Flying Towards my Dreams and Destiny

During our hospital tour, we passed the lab where we had some blood work done before starting IUI at the new clinic and a flood of memories came rushing in. This time last year, we had just returned from Mexico to the news that our second IVF had failed. In some ways it was harder than the first time IVF didn’t work because we had done all we could do the second time around. We transferred 2 Grade A blastocysts, I stayed an extra week in Mexico to relax, I took all the supplements…we felt there was nothing more we could have done that would have increased our chances of success. We didn’t even consider trying IVF a third time.

With the news that IVF #2 had failed, I wanted to go full steam ahead into adoption. But as I’m sure many of you know, adoption is not without its own frustrations and heartbreak. We were stressed and overwhelmed by the approximately $50,000 cost. It’s sad that money has to play a role in how we grow our family, but ultimately it is a reality we can’t ignore. We worried about how we could pull together the money, adoption programs we were interested in were closing or changing and we weren’t eligible for many other programs. I spent hours researching adoption programs around the world and the effects that fetal drug and alcohol exposure could have on the baby. I worried about how long it would be until we received a referral… and of course what many prospective adoptive parents worry about in an open adoption- “What if the Mom changes her mind?” This is only a short list of the things we worried about at the time – It goes without saying that we (and our marriage) were under an incredible amount of stress last year.

So on Monday, we walked by the chairs we sat in while waiting to have our blood drawn at the hospital around this time last year. I remembered sitting in those chairs last year and having probably one of the biggest fights of our marriage. It wasn’t a screaming match (because we were in public) but the energy between us was tense and we were both emotionally drained. We were at our breaking points. Until then, Andino had always managed to keep it together while I fell apart, but at that moment his resolve had worn too thin. We had already paid for 6 rounds of IUI and we were also in the process of preparing our dossier to send to an adoption agency in the U.S. But as we sat in those chairs, I told Andino that I wanted to give up on fertility treatments and just focus on adoption. I was tired of all the fertility drugs, the constant blood draws and Doctor’s appointments. Despite all the stress that came with preparing to adopt I knew in my heart that I wanted to. But Andino didn’t want to focus on just one path and he wasn’t ready to give up on fertility treatments yet.

Ultimately, I decided to try IUIs until we were ready to actually send our adoption dossier to the agency. It helped me to deal with my emotions while going through fertility treatments to focus on preparing our photo book and all the documents required to complete the dossier (immigration documents, criminal record checks etc.) The other thing that got me through the incredibly tough year we had was that I never stopped dreaming of what the future held for me. I envisioned many different scenarios as I’m sure all of us who struggle with infertility do – living child-free and travelling the world, adopting & getting pregnant. I pictured it all. I knew I could find happiness in any of those paths.

My husband’s band Andino Suns is getting ready to release their second album in a few weeks. In fact, the box of cds just arrived in the mail the other day. Andino was listening to the album tonight (while I was in this retrospective mood) and my favourite song of the album came on – Dreaming.  There are so many lyrics to this song that makes me think of how we were at that time:

The very first lyrics to the song – “Back on my feet again, my life is marching on” I really can’t think of a better way to describe how I felt after each failed cycle, after each hard day, after each good day…

when doubts creep up again, my courage takes them on” It takes a lot of courage to keep fighting, especially during the really hard days like the one we had that day at the hospital last year.

Sailing, strong winds, rough seas, crashing waves that strengthen me” I believe that the rough times we have been through have strengthened me more than anything else in my life.

I’m flying towards my dreams and destiny” I had no idea how my life would unfold, but I never stopped dreaming and I knew that whatever my destiny held – I was on my way. 

34 weeks

Andino and I went on a tour of the labour & delivery unit of the hospital on Monday. It was offered by the lady who does our prenatal classes and I am so glad we went. I’ve been to the Mother & Baby unit of our hospital back home (when a close friend had her baby) but I had no idea what to expect from the hospital where we live now. I was happy to know that I’ll have a private room with a full bath tub during labour and also for recovery. I was also happy to know that the hospital has squatting bars that attach to the bed because I definitely plan to try that position for pushing. Now that I am not wondering what facilities are available, I am able to relax a little more when anticipating the day I go into labour. But that day is most likely still 5-6 weeks away. I’ll be full term in 2 and a half weeks but I have a feeling baby girl will be sticking around for the long haul.

At my last midwife appointment, baby girl was estimated to be at 3kgs already. My guess is that she will be around 4 kgs when she’s born. I am so happy that she is healthy and growing well, but the bigger she gets I can’t help but wonder how much it’s going to hurt when she comes out! I hope my labour & delivery goes as quickly and smoothly as my Mom’s did – her longest labour was 4 hours!

Lately, we’ve been enjoying our last few weeks together as a family of 2 (plus our dogs of course) and tying up loose ends. I still want to pick up a few more things for her nursery, but if she were to come tomorrow we would be ready. My replacement has been hired at work and I have one last report to finish before I go. My last day is May 5th and I’m not due until May 27th so I am really looking forward to a few relaxing weeks. I plan to cook a few things to freeze, but not as much as I originally thought I would because I realized I don’t really like eating meals that have been frozen. I’d way rather have rotisserie chicken and a salad than a frozen lasagne. Plus, it’s almost BBQ season which means hubby can be in charge of making a lot of meals!

Even though I am reaching the end of my pregnancy, I am still feeling quite well overall. I am running out of clothes that fit though, so I’m glad the weather is getting nice enough to wear maxi dresses. My exercise has dwindled down to once a week on the weekend, but I’m determined to keep that up. I’ve heard that going for long walks can help bring on your labour, so I plan to take the dogs for lots of long walks once I’m off work in a few weeks.

I feel like I had so many ideas of things to write about lately, but I couldn’t find the time and now I can’t remember what I wanted to say. So I’m sorry this update is boring but I hope to write some nice posts this week. Here is my bump at 34 weeks:

wpid-20140415_180454.jpg

 

wpid-20140414_180718.jpg

Ice Cream & Leaks!

I suppose it was bound to happen eventually. Until now I’ve been cruising through my pregnancy with very little discomfort or cravings. I’ve been exercising regularly and cooking very healthy meals. Hubby even lost so much weight because of my healthy cooking he had to make a new hole in his belt this morning! Unfortunately, my health kick is over. I actually bought myself an ENTIRE ICE CREAM CAKE and I don’t even feel guilty about it! (I ate 1/4 of it over the past 4 days and put the rest in the deep freezer until my craving strikes again.) My snack drawer at work is fuller than it’s ever been. I almost always have some of my favourite treats in my purse these days so I’m never without something to snack on. The photo below isn’t me but it definitely could be.

 

source

Along with the arrival of cravings, the discomfort has also arrived. My ribs and back have been quite sore lately from all the pressure of my growing uterus. I decided to get a prenatal massage since it is covered through my extended health benefits at work, so why not? I’m cancelling my benefits while I’m on maternity leave so I don’t have much time left to take advantage of them. I booked a 45 minute massage and it was very relaxing. She had a pregnancy pillow on top of the massage table that had indentations to put your belly and your boobs in so you can lay on your stomach comfortably during the massage. Afterwards, when I got up to get dressed, I noticed that I had about a teaspoon of wetness on my bra! I leaked – and only from one side! So I guess this means the time is really getting close now.

I have less than a month left of work and 47 days until my due date. I wonder how much bigger I will get in the next 6ish weeks? Here are some photos we took recently:

8d9bfa4e-7113-4c94-a080-fa507b79db9f_zpsad3793cc

DSCN0272_zps1e7df849

The Baby Shower

Andino’s family threw a baby shower for me on Saturday. His Mom has been talking about it for months and his Aunts helped out with the cooking and planning. This is the first granddaughter for his parents (third for mine!) and their first grandchild in over 15 years. Unfortunately I didn’t get many photos because I was feeling quite overwhelmed with the whole experience, but I did snap these after most of the guests had left:

DSCN0151

Andino’s Mom on the left and his Aunt on the right – the party planners!

DSCN0157 DSCN0164

Andino’s sister is on the right, which makes the other two girls my nieces. Weird because we are the same age! The girl in the orange shirt is one of my best friends and will be our support person during the delivery.

DSCN0153

My best friend who I also call my sister. She’s from back home but lives in the prairies now with her boyfriend (hopefully soon to be husband!)

p.s. I am only 5’4″ I’m but the tallest person in all these photos!

DSCN0147

The cake that was beautiful, but didn’t get eaten because there were cachitos & chilenitos which are chilean desserts that are DELICIOSO

 

cachitos & chilenitos – pastries filled with caramel!

 

I didn’t expect to be so overwhelmed by the baby shower. I’ve been to plenty of baby showers over the years and they are all basically the same – women get together, eat, chat a bit and the guest of honour opens gifts. No big deal. Well, it is a lot different when you are the guest of honour. I don’t know if I felt so nervous because of everything we’ve been through to get to this point or if it is because it is nerve-wracking to have 30+ people watch you open gifts for an hour. I was sweating and nervous-smiling and very self-concious the whole time. I am definitely a shy person when it comes to social situations like this. I can give public presentations no problem, but put me in a room with a lot of people and expect me to be outgoing & friendly to everyone and I seize up. I remember when I was in Mozambique I went to a meeting with representatives from various government offices and NGOs and I was put on the spot to stand up and speak (in Portuguese) about the project I was working on. I got nervous, but it was nothing compared to my nerves on Saturday. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that my best friends and husband are all very outgoing, friendly people who excel in social situations. I always rely on them to be the chatty ones while I sit back and smile/watch. The night before my shower I woke up at 3:30 am and couldn’t fall back asleep. I was thinking about the shower but I didn’t realize I was so anxious until the next night (after my shower) when I also woke up at 3:30 am and had to get up to read my book because I still hadn’t fallen back asleep by 5:00 am. I couldn’t turn my mind off and stop wondering if I had been friendly enough, if I thanked people enough, if people had a good time, if they could tell how anxious I was and if so did my anxiety ruin it? I can honestly say that today (Monday) is the first day I feel back to normal again.

I was touched that so many people showed up to celebrate us. Andino and I have been very open about our challenges on our path to parenthood, so everyone in that room knew what a big day it was for me. What a long time it was coming. Every single gift I opened was so thoughtful and beautiful I was overcome by emotion. Andino’s family in Chile sent gifts too, and his favourite Aunt sent us the favours. A couple of my friends weren’t able to make it to the shower so we are planning to get together this weekend for lunch. My Mom said that I was probably overwhelmed because I realized that so many people were thinking about us not just on that day, but in the days leading up to it when they were picking out the gifts for baby girl, writing the cards and making food to bring.  I’m sure I was anxious for a variety of reasons but overall it was a very special day.

One thing is for sure, this baby girl has people all over North & South America who love her already!

 

Gassy Mornings

My due date is exactly 2 months away. I am 31 weeks and 2 days pregnant which means my countdown to delivery is in the single digits now! (9 weeks) Which is really very exciting. I am so ready to meet her… and also to not be pregnant anymore! haha

Overall, things are still going very well. I don’t have any aches or pains but she’s getting so big (I’m getting so big!) that sometimes I get short of breath. I think she’s pushing on my lungs or something, but thankfully that doesn’t happen often. There’s also the challenge of getting dressed – I haven’t put so much time & effort into putting on my socks and shoes since I was a toddler! And there is one other thing that I think makes Andino just as uncomfortable as it makes me; the only pregnancy symptom I had first trimester  – excessive gas – has returned. With a vengeance. Oh, and the hemorrhoids. Or as I affectionately call them “hemis” but that’s nothing new, I’ve been getting those for 7 or 8 years now. Glamorous – I know.

So like I said, overall things are still going very well. These complaints are just minor annoyances that go along with carrying an extra 23 pounds in the belly. Basically, I don’t feel cute pregnant anymore, I just feel big pregnant. For the first time ever, someone asked if I was just about ready to have the baby:

Not much longer now, eh?

Well, two months…

Oh really? Because you look so big!

Yeah…

That happened this morning. I need to tell you that I am so not a morning person. I like getting up early, but I hate having to get up and get ready and go out in the cold. Andino wakes up singing, smiling, dancing, being goofy (and reminding me every 10 minutes not to be late and telling me how much time I have left to get ready). I wake up… I might as well be honest here… on weekdays I wake up with a grumpy face. It takes me a couple hours to get in a happy mood. That’s only on weekdays though. On the weekend I still get up early, usually by 7:30 am, but when I wake up naturally instead of to the jarring sound of the alarm clock (which usually causes the first words out of my mouth to be curse words) and I sit quietly reading the news or a book for an hour over tea, it makes all the difference in the world. I only have 6 weeks of work left and I am really looking forward to a year off to spend with my baby. I know it’s going to be hard getting up with her at all hours of the night, but like I said, it’s not the getting up that bothers me, it’s the having to get up and go that makes me cranky. My parents spoiled me when I lived at home. They knew I was not a morning person so they didn’t try to talk to me until I had been up for a couple hours. Andino is a chatterbox in the morning. I wonder if baby will take after me or Andino? I guess we’ll know in a few years!

Luckily, Andino has been very understanding and helpful which I appreciate so much because I need that right now. He has been helping me with all the little things that need to be done around the house which means I still have enough energy to do my little workouts 2 or 3 times a week. Exercise is the only thing that really makes me feel great these days. I do about 20 minutes of walking on my treadmill at varying intervals and then I do 20 minutes or so of light weights. I really think that these little workout sessions are what have kept me from experiencing too many unpleasant pregnancy symptoms so I hope to keep them up until the end.

So what about you? Are you a morning person? Speaking of mornings, tell me what your favourite breakfast is too! I love pancakes and waffles (homemade of course!)

A Happy Weekend

I don’t think I mentioned we are taking prenatal classes. A friend told me about a lady who is famous in our city for the prenatal classes she teaches at the YMCA, so we signed up for those instead of the free ones through the health region. At the first class there were 170 people in the room because it was accidentally overbooked. That’s 85 pregnant women crammed in one classroom. It was such a weird feeling to be surrounded by that many pregnant women… and to be one of them.  Thankfully, they’ve moved some of the other couples around and now there’s about 100 of us. We’ve taken 3 classes already and I understand why they are so famous. The instructor is an older lady with white hair and a total hippie (my kind of lady!). Every class she says and does things that you don’t expect and make you bust a gut laughing. For example, last class she was talking about how labour progresses and how to breath properly in each stage. She demonstrated deep breathing, mid-breathing and shallow breathing. And you know how she demonstrated this? By faking an orgasm, people. She started off deep breathing with oohhs and ahhhs and ended with the shallow breaths of yes! yes! I wish I could have recorded the various reactions of people in the class. There was a really innocent looking girl in the front row whose support person was her Mom and I wish I caught their reaction because I’m sure it was priceless. The class is at 8:00 pm on Thursdays. Sometimes I’m tired after work and don’t feel like leaving my house, but I know she’s going to be entertaining and funny so it’s easy to find the motivation to go. Thursdays are quickly becoming my favourite week night.

Friday night I was planning to go to one of my husband’s shows. I haven’t seen them play live in a long time and I thought it would be a fun night out. The venue was a fundraiser for the Sunday Art Market in our city and also a celebration of the arrival of Spring. It was going to be a very hippie event so I knew I’d like it. I’ve been to a show they did at the Art Market once before, and I loved the vibe of that place. Unfortunately, I found out they were scheduled to start at 11:30 pm and I knew it would be too late for me since I’m usually in bed by then. Instead, Andino took me out for supper before the show. We make date nights a priority because it makes me so happy to get dressed up and spend time together (and of course to eat good food I didn’t have to cook!) After supper, we got Andino’s nephew to take a few photos of us since we haven’t taken any together since I’ve been pregnant:

A Family Photo: (I couldn’t fix Lola’s eyes)
Love this one! photo picmonkey2_zps4a70689e.jpg

The classic pregnancy pose:
 photo 7d5420aa-5d0a-4aa6-848e-5e40c0d5f0a9_zps07477724.jpg

I like this one:
 photo 9ac4863e-86ad-412a-a978-091cc4a278c8_zpsad627dd3.jpg

On Saturday morning we went to the indoor farmer’s market which was really nice. I grew up going to the farmer’s market back home quite regularly with my Dad because he had a table there. Although the market here is a lot smaller in comparison, the vibe is the same and we picked up some delicious treats. We bought organic raspberry jam, a raspberry danish (SO GOOD!) butter tarts and cookies. (Do you think we have a sweet tooth?) We never buy store-bought treats because the preservatives in them upset our stomachs but since this was all homemade we bought lots!

Later that night, Andino’s band was playing at a fundraiser for Engineers Without Borders and I was able to go watch. We caught the end of a lecture on designing wells for developing countries which I thought was interesting. There were photographs of people and places in the developing world for sale that some of the Engineers had taken over their travels. Andino offered to buy me one for my office but since I only have 6 weeks left (30 working days!) I didn’t pick one out. The show was great and the crowd was dancing the whole time. I didn’t dance but I still had fun on the sidelines. Don’t you love people-watching? I looked at some of the Engineering students and thought about how much I’ve changed in the past 4 years since I’ve graduated University. How much I’ve grown and how I wouldn’t go back to being 23 again if given the chance. It was a good night.

So we had a busy weekend but it was nice. Andino and I spent a lot of quality time together and we got out of the house and did things which were different from our regular routine. I know once baby arrives our weekends will probably never be the same and I am looking forward to making new memories as a family of 3 (plus our dogs!)

What are your favourite things to do on the weekend?

Too tired to clean the bathroom

It happened. I “popped” as they say. I officially look pregnant without a doubt. Even a month ago, some people didn’t realize I was pregnant just by looking at me. (Usually I was wearing a loose shirt or an open jacket) but now there is no mistaking it. Just look at the change in my bump shots over the last 3 weeks!

20140315_182249

29 weeks 5 days

How I managed to avoid stretch marks so far is beyond me. When I look at the stretching my belly has done over the last month, I’m amazed I don’t have at least a few. I’m slathering on the coconut oil and cocoa butter, but I think my best defense is the 3-4 litres of water I drink every day. You know, hydrating from the inside out. Mom didn’t get stretch marks and I know they say they are hereditary, but I didn’t inherit Mom’s skin, I’ve got 100% celtic skin and Mom has a European, olive complexion. According to my app, baby is estimated to be only 2.75 pounds right now, so I know she still has a lot more growing to do. How much bigger am I going to get over the next +/- 10 weeks?! So I still may get them… 

Thankfully I am still sleeping well. I can’t imagine how cranky I’d be if I weren’t, because I am tired all the time now. I don’t have much patience when I’m tired but Andino knows that so he doesn’t push my buttons. (smart man!) Until now I’ve maintained my regular workout schedule and household chores that I did before I got pregnant, but I told Andino on the weekend that I might have to start scaling it back a notch. I felt kind of guilty saying so because he is a much busier person than I am but he totally understood. He asked me which chores I’d like him to take on and I told him it would be nice if he could be in charge of cleaning the bathroom. I find it hard to bend over the toilet and tub and stretch to clean the walls inside the shower. This weekend I realized the work of growing a baby is finally starting to catch up with me.

As tired as I’ve been lately, I’ve been worried about the possibility of having gestational diabetes and how that would impact my life during the next two months. I was looking forward to seeing my midwife this Thursday to discuss the results of my second glucose test, but she called on Friday afternoon. She said the same thing she said when she called to tell me I failed the glucose screening test: “Do you have time to talk right now?” I wasn’t expecting to hear from her because I assumed that like a Doctor, she’d only call if something was up and I didn’t expect to fail the glucose tolerance test. “I’m just calling to let you know that everything was fine with the second glucose test” Yay! I was so relieved. I appreciated that she called to let me know, so I wouldn’t have to wonder until my next appointment.

In other news, I have been having fun learning how to use my new camera. I’ve been looking for photography tips on Pinterest and I’ve started taking a few shots. I am so excited to learn more and hopefully take some great shots this summer.