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!