21.5 Weeks: I Spoke too Soon

Not 24 hours after proclaiming how much wonderful energy I had, did it all come tumbling down. I am so tired again every afternoon, and have been napping to get through each day. I have also noticed an increase in my appetite, and have added another meal to my day, which tells me that maybe Dumplin’ is going through a growth spurt. 

Also, I’ve totally finished my stash of Diclectin (Diclegis) and have been dry heaving once or twice a day again. Ugh. I’m almost 22 weeks! Why am I still so nauseous?! With that, has returned some food aversions, particularly of the chicken variety, which sucks because chicken had become a healthy staple in my diet, bringing my protein count up. Now, I wanna gag anytime I think about it. Yuck!

Today, I met with our union’s parental leave person, who went through the whole paperwork process with me and explained how everything works. I’m feeling pretty excited about all of it, but there is a lot of paperwork, which makes me a bit nervous. At my next midwife appointment (tomorrow), I will have to get a signed letter confirming Dumplin’s due date, which will be sent to my principal as well as the school board, as the first step in initiating this process. The rest of it kind of happens once I have started my leave, and then when Dumplin’ actually arrives. My plan is to teach in September and October, as long as I am physically comfortable doing so. Once things start becoming really uncomfortable, I might be able to take some time off before his due date, if medically necessary. 

Questions for y’all: 

1. By how many weeks were you becoming physically uncomfortable at work?

2. How close to your due date did you (or do you plan to) work until?

3. How much time do you feel would’ve been ideal to have off before baby’s due date?

Thanks in advance for your answers!

Now I will leave you with photos of some cute things that I’ve sewn recently for Dumplin’: Waterproof PUL wet diaper bags (one is for him and one is for my swim stuff).   3-Layer flannel fox print bandana drool bibs, white organic bamboo microfleece soakers (size large and small), and flannel PJ’s.

 Linen newborn kimono.

Lastly, I think our registry is pretty well done. We hammered out details, read reviews, and debated between our wants vs. needs, and also left out things we can probably get second hand. Woohoo!

Have a great Monday!

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21 Weeks

I’m sitting in our yard, watching our plants grow, as I thumb type this post. Today is one of the few days this week which is not super humid. I was up early this morning, and took the dogs to the conservation area for a hike. It was breezy and cool, so I wasn’t as uncomfortable as I have been on our walks lately. The mosquitoes were bad though, as they usually are in the woods, so I still spray copious amounts of my own homemade bug spray (witch hazel and essential oils). 

I’m also sitting in the yard supervising the dogs, which I don’t normally have to do because they are so well-behaved. However, Juno was barking all morning in the yard (unusual), so I went to check on what she was barking about, and low and behold, I see this:

  It seems that a critter is living on the other side of the fence, and I speculate that Juno was trying to be all heroic and shit and wanted to kill the critter for us (her other mother has been very supportive of her natural killer instinct). She is a non-destructive dog, but a couple of years ago, she did something similar and chewed through a thick rain barrel to get at a ground hog hiding underneath it. The dog is stubborn as hell. I am not, so it’s very frustrating trying to train her when she’s got a bee under her bonnet. We don’t really know the neighbours on that side very well- they are renting the house from their uncle who owns it. I am not sure how it’s all gonna play out, but we will definitely have to pay to repair that part of the fence. With an imminent province-wide teacher strike (ie. No paychecks for either of us in September/October), and a baby on the way, we didn’t really need another bill to deal with. We have already cancelled our cable, DW hopes to teach some days in summer school, and I will be pausing my acupuncture treatments (paid out of pocket) to off-set some of the future financial instability. 

Otherwise things are good. I’ve got so much energy these days. I’m lifting weights (no cardio) every other day, and taking the dogs out every other to every day, and haven’t needed a single nap this week. This is all despite the shitty sleep that I’m getting too! Some evenings, I’m so energetic that I can’t sit down to enjoy an episode of Orange is the New Black (I’m also not impressed with the season so far either). 

I’m also a bit anxious again these days. I’m not sure where it’s coming from, but I know that this anxiety is common and tends to drive pregnant women’s nesting instincts, which is definitely true for me. I’ve sewn a ton of stuff for Dumplin’ already, and DW thinks I need to slow down or take a break from it. I’ve also been clearing out stuff from the room that is going to be his nursery, and hope for everything to be moved by the end of next week. DW’s dad and her will spend some time painting in a couple of weeks, and I’ll be sent to the cottage with the dogs to be clear of the paint toxins. I’m still working out what colours we would like for his room, but I know we want something gender neutral and likely some kind of grey or warm cream colour. I like this colour scheme, but we’ll have to see how everything comes together and then add accents. 

  The crib is oak but I might have DW paint it white to match with the dresser/change table and antique dresser that are both white. I hate the idea of painting an original oak crib, so maybe I won’t care if it doesn’t match. Nothing in our house really matches anyway. Today, I’m going to look (and possibly bring home) this pre-loved blue glider and ottoman from another mother. 

  
As for my bump, here’s a photo from today. It doesn’t look any different from last week or even from three weeks ago, but the scale says I’m steadily gaining about a pound a week. I’m not packing on the pounds like I was when I was on the prednisone though. 

  Speaking of meds, my thyroid has been doing really well. My TSH is 0.66 and T4 is 9.0 on only 12.5mcg per day. My endocrinologist wants me to drop my dose to 12.5mcg every other day and then retest in two weeks and then four weeks. If my TSH stays lower than 2, she wants me to go off of the Synthroid completely! 

Dumplin’s kicks have been felt more and more each day. I was washing dishes a couple of days ago and kept buckling over because I was startled by his strong kicks. Mostly his kicks are inward, but sometimes (rarely) they are towards the outside. DW felt him from the outside once this week. We plan to put him in muay thai when he’s old enough (not kidding).

Things are good. School is wrapping up next week, and Toronto Pride is just around the corner. We’re not sure if we will head down because it’s such a hot and sweaty mess even when not pregnant, but maybe. You know what would be great? Meeting up with some local bloggers for brunch/lunch on the Saturday of Pride. Any takers?

Kind of a Big Deal

So in the frustration of my insomnia, I forgot to update y’all on something big that happened recently. 

Finally, after nearly five years of marriage, I’ve assumed my wife’s last name.

The decision to do this did not come lightly, and for years now, I’ve been weighing the pros and cons of the whole thing. But with Dumplin’ on the way, and our desire to travel as much as possible with him, it made practical sense to all share the same last name.

Now, what’s in a shared name really? Well, it conveys a family tie. I know that lots of people do not share the same last name as their kin, but for us, and especially as a same-sex family, it allows a sort of convenience especially with things like daycare or school matters, as well as travelling as a family or as a parent with our child(ren). 

How did we decide whose last name to share?

Well, in our case, we had to weigh the pros and cons of both last names, as well as the different allowable permutations of them.

DW’s last name:

– is Scottish in origin

– is easy to pronounce, phonetically

– is not very common

My last name:

– is Chinese in origin, with Taiwanese spelling

– is a phonetical nightmare, so no one ever pronounces it correctly (to no fault of their own), and people always assume that the spelling of it is wrong (I’ve actually had people tell me that the spelling of my last name must be wrong- imagine how that makes a person feel about themselves!)

– is not common at all (the only people in my hometown phone book with my last name are actual relatives of mine)

Growing up with my last name, I was always embarrassed of it, even though my grandpa wore it with pride. To this day, I hate the reactions and looks of confusion when people are surprised that a last name like mine even exists. People make stupid jokes to cover up their discomfort with it, which makes me feel even worse. To. This. Day. 

So it was kind of a no-brainer that I would never want to do this to our kid. So we had decided that Dumplin’ would have DW’s last name. For a while, we considered hyphenation too, but having friends with hyphenated names, I knew it was a pain in the ass for things like forms and scantron cards. So we decided against that.

Professionally, as a chiropractor and as a teacher, I have always gone by my last name, and have built up a good reputation within that identity. So professionally, I will continue to be Dr. (My Lastname). 

In my personal life however, I will be known as Mrs. (DW’s last name), and while I do feel some sadness over no longer having my last name in my name at all, I know that my origins are traceable via my birth certificate. For some time, we considered moving my last name to the end of my middle name, as is the tradition in my mother’s culture, but that kind of name change is considered a legal name change here, so I would have to have the change made on my birth certificate too- which I did not want. Like I said, I want my origins to be traceable, and keeping my birth certificate untouched somehow makes me feel that way.

So now, I have a crapload of updating to do due to this name change:

– Service Canada to update my SIN 

– New passport photos and application (ugh, huge pain in the ass)

– Service Ontario to update ownerships for our cars

– all credit cards and bank accounts

– all auto payments coming from my credit cards or bank accounts

– Revenue Canada

– Costco membership

– Gym membership

– Health insurance provider

– All health care providers

– HR at work

Did I miss anything?
With Dumplin’ on the way, I wanted the name change done before his birth so that my new name is on his birth certificate. 

We like to travel, and plan on travelling as a family, so we wanted to all have the same last name. I have friends who have different last names than their children, and have to provide a signed and notarized document proving that they are in fact the child’s parent, and that they have permission from the other parent to be travelling with the child alone. Going through that shenanigans would suck, as would having to “out” ourselves every time we do it. “Yes, he is my child. Here is permission from his other mother. Here is our marriage certificate.” Ugh. Keep in mind that most countries do not have a human rights code like Canada’s, and customs officers can make your life a living hell with no justification required.

So that’s that. The change has been made. I have a temporary paper drivers licence and health card until my new plastic ones come in the mail. 

Did you change your last name when you got married? Why or why not?

What last name will or do your children have?

Do you have small children that you travel with? What is your experience like- with a different last name, or as a non-conventional family? 

I’d love to hear your experiences.

Pregnancy Insomnia: Is it too Early?

Well it’s 2am, and I can’t sleep. It’s been like this for over a week now, and I’m throwing in the towel… Except, I can’t really. I have insomnia again, and friends it is bad. A combination of feeling uncomfortable in every sleeping position + the worst allergies ever + having to get up to pee 3+ times a night + being hungry in the middle of the night = hell.

Normally, I just hop on my phone and get caught up on my blogs, and then head over to the repetitive drivel of the “What to Expect Due Date boards”. Most times, reading people fuss over baby names and/or how upset they are that they didn’t get the gender that they are wanted (waaaaahh! Cry me a river, Fertile Myrtle!) is enough to lull me to sleep. However, tonight, the hunger pangs and slight uterine cramps that I’ve been experiencing (growing much?) have me going down to the kitchen to grab a bite to eat. While normally, I would go for something more balanced, I didn’t want to start frying up some eggs and turkey kielbasa lest I wake DW up with cooking sounds or its lovely savoury aroma. So instead, I reached for the box of Chex and almond breeze, which didn’t satisfy me. Then I grabbed a GF chocolate chip breakfast muffin (remember that I don’t like sweets right now, and kinda don’t like the taste of chocolate even), sliced it up into horizontal sections, and then slathered it with as much peanut butter as its surface area would allow. My goal here is caloric density so that I can go back to sleep and stay asleep! 

So here I am, post cereal and muffin, ready to give sleep another go. 

My midwife says that pregnancy insomnia doesn’t really hit until 34 weeks. Bull-fucking-shit. I’m only 21 weeks and I’m frickin’ dying over here. 

Anyone else experience pregnancy insomnia? When did it start for you?

Baby Registry Feedback

So I’m totally procrastinating today, and it’s only Monday. Juno was bad yesterday, and consumed a loaf of my specially bought gluten-free vegan bread from Bunners, a bakery downtown. She also started in on a box of Kleenex, her favourite. Inevitably, this means that she will wake me up in the middle of the night to let her out into the yard for an impromptu poop. After her poop, I settled back into bed, and then the little dog decides that she wanted outside. Why she couldn’t have gone out at the same time as her sister is beyond me…. I guess this is a tiny glimpse into the sleeplessness of parenthood. 

Anyways, after returning to bed the second time, I couldn’t fall back asleep and spent from 3am to 5:30am building our baby registry. It’s not really a registry, in the sense that I expect people to buy us all of this stuff, but more of a collection of things that I think I would like to get for the baby. 

Here’s sorta a draft of what I have come up with so far. I’d love any feedback into what is missing but is a “must-have” for the newborn stage, and also what is useless and kind of a waste of money. 

Some things I plan to make still- like one-size cloth diapers, a wet bag (maybe), burp bibs, a knitted hat and mitts, car seat belt covers, and maybe a fake Moby (for baby wearing).

Some things, I’m anticipating people will buy/make for us, like baby clothes, receiving blankets, booties.

We also are really into buying some things second hand- like an infant bath tub, clothes from the Goodwill or Value Village.

I also need to start thinking about furnishing the nursery, but until we move our office stuff downstairs, there’s really no point in going there yet.

So here goes… Please give me feedback! Thanks in advance 🙂

   
                                 

19 Weeks and Homemade Gluten-Free Wontons/Dumplings

I must say, the second trimester has been just wonderful. My nausea is not preventing me from eating more healthily, I’ve got enough energy to workout and run errands, and my baby bump is finally showing. I’ve been in a great mood ever since we found out that Dumplin’ is doing great, and am now riding that “omg I’m pregnant,” awesomeness every day. I’m not kidding, I wake up every morning, in a fantastic mood because I feel so grateful to be pregnant. After three years of infertility and multiple pregnancy losses, I feel like finally, maybe things are gonna go well for us. I’ll still be guarded though, until we’ve got our take home baby. Then I’ll probably be a super worry-wart for the rest of Dumplin’s life. That’s just how it goes though, isn’t it? 

So yeah, I’m good. Things are busy over here, which makes the weeks seem to fly by. I don’t even know how to focus my weekly updates, but I am fine with keeping my focus kind of random. 

New things this week:

– I have officially started leaking colostrum. A couple of days ago, on a hike with DW and the dogs, I felt this lightning shock kind of feeling through my right breast, and checked my bra. I had leaked a clear, colourless fluid with almost an oily consistency. It soaked through my sports bra + cup pads, and I could feel the moistness through the outside of my shirt. Craziness! Week 19!

– This morning, after a very nice orgasm, I noticed that I could see the outline of my uterus! I put my hands on my belly and I could feel the hard outline of my uterus under my skin. I guess the orgasm caused my uterus to contract a bit, which was really neat! Normally, my belly just feels soft, and I can’t really tell where my uterus is. 

– I think I’m starting to get some pubic symphysis (the joint at the bottom of your pelvis) instability. At the gym yesterday, I was doing walking lunges, and I could feel a pulling in my groin region, but deeper, like at the level of the bone. I could also feel my deep gluteal muscles struggling to help me keep good form, as my lunges got a bit shakey towards the end of each set. Lunges can be challenging in general, but waaaaay more when your centre of balance is changing (baby bump), and your ligaments are under the influence of relaxin. 

– Strangers are noticing my baby bump and feeling confident enough about it to talk to me about it. Today, I had lots of errands to run, including buying the dogs some food from PetSmart (which is having a 15% off friends and family event this weekend so we stocked up). I piled up three 26lbs bags of dog food and a couple bags of treats into my shopping cart, and checked out. At the register, the cashier asked me THREE times if I would like a carry out (basically, an employee pushes my cart and loads the dog food into my car), despite me declining the first time. She looked at my belly and asked if I “was sure?”. I appreciated her offer and concern, but I’m used to carrying the 26lbs of dog food on my shoulder normally, without the use of a cart. Then, I went to Costco, where I usually just bring cloth bags with me and forgo the cart because the Costco near us is always jam-packed and I can maneuver through the pylons of people and their poorly placed unattended carts a lot easier if I just carry my groceries in the cloth bags. I did the same today, and I had one bag filled, and then carried two cases of 6 packs of chicken broth tetra packs in each hand. Then I walked and lined up at a register. Each register has a cashier and a “bagging person”. When it was my turn to pay, the bagging guy kept insisting that he get me a cart. I said I didn’t need a cart. He asked how I was gonna carry my stuff to my car. I said, “in the same way that I carried it through the store… With my arms.” He said, “but you’re pregnant”. I said, “yeah, I’ll be fine. Thanks though.”. Then he said how I needed to conserve my energy for the baby, or something like that, as I speeded away…. Wow, it’s so interesting how people treat you differently when you’re pregnant. I don’t feel like these people were being rude at all. They just wanted to offer me some assistance. They were just being nice. I just would rather continue doing the things that I can do while I can still do them. I actually enjoy lifting bags of dog food into the car, and carrying heavy boxes through a parking lot. It’s kind of like a light workout to remind me of awesome muscles are.

– Cravings. Last week, all I wanted was beef and cabbage- everyday, and for every meal. This week, I’ve been craving all sorts of random things. Sadly, most  all of them contain gluten: fish ‘n chips, cinnamon sugar donuts, pizza buns, and Chinese wontons/dumplings. Yesterday, I was downtown, and was able to stop in at one of my favourite gluten-free restaurants for some really lovely fish ‘n chips. I posted a photo of it on my Instagram if you’re interested @mamaetmaman . It is drool worthy. Now, my mission is to make the remaining food items myself from scratch. The challenge is, that they all have to be gluten-free. Luckily, the state of the Internet is such that there are tons of people who have experimented with making these things already. First up was the homemade chinese chicken wonton soup, which I am happy to report, I successfully made today, and they tasted amazing!

I’m not going to go into great detail into how I made them because other people have done this for me. What I am gonna do is copy and paste links to the recipes that I used , and add photos from my cooking today.

I basically made this meal in four parts: 

Part 1: the wonton wrappers: http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/best-gluten-free-wonton-wrappers/

Part 2: the ground chicken stuffing: http://ironchefshellie.com/2012/01/17/chicken-shiitake-dumplings/

Part 3: assembling the wontons (see instructions from Part 1)

Part 4: making the soup: add 8 wontons (add 4 at a time, let come to a boil, then add four again) to a litre of chicken broth and let boil for 10 minutes. Add some noodles if you’d like about half way through boiling (I added glass noodles today). Add some dried shiitake mushrooms and a handful of scallions  at the end of your cooking, and let boil for another 2 minutes. 

(Any leftovers can be frozen and cooked on another day!)

DW came home in time for a hot bowl of wonton soup! These wontons tasted like the real thing. I honestly couldn’t detect a difference in taste or texture. This recipe is definitely a keeper!

   
     

Swimwear Success!

Thank you to each and every one of you for encouraging me to continue my quest for the right swimming suit.

A few day ago, I popped into a Thyme Maternity store on my way to the gym, hoping to find some shorts and a bathing suit, since none of mine fit anymore (25lb+ pregnancy weight gain so far). I must’ve tried on every single one-piece and tankini that they make, and two pairs of shorts. NOTHING FIT. I tried a size up. STILL DIDN’T FIT. I tried two sizes up. STILL DIDN’T FIT RIGHT

The sales girl said “Go with the size you normally wear, our clothes are meant to accommodate your growing belly…. Blah blah blah… Grow with you… Blah blah blah”, so I did. I’m normally a medium in most things, but grabbed a large too, just in case.

Holy hell.

Let’s first talk about the shorts. I COULDNT GET THEM PAST MY THIGHS. The large size, I could, but it gaped in the bum, and I felt like I was waddling in them. All of their shorts were like this for me.

Now the swim suits were a different kind of hell. Stepping into the leg holes of the medium one-pieces, I couldn’t get the suit past my hips. I seriously think that had I tried to force it, I would’ve ripped the stitching, so forget that. The large fit mostly, except that the leg holes felt like tourniquets around my thighs. Like if I had gone swimming in that suit, my legs would stop working due to restricted blood flow. Also, there’s an elastic gather just under the bust, and I have some wide lats thanks to my athletic back. Again, tourniquet right on my rib cage. The boobs of the tops were so empty and sagged like a deflated balloon. I definitely couldn’t go out like that. So I tried the XL, which did absolutely nothing good for my self-esteem and looked all sorts of wrong. 

So I gave up, and went to the gym, trying to forget the whole experience.

When I got home, I settled on a poorly fitting old bikini which has adjustable strings on the hips, and a top that barely covered my ample boobs. To be more modest, I planned to wear a spandex racer back tank top that I had from Lululemon about a million years ago. This is what I would wear to my swim date the next day.

—————————————————

Today, I had a swim date with a good friend of mine and her 1 year old twin boys. We had lots of fun towing them in floating fish-shaped foamies and splashing on the shallow stairs. We also got to go through the gazillion questions I had for her about: circumcision, baby products, episiotomies, baby weights, car seats and strollers, minivans, and mat leave. All was great until I caught a glimpse at my chest and gasped! I forgot to mention how my nipples have quadrupled in size (seriously), and are hard to hide in a regular padded bra, let alone a thinly padded swim suit bikini. Yup, I definitely need a bathing suit with more breast padding, or all the babies will be crawling to me looking for milk. I was so embarrassed.

So, after our swim (and lunch) date, I stopped by Motherhood Maternity, another store highly recommended by some of you. They had a much larger selection, and I grabbed a bunch of khaki shorts, sweat shorts, bathing suits (tankinis look funny on me because they’re so girlie, so I opted for the one-pieces), some sweat pants, and (what the hell, they looked interesting) a pair of jeggings. 

Everything fit. Perfectly

The shorts were awesome- they had the belly band and the large size was a bit big still, so I could grow into them through the summer. I grabbed them in a tan, dark green, and a super soft denim colour.

The swim suits fit awesome, though I immediately excluded the super feminine ones, or the ones that didn’t have enough breast padding. One in particular, fit great and had a nice design (though still a bit girlier than I’m used to), so I bought it.

The jogging pants, sweat shorts, and jeggings fit great too, but I didn’t plan on spending much, so I put them in my “no” pile. Plus, I’ve been able to fill those fashion voids with the massive amounts of spandexy or “Luon” Lululemon shorts and pants that I have accumulated throughout the years that still fit.

So, I got 3 pairs of super comfy maternity shorts, and a bathing suit for under $120 Canadian dollars (that’s like $100 USD for you American friends). Not bad, considering that I am in love with every item.

We have a wedding to attend in July, and I’m definitely considering buying a dress from Motherhood Maternity now. 

Woohoo! I found a swim suit!