Monday 11 August 2014


This weekend we got around to the first phase of house re-organization, which meant clearing the designated room for October Baby.

I'd picked the room, and planned how to clear it out, for quite a few weeks now. But taking the actual step felt overwhelming for a long time, so it was easily put off. People would ask: "Have you prepared XYZ?" "..thought about #$%$?" "decided on &*%^?" and we would say: "No - we can't do any of that until we've moved our stuff out of the room." What finally decided the matter was the purely practical consideration that it makes sense to do this work in August, when I am not working, Mr. Turtle has a break from graduate school, and we both have the momentum and energy. I can do things because they make sense.

So. This is the room before any painting/furniture/decorating. Everything is emptied out leaving a blank canvas. This is the space of which I was fearful.

Why? I think it has to do with the fact that when you decide to have a child, you create a space in your life and heart for them. We created that space when we started trying to conceive.  At first it didn't feel like a big empty space, but as the months dragged on, it did start to feel that way. Because the devil of it is, the space doesn't go away just because there's nobody filling it.

Although I carried the space within me and more or less lived with it, I had a fear of seeing it physically manifest. And I counted myself lucky many times that we have a modest house that the two of us could easily "fill": the extra rooms could be be appropriated as a dressing room, a music room. How lucky that we live in a mixed neighbourhood where not every house has a young family in it. How much worse living with infertility could have been if our home was a house in a suburb with many big empty rooms that we planned to fill with kids.

So how do I feel about the space now?

Well. I'm fine with it. It's just a room, and a pretty one. We're doing what we need to do. And it's OK.  And I enjoy the challenge to re-organize the house.

That's been a bit of a pattern throughout this pregnancy. I have feared a lot of things: making announcements, going for tests, people asking about the pregnancy, clearing a room, hiring a doula....but when we actually do them (or they just happen), it's OK. It even feels good and a bit exciting.

As for what we intend to do with the room, that's still coming together. I do want to paint it, because the current paint job is a bit dingy and I feel that a new colour scheme would represent a new beginning. My thought was a cool, soothing colour, such as pale green or light brown, offset with bright accents such as yellow/orange curtains or artwork. Since Ember is an October baby I thought an autumn theme would work well.

Almost-30-weeks pregnancy updates:

  • Distinct movements, especially in morning/later at night. However, I often feel her throughout the day, which is hugely reassuring. Her movements aren't painful or uncomfortable, although they are sometimes startling. She can kick hard but usually doesn't.  Sometimes I can feel her "winding up" for a big kick, however. Nice to be warned. The weirdest feeling is when she kicks/punches my bladder while I'm going pee LOL.
  • I have occasional pains in hips/groin but nothing constant, and I actually feel very good at this point.
  • Bending over is getting difficult. Yesterday I asked Mr. Turtle to cut my toenails for me because I found it uncomfortable.
  • Some days I can do quite a bit of physical activity (walking, chores etc.) and other days I can't: I get tired very quickly. Walking uphill can leave me breathless, but regular walking is usually fine. Sitting for long periods of time (e.g. a hour or more) leaves my sit bones aching, so during band rehearsal or if watching a show I have to make sure I take breaks to move around. I can definitely feel the extra 20 lbs I'm carrying at this point: I've never weighed this much in my life and it does take more effort to haul it all around.
  • Crazy dreams. I've had them throughout the pregnancy but they seem extra vivid lately. But less scary. I still dream of scary things but they never quite get me.
  • Mother instinct. Some weeks ago Mr. Turtle and I were in a restaurant and a baby was crying. He asked me: "Does that make you want to go to the baby?" (His colleagues at work have been filling him in on what to expect.) I thought about it, and said "No." Well. That's changed lately. Anytime I hear a baby cry I want to go see what's up. I am especially vulnerable to small wiggly babies. I want to snatch at them.  The nice part is that babies and small children seem to like me. This might sound ridiculous, but it is hugely reassuring to me that all the babies and toddlers I've seen lately like to make eye contact with me and smile.  I feel like they are telling me it's OK and I really can be trusted.
  • Emotions: Still very volatile, but overall positive. There's a difference between riding a wave of emotion and being overwhelmed with anxiety. My favourite place to be emotional is in the shower. There's something about the shower that can make me all weepy. But not sad weepy, just need-to-let-it-out weepy.
In summary: We have space. It is not scary empty space, it is space with potential. Ember and I are doing fine. Emotional but still capable of rational thought. Onward.

This is from a hike we took last weekend at 29+ weeks.

Sunday 3 August 2014

New pages: services, resources, stuff

I've added links to a couple of pages on the right hand menu:

Baby Items we are buying/considering

Birth/Parenting resources we are using

My main motivation for starting these pages is to keep track of my own ideas/research, especially with regards to the baby items. It's all very new and confusing to me, and even though I am slowly coming to understand my own values and decision making process, I'm having to look at a lot of stuff and think about how I feel about it. Safety is also a big concern so I'm looking up safety research on every product and practice, where available!

So far it's all been internet research but Mr. Turtle and I have decided that Soon we will venture to the baby stores, camera in hand, for Research Purposes Only. Not ready to buy anything yet!

Having said that, if anyone is so inclined to offer comments or thoughts on any of the pages, or has experience and/or knowledge to share, please do! commenting is enabled on both pages. On the other hand, if you'd rather ignore musings about baby stuff, also easy to do! If I have a lot to say about a book/experience/product, I might blog abut it here, but for the most part I think I'll keep thoughts and musings about products on the separate pages.

I do have a basic philosophy about baby stuff:

1) I really only want to start with the necessities. A good place to start for us is the Bare Bones Baby Guide from Unclutterer.  Not saying we'll follow it to the letter, but I like the idea.

2) Our house is a modest size, and based on how things look at this point anyway,  we are Staying Put for five years minimum. We have all kinds of reasons not to want bigger mortgage/more chores and maintenance/longer commutes (like, we value our sanity). But that means especially now we have to be careful about how much Stuff we put into our space. I hate clutter and have a horror of living in a pile of crap that spills out of every nook and cranny. So I want to be really thoughtful about baby stuff.

3) Compact, lightweight, simple and adaptable without dozens of features and gizmos appeals to me. I don't like to live in clutter and I don't like to look at it or spend hours figuring out wtf it does, either.

4) I'm a walker and a transit user. I travel light. Pounding the pavement (or grass) feels good. I'm afraid we will have to get a second car when baby arrives; I would love to find a way around it but I don't think it can be avoided. That will probably be the biggest immediate baby-related expense. Still, I only see myself using the car when I Have To, and loading and unloading tons of heavy fancy-ass gear is not my idea of fun.

5) Safety. I want the best and healthiest for baby. I don't want to be paranoid, but I'm really uncomfortable with compromising here in any way.

6). Money. It's not a huge concern as we are in a good place financially. But, expenses will go up, income will go down, so it's a factor. I would rather our money goes toward baby's education savings fund/family experiences rather than tons of stuff. I would love to do second hand/hand me down for anything that is not a health/safety hazard. Unfortunately we have few peers with babies/young children (well I have none; Mr. Turtle has a few more contacts at work). There are second hand stores nearby though which could be a resource for clothes/furniture items. I do have some weird consumerist guilt that if I don't get the best and newest for baby that I don't appreciate her enough. I'm not sure where that is coming from. Not from the way I was raised, that's for sure.

Anyway. The summary: Starting to get organized. Comments and perspectives welcome, especially if they reflect on philosophy above. This is all new and scary. Also, feel free to ignore this whole matter.

Friday 1 August 2014

Clear sailing

Ultrasound at 28 weeks on Thursday July 31st, and regular appointment on Friday August 1st.

In brief, all looks good!

The ultrasound (my sixth!!) was requisitioned because the anatomy scan at 19 weeks had shown a fibroid "adjacent to the cervix." It was unclear if the fibroid could potentially block the birth canal, leading to necessity for Caesarian birth.

We got to review the results right after the ultrasound (why I really like going to Maternal Fetal Medicine!) The fibroid is 6cm, which is fairly large, but it is not protruding into the uterus. Baby's head is pointed down, and the fibroid does not look like it is in the way. They want to take another look at 34 weeks, but it looks like we are cleared for a vaginal birth!

Ember measured 2.3 lbs on the ultrasound, and all growth and development was normal. Heartrate of 136. She is definitely a girl. She scored 8/8 on the biophysical profile.

Today I went for follow-up/regular appointment at the maternity clinic. I passed all my recent tests.

Glucose Tolerance test - All 3 blood tests over 2 hours were normal: no gestational diabetes!

Blood iron levels are good.

No bacteria in urine.


It was a  good way to end my week, which hadn't started so well. After all my stressing over food recalls, what do you know, I got sick last Friday. I woke up in the night with diarrhea and threw up a few times in the morning. Of course I was quite worried not to mention wretched and called the clinic right away. The doctor there reassured me that since I did not have a fever it was unlikely to be an infection. She said if it got worse or fever developed to go to Emergency and they would do a test. I started to feel better quite quickly however, and never developed a fever, so I chose to recover in the comfort of my own bed rather than sitting for hours in Emergency on a Friday (double yuck). I have been fine since and Ember has been moving about plenty, so it looks like I can let this go. When I discussed with the doctor again today she said that no fever plus short duration looks like stomach flu. As she said "we like things that go away quickly."

Of course....this and various other bogeys will stay in the back of my mind as long as I'm pregnant. They live there. But after getting this weeks results I'm picturing a Greek chorus standing in front of me chanting:

You can calm the hell down.
You can calm the hell down.
You can calm the hell down.
...right about now?

Yeah. Sigh.

Another positive step we are taking is to finally hire a doula. I've known since before I was pregnant that I would hire a birth support person, but it became one of those things that I kept putting off actually doing, even though I had a list of recommendations from a former work colleague. Finally, reading The Art of Conscious Parenting made me realize that I actually do care about the conditions in which I give birth, and that I do have wants and needs and desire support. 
So I did something about it. We have interviewed one doula already, whom we both really liked, and we meet someone else tomorrow. I find it a bit stressful to have to talk to more than one person and make a decision, mainly because I don't like rejecting people, especially nice people. But all the literature said talk to more than one doula, so we will.

We have also registered for the Birthing from Within course. Even though we are already registered for one prenatal class, I liked the sound of this one because the focus is on mental and spiritual preparedness as well as birth information and techniques. I feel like I need that kind of preparation, especially with my tendency toward anxiety and catastrophic thinking. I'm not so much afraid of the pain of birth (at least at this point) as I am of my reaction to it. I doubt anyone takes birth in stride, but I would at least like to go in with some positive mental preparedness, not just "hoping for the best preparing for the worst" (you all know which of those I would focus on more).

August is also set aside as our month to do some real re-organizing and purchasing in preparation for a baby. Gulp. Yes, this still kinda freaks me out. I've spent money on the pre-natal classes, but  rearranging our stuff and buying baby stuff means that every time I walk through the house I'll be reminded that we are actually expecting baby to arrive. Not that I ever forget about her. But somehow not buying baby stuff has felt like a way to protect myself from disappointment, although that makes no sense whatsoever. Still, times move on. At present I own exactly 3 baby items. A bottle and a onesie that Maternity gave me for joining their membership. A blanket my mom knitted for us. Oh, and I do have a diaper bag because I accidentally bought one last year.

Is there a prize for Least Shopping Completed at 28 weeks? Or could it be that someone out there is an even bigger avoider? Stand up for applause if you are LOL!

Thinking of everyone and their journeys, wherever you are at.