Vitamin K shots
  • Please delay heel-prick testing until we are in recovery
  • No formula/supplementation/bottle feeding without our consent please.
  • (Adam’s addendum: We would like “Eye of the Tiger” playing as the baby is brought into the world. Please hold the baby aloft like Simba in the Lion King for the duration of the song.)
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Showered

      

What an incredible weekend. I’m still reeling, trying to find a some time to process the events of the last few days, its been such a happy whirlwind.

I knew that my dad was driving out to finish working on the baby cradle, but when he stopped by my work when he got into town, he brought a stowaway with him – my little sister Lizzie!

I was SO HAPPY to see her! She lives a province away and  I wasn’t expecting her to be able to make it – so much has happened since I last saw her and it was amazing to see her and hug her and simply have her here.

(Also amazing? Her cooking. The cooking gene skipped me but seemed to double up on Lizzie, and we’ve been reaping the benefits of her culinary talents all weekend. Adam tried to hire her as a personal chef but she’s waaaay out of our price range.)

That was one piece of the amazingness. The other was two MORE sister surprises! Adam snuck down to the city on Saturday night and picked up my two youngest sisters so they could spend the night with us rather than just coming up for a few hours during the day on Sunday.

This was a stroke of absolute genius, and although I always get a bit twitchy when the anarchy descends en masse, it is always so much fun to have them take over our house. (Although all of this visiting is making me realize that we really need a bigger place – preferably one that can house all of them at once so they never have to leave.)

        

This is what it looked like for most of Saturday night and much of Sunday – wall to wall clothing, a giant blow-up bed bed taking up my living room and 3 out of 4 sisters playing strip poker (whaaa?) with Adam into the wee hours.

      

(Fortunately my sisters wear lots of layers and jewelry. Also fortunately, Adam started winning again shortly after he lost a few hands and his shirt[s].)

And then Sunday, SUNDAY! Sunday a wonderful friend named Saren (Hi Saren!) threw me a baby shower. None of my close friends have babies yet so this was my first baby shower ever. I didn’t know quite what to expect, but I was absolutely blown away by how much time, effort and love got crammed into just four or five hours.

        

                          (Mawney, Claire, me, Lizzie, Hilary…all of the sisters!)

There’s no way to say this without being cheesy, so I’m just going to go for it on this one (I’m 9 months pregnant, if I can’t get emotional now, when can I?): Sitting in that room full of people who had taken time out of their weekends to come to this party – the majority of them traveling huge distances to get there (including my mom and my friend Celene who came over from the Island, plus Adam’s family who made an 8 hour round trip just for the baby shower!) – it was overwhelming.

      

(Adam, me, our nephew, Adam’s dad, Scott,  & mom, Cathy, his older sister Christine, and our niece)

I just couldn’t believe that so many people put in so much time and effort to make such a special day for us- all of it to celebrate our little family. I kept reflecting on how incredibly lucky this baby is – it’s not even here yet, but it’s already so welcomed, and so loved. It was a lot to take in.

And then, just as quickly as they came, everyone left. I woke up early this morning to see off our last guests (Lizzie and my dad), and now my house feels huge and empty, if a bit disheveled.

I thought I had an IV this morning so I got all dressed and packed a bag with snacks and books and thank you notes to complete over the course of the 5 hour drip, only to discover that it’s not until tomorrow, so now I just sitting here in the middle of this too-quiet house, thinking, thinking.

(I seriously wish my brain had an off switch sometimes.)

How did we get so lucky?

      

Saren even made a beer cake for Adam! I think this was his favorite part. At least until this happened:

      

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24 Weeks

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Happy Six-month anniversary, Demon Baby!

Yesterday morning we exchanged gifts, the baby and I.

I gave it a delicious breakfast of Greek yogurt and a simple bowl of fresh strawberries and blueberries, and well, our darling little monster is apparently not aware of proper anniversary etiquette because it re-gifted that shit right back to me an hour later.

“NO RETURNS!” I felt like shouting as I crouched over the toilet bowl, vomiting my little heart out. I can only conclude that this was some sort of power move, a bold strategy designed to remind us just who, exactly, is in charge around here. 

Duly noted Demon, please rest assured your authority will not be questioned again. In exchange can we make yesterday morning a one-time thing, because I quite enjoy eating and would like to continue doing so please and thank you.

24 weeks is also known as six months, and six months is also known as shit getting REAL son. There is so undeniably a person in me. It’s amazing, and alarming, and amazing. (And alarming!).

Yesterday morning (the official start of 24 weeks) I came into work and gave Adam a hug and told him our lovechild was currently 6 months old.

“Yeah I was just reading that in your pregnancy newsletter” he exclaimed in an alarmingly high voice, and then he started laughing. I stood watching him as his face changed colour and the laughter segued into hysterical hyperventilating gasps for air until finally he sat down and looked at me, took a deep breath and said “Oh god.”

Yes. Oh god. That pretty much sums it up.

I think we are both sort of terrified about what lies ahead, and previously it’s been easy to focus on the birth as the end date, the finish line. We’ve poured our energy into that one day, researching and speculating and preparing, but somehow over the past week it has become abundantly clear that that day, whenever it comes and whatever form it takes, is not in fact the finish line. That day is the beginning.

The beginning of someone’s life, OUR someone. The beginning of our existence as a family of three four (sorry Gus) and the beginning of an entirely new chapter in our lives- the chapter With Kids.

That, my friends, is terrifying.

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This awareness, combined with my size and the seemingly non-stop activity of our little one has made this whole “I am growing a small human being inside of me” thing impossible to ignore, and Adam has responded with a sort of tenderness that I have simply never seen before.

He’ll look at me sitting on the edge of our bed, doing my nightly belly oil massage and remark with wonder, “Wow. You’re getting really big.” And it’s less a comment on my physical size, than a frantic sort of plea, a question that he doesn’t know how to answer – “How is this happening to you?!”.

We lay in bed last night feeling the baby kick and no matter how many times he feels it, he never fails to be startled by each one. I don’t think he quite realizes that I feel this all day, every day. To me it’s so normal now to feel twitching and bumping, but each one still takes him by surprise.

After a particularly strong boot to my side he pulled his hand away and looked at me, “That can’t feel good on your insides.” he said with alarm. I shrugged, and he lowered his face so he could speak directly into my bellybutton, “Hey baby! Stop kicking your mama so she can get some sleep!”

This sort of reverence and concern is new to me . Adam doesn’t cut me a lot of slack (and that’s a good thing). He doesn’t tolerate whining and hates malingerers and in previous months whenever I tried to milk this pregnancy thing to try and avoid unpleasant tasks he would tease me, “You’re not that pregnant yet!” But last week he saw me lifting the vacuum cleaner up the stairs and ran to help, “You shouldn’t be lifting that!” he chided gently, as he took it from my hands.

Internets, I AM that pregnant! How delightful!

On Saturday we leave to spend ten blissful days on his family’s floating cabin. Ten days of rest and respite and solitude. Ten days to celebrate our ten years together, ten days to relish the company of us as a couple, to say goodbye to our Pre-Child selves.

To say that we are looking forward to it is a gross understatement. Both of us are burnt out at work, ready for a change, ready to sleep when we’re tired and wake when we’re rested. I’m ready to ditch clothing – perhaps for the duration of the trip – these tight waistbands and shirts that ride up. I’m ready to swim and sit in the sun and just BE for a change, instead of all of this “doing” we’re doing.

So. Six months. Half a year. Four months left.

Happy Anniversary baby.

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22 Weeks

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Five and a half months. The weeks are flying and crawling by, all at the same time. I can’t wait (but I CAN wait) but I can’t! I want to see this little person, meet them, see whose eyes she got, whose sense of humour he has. But I’m not ready to give up the sleep, the hours of yoga. I’m not quite ready to dive into that ginormous bucket of uncertainty that is our lives come October 2012.

I’ll be done work sometime between Mid-September to Mid-October, Adam is tying things up with his business and will be done either late August or late September (do you see, already the uncertainty? Do you hear my teeth clenching?) and without work tying us to this town we’re thinking about moving sometime after Christmas.

So. Want to do some quick math? Me not working, plus newborn demon baby, plus Adam at some as yet unknown job, plus a (maybe?) move, plus a (maybe?) house purchase, plus plus plus plus EQUALS CRAZY!

I’m trying not to think about it. I have willed myself into a blissful state of denial and I sit here and rub my belly like a magic lamp and say my positivity mantras (oh what? You didn’t know I have mantras? I HAVE mantras) and I’m just…hoping everything will work out.

When my baby sister Mawney was in Thailand she went to a Buddhist temple and they were having some sort of special ceremony that day ( I think?) involving string. She asked one of the monks to bless a piece of the string and made it into a bracelet for me and I’ve worn it ever since she got back. It’s supposed to bring good fortune and I think that so far, it has.

Despite it’s small lumps and bumps, this pregnancy has gone so much better than I ever thought possible. I had no idea what being pregnant would do to my kidney condition, and although I’m tired, really tired, and my levels are low and don’t seem to be getting higher anytime soon, besides all of that I have been buoyed by this swelling sense of anticipation and happiness. I’m very grateful for that.

I now weigh 121 pounds (BOOYAH!), which is 11 up from where I started (or 6 up from my pre-pregnancy weight, but I ‘ve decided to count from my my lowest morning sickness weight because really, I have gained that weight back. So. 11lbs it is!) and I am eating everything lately. Life right now is just a non-stop eating party where I am running behind my appetite trying to shove something healthy in there instead of the gummy candies that are suddenly consuming my thoughts.

Breakfasts have become huge in our house, especially on weekends when we both wake up together, and this is weird as I’ve never been a breakfast person, I always skipped eating in the mornings, could never stomach much more than a smoothie (which I had been trying to eat every morning for the past year or so because I know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day don’t email me, mom!) but now I wake up starving with our little pumpkin kicking at my sides demanding sustenance.

I spend ten or fifteen minutes just lying in bed thinking about what I’m going to eat, it’s quite the production. Adam, obviously, is loving it. Especially since for the past three Sundays he has been served breakfast in bed, usually a huge traditional eggs, bacon, toast OJ affair but one time an epic breakfast sandwich with spinach and sliced peppers and goat cheese and bacon and fresh fruit on the side and OHMYGOD I’m hungry just thinking about it.

 

(YES I took pictures! If I don’t take pictures of this shit, people who know me in real life will never believe it happened! “Madeleine cooking? Breakfast? When she could be sleeping?!”)

Actually it’s not just breakfast- food in general has been a good time lately. Adam has been living vicariously through my cravings as evidenced my the chicken Caesar spinach wrap I made last night. I wasn’t craving it for myself, I just wanted to make it, to see it. I wanted someone to taste it.

I must admit though, I have been entertaining thoughts about *gasp* meat. I’m a vegetarian, (you can read about why, and judge me for it here) but also I’m a strong believer that given the opportunity, your body naturally craves what it needs. So I had promised myself that when I got pregnant if I started craving meat, I would eat it. The craving part was sort of important, because as it stands the thought of eating meat just completely grosses me out – it’s dead flesh, and we’re eating it! How weird is that? It’s been almost ten years since I went to the green side and now the idea of eating meat just seems strange. But, I vowed that if that changed, if I started craving juicy steaks, I would listen to my body and go for it.

That hasn’t happened quite yet, cooked meats still reside firmly on the gross side of my brain, and yet. Last weekend I sat next to one of my teenagers as he worked his way through a bag of beef jerky and I would be a filthy liar if I said that I wasn’t drooling.

(OKAY I TRIED A PIECE. I tried a piece of beef jerky. It was awesome. I want to eat beef jerky ten times a day and bathe in it and call Lady Gaga and get her old dress and make it into beef jerky and then EAT THAT TOO.)

Adam’s dad goes hunting quite a bit and sometimes makes jerky out of deer or elk, and this, I think, is the best and safest meat to eat, so perhaps when we’re en route to their cabin in a few weeks I can see if he has any extra lying around that his favorite daughter-in-law can shamelessly devour in the span of three seconds.

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Of course, a side effect of all the gestating and the eating and the weight gain is that I. Feel. Ginormous. Huge. Adam has affectionately dubbed me “The Blobster”. I know that in the grand scheme of pregnancy I am not in fact huge, that things are only going to get bigger around here, but right now I feel like my skin is stretched to its limits. When I lay down in yoga I can feel the top of my uterus (or, to use my brother’s favorite word, my “fundus”) lying an inch or so above my bellybutton. That means that half of my torso is now devoted to the Demon baby, which leads me to wonder “What more do you want?!” I feel like by the end of this I’ll be feeling kicks in my collarbones.

Things just feel a bit squished and stretched and full and I look at myself and wonder how on earth I’m possibly going to get bigger. But I am. So I just wish myself into that sweet state of denial and rub myself with belly cream and try not to think about how far out this thing will go.

Also: it is now possible to see the baby’s kicks from the outside, but apparently they don’t translate very well onto film, so if anyone wants approximately 1,865,267 videos of my bare belly moving up and down as I breathe with absolutely nothing else happening, just let me know mmkay?

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Love you Demon Baby!

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I saw this today and couldn’t resist.