26 Weeks Pregnant

Avery loves her brother so much already… She often hugs and kisses my belly and talks to him, saying things like, “I love you so much little brother… I’m so excited to see you.” We’ve been open with Avery about baby name selection, and she has even been able to contribute some names to the Maybe List. Unfortunately, she has fallen in love with one name and has been calling him by that name – she even told my parents on a video call 🙄 We haven’t settled on a name yet, but she clearly has. And of course, my mom was a perfect example of why people often keep names to themselves until baby is born. She said, “that’s a yuppy name, isn’t it?” What even is a “yuppy” name, mom?! Jeez.

This week I had my first in clinic midwife appointment since December… My, how COVID has changed things. It was also the week for my gestational diabetes test, and the midwives offered to do an alternative test, which they called “The Australia Test” (meaning this is how they’ve been doing it in Australia, and now we’re trying to get it to become common practice in Canada). Instead of going into the lab to drink pure sugar, waiting an hour, and then having my blood drawn, they just had me fast since last night (and gave me an 8:30am appointment) and took my blood right there in the midwife clinic at my scheduled appointment. It was MUCH better that way. Of course, if my blood sugar is too high at this test I’ll have to do the longer test, but it’s worth the extra poke for the chance that this was all I’ll have to do.

Also at the midwife appointment the baby received comments about how hard he was kicking. He kicked the doppler and we could all clearly see him dancing around in there while they measured my uterus. Wild little guy. To reassure myself, I’ve been looking into research to confirm that the activity level of babies in the womb has no correlation to how active they are outside the womb 😆

Bodily Experiences This Week

My uterus is the size of a soccer ball. It’s still so hard to comprehend how everything fits in there…. Uterus related, I think I’ve been having Braxton Hicks contractions. I remember it being difficult to know if that’s what I was feeling during my last pregnancy as well, and they actually feel different this time, but I don’t know what else it would be. I’ve been having stomach cramps that don’t hurt but are uncomfortable, and they make me nauseous. I’m not noticing my abs getting hard and tight like they did in my last pregnancy, but there’s definitely deeper cramping going on. It has even made me feel dizzy a few times. Kinda stinks, but is a good reminder to take it easy.

I’ve also entered the lovely foot cramping stage 🙄

Baby This Week

Baby is now 25% of his expected birth weight (approximately 2 pounds), and likely has hair colour now in his thickening hair. His nostrils are opening in preparation for breathing, and his testicles are starting their descent this week…

Falling in love with my boy

I haven’t yet written more about my feelings around carrying a boy this time around, but I’ve been processing it all along. Nobody wants to admit they felt disappointed at the assigned sex of their unborn baby, but I KNOW it’s a thing. A totally valid, fair feeling to experience. Luckily, by finding out in advance, I have plenty of time to work through my issues, start to bond with the idea of who this little one might be, and start to get excited.

Yes, I was disappointed when I first found out. But, I was also in a really positive state of mind at that moment, watching him dance around in there, and I had my wife and daughter on a video call so they could watch him dance too. I didn’t really feel the disappointment right away. I had also been pumping myself up before the ultrasound to be happy with whatever anatomy they reported.

It wasn’t until the next day when I started to really think about it (overthink about it, really). I was nervous about my capacity to love a boy since I didn’t have much experience being able to love men in my past. I was sad that my daughter wouldn’t have a sister-bond (a disappointment based on assumptions of how much closer sisters would be than opposite-sex siblings).

It has been a little over a month since I found out, and I’ve come a long way. I’ve been bonding with him, imagining him in my arms, and falling in love. His anatomy doesn’t much matter to me anymore… Yes, I’m still nervous that he’ll have stereotypical “boy” energy and I’ll be extra exhausted and not be able to keep up. But more and more I’m coming to expect him to be just like Avery. He could, like her, be a quiet and curious, bird watching, green-thumb who loves to colour and snuggle and read books. He may not be any of those things, either, but his anatomy doesn’t determine that.

As for the disappointment I felt over Avery missing out on a sister-bond, all of that has dissipated through seeing her bond with him already… She loves him. She will be almost 5 years older than him, and I think that age gap would have impacted the type of relationship she has with a sibling of any gender. She’s also an INCREDIBLY nurturing, maternal, and mature child, which almost makes the age gap seem bigger. Even with a little sister, she’d be more interested in protecting them, teaching them, and nurturing them than having a BFF do-everything-together kind of relationship. Also, who’s to say he won’t share all her interests and they won’t be incredibly tight BFFs. Sex or gender doesn’t dictate that.

Another thing I was mildly disappointed about was the gendered clothing and toys we might end up accumulating. While I’ve always been a fan of neutral (and dressed Avery in neutral, too), people like to gift gendered baby clothing and toys (why are there blue Duplo blocks and pink Duplo blocks marketed to different genders??? Argh). And as they grow up, kids develop their own tastes and clothing styles that are heavily informed by social expectations and gender stereotypes. I dislike the navy and green striped sweatpants marketed to boys as much as I dislike the pink frilly “cutie pie” clothes marketed to girls.

One thing that has helped with that disappointment has been to acquire all of his clothes for the first 6 months of his life (thanks for the hand-me-downs and gifts, friends and family!!) We’ve been able to sift through copious amounts of hand-me-downs and pick out only the neutral items, and our friends have gifted us with some of the sweetest little neutral baby clothes. We also dressed Avery in pretty much only neutral clothes (before she developed her own style), and although we sold a lot of our old baby clothes, we kept a few gems that I’m so excited to see in use again.

So I’m feeling a lot better about having a boy. There is still some nervousness around the unknowns – needing to learn about male health, sexuality, hygiene, and adolescent social behaviours… But right now I can honestly say I am so excited to meet this boy. I wouldn’t trade him in for anything.

24 Weeks Pregnant

I got the results of my follow-up ultrasound today and it was ALL CLEAR. I was worried for nothing. His stomach measured perfectly and his fingers were all accounted for 😉

Otherwise, we’ve been so busy and distracted by other things (work, home buying, parenting) that we haven’t thought about the pregnancy that much. Eventually I’m going to have to come up with a birth plan that includes where I’d ideally like to give birth and whom will look after Avery… But we also kind of need to wait and see what happens with the pandemic to know what the best plan will be… I have no fucking clue who I would ask to look after her at this point. That’s a little stressful.

Bodily Experiences This Week

Hip pain. Sciatica. Whatever it is… It’s a bitch. I’m also really hungry all the time and loving the baby bump at this stage.

Baby This Week

13″ long and weighs 1.5lbs. He has also reached the age of viability, which is always reassuring. We have narrowed the names down to two but we haven’t been devoting enough time to thinking about names or testing them out and I’m sure it’ll be up in the air until much closer to his arrival!

22 Weeks Pregnant

One of the midwives in my pod seems to have higher expectations of me than the other 😜 She really pushed me to exercise (at least 5 days a week!!). I’m lucky if I get to shower once every 4 days… Self care just can’t be prioritized right now if we want a well adjusted child and a roof over our heads during this pandemic. I have, however, been really, really trying to prioritize prenatal yoga and hypnobirthing meditations. About once (MAYBE twice) a week I attempt to do yoga while watching Avery. The problem is, she LOVES yoga and wants to do it with me. Which involves climbing all over me. Which means I’m not really getting the most out of the yoga practice. I try to do the hypnobirthing meditations when it’s my wife’s turn to do bedtime, so I get half an hour of uninterrupted time in before I start work for the evening. I really, really want to prioritize it so I can grow this baby in a calm, peaceful environment. There is so much stress in my life right now that I worry about the gestational environment (and my blood pressure).

Bodily Experiences This Week

So much nose blowing… Just as with my last pregnancy, I have a constantly congested nose and I’m always blowing out blood. There’s excess mucous coming out of every orifice, really 🙄

I’m also dealing with some pretty extreme insomnia. There’s just so much stress right now, so much to think about, working until 11pm every evening, and that’s on top of the sore hips and restless legs that go along with pregnancy. The things causing stress are pretty external and out of our control, so I have to keep working on dealing with the stressful events in a more calm manner. For now, I’m getting about 3-4 hours of sleep a night.

Baby This Week

Sleeping patterns have begun to develop in the womb (with baby sleeping about 20 hours a day… Enviable). Those readers who have been with me since my daughter was born almost 5 years ago will know that this blog pretty much became a baby sleep themed blog for a couple of years… sleep was the hardest part of new motherhood for me. This little one’s older sister just didn’t sleep, unless on the boob. We fought it and fought it with countless gentle sleep training methods, and life only felt ok again when we gave up trying to fight it. I am terrified that this baby will be the same kind of sleeper. Please, sleep gods, look down on this one.

Baby could also be hiccuping in there now. I remember when Avery had in-utero hiccups – the cutest.

I think the development that’s the coolest to me this week is that the brain cells responsible for his conscious thought are developing. It’s not just a body anymore… He’s going to be capable of storing memories and THINKING.

OMG We Bought a House 😍😍😍

We’re not sharing this with our wide IRL social circles yet because we’re paranoid that something will go wrong before closing, but I’m too excited to not share it somewhere!

We bought a house. The perfect house. It’s a quarter of an acre, South-facing lot, with mature trees to the North and rolling hills to landscape. There’s an above ground pool that the kids can enjoy for a few years before we sell it to make room for more gardens 😆

It has four spacious bedrooms, a big beautiful bathroom for the kids (with double vanity) and an ensuite for us.

There’s a blank slate basement that we’ll be lightly reno’ing into a kick-ass playroom with a fireplace.

It has a 12′ long cold room.

It is a 4 minute walk to the neighbourhood school.

It is so perfect for us that I can’t believe we actually got it. We had entered into bidding wars for two other homes (and viewed and seriously considered about a dozen others) and we feel like we really hit the jackpot with this one.

It doesn’t close until April 29th, so we have a long time to wait. But at least we also have a long time to plan and pack, and still enough time to prepare for baby’s arrival after moving in (barring any preterm labour hiccups).

This is exactly the positive distraction we all need in our lives right now. Feeling so incredibly thankful for our lot in life.

Worrying Ultrasound Findings

I was blissfully unaware of anything less than ideal being found at my 20 week ultrasound – until last night. The student midwife called me, informing me that my regular midwife had been trying to call me but hadn’t gotten through (oddly I had no record of that, nor any voicemails…). She read off a very medical-ese report from the ultrasound that included small stomach, something about possible esophageal obstruction, deformity, curved 5th finger on each hand… During the call Avery was trying to talk to me and I was having a lot of trouble absorbing what the student midwife was saying, and I didn’t have the capacity to formulate questions about what was being said. I was told to book a follow-up ultrasound.

After a half hour or so of panicked Googling trying to make sense of what had been said to me, I decided to call my midwife for a proper conversation about it. She reassured me a lot (although obviously I’m still super concerned). She said the ultrasound only measured a small stomach, and because of that they want to follow up to check the esophagus again. She said that in some pictures the fingers were not curled and in others they were curled, so they wanted to confirm that it was just a matter of how the baby was holding his hands in some images. I do remember the ultrasound tech saying that she was having trouble getting a good shot of his hands because he kept them in tight little fists tucked in under his body.

So now it SOUNDS like they just want to rule out anything they were left uncertain about from the first ultrasound, not that they’re trying to confirm a scary birth defect that will require surgery. But I’m still not going to be able to stop worrying for the next month until I have the follow-up. Also, I’m cursing how backed up the ultrasound clinics all are around here… I do not have the patience for a waitlist right now!

Boy

I’m about to share some extremely personal thoughts and feelings that make me vulnerable. Some may read this in a parenting blog and attack me for being unfit to parent a boy. But the fact is, our second child is going to be born and assigned into the male gender. Only time will tell how well that assignment fits, but as best we can tell right now, I’m having a son.

I have never been able to picture myself as a mom of a boy. All I know is girls. I have a nephew, but somehow got away with never even changing his diaper 😅

I’ve had a complicated relationship with men my whole life. My mother has passed down to me a prejudice toward men, which was validated by all the women’s studies classes I took in my undergrad and sexual assault research peers I hung out with in grad school. My friends were always women. I knew that if I were to ever become the mother of a boy, I’d have some serious work to do on myself. I’d need to dismantle the prejudice I’d let myself hold onto all these years. Men aren’t toxic masculinity – toxic masculinity is a social problem that has plagued men for generations. My job will be to protect my son from toxic masculinity.

I’ve been focusing on thoughts of the men and boys in my life who don’t perpetuate toxic masculinity. The husbands of my closest friends, the few sons of my closest friends, the sons of other queer parents I see in the blogging world. Focusing on examples of men I know who are kind, who don’t talk over me or make derogatory comments about women and girls, is helping.

I know that I’ll be spending the rest of this pregnancy working on myself in this regard. There’s more that is making me nervous than my discomfort with toxic masculinity, like not knowing anything about circumcision, peeing standing up, or what pressures boys face in their social groups at school. Those will all be thoughts consuming my mind for the next 5 months and beyond. This will be a recurring theme in my blog as I write out my thoughts and prepare myself to be the best mom I can be to this boy growing inside me.

20 Weeks Pregnant

Wowza, what a whirlwind this pregnancy has been. Not the pregnancy itself, actually, but life going on around the pregnancy. Thank goodness for the baby kicking and squirming so much, or I’d never be pulled back into mindful awareness that I’m even pregnant. With our full time jobs, schools closed, and an incredibly intense house hunting experience (we’ve made two rushed offers on houses in the past 10 days and we lost both bidding wars), we haven’t had time to breathe. I haven’t showered in 5 days. We work (or make offers on houses) until 11pm every day and work 7 days a week. But it is what it is… Maybe this is second baby syndrome already – poor little babe is already back of our minds compared to everything else we have going on. I’m extremely hopeful that my year (or 15 months, maybe) of mat leave will be a time for focusing just on my kids. No work, hopefully we’ll done with house hunting, just being a parent and wife again for a while.

With that caveat aside, this has been an awesome milestone week in the pregnancy. We’re halfway there, and had our anatomy scan this morning. We know the sex. We’re narrowing down names.

Bodily Experiences This Week
It’s getting uncomfortable to play with my daughter on the floor – all that up and down up and down, maternity jeans digging into my abdomen… But otherwise I’m feeling totally normal. Nothing to complain about. The baby is kicking and moving A LOT which is awesome.

Baby This Week
Size of a banana!!

18 weeks pregnant

At around 17 weeks I went to an in-clinic midwife appointment to hear the heartbeat again. I hadn’t yet felt the baby move so I was of course feeling nervous… While listening to the heartbeat (which was good and strong, thank goodness), we heard a kick through the doppler. I hadn’t felt it. The midwife said the baby was tucked low down in my pelvis (which is also where Avery spent most of her time in utero), which explained why I wasn’t yet feeling movements. A couple of days later, I felt movement for the first time, definitively. It’s one of my favourite things about pregnancy.

Bodily Experiences

Before starting down my journey to motherhood, my bra size was a 34 A. My size (and shape…) fluctuated a lot through my first pregnancy, breastfeeding, post-breastfeeding, and now in my second pregnancy. I just did a (distanced) bra fitting, and I’m a 36D. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d become a D cup 😆. I can’t imagine what size I’ll be when I’m 9 months pregnant! I’m loving it, though.

My body is feeling pretty good these days. Good old second trimester… I have a bit of hip pain still but it has been much better since I started using the pregnancy pillow at night!

Baby This Week

Size of a sweet potato (5.5″). Baby is developing myelin around its nerve cells as well as fat deposits under the skin. It can also yawn now. It also has finger prints.