Thursday, December 30, 2010

Early Days

I feel that I am a little behind because of course I had a newborn baby and was not writing very often, but now my darling daughter is five months old and it's the middle of winter so I feel that I have more time to write. That being said I would prefer to write more about what Is going on in our lives now so I will sort of write a little bit of an overview of the last few years.

After coming home from the hospital I decided to set up with the baby in the living room so that my husband could get a good night sleep. He had to prepare to write his bar exams about two weeks after the baby was born, we also reasoned that it would be better for one of us to be well rested and 'sane' in the morning. We set up the sofa bed and bassinet, I had the TV, books and magazines. For the first couple weeks it seemed that I sleep very well when the baby slept but I was up every couple hours. In order to not get frustrated or too tired I usually put on a a movie or show when the baby ate. It was a good judge of how quickly she began to fed because although at first was able to watch an entire move in the middle of the night, soon enough I was only watching half and then even less.

I have a very clear memory of the moment each night when the dawn came and I sort of felt that had made it. Then little while later my husband would come out from his night and I would feel such a sense of success and relief as I passed baby duty to him and had a lovely deep two hours sleep.

Ten days after my little darling arrived one of my best friends arrived to help out while my husband studied. We had the absolute best time. The weather was beautiful, warm, sunny and we spent most days walking the seawall and finding nice shady trees to park ourselves under for the afternoon. We had picnics, talked, read and the baby just slept, ate and was absolutely adored by both of us. My recollection of
August was that it was an idyllic summer.

I must say a few words about my sweet friend who I will refer to as auntie nanny. She came and was the perfect friend and helper, she made those first few weeks so easy, by not only keeping me company but by being the domestic goddess that she is. She did laundry, tidied up, went shopping and cooked dinner (we had full-on sit down dinners with a two week old baby, amazing right?). An example of how amazing she was, was when we met up with one of my friends here in Vancouver who had a baby a few weeks before me and we all went
for a walk and auntie nanny was on it. I mean she was right there pulling out the carrier when my friends baby was sick of being in the stroller. When we stopped for a feeding break she had the privacy blanket in hand before my friend could even ask for it. I believe the consensus at the end of the day was that everyone should have an auntie nanny for the first couple weeks with a new born. There are no words for how ridiculously fantastic she was and is.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Hooray Hospitals!

I am very pro hospitals and giving birth in a hospital was yet another positive hospital experience. One of the nicest things about giving birth in a hospital (aside from the drugs which sadly I didn't get) was the level of care after the birth. First off, it was pretty great knowing that in those first hours after having my daughter I was surrounded by hospital staff that were there to support me. They provided food (okay it's not the best but it shows up three times a day), they have disposable underwear (sounds weird but comes in handy), the nurses are available to reassure you that all the strange things that you didn't know would happen to your body are normal (for all the reading that happens about pregnancy and childbirth, there is very little prep for what comes after). Most important however, was the knowledge that health care professionals were available to check up on and assist me and my husband with our new born baby. We had the most amazing nurses and I have a new level of respect and a little bit of awe thinking about what nurses do everyday. They helped with everything from learning to breastfed to the simple task of changing diapers. Overall there was a peace of mind knowing that we were in the safest possible place and getting the best care (I also enjoyed the face that everything is sterile but that's just me). So hooray for hospitals, doctors, nurses and modern medicine!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Awkward

Looking down at my new baby daughter was unimaginably wonderful.

But the funny thing about childbirth is that during labour the world is a blur. A painful, messy blur or at least it was for me. Then when the baby is born it is amazing, the pain disappears, just like that and not just because you are staring down at your beautiful new child but if there are no complications and no drugs, the pain is just gone, just like that. However, with that comes a somewhat awkward moment. I'm referring to the wait...the waiting for the after-birth (placenta). All of a sudden I was all too aware of the people in the room; the doctors, nurses, the lights and my unabashed nakedness (I wasn't even wearing a bra). And of course as I come back to reality and time slows down, it almost seems to over compensate by being really slow. I am trying to enjoy my first moments with my daughter but it feels as though the entire room is staring at my legs spread and tapping at their watches. It required actual focus to ignore the room and just stare at my baby.

It finally came and no it didn't hurt. The doctor was downtown stitching me up (I don't think it was bad but I actually didn't want to know any details). While that was going on I was simply staring at my new daughter in stock and awe. Then I was shocked further when I noticed that my baby had two teeth. At first I thought I was seeing things but when the pediatrician took her to look her over she confirmed that no I was no crazy and yes my baby was born with teeth. Who knew that was even possible? The teeth were removed, they were not her baby teeth, they were a third set and would in no way interfere with her normal baby teeth developing (we'll see no teeth yet).

Soon after all that I was guided by the nurse to the shower and got cleaned up. When I got back the bed was put back together, with clean sheets and the room was quiet. It was hard to believe that we had been through such an ordeal, it was hard to believe that we had a baby. My husband and I felt that it was all too surreal. We keep looking at each other and our new baby in this peaceful, quiet room and sort of shaking our heads, not understanding the contrast between the perfect peace and joy of our daughter and the screaming insanity of an hour or so earlier.

There was however, nothing awkward about those first few hours, they were the most overwhelmingly beautiful moments of my life.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Birth Day!

Today is August 4th which was my due date, however, my daughter is now two and a half weeks old. She was born on July 17th at 4am (well 3:57).

My last day of work was Thursday, July 15th and it was a tough one. My husband had been driving me to work for over a month because I was so heavy and swollen. On Thursday morning I felt just awful, my body was done with working and I just started to cry when it was time for me to get out of the car. My husband thought I should call in sick but it was my last day and I just wanted to finish properly. Somehow I made it though the day and went home feeling relieved to be done with work. We had some friends from out of town staying with us for a couple nights, so we went out to dinner and the next day I was able to sleep in and hang out with them. They took me to see my OB and we went out for lunch. We spent the entire afternoon at the beach which was fabulous; I even had a nap. The day was relaxing and wonderful. We decided to go out for dinner and it was on the walk to the restaurant at eight o'clock that it all started. Basically I felt a little bit of water/liquid in my underwear, not a lot, just a little. I didn't say anything first at because I didn't really know what was happening and I thought that when we got the restaurant I would go to the bathroom and check it out. But then it happened again, more liquid and I thought this has to be it, this is my water breaking. I told my friends what was happening and my husband and I decided that we would forgo dinner and deal with this water breaking thing. I would like to make clear that I had no contractions and that as far as I knew it could take hours, maybe days before labour actually started after ones water breaks. As soon as we got in the car I got the whoosh; my water officially broke and I was now soaked. We got home and I changed clothes and called the hospital and they told me all the different things to look for and what to do if this or that happens. I was feeling very calm and decided to put on a movie and order a pizza. I figured it was going to be a long night and I should just try and relax and have some food. My husband was a little more anxious; he was running around packing the hospital bag and installing the car seat (things I thought I would do my first week off work).

It was at this point that I started to get contractions. They weren't bad at first but they quickly progressed. By the end of the movie I had moved into my bedroom and was just trying to breath through the pain. It was getting really intense, really fast. We were waiting for our friends to get back and grab their stuff cause clearly they wouldn't be staying with us this night. By the time they arrived and left I was ready to go to the hospital (I sort of felt like if we didn't go now I wasn't going to make it).

When we arrived at the hospital I could barely walk from the back parking lot to the door; I clutched my belly and barely made it into a wheelchair. We made it to the maturity ward and the nurse came to check on my progress; she told me I was 2 cm dilated and that I would probably have to go home because it could be awhile. I did not want to leave the hospital and in fact in my mind I knew that I was not leaving and that they would have to drag me out of the hospital kicking and screaming if they wanted me to leave at this point. The nurse offered me some morphine for the pain and told me that I could wait and see the doctor. The morphine didn't help, but it did bide me some time. I was feeling really nauseous while I waited and threw up a few times (something that is not uncommon during labour). About 90 minutes later the doctor came wanting to send me home too and I asked the nurse to please check me one more time. She did and I had progressed to over 3cm which was enough for the hospital to admit me. I was led down the hall to my room (walking was almost impossible at this point and I held onto my husbands back for support).

In my room the nurse gave me nitrous oxide (aka laughing gas). The nitrous oxide was pretty good, mostly because it helped me slow down and breath properly, something that despite my prenatal classes felt impossible. The nurses suggested I get into the shower or take a bath but I didn't/couldn't move. I felt in a daze, in and out of consciousness and in and out of pain. After a few hours the nitrous oxide was no longer working so I called for the nurse and asked for the epidural. The nurse needed to check my progress first and when she did she told me I was 9 1/2 cm and that the baby was coming now. She told me that there was no time for a epidural. This was not something that I wanted to hear. I was in pain and I had been promised relief and drugs. The nurse did her best to calm me down and help me get focused but the pain was seriously intense.

At this point the bottom half of the bed was taken away and lights and were brought in. Some other nurses came in to check me and the pain felt unbearable. I started labour lying on my side, then moved onto my hands and knees which had to be the most unflattering position possible, not that that was a concern. I remember sort of ramming my head into the bed and the nurse making suggestions about positions but all I wanted was out of my skin and away from the pain. I finally found my position on my back with the nurse and my husband holding each leg, this was it hard labour and pushing was about to start. Without even meaning too I was pushing, my body was pushing and I was screaming. The nurse told me I needed to use the energy of screaming and focus it into pushing (this was a prospect that seemed impossible). I listened to the nurses instructions and tried to do what she said and I did get better. When the contractions came I held my breath and pushed, I did this three times and it usually ended in a scream. My legs were shaking and I felt so weak. I could feel the head coming but it seemed impossible, it seemed like it was never going to come. The nurse reminded me that I was having a baby, that s/he would be here soon but all I could think of was the pain. I had a resident, with a doctor delivering the baby. They stretched me open which was the worst pain I have ever felt. The doctor at one point told me that "a voice would tell me to stop pushing soon." I of course asked if it would be his voice to which replied if you like the sound of my voice. A minor moment of humor during the most painful moment of me life. I knew about the slowing down, the stop pushing in order to prevent tearing.

Then it happened he said stop pushing and I couldn't, my body wouldn't stop. Then he yelled for me to stop and the next thing I knew the nurse was right in my face helping me breath in order to stop pushing. All I could see was her month breathing and I followed her led. Then I felt her come out and it was pure relief. The pain was over and my daughter was placed on my chest. I was shocked, it was pure disbelief. Eight hours earlier I was pregnant and bloated and now this screaming, beautiful baby was lying on my chest. It was completely surreal, just like that I was and am a mother. Just like that I was floated with the most love that I have ever felt. Just like my life was and is changed forever.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Stares & Shares

Okay, so I'm big. There is no denying that I am pregnant and that I am far along pregnant but now I have to put up with the looks. Wherever I go, whatever I'm doing, I now attract looks from strangers. I waddle and sometimes hobble which only makes it worse. They look at me with love, affection and sometimes excitement. They look at me like there is nothing cuter then a really pregnant women waddling down the street and I must admit I used to do the same thing. How charming, how lovely, is what they think but let me set the record straight, there is nothing charming or lovely about adding to your weight by a third. There is nothing charming or lovely about the multitude of implications that that heaviness brings with it and when these strangers stare at me with love in their eyes, I kind of want to kill them.

Then there are the talkers. Strangers are now continually striking up conversations with me in elevators, while waiting for lights or in lineups and again it's annoying. I don't want to talk to every person on the street about my 'state' and say the same things over and over again. Yep my due date is coming up (obviously I'm huge), no I don't know if it's a boy or a girl, yes I'm really excited and yeah I heard it's life changing having a child. One guy asked me at a light if I was having twins and I almost told him to f-himself but I took the higher road, smiled and kept walking. I don't mean to sound harsh but one of the things I love about living in the city is that you are surrounded by people and are still relatively anonymous. I like walking down the street and not making eye contact and saying hi to everyone. So call me what you will but I do not need the stares or the shares from complete strangers over the private matter of my procreation.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Let It Out


I have had my fair share of whining on this blog and I continually tell myself to focus on the good and stop whining because I am lucky in so many ways. But I just need to let it out so here are a few things that are starting to drive me crazy...

My swollen feet which are way more swollen then before. I have full on cankles and they are not pretty. They also hurt to walk on and of course I don't fit into shoes. This is all old news so I won't belabour it but yeah it's been a long time and a lot of swelling so it's getting old to me too.

My sore back which overall has been pretty good considering I have a history of mild/medium back pain. However, I am not able to do the stretches and/or lie in the positions that make it feel better.

My poor numb hands. Okay so I know I mentioned that I went to the doctor and got a sleeping brace for my wrist which has been working, sort of. I switch is back and forth during the night depending on which hand is really feeling the pain and overall sleep is happening so that's good. However, during the day my hands no longer wake up completely which is extremely annoying. Basically it feels like when you have your mouth frozen at the dentist and then the freezing starts to wear off but it's still sort of tingling, that's where I'm at permanently. I can no longer lift anything heavier then a coffee cup, cutting bread is a challenge and tying my shoes is no longer an option. It sort of feels like I have some kind of degenerative disease and everyday I have less control over my limbs.

Oh and I almost forgot my skin has been terrible and seems to be getting worse. I have awful acne on my face and chest and it drives me crazy. It's just one more thing to make me feel ugly as I balloon into a whale. No glowing for me, unless you count red, irritated skin as glowing which most people do not.

Okay, I think those are my list of complaints most of which are not new but just getting worse and starting to make me feel helpless which in turn makes me crazy.

Let's focus on the good...

I have an amazing husband who despite having a tone of things going on in his life helps me put my shoes on in the morning, rubs my swollen feet at night, takes care of pretty much all things domestics along with all things moving/unpacking related and seems to do all this without any bitterness. What would I do without him?

I am also lucky to be on my feet. I have spoken to a number of women who have been ordered to go on bed rest for 6 weeks, sometimes longer and who have had premature babies (which can bring health complications). I feel very happy that I am still mobile (a relative term) and that the baby is healthy and developing nicely.

I am very thankful to not have any stretch marks (yet). Supposedly 80% of women will get stretch marks but so far my skin is all clear (not including zits which I'm hoping are not permanent).

I have wonderful supportive friends both here and in Ontario. Friends who have been excited and amazing throughout my pregnancy. Friends who have had sympathy and given me a shoulder when needed. Friends who have had babies and who I have been able to learn through. Amazing, amazing friends.

I have an outstanding family both biological and through marriage. They are extremely excited to be adding a new member to the clan. They have all been emotionally and sometimes financially supportive and I am forever grateful. They have also been respectful of me as a person, not pushing anything on me but rather offering me options which is to me the best gift a family could offer.

And of course I am so thankful to be pregnant and that this pregnancy has gone off without complications. That in a few weeks I'll have a baby that will be a part of my life forever and all these silly little symptoms will be quickly forgotten.

Clearly the things I have to be thankful for far outweigh the negatives but sometimes you just got to let it out.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Rite of Passage

So I totally get that for many women childbirth is a rite of passage. I can't help feeling though that too much time is devoted to thinking about the act of giving birth and especially the creation of 'birth plans'. Although I think it's great to have information and feel somewhat prepared for labour I also think that it is impossible to 'plan' how it's going to go. No one knows how their body will labour; will it be fast or slow? Will the baby be in the right position? There are a lot of variables and one of the many reasons that we in Western society are so lucky is that we have a variety of health care providers available for us to access, advise us and sometimes intervene when necessary. Personally I find hospitals, doctors and medical science in general very comforting when I think about childbirth.

However, what I really wanted to talk about was that although childbirth is a rite of passage to me it doesn't really matter how exactly that rite is 'performed' as long as the end result is healthy, happy baby and mother. Too many people are caught up in creating the perfect birth experience and so many feel disappointed and let down if it doesn't work out the way they envisioned.

Another rite of passage I think I can compare childbirth too is the marriage rite or wedding ceremony. A lot of people spend a lot of time and stress trying to create the perfect wedding but at the end of it all the important thing is that you become a wife, husband or partner. Whether you have a church ceremony, a civil ceremony, elope or are in a committed common-law relationship what matters is the everyday. To me the marriage is much more important then the wedding. This is how I feel about childbirth. Whether I have a natural, vaginal birth, c-section or even if someday I decide to adopt a child what matters is the everyday of being a mother. Whether or not I have any drugs to assist in childbirth does not determine the kind of mother I will be. I have some ideas of how I would like childbirth to happen but things might not work out the way I want. One way or another it's going to happen and soon but to be it's becoming a mother, everyday for the rest of my life that I am focused on now and am going to stay focused on.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Alleluia

For all those concerned fans:
I finally called my doctors after three sleepless nights with numb, pins and needles hands. Unfortunately my doctor was off (she just finished 24 hours at the hospital); so I was told to go to the hospital and see the OB on call who is a part of my doctors team.

Side note: My husband and I share a cell phone and have no home phone. He is normally in an office and so am I but right now he is in classes preparing for the Bar Exams which means that if I have the phone and he doesn't then I have no way of getting a hold of him. Our solution was to get a basic prepaid phone until the baby comes for emergency purposes. Well of course I am 34 weeks in and we don't have a phone and now I need to go to the hospital and he is scheduled to pick me up after work. Annoying. Needless to say we figured it out but he now has a phone.

Back to the hospital:
The nurse and a resident doctor checked me out. Blood pressure: normal, urine: normal, ultrasound: normal, babies heartbeat: normal. They kept talking to me about my swollen feet which at this point I am completely over. They told me all the things I've heard and read and have been doing to reduce swelling (to no avail). But all I really care about at this point is that my hands loosing feeling has been preventing me from sleeping. I'm getting the response that I sort of expected, you are healthy and the baby is healthy and sometimes these things happen during pregnancy and there's nothing to be done. Okay well at least I know loosing feeling in your hands and waking up with pins and needles is sort of normal.

However, I couldn't leave until the actual OB checked me out. She was in surgery (I assume delivering some baby via c-section) but she came in with a lot of energy and a great attitude. She and the nurses said that I had done the right thing coming in and they really didn't want to discourage me which was nice. Then, alleluia a solution; the doctor mentioned getting a night brace to keep the wrist in an open position and allow circulation to continue to flow during the night.

I was exhausted after work and the hospital visit but I went to a drug store and got one of these things and wouldn't you know it, it worked! So the last couple nights I have just been getting up to go to the bathroom three times a night rather then being fully awake and having to get out of bed completely due to this numb hand business. It's been great and I'll take it.

Monday, June 21, 2010

What to Expect?

This blog is written to inform, laugh at and record some of my personal experiences with pregnancy. I have found it very interesting to discover how little I knew and still don't know about what to expect during pregnancy. As much as I learned in sex education classes (next to nothing), and from discussing things with friends and of course through the media, I can't help feeling like I knew nothing about my own body and the changes that occur during pregnancy.

My newest surprise maybe shouldn't be that surprising. I have mentioned repeatedly that I have had major water retention issues which have for one thing made it impossible for me to fit into any shoes; other then my Birkenstock (thank you Cathie). I have shocked my nurse by my water weight gain and have been for extra tests to eliminate the possibility of any problems that this level of water retention could be a sign of (there are none, I'm just bloated). I have given my RMT lots of extra business helping me move that water around and possibly improve my circulation, if only temporarily. So on a somewhat related issue I now have been loosing feeling in my hands. That's right. About a week ago I started noticing that my hands would loose feeling, or get a sort of pins and needles feeling that is normally associated with ones foot falling asleep. This is a circulation issue, which is partly to blame for me swollen feet syndrome.

Last night I had a very difficult time falling asleep because ironically my hands falling asleep were keeping me awake. My doctor has said this is not totally uncommon with the circulation issues I have been having but it does seem to be getting worse. Literally right now, at work, as I type my hands are not fully awake. I stretch and move them around but I still feel a slight pins and needles feeling that does not want to dissipate. This is strange and certainly does not appear in that famous 'What to Expect When you're Expecting.' When I search online for answers, most sites seem to focus on leg cramps (which I have experienced, although not regularly thank goodness), but they do not seem to be too focused on the hands of a pregnant lady falling asleep. Just another thing to keep it interesting, keep me on my toes and perhaps soon nudge me in the direction of "oh god I'm so uncomfortable I can't wait to go into labour" mode. And I have learned to expect the unexpected which is perhaps yet another good lesson to be learned before having my first child.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Too Much Information?

So if ignorance is bliss then good-bye bliss. If the sweet prenatal class does nothing else, it is certainly opening my eyes to the reality that is coming my way. It is bringing up all kinds of questions, concerns, and just thoughts that I personally had not considered.

Our class is a mix of couples from different backgrounds, different ages and many different ideas about childbirth. My favourite couple are planning a home birth. She is not as far along as the rest of us (she's about 6 months). But what is truly amazing about her are her questions. As a trained teacher I must state that it is true there are no stupid questions. If you don't know the answer then there is only one way to find out and that's to ask. We are all here in this class to learn and prepare ourselves for childbirth so ask away. That being said some of her questions seem to come out of left field. For example she wanted to know if getting an enema was standard procedure. She even brought up coffee enemas. I personally had not thought about enemas at all. Some women will have a small bowel movement when giving birth but as far as I can tell that will be the least of my concerns as my babies head is crowning, therefore an enema to prevent this is not on the radar.

Because this particular women is sort of flirting with the idea of a home birth she is very concerned about the mess involved; as I would be too. She is not only concerned with the mess of actual birth but wants detailed information about the water breaking and what kind of mess that can make. Apparently very little, if your water even breaks at home. Contrary to popular media most women's water doesn't break until they are already in active labour and even then it sometimes needs to be broken by the doctor or midwife (it is not usually a first sign of labour).

She also has all kinds of half information about things such as birthing stools which are basically chairs that have a whole cut out of the middle like a toilet; sounds fun. She got into a somewhat lengthy conversation with the instructor about parents who do not use diapers. That's right, there are people in the Western world not using diapers but rather they listen and look for signs that their baby has to go and then they rush them off to the restroom. What? Who on earth has the time or inclination for that? Well at least people in my class are keeping it interesting.

I will agree that knowledge is power. That having information can help you make informed decisions and hopefully take away the mystery and possible anxiety of childbirth. However, sometimes too much random information can distract. It can take away from the fact that this is a natural process, that our bodies do know what to do and that we can't control and plan every detail of this experience. Sometimes you just need to relax and focus on what you need to know, rather then explore ever random, obscure idea that crosses your path. But I do look forward to next class and hearing what plagues the mind of my fellow mommy-to-be.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Disconnect

This week has been hard. Up until this week, despite my whining I have felt pretty damn good. We have been travelling, visiting friends and family, I even cut a rug at a wedding a couple weeks ago but this week my body has said no more. This week I have been so exhausted, it seems that no amount of rest can satisfy my thirst for sleep. My feet as I have mentioned before are permanently swollen and my legs sort of feel like lead.

My RMT asked me the other day what is the most challenging part of being pregnant and I have to say it's the fact that my mind and body are on two different pages. At work I sit and think about all the things I want to and have to do when I get home; however, as soon as I do get home my body shuts down.

Yesterday at exactly 5 o'clock quitting time the fire alarm went off in our building. This was especially annoying because my office is on the 25th floor and of course all the elevators are shut off. I was willing to wait it out in the office when the announcement came on to start evacuating. I didn't really want to walk down all those stairs but I also felt like if I went slow it wouldn't really be a big deal and it wasn't at first. The first few flights I was fine but then I started to feel the burn, mostly in my knees. I slowed down but kept walking. My mind told me that I was just going down some stairs and it was no big deal but my body started telling me that this was more then it could handle. By the time I got to the bottom my legs were shaking; I have never felt more out of shape in my life. When I got home all I could do was take a shower and soak my burning feet in cold water in order to make emends.

I know that things will go back to normal after I have this baby but right now I just cannot believe how disconnected my mind is from what my body is now capable of. I haven't really felt as big as I know I am until this week. This week it's a reality check; I've got 5-9 weeks left with this pregnancy body and we're going to have to come up with some kind of compromise in order to get through it. I also promise to exercise and be grateful for my body when it does come back to me; something I took for granted in the past.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Dancing Stars

Okay so I should have known by the name of this prenatal class (Dancing Stars) that is would be a little well....you know...earthy but our hospital class was cancelled and I really wanted to take a class and get more information. Also I wanted my husband to learn about what to expect and what to do as my main (perhaps only) labour supported.

We started the class sitting in a circle on the floor, in these sort of floor loungers with back support. They looked pretty comfortable but getting up and down out of these chairs is a gong show for all the 7 plus month pregnant women in the class. There are about 6 couples total and we were asked by the instructor to introduce ourselves and include our due dates, health care provider and where we hope to have this baby. This sounded like a reasonable request. So aside from a few couples referring to the due date and birthing process using the pronoun 'we', something I can't stand since definitely 'we' are not pregnant and definitely 'we' are not delivering this baby, it's definitely all me. Aside from that and the fact that a surprising number of couples are planning at home births or water births, most people seemed nice, open and normal. That is until the couple (specifically the women) to my left started her introduction which included a rant about how they have a midwife and all the reasons that midwives are better then doctors. Thanks for coming out lady but I'm pretty sure we're just stating our facts at this point not preaching our choices. Plus who makes all these judgmental statements in an introduction when they have no idea who the other people in the room are or what their situations are?

Obviously when my husband and I introduced ourselves it was slightly awkward sharing that I have an OB and I plan on delivering in a hospital. It took all my will power not to state how I am very excited to receive drugs and good luck with the at home, water birth cause I'll be laughing all the way to the epidural. Or making some other passive aggressive comment but the fact is I am very comfortable with my decisions thus far and don't really need to justify them to anyone, especially some random in my first prenatal class.

I don't really care what other people do, in fact I am very pleased that in this day and age we have so many options. Doctors, midwives, doulas, hospitals, drugs, water births, home births, it's great to have choices and people should do what works for them. I just find it very annoying how high and mighty and judgemental some people can be , especially when none of us has done this yet and everyone is different.

At the end of the class I couldn't help thinking of something my brother in-law who has recently finished medical school and is now a doctor said to me, "women can do whatever they want but from my experience in the end they always scream for the drugs." I looked around the room, took notes and thought to myself, 'I wonder if we have some kind of reunion after our births, if these women will have changed their tunes?' I hope that everyone gets the experience they want and that all the births are successful but I know from friends and relatives that things don't always work out the way you plan. I have ideas of how I want things to go but I'm also open to the fact that I've never done this before and I have no idea how I will react, how the baby will be or any of it and I am personally grateful to live in a time and country where I have so many options and medical experts. For now I will take comfort in being in a clean hospital, with expert doctors and the possibility of drugs if needed and pray that I'm not forced into some natural home birth, with my husband delivering the baby while on the phone with 911 (this is the only scenario that I am completely not open too which means it may happen).

Monday, June 7, 2010

Ode to an RMT

My Registered Massage Therapist is a god. He is so amazing and I truly do not know how women go through pregnancy without one. I have been seeing him for a couple years now because of some reoccurring back pain but it has been his help with all aches and pains pregnancy related that I am now officially in love with him. He works out the kinks and the knots in my back, neck, shoulder, hips and sometimes even my gluteus maximus. However, it is my feet that have been the bane of my existence these days and where he has performed recent miracles.

I am a sweller. I have been steadily swelling over the last month and it is getting worse by the day. I am doing everything that one is supposed to do to reduce swelling but nothing really works. When I wake up in the morning my feet are usually already swollen and it just gets progressively worse as the day continues. My shoes do not fit, my feet ache and they just look awful. I had a wedding to go to a couple weeks ago and as I tried on each pair of heels in my closest it became clear that I was Cinderella's ugly stepsister trying to cram my fat foot into the beautiful shoe.

Even my doctor was slightly concerned because of the extreme and early nature of my swelling but all tests are normal. Even the extra blood tests she sent me for are all normal so I guess it's just how my body has decided to react to this thing called pregnancy. Now all I'm looking for is a little relief in order to get me through the next 6-10 weeks and this was provided to me last week by my sweet RMT.

After the usual back and hip massage I asked him if there was anything he could do about my swollen feet and legs. He then spent I don't know how long slowly and softly pushing the liquid up out of my ankles. Now I must explain that this is a painful process. It feels like my feet and legs are bruised when they are touched but he carefully massaged all that liquid up and out of my ankles. I swear I could not only see the difference but my feet felt a lightness and freedom they hadn't felt in weeks. I could feel the fluids moving and the relief in my feet was indescribable. He says with all pain it is good when it moves, so the fact he was able to successfully move the fluids up my legs is a good thing (and it certainly felt like a good thing).

Another good thing is my husband; he is a good thing for so many reasons not the least of which is that he has now taken up the cause of daily foot/fluid movement massages. How did I get so lucky to have this man? I think he may be suspicious of the increasing love I have developed for my RMT or maybe he's just feeling cheap because I have run out of insurance covered massages (weeks ago in fact). Whatever the reason, there are no words to detail the appreciation I feel to my men (my husband and massage therapist) for there help in getting this women successfully to the end of pregnancy when presumably my swollen feet will be cured by actually having this baby already. Can't wait to meet you baby and can't wait to see my old feet again too.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Village




My husband and I just got back from a trip where we were able to see friends and family that I have not seen since getting pregnant and it was fabulous. Friends threw us the most incredible baby shower which was completing overwhelming in the best way possible. We drove all over visiting grandparents and old friends, went to BBQs and had numerous little parties in between. We even got to attend a wedding which was fantastic. Seeing friends getting married and all the people a celebration like that brings together is beyond words.

For me personally the best experience was the belly love I got from all my friends and family but especially from friends. Everyone made me feel beautiful and lucky. When you are slowly growing everyday and surrounded by people that you don't know that well the belly is there and may even be acknowledged but there is nothing like friends you've know for over a decade to attack your protruding belly with joy. Hands on the belly, hoping to feel a kick, sharing in the joy and excitement of what's to come; it was amazing.

So I say thank you to the universe for this baby, to my friends for being outstanding and my family for being so supportive. It takes a village and I'm glad that we've got such an excellent one eagerly waiting the arrival of our new addition.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Bedtime Urban Planning

I just want to take a moment to describe my new sleeping style because I feel that it's a bit ridiculous.

In the past I could sleep anytime, anywhere. I was known by friends for my ability to lay down, close my eyes and be instantly in a deep sleep. It was a gift. I never tossed or turned, I never lay awake thinking about the hours before I had to wake up.

But like all good things, this has come to an end. Now my sleep is extremely inconsistent; I have good nights and bad nights. But what is funny about my new sleeping situation is the amount of preparations and reconfiguration that goes on each night.

First as I mentioned in previous posts I had to stop sleeping on my stomach and start sleeping on my side. This required a pillow between the knees and sort of under the belly (it's not a body pillow but it is longer then the average pillow). I have needed to add two smaller pillows or one folded under my feet in order to elevate them and reduce swelling. I also need to hug a pillow and of course I need one for under my head. How many is that? Yeah, it's a lot of pillows. But that's not all. I now wake up a lot in order to go to the bathroom or just to change position which wouldn't be so bad if turning over didn't now require me to move all the pillows into a new position, I feel like an urban planner every night.

Picture this: me rolling over in bed, pulling the 'body pillow' with me to the other side, and the hugging pillow and attempting to get my feet back up on the foot pillows, all while attempting to keep the covers over me and with a hard working husband asleep beside me. It's a bit much. The fact is that this doesn't just happen once in the night, it can happen two, three or even four times. Back and forth with the pillows trying to set them all up and get comfortable for my next bout of sleep. Luckily my husband no longer wakes up during my nightly antics, it must be preparation for the nights to come.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Little Piggies

I was at my doctors appointment as usual and when I got weighed in I was a little surprised to see the new number on the scale. The nurse was also a little surprised too which is never a good thing.

"What happened?" she asked me. "You really jumped this month."

I had really jumped. Up until this point I had been gaining weight slow and steady just like you're supposed to but this was a drastic step up and I couldn't think of a reason why. The nurse had me weigh in again, thinking that maybe something was wrong with the scale. Nope the scale was fine, it was me.

I was starting to worry when the nurse sort of gave me the up and down and said, "oh, you're swollen. You're retaining water."

I looked down at my little piggy feet and ankles and yes I was.

This wasn't news to me though. I have been very aware over the last few weeks that my feet and ankles are increasingly swollen and painful and that my many attempts to cure this has been seemingly fruitless.

Once the doctor came in and gave me all the good news; the baby is healthy, all my blood work is great etc., we were able to talk about my weight. Basically my belly is still growing at the appropiate rate and all this extra weight is being held from the knees down. We went over what I've been doing and what I can do to help the situation but the bottom line is that for some reason some women swell and some don't. Some swell early, like me at 7 months and some simply swell in the last few weeks. It's all one glorious mystery.

However, today I am at work wearing my new compression stockings (doctors orders) and I feel like an old grandma but a grandma that is in a heck of a lot less pain then yesterday. It will be interesting to see how this swelling progresses over the next few months as we enter into summer. I must say I won't go through this for anyone else but I would and I will go through a lot worse with a smile on my face for this little baby.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

How Sweet It Is

My lovely friend reminded me the other day that as funny and fun as it is to write and express all the weird and uncomfortable changes to my body that have occurred during pregnancy it is equally if not more important to express the good things that happen. These good things seem obvious but I agree. When I got pregnant I wanted to get pregnant, I felt 'ready' or as ready as one ever is to have a baby and I knew that I would be in love with this baby no matter what. I didn't expect to feel quite as fat, lazy, swollen and sick as I did hence me writing about these things more often.

I expected to love this baby from the second it was conceived and I did and do. I love being pregnant, knowing that in a few months I'm going to be be a mom and have a new life to take care of. I love thinking about whether it will be a boy or girl. Whether it will look more like me or my husband or some combination of us both. What colour eyes will it have? What colour hair? What kind of personality? I feel kicks regularly now and love them. Sometimes they're gentle and soothing and sometimes they are a bit sharp but they always remind me that I am carrying a life around inside me. These kicks also remind me that this is a little tiny person who is already developing a personality all it's own. It hears us and has patterns of alertness that can be tracked and that is wild and wonderful.

I feel lucky everyday to get to be the one who gets to carry this baby around inside me. I get to be the one that is helping him/her grow and develop and I am the only one who gets to feel him/her kick and move around and that is incredible.

There is nothing surprising to me about the love I feel already and the gratitude I have towards the universe for letting this everyday miracle happen to me but it's true I should say it more.
I love you baby and I am happy to carry you around for another three months and then I guess I'll have to start sharing you with the world so I'll enjoy these moments that are just between us while they last.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Third Trimester

It's the home stretch or that's what all the books and websites I read keep telling me. I am now officially in my third trimester and it's all down hill from here. I am of course flooded with many emotions: excited, fear, expectations but all of these things are over shadowed by my overwhelming fatigue.

It is sunny and beautiful outside, days are getting warmer and longer and I am becoming more tired each day that goes by. I am sleeping well, I have no real stress in my life and yet when I wake up to blue skies and birds singing after a full night sleep all I want to do is roll over and go back to sleep. I am dragging myself through each day and collapsing onto the couch after work.

This I suppose it what the third trimester is all about. The baby is going to be growing about a 1/5 pound a week until the end which means that I am going to be using a lot of energy allowing my body to facilitate that. We won't even get into the amount of weight I'll be gaining and have gained and how that effects my energy levels because at this point it goes without saying.

Despite the reality of my body, I still have a lot to do in preparation of this bundle. It can be hard to think about all that needs to get done, make lists and then be too tired to do anything when I get home from work. I keep thinking about the burst of energy that supposedly comes right near the end and wonder if that is actually gonna happen to me. I also think about women who have small children to take care of while they are pregnant and exhausted which reminds me that I've got it pretty easy. So this is it...third trimester and all I want is a nap.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Exercise?

Everywhere I look there is information and advice recommending exercise while pregnant. This sounds good to me, until I read on and realize all the things that should be avoided: cycling, aerobatics, skiing, most sports because of course any and all of these things could lead to a fall which of course would hurt the baby. Even running/jogging is debatable because of the new centre of gravity in pregnant women which makes it increasingly difficult to maintain normal balance and therefore a fall is ever possible. Okay fine, that is all reasonable so what's left? Walking, prenatal yoga and swimming all come as the most recommend forms of exercise for pregnant women.

Now I am not hugely athletic but I have always considered myself to be relatively active and fit (to varying degrees, at different points in my life) but I would have never considered walking to be exercise...until now. At first I looked down on these restrictions. Once I got over morning sickness I was feeling great. I went to the gym, to dance fit classes and even did light jogging. Those days are over.

Walking is actual exercise to me these days. I walk to and from work (only about 15 minutes each way) and I try and walk during my lunch break three times a week. I will usually do at least some walking on the weekends with friends and while running errands. And yes, now that I am fast approaching my third trimester I can tell you that walking is exercise to me. It takes all I have to push myself to 'power walk' on lunch because my body just doesn't want to do it. Walking home up a hill brings on some serious panting. A few weeks ago I was out walking on the seawall enjoying the day and decided to call my mom for a chat, it didn't take long for her to ask; "where are you walking to?" She asked because she could hear my laboured breathing over the phone and I was slightly embarrassed to say that I was simply strolling on a very flat part of the seawall and that this was just how I was now. Carrying an extra pounds certainly makes a difference, I can suddenly relate to all the overweight people in the world struggling to get through the day.

Swimming has been interesting too. Pregnant women will often rave about how wonderful being in the water is because you become weightless; however, I beg to differ. As someone who swam twice a week last year and sometimes more I definitely do feel a difference. Where I was once swift and strong moving through the water, I am now slow and heavy. I can literally feel my belly pulling me down as I attempt to move forward. My body is fighting against 'exercise', through my laboured breathing, extra pounds and serious sleepiness which makes the most normal activity seems impossible.

Did I mention the swelling feet, the swelling everything? It's a whole new world and I do not feel brave. But I do try, I try and eat well, I try and keep on moving and stretching and isn't that all we can do, is try?

Friday, April 30, 2010

Multitasking

This is sort of one for the ladies because pregnant or not they I am sure can relate.

A few days ago I was on my way home from work and I had decided to multitask and do a few errands en route home. The first was to bring a couple of empty boxes home. We are moving soon and I thought it would be good to collect boxes and slowly bring them home in order to minimize the chaos and stress of moving (up until a few days ago my plan was working well). I also decided to buy a new pair of shoes. I had tried them on during my lunch break at a different location and they didn't have them in the colour I liked so they put them on hold at a location that was on my way home from work. Perfect, or so I thought. So now I have two empty boxes, a new pair of shoes, as well as my bag and of course my increasingly large and awkward baby bump.

The walk to my apartment from work is literally 15 minutes. However, I must add in the minor detour to the shoe store and the slight up hill incline I face going home, in order to give a truly accurate perfect of what I was dealing with. Although I was walking a little slowly it was completely manageable up until...my tights started slowly moving down my legs. At first it was mainly just annoying because as I walked the crotch of my stockings was getting lower and lower and I didn't have a free hand to hike them up with. I should also clarify that although this happens with regular stockings, maternity stockings don't have a strong elastic waist, they are meant to sit under your belly. This fact seemed to speed up the rate at which my stockings were lowering on my legs. Before I was half way home the crotch of my tights was at my knees. Walking with my legs closer together only seemed to make it worse. If I didn't do something soon they were going to be around my ankles, so I was forced to put my boxes and bags down and step off the sidewalk (but still in public view) and fully, without grace or class hike up my stockings. I was a ridiculous sight to behold I'm sure; women with too many boxes/bags and a good sized belly, pulling her tights up and trying to adjust them without fully lifting up her dress and exposing too much. Needless to say when I got home I practically ripped the stupid things off and threw them in the trash. Good-bye and good riddance to maternity stockings!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Girls!

I love seeing my girlfriends!

Having moved to the West Coast a few years ago I was forced to leave many of my best friends. However, I have been very lucky to have had lots of visitors. This year alone we had many close friends come for a visit which has been fabulous. They have though been men for the most part but yesterday I saw one of my very closest friends and she knew how to make a girl feel good about her growing baby bump.

The boys have expressed congratulations and some excitement but there is nothing like the excitement of seeing a girlfriend that you haven't seen in awhile; especially when you're 6 1/2 months pregnant. Women are curious and interested in a way that most men just don't seem to be (aside maybe from one of my boys who happens to live in San Fran-he asked me all the same questions as the girls and I love him for it). Women want to know details, and hear all about the little things that are going on with your body and the growing baby. They are interested, really interested in something that interests you personally a lot. It's proabbaly because they will be going through the process of pregnancy at some point or simply that sharing the biological characteristics is enough to make you curious. It is something that men just cannot share with us.

My own brother was not that interested in my baby bump or pregnancy. No there is nothing like the screaming excitement of my fellow ladies to share and enjoy this journey with. So I say hooray and thank you to my girls; your enthusiasm means the world to me and I am grateful for it.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Judgement Day

One of the greatest joys of being pregnant is knowing that you are going to have a child to take care of and raise soon. However, this is also one of the scariest and most surreal things about being pregnant. As soon as a woman becomes pregnant she is already starting to make important decisions about her child's life and this is when other peoples opinions become a lot more then just other peoples opinions. You can help feeling a little judged because after all it's now very very personal.

I actually had a women say how cool and normal her pregnant friend was for having a glass of wine at a party. This was stated directly after I turned down an offer of wine. Sorry am I supposed to drink while pregnant because you think it makes a pregnant women seem cooler and more relaxed. I realize that in Europe and some other countries drinking a small amount is considered safe during pregnancy but why should that matter to me. This is my decision and no ones concern but mine, my husband and our doctor. Some people think that women need to be extremely careful about what they put in their bodies during pregnancy; while others think that women are too uptight these days and it would healthier to be more relaxed and balanced in their approach to eating and drinking. My only point is that it increasingly clear that one way or the other everyone has got something to say on the matter.

It seems to be that people have got very serious opinions about child rearing right from conception. I have noticed that when people ask me if I have a doctor or a midwife, some people raise their eyebrows a little too high when I reply that I have an OB. It seems that it is very 'in' to have a midwife these days especially in Vancouver where I live. People are also very interested to hear if I have a doula or not; something I never heard of before a friend in Toronto became one. People might not out and out tell me I'm making the wrong choice but through looks and pauses their opinions are subtly or not so subtly relayed to me.

Friends, family and strangers have also expressed their varying opinions about natural births v. cesareans and the use of drugs during delivery. I have a pretty clear idea of how I'd like things to go down on the magical day in question; however I am also very aware that things change and that you have to be somewhat open to last minute changes in birth plans when for example the baby is in distress. It is interesting to hear how passionately people will state what is the right way or the wrong way to give birth, even if they have never done it.

The same goes for breastfeeding. This is an extremely controversial topic that brings out passion, rage as well as guilt and sadness. The standard is that breast milk is the best for the baby so if you as a women are unable to or choose not to breastfeed does that make you a bad parent? As a teacher I've seen some things that make people bad parents and I wouldn't personally group not breastfeeding into that category. I would love to be able to breastfeed and probably this, more then labor stresses me out because it is possible that it won't work out and when I think of how personally disappointing that would be, complied of course with the new mothers guilt of "I've let down my baby", then to add to that the knowledge that friends and family may be judging me...it's almost too much to take.

I guess this is just something I have to get used to. Now that I am pregnant, my body and choices are not just about me. I felt this responsibility right from the start and I have tried to educate myself about prenatal care and have done the best I can to make decisions I feel good about. It can be hard knowing that the people you love and even the strangers who don't know you, now suddenly because you are pregnant feel entitled to judge your life and choices.

Can't wait to get into all the judgement involved in the actual raising of a child, I'm sure no one has an opinion about that right...? All I have to do is look to facebook and a post about who's last name a child should receive to know that when it comes to children, passion and opinions run high in our society and judgment right or wrong runs deep.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Love and Hate

Let me start by qualifying all pregnancy complains with the statement that being pregnant is already one of the most wonderful things that I've experienced in my life and I wouldn't have it any other way.

That being said let me proceed with a new hate. I hate the fact that at six months pregnant my feet are already swelling. It is terrible. I'm supposed to be getting a lot of exercise, whatever that means considering I'm not supposed to do anything too intense or that could include falling and now that my belly has rounded out nicely my centre of gravity is off so the list of activities that could include falling as greatly increased. Anyways, walking and swimming are my two main sources of physical activities these days, especially walking cause it requires no planning. However, walking which I used to be able to do for hours and hours has lead to my terrible swollen feet and ankles. Hell, even when I'm not walking for exercise (i.e normal walking, not my dorky power walking on my lunch breaks) my feet still swell. Everyone seems to have a solution to this problem. First, avoid salt, cause my diet's not already hugely restricted; avoid crossing my legs, because I'm not still dealing with numb bum on a regular basis; elevate legs, cause my desk at work is for sure designed of that. Thanks world but your advice on this one has not turned out to be particularly useful, although I will try all these things anyways. So far the best solution is running shoes (no matter what I'm wearing, if I'm walking I'm wearing running shoes) and a cold water foot soak before bed (painful but truly effective). I learned this one on the hike I did across Spain. If anything is going to teach you how to deal with swollen feet it's walking 750km in 30 days. Anyways this is yet another mild inconvenience that has come with creating and carrying life.

Now let's move onto my newest love...

I am feeling kicks all the time which is absolutely fabulous. I used to only feel them in the evenings when it was quiet because they were very mild but now I get these fun little bursts of life throughout the day. My husband has felt a few from the outside but he isn't getting what I am that's for sure. He said last night that the kicks were a sort of pay back or secret joy that only I get which sort of counters all the tough stuff like being fat and having swollen feet. I have to say I agree and I have a feeling that this is one of the deals with motherhood. We, the women have to deal with some difficult things but we also get some amazing bonus' that the men folk cannot experience. I think I can handle that, in fact I think I feel a little lucky to be a women right now despite some of the challenges I have and will encounter along the way.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Baby Brain

So I haven't done a lot of research on this subject, however, from what I gather baby brain is yet another symptom of pregnancy. Basically baby brain is when pregnant women and or new mothers become extremely absent minded and forgetful. So of course whether real or imagined I am most definitely feeling the effects of new symptom.

I have been volunteering on Tuesday mornings at a school for about 3 months. This has been part of my schedule and it's something I really look forward to. Well... not this past Tuesday. It wasn't until I arrived at work that I realized it was Tuesday and I was supposed to be volunteering and it was too late for me to go because of the extra time it takes me to get there and then be back at work for the afternoon. Damn. Now I'm not the most organized, with it person in the world but when it comes to work or volunteering which is a form of work I consider myself very reliable; this is not at all like me.

At work these days I find myself to be extremely forgetful; the classic example of going into a room and immediately forgetting what I was going to do or get when I got there as become my new routine.

I'm finding that I have to read directions or instructions multiple times in order to take in and retain the correct information. For example I was convinced that I would miss the opening for applying to the public broad because I thought that the window was a week. It took me checking a third time to realize that I had a month and nothing to worry about. What is that all about?

So perhaps this is just how life will be from now on; checking and rechecking, making lists only to loose them and make the same list again. Sounds fun right? Now I can't wait to see how that works with the baby around this exciting new symptom can last for some women up to one year after the baby is born or at least that's what 'they say'. Perhaps this will be part of my new persona, I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Pain in the Calf

As I have mentioned before, sleeping has changed dramatically during pregnancy. I have had to adjust to more frequent bathroom breaks, sleeping on my side and just plain waking up for no reason. But the other night topped all when I awoke from a deep sleep with the most intense calf muscle spasm I have ever experienced in my life. I was powerless to stop the sharpest pain my calf has ever felt. I think I may have even screamed a little. I tried to relax and it did pass but would you believe that it happened again; because it did! Twice in one night, what did I do to deserve this?

I recall having experienced a similar pain a long, long time ago and I had heard that this is somewhat common during pregnancy but I hoped that it wouldn't happen to me. That's a good one right?

I did a little research on this calf pain phenomena and despite what people say there is no evidence to connect it to anything. Most people will say that it means you are low in calcium and that you need to drink more milk. Or that it's a result of extra weight and stress on the muscles and that stretching and massage are the keys. Although these are fine and good things to do, the calf spasm still remains a mystery to the experts and so I cannot predict if or when it will happen. I can never be sure when I go to sleep if I will be attacked in the night by my own muscles or if I will be even a stay for another day or two.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Polite People

I have told my boss and most of my co-workers that I am pregnant but I didn't want to send out a mass email with my news so I kind of hoped that word would spread and I wouldn't have to make a big deal about it. I am also now 5 1/2 months pregnant and looking, I think very pregnant so imagine my surprise when I casually mention to a guy at work; "well, you know I'm pregnant right?" and he responds, "really I had no idea."

You had no idea! What are you talking about, you had no idea? Come on, how else do you account for my clearly round and protruding belly? Do you think I have a beer belly? Do you think that this is my body type? Come on...I am so clearly pregnant.

Friends have tried to reassure me by saying that people are just trying to be polite but let me tell you there is nothing polite about telling a clearly pregnant women that she doesn't look pregnant. All it tells us is that we look fat, rather then the preferable pregnant. It is very insulting.

The first few months I did sort of just feel fat. I wore a lot of baggy clothing and tried to hide my middle as much as possible. Then I started to round out and have embraced the belly fully. I now feel that I would rather wear clothes that show off my growing bump, rather then shying away. However, these 'polite' people who I can only hope fain ignorance to my situation are not helping me any. So to the world I say, it's okay I am pregnant and I don't mind looking it at least for the next few months.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Resistance is Futile

Last Saturday I wore regular jeans for perhaps the last time ever.

You see I have been resistant to buying speciality clothes (maternity clothes) because after all there are so many nice clothes that can work for both and really I only have 4 1/2 months to go and it seemed like a waste of money and I'm cheap. So I have been wearing empire waist dresses and long shirts with leggings. A friend even gave me a few items and I did buy one pair of maternity pants; however, they only have a stretchy part in the front and it is rather small now that I look at them. I was thinking I could make due but things changed on this past Saturday.

Saturday we had some friends from out of town and we (my husband and I) decided to give them a tour of the downtown which was a lot of fun. I decided to try and be normal and wear my regular jeans for this little outing. This was of course a big mistake. My husband warned me that this was a bad idea but I really really really wanted to wear jeans; comfy. normal jeans. Despite my fun day there was nothing comfy or normal about my belly busting out of my jeans all day long. After dinner I could barely breath and it took all my pride and self restrain not to rip them off and drive home naked.

So I broke and the next day I went to a maternity store that a friend had recommended. I grabbed a few jeans off the rake and took them into the change room and that's when I fell in love. These jeans were and are amazing and actually make me look and feel normal; pregnant yes but normal. I can bend over and sit down with out my bum hanging out. They make me feel free and I truly don't know if I can ever go back to regular none elastic waist jeans again.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Lesson Learned...Again

Yesterday I went for my second ultrasound appointment and it went something like this...

I arrive at the hospital at 7am for this appointment only to discover that there is a row of people waiting and the doors wouldn't open until 7:15; hum. The doors finally open and we all roll in and dutifully hand over our health care cards to reception. I take a seat and wait. When they finally call my name I find out that my first ultrasound has not been sent over (the second time it has not been sent where it's supposed to be; err). I don't remember the name of the place it was done and I'm sure my doctors office isn't opened yet which means there is nothing I can do so I sit back down and wait some more. It seems now that I am being punished for not having a complete file because everyone is called in before me, even the women who went pee despite having been told not to.

Here we go, I'm called in and the ultrasound begins. It's always a little too quiet for me while the technician is doing her thing. I am dying to ask questions and be told every little detail about what she sees but I try and restrain myself because I can see that she is focused. The room is getting cold with my belly bare and I can see nothing, a painting on the wall or something would have been good.

She finishes all her measuring (which seems to be taking pictures of different parts of the babies body) and of course I ask. "how does everything look?"
Her response, "Fine but really the doctor should be the one to discuss it with you."
Thanks lady just tell me it looks good come on.
Then I ask if she can tell the gender. Her response is ridiculously none committal. She tells us that the baby is moving a lot and so it's been hard for her to take pictures and see. She can't see a penis but that doesn't mean it's not there. She says she doesn't know how many times she has been right or wrong so it's best to just says she's not sure. What? That's it, that's your answer; you're not sure.

I am completely unsatisfied again and walk away with the lesson that I have already learned and will no doubt continue to be reminded of; life, this pregnancy, labor and most importantly this baby will not necessarily adhere to the plans that I have made. Okay, okay lesson learned.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Numb Bum

I have discovered a new symptom of pregnancy or maybe it's just me.
The last few days my bum has been ridiculously sore. It feels bruised almost, possibly because I went for a massage and the therapist was forced to spend almost the entire hour working out the literal pain in my ass.

I have over the past few years struggled with back pain. It comes and goes, it's often related to stress or inactivity and can usually be treated through stretching and massage. Since working in an office and sitting at a desk all day, my back has expressed it's concerns and I have done what I always do and dutifully answer the call buy seeking professional help; i.e one massage as soon a possible please. But now my pain has shifted.

My therapist who I love has a way of finding the root of the problem which I am both grateful for and dread at each appointment. Yesterday he found the problem to be firmly rooted in my buttocks, something I was starting to notice at work. All he had to do was touch one cheek and it was clear that that was the problem. As he worked out the knots, I tried to breath through it and thought how fair I've come that this is totally normal and acceptable professional treatment. But my therapist wasn't done there, he as usual found pain and I mean the serious pain where I didn't know it existed. This time he found it in my thighs.

Have you ever had your thighs massaged? I don't mean by a partner during foreplay, I mean by a professional with a job to do. It's actually really uncomfortable. On a good day all my reflexes and insincts tell me that I should kick this fool off me but yesterday took it to a new level. All he had to do was press on my thigh before I was forced to cry 'stop'. "I'm sorry it's just too much," I said. He of course complied and went about relieving my tense thighs muscles in a more gentle way.

But back to my butt which has become somewhat of a distraction. The pain was rubbed out, kind of but my butt is still sore. I went to the movies after and sat for two hours on my sore bum and now I'm here at work doing the same thing. I think I may need to invest in one of those 'sitting doughnut' that they give to people with hemorrhoids because this butt can't take it anymore.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Restless Nights

I used to be the super sleeper. I used to be able to fall asleep anytime, anyplace, for any duration. I was just an amazing sleeper. I had glorious, deep, restful sleeps and now... not so much. Of course I expected that having a child my sleep would be interrupted, however, I thought I would have nine months to brace myself before that happened. I instead have had difficulty sleeping since month 2 and now that I am fast approaching month 5 and my belly is swelling everyday I am becoming concerned.

My ultimate sleeping position historically has been on my stomach, something that massage and physiotherapists alike have warned against. But how can you deny something that feels so right. Well naturally at 19 weeks sleeping on my stomach is officially no longer an option and I'm not supposed to sleep on my back either (something about increased blood pressure). So it's the side sleep and ideally with a pillow between my legs for optimal support that I must come to terms with. Sounds fine, until I find myself awake in the middle of the night tossing and turning, trying to find a way to make this new position feel natural and relaxed.

Then there are the bathroom trips. So all the books say it's a good idea to not drink water a few hours before going to bed but again I have been a major liquid drinker my whole life. I feel constantly thirsty and have taken a glass of water to bed with me since I was a child. In the past I would either hold it in the night or wake up go to the bathroom and immediately fall back to sleep. Well not anymore. If anything wakes me up, my ability to fall back asleep is no longer active and I am forced to toss and turn and often times waking up my husband in the process.

I guess this is a sort of weird training for late night feedings that are to come but I never expected to start training so soon. I also never expected to have such a difficult time falling back to sleep. I used to think that waking up in the night would be hard but I am such an amazing sleeper that I would easily fall back to sleep and napping on command when the baby was sleeping during the day would be a piece of cake. Well as usual nothing is what I thought it would be but hopefully I am building some sort of tolerance to being perpetually tired and cranky.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Kicks

I was lazing about in bed on Saturday and I started feeling the strangest sensation in my stomach. It felt like there was a tiny little roller coaster going up and down in my belly. I would periodically get that butterfly, Canada's Wonderland drop-zone feeling; only smaller. I sort of ignored it and continued to read my book and then it kept happening. Then I finally realized that this is what early kicking feels like. It doesn't feel like kicking at all, just a strange whirling in the pit of your stomach feeling. I had read about it in books and much like everything else I have experienced, it was nothing like what I expected. My husband likes to picture the baby swimming around in my belly and doing the occasional back flip which is pretty much what it feels like. It continued all morning and then nothing on Sunday but it's back again today. I have to say that it's not painful or even uncomfortable really but it's not totally pleasant either. It is however, nice to know that everything is normal and that I have passed another milestone.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Fantasy Land

I have officially moved on to stage two: lovely baby fantasies.

I live in Vancouver which is a beautiful city, surrounded by mountains and ocean. There are parks, walking/biking paths, beaches and pools. This and the fact that I am feeling so much better (i.e. not nauseous and throwing up) has allowed me to start indulging in fantasy land.

My biggest fantasies are not outrageous, they are definitely in the realm of reality. I picture going on lovely walks on the seawall everyday with the baby. Of course the sun is always shinning and I feel great. I also have visions of biking along the seawall path over to Spanish Banks; a beautiful beach towards the university. I will bring a picnic and a beach blanket. After a nice long ride, I'll set baby up and we'll bask in the sun together (baby and mother wearing sunscreen and hats of course). We'll relax, maybe I'll read and of course just play with baby and love life.

Granville Island has a nice little free water park for kids. Perfect for toddlers on hot summer days. I can also see going to local parks when baby is a little older and putting him/her in a swing or doing the butterfly swing that my mom used to do with me. This is when mom sits on the swing and puts the child facing mom with their little legs sort of wrapped around the mom. This way mom does all the work and the child enjoys the ride. I have vivid memories of doing that with my mom and loving it. I also remember going on bike rides and sitting in that little baby seat on my mom's bikes. These are some of the happiest memories of my life and I hope to recreate them with my little one.

Everything feels like it's going to be wonderful. I am definitely operating in some kind of a pink baby haze that does not allow clear sight of some of the baby realities to come: no sleep, sore body and poopy diapers. However, after the last few months of symptoms I think I'd like to stay here in fantasy land for a little while.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Perfect Pregnancy

I met her the other day, the perfect pregnant women.

She's actually a friend of mine who I haven't seen in awhile. She's about five and half months pregnant and has not had a complaint. She's a teacher too and one of the first things I asked her was how teaching has been. I know that if I had been in the classroom with my nausea, vomiting, headaches, constipation, farting and extreme tiredness I would not have been loving it. But she's fine. She doesn't even feel pregnant, except of course for her perfectly rounded baby bump. What? Is all I can think to myself...no pregnancy symptoms at all? I feel like I'm starting to discover new ones as time comes on. Nope, none of that for her. She is merely basking in the joy of creating life, she is in fact glowing. Not only has she experienced no pregnancy symptoms, apparently her body doesn't find the influx of hormones and the doubling of blood volume to be problematic in anyway. Dis I mention she is also beautiful.

Her body is thin and her bump is perfect. I still think I look mostly fat and my muffin top cannot be completely attributed to my growing fetus. And this glow thing is no joke, whereas I have blemishes and prepubescent acne, she has gorgeous, clear skin, with actual radiating glow.

I write all this not because I'm bitter or jealous which I kind of am but to give hope to all the women who I talk to and share my personal pregnancy experience with, it's not always like what I have been describing and for many and I hope all of you out there it will be nothing like this. There will be no three weeks of intense nausea or one week of no bowel movements. You may never experience puking down the street while trying to walk home or covering up blotchy skin in the morning.

I wish all my ladies a pregnancy like my beautiful friends, filled with nothing but loveliness and radiance. But you have to admit I have gotten some good stories out of this whole thing, that's something, isn't it?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Smooth Sailing- Kind Of

The last few weeks I have been feeling better overall, however, I still get attacked by the usual symptoms. Basically in the evenings, especially when I eat I feel like I ate way too much and my stomach hurts and then I may or may not get sick. This is starting to develop into an unwelcome routine. I have also experienced tired like I never thought possible and the occasional headaches too.

So I realize I'm doing a lot of whinny about symptoms and feeling sick but I honestly was completely unprepared for how difficult this whole thing would be. I mean when you think about it, growing a human life inside you is kind of a big deal right? But I do envy these women who glow and feel an overwhelming sense of joy. That sounds great, I'll take some of that please. All I've got are complaints and discomfort.

As I sit here at my desk with my ass hanging out of my maternity pants I also can't help thinking of these mystery women who wear there bellies with pride and grace. I feel like nothing fits me at all. If I thought shopping was hard on the self esteem before...? Yesterday I spent the entire day with the crotch of my maternity tights at my knees. But of course regular tights cut off my stomach which need to breathe.

The point of this email was to state that things are getting better and that smooth sailing is on the horizon but you know complaining is so much more fun.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Minor Freak Out

I have been feeling a little under the weather the last few days, although the nausea has long passed and the throwing up has been infrequent, it is difficult to say if the way I've been feeling is pregnancy related or just regular, run of the mill sickness. I have been crazy tired and I know that being tired is a common side effect of pregnancy but I had sort of leveled out for a few weeks before I was hit with this tiredness. Last night I came home and had something to eat which quickly came up. I then decided to take my temperature and it showed that I had a minor fever which took me into a major freak out.

This involved looking up pregnancy and fevers and reading about possible concerns. I then made a late night call to my brother-in-law in Toronto who has recently graduated from medical school. He was too kind and patient with me. He put my mind and heart at ease and by the time I got off the phone I felt a million times better. I also retook my temperature to discovery that it was normal, I have taken it about ten times in the last twelve hours and it's been normal each time since.

Although I realize that I overreacted last night to my 'fever' the experience my showed me that the love I have for my unborn child runs deeper then I ever imagined. The thought now of anything going wrong actually breaks my heart. There is nothing I want more now then this child to grow safely inside me and be born happy and healthy this summer. I talk to my belly already, telling it how my I love it. I love this baby and I want this baby more then I've ever loved or wanted anything.

I'm home sick from work today, resting and drinking plenty of fluids. I think I slept most of the day away so I guess my body needed it. I am determined to do everything that I can to ensure a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. I will take care of myself and give my body what it asks for, even if it is twelve hours of sleep. I will also continue to talk to my baby, send it my love and all the positive, happy energy I have.

I guess I'm learning all about the love and fear that comes with parenthood, it's overwhelming and wonderful.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Growing Girl

Clothing has been a little bit of an issue lately. Basically, every morning I get dressed and try on three different outfits before I find something that is work and belly appropriate. The main problem is that all my clothes that are really comfortable make me look pregnant. I wore a black, cotton, empire waist dress to volunteer in a grade 2/3 class yesterday and the first thing one of the kids said to me was; "that dress makes you look pregnant." Inside I was like, 'thanks kid, you're saying what I think every time I look in the mirror.' However, when I wear 'normal' clothes my belly gets so uncomfortable. Almost all pants and skirts cut you off in the middle and now that my belly is getting bigger and harder it does not like these kinds of restrictions. The problem is that I am at that awkward period where I definitely have a bump but it hasn't fully rounded out. I also haven't told my work and I'm kind of hoping to keep it in a little while longer which means that everyday I must find something to wear that is comfortable and not over the top belly showing.

This brings me to my ridiculous trip to Walmart over the weekend. That's right I went to Walmart, now that I'm preparing for parenthood cheapness trumps evil American corporation. So I go in and am instantly in a daze, the lights are too bright, the aisles are too long and everything feels too big. But I'm here on a mission; to purchase a few basic staples. The most ridiculous item I bought was the fugliest mom-bra you have ever seen. This thing has no under wire, has nice thick straps and the worst flower embroider pattern in white on white. My husband grieves along with me but man this bra is so amazingly comfortable. I also bought some actual pregnancy tights and leggings which are soon to be everyday wear. Now buying a new bathing suit was a whole episode unto itself.

I swim laps throughout the year so it's important that I have a good, solid sports bathing suit to swim in. Doesn't have to be fancy, just needs to work. My current bathing suit was getting too small before I got pregnant so it was essential to buy a new one soon. This was the main goal of my trip to Walmart. Bathing suits at sports stores or department stores can easily run in the $100 range while at Walmart $20 is typical and since I was looking for a sports bathing suit it seemed the logically choice. So quickly I found myself in the change room and I had a whole range of sizes and only a few styles (they really didn't have the selection I hoped for) but I was optimistic. Of course my optimism quickly faded as I continued to try on different sizes, none of which fit just right. I finally tried on one that was the perfect fit but looking in the mirror it was ghastly. This was not even a mom bathing suit this was grandma styles. Breast support, exact support clip in the back and the design...there are no words. It was extremely unattractive and although I was only buying a suite for exercise I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I decided instead to go with the nicer style in the slightly too large of a size (after all I'm a growing girl right?). Wrong, or at least not close enough to right. I went for a swim in my new swimsuit the other day and it was a disaster, it felt like the thing was going to fall off the entire time I was doing laps. Oh grandma suite why did I judge you so harshly and why am I constantly buying things that don't fit? Lesson learned...I hope.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Just Out Walking

Picture this...

A beautiful Friday after work, I'm walking down a lovely little residential streets. It almost feels like spring here in Vancouver, the air is fresh and clean, the sky is blue and the birds are singing. Then suddenly, without warning or provocation there is puke in my mouth. I can't believe this is happening and I quickly and discreetly spite it out. I continue to walk on, thinking how strange and then it happens again and again and again. For absolutely no reason other then prehaps the baby trying to assert it's power over me, I am continually throwing up in my mouth. I am trying to draw as little attention to myself as possible, so I continue to walk on and hope that this insanity will subside. It does not. Before I can stop it or hide behind a bush there is puke in my mouth and I am spiting it out, hoping that none of the passerby notices my situation. I keep telling myself that I am fine and that this is nothing and that it will pass but it persists until I finally make it home and drag myself onto the couch with a strategically placed garbage can in front of it. The garbage can remains clean; apparently my stomach decided that puking in public would be more fun, then allowing me to keep any dignity at all.

This is my life now but there was a time not too long ago when I could control my bodily functions (to at least some degree). Alcohol has never sat well with me and so I am familiar with the nauseous leading up to a trip to the bathroom, followed by terrible retching. This was never pleasant but at least it was predicable. I could always make it to a bathroom on time. I could always hold it in on the walk home from the bar or even in the bumpy cab. What I am faced with now is unheard of: getting sick on the street, in the middle of the day, completely sober, this is not right!

A friend suggested I get a t-shirt that states something along the lines of; "Beware pregnant women approaching, could puke at any moment." Not exactly subtle but at least it would explain my predicament to strangers. I however, would prefer to send a message to my growing bundle of joy; "I am now officially in my second trimester baby and this is a time of happiness, excitement and very little physical drama. All this puking and nauseous business was fun, it gave me the full pregnancy experience but I'm good now, I'm done."

We'll see if he/she listens.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Smells

I didn't mention this before, but flatulent gas is another symptom that I, and those around me, are forced to endure because of my pregancy. No one ever mentions that one, do they? But it's right up there as one of the most common symptoms. It's got something to do with the pregnancy hormone slowing motility in the stomach, which in turn allows gas to build up and be released unexpectedly. Sounds fun doesn't it? Trust me when I say that there is nothing fun about it and although I am lucky to work alone most of the time, I do not occupy an island here.

So my own unattractive smells are bad and put me in no position to judge, but this body of mine no longer cares about fairness, so smells of all kinds have been making me sick. Just thinking about unpleasant smells as I sit here typing could make me dry-heave.

This is no joke: smells that shouldn't be greatly offensive now greatly offend me. The most obvious location is the bathroom. The smell of any bathroom, even if it's not dirty or doesn't smell bad, can make me throw up. It's like my body has decided that if it detects a bathroom then it's convenient to get sick at that moment. Which of course it's not, especially at work--where I don't want to explain throwing up in the middle of the day for 'no reason'.

But the story that kills me happened last Saturday night. My husband and I went out with another couple and had an amazing time at a fun little tapas bar down the street. When we came home and went to bed everything seemed fine, until my lovely husband let out some built up stomach gas of his own. This is a fact of (married) life: people fart. It's not pleasant but it's not the end of the world either. Except this time. I smelled his rancid flatulence and before I had time to respond I was dry heaving, then throwing up in my mouth. I quickly jumped out of bed and ran to the bathroom where I proceeded to throw up all those lovely tapas I had eaten. My husband could not contain himself and laughed hysterically while I attempted to yell back "It's not funny!" in between up-chucks.

Good times.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Spreading the Word

I realize that I'm backtracking a little, but I have to comment on the initial and varied emotions that ran through me when I found out I was pregnant because they were somewhat astronomical. Of course there were feelings of disbelief when that Plus Sign appeared, followed quickly by joy and excitement. I was alone in my apartment when I peed on that stick so I really didn't know what to do with myself. Of course I had to wait until my husband came home before I could even think about telling anyone else this life changing news. When he did get home I was ridiculous: I turned off the TV and sat up all straight trying to think of a fun or clever way of telling him. Right away he knew somethings as up, "did you get a job?"

"No," I answered (for the record I got a job within a week of finding out I was pregnant).

"You're pregnant," he pronounced.

I was shocked that he had seen through me so quickly and I had lost my opportunity to tell him the news in some creative or memorable way--oh well.

We were dying to tell our families, but I convinced my husband to wait until I'd seen the doctor and we had a little more information. Every one's first questions: "What's the due date?" or "How far along are you?" So we sat on the big news for a week or so. When the doctor told me I was 8 weeks along, I was surprised and extremely excited. The general rule that women follow when it comes to announcing their pregnancy is to wait three months. This is because, as my doctor explained, one-third of healthy, normal women will miscarry for no reason during that initial 3-month period. This, to me, was a shocking statistic, and one I took to heart. But I didn't let get in the way of my enthusiasm for the growing life inside me. I was grateful that we only had to sit on the news for a month: how anyone could hold it in for three whole months is beyond me.

We told our parents and some close family members and friends--people I felt I would need to tell if things did go wrong, which thank the gods they didn't. But now I had put all these people in the position of keeping their lips sealed until I gave the go ahead. For the most part everyone really impressed me with their ability to keep quiet, but there's always one, isn't there? And in my case there were two!

My sweet, amazing father-in-law who is, all in all, a very trustworthy person, was too overwhelmed by the news that he would become a grandfather to hold it in. It's funny receiving a congratulatory email from people that you did not share top secret news with. Then my loveliest West Coast friend, whom I might add was experiencing some baby brain of her own (she was around eight months pregnant at the time), told two of her friends who I happen to know. A little awkward, but nothing that couldn't be fixed with a light scolding and a quiet pleading.

It's a funny time, those early months. There is so much going on and yet you have to stay quiet and calm for the most part. A friend was asking if I was buying baby things and getting things ready, but it's funny: at first you are so filled with excitement and energy that you probably could furnish a nursery in one day, but you're forced to bottle that energy up and keep it all in. You have to acknowledge that 1/3 pregnancies aren't going to make it to week 12. My body was going through so many changes and the feeling of being pregnant was so present in my everyday and yet most of the people I was encountering had no idea. I was full of plans, hopes, and dreams, but it was too soon to take action. It was a paradoxical time and I'm glad to be through it now.

I'm calmer now that I'm almost 14 weeks. I feel so glad that I've been able to tell almost everyone the wonderful news. I think it was worth the wait to hear people's excitement and congratulations when I told them. There has been an outpouring of love and support from friends and family that has overwhelmed me. My baby's first gift has already been received and it brings tears to my eyes just thinking about that little, yellow, hand-knitted bib sitting on my dresser and waiting for a baby. I'm sure it's the hormones talking but so far this ride has been the most amazing experience of my life and I am just thankful to have amazing people to share it with.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Out the Window

So I always imagined that when I got pregnant I would be so amazing to my body: I would eat only the most healthy organic foods available; I would exercise and go to yoga; and I would do absolutely everything possible to take care of myself and the growing life inside me.

Well, I am learning quickly that all the best intentions can easily fly out the window when reality is imposed. Now, I'm not saying that all those things aren't good and in fact I do strive to live out a beautiful and well balanced pregnancy, but morning sickness is a powerful taskmaster who does not care about any of my good intentions.

Once morning sickness hit--and, as I've mentioned, for me it hit hard--I was laid up or at least laid out on the couch in front of the TV for a good three weeks. The constant feeling of nausea made the idea of going to yoga, or to the gym at all, completely out of the question. I was 'lucky' not to be working yet (how women go to work with morning sickness and keep their pregnancy quiet is beyond me).

I took full advantage of my unemployment and did nothing, except of course eat. Did I mention the cure for this nauseous sick feeling is food? How ironic. I think this whole pregnancy is a metaphor for parenthood: best intentions often fly out the window and the cure can be found in the most unlikely place. But I am getting off point: the true point is how much I ate those first few weeks I became aware of a growing life inside of me. It became carb central and I became the monster on the couch requiring regular feedings. My husband obliged me (perhaps to a fault).

I'm sure it goes without saying that I have quickly put on a healthy 10 pounds and that my pants are increasingly tight. Now I must come to terms with the new body that I am now embodying: the pregnant body. I didn't think the weight gain would bother me but I am a woman, a woman who didn't start this journey completely comfortable with her look. And you may be thinking "it's okay, you're pregnant" and that's true, but during the early days no one knows you're pregnant so, let's be honest, you just look fat. I believe that once my tummy rounds out a bit further and I have announced to my co-workers that I am expecting it will be a little easier. But for now I struggle every morning to find the perfect outfit that is not too tight and not too baggy in order to conceal my lovely emerging bump.