About Amy

This blog is about my wife's and my experiences making a baby and then raising the child. I'm a PhD candidate trying to balance dissertation work, parenting, marriage, and home-maker endeavours. I also dabble in urban homesteading, and sometimes share stories about my chickens and gardens. I'll candidly share my successes and failures in this balancing act.

36 Weeks Pregnant (still pregnant!!)

We’re only 1 week away from being able to have a home birth! I’m so thankful that baby has stayed in this long. I’ve been doing a crummy job at bedrest, too… I just CAN’T lay around all day. I’m not lifting anything heavy, though, and I’m just slowly shuffling around doing everyday household tasks between rests. I think what really mattered was stopping work early – we’re all just trying to do too many things at once these days. This has allowed me to relax mentally as much as physically.

The midwife is coming to the house next week (at the 37 week mark) to do the home birth assessment and planning. I’m starting to plan my home birth supplies. We have a friend lined up to watch Avery, and a backup plan for if we get transferred to the hospital.

Bodily Sensations

Feeling extremely pregnant. Baby’s head had been deeply and firmly lodged in my pelvis for quite some time now (for at least a month), and I’ve been waddling for just as long. We’re at the stage where getting out of bed is a feat of acrobatics, and I’m up to pee at least 4 times a night. Through the day, when I’m actively drinking, I pee every hour. It’s ridiculous.

The kicks and butt wiggles are less enjoyable and more painful now, as he is running out of room in there…

Baby This Week

I had an ultrasound last week to assess baby’s weight (because I had gestational hypertension in my last pregnancy) and he was approx 6.5 pounds! That’s a pound heavier than the apps are saying he should be, and if it’s true that he’s putting on half a pound a week these days, we may have another 8.5 pound jumbo babe like Avery was. Now I’m hoping he does come just a little early….

Everything about this kid is healthy and perfect. Every single person who has assessed him in the last 8 months has made a comment about how active he is… He makes huge movements CONSTANTLY. It really makes me feel like we have nothing to worry about anymore. Healthy pregnancy (even if my body may be prematurely prepared to evacuate him), and healthy baby. Feeling so thankful, and hopeful, and excited for a home birth this time around.

34 Weeks Pregnant and preterm labour scare

At 33 weeks 5 days, I was admitted to the hospital for preterm labour. I was bleeding, my cervix was short, and the midwife accidentally poked baby in the head during the cervix check. I was also having rhythmic contractions, but couldn’t feel them.

LUCKIL, we managed to stop it in its tracks with IV fluids and plenty of rest, and baby is holding tight for now… I think everyone will be really surprised if baby holds on till full term, but I’m really trying to visualize and believe that he will.

I took my first ambulance ride, too. My local hospital only takes babies at 34 weeks gestation, and when everybody was sure I’d be delivering that night, they transferred me to a hospital in a neighbouring town. There are bed shortages at all hospitals, so I was lucky to get a bed at a relatively close hospital. I spent one awful night there, and by the next evening I was home, on bedrest (except now they don’t recommend strict bedrest – slow walks are recommended between the resting so you don’t get blood clots in your legs).

And this morning I woke up to 34 weeks gestation, so even if he comes today, he can be born in our home town at the hospital 5 minutes away.

We’re celebrating all of the day-by-day milestones. Today was reaching the 34 week mark. Tomorrow we’ll be almost fully moved into the new house (today is closing day) and we’ll have beds and a guest bed set up for Avery and a caregiver if we have to be at the hospital. And for every day we manage to keep him on the inside, the more prepared we’ll be.

Baby This Week

Well, we know he’s EXTREMELY head down, trying to head-butt his way out… From all the non-stress tests and the ultrasound we just had over the past 2 days, we know he looks extremely healthy in there. Active and perfect. I also got the corticosteroid shots to help his lungs mature faster in preparation for a preterm birth, so I imagine those lungs will be really beefing up now! Other than that, we can guess that he weighs about 5 pounds and that he is really excited to meet his big sister 😉

Anyone have preemie/NICU hospital bag recommendations?

I was in the hospital in preterm labour yesterday. I was discharged today, but apparently my home is more stressful than I realized and I’m worried I’ll be heading right back to the hospital sooner than we’d like.

Since we’re moving tomorrow, we don’t even have access to our baby stuff. We hadn’t begun to pack a regular hospital bag, and now we need to pack a preemie hospital bag with readiness for a NICU stay.

Anyone have recommendations for what we should pack?

Stress and spotting and baby has dropped

Obviously we’ve been stressed lately. The reasons are numerous, and if I listed them here it would fill the entire post.

I’ve also been feeling physically exhausted and more uncomfortable than I remember being at this stage of pregnancy last time. The baby has dropped, and I’ve been having a lot of pelvic pressure.

I’m so worried about preterm birth… We’re also moving next week and expect we’ll need a few weeks at least to prepare our new house for baby’s arrival (painting, setting up…). So there’s the fear around ending up with a baby who needs to stay in the hospital during the third wave of the pandemic, and there’s also the fear around just not at all being prepared for the baby.

I’m experiencing spotting tonight, for the first time in this pregnancy (since implantation). Bright red little globs in the toilet every time I pee. I called my midwives and they’ve told me to monitor the situation and call them back if the volume increases.

I immediately laid down and did my hypnobirthing meditation (which I’ve forced myself to make time for every other night this past week). I drank water. I’m laying in bed at 8pm and I think I’m about to fall stone cold asleep for the night. I’m so exhausted.

Of course, I really needed to work tonight to catch up on all the work I was unable to do through the week while managing 100% of the childcare. But the spotting and exhaustion reminds me of what’s really important…

32 Weeks Pregnant

Well, I’m about 8 and a 1/2 months pregnant now… And I feel like it.

We’re moving in less than 2 weeks, and I’m feeling less and less able-bodied every day that draws closer to the move. Last weekend I tried to do too much and I had a lot of Braxton Hicks contractions, an unsettling amount of pelvic pressure, and nasty hip pain for a couple of days after.

We’re also back to a state of working full time while parenting/schooling full time, WHILE prepping for the move, so we’re effing zonked. In a nasty twist of fate, the more tired I get, the less I’m able to sleep.

Bodily Experiences This Week

I’m waddling.

I’m out of breath.

My belly button has turned into an outie (which it never did in my first pregnancy).

I’m struggling with some pretty serious insomnia, getting about 3-4 hours of broken sleep each night (probably has as much to do with how stressful life is right now as it does with the pregnancy).

I have restless leg syndrome again, as I did in my first pregnancy.

Oh and my heart feels like it’s constantly palpitating when I lay down, thanks to the 50% increase in blood volume.

But all of those challenging symptoms aside, I’m still loving my pregnant body. I’m never as comfortable in my own skin as I am when pregnant.

Baby This Week

My app says baby is sleeping about 70% of the time, but I have trouble believing it. This kid is so active. All. The. Time.

At my last midwife appointment he was head down, but I’m pretty sure he’s still spinning like a cork screw in there because sometimes I see a bum pushing out to the side, and other times I see individual kicks.

His skin is no longer transparent, and he likely has peach fuzz for a head of hair by now. He’s also about 3-1/2 to 4 pounds and 15-17″ long.

30 Weeks Pregnant

30 Weeks has always felt like a milestone to me. Only 10 weeks left…

Everything has been same old, same old – we’re extremely distracted by prepping for our move, raising our 4 year old, and working. Poor little guy doesn’t get the focus that Avery got when she was gestating… I haven’t done meditations or yoga in well over a month. We are, however, starting to put some thought into what we’ll need for his room at the new house. We’re scouring Facebook Marketplace for a dresser/changing table and a set of bookshelves for his room, and we’ve started including “gender neutral nursery” in our regular Pinterest searches as we make design plans for all of our bedrooms. Here’s our latest inspiration from Project Nursery.

Bodily Experiences This Week

My hips/tailbone are almost constantly hurting, which is making my stride turn into a waddle earlier than I think I should be waddling 😆 He’s moving constantly, and it’s sometimes uncomfortable (although still very cool). I’m continuing to monitor my blood pressure and it’s still holding steady at a healthy rate. I have more energy since starting on iron supplements – it was a night-and-day difference. My legs and feet have been cramping, but not quite as bad as I remember it being in my first pregnancy.

I’m also more emotional and ornery. Watch out world…

Baby This Week

Baby is now going to start shedding the lanugo that was keeping him warm, because he’s putting on the layers of fat at record speed now. This is the stage where his growth slows in length, and accelerates to half a pound per week in weight. Currently, he’s somewhere around 17″ long and 3.5 pounds.

At my last in clinic midwife appointment he was head down, but with the massive kicks and rolls I still constantly feel I wouldn’t be surprised if he was still doing summersaults 😳

28 Weeks Pregnant

We are fully into the 3rd trimester, now. I ended up having to go for the 3 hour glucose tolerance test, and despite the suuuuper bruised arms from the many attempts at getting blood, it went well. I felt fine, no passing out, and NO GESTATIONAL DIABETES. The best part was having almost 3 hours to myself, waiting in the car between blood draws, to read my book in peace.

I’m forcing myself to take time to start thinking about a birth plan. With my first pregnancy, I really, really, really wanted a home birth. I had the water-birthing tub rented and all the supplies gathered in my dining room. Unfortunately, my blood pressure spiked near the end of the pregnancy and I ended up needing a hospital birth. It wasn’t nearly as upsetting as I had worried it would be, but I’d still prefer a home birth this time. Now, though, we have Avery to think about, and COVID to plan around. Must map out birth plans (plan a, b, and maybe even c) as diligently as we’ve been mapping out our moving plan. Because oh yeah – we’ll have been in our new home for one month when baby-watch starts. Hopefully we are feeling mostly set up by then.

On that note,.my pregnancy app dared suggest to me that I should be thinking about baby’s room and car seats now… I’m sure it’s not wrong, but we’ll be dealing with baby’s room AFTER he’s born this time around. Existing child’s new bedroom will take priority because the baby isn’t going to care if he has a decorated nursery, or sleeps next to the boob on the floor.

Another thing we’ve been forcing ourselves to make the time to think about is circumcision. We both instinctually didn’t want to have our baby circumcised, but we also don’t make decisions without doing a ton of research first. And as neither of us has penises of our own to learn from, we needed to do some digging. Conclusion: no circumcision.

Bodily Experiences This Week

I’m now at the stage where I have to roll myself out of bed in the morning because I can’t sit up using my ab muscles. My feet and back get sore after just a few hours of being on my feet. Last night my sweet and precious 4 year old rubbed my feet for me 😍 (but it didn’t last too long before turning into tickling…). My wife is not that into feet so I get it where I can 😂

My bloodwork also showed low iron, so I had to shell out $70 for iron supplements and now I’m also needing to regularly take metamucil to balance out the constipating effects of iron.

Baby This Week

16″ long… Soon he’ll stop growing in length and just work on plumping out. He’s still super active, and is practicing coughing, blinking, and hiccuping (which we’ve been feeling lately).

Getting a COVID vaccine!!

Spring is in the air, our impending move is feeling more and more real (49 days away), and the COVID-19 vaccine is rolling out nicely in our province. It was just announced by my province that pregnant people are now eligible to get the vaccine, and I am SO EXCITED to be pre-registered to get it. My wife, who works in a hospital (admin) is also expected to get hers very soon. Our midwives are vaccinated. This changes things completely for our anticipated birth experience. Even though our school-aged child can’t get the vaccine (yet), everyone around her will be protected in case she brings the virus home from school.

This summer will feel very, very different for us (in so many ways).

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.