Only sixteen weeks to go

February 22, 2008

Keep in mind that the title I’m using is written tongue in cheek big time.  Sixteen weeks seems like a very very long time.  Pregnancy always feels like it stretches out absolutely forever, and yet after my babies have been born, I feel as though I can hardly remember what it was like.

I did not have the best week.  Or at least, Saturday of last week through Wednesday were pretty bad.  I’ll admit something that maybe a lot of women refuse to: I get depressed during pregnancy.  So many people are very concerned about post-partum depression, but research has shown that about the same number of women get depressed during pregnancy as do after pregnancy.  I think I am saved from post-partum depression because I am so thrilled with new babies.  But the waiting during pregnancy and what I feel are my inadequacies in keeping house or taking care of myself or my kids seem to come out and make me feel awful about myself.  Not only that, but there always seems to be something going wrong at some point.  This time, it’s major feelings of isolation.  I don’t hear much from my own family and my in-laws seem to all be too busy to do much with me or even just talk to me, so it was easy to start feeling lonely.  It’s hard for me to know what to do when I feel so bad – I never feel that it’s worth it to go on medication, because usually, my bad days only amount to seven or eight every other month.  The question now is whether it’s worth it to look into counselling or if I can really just blame most of this on hormones.  Hard to say, I guess.  I’m doing better today, and yesterday was a pretty good day (aside from my children being insane…but more on that later).  I’m hoping to stay busy enough this weekend to ignore any feelings of exclusion that I might start feeling.

As for what made my day yesterday not so great – my kids decided that it was a good idea to be a pain all day long.  The last straw came when I took them to Wal Mart with me to grab a few things.  I had no major plans, just diapers, bread, juice and a few other small things.  I was planning to wait to go shopping after Mike got home, but he was going to be late, so I figured it was a good idea to just go.  Oh,  how wrong I was.  I knew as soon as we were halfway done that my children were going to need to spend some quality time with Daddy in the evening and let Mommy escape for a bit.  We were already planning to eat leftovers for supper, so at least I didn’t have to make anything.  Mike was getting stuff heated up for himself and the kids and suggested that I could pick something up when I went out.  This appealed to me, but it wasn’t just going to be any old quick eating.  I went somewhere decent, used a coupon to get a free appetizer, order a meal, ate the whole appetizer and the whole veggie burger that I ordered and sat and read a book while eating it.  It was so relaxing.  The funny thing was the book I was reading.  I stopped by the Christian bookstore on my way home after Bible study in the morning to buy John Piper’s When the Darkness Will Not Lift, and while I was there, found a discount bin.  I almost didn’t buy a second book, but then the title jumped out at me: Taking Care of the Me in Mommy.  It’s written by Lisa Whelchel (she was Blair in The Fact’s of Life…which was before my time, but still..) and she gives all sorts of ideas for moms to take time out for their spirit, body and soul.  I think if anyone had noticed the title of the book as I sat in White Spot eating alone, they would have chuckled….and understood why I was there by myself.  When I got home, I felt a whole lot better (and Mike had a friend over while I was gone, so he didn’t mind being me leaving at all).  I am now determined to do things like that more often.  It may not always be going out to eat by myself, but maybe using my alone time away from home to do things other than shop for groceries (which is just way easier without kids). 

I’ve been baking all morning for my brother-in-law’s birthday supper and now I’m done and have two hours ahead of me to use as I like.  I think laying down on the couch with the leftover fries that I simply could not fit last night and watching a movie would be a nice thing to do.  And anyway, I have a George Eliot BBC movie from the library that I haven’t seen before.  Hooray!

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What week was this again?

February 17, 2008

I’m too tired to say much, except that this has been a long, interesting week and that my belly seems to have slowed down its growth.  I’m also getting a lot more heartburn and the baby is starting to move in ways I haven’t felt until this week – I can feel rolling and rotating now rather than just kicks and punches.  Mike started his new job a week early, which is definitely a blessing, but it also made for an exhausting week being by myself with the kids again and having a bit of running around to do also.  Mike has the use of a company vehicle and has a cell phone now as well, which made it easier for me to run around – I was able to use the van all week and was able to get a hold of Mike any time I needed to.  I’m still completely worn out at the end of this week, though.  I get the feeling that there’s nothing impressive about my writing at the moment, and it doesn’t even really bother me.  Maybe by the next time I write, I’ll have gotten some rest.

Oh, yeah, it’s the end of week twenty-three now.  The end still feels ages away, but time keeps marching on nonetheless.

Things to read

February 11, 2008

I realized today that there are a few books that I think every parent should read (or in some cases, every mother).  I figured I’d make a list, although right now I only have three books to recommend.

 To read while pregnant with your first child (preferably): 

First-Time Mom by Dr. Kevin Leman

Kevin Leman is the birth order guy.  If you’re not familiar with The Birth Order Book, it’s also a good one – it does a lot to explain personality traits that are common in firstborn, middle and lastborn children.  It also talks about the challenges you might face if you are, for instance, a firstborn married to a firstborn.  The First-Time Mom book touches on some of this as well, but relating to the relationship between mother and child.  If you are a firstborn or only child, you may have specific challenges to deal with when you have your first child.  I read the book when I was pregnant with Jenny and found it very helpful in giving me a heads up about the emotional side of parenting where the typical pregnancy books primarily dealt with the physical and mental side of parenting.  I’m sure that this book can be read after having your first child or even after having a few kids, but the way that it is written suggests that you will get the most out of it if you read it before you’ve even given birth to baby number one.  If you read it at another time in life, it may still give you insights into your relationship with your firstborn.

A book to read anytime:

Child Rearing for Fun by Anne Atkins

This British author does a fantastic job of showing you how to “Trust your instincts and enjoy your children.”  One of the main points aside from all the humour was to remember that you know your kids better than anyone else does – better than doctors and teachers and “experts”.  The world we live in today often suggests that it would be better if we left the child raising to “professionals” in the field: qualified daycare teachers who have studied early childhood development, preschool teachers who will make sure your children are ready for kindergarten, public or private school teachers who will make sure your children get a balanced education and maintain a high self-esteem.  Doctors and counselors who will tell you which medications will help fix your child’s mental or physical problem, even magazine articles that suggest what kind of discipline is still okay to use.  Anne Atkins has raised five kids – one who was diagnosed with Asberger’s syndrome and at one point attempted suicide, another who was diagnosed with severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and more of her children who were severely depressed.  She has also been through five miscarriages.  In the end, she is able to say that what she was able to do for her kids in just loving them and enjoying them was more effective in helping them to be “normal” than anything any expert could have told her.  I got this book just after I had Jenny – at the time, the nursery at church was giving each new mom a free book and this one jumped out at me.  I’m very glad to have it – it’s very humourous and puts society in its place regarding who will be the best parent for your kids.  Most of all, I think it serves to remind the reader that kids are fun, even when they’re not as normal as other kids appear to be.  Even through mental illness, she sees humour and fun in her kids – as should we.

This one’s a gem and good for a laugh any time:

Babies and other Hazards of Sex by Dave Barry

“How to make a tiny person in only 9 months, with tools you probably have around the home.”  If you’re not familiar with Dave Barry, he is a humorist author, and this book was his second work of non-fiction, written in 1984.  It feels a bit dated at times, but it is still hilarious.  The book is full of cartoons depicting the look of a pregnant woman, what babies looks like when they are born, what the various baby necessities will look like, etc.  A little taste of what’s inside: on page 13, in the chapter entitled Pregnancy, there is a section of answers to common questions about pregnancy.  Question 1: “What will happen to my body during pregnancy besides that I will become huge and tired and throw up a lot and be constipated and develop hemorrhoids and have to urinate all the time and have leg cramps and varicose veins?” Answer: “Many women also have lower back pain.”  Dave Barry has taken pregnancy and childrearing and extracted all the funny and uncomfortable parts and made them ridiculous.  Satire abounds in this one, and it’s a good read if you’re expecting a baby, thinking about having a baby, in the process of giving birth (okay, I’ll be realistic – maybe not then) or already have kids.  The book can still be found on Amazon, both in a release from 2000 and in the original 1984 edition.  It’s also part of Dave Barry’s Guide to Life from 1991, along with three other non-fiction pieces.  It does have a few slightly less than tasteful things in it, so if you’re sensitive when it comes to jokes about sex or bodily functions, you may want to avoid it.

If I come up with any others, I’ll throw them in here somewhere.  For now, those are the ones that jumped off the shelf at me. 

Now I think I may have to go puke again.  Or at least find a way to not puke.  I’m a little concerned that I may have the flu, since I haven’t been sick to my stomach because of pregnancy for awhile.  All I know is that my stomach is in turmoil this morning and it also happens to be the day Mike has started his new job and is no longer home to watch the kids while I sleep or puke.  I have to do some problem solving, anyway. 

Definitely not in that order.  In fact, the fish, fries and broccoli haven’t been consumed yet.  I can smell them cooking and I’m hoping they taste as good as they smell and also that my children will eat at least some portion of the meal.  They are terribly picky eaters, regardless of my efforts to offer all sorts of different foods since they were six months old. 

 As for the snow, we got 17 cm on Tuesday (that’s almost 7 inches, by the way).  It snowed and snowed and snowed and we were without our van for the whole afternoon.  We had scheduled a coolant flush for noon and then we were planning to deliver catalogues in the afternoon.  The day started out “warm” although the snow was still cold (har har), but the wrench in the plan was when we found out that the shop we were taking the van to could only guarantee that it would be done by five.  I had Mike drop me off at the medical clinic for the other plan of the day – taking Elias in to have a weird spot of skin on his back looked at.  I had the weather shield for the stroller, decent gloves and the hood attached to my jacket, so the plan was to take the bus home from the clinic, while Mike would get a ride from someone.  I waited for what felt like forever with two very defiant children (yeah, they were mine) before seeing the doctor, who told me he would have to take a culture and I’d have to come back in ten days.  So, appointment made, I called the transit system to find out when the bus would come.  They told me it would be at the stop near to the clinic in twenty minutes, but that they were behind schedule because of the weather.  The thought of riding the bus quickly became awful, as it was approaching nap time and a walk in the snow to the bus stop didn’t sound like much fun.  So, I called my mother-in-law to see if she was home (she wasn’t) since she has car seats built into her van.  When I couldn’t reach her, I called a friend of mine whose two youngest children are the same age as mine.  She had picked me up from my house once and we found that the kids fit perfectly into her kids’ car seats.  Her husband doesn’t work when the weather is too cold, so he was home to take care of the kids and she came to pick me up from the clinic.  One thing I didn’t mention was that my crazy husband decided to walk home from the radiator shop (which is about four miles and some of which is uphill….did I mention it was snowing and -20?).  He had been home for about an hour when I got home and we were able to put the kids down for a nap right away.  I spent the rest of the afternoon stewing and hearing the chorus of “Bad Day” by Daniel Powter running through my head.  Pregnancy hormones certainly couldn’t have been helping that one bit. 

Back to the fish, fries and broccoli: they were very good.  Neither of the kids liked the broccoli (I should have known), they both loved the fries, but only Jenny liked the fish.  So, basically, Elias ate fries for supper, along with the minuscule pieces of fish and broccoli that probaby made their way down his throat.  Mike and I were decidedly less picky and ate everything that was on our plates.  Good thing.

The busy part?  Well, obviously, Tuesday was a busy day, but preceding that, we had a whirlwind Sunday and Monday – church Sunday morning, Bible study in the afternoon (well, it’s sort of Bible study, anyway), communion service in the evening where we both shared about our weekend at Breakforth.  Monday wasn’t so bad, although I did have to make a snack for English Corner, and then we had that in the evening.  Ahead to Wednesday, we had another meeting in the evening and then I had Bible study this morning.  Maybe next week I’ll have time to breathe again.  I might even get lucky and be able to relax tomorrow.  At least my birthday/Valentine’s day shopping is done.  Mike’s birthday is on Sunday and of course, Valentine’s Day is next week, so I can sort of give him one gift to cover both things.  Maybe I’ll make him some cookies or something as an extra treat.  It’s a good thing that we have a few weeks before any other family birthdays and before our anniversary. 

That’s about it.  As for pregnancy, I am in my twenty-second week and while my stomach has seemed to stall in its growth, my weight has started going up at last.  It took me until the week before last to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight and then I started to gain.  I had lost eight pounds or something, and as is typical of me, I didn’t really gain any of that back until I was past the puking.  Now I’m up to eight pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight and I can just hear my doctor making her traditional exclamation, “Oh, my goodness, did you just gain ten pounds in a month?!”  Okay, so she only did that once when I was pregnant with Elias, but I’ll never forget it.  I just read that thirty-nine pounds is the high end of healthy weight gain in people of normal weight, and since I consider myself somewhere slightly above normal weight but somewhere slightly below overweight, I kind of think of thirty-five pounds as the high end for me.  So far, I haven’t gained more than thirty-three in a pregnancy.  I have high hopes that I can hold onto that record.  I’m not so sure my luck would hold out in losing the weight if I gained much more than that.

I certainly have plenty of people to sympathize with me – mostly at church but one or two outside as well – one other hockey wife, my sister-in-law and seven other pregnant women at church, all due by August.  There is never a shortage of babies up here (maybe it’s all this snow and temperatures below -20 that keep everyone baby-making all the time).

Well, that’s really it now – I’m craving something sweet, so either I need to find something to do to avoid fulfilling that craving or I need to get baking. 

It feels like ages since I last wrote, but I guess it’s only been about a week.  Our weekend was terrific in a few different ways and traveling to Edmonton this pregnant was very comfortable compared to traveling when six or seven months pregnant.  The huge amount of walking was what did me in – our hotel was as far away as you can get from the main conference site.  It was about a fifteen minute walk to get to registration, main assemblies and some electives, although my electives were all in other places.  Three of my electives were in the same area as my hotel, but I still ended up coming from ten minutes away or so.  By Sunday, my shins, thighs and feet were killing me.  Two long hot baths (in a deep jetted tub..mmmm) and three nights in a nice firm hotel bed didn’t seem to help much, although I’m sure that staying somewhere cheaper wouldn’t have helped at all. 

We did a bit of shopping, enough to grab a few new things for Jenny and a few new things for me and a few things at Ikea for all of us.  It would be easy to go nuts in Edmonton because there is so much more available than what we have here.  I chose to stick to the food options instead – I had Phad Thai twice, a falafel wrap and Mongolian food.  I cannot say how thankful I was to be past the worst of the nausea.  It was great to eat what I felt like eating and not feel like puking. 

The conference itself was great and we managed the kids without any trouble at all.  I only missed one elective and two assemblies and never had to have the kids on my own.  It was a lovely little break, really.  With the upgraded room (a suite), we were able to have our own space and when Mike just had to watch hockey, I took Jenny into the bedroom where we curled up and watched the Food network or TLC.  Since we don’t have TV at home, hotel stays are always a treat, especially if I can get in some Iron Chef.

The other great part of the weekend was finding out on Friday that Mike would have a job starting after Valentine’s Day.  At first it seemed a long way off and that we would have to keep looking for some temporary work, but on Saturday, I checked our messages at home and found that someone had called about buying our car.  We got home on Monday and our car was sold by about two o’clock on Tuesday.  We had it listed for $1,500 hoping we could get $1,200 and that’s exactly what the guy offered.  He didn’t even test drive it before he wrote us the check.  The outcome is that if Mike doesn’t get a temporary job, we have enough from selling the car to get us through the month until he gets paid at his new job. 

As for pregnancy, the baby seems to be moving a lot more lately and Mike has felt it a few times now.  It’s nothing big enough to keep me up at night, but I get the feeling that it won’t be long.  It’s nice to feel movement so often because sometimes it’s easy to forget that I’m even pregnant.  My hands are full enough with my kids that it seems like I can go a whole day without thinking about my pregnancy.

Well, that’s about all I can come up with for an update right now.  I’ve now gotten up from the computer four or five times to fetch food, wipe noses and faces, change a diaper, etc. and my mind is starting to stray.  When I start re-reading the last sentence I wrote over and over again, I take it as a sign to stop.  Maybe next week I can find some time to work when the kids are sleeping and there aren’t any movies playing in the background.