You can’t always get what you want

There’s a running theme when you’re pregnant, and the Rolling Stones song says it best. With hot tubs, raw fish, deli meats, soft cheeses, alcohol, caffeine, horseback riding, Rollerblading, contact sports, and every OTC drug save Tylenol off-limits, pregnant women not only can’t always get what we want — we can hardly ever get what we want! Craving some Feta on that Greek salad? Can’t have it. Planning to hit the slopes? Think again! Have cold and want instant relief? Not gonna happen.

And the real kicker is that if we get a cold, we’re going to suffer (sans drugs) longer because a pregnant woman’s immune response is somewhat suppressed so that her body will not reject the pregnancy. Thus, this past week, a slight tickle in my throat quickly turned into a flu, which rapidly morphed into the worst sinus infection known to woman.

Within two days, both nasal passages were completely clogged — enough so that taking a large bite of food became a flirtation with asphyxia. As if that weren’t enough, the infection pounded from my forehead to my teeth, and my eyes threatened to pop from their sockets from the intense pressure. My lips were parched and my throat raw from breathing exclusively through my mouth since there was no blowing out what Chris called the “snotcrete.” However, since I didn’t have a fever and couldn’t blow out any mucus to see what color it was, I convinced myself that I couldn’t be sure it was an infection (which would be treated with safe antibiotics, rather than those naughty multi-ingredient OTC meds).

However, on the fifth night of my illness, much like my lips from all that mouth-breathing, I cracked. Sleepless for nights after being awakened the instant I’d fall asleep by my own labored snoring and drooling — and exhausted by day after caring for a toddler whose idea of fun involves leaping from furniture item to furniture item like a wee, topheavy orangutan and occasionally pausing to try to clamber onto the mantel from the sofa arm — I decided that one little packet of Neo Citran couldn’t possibly be that bad. After an hour on the BC Nurses’ hotline, a transfer to the pharmacy hotline and an automatic callback after it proved to be even busier than the nurses’ line, I got the all-clear to take the medicine for one day only. I got six hours of broken sleep, and it felt like the best sleep I’d ever had.

Oh, and apparently if you feel a sinus infection in your teeth for more than eight hours, it’s OK to go to the ER. So I essentially wasted three days wondering whether I actually had a sinus infection at all, when in fact it was a fairly serious infection.

The next day, I went to the walk-in clinic and got a prescription for amoxicillin. A day later, I went from feeling as if mucus-induced suffocation was imminent to feeling like I had a really bad cold. Today, I felt like I had a moderate cold. If I’m lucky, tomorrow I’ll feel like I’ve got a slight cold and soon I will be better again.

The ironic thing is that the one thing that really helped, the amoxicillin, was the one thing that is actually considered safe for pregnant women. But after seven months of self-deprivation, it’s easy to assume you won’t be able to help yourself without harming the baby.

Fortunately, I can get what I want currently. That thing is a good night’s sleep without snoring, drooling, or waking up because I can’t breathe. Tonight, I’m hitting the hay early and luxuriating in relative wellness until Maddi’s 6 a.m. wakeup.

And here they are — the Week 32 belly shots!

Crunch time

It’s that time of the pregnancy again — the time when I start counting the hours until my next chiropractic appointment. Of course, this time I haven’t been going to the chiropractor regularly, having wisely avoided three-week road trips and the like. Up until the past week or so, my workouts have kept my back in tiptop shape and my joints have been, for the most part, pretty comfy.

But lately I’ve begun feeling pregnant. Really, really pregnant. I’ve been having pregnant moments for a month now — getting out of bed, walking around the mall for too long, things like that. But now I feel hugely pregnant all the time. As I well should! Already I have gained 20 pounds, and we’ve still got 11 weeks to go. And what do I have to show for it? A large wardrobe of maternity tops that don’t quite reach the top of my lovely maternity pants. Apparently, my belly has gone over the arbitrary growth limit set by Motherhood Maternity and is now in unknown territory. (This happened with Maddi too, but let me just say that while a midriff-exposing maternity tee is kind of funny in April, it’s much more serious when your bare belly hangs out in the Canadian winter.)

Anyway, all this hugeness has finally gotten to me. My bones have absolutely given up the good fight and are now screaming under the extra 20 pounds they have to carry. My back threatens to spasm if I stay in one position too long. And thanks to our little guy’s low position and the damage already done by his sister, my hips and coccyx loudly insist that they’re going to crack at any second, dumping their cargo unceremoniously on the floor of whatever grocery store is lucky enough to have me as a customer when the inevitable happens.

Chris can tell when I’m arising from a bed or chair, even from another room, because my agonized groans can be heard throughout the house. Clearly, chiropractic treatment is in order here. And my time will come in just six days and 90 minutes.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

In other news, we’ve finally started shopping for our wee boy. In the closet, we now have a baby-blue velour Boppy cover (pink ginham was out of the question!) and a little blue sleeper. We’ve bought new bibs and pacifiers in boy-friendly colors and picked up some blue flannel sheets. We have a favorite crib bedding picked out, although it’s back-ordered and we’re exploring other options. And we are almost decided on a double stroller.

Our little guy even has his own baby registry, although it’s quite sparse and mostly clothing since there are very few baby items we don’t already have. Let’s just say that Mommy will do anything for a goodie bag and $5 off our next purchase at Toys R Us. We’re not sure if they meant to put a brand-new Avent bottle (our favorite kind!) in the goodie bag with all the brochures and samples, but we’re certainly not planning to bring it to their attention.

It’s finally starting to feel as if he’s on his way here. And why shouldn’t it? We’ve got 11 short weeks (maybe less!) before my tired old pelvis gives out and unleashes a new Phillips on the world.

And now, for your viewing pleasure, I present the Week 29 preggie pics:

What’s kickin’?

We are now officially in the third trimester, and as always, I am ready to be unpregnant. Just 13 more weeks!

This past week, our little guy’s activity level has picked up. That is not to say that he’s a crazy little rib-cracking ninja. Au contraire — he is still a very calm little guy. It’s just that he’s started getting a little more active; I’m assuming his quarters are getting a little closer and he’s just pushing back. When Maddi is all squashed up against my tummy, or when my belly’s crammed into my thighs on the leg press sled at the gym, I’ve noticed that the baby will wiggle and poke until he finds a comfy position. And when I flip over in the middle of the night, thanks to those lovely numb arms you tend to get on top of all the other discomforts of pregnancy, the little guy spends a few minutes finding a new position of his own.

I can tell that he’s head-down, and usually his feet are just under my lowest right rib. Sometimes I’ll find his bottom there instead and he will gently kick at various organs, but unlike with Maddi, I’ve never worried about my liver being ruptured. (Thank you, little one!!)

This week, Dr. Goncalves’ office staff helpfully informed me that although I went to the hospital about 10 weeks ago for the triple screen, the hospital not only didn’t get my results but has no record of my blood being drawn (despite my running into Dr. G in the lab right before they took the seven vials of allegedly nonexistent blood). So if there’s anything wrong with this baby, the hospital is in a heap of trouble. This is not something they can redo. I am going to ask Dr. G at the next appointment if we can detect spina bifida or markers for Downs on a more comprehensive ultrasound. I don’t like surprises much to begin with, and I especially don’t like bad surprises.

Anyway, that’s been our week.

And here they are: The Week 27 belly shots!

What’s up, baby?

As the second trimester draws to a close, it’s hard to believe it’s been nearly six months and that my little boy is nearly two pounds and would most likely survive if born today. Already on my BabyCenter birth board, five or six babies have been delivered and most are doing well (now, I’ll grant you that since I’m due at the very end of the month and most of the babies were due near the beginning of the month, this is not to say that our little guy should make his grand appearance anytime soon!).

Unlike Maddi, who seemed to be moving furniture, practicing Tae-Bo and holding barn dances on a daily basis in my poor, battered uterus, our wee man is apparently comfortably ensconced in a well-tended, miniature bachelor pad where he passes his days perusing books, writing letters to chums, and sipping Earl Grey, a crocheted throw draped over his lap and his feet on a mothbitten ottoman, luxuriating in the comfort of a small fire. Occasionally, he may yawn and stretch, but for the most part, he sits contemplatively, perhaps penning his (very short) memoirs between sips of tea.

Yes, this scenario is ridiculous, but it’s much easier to imagine what a baby is doing when … well, when the baby is doing something. It’s harder to conjure up fetal activity scenarios when your baby lets you know he’s still there a scant two or three times a day. I mean, I suppose he could just as easily be sitting there on a mildewy couch tossing back beers while watching The Amazing Race, or glued to an office chair, snarfing Doritos while putting up bad poetry and writing annoying bulletins on MySpace, but I think I like my genteel English bachelor fetus a bit better.

Anyway, the bottom line is that the little guy is pretty quiet. I’m pretty sure he’s flipped to vertex, because I can feel his head on my cervix sometimes and when I do feel that occasional kick, it’s toward my ribs. I think I even felt his little bottom today when he did the unheard-of and actually sat in something other than his usual position. While many of the uncomfortable pregnancy complaints of last time have passed me by with this baby (i.e. morning sickness, back spasms and physical assault by a fetus), there are still a few things that remind me I’m pregnant. As the second trimester wears on, my energy is waning. Going up a flight of stairs leaves me short of breath, and I can nap any old time I please (which only ever happens when I’m pregnant or during the first two weeks of a colicky, unsleeping baby’s life). And since he is head-down, there is the familiar feeling that the baby is going to fall right out at any minute, along with the attendant aching pelvic bones.

I can’t believe it will be only three months and some change before the baby is lying in a bassinet instead of my abdomen. We’ve bought a few cute blue things and picked out his crib bedding, but there is much that remains to be done. He will temporarily share a change table and Diaper Champ with Maddi, who should be ready to potty train when he’s still pretty small, but we need to find a bassinet or crib since his big sister is nowhere near trustworthy enough to allow free roam of any room — even the most heavily babyproofed one. We also need to find a double stroller (see above regarding Maddi’s readiness to leave Child Containment Units of any sort), his own soft toys and pacifiers, and a Bumbo in a color other than purple. And of course there is the matter of bracing ourselves for the arrival of a newborn in a house already occupied by a demanding toddler.

But for the most part, we’re pretty calm about it. We’ve got three months, after all, to tie up all the loose ends and even if we don’t get everything in order before the due date, the worst that will happen is that he’ll wear pink sleepers and sleep in the Pack ‘N’ Play for a few weeks. Of course, we’d really prefer that he didn’t, but if it happens, he’s still going to be clothed and fed and have a place to rest his head.

And here they are, at long last: The 26-week belly shots!

Better late than never

I know, I know. We’ve been very bad about posting about the baby and putting up belly shots. The problem is, this pregnancy is going by way too quickly! We’re still hashing out names, still have yet to figure out what we’re doing for the nursery, and as yet, the only thing we have purchased for our wee boy is a little blue sleeper. Yes, we have furniture, toys and supplies already, but unfortunately, every stitch of clothing, decor and blanketry is a decidedly girlie shade of pink or purple. And we have but 15 weeks left. So really, posting pictures of my pregnant belly in a timely manner is the least of our concerns!

The little guy’s movements have become more obvious, but still consist mainly of stretching, repositioning and hiccuping rather than intentional rupture of various internal organs. My bladder has received maybe four kicks in the past month — a far cry from the relentless pounding of another baby I might mention. Am I complaining? No, I am not! If I had been pregnant with this little guy the first time around, I might be one of those glowy earth-mother types who enjoys every moment of pregnancy. (Instead, I’m just dreading what I assume is the inevitable feeling that the baby, once bigger, will crack my ribs, strain my pelvic floor, sever my spleen and push all the food back up my esophagus.)

There’s not much to write about. My prenatal appointment went fine, as usual. The little guy’s heartbeat is in the 140 to 150 range, as it tends to be. He’s measuring two days behind on ultrasound, just as he was at eight weeks. He’s got predictable (if relaxed) periods of activity in the morning, early afternoon and late evening. In short, he’s a perfectly healthy, apparently laid-back baby. At this point in his gestation, he weighs a pound and a half, measures more than a foot long, his lungs are producing surfactant and he has a 60 to 80 percent chance of survival if born this week. Of course, we hope he stays in a lot longer — not only for his health, but also so he doesn’t have to come home wrapped in a pink hand-me-down blanket and sleep in a crib with pink gingham bedding.

And here are pictures of the belly at 23 and 24 weeks, respectively:

Week 23

Week 24

All present and accounted for

Today was the “official” ultrasound; the one where we find out how the baby’s coming along and whether all the organs are there (rather than the one where we see the baby’s face and the only organs checked are the ones that tell us what color to paint the nursery). We’re happy to say all baby’s organs are doing just fine and dandy!

The ultrasound tech slipped and reaffirmed that he’s a boy, so the pink trim on the crib is definitely on its way out.

Our little guy didn’t like the ultrasound so much. Ordinarily he does a few little kicks and rolls and then goes about his (very quiet) business, but all that poking and prodding must have gotten him really riled up. The Bump thumped and squirmed and wiggled the whole time the transducer was on my belly, and for a good while afterward. He was so excited, in fact, that the technician had a hard time measuring things because everytime she poked, he darted away.

He did stay still long enough to discover that he’s measuring two days behind, just as he was at 10 weeks. So perhaps we will have a January baby yet! It’s easy to say this now, because I’m not humongously pregnant and uncomfortable, but I hope he comes later rather than sooner so that Christmas doesn’t overshadow his birthday so much. (And, a bit selfishly, so that Chris and I are not breathing through contractions on our anniversary!)

We found out last week that there is a third mom in Maddi’s playgroup who is expecting a baby. The first baby is due in mid-November, our boy is due Jan. 1, and the latest addition is due at the end of February. With two babies his age (that we know of!) and almost a dozen Maddi’s age, it will be like two playgroups in one. That makes me happy, because it will be really difficult to go to BabyTalk classes (where Maddi’s playgroup was formed) with a toddler in tow, but I don’t want our little boy to miss out just because he’s not an “only.”

This week, it started to really sink in that we are definitely more than halfway done with the pregnancy (after all, as much as I’d likethe bun to bake thoroughly, 44 weeks of pregnancy is a bit much!!) and I am now beginning to think about getting ready to bring a baby home.

We don’t need much, since we’ve just been through this, but we’re definitely going to need a double stroller, a bassinette, and some boy clothes. I’m also not too sure about the purple Bumbo, although there’s nothing in the rule book that says purple is only for girls. Luckily the pink carseat craze had not begun when we bought Maddi’s old infant seat, so our little boy will be riding in style in silver and black. It doesn’t get more masculine than that!

And here they are — the Week 22 belly shots!

Our bouncing baby boy

For awhile, we thought this baby was the calm and contented type, but for the last several days, he’s been bouncing up a storm. So now the question is: Is he going to be as active as Maddi? Or is this just a passing phase?

Up until recently, it was no contest. Maddi was in constant motion, while The Bump, as we’re calling him for now, might poke me gently two or three times a day, as if to remind me that he was still there and not to overdo it with the caffeine. But now, he’s thumping around in there a good five to seven times a day — sometimes even more. Granted, I am not experiencing the brutal bladder kicks that his ninjalike sister practiced every time my the offending organ filled more than halfway, nor the nightly “Riverdance” performance the fetal Maddi rehearsed without fail at 2 a.m. Little guy, if you could just keep doing what you’re doing and not “amp it up” any more than you have, I would much appreciate it!

It’s not that we won’t love him as much if he’s constantly on the go like Maddi. It’s just that with two under 2, it might be nice — instead of the search-and-destroy routine we’ve become accustomed to in the eight months since Maddi began crawling — if one of those two actually took proper naps (i.e. longer than 45 minutes) and played with his toys and had absolutely no inclination to tackle and depilate the cat. Just one is all I ask!

Of course, if the little one does turn out to be another CrazyBaby (TM), his daddy and I have no one but ourselves to blame. From what we are told, neither of us slept more than five hours a night, neither of us napped, and both of our parents have many a tale of the mischievous ways in which we took years off their life expectancies. We’re just saying … if he wants to be a calm, sleepy little laid-back guy, we’re certainly not going to stop him!

And here they are: the long awaited Week 21 preggie pics!

It’s a …

Some people can go without finding out their child’s gender until the doctor holds it up. Not us! (Especially since our crib currently has pink trim.)

When I was pregnant with Maddi, Chris and I had to travel to California to get a 3-D ultrasound and find out the gender. This time, luckily for us, the same services were available a mere three hours away in Langley. So yesterday, we loaded Maddi and half her toys and food into the Highlander and hit the road.

Now, for a bit of background, I was convinced from the very start with this pregnancy that we were having a boy. But Chris and everyone else insisted it was another girl. In fact, by the time the appointment rolled around, I was mentally prepared to hear that we were having a girl (after all, I was convinced Maddi was male, too!).

Luckily, we didn’t have to wait long. The ultrasound technician brought up the baby’s nether regions on the screen right away, and it was obvious to all.

We are having a bouncing baby boy! And since everyone else was so adamant that he was a girl, even though I’d never thought of this baby as anything but a boy, I was still a little shocked. Funnily enough, Chris told me afterward that he’s thought all along it was a little boy, too, but told me it was going to be a girl just because someone needed to be pulling for Team Pink!

Now that the news has had a day to sink in, I’m finally beginning to imagine three kids — an imaginative grade-school girl, a spirited little girl and a slightly-younger, laid-back little guy. What kind of relationship will they have? What mischief will they get into? It’s exciting to finally have a picture of what our little family will look like in a year or two.

It was difficult to make out the features on our little boy’s face, partly because I think the tech wasn’t very experienced and partly because he is so young and has so little fat and muscle. If I had to guess which parent he looks like, I couldn’t. (Unlike Maddi, who looked just like her dad in both the regular and 3-D ultrasounds.)

However, he’s definitely a laid-back baby. Even after a Frappucino with an extra shot of caramel, his period of activity waned quickly over the course of the session. Our little boy has about three active periods a day — four on a “busy” day — and they don’t last more than 30 minutes. Unlike Maddi, who practiced Tae-Bo religiously in utero, our little boy is content to merely conduct various rolls and repositioning maneuvers, as if he is trying to get comfortable rather than burst out a la “Alien.”

So now, we have about 19 weeks to get ready to welcome our little boy into our family. Cover the pink parts of the crib, find non-pink clothing and bedding, and pick out a nice boy name or two. Even though I’ve known it was a boy for several months, it’s weirdly final to know the baby’s gender. But that’s why I like finding out early instead of in the delivery room!

And here they are, the shots you have all been waiting for:

Baby belly

Well, no doubt about it, I’m definitely starting to look and feel pregnant. I threw my back out last week and had to go to the chiropractor a few times, and, beginning with our chiropractor’s receptionist, I’ve finally been asked by a few strangers when I’m due.

In order to get Maddi used to the idea of a sibling, I’ve told her there’s a baby in Mommy’s tummy and when asked where the baby is, instead of pointing to herself, she points at my growing belly and laughs. I’m not sure whether she thinks I ate a baby or the belly is the baby, but apparently the concept (whatever it is!) amuses her.

The baby is getting more active, although it’s hard to use that word because Maddi’s activity level was so much higher. Basically, we have a very considerate fetus who lets me know he or she is there approximately three times a day (not more, not less!), but in a helpful rather than painful way. Knock on wood.

I’ve been going to the gym and so far this pregnancy has been much more comfortable in many ways than the last. I hope this is a sign of things to come and our new baby will be easy as well!

Nevertheless, there are days when I am tired and my back is sore and I just can’t wait to finally have the baby out and be comfortable again! Of course, the little one will need to stay in there for at least another 17 weeks and hopefully a bit more.

And with that said, here are the 19-week belly shots, in which I am finally beginning to look a bit pregnant (but, funnily enough, still with killer obliques for a pregnant lady since I am still doing ab work at the gym!):

Once you pop, you can’t stop

Well, I’ve finally pooched out and started to look pregnant, just as you’d imagine someone in their second trimester for the second time in two years ought to. I still haven’t been approached and asked when I’m due, but neither have I been glared at for using the Stork Parking at the mall (although that could be because I also have a babe-in-arms with me when I use it!). It happened sometime just after I hit 16 weeks and I couldn’t be happier. The regulars at the gym who used to glance at me and wonder why I was getting so fat despite working out every day are finally beginning to realize that it’s not because I eat a lot of pizza and chips. I do eat a lot of pizza and chips, of course, but you’ve got to get those 300 extra calories somewhere, am I right? And really, there’s no better way than with a bag of Doritos Cool Ranch.

The baby has also started bouncing around a lot, but usually when I eat junk food. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t eat Doritos every day and most of the time I try to keep it healthy with whole grains and fruits, but let’s just say the baby likes tuxedo truffle mousse cake. If I should be worried, say, about not feeling much in the way of movement, I have only to dig into a slice of cake. Within 10 minutes, the baby will be bouncing and kicking away.

And without further ado, here are the 17-week belly shots: