Friday, 28 February 2014

Taking Charge and the Third Trimester

You guys. How is it possible that I am going to be in the third trimester in a few days? Wasn't it just a few weeks ago that I was so overwhelmed I hung up on the nurse who said the words I'll never forget?
"Congratulations, you are very pregnant!"

Things have been going so smoothly. After 2 years of spending every last bit of my emotional reserves on keeping it all together, I've delighted in the ordinary of the past 6 months. I took relaxing baths, read novels, tried new recipes, attempted to take up crochet (but it's been 6 months and I've still not finished the baby blanket I started so I realized that crochet is not my thing.) I didn't spend hours researching. Not only did I not research IVF or adoption programs, I also didn't research baby stuff. Other than my weekly email update from Baby Centre & Lucie's List and the occasional Pinterest article, I haven't researched baby advice at all. But now, the relaxation of the first two trimesters is starting to wear off and this is getting real. Baby girl's kicks are getting stronger and they are a constant reminder that she is coming soon. Her nursery is well underway and she has a name (unless we change it again!). I've started thinking of my pregnancy in terms of how many weeks are left rather than how many have passed. I suggested to my Manager that we hire my replacement soon (which was totally bittersweet because I love my job and it's going to feel so weird handing over the reigns to my program for a year.) With the arrival of the third trimester, I've started to focus on preparing and taking charge of my prenatal care.

I had my second appointment with my midwife on Tuesday and I was already asked to make some decisions for baby. She explained that newborns are routinely given an injection of Vitamin K after delivery to encourage blood clotting. She said it's important because Vitamin K does not pass to the baby through breast milk and asked for my consent. I was fine with this injection and readily gave my consent. She also asked for my consent to apply antibiotic eye ointment to prevent an eye infection that could be passed to baby if I had gonorrhea or chlamydia. To be honest, I really don't like the idea of the eye ointment and although I initially gave my consent I want to discuss it with her again during my next visit. After leaving, I did a little research and discovered that automatic erythromycin prophylaxis is no longer used in the United Kingdom, Australia, Norway, or Sweden and it made me second guess my consent. I don't like the idea of administering antibiotics to the baby 1 hour after birth especially considering Andino and I have been tested for STDs more times than I can remember over the last couple years because it was required for IVF. I chose a midwife because I wanted to feel empowered to take an active role in the decision making. Although I feel a little uncomfortable questioning her recommendation for the eye antibiotics, I am going to do it because it's what I think is best.

After discussing the newborn medications, she asked if we have a car seat to bring baby home from the hospital in ( we don't, but we still have so much time to get one, don't we?) and we briefly discussed how the delivery will be. She says she will come to our home and be with us until I reach 5-6 cm at which point we will go to the hospital to deliver. She discussed taking baths and nitrous oxide (laughing gas) as pain relief options. She didn't even mention an epidural which was fine with me since I don't plan to have one. Recently, I ordered Ina May's Guide to Childbirth from Amazon and I am really excited for it to arrive. As I said, now that I'm in the third trimester I'm ready to research and get prepared!

Oh and p.s. I updated my bump page again. I'm (finally) at the stage where it's completely obvious I'm pregnant which is quite exciting.

 

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

In Honour of 4 Years Together

I have been thinking a lot about my marriage lately. We are coming up on 4 years of marriage (over 5 years together) and they were certainly action packed years. It wasn't easy in the beginning. I moved across the country as soon as I graduated University to start a life with Andino. It was exciting because I love adventure and new beginnings, but it was also really hard because I never envisioned living so far away from my family. It took me a long time to adjust to my new life and to settle in. Now I can say with certainty that I have adjusted and that I feel really happy about where I am, but it took me about 2 years to be able to say that. Then we faced the challenge of infertility. There was no way we could have prepared ourselves for it but I am so proud of how we handled it. I feel so blessed every day that I have a man who supported me and my dreams to grow my family every step of the way. He was willing to go to the ends of the earth to make my dream of becoming a Mama - A Gypsy Mama - come true.

Everyone who has been through it, knows that infertility can be hard on your marriage. Andino and I were just talking the other night about how hard things were in the year and a half after we officially got the infertility diagnosis. How he would call me in the afternoon and worry as he was dialing about what kind of mood he'd find me in when I answered the phone. If I was depressed or stressed it would throw his mood off for the rest of the day too. I was constantly researching adoption programs and then getting frustrated when they would close or we weren't eligible. Andino was making budgets for the next 15+ years to try and figure out how we could afford to adopt. It was hard times. There were lots of good times mixed in there for sure, but there was always an underlying river of stress.

I often wonder what kind of person I would be if I hadn't been through the challenges of the past few years. If we had conceived when we first started trying 4 years ago. I know that some people don't like to talk about infertility as a blessing in disguise, but in a way it was for me. There is no doubt in my mind that all the struggles we've been through over the past few years have only made us stronger. They've made me wiser and our marriage stronger. I feel so ready to become a parent with Andino and I'm glad I didn't miss out on the lessons I've learned through the challenges we've faced. I know there will be many more challenges to come, but I feel confident we can take them on because of our history.

I look at Andino and see a man who not only said he would support me in my darkest days, but actually did. He shared in my pain of failed cycles, held me when I was sobbing uncontrollably, injected me with hormones, put up with countless hormone-induced mood swings, never hesitated when I presented an adoption program to him that meant spending $40,000+ and me being away for 9 months... and before all that he helped me write my application for a youth internship abroad, that meant I was away from him for 6 months in the first year of our marriage. He drove me to the airport a few weeks later and spoke to me on the phone every day while I was away and never ONCE made me feel guilty for following my dream. It's an incredible feeling to know that my husband has my back no matter what.

We both place a high importance on travel and are constantly planning our next adventure. We travel together as often as we travel independently. I go home to the Maritimes once a year alone and once a year with Andino. I also spent a lot of time in Mexico alone while there for treatment. Andino travels with his band for festivals sometimes and he just got back from a month in Chile. I always thought that my idea of a perfect marriage would be one that allowed us both to maintain our independence. To have our own dreams as much as shared dreams. Having that with Andino makes me feel incredibly lucky. Even though it's what I always wanted in my marriage, it's hard for me sometimes because I have a strong jealous streak when it comes to my husband. I know that I owe it to Andino to support him 100% and not create unnecessary drama and its something I am committed to working on in myself. That's my New Marriage Year Resolution.

Baby girl is due in 15 weeks and then we will enter a new chapter in our lives. I am so excited to see what kind of adventures and experiences parenthood will bring. More than anything I am so happy to be sharing them with Andino.

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Sunday, 9 February 2014

The Three Rs

I'm home in the Maritimes for a couple weeks to visit my family. While I am here, Mom and I are getting some baby shopping done. We picked up bibs, receiving blankets, crib sheets, swaddle blankets and a few outfits. And of course Mom gave me some baby gifts. She wrapped them and used my old doll's bassinet to present them:

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Up until a few weeks ago, Andino and I hadn't done much to prepare for baby girl's arrival, but now that I'm (almost) 25 weeks, we've decided to start buying things. Our first big purchase was a crib, mattress and changing table from Sears online and they should be arriving early this week. While I'm away, hubby and his brother are working hard to paint baby's room (and our bedroom and the hallway). They are putting in crown moulding and installing new lighting and window treatment. I'm sure it's going to look great when I get back! I am so lucky that hubby has a great sense of style when it comes to these things, because I definitely don't!

We had been looking into strollers for a long time, but we hadn't found one that we both agreed on and was within our budget. I really wanted a BOB stroller because they are consistently rated as one of the best for all-terrain. A brand new BOB sells for $480 + tax and we were hoping to stay at or under the $400 mark so we kept looking. I've been checking kijiji regularly to see if I can find some good deals on baby stuff. I LOVE a good deal. Did I ever mention that I bought my wedding dress second hand? I knew I wanted a lace gown but lace is expensive and I didn't want to pay $2000 for something I'd only wear once. We found my dress second hand for $500 and it was perfect. Anyway, back to the stroller. I found a good deal on a second hand BOB stroller here in N.S. so I bought it and I'm bringing it back to the prairies with me.

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(After taking these photos we scrubbed the stroller and now it's clean & fresh) Even though we can afford all brand new baby gear, doesn't mean we are obligated to spend an arm and a leg on stuff. As we all know, babies grow so fast they outgrow things before they are even broken in! Plus, I'm an environmentalist, so I'm all about the three Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle). I'm not buying EVERYTHING for baby second hand, but whenever I can I will.

I'll be home in the Maritimes for another 9 days and I'm sure hubby will notice I've gotten bigger when I get back. After 20 weeks, my bump really started to grow quickly! Here I am this morning at 24 weeks & 5 days:

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When I get back from vacation, I only have 12 weeks of work left before I start my Maternity leave. Actually, I'm taking 2 weeks vacation time first and starting my Mat leave June 1. Things are moving so fast now and baby girl will be here before we know it!

 
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