Monday, May 30, 2016

Week 24

Sorry I'm late.

Super late.

Super duper late.

Like stupidly late.

Sorry about that.

I have been opening up shop doing graphic design for book covers, as well as advertising my already existing formatting services, and setting up future promotions for the books I already have out and... well geeze, what am I saying, I had a busy week at work, and then I worked all weekend.

In the first trimester I got way behind in my job because as someone who is self employed, works alone, and works from home, when I felt like crap there was absolutely no one to tell me: too bad, work anyway. So... I spent about three months not doing the things I need to do for my job (and you can see the total drop in sales that came from that if you look at all the handy dandy sales sheets I keep track of things with--bright side: at least I know when I'm doing promotions and marketing it actually works). The flip side of that, of course, is that when I get a fire lit under my ass I then spend all day every day working, including into the wee hours of the night and all through the weekend, because once I'm motivated (and not feeling like a three week old, slightly reheated corpse) my brain won't shut the hell up and let me sleep until I DO ALL THE THINGS! Or until I do some of the things for long enough that my brain completely runs out of power and I finally have to shut down.

Which is precisely what's been going on since last weekend. I basically worked through the weekend selling books and then went straight into a full week of reading, revisions, graphic design, formatting, and marketing and promotions. And then that kept going into the weekend, and now it's Monday and I still hadn't written this blog. Which is silly, really, because it falls under the heading of 'my job,' but as it isn't a provider of income, my brain decided to ignore it. Which is a shame, because I enjoy writing this blog.

Anyway, that big ol' rant on why I haven't written this blog tells you a good deal about how week 24 went. It went by quickly, in a haze of productivity, and I had the energy to do everything, as well as walk the dog a lot, and managed to spend time with my husband over the weekend (and even mustered up the enthusiasm for gettin' busy - which has been something I have seriously struggled with in pregnancy so far) and so life has seemed pretty normal.

The only difference is that every now and again I receive a kick or poke to the ribs from the inside, or I take a good look in the mirror and go, holy shit, look at my abdomen! It's huge! And it mostly UTERUS! WTF?!?

Sadly, Corey and I forgot to take a bump pic this weekend, so you'll have to make do with this bumpie (that's bump-selfie for the uninitiated) on Wednesday instead:

And, to make up for the lateness of everything and give you a chance to see my bump in its present glory. Here's some video made just for this blog, just now:

Oh and one final note that I forgot to put in the video, but what is up with the reduced lung capacity?! Holy crap, body, I get out of breath if I sit down the wrong way, and trying to sing the other day felt like running a marathon. Also, I just did some pushups (trying to stick with my new goal) and am now as out of breath as if I had been sprinting. What the hell? Anyone else getting that? If it's this bad now, what's it going to be like in the third trimester? 

Oh dear.

Well, that's really it for today. Off to go swim in a lake! See you next week! 

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Week 23

So, after the lovely week 22 blog post courtesy of my husband, there are a few highlights that he didn’t include and since week 23 has largely been a continuation of week 22 I thought I would cover some highlights for both weeks in this post. 

The weekend of week 22 saw us going to a child cycle sale which had tons of baby and kid stuff, as well as a bit of maternity gear, all second hand and for great prices. We didn’t buy much, just a few blanket type things and some cloth diapering supplies. The ‘exciting’ thing for me was finding two pairs of maternity pants that actually fit for the far more acceptable price of $6 each. Take that, Thyme maternity! Suck on your $125 price tag.

Ahem. Yeah. So that was cool… I am surprised to report, however, that I still fit into most of my normal pants as long as I can extend the button. My shirts, however, are straining to contain my ever expanding bosom and growing bump. So, I’m wearing a lot of stretchy tank tops and baggy sweaters. And yet, for some reason, I haven’t purchased any maternity tops. I can’t seem to bring myself to spend money on clothes that I’m not going to use for more than a few months. (And yes, I recognize I won’t instantly return to my original shape as soon as Speck pops out, but even so, as I’m not at all convinced that we’ll be doing this again, it’s likely to be a pretty limited time that I’m using anything “maternity.”) And I’m cheap. And I don’t particularly like clothes shopping in general. So… yeah.

On the other hand, we have been getting a bunch of free stuff from friends who already have kids and that has been hugely helpful. We are all about the hand me downs. 

As Speck can now hear voices and start recognizing them, Corey and I are talking to Speck more often. One day last week, when I was trying to nap, but Speck was having a dance party instead, I spent an hour and a half describing to Speck its entire family in Spanish. Why Spanish? Because this kiddo is going to be bilingual at least! Speck will definitely learn Spanish early on, and hubby and I will probably throw a bit of German and Japanese in there too, because I’m all about kids learning as many languages as possible so we’ll use all the languages we’ve got. 

And we’re increasing our singing. This kiddo is going to get serenaded as often as possible. 

One notable thing from week 22 was that on Mother’s day people wished me a happy Mother’s day. That seemed weird to me. Not that I didn’t appreciate the sentiment, but I don’t feel like I’ve earned the title yet. I consider myself a proto-mom, I’ll reach full momdom when I’ve pushed this little one out. 

My last prenatal went well, weight is on track and I didn’t get any more lectures in either direction, and Speck seems to be healthy. Due to a misdirection of paperwork I did not get the report on Speck’s ultrasound, but I will assume that now that that’s been corrected no news is good news and I’ll just wait 'til my next appointment. 

The biggest thing that has happened in the past two weeks has nothing to do with Speck, but I’m too excited not to mention it. I finally finished the first draft of my next book, which means it’s time to dive into revisions soon. I’m thrilled to have gotten back to writing fiction in this pregnancy as the first trimester completely wiped me out in a way that didn’t leave me with enough creative energy to do much at all, let alone write fiction. And even once the energy returned, it took me a while to get back into the book that I had started writing back in November. I finally managed it, however, and now the first draft is done. There’s lots of work ahead before I can release the book, but having the first draft done feels like a huge weight off, and I’m looking forward to revisions. 

Then the biggest Speck related news is that not only can Corey feel kicks now, but I can sometimes see them, which is a wholly new and alien situation. Seeing your body move at someone else’s volition is an insane experience. 

In terms of overall pregnancy wellness, I mostly feel pretty good. I generally feel as though I have my normal energy level and I only occasionally need to go down for a nap in the middle of the day, but I do still periodically feel like Speck is pulling me down into an abyss of slumber against my will. Nausea has been very sporadic, but still pops up now and again. Nonetheless, trimester two seems to be treating me quite well. What’s crazy to think about is that the second trimester is almost over. Where the first trimester seemed like it would never end, this trimester is flying by. I’m curious to see how the third one goes. 

Speaking of which, at the end of next week Speck will be ‘theoretically’ viable outside the womb. Which is exciting when one considers all the things that can still go wrong. The pessimist in me will be greatly relieved when we hit that milestone. 

And I think that about covers weeks 22 and 23. Right now I’m sitting at KeyCon in Winnipeg, selling my book to folks and chatting with people as they stroll by. Conventions like this are generally big sales weeks for me, as well as a lot of fun, so I’m glad that this seems to be a high energy week for me. 

However, due to how busy I’ve been prepping for this weekend, and the weekend itself, I have no bump picture for this week. Fortunately, since last week you all got to enjoy Corey’s bump I have last week’s shot for you as well as a non bump shot of me from today.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Week 22 - Guest Blog

Well, I woke up to a few wonderful things today. First of all, hubby made french toast, which is delicious, and second of all, hubby wrote a guest post for this blog which is well... one of the funnier things I've read in a while. 

I might follow up in another post with some additional notes on things that happened over the week, but for now, I leave you in Corey's capable hands...

Hello, faithful readers of a pregnant lady’s travails! Bit of a curveball coming your way this week, as her blog has been temporarily taken over by her male roommate and purported co-progenitor.

You’ll be relieved to hear I’ve been making my way through the required reading, and, aside from the obligatory foot rubs, back rubs, bringing of beverages, and telling her she’s beautiful, the literature indicates that another good way I can pull my birth weight is to just try to make life easier for her in general. So I figured giving her a week off her blog duties counts just like taking out the recycling or finding just what exactly stinks so gawdawful in the fridge.

It seems we’re at week 22. She is definitely showing - more like a couple of brown bag king cans than a 6-pack these days - and there is a lot of movement going on in there. “Spekk” supposedly likes to really start running uterine laps around 1am, although I have yet to be awake for any of that. However last weekend during a lazy afternoon the little duffer started kicking up a fuss and I was able to feel several well-placed kicks (elbows?) which made it all seem pretty real. Sure, seeing a grainy ultrasound of a little stomach alien sucking its thumb is one thing, but actually feeling it in real time...oy vey. Other than doing the Vader and saying “I AM YOUR FATHER”, I’ve started singing to The Tummy lately. Apparently the wee ‘un can already hear and recognize our voices, and it’s best to get a start on all the Tom Waits repertoire early in one’s life. V disagrees and thinks I should layoff any renditions of “Eyeball Kid” until after the 2nd birthday. Ugh. They said parenthood would be hard.

There’s a book in our house called ‘The Expectant Father.’ I’ve been skimming it for weeks now and mostly I’m glad we don’t have to worry about the extensive sections on how to pay for the hospital bills (American author). I did learn one word though - ‘couvade.’ It’s from the French for ‘a man’s sympathetic beer gut caused by his partner’s pregnancy.’ However it means much more than having one’s toes slowly recede out of sight. It can also refer to any pregnancy-like symptoms typically experienced by women which men may also experience - like forgetfulness, irrational mood swings, and gas. Although I haven’t really noticed any big symptomatic changes in myself, it’s just a relief to finally have some cover for one’s normal behaviour. Anytime I forget my keys, spill some beer, or accidentally yell too loudly, I can make the guilt disappear by uttering my new favourite word: couvade. Couvade. It’s so sensual, so effortless the way it rolls off the tongue. Couvade. It could be the name of the latest Porsche model, or maybe one of those $1200 strollers. But it comes in real handy if an attempt to blame “that awful smell” on the dog fails.

I still go to my aikido classes as often as possible. One of my friends there is in his mid 20s and is super fit and very good at aikido. I’ve been enjoying my slide into middle age with something known as ‘always having stiff shoulders’ and when he takes me down for an arm bar pin, he’s begun making smart-ass comments about “taking it easy on the dad-bod.” Then, one day, I looked up dad bod on the internet, and after that I noticed I’ve been going after him just a little bit more….intensely. So far he hasn’t killed me, but it’s become markedly more satisfying when it’s my turn and I actually manage to mash him into the mats a bit. I usually celebrate my martial arts prowess after class with a couple advil followed by going to bed at 9:30.

We found a doula. Correction: Virginia found a doula and I was invited to the interview. Catherine seems super nice and extremely knowledgeable about all aspects of childbirth. I had no idea what to expect before meeting her but now I’m pretty sure this is the smartest idea I’ve ever been made to feel was partly mine. We have some friends who shared their pregnancy stories and wisdom with us and became EXTREMELY animated and insistent when they got to the part about having a doula. Doctors? Hospitals? Tubs of warm water? Strolling accordion player? When giving birth one can do without all of those so-called essentials, but do NOT attempt to do it without a doula. Unless of course you’ve lucked into a midwife. Then you’re all good.

Well, the mid/late September due date is bearing down (hah!) upon us, and with a busy work schedule 'til then I’m sure the remaining 18 weeks will fly by for me. We’ve decided to attempt a holiday road trip to Ontario in early August that may involve camping. V loves camping and sleeping in tents, but I’m thinking I may have to bring a tent of my own once we factor in all the body pillows, duvets, and extra sleeping pads required for someone almost 8 months along. The best part will be visiting our friends Gord and Kelly in Toronto, as they are not only also expecting, but their due date is essentially the exact same date as ours. It will be a double-baby-belly-photo-op extravaganza! I can’t wait to see the two ladies strutting side by side, double wide, up the sweaty Danforth in their resplendent fertile glory. Or maybe we’ll just take a cab if they’re tired. Gord has assured me he’ll have several batches of homemade beer ready for action, so I predict a lot of crying, yelling, and spilled drinks - especially if the ladies aren’t around. COUVADE!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Week 21

Well, sorry I'm a bit late with the blog post again. This time it's mostly because yesterday was a super busy day and while I had thought I would have time to get this post written I wound up being completely mistaken.

.... *Reality notice: I wrote that first paragraph around 3pm right after eating lunch. Speck demanded a nap, however, and I just woke up again. It is now 7:15. Holy crap, Speck!*

Now that I'm back from midday dream land... Where was I?

Right. Last week. Week 21.

First of all can we talk about "required" weight gain? At my last Dr.'s appointment I received two lectures from two different doctors. The first was a lecture on why I shouldn't lose weight in pregnancy (I had dropped one kilogram since my previous appointment) and the second was that, "pregnancy is not an excuse to eat whatever you want." Which I haven't used it as. The first lecture was tempered when I explained that the weight loss was probably from the fact that I had been exercising a lot more since the second trimester arrived (hand in hand with warmer weather and a big spike in energy/absence of nausea). And the second lecture seemed to be a generic lecture rolled into one long "pregnancy talk" and not directed at me particularly. But still...

It's a little weird for me to talk that much about my weight at all as it's not something that generally comes up for me at doctor's appointments. Thin privilege revoked! Apparently, as a pregnant lady I will now join the ranks of the thousands of women who are forced to discuss their weight with physicians at every appointment.

I understand why losing weight in the second trimester can be problematic. I also understand that "eating for two" is an outdated concept and that pregnant ladies around the 21 week mark really only need around 300 additional calories a day to support the growing human inside them. And honestly, as far as I can tell Speck is growing just fine, and so far, I'm not growing much aside from boobs and belly. So I'm not worried about it. I just wish everyone else would not worry too. I feel for my sistren who have to deal with this kind of thing on a more regular basis. My brief exposure to it has not been high up my list of things that are fun, and as someone who never weighs herself (seriously, we don't even own a scale) the whole obsession with numbers instead of my overall health has been disconcerting.

That said, all the doctors I've seen so far have been very nice, professional, and courteous. Plus I finally met the doctor who is supposed to deliver me and he seems pretty cool, is down with natural childbirth, and even encouraged me to get a doula once he heard that I had been hoping for a midwife. So that is all very promising.

Now as to the doula, we met her last weekend and she is very nice and seems like she'll be a good person to have around for the birth. It's very reassuring to know that someone will be there that Corey and I have both met several times who knows what the heck is going on and can talk us through everything. Neither of us have any idea what we're doing after all, and while we're both reading multiple books to catch up, we're still looking forward to having a more experienced person with us who is calm and collected and paid to just pay attention to us and help/reassure us. :-)

I had never considered having a doula until a month our two ago. Frankly, until this pregnancy started, I didn't know what the heck a doula was. But a number of women I know have recommended them and I have yet to see anyone write or say, "I had a doula last time but I think I'll skip it this time." Everyone instead has said, "I had a doula last time and now I can't imagine labour and birth without one." Those reports swayed me, as did a close friend insisting that it was a good idea, and finally it was sealed by my doctor saying it was a good idea. When a guy who delivers tons of babies says, "If I were capable of going through labor I'd want a doula with me when I did" I listen.

And then on Monday we had our first and perhaps only ultrasound. Which was super exciting because even though we had no interest in finding out Speck's sex, we still got to see live footage of Speck's whole body (minus the crotch shot) and saw little hands and feet moving around, saw Speck's adorable little nose. Saw Speck's spinal column and brain, saw the arms and legs, saw... well a freaking baby. And one that looked more like a baby than a tadpole or an alien. And hey, I have to admit I might have been slightly disappointed to discover that speck was missing the wings and tail that would have marked Speck as a dragon, I will accept this little miniature human because holy shit, I MADE THAT!! Ok, ok, hubby helped, but for months now it has been mostly me.

Fun ultrasound details. Speck must have behaved fairly well, because the U/S tech said that the whole thing would take 45 minutes before she would call Corey in, but it only took about 35 by the time she called him instead. That said, Speck was apparently disobliging because s/he was lying on top of my
cervix and the tech needed to get a picture of my cervix. So Speck was pushed and prodded quite vigorously, and when that didn't work the tech shifted the cool electronic exam table so that my feet went way up and my head went down, hoping that Speck would slide away from my cervix, and when THAT didn't work, I was finally, blissfully, instructed to void my bladder (in the bathroom thankfully, not right there on the table) so that the tech could get better leverage to push Speck out of the way. That final trick must have worked because the tech took a couple more shots after I came back from the washroom and then she called in Corey to come watch video with me.

We were both mesmerized by watching video of the little human we made as it moved its hands in front of its face. In addition, during all the photos the tech was taking for measurements I could feel Speck swatting at the wand as if trying to fight it off. That is definitely my child. The tech said Speck was moving lots. She also asked me early on if we wanted to know the sex and I said no, but she said she had to take a picture of the genitals so clearly they must have presented themselves pretty clearly. Speck is not shy. Now that is Corey's child. ;-) (Ok, ok, mine too.) The tech reminded me that I'll have to remind my doctor not to tell us the sex because the doctor will know as soon as he sees the ultrasound results, so now I'm worried I'll find out by accident, but oh well.

True to form, I came home from our U/S appointment and immediately fell into a 2.5 hour nap. And, the night before the U/S I was sitting up writing at my laptop and FELL ASLEEP SITTING UP IN MY CHAIR.

Speck is ALL ABOUT the naps these days. Which leads me to believe that Speck is growing like crazy.

In terms of exercise this week I've just been walking the dog a bunch, but haven't managed to get much else done. I keep meaning to go for a run, but after I walk the dog a few miles I always feel like I need a break and then it never happens. Also, I've been focusing on writing fiction and also doing marketing and promotion for my novel. So, that has kept me quite busy (it is, after all, my job) and I have not made time for running. But I should anyway, because my health is more important than anything, especially now.

Yesterday, I somehow managed to fit into the clothes I pulled out of my closet to constitute a lion tamer's costume as my dog and I volunteered to be part of a mental health and wellness awareness week Circus! It was fun. We met lots of folks. It was one of the many things I did yesterday. I didn't nap yesterday though... maybe that's part of why I needed a 4 hour one today.

Alright, that's probably more than enough from me. Here are two pictures one is this week's bump picture and the other is a picture from the "Circus" yesterday.

Hope everyone is doing well. See you all in week 22!

The quotes are for the twitter hashtag #Getloud, speaking out about mental health.