28 September 2009

Last week or work!

I’m not entirely sure whether to laugh or cry. While most women seem excited by the prospect of being at home with baby for a year, I have to admit that I’m feeling more than just a tad apprehensive. I have been fortunate enough to work with my organization since early days back in University. Over the years I have grown not only enjoy my career and colleagues, but also to become quite confident in what I do. Of course, this was a particularly fruitful year where I learned a ton and finally started to feel as though I was really on top of my job. Just as things get exciting and interesting, I’ll be leaving for an entire year.

I realize that I’m “extremely” fortunate to have the maternity benefits and top up that I do. I’m blessed to be able to stay home with my baby during the first year of his life - the crucial early development stage - and to also have the financial freedom to move into a new home at the same time. I guess I’m just afraid that I’ll feel like a fish out of water or go a little batty staying cooped up at home when I’m used to being at work, challenging my brain and being around adult company. It will be hard at first to resist the temptation of logging into my work email and “checking up” on things all the time.

I also have to gripe about the fact that taking a year off has resulted in a metric ton of extra work and preparations at the office. Because a recent organization-wide moratorium on external hiring came into effect, this has delayed the lengthy and complicated HR process in finding a term replacement for my position. I was supposed to have someone to train by now, but they still haven’t found a suitable replacement. All of our successful applicants were external and now we can’t even call them in for interviews because of the freeze. As a result, I have had to write out an instruction manual and communications plan, should an internal candidate eventually be hired. I realize that it is out of my hands but I find it frustrating nonetheless, given the fact that folks had ages to act on my job competition. I can only cross my fingers and hope that I won’t be returning in 2010 to an epic “poop storm” because of things that might have fallen through the cracks while I was away.

27 September 2009

Packing my bags

Its a rainy Sunday afternoon, the house is clean, the groceries are put away and hubby is out with my brother picking up the glider for our nursery. I decided to take advantage of the uncharacteristic calm by finally getting down to the task of packing my labour and delivery bag for the hospital. I have been delaying this particular preparation for fear that I would jinx myself and “Bean” would make an early appearance. With just three days away from term, I think I’m safe to start getting ready. I could still go another three or four weeks (good Lord I hope not) but I think hubby would feel better knowing that should my water break, all he has to do is throw a few bags in the trunk, bundle me in the car and race off to the hospital.

Things are feeling very real now! I was at a wedding last evening and quickly realized that the next time I see all my friends together, I will undoubtedly have a little one in my arms. It was a bit of a sobering experience as most of them have children already and were beyond thrilled to have a night away from the kids to enjoy a few drinks and dancing. It made me realize that hubby and I will soon have to say goodbye to our “footloose and fancy free” days. While I’m excited to get my body back and finally meet baby, I’m feeling just a touch apprehensive about the giant impending change to our lifestyle.

24 September 2009

Home stretch

Only 27 days left until Bean’s due date arrives! It’s hard to believe that I’ve finally hit the home stretch.

Yesterday I had my thirty-six week appointment with the OBGYN. As a special anniversary gift, I had my Step-B swab ... I had to laugh because the test was administered by a 3rd year resident who asked me (right before he got down to business) if we had met before because I looked familiar. How’s that for funny? I guess all us pregnant ladies…ummm…start to look the same after a while.

Once again it seems as though things are going swimmingly. I’m starting to think that I have a long boy inside this belly because I can always feel him up in my ribs, yet the doctor tells me he is sitting head down and quite low. To be honest, I was a little surprised to hear this because I haven’t been experiencing any pelvic pain or pressure. I’m starting to think that my daily squats and exercise throughout pregnancy have really helped in alleviating some of the common pains and complaints. I must have really strong pelvic muscles and hopefully that will go a long way in helping me during labour. While I may be the size of small house, and I’m certainly starting to slow down these days, I’m proud of myself for keeping up some form of exercise… even on days where I rather sit around in my undies eating chocolate and despairing over my shape.

Tonight hubby and I are on to the next order of business in preparing for baby – life insurance. While I have SDB (supplementary death benefit) through work, this would only provide hubby with one lump sum payment of double my current salary. To my knowledge, after the age of 65, this payout would decrease by 10%/ year. While it’s somber to think about death at this age, it’s a necessary evil that should be taken care of in the unfortunate event that something may happen to me. Now that we’re having a child, having increased coverage seems all the more necessary. While it’s not a meeting / discussion I’m looking forward to, I’ll be glad to have some sort of plan in place. Hubs and I also have the added benefit of being quite young, so payments really should be all that expensive. I guess the next order of business will be writing a will…yuck!

Suddenly, I’m starting to feel quite a bit older.

23 September 2009

Three years ago...

Three years ago I woke up in my parent’s home, overjoyed to finally be marrying my long-time sweetie. I can still recall feeling very relaxed as I put on my dress and prepared to march up the aisle to say my vows; it was truly the happiest and calmest I have ever felt . I had no fears or reservations because I was sure and confident that our marriage would be a happy one; three years later that same spark is still there and, if anything, our relationship has grown even closer.

This anniversary seems all the more poignant because we’re now about to embark on the next big adventure of our lives – parenthood. I’m glad we took the time we needed to grow as a married couple, travel and generally just have fun, but now it’s time to throw something new into the mix. Our relationship, once again, will never be the same; it will morph and change over the years. Just like my wedding day, I feel the same sense of elation with no fear. I think things will just keep getting better.

22 September 2009

Off to the hospital…

Got your attention, I’ll bet!

No folks, I’m not in labour just yet. I’ve made a pact with “Bean” that he has to cook for at least another two weeks. Tonight hubby and I are participating in a tour and information night at the hospital where we will be delivering. We will also be signing our pre-registration papers and getting final details in order. Needless to say, things are starting to feel quite real now.

I’m also happy to report that our beautiful glider came in from BRU this week. We just have to coordinate borrowing a truck from my brother to pick it up. Fitting nursery items in our compact little Saturn has been quite the feat – thank God for relatives with trucks! Once the glider is installed, our nursery will officially be complete!

It’s gearing up to be a busy week. Tomorrow is me and hubby’s 3rd wedding anniversary. This will be the first year that we aren’t taking a small escape somewhere. With the purchase of a new home and me feeling like Shamu, we decided to stick around Ottawa this year. We may go out to dinner somewhere fancy but the idea of getting dressed up and making an effort with my appearance is about as appealing as a root canal right now. My idea of “fun” these days involves eating takeout in my underpants sitting in front of the television…no really!

21 September 2009

What’s with all the vampires?

Am I totally out of touch with reality? Maybe I missed some sort of memo? Am I the only one that confused by the seemingly endless advertisements for vampire shows on TV? I like macabre as much as the next person, but vampires? Trendy? Huh?

Don’t get me wrong, Bram Stoker was awesome!!! The classic Dracula was very entertaining, commanding and even just a touch sexy. Try as I might, I just can’t seem to sink my teeth into (ha!) the new anxty teenage variety of the undead. Half-starved, angular-faced boys just don’t do it for me. I suppose it’s only natural that a diet solely consisting of ‘blood’ would leave you looking a little weak, but I swear I could snap these guys like a twig.

Maybe I’m just uncool, but I still don’t get it. The title “Vampire Diaries” doesn’t leave much to my imagination:

7:00 AM – Crap! The sun is up, better stay inside.

7:30 AM – Zzzzzzzzz

12:00 PM – Getting hungry; thinking about blood

1:00 PM - Zzzzzzzzzzz

5:00 PM – Getting hungry; thinking about blood

6:00 PM – tapping extra-long fingernails impatiently

9:00 PM – Bingo! Feeding time! What anxty teenage loner can I snack on?

9:30 PM – Chow down on the moody / misunderstood black-haired girl leaving the poetry café

10:00 PM – Morph into bat; get some flying in.

12:00 PM – Back to the castle for a big raucous kegger with the rest of the undead.

7:00 AM – Crap, the sun!

Perhaps , if I’m bored enough this week, I’ll cave in and see what all the fuss is about. Who knows, I could be pleasantly surprised…but I’m doubtful.

I'm wondering...do these newfangled vampires even write in diaries, or are they all using Twitter nowadays?

19 September 2009

The belly revealed

Just a quick update to mention that today’s maternity photo shoot went well. Myself, hubby and “Bean” (or rather my belly), did our very best as models and had much fun in the process. We worked with the wonderful Ms. Sheri Slater who has a real knack for putting her subjects at ease and coming up with some fun and interesting shots. I’m stoked to see how everything turned out when the photos come back in two weeks. Hopefully this is something our child can one day look back on and appreciate, perhaps when he has kids of his own. At any rate, at least I will have celebrated and captured this special moment in time…the calm before the storm!

18 September 2009

I’m ready for my close-up…kinda

For most people that know me or read the blog, it’s no great mystery that I haven’t exactly fully embraced or appreciated my pregnant body. While I’ve had a very easy ride thus far (knock on wood), and I’m thrilled to be having my first child, I have to admit that I’m not a huge fan of my Buddah-esque physique and weight gain. Of course I realize that it’s all par for the course, but it doesn’t mean I actually have to love it!

Sometimes I feel guilty about not appreciating my belly more; I’m already in love with the contents within but I can’t help but feel just a little goofy…almost as though I’ve smuggled a beach ball under my shirt. It feels awkward on such a small and short frame. People keep telling me that I look “cute” which makes me feel just a touch cartoony.

Despite all my griping, I realize that this is a special time in my life and something that I may actually miss when all is said and done. In an attempt to capture the “beauty” of pregnancy (who knew?), I have decided to book a professional maternity photo shoot tomorrow. While I’m sure my son will have little interest in looking at these photos when he’s older, I’m doing this as a gift to myself and a reminder of what it was like to be pregnant with my first. I figure I’ll enjoy looking back on these photos when I’m older, grayer and wiser.

I have entirely no idea what to expect tomorrow but I’m hoping to walk away with some beautiful shots and ‘maybe’ a greater appreciation for my blooming belly. I have also booked a follow-up newborn photography session as part of a very reasonable package. One to two weeks after “Bean” arrives, the photographer will come to my home to capture out little man in all the scrunchy newborn cuteness – very much à la Anne Geddes.

Wish me luck!

16 September 2009

For crying out loud

Literally! That’s all I seem to do these days!

As a general rule of thumb, hormonal pregnant women should be banned from the following activities:

- watching sappy romantic movies
- viewing marathon sessions of a Baby Story (on TLC)
- reminiscing over old childhood photographs
- listening to any song that contains meaningful lyrics
- reading romantic novels or stories about family
- tipping bathroom scales
- entering favourite pre-pregnancy clothing retail stores
- shopping at fashionable shoe stores

Needless to say, I think you get my point!

For the remainder of my pregnancy, I vow to listen to nothing but rap and heavy metal, read murder mysteries and watch horror movies or comedy programs. Also be warned that any endearing comments passed my way may result in blubbering. It’s best to be firm and stern with me…but not too much or I'll probably start crying from that too.

15 September 2009

Eviction warning

My dearest “Bean”

As much as I’ve enjoyed carrying you inside my belly and sharing all my energy and nutrients with you, please be advised it will soon be time to vacate your watery lodgings and upgrade to a much larger home (aka the world).

You are encouraged to start packing your bags and planning your big move. To facilitate your departure, it is also advisable that you turn yourself head down and remain in that position until you vacate the premises. In the meantime, you are more than welcome to stay in the comfort of my belly, eating whatever food you can find and gaining weight for the exhausting move ahead. It is strongly recommended that you “hang out” for another three weeks , however you have both my permission and support to vacate the premises after that point.

Should you be lazy and decide to remain in your surroundings beyond October 21 (your cutoff date), I will do all in my power to speed along your departure. Be warned that if you still do not comply, you may be forcibly removed – a situation I hope we can both avoid.

I hope you enjoy your last few weeks / month in the comfort of my belly. I understand that your home is getting smaller as you grow but could you please go easy on my ribs so that we can both enjoy ourselves? It would be greatly appreciated.

Looking forward to meeting you and, of course, settling you into your new home.

Your loving landlady…and mother


11 September 2009

Head down

34 weeks and 2 days! The countdown is on and it’s hard to believe that I’m getting so close to term. While I have been blessed with a very easy pregnancy, minus the unsightly purple left leg, I have a feeling that I’ll be more than willing to meet by little “Bean” by 38 weeks.

I had another OB appointment this morning and everything seems to be going well – nice strong heartbeat and the baby appears to be in head down position, beginning his drop into my pelvic region. I was more than startled when the doctor pushed down on either side of my pelvis; it was very uncomfortable and it took me my surprise because I had never experienced and pain down there before. Most of my sensations have been up in the ribs (where baby’s bum and feet have found a happy home). I had no clue that the baby had even started to make his drop.

I am still a little bit bummed out about my ever-increasing weight gain. I am not exaggerating when I say that I have gained close to 40 lbs now and will be probably be a full 50 lbs total in the end. I expressed my concern to the OB but he told me to ignore the silly 25-35 lb. standard that I keep hearing about in books. While I do indulge in a daily treat or two, I also make it a point to eat a very well balanced diet and have been exercising and lifting weights throughout pregnancy. At 34 weeks pregnant I’m still cleaning the house, washing the car, pulling weeds and digging in the garden. I’m probably in better shape than most un-pregnant folk and yet I can’t stop packing on the weight. My doctor seems to think that my body is actually happier being a bit “chubby”. I was on a strict diet and exercise regime for 18 months before getting pregnant and while I was fit and lean, my body was probably more comfortable at 10-15 lbs. heavier. Body be damned, I say, I plan on getting back into my size 6 post baby.

02 September 2009

Showered with kindness!

This weekend hubby and I attended our baby shower at Mom’s place. We are still reeling from the generosity and kindness of family and friends. I took me a full day of solid work just to wash and store away all the wonderful gifts that we received for “Bean”. He’s not yet arrived in this world and he already has more clothing than I do…quite impressive!

In particular, I was blown away by the amount of talent that we have in our circle of family and friends. We received several beautiful handmade keepsakes that can be passed down through the generations:

- beautiful folk-art painted lamp, complete with zoo theme;
- adorable bear door hanger;
- memory keepsake box with Irish blessing on the inside;
- knitted sweater, hat, mitts and booties
- hand-sewn burp cloths
- cross-stitched bib
- two baby quilts and knitted baby blankets
- baby scrapbook

Not surprisingly, my hormones and emotions got the best of me and I was reduced to tears at several points during the shower. (A wee bit embarrassing) It’s overwhelming to be the recipients of that level of generosity and to know that so many folks are there to support you and share in the excitement of a new little life. I can’t wait to introduce our son to everyone and, of course, to kit him out in all his finery!

Thank you to everyone who came out to shower us with kindness and support. We are truly blessed!For those interested in seeing photos, please visit my new online photo gallery!