My Birth Pool is Here!!!

Kevin – pulling out the Bugaboo….in all its bits and parts

Well, things are starting to feel like a birth is going to happen. Not imminently or anything, but the pool has arrived and my last day of work is this Friday.

I had intended to stick it out until June 10th, a week before my initial due date (which has been changed about a billion times, so that I am not just saying “we are having a baby sometime in June”), but I decided last weekend that I needed some time for myself. I need some time to transition into this new life, so I am taking it!

We have gotten a good deal done in the last few weeks. We took a trip to England to visit K’s parents and to collect our new fancy-pants stroller (which I admit cost more then our second hand car). Currently, the only passenger in our Bugaboo is Eliot (furry baby from older Moses Basket Post), but it is ready and waiting for our little man.

We also spent last weekend stocking up on stuff for our homebirth…..towels, linens, faceclothes, maternity maxi pads (long and thick!), Heinz Baked Beans and lots of British Detective Series (what else do you need?).

I have also spent a lot more time listening to my Hypno Birthing C.D., and reading Angela Horn’s amazing website about Homebirth in the UK. My prenatal coach (and super-lady-friend-radical-midwife) read some of the stories and has assured me that much of what is written on that site is pretty accurate and not over or under playing the realities of birth.

On the midwife front: I have a new midwife. It has been an interesting journey realizing that midwife does not automatically equal non-medicalized approaches to birth. Nor does it automatically equal being a supportive, compassionate and professional caregiver. Between the three no-show appointments we experienced with our old midwife, her attempt to pass me off to a gynie in my 35th week and her inability to help me with options saw both Kevin and I decide that we had no other choice but to find new care. We were lucky. I feel that our new midwife team is supportive, informed and totally focused on the things that are important in our family. There were a couple of hectic, scary, nerve wracking and horror filled days two weeks ago as I tried to find a midwife to take me on at this late stage, but all is well now and we are ready to rock and roll.

I have been drinking my raspberry leaf tea like a mad woman and the Braxton Hicks are giving my belly a Tai-Bo work out like I have never had before. I am also having wicked nerve pain in the front of my right thigh. I am pretty sure this is related to the pressure of baby’s head in my crotchal region – which is persistent, strong and increasing with each passing day.

I have been eating a bit more lately – because of the little bean’s descent into my pelvis, my stomach has been able to hold more nummy food – like all the vegan icecream I have been making, vegan grilled cheese, and lots of really tasty avocado salads, and the great aubergine dip Kevin is famous for. Mmmmmm….it is so nice to be eating again and not feel like I am going to explode. I think that this has been one of the misconceptions that pregnancy killed for me. I really was never HUNGRY….or able to eat too much – it just wouldn’t fit. I am not sure if that is because of how short I am and how little my torso is…..but it has been a little disappointing. Oh well, I have managed to gain loads of weight and grow a healthy baby anyway….so the gorging can wait until I start breastfeeding I guess.

Come on little baby – keep on growing, keep on kicking and keep on cuddlin’ (I just know he is cuddling in there – he has a granny who eat, breaths and sleeps tiny snuggles, so I know he will be primed for good snuggles as soon as he gets out)

Mmmm…I promise to post pictures of my new Mr. Turtle Pool, I mean my new Birth Pool. I want to set it up so badly, but we should maybe wait until the weekend……


A Scattered Post

I know my last post was a little on the venom-infused side. I know this. But I am not ok with apologizing for it. So, I will stand by my feelings and keep on reading my Ina May ChildBirth books and hope to hell that all goes to plan – in the end.

My baby is massive. At least he feels, looks, scans as pretty big. Though, I am confident that this has more to do with a miscalculation of due dates and not the actual growth of my son. Either way, I am pretty sure that he will find his way out. I trust him. Let’s just hope he trusts me and all my wild ways.

I have been an exceptionally lucky pregnant mamma. I want to attribute this to my lifestyle – my vegan ways, my every day workouts since the end of uni, and my attempts to be as Eco as I can. But, hey, maybe I just have a body made for making babies? Maybe this is just one of the things I am good at? (along with….singing..nope, pottery…nope, cuddling…yes!)

My body hasn’t given me any of the kick back you read about in What to Expect When You Are Expecting. I want to challenge this book (for more then this reason) because the more I chat with women, the more I find my way into the mommy club, the less inclined I am to believe that this sickly, wretched-body, zombie approach to pregnancy is the norm, with only the second trimester offering any relief. Of course there are lots of women who have a horrible time with the morning sickness, nausea, etc. But, I think, that for the most part, women do remarkable, and their bodies handle things with the stride and stamina needed to push that thing out of us. We aren’t sickly and don’t need much more than your respect and the occasional shoe tied (thanks Darren).

I have yet to enter into the world of varicose veins, heavy duty stretch marks (I have a few and wear them like a warrior), hemorrhoids (three cheers for vegetables and flax seed), and patchy skin. I am big and getting up out of bed is about as fun as watching an episode of Benny Hill (fun for you, not so fun for me), but, come on. This is life I am making here. I can’t get more crafty or creative then this. One toe at a time this body made another body. Bravo.

I have a great photo to share: (look at those hooters – I haven’t had hooters in years!)

It’s from our trip home and is only a tiny way to show how excited my mom is about this baby. (I think she might even be more excited then Kevin and I?) She was cool though. Knowing my ‘hands off’ approach, she was always really good with asking if she could feel him moving – which he did throughout the trip. My sister was the most hilarious though – actually jumping back and shrieking when he moved under her touch. I love that she is 20.

(Fuzzy) Baby On Board

One thing that both Kevin and I are most anxious about is how our fuzzy family members will accept the arrival of our little man. Anxious in a funny, can’t wait for them to meet kind of way.

There are loads of articles that you can read, spanning the spectrum of ‘Get Rid of Your Pets Before You Even Conceive’ to ‘Heck, Let Them Suckle Right Along With Your NewBorn’. There is also the ubiquitous “Here are some helpful tips” articles that all online magazines like to offer their readers.

Despite this plethora of reading material we have decided to play it by ear, without the option of ditching the kitties even existing on our radar. There isn’t an obscene amount of concern on either of our virgin-parent-parts, both Sylvia and Eliot don’t seem to use their claws for much more than ‘making muffins’ on our tummies when they have been lulled into a 10-second kitten state of bliss.

HOWEVER….it does seem to be a good thing that we have opted for doing a balance of co-sleeping and cotsleeping (probably mostly co-sleeping for the first few weeks, while Aidan and I – and my boobs – adjust to night feeds) because who did I find in the brand new Moses Basket this morning when I sleepily poked my head into the slowly transforming backroom – baby’s bedroom? Eliot had decided that she would cuddle herself down into the new basket a few months before Aidan could get in on the action. Thank goodness my wonderful mom, who went through the horror of Belgian customer service to order all the new bedroom furniture for us, isn’t too picky about which one of her grandbabies gets to sleep in the basket first. (thanks mom, we really appreciate your kindness and support).

Big Mamma Update

Rather than wasting space and energy in explaining my way-too-long absence, I will point you towards today’s post on VeganCowGirl, which explains the annoying and now relieved barrier to my blogging.

Baby Update!
As of yesterday I entered the last week of my second trimester. The truth is: I feel amazing, wonderful and fantastic. Admittedly, I feel huge, huge, huge, but my overall emotional, physical and mental well-being has been great for the last three weeks. I charged through a walk-a-ton of a trip to London, strolled around Amsterdam and spent the past weekend walking through Brussels with my mother-in-law to be. The baby seems to be quite happy in my belly, he moves constantly, with his big jam sessions falling in the typical evening-bed-time hours and early mornings.

There is no feeling better than feeling this little man move inside me. I have really started to connect with his energy and I acknowledge his life as it changes and expands with each passing week. I can tell that he feels my hand on him, and I am sure that he responds to Kevin’s voice, moving with great energy when Kevin happens upon my bloated form in the parking lot after a long day apart.

Mentally: At dinner last night, Kevin talked about his confidence that we are now both in a mental space where we are ready for the ups and downs of parenting (though, with the full awareness that we actually have very little idea, except our own ideals, of what is ahead of us). I have begun to feel this pleasant mental aura of happiness and contentment. Something I wasn’t expecting with pregnancy. I find myself hardly able to work up a bluster or fury these days. I am quiet and happy and feel like a little ray of sunshine is warming me up all the time. This is not a normal feeling for this veganmamma. She is known for her fire and ire, her upstart ways and her shouting howls. Of course, if anyone messed with anyone in my family, my baby, my body or the planet, I think they would still get an angry skunk of an argument from me….but other little things are slipping away from my radar.

Physically: Still getting to the gym. Have switched from running or biking to inclined walking. The biking was killing my bum – with all the extra weight, my once-broken tailbone was aching after just five minutes of spinning. I have kept up with Yoga, though mostly through the great videos I have bought.

Food wise – I haven’t really had anymore cravings, with the big exception of peanut butter, which I have been eating on bagels and in oatmeal. It’s just oh, so good. And the Whole Earth Organic variety is just my favourite. I have been doing lots of meal planning, so our meals have been veggie, varied and vitamin-rich.

I continue to be under the care of a great team of midwives, who have a very natural, handsoff approach: she didn’t even weigh me at my last appointment! We also have the input and advice of a great woman who will be coaching us through our pre-natal courses. It is great to have grown big in her presence. I trust her completely and appreciate all of her advice and support.

My only heartache is how much I miss my mom and sister right now. I can’t wait for my trip home to Canada (though, I am sure I will be hating the flight from beginning to end) in a few more weeks.

I promise to never leave the blog alone for so long. I imagine that this will take over much more of my writing time than VeganCowGirl, and despite earlier thoughts – they might even morph into one blog when Aidan is born.

End of Week 18 Update

Tomorrow the baby is 19 weeks. Despite the wretchedness of being off work, Week 18 was great. We had an opportunity to see the baby via ultrasound again, which is, as I am sure other mommies will agree, is such a fantastic and reassuring feeling.

Our very weird and severe obgyn, who would win no awards for her personality, assured us in brisk tones that the baby was measuring to perfect scores and all of the bits looked right and appeared to be where they were supposed to be.

Speaking of bits. There was a ‘bit’ on the screen that blew the other sex ‘suggestion’ out of the water. We are actually having a boy. In direct contrast to the too-early and utterly wrong calculations from an earlier appointment, we saw some pretty clear evidence on Wednesday night that proved that we are baking a little boy Kirkham-Healey. The ob said, almost immediately, “he is showing you the sex” and I said, “Oh, that’s his…oh look at that”. We are of course thrilled and had no feelings of disappointment or let down, but are just so ecstatic to be making what appears to be a really healthy baby.

This week I have noticed a load of kicking, punching and moving about. My belly feels like a WWF wrestling ring, and I find myself constantly stopping conversations with others so that I can rub my belly and talk to the baby when he throws a shoulder or leg into my gut. Bring it little buddy.

I have continued to fill out this week – amazing how it really does just pop – and there you are – big belly and all. I feel round and solid in a way that I think being pregnant should feel. It’s great to walk into our usual restaurants, shops and stores where people, who can now notice the baby, share their congrats and best wishes.

Kevin brought up some important conversation on Friday night. He wants to talk about and have ready contingency plans, code words and understandings that will help us deal with any WHAT IF scenarios that might happen during the birth. We know that we want natural, we know that we want to do it by ourselves, but he makes good points – “if you say you can’t take it any more, and you ask for pain meds, what do I do?”, and “what if you do end up at the hospital and the drs are recommending one thing and the midwife is saying something different?” We are going to go over all of these elements and address each one in our birth plan.

Becoming parents has also made us think about other things, like life insurance, accidental death and custody of our child. Jesus. Oh well, I think I might spend the last week of our fourth pre-natal month NOT thinking about things that are so grownup and finish making the baby’s mobile that I started this week.

Prenatal Yoga

I had perhaps the best gift given to me today when I was able to convince Kevin to do a yoga pose with me. It was only enhanced by the fact that he was doing tree pose, while wearing our new baby terry cloth towel (with the little hat bit). Brilliant.

I wanted to share a video that I found today that demonstrates some great prenatal yoga. The lesson is done in two bits – one a sitting sequence and the other a standing sequence. Neither of the videos are intense or ‘too much’ for anyone who has done yoga, but they are excellent stretchers.

I start a prenatal yoga class in Brussels in the coming weeks (the next spot is mine, just waiting for a current student to give birth). I have heard rave reviews about this teacher from my midwife and colleagues, and I look forward to working with her both before and after the baby. For the moment I am sticking with the yoga I learned while travelling in China and all of the great pilates classes from my favourite spot in the world: the YMCA in Toronto!

I feel pretty confident that the baby is digging the yoga/pilates, which I do in conjunction with 200 squats, lunges, push ups, and mild cardio. I tend to feel loads of kicks and jams during each exercise session – I am going to take that as a good sign.

There are loads of resources, voices and books out there that promote yoga and pilates during pregnancy as a tool for natural pain relief during the birth, and of course, I feel the stretches and poses making me more aware of the bits and pieces of me that are going to need to be stronger and stretchier over the next few months.

And if you think my little button of a baby isn’t going to be a yoga baby from the get go than you are dead wrong. I have already picked out a baby yoga mat!

I did read that there are some yoga positions we should avoid during pregnancy, such as the Shoulder Stand (that just makes sense) and even some of the side stretches and Cow Pose. But, I am not a midwife, yogi, or doctor, so don’t take my word for it – consult your practitioner of choice and listen to your body.

Getting Bigger….

Despite all the really nice women who cut my hair, and give me pedicures cooing on about how small I still I am….I FELL LIKE A KILLER WHALE. It actually took effot to heft my butt out of bed last night. It is an interesting experience for me to essentially be giving up my body – espeacially when over the last six years or so I became so obsessed with exercise, fitness, health, eating and staying healthy. I am now watching myself pop out of every piece of clothing I own – including my bras (I actually have breasts now).

This little button is still so very small, and yet, I feel so very very big. Giant. Huge. Massive.

I am totally ok with this shift. I don’t really worry about long term effects of the weight I am gaining – I eat healthy, I exercise and I will continue doing all of this when I am a new momma (energy and daddy-watching-baby-reality willing). So, any stretch marks that I get, or any permanent change to my cup size is ok – I can live with it. In the end, I am making life so bring on the pounds. But…..I miss my clothes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The baby is growing quite a bit right now. Things are changing in my tummy and I am showing – despite what the stylist told me at the hair dresser yesterday.

The only stress we seem to have right now is that I am home….from work…..there is a little concern about a totally normal childhood ailment at my work right now, and we are waiting to see if I have the antibodies for it. Fingers crossed because I miss the kids and teaching so much.

I get to see the button tonight!!! We have our 18 week ultrasound tonight and I just can’t wait!!! I will be sure to post pictures as soon as we can.