Thursday, December 27, 2007


Last Thursday, my supervisor and I had a number of meetings at different locations. After one meeting, at an office not our own, she arranged to take a conference call before we went on to our next meeting, which was at another location altogether. She asked me to bring along my lunch, and just wait for her to finish her teleconference.

During this time, I ended up meeting one of the new clinicians at this location, and we got to chatting. She saw that I was pregnant, and we talked about that a bit. She shared with me that her step-son and his wife had just had a baby, which wasn't supposed to be possible because "she wasn't even supposed to be able to have kids," she explained(?). She then told me that of all the people she knew these days having kids, they all seemed to be having boys, and pondered why this strange demographic might have occurred.


I went off on something like this.

"Well, here's one theory that might explain it. If you buy into the concept that boy sperm and girl sperm are different, you see, they say that boy sperm are faster but they die sooner; and girl sperm are hardier, but slower swimmers. So I've read that women who are actually trying to get pregnant, that is, charting their cycles and pinpointing their ovulation dates and so on, if you buy into the sperm theory, they're more likely to have boys, because these women would be having sex on the exact day of ovulation, which means the faster boy sperm are going to be the ones who make it. And think about it, a generation or two ago, women didn't "try" to get pregnant, it would just happen. Women were starting families at a much younger age. These days, we wait, we go to school, we get our careers happening, we marry later, we're 32 and 35 and even 40 years old when we get around to starting families. So therefore, it's more likely that those older women are approaching pregnancy with the sense of purpose and planning, and are doing the charting and everything, so that they can get pregnant exactly when they want to. Plus, it can be a little more difficult when you're older, which just makes it that much more important to be charting your cycle. So that could be why there are more boys born these days.

"...Aaaaaand I've probably just told you way more than you ever really wanted to know about it!"

I was kind of amused at the contrast between her idle wondering and my immediate leap into the fray with an expert opinion. Apparently, idle conversation is not one of my strong points.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Three beautiful words


Now back to decorating the Christmas tree! What lovely news!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Baby Kick Bonanza

Just ten short days after I wrote, "I think I may have felt the baby kicking", last night was a baby kick bonanza. And I loved every minute of it.

Chris wasn't home yet from his evening martial arts class, so I lay alone on my back in bed, with my hands wrapped around my tummy (I read that babies can actually feel this somehow). I talked to the baby for about half an hour, discussing the events of the day - the ultrasound where we'd seen it for the first time, the emotions felt by Daddy and me at this event, our slight frustration but-no-pressure,-baby at the fact that s/he kept his/her legs crossed over the crotch the entire time. I talked about how the baby's Auntie Sara - oh, how strange it felt to say that name, for my sister Sara isn't yet an Auntie, while I've been Auntie Laura for nearly five years! - had brought lots of wonderful hand-me-downs for the baby, and that after Christmas there would be even more preparations as we began counting down towards the birth. I told the baby how much we loved it, whomever it was, and how glad we were that the ultrasound showed everything to be just fine.

Throughout, the baby kicked and kicked and kicked, about every 5-15 seconds. Whether it was responding to the feel of my hands, the sound of my voice, or just the inactivity of my body, I don't know. But oh, it was wonderful.

I'd hoped that the kicks would be strong enough to be felt from the outside when Chris got home, but apparently not yet. Oh well, as he points out, it's hardly likely to be the last opportunity to feel a baby kick bonanza!

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Ultrasound Experience

The stereotypical thing that pregnant women say when asked about their ultrasounds is something about how amazing it was to see their baby, followed by a big BUT and something about how hard it was because they had to pee soooooo badly.

You know? I always thought they were a bunch of whiners. My bladder is incredibly co-operative, and I hardly ever get any grief from it. But pregnancy - well, as we know, pregnancy changes everything! And yes, it is important to have a full bladder during the ultrasound scan, and yes, it is pretty damn difficult! Actually, during the scan wasn't so hard, but the half an hour before hand, while I was at work waiting for Chris to pick me up? I couldn't even summon any concentration to get any work done, because my bladder was yelling at me so loud. I was totally doing the pee-pee dance with my legs under the desk.

Anyway, enough about my bladder, on to the good stuff. We arrived at the clinic and handed in my requisition. I was concerned to see that the place was packed, but having an appointment, I was the second person called after we arrived. Of course, I didn't hear the tech the first time she called me, because she called some lady named "Laura Ellis". The hell? That hasn't been my name for over a year. And yes, it has been changed on my Care Card. But anyway. I followed her into the ultrasound room, which was decorated with several posters of fetal development during pregnancy. Kind of cool. I lay down on the table and rearranged my shirt and pants as needed. She squirted warmish goo all over my belly and began to scan.

During this time, the screen was turned towards the tech, not towards me - I couldn't see anything. Nevertheless, it was not boring, because the tech and I got quite chatty. She'd recognized Lillian's(midwife) name on the requisition and told me that she'd had Lillian for her daughter's birth about 9 months earlier, which was exciting to hear. She also told me about the policies regarding Disclosure of the Sex - in some places, the tech will just tell you, but here in Nanaimo, the tech *may* be able to get a look; then takes some pictures to show the radiologist; the radiologist chooses whether to include the information in his report to my caregiver; and then my caregiver tells me. Round and round we go. Anyway, it turns out that Baby Buechler (not Ellis!) had its little legs crossed right in front of the crotch, so nothing was visible anyway. Coy little baby.

The tech told me that everything looked fine and healthy, and that the heart rate was 151, and that the dating was correct for about 20 weeks. After about 15-20 minutes, she left to go get Chris. When Chris came in, she turned the screen around so that we could see, and showed us our baby for the first time.

It was incredibly amazing.

The best part, by far, was watching Chris. He was quite misty-eyed by the end of it. I could tell that he was slightly frustrated by the physical logistics of the room - instead of tenderly holding my hand as he does when we hear the baby's heartbeat at Lillian's, he was stuck holding my ankle as my entire upper body was blocked by an ultrasound screen. He kept saying, "Wow, that is SO COOL," and other pronouncements of amazement. I think he was more emotional than I was - probably because I have looked at lots of ultrasound pictures online, so I don't think I was quite emotionally tuned in to the fact that what I was looking at wasn't just another baby - it was OUR baby!

The tech scanned the baby's head and body, showing us the limbs, the spine, the crossed legs, the face, etc. Then she took a few pictures for us and we were on our way - me back to work with goo on my belly, Chris back to work with a goofy grin on his face.

That afternoon, Chris scanned in the photos and decided to get a little creative. His mom, Karen, is a rabid hockey fan, and follows the Montreal Canadiens. Somehow, Chris managed to use Paint to edit the picture and dress the baby in a Habs jersey and helmet. The payoff for this was when he called his mom after work, put her on speaker phone, and had her check her email while we listened. She laughed uproariously - it was a total hit! He promised to send the "real" pictures afterwards, but I could tell he was so proud of making her laugh like that. He is such a great guy.

So, that is the story of our ultrasound. It isn't twins (though more than one person has asked - am I really that big?), and it's in good health, and the bummer part is that we have to keep referring to it as "it" for a while longer thanks to those crossed legs. But the important stuff - limbs, heart, spine, brain - are all in place, and we are thrilled.

Naked Finger

I went and got a facial, a manicure, and a pedicure last Friday - an early Christmas gift to myself, which I've been saving for three months in order to afford.

It was absolute heaven.

The day before the spa, I got puffy. Not terribly puffy, just enough so that my watch and charm bracelet became uncomfortable, and I thought I should take off my wedding ring. So I wore it on my necklace all weekend. This morning I am a little less puffy so I put the ring back where it belongs.

The thing is, the beautiful manicure and the sparkly nail polish I chose don't do nearly as much to increase the beauty of my hand as that simple, perfect wedding ring. I hate not wearing it, my hand just looks wrong without it.

Now I have a quandary, because if my hand is puffy enough that I shouldn't wear the ring, it's also puffy enough that I can't get it off. And if my hand is unpuffed enough that I can take the ring off, I don't want to take it off because I like having it right where it belongs.

Also, I am 20 weeks and 2 days today and I threw up at work again. Every time I think I am past that phase, it seems I really am not. The weirdest part is how 10 minutes after I throw up I am ravenously hungry!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Unexpected Bonus of Pregnancy

I have loved my husband from the first day I met him. My love is overwhelming, almost embarrassing, sometimes crippling. I love him more than I ever thought one person could love another.

And as we experience this pregnancy together, the impossible is happening. I am starting to love him even more.

He took a while to get involved in the pregnancy, perhaps because he feared loss, perhaps because it's just so abstract to men. But nowadays he is just as devoted and educated as I could hope him to be, and frequently mentions little tidbits that I didn't know (or perhaps had read and forgotten). For example, last night he told me it was a good thing I was nice and cool, because this week the baby's teeth are forming, and if I was overheated then there would be problems forming the enamel. As he spoke I vaguely recalled our midwife saying that she'd gotten the flu when pregnant, and that had resulted in her daughter's teeth being ill-formed. But the fact that he remembered that, put it into context for our pregnancy, and spoke it to me in such a knowledgeable way? My heart melted.

Then there is the sentimental side. For the past few weeks he has been insisting that he is creeped out by the thought of feeling the baby move (he's seen the Alien movies way too many times, I guess). But now that the possibility is getting closer - I've felt the baby move a couple of times - he seems to be a lot more open to the idea. In fact, he seems almost - dare I say it? - a bit jealous of the fact that I can feel something and he can't (yet)!

This is evidenced by the very nonchalant, casual way he put his hand on my belly on Sunday night as we lay in bed chatting before sleep. He lay his hand on me for a moment and was very still. "What are you doing?" I asked. "I'm listening with my hand," he said, a touch sheepish.

Oh, the love. Is there anything in the world like watching a man fall in love with his child?

Sunday, December 9, 2007

19 weeks pregnant

What’s happening with baby this week:
- Permanent teeth are forming behind milk teeth buds
- can make conscious muscle movements, such as sucking the thumb
- developing millions of motor neurons, which connect muscles to the brain
- skin is developing and transparent
- vernix caseosa is forming; this protects baby's skin from the aquatic environment of the womb
- arms and legs have reached proportionate length
- feet are one inch long (aww!)

The baby is 6 to 8 inches long and weighs about 8 ounces. Weight will increase more than 15 times between now and birth.

Random Food Item to describe baby’s size: a large heirloom tomato

Symptoms to expect:
- itchy skin
- stretch marks
- backache
- blotchy skin (pregnancy mask)
- leg cramps
- swelling of feet or ankles

Symptoms I’m having:
- belly has definitely "popped"! I love it. It's also easy for me (or others) to feel the outline of the uterus, which has grown a lot in the last few weeks!
- sore hips continue
- occasional low backache
- feeling something that might be baby movements! :-D

Things I’m looking forward to: Things are pretty damn good right now, actually, and I'm really enjoying where I'm at. I don't mind friends touching or rubbing my belly, in fact I'm having fun showing it off! I'm excited about seeing my family's reaction when they see me in a week.

For evidence of my belly's growth, check my latest Flikr pic!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Maybe Baby?

I *might* have felt the baby moving/kicking last night at pre-natal yoga. Not sure. I was lying on my back with my knees pulled into my chest, rocking from side to side, and there was a definite 'reaction' from my insides. Not a flutter or a bubble or a butterfly or popcorn - I would best describe it as a "splort".

I guess I'd have to feel it about 20 more times before I could definitively say it's the baby (or not the baby), but in the meantime it sure is nice to feel something.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

So much on my mind today.

A friend of mine who is about 8-9 weeks pregnant bled very dramatically and suddenly for about half an hour last night. Then, all of a sudden, the bleeding stopped and the remainder of the night was uneventful. She is booked for an ultrasound at noon to find out what's going on.

I am completely preoccupied with this today. I can't tear my thoughts too firmly away from her (and her husband; we too often forget that men go through this too). I am utterly shocked at how deeply I am responding to this. It's like going through it all again.

I wouldn't wish the pain and emptiness of miscarriage on anyone. I pray desperately that she will be alright.


On a much more selfish note, I'm nearly 19 weeks pregnant and have two surprising things - surprising to me, at any rate - to report. Firstly, I am still throwing up about once a week (even with the anti-nausea medication). This week's exciting event was on Tuesday. It usually hits between 9 and 9:30am, and though my breakfast is digested by that time my body absolutely positively needs to kneel by the toilet and heave for a few minutes before resetting and feeling okay again. By that time my eyes are watering desperately and I feel a little shaky, but it passes fairly quickly. I'm glad I don't wear makeup so I don't have to fuss around with mascara after that. It's become a very normalized part of my routine: I feel the nausea coming on, grab my water bottle and head to the (work) bathroom, turning on the fan to mask at least a bit of the noise. Heave, heave, heave, then tidy myself up, rinse out my mouth, and back to work. It's amazing the things we can get used to.

The second surprising thing is that I haven't felt baby move yet. I've heard/read these movements describes as flutters, bubbles, popcorn, butterflies, waves, or even spasms. I haven't felt anything, dammit! I try to be alert and conscious of anything I feel, but there isn't anything I could possibly identify as movement. I'm not anxious or worried about this, but I am kind of frustrated with myself because I am really excited to feel that movement and connect with the baby but I am not paying the right kind of attention, or something. Patience, patience.


What a social lubricant pregnancy can be! I went to a multi-branch staff luncheon yesterday where I don't know many of the people (and many of them sort of resent me because I am somewhat of an auditor to their paperwork, which they consider to be a pain in the ass). I was a bit nervous about it but needn't have worried, everyone was in a pleasant holiday mood and when they saw/heard that I was pregnant they were bursting with congratulations, asking how I was feeling, telling me about their own experiences, etc. It's funny how pregnancy as a concept can so drastically change how you relate to a person. For example, I blogged here about Tricia, a friend of Chris's who is one week behind us in her pregnancy. Prior to us both being pregnant, Tricia and I have likely spoken to each other 3 or 4 times in the 3 years I have lived in Nanaimo, and all of those have been because of running into each other at parties or bumping into one another at the mall - not because we ever sought out each other's company. But now that we are sharing this experience, we are going to pre-natal yoga together, will likely try to attend the same pre-natal classes at the health unit, are swapping clothes and books, and talking fairly intimately about what we're experiencing and how we're dealing with it. We've become instant friends, at least on that one common area we share.

Similarly, my boss Norm and I recently took a training course together which happened to take place at the hospital. I asked him if his daughter, who is now 6 years old, was born at that hospital. He responded that she was, and started telling me all about that experience and his wife's difficulty with breastfeeding which was made worse by the nurses' unwillingness to co-operate and allow her to nurse on demand. I was very interested in the story, naturally, but later it surprised me that he would share such intimate details with me. I mean, ultimately he was talking about very private things, and we have a professional relationship only. So it was surprising, but at the same time pregnancy (and, I think, parenthood) tends to bring that out in people.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Dear Gestating Baby: 18 weeks

Dear Gestating Baby,

Wow, 18 weeks already. That means you have been alive for 16 weeks, or four months. According to the experts, you are now between 6 and 8 inches long, which just blows my mind. That’s as big as a Subway sandwich! And you weigh about 6 ounces, which is about as much as a small can of soup.

I’m going to change the subject now, because that line of thought is making me hungry. Mind you, just about everything does, nowadays. I try to eat every 2-3 hours but it often feels like I get hungry again about 20 minutes after I finish eating. And mostly what I want is chocolate and other sweet things. If there’s any truth to the old wives’ tale that mothers of girls crave sweets and mothers of boys crave salty foods, I could make a case for there being two or three of you in there, all female and all begging madly for chocolate.

So, according to all the websites I read your ears and hearing are well-developed enough now to hear my heartbeat and the sounds of my digestive system, and any day now you’ll be able to hear sounds outside the womb as well. You might hear a lot of Christmas music, if you tune in over the next few weeks. It’s my favourite time of year, and I bet it will become one of yours too. You’re already going to be getting some presents this year from your eager grandparents, even though you’re not even here to unwrap them yet! You might also hear your dad and I talking to you, as we try to do a couple of times a week. The time is coming soon when you’ll be kicking in response to the sound of our voices, which is pretty exciting. I can’t wait to feel that evidence that you are there, and to cherish that connection with you.

In just a couple of weeks, we are going to go get an ultrasound which will allow us our very first glimpse of you. I hope you are in a co-operative mood and allow us to see whether you’re a boy or a girl, but more than that I hope the ultrasound will show us that you’re a happy, healthy baby with all the parts in the right places. Maybe you could give us a thumbs-up to let us know all is well? We’d appreciate it.

The past few weeks have been pretty fun for me, as I am really starting to look pregnant and many people around me are commenting, complimenting, and congratulating. I try to glow blissfully in response. Between your auntie Sara and your auntie Sue, I have a whole lot of maternity clothes to get me through the next 22 weeks (and beyond).

Speaking of your auntie Sue (even though she’s not really your auntie), she has a daughter who’s about a year older than you, so you’ll always have someone to play with. We get to take care of her once in a while, and she is having quite an effect on your dad. He told me yesterday that he is feeling much more excited and confident about fatherhood, and that he is even starting to get impatient to meet you, and hold you, and play with you. I know that the next five months will fly by, though, so you just stay in there and keep on growing until we’re ready for you next Spring.



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