Wednesday, 30 April 2014

36 Weeks

Hubby got me an awesome camera for Christmas and I just asked him to take these photos with the camera on my phone. Shame on me! They are a bit blurry...I was planning to just send them to Mom, but then I thought I might as well share them here for anyone else who might want to see. I feel HUGE. My belly now rests on my legs when I sit down. I can't sit for longer than 20 minutes without getting all cramped up, so I am taking lots of little breaks to walk around this week - my last week of work. I woke up at 4:30 this morning and couldn't fall back asleep because I was dreading sitting in my office all day.Then I started imagining how great it's going to be when I'm off work and I can take my dogs for long walks. Being active is still the only thing that makes me feel good.

So this is me at 36 weeks. I've gained 30 pounds. That was my target for the entire pregnancy, so I told Andino I'm just going to stop weighing myself from now on. 

I probably should have tidied up baby's dresser before taking the photo. We got the dresser second hand and hubby did an awesome job painting it with low-VOC paint. We still have to arrange the room but once it's done, I will take some photos and post them. 

I'm not wearing a bra in these photos. I am carrying high, so my bra has been causing me a lot of discomfort. The highlight of my day is when I get home from work and take it off. Well, to be honest that was the highlight of my day even before I got pregnant. I love to go bra-less during the summer months and on date nights. I think this summer will be different though, since I'll be nursing. 

I have an appointment with my midwife today. The last two appointments were with other midwives, just in case mine is not available for one reason or another when I go into labour, so I can be familiar with the back-ups. 

So that's about it, not much news! I hope everyone has a great Wednesday :)

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Why Blog?

When I started blogging back in 2011, we were in the process of applying to adopt a sibling group of 3 children from Colombia. Whenever I think about the fact that I had actually convinced my husband that we should adopt three children all at once  my heart melts at the realization that I am married to a man who is truly willing to go to the ends of the earth to create a family with me. God love him.

So I started blogging because I knew the adoption process would take years and when you want something as bad as I wanted to start a family, you can't feel like you are sitting on your hands. Just waiting. Waiting is the hardest part. Waiting to complete your homestudy, waiting for an important immigration document to arrive in the mail, waiting for your next cycle to begin so you can try again. When I wrote, I felt like I was doing something while waiting.

And I wrote to remember the good times. I was so afraid that I would look back on the years we spent trying to grow our family and feel like all I did was wait. The truth is that we did so much more than that. We fought and struggled and cried together. We became closer and our marriage stronger. We learned so much about ourselves and each other. Not to mention, we did both of our IVF cycles in Cancun, so we even got to travel!

I had to inject Gonal-F on the tour bus the day this photo was taken!
Right before egg retrieval
And in blogging, I met so many women who were going through the same things as I was and I didn't feel alone. Knowing them gave me the courage to be completely open about our infertility in real life. I think infertility is one of those things that is actually a lot more common than some people realize and once you start talking about it, you meet so many people who have gone through (or are going through) the same thing. The infertility blogging community was such an amazing support for me that it makes me wonder how women coped before the days of the internet.

When I became pregnant I decided to start a new blog for our new journey. I didn't save my old posts because the reason I write is for the sense of release I feel when I articulate my feelings and share them with others. Now that I have officially crossed-over from an infertility blogger to a family blogger, the things I write about are different, but the reason I write is the same. To share my journey with others and hopefully make some friends along the way. To know that others are facing the same challenges as I am and we are all doing our best to overcome them. But it's not just about the challenges, I love to write about the happy times, the making of memories and the lessons learned along the way.

I hope you find some good stories to read here.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

False Alarm & TMI

I am hoping for an un-medicated delivery. I prefer to say "un-medicated" instead of "natural" because I don't think women who choose pain relief during their vaginal deliveries have unnatural deliveries - the baby is still coming out the same way. I don't know if other people are as concerned with semantics as I am, but words and their implied or perceived meanings matter a lot to me. I'm sure it is because of the years I spent trying to adopt. Sometimes when I'd tell people we were in the adoption process, they would say things that I found offensive, even though I know they weren't intended to be. Questions such as "Why adopt? don't you want to have kids of your own?"  Inappropriate things people say to adoptive families has led to some great videos that, while funny, educate the general public about how to approach adoptive families without being offensive. Like this one:

**Warning** From here on out, this post is definitely sharing too much information about bodily functions/fluids. If you aren't into talking about that kind of stuff (I'm looking at you Juan) feel free to turn away now. You've been fairly warned ;)

So despite the fact that I am hoping for an un-medicated delivery, I am not afraid of the pain. What I am afraid of is tearing and my hemorrhoids. I am so scared of tearing, even though I feel like it's bound to happen. I can't think of one woman I know in real life who didn't require a few stitches after they gave birth. But whenever I think of the delivery I worry about tearing. And my hemis. I've had them for more than 10 years and they've never really bothered me before because they aren't painful. Unfortunately, a hemi appeared yesterday and it has definitely been uncomfortable. All through the night when I woke up to pee last night I immediately noticed that my hemi was still sore. 

So this morning, I was in the kitchen and I felt a sudden gush of fluid. It felt exactly like when you get your period with heavy flow except more. Not enough to make me think "holy shit my water just broke!" but enough to make me think "What the hell was that?" I went straight to the bathroom to check, and the fluid was clear. I know it wasn't pee (I won't go into details about how I know, but you'll just have to take my word for it that I know, okay?) and then called Andino to the bathroom saying "Come here, I want to show you something".  He was afraid to come, but I assured him that I wasn't going to show him my hemi. (Which I've done before. Nothing says mystery and romance in a marriage like making your partner look at your hemorrhoids!)  So he came and I showed him the big wet spot on my panties and told him I thought it was amniotic fluid. I thought he'd start freaking out (he's really nervous about the delivery) but he didn't. He just kept asking me to call my midwife. I wanted to wait it out and see what happened over the next few hours but I gave in and called her just to calm Andino's mind. 

My midwife asked what colour the fluid was and if I thought my waters had broken. I told her I didn't think so and that I was only calling because Andino was nervous. She asked if I had any pain or pressure (I didn't) and if the baby was still moving (she was). She told me not to take any baths and to abstain from intercourse. She said I should call her back if I soak through a pad or if baby's movements decrease. Andino and I went on with our plans for the day and there's been no more fluid and baby's been moving so I think we are in the clear. But you know what my first thought was when we were talking about my waters breaking? "No, I can't go into labour until my hemorrhoid goes away!" 

Even though I still think baby's going to keep cooking for at least another couple weeks, Andino and I are going to spend the weekend working on all the little chores that we want done before baby arrives. (And when I say "Andino and I" I mean I made a list and he's doing the chores - God love him!) 

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Flying Towards my Dreams and Destiny

During our hospital tour, we passed the lab where we had some blood work done before starting IUI at the new clinic and a flood of memories came rushing in. This time last year, we had just returned from Mexico to the news that our second IVF had failed. In some ways it was harder than the first time IVF didn't work because we had done all we could do the second time around. We transferred 2 Grade A blastocysts, I stayed an extra week in Mexico to relax, I took all the supplements...we felt there was nothing more we could have done that would have increased our chances of success. We didn't even consider trying IVF a third time.

With the news that IVF #2 had failed, I wanted to go full steam ahead into adoption. But as I'm sure many of you know, adoption is not without its own frustrations and heartbreak. We were stressed and overwhelmed by the approximately $50,000 cost. It's sad that money has to play a role in how we grow our family, but ultimately it is a reality we can't ignore. We worried about how we could pull together the money, adoption programs we were interested in were closing or changing and we weren't eligible for many other programs. I spent hours researching adoption programs around the world and the effects that fetal drug and alcohol exposure could have on the baby. I worried about how long it would be until we received a referral... and of course what many prospective adoptive parents worry about in an open adoption- "What if the Mom changes her mind?" This is only a short list of the things we worried about at the time - It goes without saying that we (and our marriage) were under an incredible amount of stress last year.

So on Monday, we walked by the chairs we sat in while waiting to have our blood drawn at the hospital around this time last year. I remembered sitting in those chairs last year and having probably one of the biggest fights of our marriage. It wasn't a screaming match (because we were in public) but the energy between us was tense and we were both emotionally drained. We were at our breaking points. Until then, Andino had always managed to keep it together while I fell apart, but at that moment his resolve had worn too thin. We had already paid for 6 rounds of IUI and we were also in the process of preparing our dossier to send to an adoption agency in the U.S. But as we sat in those chairs, I told Andino that I wanted to give up on fertility treatments and just focus on adoption. I was tired of all the fertility drugs, the constant blood draws and Doctor's appointments. Despite all the stress that came with preparing to adopt I knew in my heart that I wanted to. But Andino didn't want to focus on just one path and he wasn't ready to give up on fertility treatments yet.

Ultimately, I decided to try IUIs until we were ready to actually send our adoption dossier to the agency. It helped me to deal with my emotions while going through fertility treatments to focus on preparing our photo book and all the documents required to complete the dossier (immigration documents, criminal record checks etc.) The other thing that got me through the incredibly tough year we had was that I never stopped dreaming of what the future held for me. I envisioned many different scenarios as I'm sure all of us who struggle with infertility do - living child-free and travelling the world, adopting & getting pregnant. I pictured it all. I knew I could find happiness in any of those paths.

My husband's band Andino Suns is getting ready to release their second album in a few weeks. In fact, the box of cds just arrived in the mail the other day. Andino was listening to the album tonight (while I was in this retrospective mood) and my favourite song of the album came on - Dreaming.  There are so many lyrics to this song that makes me think of how we were at that time:

The very first lyrics to the song - "Back on my feet again, my life is marching on" I really can't think of a better way to describe how I felt after each failed cycle, after each hard day, after each good day...

"when doubts creep up again, my courage takes them on" It takes a lot of courage to keep fighting, especially during the really hard days like the one we had that day at the hospital last year.

"Sailing, strong winds, rough seas, crashing waves that strengthen me" I believe that the rough times we have been through have strengthened me more than anything else in my life.

"I'm flying towards my dreams and destiny" I had no idea how my life would unfold, but I never stopped dreaming and I knew that whatever my destiny held - I was on my way. 

Friday, 18 April 2014

34 weeks

Andino and I went on a tour of the labour & delivery unit of the hospital on Monday. It was offered by the lady who does our prenatal classes and I am so glad we went. I've been to the Mother & Baby unit of our hospital back home (when a close friend had her baby) but I had no idea what to expect from the hospital where we live now. I was happy to know that I'll have a private room with a full bath tub during labour and also for recovery. I was also happy to know that the hospital has squatting bars that attach to the bed because I definitely plan to try that position for pushing. Now that I am not wondering what facilities are available, I am able to relax a little more when anticipating the day I go into labour. But that day is most likely still 5-6 weeks away. I'll be full term in 2 and a half weeks but I have a feeling baby girl will be sticking around for the long haul.

At my last midwife appointment, baby girl was estimated to be at 3kgs already. My guess is that she will be around 4 kgs when she's born. I am so happy that she is healthy and growing well, but the bigger she gets I can't help but wonder how much it's going to hurt when she comes out! I hope my labour & delivery goes as quickly and smoothly as my Mom's did - her longest labour was 4 hours!

Lately, we've been enjoying our last few weeks together as a family of 2 (plus our dogs of course) and tying up loose ends. I still want to pick up a few more things for her nursery, but if she were to come tomorrow we would be ready. My replacement has been hired at work and I have one last report to finish before I go. My last day is May 5th and I'm not due until May 27th so I am really looking forward to a few relaxing weeks. I plan to cook a few things to freeze, but not as much as I originally thought I would because I realized I don't really like eating meals that have been frozen. I'd way rather have rotisserie chicken and a salad than a frozen lasagne. Plus, it's almost BBQ season which means hubby can be in charge of making a lot of meals!

Even though I am reaching the end of my pregnancy, I am still feeling quite well overall. I am running out of clothes that fit though, so I'm glad the weather is getting nice enough to wear maxi dresses. My exercise has dwindled down to once a week on the weekend, but I'm determined to keep that up. I've heard that going for long walks can help bring on your labour, so I plan to take the dogs for lots of long walks once I'm off work in a few weeks.

I feel like I had so many ideas of things to write about lately, but I couldn't find the time and now I can't remember what I wanted to say. So I'm sorry this update is boring but I hope to write some nice posts this week. Here is my bump at 34 weeks:



Thursday, 10 April 2014

Ice Cream & Leaks!

I suppose it was bound to happen eventually. Until now I've been cruising through my pregnancy with very little discomfort or cravings. I've been exercising regularly and cooking very healthy meals. Hubby even lost so much weight because of my healthy cooking he had to make a new hole in his belt this morning! Unfortunately, my health kick is over. I actually bought myself an ENTIRE ICE CREAM CAKE and I don't even feel guilty about it! (I ate 1/4 of it over the past 4 days and put the rest in the deep freezer until my craving strikes again.) My snack drawer at work is fuller than it's ever been. I almost always have some of my favourite treats in my purse these days so I'm never without something to snack on. The photo below isn't me but it definitely could be.



Along with the arrival of cravings, the discomfort has also arrived. My ribs and back have been quite sore lately from all the pressure of my growing uterus. I decided to get a prenatal massage since it is covered through my extended health benefits at work, so why not? I'm cancelling my benefits while I'm on maternity leave so I don't have much time left to take advantage of them. I booked a 45 minute massage and it was very relaxing. She had a pregnancy pillow on top of the massage table that had indentations to put your belly and your boobs in so you can lay on your stomach comfortably during the massage. Afterwards, when I got up to get dressed, I noticed that I had about a teaspoon of wetness on my bra! I leaked - and only from one side! So I guess this means the time is really getting close now.

I have less than a month left of work and 47 days until my due date. I wonder how much bigger I will get in the next 6ish weeks? Here are some photos we took recently:



Friday, 4 April 2014

Breakfast for Supper

I know most of my posts (all of my posts?) have been about my pregnancy lately, but there is really not much to say on that front right now. I want this blog to be about whatever is going on with my family that I feel like writing about and today, I feel like talking recipes.

Breakfast for supper. That's what I'm loving right now.

A few months ago, we had a good routine of nightly meals. We did Meatless Monday, Taco Tuesday, Wednesday didn't have a schedule, Seafood on Thursday and Pizza on Friday. It was good because I could prepare ahead of time and there was only one day of the week where I had to come up with something original. It might sound boring to have such a routine, but I can assure you there are plenty of different recipes to try within this frame. We had shrimp tacos, potato & chorizo tacos, vegetarian tacos, shredded beef tacos, chicken tacos... enchiladas, tostadas... I actually found some really great recipes this way!

But lately, we've gotten out of our supper schedule and we want to get back into it. We even came up with the best idea for supper on Wednesdays - BREAKFAST. I know this is probably already a thing for some people, but we never did it and I thought it was a genius idea. You see, Andino's band jams at our place every Wednesday and they start showing up at around 6:30 pm. It doesn't leave me much time after work to get supper going so it has to be something I can whip up quickly. Andino recently bought me a big new electric skillet and we decided to try it out this past Wednesday for supper. We had pancakes, sausages, eggs over-easy and fruit salad. It was so yummy that we decided we should make it a weekly thing. One of my favourite meals in Mexico is breakfast - fried bananas, refried beans, queso fresco, warm tortillas... I can't wait to try my hand at making some Mexican breakfasts... for supper.

I love finding new recipes that are delicious and adding them to my repertoire. I hope that by getting back into my supper schedule I can find lots of new delicious recipes and of course save time trying to decide what to make! Do you have any delicioso breakfast recipes/ideas that you are willing to share?
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