Thursday, March 27, 2008

Easter dress

First Easter Egg Hunt

Rebecca experienced her first Easter egg hunt this past weekend. We used those tiny foil-wrapped solid chocolate eggs, and hid them in very obvious places in the living room. She was more interested in having me make her some oatmeal until she noticed an egg out of the corner of her eye. After that, there was no more talk of oatmeal. The funniest thing was that she would seek out eggs one at a time, bring them back to the table, unwrap them, and eat them before venturing out again. The excessive drool that the latest round of teething has brought on made things a bit messy, but not overly so. We had limited the number of eggs (for everyone's well-being), and she actually had the self-restraint to avoid eating the last few she located.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Long live the queen!

I was never this girly! But Rebecca, by contrast, loves to wear crowns and wave around her magic wand.
This is her Sleeping Beauty (hahaha!) crown that came with a happy meal. It is usually upside down or backwards.
Rebecca is now cutting her last two infant teeth - her last two top molars. Then teething will be done (at least for a little while). Yippee!
Also, Rebecca can now count to 12 in English, and to 10 in Spanish! It all comes of an excess of Dora and Diego - she has more than a few Spanish words now. I must really push the French more... At least Spanish is another Romance language. Hasta luego!

Animal mutilation

Maybe I should worry? She told me it has slow feet.

Still pregnant... getting bigger all the time

Seem to have lost my appetite somewhat and I continue to be exceedingly uncomfortable. My coworkers threw me a surprise shower - it was so thoughtful! I finished the work day thinking that everyone loves me!
Who says that a great big distended belly is useless?!? Here I am with my built-in table!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

34 weeks checkup and surprises from the Sheriff's Office

Today was my 34 week prenatal appointment.
The usual routine - pee is o.k., weight is o.k., and blood pressure is 120/80 which is fine.
We got to hear Lucy's heart rate accelerate and decelerate which is not something I normally get to hear - and was intriguing. She was certainly exceptionally mobile during the appointment. The fundal length is measuring two weeks ahead - as for 36 weeks, but this might be due to baby size or just normal variance.
This is what I learned about my ultrasound from last week:
They gave me a score of 8/8 (which is good) - I guess it's basically an overall assessment of the state of the pregnancy according to ultrasound.
The amniotic fluid level was just right, the baby's motility was just right, the baby's position was just right, the cervical length was just right, and the baby is slightly larger than average - looking like the 75th percentile.
So... as far as postulating a reason for Rebecca's early arrival - who knows?! This does not seem like a very satisfying explanation for a set of circumstances that occurs in only 1-3% of women. My OB suggested that maybe I'm just "efficient" at gestating babies. I think I like this better than other suggestions I have received - like, Rebecca ran out of space, or Greg's favourite - the amniotic sac was weak. I really object to Greg's little hypothesis because I don't think it's actually rooted in anything. It's no better than saying Rebecca came early because she didn't want to miss Christmas.
It seems therefore, that everything is hunky dory. My OB pronounced that I'm not sick, so I'm not going to be treated like I am. However, given my past history, he sent my paperwork on to the hospital today - just in case. I also have my pre-admission questionnaire, my own copy of my prenatal records, and the number for obstetric triage.
This is all very familiar - identical really. Rebecca was also predicted to be 75th percentile, and I was measuring two weeks ahead. When I looked at my prenatal records, I saw that I've actually been measuring ahead for Lucy since 25 weeks - precisely the point at which she had started being head down. The chief differences between this pregnancy and the last are the BHs. Oh, and last time I had the linea nigra starting at 30 weeks, but it has yet to make an appearance...
I think Lucy will be prompt like her big sister - I make that statement knowing there is absolutely no evidence to back it up.
In reviewing my records, I had forgotten that by dates - my due date should be April 21st, and that it was only the early ultrasound at 7 weeks that made them switch it to April 29th. God - that's so far away.
It would be a relief to be free of this daily rib pain - it can be really incapacitating, and sometimes the pain is excruciating. I sat in my office chair backwards yesterday, on my knees, with my rib cage over the top of the chair in a bid to get some relief. It worked a bit - but lying down continues to be the only real solution. That's why I am so happy that my work days are numbered.
Of course, that doesn't mean that immensely pregnant ladies aren't useful to society! I received a lovely letter in the mail today - Summons to Juror!!! I am supposed to go to court on the 14th of April - could the timing be any worse? Of course, this just means that I am a potential jury member. They may take one look at me and decide against choosing me. I can make a request in writing to have jury duty postponed to a later date, but I'm not sure whether my options are the same for getting out of jury selection. Guess I will be making some phone calls tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The baby pool has been locked!

Hello, I have locked the baby pool. If you still want to make a guess, let me know and I will make a note of it.

33 weeks: Ultrasound and cervical length

My OB's office was able to get me into an ultrasound cancellation slot for this morning. This meant going to a different clinic than usual - a bit further from home, but still reasonably close. This particular facility is less than two years old and is clean, beautiful and spacious. Rebecca and Greg accompanied me, and Becca had plenty of room to run about in. In fact, I don't think I've ever been in such a large waiting room (barring the emergency waiting area at the hospital). I didn't have to drink any water for this ultrasound, given how far along I am (hooray!), which is good because naturally, they didn't take me on time. Rebecca was exceedingly well behaved during the appointment, she watched and chattered a little, but stayed on her Daddy's lap without almost no escape attempts, and held my hand. She did remove her socks, but no other articles of clothing - thank goodness. The technician was impressed that I still had an innie bellybutton. The chief differences observed in this ultrasound versus the halfway point ultrasound, are that we got to see Lucy's face, and I got to see my ribs. Lucy's face looked very peaceful and sweet - despite her incessant movements during the ultrasound, she appeared to have her eyes closed. I was relieved to see her face that way because the face shot of Rebecca during my last pregnancy had a scary Skeletor look due to big black spots for eyes, nostrils and mouth. I got to see my ribs because the technician was examining the feet. Yes - she really has her feet within millimeters of my ribs - I *saw* it. And dammit, if it hasn't been exceptionally uncomfortable lately. When I spend an afternoon at work in agony, I just want the whole pregnancy to be over - to hell with the stage of gestation. According to my research, there are women who have had their ribs bruised or fractured by their unborn children. Lucy isn't enough of a kicker to fracture me, but I would definitely believe she has or could bruise me. Either that or move the rib enough to mess up muscles and pinch nerves. God, I don't know what it is she's doing precisely, but it's hard to envision her as some peaceful and docile angel baby when she puts me through demonic torments. It's so frustrating sometimes that I just want to cry. The relief of coming home and being able to lie down is tremendous, but I don't want to spend every night lying on my bed until it's time to go to work again.
Anyhow, to return to my thrilling narrative... all was well with dear Lucy. Then came the part where my cervix was to be measured. The technician quaintly stated that this had to be done from "beneath", i.e. transvaginal ultrasound. Hooray. Everyone likes to take their pants off for a stranger wielding a sheathed probe and freezing cold ultrasound gel. Fear not, my modesty was protected by some sort of enormous paper towel. Rebecca was not pleased by this development, and seem to object to the procedure. She was calmed down, but kept saying "pants" for the rest of the appointment. I don't really know what we were looking at on the monitor - nothing was explained, but she said it looked fine. That was it. I was left to remove the ultrasound gel and attempt to get off the examination table. I don't know if I could have done it solo.
I think it is unlikely that I will need to have the steroid shots, given the technician's reaction. The anatomical properties of a shortened cervix must be fairly obvious (for all that there were measurements made) for her to make such a quick pronouncement. I will feel more at ease once I hear back from my obstetrician. Whether that will be at our appointment next week, or whether it will be sooner - I have no idea. I felt a little blue afterwards, despite receiving good news. I think I was hoping for more information, perhaps confirmation that the pregnancy was drawing to an end (this is my gut feeling - and I prefer to have my instincts backed up with science), maybe a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel. Greg thinks I have trouble with uncertainty. Having a child is a wonderful thing, a joyous miracle - but I find pregnancy (for me) to be a physical and emotional ordeal to be endured. Hopefully, I manage to do so with some grace. I try to keep my bellyaching (hahaha) to a minimum. I know how to count my blessings, and I appreciate that I am extremely fortunate - but I want it to be over. I don't have the patience of Job.

Saturday, March 8, 2008


My parents and I went to visit the dinosaurs last weekend. Needless to say, Rebecca was thrilled to see all the "dinos"


My parents and I went to visit the dinosaurs last weekend. Needless to say, Rebecca was thrilled to see all the "dinos". I couldn't have controlled her without their help. Thanks again parents!
Becca was fairly well-behaved and ran around so much that she ended up wearing herself out - which made the end of the trip more peaceful. I think the low moment was when she tried to crawl into a fossil display, and she bit my knuckle out of frustration when I pulled her out. She didn't break the skin, but it really really really hurt. There's no flesh there ! Rebecca virtually never bites, so I was quite peeved. She also tried to take another little girl's camera, and pushed a second little girl because she was standing in front of the baby dinosaur and blocking the view. All part of growing up and learning to distinguish appropriate from inappropriate social behaviour, but I did feel badly. Otherwise, she was affectionate and enthusiastic, and eager to examine everything. I had intended to take numerous photos (at least one of Rebecca, dinosaurs and me!), but because she wouldn't keep still, this didn't quite pan out. I did get a few nice shots of Becca with her Grandpapa though (one of which is shown here).

Another stuffed toy attachment!!!

Rebecca has added another stuffed toy to her inner circle. This one is a white plush rabbit that Elizabeth got her in Taiwan. Becca calls this one "Bunny" and like to talk about how soft he is. Because she must travel with three objects now (Bunny, Doll, and Blanket), she bundles them all together under one arm.
Is this it or will there be more?

In the buff

Rebecca is interested in being naked this week. There have already been several stripping incidents. Convincing her to get back into clothing is the real trouble - especially since she will run away or hide under her easel where enormous pregnant women dare not venture. She has peed on the floor earlier this week, and today (because Greg's at work and I'm at home), she pooped on the floor. Luckily for me, this was of the "rabbit poo" variety - not too hard to clean, but naturally, she managed to step in some. I had to give her a midday bath - which she feels is a big treat. My legs ached afterwards from kneeling at the tubside - probably because of all the edema I have. When I dressed her after the bath, I made sure she was in garments that were a little more challenging to remove.

Friday, March 7, 2008

32 weeks - OB checkup

I went to my 32 prenatal appointment today. Looks like my blood pressure is fine, my urine is fine, my weight is as expected, and Lucy remains in position with a nice strong heartbeat of 150.
My OB asked whether there had been any major things that transpired since our 20 week visit. I told him about my bout of pneumonia. He wanted to know which antibiotics I took. I then told him about my frequent BH contractions, and the daily pain in the ribs I experience from Lucy which can only be alleviated by lying down. I explained how these things contrasted with my last pregnancy. He then inquired as to whether there had been a probable cause of Rebecca's premature birth. I said that nothing had ever been figured out. I had broken my water while not in labour, and that my contractions had begun almost 20 hours later. As a consequence of this discussion, he decided that I should have an ultrasound to determine whether I have a short cervix. If this turns out to be the case, I will receive corticosteroid shots to accelerate Lucy's development (especially her lungs) because it would be very likely that I would have her prematurely. I am supposed to have the ultrasound at some point next week. This condition is called cervical insufficiency or incompetence. The cervix becomes so thin from the weight of the baby that the membranes can break. In severe cases this occurs before 32 weeks and can be very serious for the baby (obviously it can also be fatal to the baby if it happens in the early second trimester). I wonder how something like this (even slightly off the average) combines with my over-separation of the pelvic bones (if at all). If you have this condition and it is caught early on, they can sew the cervix shut (yummy). At my stage, it is too late for that sort of intervention, and the drugs are the standard precautionary approach. We don't want Lucy to be born this early - while the chances of survival are extremely high at this stage (above 90% I believe), prematurity makes everything very complicated. Even Rebecca - a near-term premature baby, was extremely tired. Something as simple as drinking required tremendous energy from her - this is typical for premature babies. My OB says that in fact, the mortality rate of babies at 34 weeks is equal to that of full term babies (although obviously full term is preferable). So, now I wait for next week's ultrasound to see what I can see. In the best case scenario, I get another peek at Lucy (I think) and they might be able to guess her probable delivery weight, and nothing is wrong. In the worst case scenario, the cervix is too short, I get shots, may require bed rest and various behavioural restrictions, and leave work earlier than anticipated, and can almost certainly count on delivering yet another preemie. But, even the worst case scenario is not too grim.
All this to say, I need more data. There is no point worrying right now, but I will be extra careful just in case.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Bad hair, delayed appointment, naked toddlers

My hair has suddenly changed texture. I have not changed anything about my hair care regimen and styling approach, but suddenly my hair is coarser, straw-like, curls less, and looks as though I have done nothing to make it seem appealing. Needless to say, there have been a lot of ponytails this week. I have decided that this is probably attributable to rising levels of some hormone or other. I would complain but I am hopeful that it means the end is in sight (and by in sight I mean, at an appropriate time for Lucy, but preferably 37 weeks on the nose).
I was supposed to have my 32 week appointment with my obstetrician today. Unfortunately, he decided to go deliver a baby instead. The nerve! :) I find it amusing that it had never previously occurred to me that this might happen at some point. Clearly, these ladies should have their babies on the weekend like I did. They took my cell phone number and said that they would call if he got back in a reasonable amount of time (which he had indicated to them might be possible). I never heard back - but on the upside, I got to have a nap and get Lucy out of my ribs for a few hours. The OB's office also booked me for an appointment tomorrow (which is a good thing since my OB is off on March break with his kids next week). It's not as though I think I have anything critical to learn at this particular appointment, but I always feel better knowing all is well. Rebecca enjoyed hanging around in the building while I sorted things out. She got to play in a fountain. I gave her some pennies to throw in, and she had a blast. Then there was a very loud and enthusiastic protest when it was time to leave. She had removed her socks and boots and objected strongly to having them put back on. Ultimately, Rebecca had to be carried to the car sans boots, coat and socks. It is impossible to keep both boots on someone who kicks one off the minute you are trying to get the other one off. On the ride home, she cried because she wanted her boots back on. Clearly, a nap was in order.
Rebecca napped while I waited for the OB's office to call. When she woke up from her nap, she sounded as those she was playing with toys and reading books. When it became apparent that she was well and truly awake, I went into her room and discover NAKED TODDLER from the waist down. Pants and diaper were abandoned on the floor. There was a suspicious puddle on the hardwood. She was gleeful and happy though. It took some convincing to get her back into clothes. This is the second naked escapade this week. It gave me a good laugh, especially as she ran around giggling.
Laughing right now is good, since I am becoming clumsy and forgetful, and feeling woefully unprofessional in the workplace. My motivation is rock bottom, and there has been so much change in the workplace itself, that lots of people are frustrated and demoralized. If I don't make an effort to interact with people, I can spend my day in complete seclusion - and while I may be an introvert at heart, that is not the way I like to live my professional life. This is also not a good way to feel about work when your mind is already wandering and you feel uninspired. I have been systematically removing things from my office and am mostly focussed on preparing documentation for whomever (if anyone) takes over my projects. Naturally, I am also tying up loose ends and I was very happy to hammer the final nails into a coffin that has plagued me since November. The fact that no one seems to have planned for my departure is somewhat depressing because it makes me feel as though the things I'm doing can't be all that important.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Thunder thighs

I had to buy new maternity jeans this weekend because I had worn a hole into my old ones. This is clearly a result of my thighs rubbing the fabric away - in fact, the parts without holes are paper thin. Since I have worn these jeans since the beginning of my pregnancy, I definitely feel as though I got good value for my money. It certainly makes my top ten list of essential pregnancy clothing items.
For the last two weeks I have been having lots of Braxton-Hicks contractions (henceforth referred to by me as BHs). They suck. Contractions feel like menstrual cramps, and can be quite uncomfortable (at least for me). During my pregnancy with Rebecca, I did not experience any BHs until 34 weeks gestation. That was a little unusually late to feel them, but every individual is different. It is my understanding that it is normal to experience these contractions earlier in a second pregnancy - so 30 weeks seems reasonable. However, I have also noticed that these occur multiple times a day - most days, which was certainly not my previous experience. Does it mean anything? Probably not. According to my research BHs can occur as a result of dehydration, full bladder, fetal movements, exercise, exertion, or simply your position. Regardless, I will be mentioning it to my obstetrician during my 32 week prenatal appointment on Thursday.
I have been wondering whether the baby has dropped. Again, as of maybe a week and a half ago, I became convinced that my tummy was lower than it had been. The only reason I noticed was because I had been carrying so high. Since the baby has been head down for the last seven weeks, I don't think this can be merely attributed to positioning. And yet - based on my research so far, in second pregnancies, the baby doesn't drop until very near labour, while in a first pregnancy, this supposedly can occur many weeks ahead of the delivery. (Funny how this is at odds to the situation with BHs). When I was pregnant with Rebecca, I don't remember ever thinking the baby had dropped - but perhaps she hadn't - given the circumstances. At any rate, this seems way too early. Maybe the belly just looks different to me because of the weight I lost during my pneumonia.

A toy with blanket status

This is Selia the Groovy Gal. My Mom brought her home from Florida in November as a gift for Becca. Becca had essentially zero interest in Selia until sometime last week. For unknown reasons she decided that this doll was now her favoured companion. She refers to her as "doll", and brings her everywhere we let her. The most surprising thing is that Selia has achieved blanket status. Selia is carried around in conjunction with the famous blanket, and is a necessary participant in bedtime and any other blanket-worthy activity. Rebecca insists on carrying both of these objects at the same time, which makes drinking from a sippy cup challenging - however, she is unwilling to relinquish either. Sometimes she will deign to hand me these precious objects if there is something she is really dying to do that requires two hands. I don't know why she has developed this sudden attachment, and I haven't generated any plausible theories either - but as far as toys go, I like this one. She is very soft and pliable, and has funky curly hair.