A Merry Christmas Evening

Our work Christmas parties were, same as last year, on the same night in the same building.  Opposite ends of a very large conference centre.  Last year we went to mine and stopped in at his, this year we went to his and stopped in at mine. It worked out really well  – we had a sit down dinner at David’s, sitting with one of his best friends and his lovely wife, and then we eventually ducked over to mine to drink our free drinks, talk to a few people and debate eating from the poutine bar.  (Alas, too full from dinner, but cute concept.)  I also got a job offer, which was great, and sure, my boss has already approved my in-group transfer, so it’s a sure thing, but it’s nice to be wanted no matter what.  Plus, I’ll be reporting directly to a woman I quite like, instead of a nice man who runs meetings in a Dilbertish fashion.  So 4 drinks, a job offer, and a great photo?  Glad we walked over there.

DSC_0562 rotated

Because they were free, we had our picture taken everywhere.  (Including three photobooth&costume photo sets, because I am powerless to not wear a viking hat if there is one one offer.)  And re: the last post, maybe there’s something to be said for just figuring out my angles and finding what’s flattering.  Instead of staring unhappily at pictures of myself, I just need to find better pictures, better poses?  Not that the family portraits we had done with Jess were bad!  They were great.  But they were in full daylight and in jeans.  Maybe the secret is in a short sassy little black dress and flattering poses.  Because, damn, do I like this photo.

work christmas

I think I look great.  (David always looks great in a suit.  Yum.)  Open mouth laughter suits me, and the set’s great, and it totally avoids showing the areas of my body I’m self conscious about.  (We’ll pretend the photo where I’m sitting on his lap didn’t happen, because that one is terribly unflattering.)

Okay, a great photo or two may not cure my body angst, but it sure doesn’t hurt – how can I feel too bad about myself, when I can look at that picture and be all, “YES”?  I can’t.  I felt great, in a short black dress that flattered the hell out of my curves.  I’d had a few (ahem) drinks and had a handsome man and the pictures look great.  Done.

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Weighty Issues

Jess got her 2 month shots recently, and while we were at the public health nurse, they also weighed and measured and assessed all sorts of things.  (See, me crying in a medical office while discussing my feelings, AGAIN, ugh.)  She took her shots like a champ.  There were three of them in quick succession (and having got my own booster shot 1 minute earlier, I was extra sympathetic about how much they hurt).  Jess was screaming away as I tried to latch her on the boob, but she was screaming too much to focus.  So the nurse rang a bell, loudly and constantly.  I actually laughed at my poor baby who was so entranced by the sound of the bell that she stopped crying completely and then latched on.  (She ate for 2 minutes, then fell right asleep, and slept for most of the rest of the afternoon.)  The nurse told me that the bell doesn’t normally work on 2 month old babies – usually not until they are older.  I was like, yup, my baby is amazing!

However.  They also, as I said, weigh and measure the baby.  Her head was in the 97th percentile (might explain that c-section…).  Her length was about 55th percentile.  And her weight?  97th percentile.  Which on the weight to height chart put her right off of it, in the what the hell range.  Sure, if your baby is at the top range for weight AND height, that you clearly just have a big healthy baby.  But 55th and 97th?  That’s, well, that said to me that my baby is short and fat and oh god what I am doing wrong to have cause my little girl to be so out of proportionality oversized already panic flail guilt.

Then we had a doctor’s appointment 5 days later, and they weighed her WITHOUT a damp cloth diaper and got her age in weeks correct, and she went to 55th percentile in length and 70th percentile in weight – a much more normal proportion for a little baby.

And I was relieved.

And then I felt kind of shitty, both at my reaction and more so about my relief.

I mean, I’m short and heavy myself.  And I’m pretty okay with that.  I mean, I’ve been this height since like 14, so I’ve had time to get used to the fact that I’m the shortest in all of my extended family.  (My sister is 6 inches taller than me, and my cousins are mostly taller than her.)    My weight’s been pretty stable since I started working 8 years ago.  My natural weight range is small.  Hell, compare my lowest weight in high school while I was on the cabbage soup diet (UGH) and my highest weight pre-pregnancy is only 23 pounds. It’s very hard for me to move outside that range, compared to my sister or cousin whose ranges are much bigger (30 and 50 pounds, respectively).  I have long made my peace with my weight, as much is probably possible in our media driven world.  I know that I would rather lift weights than run, and that my body muscles easily and holds on to my belly fat, and than it would be so very, very difficult for me to move and then stay bellow my natural range.  (Hey, if healthy eating and swimming competitively at least 6 times a week as a teenager didn’t make me slim, there’s not much I can do now at 30 to change that.)  Sure, I can be healthier and I do prefer to stay near the low middle of my range instead of the top, but still, I’m okay with my body and myself.  (Although one post pregnancy note – c-sections are terrible on your endurance and stomach.  I tried crunches yesterday, and managed a measly TEN without even managing to lift my shoulder blades off the ground.  And it hurt.  My fitness classes a few months ago would often have at least 10 minutes of serious ab work, and now I can’t do 30 seconds of weak work.  Sigh.  THAT upsets me, and I will be working hard to get my core strength back.)

So, back to the baby.  I’m okay with my body and my short and heavy proportions.  Why on earth would this cause me to react so strongly about my baby?  My breastfed on demand baby?  Babies cannot eat more than they are hungry for – their stomach can’t expand and if they eat too much it comes back out.  You can’t overfeed a breastfed on demand baby, I’m told by the doctor, the nurse, the internet.  And yet, I felt like I was already failing her.

Clearly, I have work to do.  My mother had a ton of body issues that she projected on me, and she’s already starting on Jess.  (She accused me of letting a 9 week old baby of eating from boredom, not hunger, “like we both do, right?”.  Thanks mom.)   And I want to break that pattern.  I don’t know how yet, but I will work on it.  I’ll also tell my daughter that she’s beautiful more often than my mother did to me.  (Which is easy.  We’ve already surpasses the number zero.)  But look that that smile and those chubbly wubbly cheeks.

Smiles

How can I not want to protect my little girl from my issues?  I owe it to her to get over my reaction to the initial news, even if it was incorrect.  Because there is a good chance that she will to grow up to be built like the women in my family – short and chesty and muscular and chubby.  I owe it to her to make her feel like I always have her back, yes?  To make her believe that someone will always find her beautiful and smart and strong.  Growing up with that security is something I never had, and really want to be able to give to my baby.  So that’s my work, I think.

Cute AND smart

Darkness

So.  The baby is now 8 weeks old.  (And, frankly, adorable, yes?)

What the what?!?

Things are … okay.  First of all, I have to say that the American system that forces mothers back to work after 6 weeks is obscene and I don’t know how women do it.  Or have they haven’t collectively risen up to force change.  They are probably just too tired…

Jessie is a good sleeper, with a large caveat.  The caveat is that she’s never slept before midnight.  The good point is that she never wakes before noon.  So, basically, my ideal schedule when I was in university.  Does make the days go by pretty quickly, as we’re really only awake for 5 hours before David gets home.  And I do make an effort to do at least one thing every single day.  Today was a quiet day, but I did manage to make cookies.  Last week I wrote a final, visited with Melanie and her adorable daughters, voted in a provincial election and went on three walks.  I’m going to the mall tomorrow to buy a shower gift.  I’m making an effort to do something every day.

Which I’m doing because I know I have to.  It’s been 8 weeks.  It’s pretty clear that it’s no longer the baby blues and I’ve slid in to full on PPD.  It’s a mild case, to be sure, and there are entire days where I don’t cry.  I’m doing okay, for a relative value of okay.  I’m seeing my doctor every couple of weeks to make sure I’m not sliding down too far.  I make plans to see people.  I cook dinner most nights and go for walks.  I’m thinking about going to post natal yoga, now that my body is somewhat healed.  (C section recovery sucks balls.)  I’m trying to get around to actually calling and making a talk therapy appointment.  I know there’s shit I need to work out, but it’s hard. And when you don’t wake before noon, there’s a surprisingly short amount of time during the day to get anything done.

But the baby’s awake and so I’ll end this abruptly.  (Why not be awake?  It’s only 1 am – we probably have an hour to go no matter how much swinging and/or eating she does.)  Here’s a picture of what I walked home to the other day after getting a pedicure with a friend.  Adorable.

*sound of heart exploding*

 

Birth Story – part 2

We left for the hospital just before 7:00 am, just as the snow was beginning to fall. I’d repeatedly made a joke about how even in a blizzard, we would still be able to get to the hospital, as it is so close to our house.  It therefore amused me that it did, in fact, turn in to a full blown blizzard.  The doula took an hour and a half to do a 20 minute drive, due to the snow and traffic.  It was basically the only thing I expected about the birth to come true – I mean, of course there was a blizzard!  (Sure, it had totally stopped by the time she was born the next day, but still.  There was a blizzard as we headed for the hospital.)

We got to the hospital and headed for the 6th floor – the same triage I’d been checked out at two weeks earlier, after a bad fall.  It was nice that because of that fall, all of our paperwork was up to date.  (And I had already had the discussion with the nurse to remove my father as my primary contact, because that was hard enough when I wasn’t in labour.)  They put me in triage, and the doctor confirmed that they would be inducing me as soon as a delivery room became available.  Which took until noon, because every time a room would become available, some lucky woman in full blown labour would arrive and logically get the room.  We walked the short hallway, David got us scones and we chatted.  I had an IV put in at 8:00 am, because they were about to move me in to a delivery room and I was going to need it for the induction.  Having to drag the pole around for an extra 4 hours was annoying, but what could we do?

We finally got a room – the nice room – the room with the tv and vcr player! Heh.  The doctor checked me out and after 38 hours of early labour, I was completely effaced but only a single centimeter dilated.  About as big of a failure as you can imagine, and it was hard to hear that so much work has resulted in what happens to most women before they even go in to labour – sometimes weeks before.    I was hooked up to an IV of oxytocin around noon, and they would increase the dosage every 15 minutes for the next 5 hours.  The oxytocin worked quickly, in that the contractions started in earnest.  We hung out, working through poses and quietly watched Raiders of the Lost Ark on vhs.

Now, everyone knows that contractions hurt.  But there is normally a break between them – a time to catch your breath.  When you add the synthetic hormone, you stop getting that break, and the contractions are harder and stronger and faster than natural ones.  Much worse, by the time the drug is fully ramped up.  The crappy little chart below illustrates what it felt like for me, with normal contractions, and then drug supplied contractions. You’ll notice two pain lines in the latter.  It really felt that way – the contraction pain, and then the constant, unceasing pain that never, ever let up.  It was horrible.

Contractions Comparison

We had agreed on a safe word before I was induced.  I picked the word elephant.  By 4:00 ish, the contractions were pretty brutal and I started saying elephant during the contractions.  The nurse offered nitrous, which I used for the next couple of hours.  It did, I’ll be honest, very little, but it took the edge off.  And forced me to take slow deep breaths, which helped, as I was in pretty terrible pain.  I tried the shower, which was basically useless and totally uncomfortable, even while sucking back the gas.  It mainly just made me cold and David’s pants wet.

I guess I wasn’t clear enough with David and the doula, because I always knew that if I was induced, I would need an epidural.  I knew that I did not want it for a natural labour if I could help it, but oxytocin labour isn’t normal.  My yoga teacher (also a doula) told us that they are inhuman contractions, and that you almost always need an epidural to withstand the pain.  And she was right.  It’s not productive pain.  It’s closer to torture.  And they, as per my natural birth plan, kept deferring my request for pain relief, also knowing that the longer I could go without it, the more quickly I would progress.  I managed until 6:30 pm when it turned out to flat out begging and pleading.  I think my final argument (begging) was that there was productive pain, and there was suffering, and that this was no longer productive and could I please please please have something to make the suffering stop? In those 6 hours, I had only progressed to 5 cm.

The anesthesiologist arrived just before 7:00 pm and gave me a high dose epidural that had me able to breath and dozing within minutes.  The next two hours passed in about 20 minutes for me.  David and the doula dozed on the couch and the chair, respectively.  I eventually woke up and was able to feel the contractions but was not pained by them.  The nurse kept rolling me from one side to the other, but that was about it for movement – this was not a walking epidural.

Just before midnight, I was checked again and had only managed to progress to maybe 8 cm.  The doctor added an antibiotic to the IV stand, as according to what we told them, my water had broken 48 hours earlier.  (We did lie by a few hours about when my water broke.  We said midnight instead of 9:30 pm because I didn’t want anyone to yell at me.  Again, I don’t endorse this.  I just really, really did not want to be induced.)   Still, 50 hours of labour, including almost 12 with oxtocin, and I was only at 8?  That’s pretty classic failure to progress.  The doctor called in various OB/GYNs and none of them could tell which way the baby was facing.  As in, was this back labour and that is why she was stuck?  No one could tell.  We later found out the J’s fontanelles had basically already closed up within a week of birth, suggesting that they weren’t open enough for her head to squish and be born vaginally.  Certainly, between the hair and the fontanelles, no one could tell.  As well, I’d gone from fully effaced to not effaced at all – the cervix was ‘bunched up like a turtleneck’.  Probably because of her unyielding head slamming against it for twelve hours.

I dozed off between doctor’s visits and intrusive internal exams and being cathetered.   Eventually, I was abruptly woken at 2:00 am by another OB/GYN who announced, without any preamble, that I would be getting a c-section.  I didn’t take it well – I may have burst in to tears – and her attitude didn’t help.  A trio of OB/GYNs came in and lectured me about all the terrible things that could happen to me and the baby if I didn’t immediately consent to it, up to and including fetal death.  The baby had been on the monitor basically since we checked in, and there wasn’t even a heart rate deceleration at any point.  The baby was fine, and they were using mean scare tactics that immediately got my back up.  I asked, and eventually got, one more hour to try and progress further.  I hadn’t been moving much, so for the final hour I rotated in a new position on the bed every 5 minutes.  Around 3:00 am, the nicest of the OBs came back and checked me again.  He looked sad to have to tell me that there was still no progress.

So I had to consent to the c-section.  They came back in and when through the risk factors, which sounded EXACTLY like the risk factors they had listed when I didn’t want to have it, up to and including fetal death.  I cried, and signed the consent form.  They took David off to get changed in to scrubs, and the doula left, as she could not accompany us to the OR.  The nurse (my least favourite of the 3 I’d had that day, and in Calgary the nurse spends her whole shift just with you, in the room) gave me this really gross anti-nausea drink, which I immediately puked back up.  (I still wonder why my puke was neon yellow.  Is that the colour of stomach acid?  There certainly wasn’t anything else in my stomach.) She broke regulations to give me enough ice chips to wash the taste out of my mouth.

They wheeled me to the OR, flat on my back.  I felt like I was in a tv show, that’s how cliched it was.  The epidural had mostly worn off, but I knew I was about to get seriously medicated, so I just did my best to breathe through the pain.

They moved me on to the operating table and put nice warm contracting leg cuffs on and covered me in hot blankets, as I was shivering so hard my teeth were chattering.  I’m assuming it must have been in reaction to one of the drugs, as it went on for most of the surgery.  At least the spinal needle was already in – it was hard enough to stay still for that during contractions – I can’t imagine how much harder it would have been while having full body shakes.  Various doctors came in – I think David told me at one point there were a dozen people in the room.  However, they didn’t bring David in right away, and it made me panic.  I kept asking for him, and telling them not to start until they found him.  A nurse mentioned that he wasn’t in the change room, and it made me worry.  He was sitting outside OR in the ‘loneliest hallway in the world’, able to hear me ask for him but not being able to come in.

David said waiting here to be called in to the OR was lonely – the loneliest hallway in the world.

They eventually brought him in and surgery started right away.

The anesthesiologist was amazing.  That nice doctor blend of cocky and kind.  (After giving me the epidural, he declared with perfect confidence, and accuracy, that I would not have a headache.)   After I was transferred to the operating table, he started adding drugs to my IV line.  Things get pretty fuzzy for me at this point, but I know that there was a much stronger epidural, morphine, plus an anti nausea drug, and when the pain killing affect of those drugs wasn’t enough, he added something else to the line.  He was also the only doctor who I remember any interaction with, and he never left my head.  The surgery hurt – I don’t think the morphine took – and every time I winced or moaned, he checked over the curtain to see what was going on.  If it was pushing, he did nothing as apparently pushing and pressure are normal to feel, but for everything else, he reacted to keep me comfortable.

I am as stoned as I look

He also told David when to look over the curtain – to see our baby being born.  David said he had no intention of looking, but when the doctor said to, he couldn’t help but look.  Said it was gross and weird and pretty fucking amazing.

The view from behind the curtain, as they were stitching me back up.

Baby J was born at 4:05 am on March 6, 2012, weighing 8 pounds, 3 ounces.  54 and a half hours after my water broke, via c-section.

I remember one doctor telling another that “she looks healthy” and I so clearly remember my voice wobbling and tearing up as I asked, “it’s a girl?”  I guess they are so used to everyone knowing the sex of the baby before birth that there was no ceremony to the announcement – not even, “It’s a girl!”  Just a baby being taken over to the heating table and David got to go up there and see her.  At some point, they brought her over, all swaddled up, but I’ll be honest and admit I don’t really remember that part.  In fact, they took her away and David followed and then I passed right out, and woke up in the recovery room.  During that time, David got to hold her and feed her a bottle and cuddle.

Freshly born

I just remember waking up hurting and having to spend time in the recovery room trying to make small talk with the nurse.  David and the doctor showed up to tell me that J had an unsurprising but very bad tongue tie so they wanted to clip it right away.  I remember slurring something about David would have to be the one to sign the forms for it, because I didn’t think I could move.  Apparently I was very incoherent.

Eventually I got enough feeling back in my body for them to move me to a room.  Luckily, it was a private room (which only costs $40 a night and was worth every penny) because I had got feeling back in my body and the morphine had NOT given me the promised 12 hours of pain relief because I cried out every time we crossed a door jam and then screamed in agony as the nurses moved me in to the bed.  When asked about what level of pain it was out of 10?  It was 10.  It actually hurt worse than anything else that had happened over the last 3 days.  They must have given me something, because by the time David brought in our daughter, I can remember something other than agony, but I’ll be honest.  It’s all very fuzzy.  And I may have been weeping.  And it was 5:00 am after days of labour – with the last solid sleep being four days earlier.

Meeting my daughter for the first (coherent) time

She was small and red and angry and I had no idea what to do.  I think I tried to feed her and she latched on pretty well, and I remember that David went home around 7:30 am to get some sleep and I must have passed out eventually, because the next day was simply a blur of feedings and diaper changes and endless, ENDLESS sitting around the hospital bored out of my mind, wanting to go home, and sobbing.  I’ll talk about that next, this is long enough already.

First family picture

Birth Story, part 1

So, I think I may as well type this out, to get it out of my own head.

I had my second baby shower on Saturday afternoon.  The first one was with friends, the second was family and family friends – a combo of aunts and cousins and old family friends.  It ended around 5, and I hung out with my mother, my aunt and my cousin Kim for another couple of hours, chatting.  I left my mom’s house at 7, and came home and ate a late dinner with David and then started going through the presents, entering them in to a spreadsheet so I could write the thank you cards.  (What, I don’t like it to be  a task that lingers…  I’d already finished the ones from the first shower a week earlier.)  Around 9:30, I jumped up because I suddenly had to go to the bathroom, and as I did, a little bit of liquid came out.  Afterwards, I joked to David about how sexy late pregnancy is – incontinence and all.  “Or, haha, my water just broke.”  And then the water didn’t stop – just kept trickling out.  And then I panicked.  Hard.  I was so totally unready for this.  I had another week of work!  I hadn’t packed my office.  I hadn’t finished passing off my work. I hadn’t finished my Well Evaluations course.  The nursery wasn’t done.  The tidying I had planned to do on the week between leaving work and having a baby hadn’t even been started.  Let alone the 5 lunch dates I’d lined up, or the emotional work I knew I needed to do to be ready to have the baby.  I wasn’t ready yet in any way.

38 Weeks Pregnant

But there’s no arguing with leaking amniotic fluid.  I kept soaking pads, and I kept crying.  In the picture above, if you look closely, you can see my eyes and nose are red from the weeping.  We quickly moved in to work mode.  We packed a hospital bag, finished entering the presents in to the spreadsheet and tackled a few final nursery chores.  Around 11:30, we called my doula, who recommended I have a relaxing bath and then try to get some sleep, as contractions hadn’t started yet.

So we dozed.  My contractions started up around 3:00 am, and lasted for a couple of hours before tapering off again.  We got out of bed around 10:00 and went for a long walk around the reservoir, stopping at McDonald’s so David could eat lunch and I could pee/leak some more.  The walking helped the contractions, in that they were mildly happening.  I knew that we’d already cheated by not going to the hospital to get it looked at as soon as the waters broke, and that as soon as we crossed hospital doors I’d be signing up for induction at the very least, and I Did Not Want That.  Very VERY strongly.  I’d been working hard for months to have a natural birth.  I’d read the books – ALL the books.  I’d done prenatal yoga for 6 months.  I’d hired a doula.  I’d read up on pain and hypnosis and relaxation and the stages of labour.  I’d done the work, and I really, really wanted to have a natural birth.  And I felt that history and my body were on my side.  My mother was only in labour with me for 4 hours, and David’s mother for 6.5.  I have breeding hips.  I’d had a very easy pregnancy, heartburn aside.  I was far more worried (and prepared) to have the baby late and fast.  Honestly, early and slow didn’t really occur to me.   I was convinced that the baby would be born on March 21 (3 days late), because that’s my late father’s birthday.  Irrational?  Sure.  But we all like to believe that we can control the universe with our minds, right?

At any rate, the walking helped.  We talked to the doula, and she suggested nipple stimulation.  Which totally worked.  Like, crazy worked.  It took the contractions from intermittent to just about every 5 minutes quickly.  Bodies are so weird.  But, like before, the contractions eventually tapered off, only to reappear a few hours later.  We had a timing app, and it showed that they really would come hard and fast for a while, and then slide right back.  It was a little frustrating.  Our doula came over and suggested poses and positions, and eventually made dinner.  Labour started to hurt, and I worked through the yoga poses I’d learned, and bounced on the ball, and all the rest.  Around 1 am, the doula suggested that David go have a nap and she and I chatted for a couple of hours until the contractions were mostly gone, and then she suggested I go to bed.  Yes, for those keeping track, this was 29 hours after my water broke, and I was and am aware that I was potentially courting danger.  Don’t be like me.  But my amniotic fluid continued to be clear and just slightly salty, and have I said how much I did not want to be induced?  I may have been panicking hard about having the baby, but I was panicking harder about the cascade of intervention that I knew would happen as soon as I walked in to the hospital.

Correctly worried, as it turns out.

Tidbits

Mexico was just lovely.  We went to Cabo, because it was the shortest flight from Calgary.  We saw whales in the bay during breakfast, we read books, nice young men brought me icy drinks and I lost many games of crib.  It was a wonderful week away.  It also really helped when we found out it was +25oc in Cabo and -43oc in Calgary.  We left and the weather crashed to polar temperatures.  Excellent timing, us.

I wore a bikini for the first time in my life.   I figure as I had crossed over from ‘chubby’ to ‘very deeply pregnant’ this was the perfect time to wear a black polka dot bikini on the beach.  Which, ignoring a couple of asshole comments from a group of assholes from Texas (serious, so annoying, that whole lot), was quite lovely.  I was hoping to tan enough to make the stretchmarks look less visible, but no such luck.  I will also say that being in the pool while in the third trimester is just lovely.  My belly would actually lift a couple of inches in the water.  I may have to figure out how to spend the rest of this pregnancy in a pool.  Or at the very least, a bath tub.

I’m definitely getting to the unwieldy portion of pregnancy.  Rolling over is a 5 step process that wakes me up.  And sometimes David, despite the king size of the bed.  All that flopping and flailing and sweating…

Oh, about the whole EI thing?  My mother the tax accountant reminded me that not only do I pay $800 a year in to the system, so does whatever company I work for.  So realistically, my mat leave was paid of, between my husband and I, three years ago.  I don’t think, in the end, it even really matters.  This is a social program that as a nation we’ve deemed important, and I’m really really lucky to have that.  It’s certainly not free, but on a national level it works out.  I pay in to a system, as does the company I work for, and the system pays out in times of need.  And it clearly values the role of parental child care in the critical first year of babies lives.  Yay great white north.  (Too bad about the weather.)

At the doctor’s appointment a few weeks ago, the doc told me to start taking a 150 mg zantac every 12 hours and oh my god, you guys, it worked!  I can eat FOOD AGAIN!  After 12 weeks of heartburn following closely on 10 weeks of low grade nausea, this is a miracle.  Depending on how long the day or what I ate, I don’t always even take the second pill.

Despite two and a half weeks of being able to eat food, including a week at an all inclusive resort with all the virgin coconut drinks I could consume, I still have only managed to put on 9 pounds.  My body is fighting like hell not to put on weight.  It’s weird.  My belly, however, is huge.  And my fundus measurements are dead on, and the baby is generally very active, and my blood pressure’s at the very bottom of the desirable range.  So I’m just assuming all is well.

However.  At Friday’s appointment, she mentioned something about this not being brought up before due to my lack of consistency of care at the clinic, but that I need to have an another ultrasound.  (I have every second Friday off, therefore I book all my appointments on Fridays.  However, no doctor regularly works Fridays, so I see someone new almost every time.  I don’t really mind – the appointments are so short that what does it matter who checks the heartbeat?)  It’s weird, because in Alberta, you get one around 12 weeks and another around 20 and that’s it.  Unless there is a problem.  So, only after leaving, did I realize this means there might be a problem.  Huh.  Trying pretty hard to squash my anxiety over that one.  Helps that Skipper’s being all active and constantly assuring me of it’s aliveness.  In fact, today it feels like it’s trying to climb out through my belly button and that actually really hurts.  I suppose I’m feeling the stretch mark form as I sit here.

It’s funny, my reaction to food over the last 30 weeks.  I’m normally a bit of a foodie, as much as I hate that term.  I have a bookshelf full of cookbooks, I’m an adventurous cook and eater, I’ve actually written a cookbook (Christmas gift), I can explain most terms off a fancy menu off the top of my head and I read a lot of food blogs.  I collect recipes like some people collect hockey cards.  But with the first trimester came low grade nausea and a complete indifference to food.  With the second came the crippling heartburn and my diet shifted heavily towards Lucky Charms and ice cream, the only two foods that never gave me heart burn, and sometimes even would quell it for a couple of hours. David has eaten a ton of frozen burrito lunches and dinners, along with many scrambled eggs in tortillas and random frozen meals.  I never have random frozen meals – it’s just not the way I like to cook, and to eat.  Until I got pregnant, and then, suddenly, food became resoundingly MEH.  It has really added to the sense of alien-ness of this pregnancy.  (What, I only called it alien parasite for a few months.)  My body is off doing it’s own thing with very little input from me, and now I can’t even be bothered to EAT?  WTF.  The heartburn pills are helping – when you’re not burping up acid every few breaths, it’s easier to want to eat – but I’m now 8 months along and the kid’s really pushing on my stomach and lungs, so I can’t eat as much anyway.  Actually, thinking about it, I’ve only had The Hunger once, at about 8 weeks.  It was ‘if I don’t eat now I will die/faint/kill someone’.  So I ate, and then it never happened again.
Pregnancy is so so weird.

2012 Goal

Well, I guess I should mark my intention or resolution or what ever for the year.  After all, 2012 is the End of The World As We Know It, right?  So may as well have a good last year…  *eye roll*  (Side note – I took a lot of Latin America Studies courses, and it’s not like the Mayans actually believed that the end of the Long Count Calendar equalled the end of the world.  Just the end of a major cycle.  And also?  Let’s please not forget that as a cultural empire, they collapsed around 900 AD.  They may not have, in fact, been all-knowing, if they didn’t see that coming…)

Anyway, 2012 is going to be a year of massive transitions for me.  What with, you know, giving birth and all.   And the whole not working for the vast majority of the year thing.  And it is, on the whole, rather terrifying.

I have had some form of job since I was 18, on top of years of babysitting before that.  There’s only been one 3 month period when I wasn’t working, and it was a circumstantial thing involving crushing depression.  And I think I may have picking up shifts at a couple of part time jobs during that period.  I’ve never collected Employment Insurance, I’ve never been out of work.  I worked 3 part time jobs for most of university, picking up shifts as I could.  (Catering, concerts and special events for the city.  Luckily all were occasional evenings and thus never interfered with school.  And I got to see a ton of great concerts and work a ton of weddings, which was helpful when it came time to plan my own. Once you’ve tied on a couple of hundred chair covers?  Knowing how much time it took and therefore cost?  You too would never have it done either.)  I got an interview as the week I applied for my first job out of university, and 7.5 years later, I’m still at the same company.  (If I make it to 10, I can get a 10 piece cuisinart cookware set! You need 25 before you can get the kitchen aid mix master.)   At any rate, I’ve always been a good little worker bee, and now, for the first time in my adult life, I won’t be.  Oh, I’m sure I’ll be working very hard, what with the small creature I need to keep alive and don’t think I don’t know how much work that sounds like, but it’s a hell of a lot different than going to work and sitting in my fancy chair with my wonderful view on the Rocky Mountains and creating reports and managing data and ordering pizza.

And the whole keep a small creature alive thing is pretty damn terrifying in it’s own rights.  I mean, David and I are responsible for Skipper for, well, the REST OF OUR LIVES.  The panic from that has finally subsided a little, but only a little.

It means that I can’t make plans for 2012, beyond to remember to breathe, and to surrender to the experience.  To enjoy the highs and lows of our tiny baby, and the blessings of having a year at home to do so.  It means that so much will change, and that hopefully we can make sure than some things don’t, too much.  That we choose to hold on to the core of US.  The travel (2 trips to Mexico already planned for 2012) and the rock solid foundation of love and the belief that the best New Year’s Eve is spent in the basement, just the two of us, with Lego and bubbles.  So instead of making any plans for this year, because I have no idea of what the hell is going to happen or how our lives will change, beyond the fact that I know they will, I herby resolve to surrender to the experience.

Hey, it’s a goal I might actually succeed at…  I hope.