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:

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

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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.

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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!

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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!

 

In Honour of 4 Years Together

I have been thinking a lot about my marriage lately. We are coming up on 4 years of marriage (over 5 years together) and they were certainly action packed years. It wasn’t easy in the beginning. I moved across the country as soon as I graduated University to start a life with Andino. It was exciting because I love adventure and new beginnings, but it was also really hard because I never envisioned living so far away from my family. It took me a long time to adjust to my new life and to settle in. Now I can say with certainty that I have adjusted and that I feel really happy about where I am, but it took me about 2 years to be able to say that. Then we faced the challenge of infertility. There was no way we could have prepared ourselves for it but I am so proud of how we handled it. I feel so blessed every day that I have a man who supported me and my dreams to grow my family every step of the way. He was willing to go to the ends of the earth to make my dream of becoming a Mama – A Gypsy Mama – come true.

Everyone who has been through it, knows that infertility can be hard on your marriage. Andino and I were just talking the other night about how hard things were in the year and a half after we officially got the infertility diagnosis. How he would call me in the afternoon and worry as he was dialing about what kind of mood he’d find me in when I answered the phone. If I was depressed or stressed it would throw his mood off for the rest of the day too. I was constantly researching adoption programs and then getting frustrated when they would close or we weren’t eligible. Andino was making budgets for the next 15+ years to try and figure out how we could afford to adopt. It was hard times. There were lots of good times mixed in there for sure, but there was always an underlying river of stress.

I often wonder what kind of person I would be if I hadn’t been through the challenges of the past few years. If we had conceived when we first started trying 4 years ago. I know that some people don’t like to talk about infertility as a blessing in disguise, but in a way it was for me. There is no doubt in my mind that all the struggles we’ve been through over the past few years have only made us stronger. They’ve made me wiser and our marriage stronger. I feel so ready to become a parent with Andino and I’m glad I didn’t miss out on the lessons I’ve learned through the challenges we’ve faced. I know there will be many more challenges to come, but I feel confident we can take them on because of our history.

I look at Andino and see a man who not only said he would support me in my darkest days, but actually did. He shared in my pain of failed cycles, held me when I was sobbing uncontrollably, injected me with hormones, put up with countless hormone-induced mood swings, never hesitated when I presented an adoption program to him that meant spending $40,000+ and me being away for 9 months… and before all that he helped me write my application for a youth internship abroad, that meant I was away from him for 6 months in the first year of our marriage. He drove me to the airport a few weeks later and spoke to me on the phone every day while I was away and never ONCE made me feel guilty for following my dream. It’s an incredible feeling to know that my husband has my back no matter what.

We both place a high importance on travel and are constantly planning our next adventure. We travel together as often as we travel independently. I go home to the Maritimes once a year alone and once a year with Andino. I also spent a lot of time in Mexico alone while there for treatment. Andino travels with his band for festivals sometimes and he just got back from a month in Chile. I always thought that my idea of a perfect marriage would be one that allowed us both to maintain our independence. To have our own dreams as much as shared dreams. Having that with Andino makes me feel incredibly lucky. Even though it’s what I always wanted in my marriage, it’s hard for me sometimes because I have a strong jealous streak when it comes to my husband. I know that I owe it to Andino to support him 100% and not create unnecessary drama and its something I am committed to working on in myself. That’s my New Marriage Year Resolution.

Baby girl is due in 15 weeks and then we will enter a new chapter in our lives. I am so excited to see what kind of adventures and experiences parenthood will bring. More than anything I am so happy to be sharing them with Andino.

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