Wednesday, December 29, 2010

27 weeks

Nine months ago I delivered Olivia at 27 weeks, which is where I'm at this week.  It's hard to believe the time has passed so quickly, both since we lost Olivia and also the progress I've made in this pregnancy.  The baby is growing fast, and so is my belly.  At my doctor's appointment last week they said I've gained 12 pounds, which was a bit disturbing but the nurse assured me that most weight spikes happen between 20-30 weeks.

In just 13 weeks our baby will be with us.  In some ways it feels like an eternity, while at the same time the thought of this actually happening is a bit scary!  Will it really happen for us this time?

I have about 2 months of work yet, and we're about halfway through the process of hiring a contract replacement for me.  It's all a bit surreal.  While I want to hire someone who's good and can hold things afloat while I'm off, I'm also conscious of hiring someone TOO good.  Is that selfish?

As I write this post, the baby is kicking my arm, which is resting against my belly.  While this pregnancy is very similar, in other ways it's very different.  This baby feels stronger, perhaps because it is.  I'm also feeling much more physically drained than I was at this point with Olivia.  It gives me reassurance that everything is progressing normally with this pregnancy, and that I shouldn't worry.

But really, until this baby is bundled in my arms, I won't be able to believe for certain that our dream of becoming a family will come true.  And the countdown begins...

Monday, December 27, 2010

Stroller decision

After MUCH research and debate, we decided on the UPPAbaby Vista stroller in black.  I found a great deal at the Baby Land store in Vaughan - $649 on sale from $799 - and that was the clincher!  I love the idea of the bassinet and that I can use it in the house by purchasing a Jolly Jumper bassinet stand for $69.  Not only will we save money (I was looking at a Carter's bassinet for $169), but it means less gear to store and it gives us a portable sleeping option when we're traveling early on.

One big decision down, now to choose a car seat and nursery furniture!  We're off to the Baby Cribs store in Mississauga tomorrow to check out the boxing week deals.  Wish us luck!

Blogging gig for 1st time moms planning to breastfeed

I came across this opportunity on Twitter last week and thought I would share in case any of you are interested in participating.  Full details can be found here:

Hiring 1st time expectant moms planning to breastfeed to write for Bravado Designs blog

by Danielle Tropea Friedland on Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at 1:39pm

In 2004, I created the Celebrity Baby Blog, which I sold to in 2008. Now I'm the editor of a breastfeeding blog owned by nursing bra company Bravado Designs and looking to hire 4 first time moms who are planning to breastfeed to write about their journey. You can take a look at the blog as it is now:

  • Ideally you should be due with your first child February or March.
  • You don't need to be a professional writer but you do need to write well.
  • You don't need to have your own blog or twitter following but it helps if you do.
  • This should be your first child OR the first child you are breastfeeding. For example: you did not attempt to breastfeed your other children or you tried and it didn't work out for whatever reason but are planning to breastfeed the baby you are pregnant with.
  • You do not need to be gung ho about breastfeeding.
  • If you are expecting to give breastfeeding a shot and see how it goes, I want to hear from you.
  • If you're nervous about breastfeeding, I want to hear from you.
  • If you plan to breastfeed to save money, I want to hear from you.
  • If your partner is apprehensive about your breastfeeding, I want to hear from you.
  • I'm also looking for moms of color so please mention if you are one.
  • I'd like at least one mom who was not breastfed so please mention if you weren't.
  • You should live in the US or Canada.
 I'm also looking to hire one DAD whose wife will be breastfeeding their first child. He doesn't need to be the most breastfeeding knowledgable or supportive fellow but needs to write honestly about his feelings and his lady needs to be ok with him writing it.

It pays $50 per post for four 300-400 word posts a month plus you get 3 free Bravado nursing bras and a tank. The time commitment is about 6-9-12 months, depending on how the blog is growing, but count on approximately 6 months.

If you're interested, please email me at and put BRAVADO in the subject line. Tell me a little about yourself and what you do professionally, if you or your partner were breastfed, if you plan to stay home or  return to a previous job, if you have a local support network (like your parents) and please mention if you do have writing experience (even if it was your high school newspaper). If you are planning to return to work outside of your home, tell me a little about your job (what you do, your hours), your employer (supportive or antagonistic or clueless, etc.), your workplace environment (private office, cubicle, etc.), where you'll pump, etc.? If you have a blog or twitter feed, please include that info.

And please forward this to any friends who are in their 3rd trimester that you have!

Danielle Friedland

Friday, December 17, 2010

The not so pretty side of pregnancy

Last week my mom pointed out that I've been pregnant since October 2009 - 14 months! Sure I had three months "off" after I gave birth to Olivia, but she's right! My body doesn't really know how to be anything BUT pregnant! I looked in my closet and 90% of the clothes are maternity. I'm not even sure if I have "normal" clothes anymore!

Regardless, I am happy, feeling good (the "sickness" is finally letting go) and excited about the arrival of our little one in a few months.

In recent months, however, I've really started to discover the "not so pretty" side of pregnancy that no one really warns you about. Sure, the books make brief reference, but you really don't know what to expect until it happens. Here's a few examples:

What bikini line?

As any pregnant woman can attest, normal grooming habits are thrown by the wayside by about month 5. Firstly, you can't see anything past your belly, so who knows what it looks like "down there". Secondly, shaving your legs gets almost impossible the bigger you get. I've tried it standing up and sitting in the tub, and while the former is easier, I have to bend so far over to reach that I end up with a face full of shower water. Before we went to Florida, I decided to get a bikini wax (of which I've only had two in my life). Seemed like a good idea until I was lying on the table at the mercy of the esthetician. It hurt like hell!!! But ultimately I was happy because it was one less thing to worry about during our trip. Will I do it again? All I can say, is "welcome to the jungle baby!".

Clench and cough (or squeeze and sneeze)

You hear a lot about the importance of Kegel exercises during pregnancy, and don't take them seriously till its too late. Because of the baby's position (right on top of my bladder), every time I cough hard or sneeze, I pee! Its gotten so bad that I'm wearing pads to keep my pants dry. It may sound funny, and maybe it was at first, but now it's downright infuriating! I feel like an 80 year old woman who needs Depends! Not fun...

Oh my aching...heart

Those of you who haven't experienced pregnancy heartburn, just you wait! It started for me in month 4. At first I had no idea what it was. It felt like pressure in my upper chest, which eventually turned into painful burning. One day, out of desperation, I decided to try a Tums....and it disappeared! Take my advice and buy a big bottle (and travel packs for your purse). The trigger is usually spicy food, but some days it's everything I eat. So I keep my trusty Tums handy and as soon as I feel the "pressure" starting, I take one to get ahead of it. I recommend the "smooth-eez", they're tasty and have extra calcium!


Everyone has heard about the infamous "swelling" that happens during pregnancy: hands, face, feet (I miss my heels!) but there's one spot NOBODY warns you about. This is the most recent (and probably the most embarrassing) development. Without graphic details, everything "down there" is swollen and achy (and not pleasant, despite how the books talk about it). I'm going to ask the doctor on Monday and will hopefully get a solution.

Despite all of this (and really, its not as bad as it sounds), I love being pregnant. Especially because I know it's all for a very good cause. I just wish men could get a small dose of what we have the "privilege" of enduring!  What surprises have you come across during your pregnancy?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Buried under a pile of tissues

I am sick.  And not just sniffles sick, full-blown ill.  On Monday I was suffering from major back pain so I went to have a massage to work out the kinks.  To my dismay, the massage therapist was coughing throughout the session and I could feel her breathing her germs on me as I laid on my back.

On Tuesday (when I was officially 24 weeks along) I started to feel unwell, I was tired, my throat was scratchy and I knew something was coming.  That's when it hit me.  I woke up several times in the night gasping for air, my chest was totally congested and I couldn't breathe.  It was pretty scary and I barely slept.  At 3am I got up and made a chamomile tea and watched the holiday Glee episode because I felt so rotten when I was lying down.

I went to a walk-in clinic on Wednesday morning and the doctor diagnosed me with bronchitis, and possibly strep throat.  Thankfully they were able to prescribe me antibiotics and a steroid puffer to help with my breathing.  Now it's one day later and, while my chest is a little clearer (despite waking up every hour last night due to coughing and chest congestion), my nose is running like a faucet!  I'm also suffering from wicked headaches (thank goodness for Tylenol Extra Strength Rapid Release gelcaps!).

And to top it all off, because of baby's position, I pee everytime I cough or sneeze!  So I either have to clench my legs in preparation, or keep changing my pajama bottoms.

Being pregnant and sick TRULY SUCKS!  But you'd never know it by the way baby keeps kicking away (and probably wondering why I'm making so much noise!).

Here's hoping I'll feel better tomorrow.  Until then, I'm off to devour yet another Riccola cough drop and sleep off this sickness!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

23 weeks!

I feel like I've fallen off the planet for the past week.  Work has been super busy.  But Baby is growing quickly (as you can see from the photo below)!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Latest ultrasound photo - baby @ 20 weeks

This is a few weeks behind, but I kept forgetting to scan it!  Here's a photo from my 20 week ultrasound.  Baby is perfect, my placenta has completely pulled away (no more risk of previa) and you can even see baby waving hello!

Comforting words for parents experiencing a loss

I saw this in a post on In Memory of Jacob and wanted to share it.  When we lost Olivia, the hospital gave us a lovely package: a white fabric "envelope" with resources inside, a certificate with her name/DOB/weight/length, and pictures of her.  While I've tucked it away somewhere safe, I pull it out ever so often.

This letter was included in a hospital packet for parents experiencing a loss.  I wish we had received something like this (in addition to the traditional "grief" literature):

Dear Mommy and Daddy,

I know this is a rough time for you so I will be as gentle as I can be. First of all, thank you for so many tears, particularly those shared with another that you love. They are a gift to me, a precious tribute to your investment in us. As you do your mourning, do it at your pace only. Don't let anybody suggest that you do your grief work at someone else's timetable.

Do whatever it takes to face directly the reality of what has happened, even though you may need to pause frequently and yearn for my return. Do this with courage and my blessings. Know that sometimes inertia is the only movement possible. Give your best to keeping a balance between remembering me and renewing your commitments to life.

It's okay with me if you go through minutes, hours and even days not thinking of me. I know that you'll never forget. Losing me and grabbing hold of a new meaning in your life is a delicate art. I'm not sure if one comes before the other or not, maybe it's a combination.

Be with people who accept you as you are. Mention my name out loud and if they don't make hasty retreat, they're probably excellent candidates for friendship.

If, by a remote possiblilty, you think that there is anything you could have done for me and didn't, I forgive you. Resentment does not abide here, only love.

You know how people sometimes ask you how many children you have? Well, I am still yours and you are still my mother. Always acknowledge that with tenderness, unless to do so would fall on insensitive ears or would be painful to you.

I know how you feel inside. Read, even though your tears anoint the pages. In Henri Nowens' book "Out of Solitude" he writes, "the friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair and confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not healing, and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares."

I want you to know that I am okay and that I have sent you messages to ease your pain. They come in the form of flowers that bloom out of season, birds singing, voices and visions and sometimes through your friends and even strangers who volunteer as angels.

Stay open but don't expect the overly dramatic. You will get what you need and it may be simple as an internal feeling of peace. You are not crazy, you have been comforted.

Please seek out people bereaved longer than you. They are tellers of truth, and if they have done their grief work, they are an inspiration and a beacon of hope for you.

There are still funny things happening in our world. It delights me to no end to hear your spontaneous laughter.

Mommy and Daddy, I will always be in your heart. Today I will light a candle for you. When you light your candle for me their light will shine above the darkness.

Your Baby
Author unknown

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Too many options - advice needed!

For the past year I’ve been studying strollers in shopping malls and baby stores.  There’s a seemingly endless variety of models, colours and accessories.  So much so that it’s an overwhelming decision!

I've always had my eye on the Bugaboo, but I really can't justify the $1500 spend on a stroller (plus any accessories we would need).  I've looked at everything from Peg to Graco to Quinny and, most recently (because of a very convincing salesperson at the SnuggleBugz Milton store) the UppaBaby.  There's so many options it's mind boggling!

In recent months I’ve narrowed my choices to the Peg Perego Uno and the UppaBaby Vista strollers.  Here’s a bit more about each one from the Peg and UppaBaby websites:

Uno's reversible handle allows you to quickly and easily convert it from stroller to carriage, so baby can face you or face the world. Peg Perego's Uno is one incredible carriage and stroller. For bonding time with baby, the Uno can quickly and easily convert to face you in carriage mode by flipping the handle, lifting the footrest and attaching the leg cover.  The same is true in stroller mode, too, or you can flip the handle in the opposite direction and let your child explore the world ahead.  Smooth Zero Radius Turning in carriage mode allows effortless turning in tight spaces. Our Primo Viaggio SIP car seat (sold separately) can be attached directly to the stroller's retractable anchors. Its Travel System–compatibility makes the Uno number one for smart and stylish parents.

Uno Features:
  • Reversible handlebar has variable height adjustments and a detachable cup holder.
  • Travel System compatible. Our Primo Viaggio SIP car seat (sold separately) attaches easily.
  • Smooth Zero Radius Turning in rear–facing mode for effortless turning in tight spaces.
  • Large, handy storage basket.
  • Hood converts to a sun canopy with two–way zipper.
  • Includes a detachable zippered leg cover.
  • Tray with drink holder attaches easily to front bar.

From busy city streets to winding country roads; from an afternoon feeding the ducks in the park to retail therapy - the VISTA takes your child on the road in style. Designed to grow with your child, the VISTA is the ideal strolling solution from birth through the toddler years. It adapts easily to your growing family with solutions for a big brother or sister. There’s a lot for your little one to see – get out there and get strolling!

Vista Features:
  • Easy one-step fold—with or without the seat attached
  • Reversible seat and 4-position seat angle adjustment including new upright position
  • Push-on, Push-off easy to activate brake system
  • Welded and formed aircraft aluminum alloy frame
  • Includes both bassinet and seat—completely interchangeable and requires no fabric swapping
  • Bassinets fully lined with organic soybean fiber and cotton
  • Bassinet Pop-out ventilated SPF 50+ sun shade – an industry first
  • Pop-out SPF 50 canopy extension with 30% more sun coverage
  • One button telescopic handle-height adjustment
  • Added rubber bumpers to protect the stroller handlebar in standing position
  • Smooth rolling 'no-flat' foam and rubber wheels
  • 4-wheel shock absorbing suspension
  • Elevated seat/bassinet height brings you closer to your child
  • Removable bumper bar cover
  • Floating arch "no kick" rear axle
  • Red/green successful attachment indicators
  • Convenient zip-in weather shield and mesh bug shield included
  • Removable and machine washable fabric
  • Full-size easy-access basket and convenient cell phone pocket
  • Bassinet: Suitable from birth to 6 months Toddler Seat: Suitable from 3 months to 50 pounds.
I put this chart together (yes, I'm a total type A personality) to weigh the options:

Other Info
Peg Perego Uno
·         Price: $599 Cdn
·         Handy kids tray
·         Switch from forward to rear-facing without disrupting baby (handle easily flips)
·         No extra bassinet required – seat folds into a bassinet shape
·         Good-sized storage basket
·         No car seat adapter required

·         Limited accessories available
·         Not expandable for a second child – so a double stroller may be needed later on ($)
·         19.6 pounds
·         Available in 4 colours: grey/black plaid, orange/dark grey, brown/silver and red/cream 

(I like the brown!)
UppaBaby Vista
·         Separate bassinet eliminates need (when stand is purchased) for a home bassinet
·         Expandable for a second child with the RumbleSeat or PiggyBack (skateboard)
·         Super comfortable handle with height adjustments
·         High-quality material
·         Good-sized storage basket
·         Tons of accessories available

·         Price: $799 Cdn
·         Missing kids tray – means extra accessories required ($)
·         Switch from forward to rear facing requires the seat to be removed and flipped
·         Car seat adapter required ($)
·         Frame + Seat: 25.45 pounds, Frame Only: 18.6 pounds
·         Standard model available in 5 colours: red, sage green, silver, black, orange
·         Bassinet stand and hamper insert available

(I like the black!)

I’m definitely leaning towards the UppaBaby.  I love the versatility and expandability and from what I’ve heard from my friend T, it’s an amazing stroller!

What type of stroller do you have?  Do you love it?  Why or why not?

Update: after I wrote this post, I came across a great stroller buying guide from Vancouvermom.caClick here to sign up for their newsletter and receive a copy!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Pregnancy nutritional supplements – wading through the options

A year before I became pregnant with Olivia, I started taking prenatal vitamins.  The main reason was because I was on seizure medication for about 20+ years (I've been seizure free for 20), and off the meds for three, but my doctor counseled me to bump up my folic acid intake to counteract any possible medication that was still in my system (my medicine was known to cause birth defects).  She also suggested it was a good idea to be taking prenatal vitamins well before we started trying (and before I went off the pill) in case we got pregnant sooner than planned.

I tried several varieties, including Materna (which were the size of horse pills!) and these lovely small pink pills (for the life of me I can’t remember the brand, they were discontinued shortly after I started buying them).  I ended up finding a store brand at Costco for less than $10 a bottle, and I compared them with Materna and they had the exact same profile.

After losing Olivia, my OB specialist recommended I start using PregVit Folic 5, which had 5 mg of folic acid instead of the usual 1mg.  They recommended this for all women who lost a baby due to abnormalities as the increased folic acid would help fend off future occurrences.  Even though Olivia’s genetic testing results came out negative (amniotic bands aren’t genetic), we went ahead and filled the prescription as we didn’t think it was possible to have too much of a good thing like folic acid!

Here’s the official product writeup from the company website:

Easy to swallow, PregVit folic 5 and PregVit are formulated to minimize the troublesome side effects associated with other multivitamin therapies.

In addition, to meet the needs of thousands of women with celiac disease or with lactose intolerance, Duchesnay has announced that PregVit folic 5 and PregVit do not contain gliadin-gluten, lactose or tartrazine.

PregVit folic 5 and PregVit were developed according to rigorous standards and evidence-based data in order to reduce the iron-related maternal side effects and to optimize the absorption of essential nutrients needed during pregnancy and breastfeeding, namely iron, calcium and folic acid. To eliminate the negative action that calcium exerts on iron when combined in the same tablet, PregVit folic 5 and PregVit provide iron and calcium into two different tablets to be taken at different times of the day, as recommended in Health Canada’s National Guidelines. It results in optimal iron absorption with a marked reduction in troublesome side effects such as constipation and gastrointestinal disturbances.

PregVit folic 5 and PregVit are provided on prescription only.

I have to say, I LOVE these vitamins.  You take two per day and they aren’t much larger than a typical painkiller like Aleve or Tylenol.  My only challenge was the dosage instructions: I was supposed to take 1 pill 1 hour before I ate in the morning (which is impossible when you’re pregnant because the first thing you do when you get out of bed is eat) and one before bed.  I mentioned this to my OB and she suggested reversing the dosage and taking the night pill in the morning and the morning pill before bed, as it would have the same absorption effects.  It worked like a charm!

I will admit, these are not cheap!  Even with my drug plan (which covers 90% of prescriptions), I still had to pay $35 for three boxes (3 months worth).  So if you don’t have a drug plan, you should try to hit up your doctor for samples (mine gave me a few boxes to try them out).

Now that I have the vitamins covered, I’ve been trying to improve my diet and continue exercising.  My cravings haven’t been too extreme, in fact my early Mexican and Greek cravings have faded and I’m back to a normal appetite.  I’m pleased to report that at my last doctor’s appointment (3 weeks ago), I had only gained 4 pounds (whoo hoo!).  We’ll see how I do at my appointment next week (eek!).

At the Baby Time Show yesterday I picked up a chocolate sample of the new Similac Mom meal replacement drink.  I have to admit….it’s TASTY!  They market it on their website as:

the first and only nutritional beverage for pregnant women and breastfeeding moms. Enjoy rich, great-tasting Similac Mom anytime, at home or on the go. A perfect complement to your healthy diet, it's complete balanced nutrition packed with protein, vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients.

I’m going to see if I can find it at a reasonable price at my local pharmacy or grocery store.  I love the idea of drinking something delicious and giving baby an extra boost at the same time.  Here’s the nutritionals on the drink:

I’m not a big vegetable fan (beyond peppers, carrots, peas, corn and well-cooked broccoli) so I’m looking for easy ways to add a nutritional “boost” to my diet.  Any other suggestions?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Say Cheese! Please vote for me

I'm participating in the baby bump photo contest from the Toronto Baby Time Show.  I have a chance to win a Baby Bjorn Comfort Carrier, a Baby Bjorn Travel Lite Crib and a Britax Car Seat.

Please take a minute and vote for me by clicking here:

Thanks in advance for your support! You can vote once per day until December 20th!

Please vote for me!

Successful Baby Show visit

Today I went to the Baby Time Show at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.  I went with my friend H who's expecting twins in January.  We had a great time!

At first we felt a little out of place as we were two of the few who weren't toting a baby/stroller/husband along.  But we quickly we were thankful we didn't so we could easily navigate the aisles and get as many free goodies as possible!

Here's a photo of some of the goodies I picked up (not pictured is the bag of wasted paper I plan to recycle):

I'm happy to say that I got more than my $12 admission worth of goodies!  I got several cans of formula, three playtex bottles, a pack of travel wipes and countless samples of products for both baby and me.  I also bought an UppaBaby umbrella stroller for $80 (a show special, regularly $150) and an Avent travel feeding kit with 2 bottles and a holder for $15 (a show special, regularly $50).

Now I need to dive into all these goodies and make sense of it all!  Watch for more posts as I'm going to need some advice on how to decide which products are best!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Raw emotions

I just read about a woman who's going through her third loss in one of the blogs I'm following, and it makes my heart ache.  How can it be that some people have it so easy and don't appreciate that fact, while others have to fight for that privilege?

I feel so badly for her and her husband and I know that only time will dull the pain they're going through.  The only thing that will get them through this is the hope that one day they will be successful and holding their baby in their arms.

After we lost Olivia, it was all I could think about.  Every time I was alone, thoughts of her flooded my mind and the pain hit me so hard I couldn't breathe.  One day B pointed out this song, which he explained gave him hope that things would turn around for us.  I dedicate this song to everyone who is mourning the loss of a child:

20 weeks: the halfway point!

I'm officially 20 weeks along today.  It's hard to believe that time has passed so quickly.  It's even harder to believe that it's been 8 months since we lost Olivia.  What a year!

I had my last (hopefully) ultrasound on Friday.  B was finally able to come in and thankfully we had a very nice (and super chatty) ultrasound technician.  She showed us the entire baby and explained that the head, heart, hands, feet and even the little bum were completely normal.  She was also able to show us the face and explained that the mouth and lips were properly formed and there was no cleft palate.  She also told us that my placenta has pulled away from my cervix and there's no risk of bedrest or full previa - whoo hoo!

Watching the baby on the screen was pretty surreal, especially when it looked at the camera.  Baby also kept waving at us, which was totally adorable.  B was surprised and thrilled by our little bundle.  She sent us home with a few ultrasound pictures, both with the baby's hand waving.  I haven't had a chance to scan it yet but I will post it this weekend!

So now it's downhill (medically) from here.  Now we need to focus on getting ready for this baby!  I need to take B to Babies R Us in the next few weeks to register and we need to begin crib hunting.  I've already begun to pick up baby clothes, and my mom and I added quite a bit to the collection this weekend.

My job was posted this week and we're hoping to interview candidates in December for a January start.

It's all becoming very real now!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Baby's first Disney trip (pictures)

Here's some more pictures from our Disney trip last week (and by "our" I'm referring to me and baby).  My belly is growing fast!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Labels - do they matter?

Since the release of Lily Allen's unfortunate news, there's been a debate over the use of the word "miscarriage".  According to Wikipedia, here's the terminology broken down:
  • Very early miscarriages—those that occur before the sixth week LMP (since the woman's Last Menstrual Period)—are medically termed early pregnancy loss[2] or chemical pregnancy.[3]
  • Miscarriages that occur after the sixth week LMP are medically termed clinical spontaneous abortion.[2]
  • Labour resulting in live birth before the 37th week of pregnancy is termed "premature birth", even if the infant dies shortly afterward.
  • A fetus that dies while in the uterus after about the 20–24th week of pregnancy is termed a "stillbirth"; the precise gestational age definition varies by country.
Regardless of the "label", the terms all mean the same thing:  a woman was pregnant and her baby died before it reached full term. 

I understand that some people are sensitive to different terms, and after I lost Olivia I didn't feel like the word "miscarriage" really represented what I went through.  How could someone who lost a baby at 10 weeks compare their situation to mine - losing a baby at 27 weeks that was kicking and growing and almost viable?  Over the last few months I've come to realize that the "label" doesn't matter, it's the heartbreak and grief that accompany the loss that bring affected families together.

Join the debate on the Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope Facebook page.  What do YOU think?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Even celebs aren't safe from loss

I read today that Lily Allen suffered a miscarriage over the weekend.  She was six months pregnant with a boy and due in January 2011. wrote a nice piece.

This was her second miscarriage.  My heart goes out to her, particularly because she's in the public eye and this opens her up to even more scrutiny.  I hope people will be compassionate during this very difficult time. 

This just shows that no one is safe from the pain of losing a baby.  My heart goes out to her and her partner. 

A short escape

Last Wednesday B and I headed to Orlando for a few days (work for him, play for me).  I was in DESPERATE need of a few days off and it was JUST what I needed!

We arrived on Wednesday at noon and spent the afternoon by the pool before a lovely dinner together.  Since we were up at 3am to catch our 6am flight, we had an early night!

I spent half of Thursday at the pool and the other half shopping at one of the nearby outlet malls.  Check out some of the ADORABLE outfits I got:

Friday was Disney day.  I haven't been there since I was 6 (27 years ago) so it's changed a lot from what I remember.  It was blazing hot but I was dressed in comfy clothes and shoes and was ready for the weather.  I spent the day touring the Magic Kingdom and channelled my inner child.  I even waited in line to get photos with a few characters, including Pluto, Woody (from Toy Story) and in front of the Cinderella castle.  As you can see, my baby bump is growing fast!

I also snuck in some shopping and found the CUTEST baby outfits:

After a full day on Friday, I took it easy on Saturday.  I spent half the day by the pool and the other half...wait for! :)  I found a nearby Super Target (who knew they existed?) and a mall beside it with a few good shops.  Macy's has a great selection of baby clothes and decent prices.  I also found a Pea In The Pod was it expensive!  The only nice thing was the food table they had set up for mommies:  it had pasta, drinks and cupcakes, especially for hungry mommy shoppers.  Now why don't more maternity stores treat their moms like that?

We spent all day yesterday by the pool as it was B's only day off.  The bump got some nice colour and much needed R&R after a very full few days.

I'm back to work tomorrow and feeling MUCH more invigorated for the home stretch of the year.  We're posting my job this week to find a contract replacement....eeek!  It's becoming! I'm typing this, I just felt my first baby kick from outside.  I've been feeling flutters since I was 14 weeks (I'm 19 weeks tomorrow) but the baby literally just kicked my arm.  SO COOL!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Baby's first picture

This is post a little delayed, but the last two weeks have been nuts!  Here's the photo from my 15 week ultrasound.  As you can see, baby is PERFECT!

What a relief to finally have a positive (and uneventful) ultrasound.  When I arrived, I had a sinking feeling as I realized it was the same technician that did my fateful 20 week ultrasound with Olivia.  I was asking a lot of questions and she seemed puzzled why I was back again when I had an ultrasound 2 weeks prior.  When I explained what happened with Olivia and that she was the one who did the ultrasound, she looked shocked and I could tell she felt really badly.  She showed me lots of footage of the baby and explained that the head and body looked normal and there were no amniotic bands.  Whew!!

And another piece of good news, the ultrasound tech checked my placenta and said it's only very partial previa and there's nothing to be concerned about.

FINALLY, some good news!  Now I'm looking for my 20 week ultrasound on Nov 5 so B can see everything I'm feeling (baby is kicking up a storm these days!).

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

One of those days

I'm having a rough day...heck a rough week!  My colleagues are driving me crazy, I'm overwhelmed by my workload, still fighting constant grogginess....and then people dare to call me horomonal!

God give me the strength I need to breathe before I hit "send", pause before I yell, and the willpower to not devour every sweet and salty snack within arms reach!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A nice surprise

A good friend (and former colleague) surprised me today with my first baby present of this pregnancy:  a beautiful diaper clutch and toy strap by her company, Pippalily:

The diaper clutch holds a travel wipes container and four diapers.  The toy strap hooks to a toy on one end, and a stroller on the other so baby's precious toys won't get lost when they play the "fetch" game with mom and dad.

My friend started this company a few years ago and everything is handmade in Canada.  She makes baby slings from the most BEAUTIFUL fabrics. How did she come up with the name?  It was actually her nickname from her family when she was a child!

If you haven't seen her products, I really encourage you to check out her site

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Never a dull moment

So...just when we think everything is smooth sailing, I get a call from my OB this morning.  She was calling to give us the "official" ultrasound results from last Friday.  The baby looks fine....BUT I have placenta previa.

If you don't know what that means, in simplest terms, the placenta is covering the cervix so the baby can't come out naturally.  She said it was the cause of my spotting last week.  Since I'm only 15 weeks, they're going to monitor me with the hope that as my uterus and placenta grow, it will grow upward and pull away from its current position.  If it doesn't, I'll have to have a c-section (ugh). 

So for now, I'm banned from all exercise, heavy lifting, and intercourse (happy anniversary B!) until my next appointment in a few weeks.

But I'm trying to look on the bright side, the baby is healthy and everything is fine otherwise.  This is just one more obstacle for us to cross in our journey.  I just wish for once something in my life would be normal and boring!!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

A bump in the road

The last few days have been hectic, to put it mildly.

On Thursday night I stepped out of a class at the gym to pee (a very common act these days) and found a small bit of blood. I immediately panicked (as one does) and left. I rushed to the hospital and went to emerg to get checked out. B was babysitting so I had to wait by myself for a bit. As I began to explain what was happening to the check-in nurse, I completely broke down. All the emotions from Olivia cam rushing back.

I got myself together and waited to be seen for the next hour. Since it wasn't too bad, and I wasn't cramping, they didn't see me as an urgent case. Finally B arrived, which calmed me down. Eventually they brought me into an exam room and took some blood to check the levels. Two hours later, the nurse returned to let us know everything was looking just fine. What a relief!

By that time the spotting had stopped, but the doctor said he was sending me for an ultrasound the next day, just in case.

We got home at 1230, completely exhausted. We crashed and woke up the next morning, eager to see the baby, and also pretty anxious.

The ultrasound tech was very friendly and the scan only took about 15 minutes. At the end she flipped around the screen to show me baby....and everything was PERFECT! I immediately started to cry, and she was very surprised. After explaining what happened with Olivia, she spent a few moments showing me the baby and explained that the head and body looked just fine.

What a relief!! I came out to meet B with tears in my eyes. He had a moment of fear in his face, until I explained that the baby was perfect, and the two of us hugged and cried.

So a little bump in the road meant we got an early peek at baby, and a little reassurance.

Boy this pregnancy stuff is tough! Turns out, the bleeding was from the placenta, which sometimes lifts up a little after it attaches....but nothing to worry about.

Here's hoping the next 26 weeks are uneventful!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Can you hear my heart beating?

We had a doctor's appointment this morning and I'm thrilled to report that we heard the baby's heartbeat!  It only took a few seconds for the doctor to find it on the doppler.  YAY!  And more good news, I only gained ONE pound since my last appointment (just over 2 weeks).  I'm so happy and have finally recovered from the exhaustion of this weekend. 

Now to get through our 15 week ultrasound in 2 weeks without incident!

Friday, September 24, 2010

13 weeks - hooray for second trimester!

I'm officially through my first trimester and slowly feeling less lethargic - thank goodness!  Working through an eternal fog has been difficult, and pretty frustrating too!  I can't even get through an evening TV show with B without dozing off.  He's been fantastic though, despite my eternal sleepiness and mood swings and is getting more excited as my belly grows.

So here's week 13 at a glance (according to The Bump):

Baby's now the size of a peach! Your fetus is forming teeth and vocal cords...savor this, their nonfunctional phase. Baby is approaching normal proportions, with his head now only one third the size of his body. And intestines are in the process of moving from the umbilical cord to baby's tummy -- much more convenient.

Welcome to the blissful second trimester, widely recognized as pregnancy's most comfortable and enjoyable. (Yes, it's a relative distinction.) Don't panic if you start noticing some lovely vaginal discharge. It's called leucorrhea and is totally normal. Though it might mess up your panties, it's essential in protecting your birth canal from infection.

I'm totally convinced that the movement I'm feeling is the baby. I CAN'T WAIT until I can share the experience with B! Until then, it's just the bump and me :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Could it be?

Over the last week I've started to feel occasional flutters in my belly.  I'm only 13 weeks pregnant, but I'm pretty sure it's the baby!  Last time I was around 16 weeks before I felt anything, but maybe I'm more sensitive to it now because I know what it feels like.

SO cool (and comforting)!!!  Suddenly this pregnancy is becoming much more real!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Awkward goodbye

I'm listening to my ipod and the song, Awkward Goodbye, by Athlete. It's the song that was playing in the car when we left the hospital after Olivia was born.

The song is about losing someone you love, and the chorus really resonated with me at the time:

No one knows how I love you
No one comes even close
Sunlight runs through my veins for you
Oh ohh

I remember the flood of emotions that hit me in that moment, and the reality that she was really gone hitting me like a brick wall. It still chokes me up, remembering the everything we went through and how unfair it was. My heart still aches when I think of her...

Friday, September 17, 2010

12 weeks pregnant

Today I'm officially 12 weeks pregnant and nearly done my first trimester.  I'm relieved to hit this milestone without any major incidents, and am really hoping I'll breeze through the 20 week ultrasound mark.

I've been feeling good, VERY tired this week.  Some days I can feel my eyes drooping as I stare at my computer monitor!  But it's better than barfing so I'll put up with it!  I'm still going to the gym but my belly is starting to get in the way.  The good news is, the dizzy spells and soaring body temperatures during class seem to be tapering off.  So I'm much more motivated to work out and stay in shape.

Speaking of sleep, I bought a Snoogle on Wednesday (it was on sale at BabiesRUs).  It came highly recommended from friends who have babies.  I have to say, it's huge!

I tried it out on Thursday night in the first position pictured above.  It felt fantastic but I couldn't find a way to use it with my pillow, without reversing the curled up part and putting it between my legs.  I fell asleep fast but woke up in the middle of the night unable to move.  The Snoogle was caught in the sheets and I could roll, and could barely shift my body.  I felt like a sausage trapped in a bun!  After wrestling with it, I tossed it on the floor and went back to my small pillow.  I think it's a great product, I just need to be a bit bigger to actually benefit from it.

Speaking of size, here's where baby is at this week:

As you move into the second trimester, baby shifts into the growth and maturation stage. After weeks in the critical development stage, almost all of her systems are fully formed.

First trimester: Check! The nausea, fatigue, mood swings, and bathroom dashes should soon fade, but (sorry!) headaches and dizziness will probably get more intense. The good news: You're about to embark on the second trimester, when mood and energy levels generally peak.

I'd say these symptoms are pretty accurate (although hubby doesn't believe my mood swings are pregnancy related - smart ass!), although I'm really not looking forward to more headaches.  I suffered a lot last time, and thankfully the pharmacist said I was safe to take Tylenol - so I have a large bottle of extra strength rapid release caplets for my desperate moments.

This afternoon I'm heading to a Johnson & Johnson warehouse sale with the hope of finding some good deals on baby products (and maybe some for myself too!).  Fingers crossed for some good finds!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Moments I will never forget

- the positive pregnancy test and telling B

- our families' joyful reaction to the news

- hearing the baby's heartbeat for the first time and sending the recording to B when he was in Vegas

- feeling the first flutter while watching the Hope for Haiti concert

- our babymoon in Los Cabos

- feeling the baby kick and watching my belly move

- when the ultrasound technician turned off the machine and said "you need to go see your doctor"

- our doctor's face when he walked in the room

- feeling like my world was collapsing when he told us the baby had cranial and facial anomalies

- waiting for the call from mt sinai for the follow-up appointment date

- waiting two long weeks for the appointment

- sitting in the waiting room, looking at all the pregnant women and knowing we were all there because something was wrong

- the silence of the ultrasound technician as she examined the baby

- the box of kleenex the doctor brought in when they delivered the news

- find out she was a girl (which confirmed what we already suspected)

- agreeing to be induced and waiting for what felt like an eternity to fill out the paperwork before we could leave

- calling my sister and hearing her sob when I told her what was happening

- going to chicago with B because I couldn't stand to stay at home and wait

- shopping in chicago and knowing I couldn't buy maternity clothes, or regular clothes because they wouldn't fit

- buying a blanket to wrap our baby in after she was born

- barely sleeping the night before we went to the hospital

- waiting for the contractions to start for 36 hours

- unbearable pain from the oxytocin-induced contractions

- getting an epidural during a contraction

- my water breaking and pushing

- delivering Olivia in the dark and in total silence

- holding her stillborn body and stroking her skin

- the look on B's face that told me his heart was breaking

- holding Olivia during the blessing ceremony and watching the nurses take her away

- putting on my maternity jeans to leave and noticing my absent belly

- leaving the hospital empty handed

- packing up everything we bought for the nursery

- my milk coming in four days after she was born

- looking through the memory package from the hospital, and seeing the pictures of her tiny lifeless body and purple skin (from never taking a breath)

Rest in peace little angel. I will never forget you.

Remembering Olivia

I'm not sure why, but I've been thinking about Olivia a lot this week. I think the doctor's visits and upcoming 15 week ultrasound are reminding my of what we went through. It's also because on Friday the doctor revised my due date to March 29th, almost exactly one year from the day Olivia was born (March 19).

I'm SO anxious about the ultrasound in three weeks, and desperately hoping everything will come out "normal".

I was searching Google blogs for amniotic band syndrome and found a number of postings from people who went through similar experiences. The one that touched me the most was "Life After Haleigh", as we went through a very similar situation. As I read it, tears poured down my face and memories of Olivia and holding her tiny body came flooding back.

I'm so thankful that I'm pregnant again, and thankful for all of the people I've gotten support from this year. Someone once told me "you make plans, and god laughs" and that's certainly true in our case. I never imagined how this year would turn many ups and downs. We started the year pregnant, then lost the baby, then sold our house and moved, and now we're pregnant again!

Throughout all of this, my wonderful husband has stood by me. He's been my rock, and my best friend. I am most thankful for having him in my life!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A successful shopping trip

We went to our first doctor's appointment yesterday at the Milton Centre for Women's Health.  It's a fantastic clinic, mostly because four of the five doctors that deliver in Milton are based at this clinic.  You rotate amongst the doctors so by the end you've met everyone, so no strangers in the delivery room!  Everything went smoothly, and I've only gained 3 pounds (since my post Olivia weight).  She wasn't able to hear the heartbeat on the doppler, so I'm going back in 2 weeks for another check.  I have to admit, I was a bit disappointed, although I knew the chances were slim.

After the appointment, we headed off to Buffalo for the day.  Destination Maternity was a great success!  I LOVE the Pea in a Pod line!  It's a bit pricey, but the styles are nice and the quality is much better than Motherhood.  I bought a dress, a sweater, a long sleeved top and three short sleeved tops.  Here's the dress I bought, isn't it super cute?

I also bought a new pair of flats at Ecco (the styles are quite different in the US).  Last time I was pregnant, I LIVED in flats, my poor feet and legs just couldn't handle heels!  Here's what I got:

I never made it to the Target Baby Sale, by that point it was 9pm and we'd been shopping for what felt like eternity!  We barely made it across the border with our purchases: B was reluctant to declare so we claimed we hadn't bought anything, only to subsequently get pulled over and searched.  Thankfully we had discarded all tags, bags and receipts and packed our goods in our overnight backs.  I feel like such a smuggler!.

After a not so restful night (kept waking up, and then woke up STARVING) and a tasty breakfast at iHop, we're about to head out to the Niagara outlets before touring some wineries with friends in Niagara On The Lake for the day (torture, I know!).  I've been nominated to be the official "smeller"....we'll see how that goes!  I may have to give in and have a taste at my favourite winery....Vineland Estates!

Friday, September 10, 2010

11 weeks pregnant

Today marks the 11th week of my pregnancy.  So far everything is going very smoothly.  The only symptoms I've been feeling are extreme tiredness, the odd bout of dizzyness, soaring body temperatures at the gym, and restless nights.  But no spotting and sore breasts (unlike last time), and no nausea/vomiting.

I have my first ob appointment today and I'm very hopeful they'll be able to hear the baby's heartbeat on the doppler.  But last time they couldn't hear it this early, so I will try not to be too disappointed if they can't find it.

We're heading to Buffalo today to shop.  I'm in desperate need of maternity clothes and plan to check out Destination Maternity, the Walden Galleria and TargetTarget has a big baby sale on this week so maybe I'll even pick up a few things for the bump!

11 weeks feels like we just found out I was pregnant.  Time really does fly when you're expecting!  According to The Bump, here's what baby looks like this week, and here's what I can expect:
Your fetus currently enjoys a 1:1 ratio between body and head, and has skin so transparent that blood vessels show right through. But, fingers and toes are no longer webbed, and hair follicles, tooth buds and nail beds are forming -- setting up a significantly more attractive future.

By now, you're surely familiar with the prenatal symphony of burps, flatulence, and rumbling tummy. Small, frequent meals should help with the discomfort. And make sure to eat and drink slowly to prevent swallowing extra air. You'll later use this technique when feeding baby! Prenatal yoga can also help settle down your belly and -- side benefit -- soothe those mood swings.

The above description is pretty accurate.  The non-sexy parts of pregnancy have certainly set in!  I tried to keep carbonated drinks to a minimum because they do a number on my tummy.  And I have to be careful when I eat....I go from starving to overstuffed very quickly, so I try to eat a little, then wait before going back for more.  I love going to the gym, and will continue to while I can, because it stretches me out and relaxes me.  Only problem is that my belly is starting to get in the way!

My appointment is in just over an hour, better go shower and get ready!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sharing the good news

As my belly is expanding quickly (evidently my body has remembered how to be pregnant!), we decided to tell our families at nine weeks (as I couldn't hide my pregnancy from my employer much longer).  Now came the difficult task - figuring out how to tell them!

With Olivia, we wrapped up ultrasound pictures for my parents/sister and inlaws/sister in law and gave them as Christmas presents.  Everyone was shocked and delighted by the present.

This time around, we wanted to do something different, since we'd already "done" the ultrasound picture route.  We were struggling for ideas and one day at Hallmark I found the perfect solution:

I found this perpetual calendar on a shelf filled with Grandma gifts.  It was PERFECT!  So we set the countdown to 31 and wrapped them up. 

We gave one to my mother in law, disguised as a birthday gift for my 6 year old nephew at his birthday party.  When he pulled out the gift, we suggested that he get Nona's help.  The boys pulled out th calendar - and the blocks - and started playing with it before she could see what it said.  Needless to say, we sorted it out, and she was very happy.  We gave the second to my mom the next day as a belated birthday present.  She was shocked to pull it out, and now proudly displays it on a table in her living room.

I look forward to filling their ultrasound frames with a picture after my 15 week ultrasound in a few weeks!

How did you tell your family you were expecting?