Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sneak peek from our maternity photo shoot

I was in London yesterday for a photo shoot with my friend who owns Photography By Isabelle.  She does amazing work and these early proofs look fantastic (and this comes from someone who isn't a fan of having their photo taken!).  More to come when I get the full CD!




Thursday, January 27, 2011

Checking items off the list

As I mentioned in my last post, this week's events were a big wake up call.  I realized quickly what we still needed to sort out before baby arrives.

We're all signed up for prenatal classes and start them on February 9 (three hours in the evening for four weeks).  I'm really hoping we'll get through all of the classes, less so for the labour and delivery part (we managed through Olivia's birth without too much stress), more so for the guidance for the first days and weeks at home.

I picked up a great book from Indigo that a friend (who just had twins) highly recommended, called Canada's Baby Care Book, written by 2 doctors at the Hospital For Sick Children in Toronto.  I got halfway through it yesterday and I love that the information is Canadian, as it's consistent with a lot of advice my OB has given us.  I've encouraged hubby to give it a read too (it has lots of pictures) so I'm not the only one who knows how to care for baby when we're both in a sleep-deprived state!  I would highly recommend as part of your parenting library!


I've been hunting for book ends for the nursery for quite some time now and I found a SUPER CUTE Owl Linen pair at Indigo yesterday (in addition to a $90 blanket on sale for $15 to keep on hand for late night feeding/rocking sessions).  I got the pair for $34, which is a great price, and they look great with the nursery decor!

I've been researching diaper bags for a while.  My struggle was finding a good-sized bag that wasn't huge, something with a lot of storage and pockets to keep things organized, and in a fun pattern that wasn't too girlie (so hubby wouldn't refuse to carry it).  I've looked at a LOT of options and stores, and finally decided on the Skip Hop Duo in the Blossom pattern (I originally looked at the Dash but it wasn't much bigger than a laptop bag and after seeing my friends with their overstuffed bags, I decided function was more important than style on this decision).  It is SUPER CUTE (yes that's twice in one post!) and is perfect for our needs.  It has tons of pockets/compartments, a comfy shoulder strap and cool clips to hook the bag to your stroller handle.  A friend has a Skip Hop bag and said it was her best bag ever, so I picked it up yesterday from SnuggleBugz.

And guess what?  Hubby likes it (well he didn't say he hated it or make a face so that's a good sign, right?!).  Now to get it packed so we're ready for the hospital at a moment's notice!

Now we just need our crib (I'll post the long story about that another day) and the car seat and we're ready for Baby's arrival!

A little scare (and a reality check)

The last few days have been full of drama.

On Saturday morning I started spotting.  I was putting laundry in the washer when I felt a small amount of liquid gush out.  I've been having a lot of discharge lately (another unexpected pregnancy surprise) so I naturally assumed it was that.  But my thighs felt sticky and when I looked in my pajama pants they were splattered with blood.

Obviously it freaked me out a bit so I called hubby, who was on his way home, to let him know I wanted to go to the hospital.  I lay down to see if the baby was still moving (it's at its best when I'm flat on my back) and, sure enough, it was kicking like normal.  Every ten minutes I checked to see if the bleeding was stopping and, sure enough, it was.  I didn't have any cramping either.

After some reflection on my last visit to the hospital for spotting, and the 3 hour wait only to hear I needed to come back for an ultrasound the next day, I decided to wait and only go if it got worse.  An hour later, it was pretty much done and everything seemed back to normal.  We were both a little shaken but after some reading we figured it was tied to some "intimate" time the previous week.

I certainly didn't expect it to happen again on Tuesday!  I was getting ready for bed and the "gush" came again, this time a lot more blood and a sizable clot.  THAT really freaked me out.  I called hubby and told him to get home quick, this time we WERE going to the hospital.

He made it home in 15 minutes (it should've taken closer to 30) and while I waited I cleaned myself up and started packing a bag in case they made me stay.  I didn't have any cramping and the baby was moving fine, but I was concerned the clot was my mucous plug or part of the placenta.  I managed to retrieve the clot and put it in a sandwich bag (gross I know!) in case the doctor wanted to see it.

We arrived at the hospital and the Emerg receptionist immediately sent us to Obstetrics (thank goodness we pre-registered a few weeks ago).  They hooked me up to a monitor that tracked the baby's heart rate, movement and uterine contractions.  The baby was literally breakdancing and its heartbeat was strong.  The nurse pointed out I was having some cramping, but because I couldn't feel it, she concluded it was Braxton Hicks.  They were concerned I was in preterm labour and wanted to rule it out.

After an hour of monitoring, they said I was fine and should have an ultrasound the next day to discover the cause of the bleeding.  They also recommended I get steroid shots to boost baby's lung development in case I delivered early (I was 31 weeks on Tuesday).  I had to get them 24 hours apart and they would take 48 hours to start working.  They assured me that they wouldn't hurt the baby, nor would there be any side effects for me.  While I'm not a fan of unnecessary drugs, this was one situation where we weren't about to argue with the doctor....she knows best!

We left the hospital at 2am exhausted and a little stressed.  We returned at 1pm that day for the ultrasound.  Thankfully it was good news.  The technician couldn't figure out why I was bleeding, my cervix wasn't dilated, my placenta placement was good and there were no internal bleeds.  She even mentioned that baby's measuring 33-34 weeks, which means it's bigger than it should be right now.  That gives me comfort (in addition to worrying about tearing - ouch!) that if baby arrives early, we should be ok. 

I then got the first steroid shot (ouch!  in the butt and it stings for about 20 mins after) before heading home to rest.  I was back to work today before heading back for the second steroid shot this afternoon.

What a crazy couple days!  I'm glad everything worked out, and it was also a good reality check on how prepared we are for baby's arrival.  Generally we're in good shape, the room is coming together and we have diapers and supplies to get us through a week or two, and a bassinet for baby to sleep in.  But I realized I didn't have a diaper bag or a car seat, two pretty important items to survive the hospital stay and bring baby home!

Now I'm focused on tying up as many loose ends as possible in case baby decides it would rather be born in February than March!  Fingers crossed it finds a comfy spot to settle for the next 8-9 weeks!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Identity crisis

When we found out we were pregnant, we decided we didn't want to know Baby's gender.  The only reason for finding out is for ease of shopping, and we've been able to find PLENTY of cute things that are gender neutral (which means that if/when we have a second child we won't have to buy all new clothes and gear).  The challenge is....what to call Baby?

I thought about some cute nicknames like "sprout" and "bump" but they all felt too cutesy.  So we resorted to Baby or, when we describe in the third person, "it".  A lot of people don't like "it" because they think it's impersonal.  Trust me, I'd rather say "he" or "she", and every so often I say "she" (from what I've been told, I've never consciously noticed myself saying that).  Both of us are convinced Baby is a girl....and in 9 weeks we'll find out!

What did/do you call your Baby to be?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Motherhood advice

I was just catching up on the blogs I follow and found this post from Erin Blaskie (who I follow on Twitter).  I watched this video early last year, and found it really touching.  Now that I've watched it again, it's helped to settle some of my fears about the exciting and scary days we're about to encounter.  I hope this does the same for all you expectant moms out there!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Hiccups

Over the last week, Baby has become a chronic hiccuper!  It usually lasts about 10 minutes and feels like a constant twitching in my belly.  Baby gets them 2-3 times a day, usually around 4pm and in the evening (8-9pm).  I did some research and here's an explanation of what they're all about, according to GrowingYourBaby.com: 

Pregnant women often mention feeling their baby having hiccups while in the womb and wonder what causes this. These hiccups can start in the first trimester, but won’t be felt by mom until late in the second trimester or during the third trimester. Rarely do the hiccups bother the mother-to-be, however some moms might worry that it is hurting their baby.
While the exact cause of baby’s hiccups is unknown, many specialists believe that they may be helping to strengthen the diaphragm muscle in order to help the baby breathe both in the womb and once they are born.
In many cases the baby will have the hiccups at the same time everyday.Not only can hiccups be felt by the mom-to-be, but it can also be detected during an ultrasound and picked up on a Doppler while at the doctor’s office for a routine visit. After a mom-to-be has been assured that these hiccups are normal and are not bothering their baby, then they become something that can be looked forward to on a daily basis, much like their baby kicking.

I have to admit, at first it's cute, but after 10 minutes it starts to get a bit irritating (especially when I'm at work and unable to focus!).  That said, it's so comforting to feel all the movement (or should I say arms and legs pushing out of my stomach) and know Baby is okay.

I'm now 30 weeks and two days.  Only 7.5 weeks left of work, and less than 10 weeks until Baby arrives.  So much to do!!!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The power of a kick

I remember the first time I felt Olivia's movement.  I was sitting on the couch last January watching the Hope For Haiti fundraising concert and felt the first flutter.  I was surprised and elated!  Over the coming weeks, those flutters gradually turned into discernible kicks and punches, some so strong that they made my belly move.  That movement gave me comfort knowing she was okay (or so we thought) and were a constant reminder that we would soon become parents.

That comfort turned into heartache the week leading up to our scheduled induction.  Those days were like torture, and it took every bit of strength I had to find a way to distract myself from thinking about the day we would lose her.  I remember lying in bed with hubby a few days before our appointment, and she was kicking wildly.  It was like someone was stabbing a knife into my heart.  All I wanted her to do was stop kicking, because it was like torture.

When we returned from the hospital, I felt empty.  My stomach had gone down in size considerably and I longed to feel her movement.  In the weeks that followed, I started feeling "phantom kicks", slight twitches in my belly that felt like Olivia's movement.  Every time it happened I would cry.  It kept reminding me of everything I was trying to move on from.

Now I'm 29 weeks pregnant and this baby is moving a lot!  Last night hubby and I were on the couch and he was able to watch and feel baby's movements, which at time are quite surprising. My stomach twitches and changes shape, to the point where sometimes it stops me in my tracks!  I feel movement all day long and it's a wonderful reminder that this baby is, in fact, coming.  It also gives me comfort to know that I can interact with this child, and now it's getting stronger every day.

Who would've thought something so tiny that's unnoticeable to most can have so much power over you?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

29 weeks

Wow!  Is it really January 12 already?  Talk about time flying! 

As of yesterday I'm 29 weeks pregnant.  Only 11 weeks to go (and 9 weeks left of work), YAY!  Hubby took this picture this morning on his phone so it's a bit fuzzy.  My belly is growing fast!

I had a doctor's appointment today and my weight gain is holding steady at 12 pounds (with zero gain in the last three weeks).  DOUBLE YAY!

I had to do the icky prenatal glucose test today.  A number of people told me they like the drink.  To me it tasted like cold, flat, sugary orange drink.  It was nasty and there was a lot more in the bottle than I expected!  Immediately I felt queasy and thought I would get heartburn.  The queasyness got worse over the next hour and I really had to focus on not throwing it all up (otherwise I'd have to start again).  Despite my adverse reaction, Baby loved it!  So much so that my stomach was jumping from all the erratic punches and kicks.  Talk about a sugar rush!  They took blood exactly an hour later and the results are expected in two days.  Cross your fingers for me that I won't have to do it again!  GROSS.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2010...the year that was

It's hard to believe that 2010 has finally come to a close.  This had to be the most challenging year of my life.

It's hard to believe that a year ago we had just announced our pregnancy with Olivia to our family and friends, only to find out 2 months later that she was a victim of amniotic band syndrome and could not survive.  It's been 9 months since I delivered our little stillborn angel, and held her in my arms for the first and only time, before leaving the hospital empty handed.  I thought I would never get over the intense heartache and pain I experienced.  I had no idea that grief could be like that.

But time passed and with the support of my wonderful husband, family and friends, the hurt lessened a little bit each day, and I was able to pick myself back up and push forward.  It wasn't easy and it took what felt like forever for me to be able to see a baby and not lose control of my emotions.  It was like the hurt was buried deep in my heart but every so often it would sneak up on me and knock me off my feet.

27 weeks ago I became pregnant again, and was cautiously optimistic that this time would be different.  This baby WOULD arrive.  The first few months we were very tentative, and so was our family.  It was like everyone was holding their breath, waiting for something to go wrong.  But nothing did (except for a few minor bumps along the way, but all have been resolved).

In 13 weeks our baby will arrive.  It's still hard to believe that this baby is, in fact, coming.  I think I'm still expecting something to go wrong, it all seems too good to be true.  But I will stay hopeful and pray for the health of this baby, and that Olivia is looking down on us.

I have a lot of mixed emotions about this year.  It was full of pain and heartache, but also the love and support of family and friends, both old and new.  And my husband and I are closer than ever, and have learned that we truly can lean on each other through good times and bad.  But yet, our angel Olivia is gone before she ever had a chance to live.  What would've been our first Christmas as a family was a bittersweet holiday with our baby to be.

I look forward to 2011 and the idea of a new beginning, a fresh start.  I pray that everyone who is struggling with the loss of a child can find peace through the hope that their dreams of a family will come true.

Thank you to everyone who has read my blog and offered words of encouragement.  It's really meant a lot to me to find those who have gone through similar situations and can understand how I've been feeling over the past 9 months.  If you haven't commented, I'd love to hear from you! 

Thanks for reading!