Pink or Blue?

Our MW appointment went really well this morning! The monthly visits are reassuring for both K and myself, but more than that – they’re actually fun! Our midwife, N, said my pee “looked good”, BP was “great”, and my weight gain was “perfect”. It’s funny to hear any weight gain referred to as “perfect”!! I’ve gained 6 lbs in the almost 4 months I’ve been pregnant. It’s always discouraging for me to gain weight, but I have to keep reminding myself that this is good weight gain. Anyway, I felt great that she said everything was going so well physically.

We had a few questions that she gladly addressed (and calmed our fears too!). K was worried about the baby being born with a cord around the neck. The thought of being at home and this happening scared her half to death. N said that 1 in 3 babies are born with the cord around the neck and this usually isn’t a concern unless the cord is too short. You have to worry when the cord is caught under the armpits or around another part of the body, she told us. If the cord slides up to the neck, that is actually a “safe place” for it to be until the baby is born. Strange to hear. N explained that most people hear horror stories and assume that the baby would choke being birthed with the cord around the neck. Not so! We talked about tearing during birth, etc, as that was another one of my concerns. She said she thought I had a bit of ‘fear in me’. Yeah, a little I guess. It’s just the unknown. She talked to me a little bit about my fears….”You don’t need to prepare your body for birth (the female body does this naturally!) but rather, you must prepare your mind“. I immediately understood the truth in this. I was encouraged to put up affirmations, if I felt that would help me. I don’t know if I’ll post them up anywhere….but just hearing them was helpful…. I am going to try to say them to myself daily, weekly, etc. “My body will make the perfect amount of space for me to birth my baby”. “My baby will be born in a safe place.” Etc. Encouraging the positive thoughts, discouraging the negative, irrational fears. It was what I needed to hear.

After talking for some time she perked up and said, “Let’s listen to your baby!” She so loves what she does for a living! I was reeeeallly looking forward to hearing the little heartbeat again. She found it in no time and it was SO much louder than our last visit! Strong, fast and loud!! Next, K and I heard a “thump”. N smiled and said, “Did you feel that?” Nope. “Your baby just kicked!”. Wow. I wish I had felt it, but I clearly heard it. It happened one more time while we were listening to the heartbeat. I was so blown away! Sometimes it doesn’t seem real, and this takes me right back to reality. She/He IS in there!! It was amazing. Totally random and surprising thing too, while N had the doppler on my belly she said, “You have great muscle tone in your stomach!!”. Umm…excuse me? Good what??? Ha! I thought I had lost that all with the weight gain……I did actually laugh, but decided I’d better just take the compliment! Surely this will help me in some way during labour!!? Anyway, N says that she thinks we will have a very active baby and that I should start feeling the Wee One very soon! So, I’m now I very excited pregnant lady. I really feel like things are starting to take off!!! My belly is getting bigger and bigger and it’s only a few short weeks till we’ll see our ittybitty baby on the ultrasound! I can’t get over this miracle of what we’ve created. It truly is mind-blowing, when you think about it! The excitement, happiness and anticipation doesn’t go away after the BFP. Even after throwing up, I’m happy. Sick, but happy.

In other fun news, for the FIRST time….. a stranger asked when I was due! K and I were grocery shopping, and were checking out, when the cashier glanced at my belly and said it!!! It may sound silly, but we were pretty excited. She said it had a “distinctive shape to it!” Maybe I’m finally getting out of the it-looks-like-all-I’ve-been-doing-is-chowing-down-on-doughnuts-stage. Wouldn’t that be exciting!! For all you Curious George’s out there…. our BIG ultrasound is Friday, July 18th. I will be 18wks3d, so I’m hoping that I’ll be far enough along that they’ll be able to tell us the sex! I don’t think I can set up a poll on WordPress, so you will all have to de-lurk and POST. Sorry! What do you think girls? Pink or blue?

Building A Mystery

I’ve wanted to post for several days, but haven’t felt like I’ve had the energy…do you ever have that?  Today was another 102 degree day in Richmond and yet another 14 hour day.  I’m exhausted.  Even my toes hurt.  I’ve told you all this before, and I fear it’s getting old.  I’m sorry.  I don’t mean to be complain-y.  What I really want is to write a beautiful post about what an amazing experience our Homebirth Circle was last week.  I could talk about it for ages.  We met so many amazing women who told their empowering birth stories to the whole circle.  I walked away excited about birth; I walked away thinking “I want this and can actually DO this!” I can really see it in my head now, and am getting more and more psyched.  The meetings are once a month, and you never know how many people will show up.  There were at least 30 at the last meeting.  Couples with itty bitty babies.  Singles-By-Choice that were very very pregnant.  Women.  Lots of women!! The supportive environment we walked into was like a cocoon of welcoming! Us being a same-sex couple didn’t seem to phase anyone, and every person there was so honest and open and willing to give advice on everything from labor to cloth diapers to circumcision.  It really felt right being there.  I’m sure I will write more about the meetings as the months go by!

As for news on the Wee One/Me:

> Our ittybitty baby has been asking me for virgin pina coladas……and I have obliged.  Several times. I, I mean, THE BABY…yes…..baby…..can’t get enough of them.

> I really haven’t had many cravings….which has surprised me.  Basically just pina coladas and Thai food – peanut noodles.  Strange.  Also I’ve been unbelievably thirsty at night.

> I thought morning sickness was a thing of the past.  Not so.  Picture me throwing up repeatedly in several rooms, several bathrooms…….this morning.  Peaches DO NOT feel or taste good on the way back up.

> Our 16 week midwife appointment is Monday and I am so excited to hear the baby again!!!! These 4ww’s between each appointment are tough to get through!!!!

> The full body pillow has now entered our bed.  It’s weird cuddling with a large, human-sized pillow, but oddly nice!  I love love love sleeping on my stomach, but just can’t do it anymore.  It’s uncomfortable and I worry that I’m crushing the Wee One.  I lay on my stomach with one leg up on it.  Having my knee up high takes a bit of the pressure off of my back, and it still feels a little like sleeping on my stomach.

> I haven’t weighed myself in over a week.  I’m scared to get on the scale.  My stomach feels so huge and I have this huge nightmare that I’ll be 10 lbs heavier.  Please tell me that this won’t happen!

> We’re having our countdown till THE BIG ultrasound.  The gender one!!!! We’ll be having it anywhere from 18-20 weeks.  We’re finding out the sex, and I’m pretty excited about it.  I feel like it’s a girl (probably because I’d really really love to have a girl!) but what do I know! I have decided that it’s only right to tell all of you dears.  Do you feel special?  Yes? Awh.  You are.  It will be pretty cool to see the baby actually LOOKING like a baby, as we’ve only had one ultrasound at 7 1/2 weeks, and the wee one looked like a lima bean.

> Big big exciting news.  We’ve made our final decision on girl and boy names.  Of course you’re special, but not that special! Just kidding.  No, really. I’ve got to give you guys SOMETHING to look forward to.  It’s going to be a mystery!!! My lips are sealed until our wee one is here though.  But I am so relieved that the decision is MADE.  Not only that, but I love love love the names.  I get that warm fuzzy feeling just thinking about them.  K and I had gone over and over names we liked, and why we liked them, as I’m sure all couples do.  We chose names that had deep meaning for us as a couple, which makes this even more special.  I couldn’t even talk to her about it for awhile without crying.  We will have such stories to tell our child.  Just as this baby was created from our love, so are the names we have chosen.

> Our baby is the length of a teaspoon now.  How crazy is that?? Pretty crazy.  Considering it seemed like not too long ago he/she was the size of a grain of rice!!!

I can’t think of a clever way to end this post…. so I’ll just say goodnight 🙂 I’m really looking forward to hitting the pillow tonight. I’m wishing you all I lovely evening, wherever you are. xo

14 Weeks

Today it is a bit cooler in Richmond. We’re getting a little bit of a break from the super-high temps we’ve been getting lately; it’s a big relief that is much-needed. 2 days ago our A/C compressor broke. Since everyone and their brother is having A/C trouble, we were told that we can’t get a new compressor, and then therefore A/C that works, until (at the earliest) the end of next week. Lovely. The temperature in the condo got up to 91 degrees late last week. So, we’re staying at a friend’s place for the moment. She’s away for the week, so it worked out well. She has a nice big backyard that is fenced in AND lets us have our three beagles with us (they think it’s their own personal dog park – no complaints on their end). So, as we were heading out to go to dinner last night, we saw this unbelievably bright rainbow. It had just rained briefly but heavily, and it appeared just after the rain stopped. I’ve only seen a few rainbows in my lifetime, but this was HUGE and so colourful and bright. K always thinks a rainbow is a sign. God telling us that things will be okay – no matter what is going on in our lives. I don’t know. Maybe He’s just saying there will never be a flood again. Regardless, it always makes me feel a little better when I see one now. I had my camera in my purse when we saw it, and we stopped to snap a few pictures:

I’ve been such a slacker when it comes to belly shots lately, as I’m sure you all have noticed. My “belly shots” page hasn’t been updated in a few weeks. I was trying to take the pictures wearing the same sweat pants each week….but found them in the wash during “picture time” or we were staying somewhere else and then we both ended up forgetting to take the picture later. SO, without further ado, here is my 14 week belly shot in all its glory with the 5 week shot to compare to! (and one WITH my shirt on!):

I am amazed at how much it’s changing! The funny thing is, I can only notice the changes when I see the pictures. The last few days I’ve been wondering why my belly hasn’t “popped” yet….but I think it’s on the verge! What do you think??

So, here’s what’s going on at 14 weeks (when I turn on my Mac, my homepage goes to baby-gaga (a G.oogle page). It tells you what is going on with baby (and mommy) week-by-week. How excited am I this week?

“Are you ready to rock!? Okay, okay… maybe just a little rolling and poking. Needless to say, your baby will definitely be making themselves known in the upcoming weeks. At about 3.5 inches long, their little body and limber limbs are coordinated enough for loads of complicated motions. In fact, their whole body is moving right now! You’re not feeling it because their current size is still a bit too small to make an impact you’d recognize. Still, their movements are recognizable on an ultrasound. Speaking of which, you shoud be scheduling one with your health care provider! Week 16 is the classic date as you can usually determine whether your little one is going to pee standing up or sitting down. Your baby is also starting to develop the ability to move their eyes this week, although the eyelids still remain fused shut. What’s more, they can make all sorts of fun facial expressions as they practice squinting, frowning, and grimacing. Cute development of the week: their little hands can grasp at things and they may already be sucking their thumb!”

We are going to our FIRST Homebirth Support Group tonight! I have no idea how many couples will be there, but I’m really looking forward to it. I called the lady that runs the group a week or two ago and told her that we were a same-sex couple….I asked her if this would ‘be an issue’…. she was so sweet and responded “OF COURSE NOT!”, with a tone like ‘why would you possibly think it would be!?’. She was so friendly and said she was looking forward to meeting us on Tuesday night. She has been working with our midwife for 15 years as a birth assistant. I think our midwife is leaning towards wanting an assistant – just because this is my first baby, so I’m looking forward to meeting her as she may possibly end up being our birth assistant! My midwife really likes the “B.irthing From Within” ‘method’ over H.ypnobirthing or B.radley. Although she thinks the other methods have many good things about them, she raves about B.irthing From Within classes and says that they are not only practical, but address the emotion and spirit behind birthing. Apparently they are very hands-on and involve a lot of class interaction and role-playing. Our midwife was so sweet and let me borrow the book for the duration of the pregnancy. She suggested it not be a “quick read”, but rather, something that I really take my time with. Okay, I didn’t mean to get so sidetracked. Anyway, I will let you all know how it went!! Also (sidetracked again), I bought 2 books off A.mazon yesterday. 1) “Painless Childbirth: An Empowering Journey Through Pregnancy and Childbirth” by Giuditta Tornetta 2) “Jo Frost’s Confident Baby Care: What You Need To Know For The First Year From America’s Most Trusted Nanny” by Jo Frost. I couldn’t resist that last one. I love her!

Well, I believe this post is long enough! I hope everyone is having a good week so far. Here at The Chronicles of Conception, we are anxiously awaiting some exciting news from WE ARE FAMBLY later in the week (or any second) as she is awaiting the arrival of her little Sparky!!! Wishing you loads of good luck for a smooth and beautiful labour OhChicken!

Goodbye 1st Trimester!

Holy 2nd trimester Batman! I can’t believe the 1st trimester is behind us! I’ve been not-so-patiently awaiting this day – 13 weeks! I feel like I can breathe a little sigh of relief now. I know things can still go wrong…. but I feel a bit better now being officially in the 2nd trimester. The last 3 months have flown by; I’m about 1/3 of the way through my pregnancy today– can you believe it? In the 1st trimester we saw our first ever BFP, had our first prenatal appointment with our nurse practitioner, saw Wee One for the first time on an ultrasound at 7 ½ wks, had our 1st midwife appointment and talked more about our plans for homebirth, heard baby’s heartbeat with K and got all choked up, peed on many sticks and in many cups, watched my belly get fuller – and finally FELT pregnant, threw up too many times to list, and had lazy days catching up on sleep (I still feel pretty tired). We were also offered the triple screening tests (that would be performed in a few weeks) for genetic abnormalities, which we refused. It checks for spina bifida, downs syndrome & cleft lip/palate. At the 20 week ultrasound they can guarantee 98% accuracy for these conditions, so I see no need in putting myself or my baby through this. K and I feel very strongly that this is something we shouldn’t do. Our midwife told us that the main reason they do it is for termination purposes. There is no way we would ever terminate our baby – We will love and care for this child regardless of any genetic abnormalities he or she may have. The little life inside me is too precious to think of doing that.

2nd trimester. I keep repeating that in my head, like I’ve now earned the place in some new club or something. I don’t feel like such a newbie anymore, though clearly I still am! I can’t wait to feel Wee One soon (that I have really been calling “itty bitty baby” lately) move in my belly. That’s probably what I’m looking forward to most!! Also, I CAN.NOT.WAIT for the 20 week ultrasound when we’ll see Wee One again (and she/he will actually LOOK like a baby and not a lima bean!) and find out the sex!! It’s only 7 weeks away! Okay, typing that out – it seems like that is a long time to wait….but I’m sure the time will fly, just as the past 12 weeks have. I can’t wait for the changes to come! I have gained 2.5 lbs to date, since the very very beginning. So, that’s not too bad I guess. I’m eating very healthy foods and trying like heck to keep the weight gain to a minimum. I just have to start exercising now! I hear that the peeing-all-the-time slows down in the 2nd trimester….is this pretty true girls? I am still peeing all the time, so I’ll be happy if it is!

By this point in the pregnancy, we’ve pretty much told everyone that we’re going to tell. I haven’t told my family though, knowing their reaction will only upset me and cause me stress during the pregnancy. The closest person to my immediate family that I have told is my cousin KR, who had her first child 3 months ago – a little girl! She was thrilled to hear the news and was very supportive, which was nice! Our friend Nancy will be throwing us a shower in Sept or Oct, and KR told me she will try her hardest to come down here with her daughter, Maddy, for it. It’s a great feeling knowing SOMEONE with my last name is supporting me! It will be a 12-14 hour drive down here for her, and she’ll need to apply for a passport for her and her daughter…all that effort to come down just to support us (she’s never met K!) means a great deal.

Oh, we registered at B.abies.R.U.s over the weekend (for those who want to browse, we are registry#62645068). We took K’s 7-year old nephew, who loved being the scan boy! He scanned a couple items we didn’t want (q-tips for example!) but they were easy to remove later. We registered for a lot of organic stuff and the majority of the stuff is the essentials. (crib mattress, rocking chair, diaper wipes, baby tub, swing, play-yard, etc). I also registered for a m.edela breast pump, just to have the option – even though I will be staying home with the baby. My cousin saw it on there and told me to delete it. She only used hers a few time and is going to send it to us! Yay! She has a really nice deluxe one with all of the sterilizing stuff with it too! Lucky us!!! *If you are a friend who is reading, we are registered under my full name or Karli’s. And there are quite a few Tiffany’s in VA that are registered, so make sure you click on Richmond, Va.* I have to admit, it was fun to go up and down every aisle scanning stuff. It’s becoming more and more real with each passing day.

Another fun thing we did this weekend – K and I made something for the nursery. It’s “reed art”. We got a nice mirror from Michaels and a bunch of cool reeds (green of course to match baby’s room!), cut them to fit, and glued away. The reeds are lt. green and every single reed has a brown leaf wrapped around it. It is so cool and has a ton of character. It’s so cool because you have bits of mirror showing through! It took awhile, but I feel that it was worth all the work (click to see more up-close):

Also, I promised some Drag Dodgeball pics, so here goes (how cute is this little girl?? her mom adopted her from Guatemala and said she looked like “our” poster child holding that flag!! I HAD to snap some pics of her!):

Scorcher

It was a sweltering hot 102 degrees here in Richmond, VA today. The kind of heat that takes whatever energy you had in you and sucks it right out. I always describe the heat and humidity as feeling very much like a hot hairdryer blasting in your face, set on HIGH, of course. K was printing in the shop all day with sweat on her forehead and I was only wishing we had A/C as my shirt stuck to my back. It wouldn’t even be so bad if it wasn’t for the 850 degree garment dryer (9 feet long) and three “flash units” at 350 degrees each. I’ve never gotten used to Virginia heat in general; On a hot summer day in Richmond, you’ll often find me longingly gazing online at the Toronto forecast – “How can it possibly be 25 degrees HOTTER here!!!!!!???” I miss my “old” summers. Sunny and warm, these breezy days didn’t have much humidity. I hate that I despise the heat so much, really I do. Some people love it. I love winters – always have, always will probably. Deep down, I wish I was one of those girls who loved sun tanning on the beach on a hot day, or gardening during the summer……..for some reason my body just wasn’t made for it. Pregnancy has only made me hate being hot even more. I feel like I’m going to get sick, or pass out when I’m over-heated, and ultimately, it just makes me miserable. Miserable inside, and more snappy to everyone around me. I don’t want to be that person, really. For the next few days (forecast says high 90’s/low 100’s, and EVENTUALLY high 80s) I’ll just try to get through it with a good attitude. (I think I may stay home tomorrow though and take the dogs to get their nails cut). Key word is TRY. Just thankful I have A/C to go home to after our long days. PS though, I AM praying to the weather gods that they just give VA a bit of a break this year. It’s early June with unbelievably record-high temperatures, so I doubt they’ll listen in July or August, but it’s worth a shot eh?

Meet The Midwife *New Belly Shot Pic*

This morning we had our first midwife appointment!!! This was an important day!!! I was so anxious and nervous to meet N, and just really didn’t know what to expect, meeting her in person. Our nurse practitioner absolutely raved about her and said that we would just love her. Everyone I have heard that has used her couldn’t stop gushing about how knowledgeable she was; this is truly her passion. We arrived at little after 8:00am at her house. It was in a beautiful neighbourhood, surrounded by greenery. We parked on the street and walked up the stone path to her house. I noticed her SUV parked in the driveway. The license plate said MIDWIFE. Cute. We had to duck as we walked up the path – beautiful greenery arched over our heads, and to each side of us, leading the way up to her home. I took my time getting to the door and just admired her chimes and overall “style”. She definitely had a unique one – earthy – yet very calm and inviting. She had plants everywhere with colourful glass watering bulbs in them. For some reason, I felt a sense of peace about her already, and the nervousness was gone.

She came to the door, smiled and introduced herself then told us to follow her. We entered a guest room (or her bedroom) with an attached bathroom. I peed in a cup, weighed and sat down on the bed. Black and white and colour photos covered her walls. Naked women clutching their newborns. Partners holding the baby. Such love. There were women in the water giving birth, up close shots of itty bitty babies just brought into the world, new mommas holding their babies to their breast for the first time. It was incredible. From there, it seemed like the time just flew…..15 mins, 20 mins, 45 mins. K and I were blown away by how much she KNEW. She talked about nutrition – she is very into organic foods and gung-ho about no junk food. She asked me a few questions, one of which was the size of my feet. She recorded it – womens’s 9 ½. About to ask another question soon after, I stopped her. “Why, may I ask, do you ask what size feet women have” Well. I had NO IDEA. She told me that women can generally birth a baby that is one size bigger than the size of their feet – meaning – I could have a baby that is 10 ½ lbs. Yikes! She asked a lot about my family history and the donor’s. It’s more likely that I will have a baby that was close in size to our donor, or the size of the babies in his background. He was 10lbs6oz. Yikes again. Scary, but this midwife really has a way about her. I talked about my desire to have a water birth, and my fear of the pain. She reassured me that the ultimately, I will have the birth I was meant to have – chances are it WILL be in water. But she cautioned me against having a birth plan that is set-in-stone. I may have to use gravity and squat; I may have to give birth holding onto a rope, or in bed, or just NOT in the water. She really believes in listening to your body and what it is telling you. She said that the baby and I will work TOGETHER to birth and will choose the method that is best at the time. I was comforted nonetheless. She let me know that labour for first time mothers generally can be 1-3 days and said, “don’t worry, we’ll have fun!!!” She also has 9 birthing tanks that we can choose from, so we don’t have to go and buy one. She said they go from very small all the way up to 500 gallons! Wow! We may have a birthing assistant, a sort of doula persay, there to help N deliver Wee One in December. She feels that this is a good idea for first time home births, as both she and I will need the help. I feel so relieved now that K and I have met her. I know my girl was just as happy with the visit as I was – and like me – was impressed with her manner and experience. She has a great track record, and everyone has nothing but amazing things to say about her. You know that’s saying something after 20 years of birthing babies! One of her patients just recently said:

“She has the strong, loving hands of a woman who’s life has been dedicated to midwifery, and she has such a unbelievable way of breaking down and simplifying what should be the most beautiful event of your life, and it was. Her wealth of knowledge and trusting, disarming personality brought about a certain confidence in my wife that she could have the birth experience that she deserved. She was tough during labor when needed and always supportive, and loving, illuminating a path to a perfect personal birth and a kind of rebirth in ourselves..” (Altered real name to ‘my wife’)”

She recently won an award …. hear’s what they say…..

“For over 20 continuous years N, as she is known to all her client mothers, has offered an incredible service to the families of the Richmond area. She has built a sole home birth midwifery practice with an incredible record of exemplary outcomes and a legacy of empowering women in birth. Her gentle hands and light touch have served so many women throughout their childbearing cycle; from the early, nervous initial appointments to the postpartum checkup, N takes as much time as each woman needs to support her through that stage. Her thorough care and genuine love and understanding of mothers and babies has guided hundreds of families through their childbirth experience.

That pretty much says it all!

We also got to HEAR the Wee One’s heartbeat for the first time. It took a little while, as N said that the placenta must be right on top. After a little while, there it was. The steady….bum bum bum of the heart. Wow. K was the one this time that got choked up, but I was mighty close. How amazing is this whole journey, that now we have this little one growing in my belly. I wish this for EVERY woman, gay or straight. For those of you TTC, I can’t wait to read about your firsts! First time you see that BFP, first doctor’s appointment, first time you hear the heartbeat and see your baby, the first time you feel the baby move (I’m still waiting for that one!). This experience has changed me, and I know it’s changed K. Many more changes to go through in the next months and years. I can’t believe that on Tuesday, we’ll be in the 2nd trimester. This sometimes feels like a dream. I’ll end now, as this will probably seem like a novel to you all! If you are still reading all the way down here at the end, I’m impressed. I appreciate you all so much. xo

* K says she can’t tell a difference.  What!!!? I definitely can…….*