Motherhood is so Glamourous

The glamour of motherhood dawned on me in the wee hours of the morning during my first or second week as a mom. I woke up with my front soaking wet. Night sweats again? Maybe? Doesn’t feel quite right… Then I figured it out. Milk. Leaking. Everywhere. MILK!

That was topped a few days ago. I was all dressed to go out. I pick up baby from his nap and he proceeds to vomit all over me. Fine, I didn’t really want to wear that outfit anyway. I put him down for a last minute diaper change and he poops on his change mat. I clean it up, only for him to produce a baseball size ball of poop before my very eyes. I swear that if that change mat hadn’t been a handmade gift from my mother, it would have ended up in the Diaper Genie along with the 15 wipes it took to clean it up. Oh and did I mention that I was out of disposable wipes? Luckily this happened the day after I had cut up old clothes to make cleaning rags.

The Two Month Check-In

The first two weeks are pretty rough. The advice I wish I had received sooner was “the two first weeks should be bedrest“. Me, I was desperate to morph into a domestic goddess now that I didn’t have a giant belly in the way or spend all my waking hours at my job. Exhausted from blood loss and being up all night, monopolized by a tiny, voracious beast who wants to eat 24/7 and in pain from my poor, poor boobs, I was probably as far as you could get from any kind of goddess. And newborns are angry, ungrateful things. I swear my little guy had two modes: unhappy and less unhappy.

After that, it got better. Little one figured out sleeping and eating (glorious!). Then he started making eye contact. Then smiling. Then making cute noises. Then laughing. And now, while I’m still totally not a domestic goddess, I’m having the time of my life.

My reflections and the bits of wisdom I picked up along the way:

1- Bonding can be a gradual thing: A lot of moms, myself included, are shocked when they aren’t overwhelmed with love when their newborn appears on their chest. I had written it off as my baby wasn’t fully alive for his first few hours, but it seems that even moms with healthy babies go through this. I may even dare say that I suspect the majority of new moms aren’t feeling it right away, despite their bragging. I think my feelings the first few days were more along the lines of shell-shocked. It’s so weird. One minute you don’t have a baby, then someone hands you one and you’re responsible for it forever. Mind-boggling. Anyway, I started using terms of endearment and saying gentle things right off the bat. Over time, I meant them more and more. And once baby started smiling and laughing in return, it was a done deal.

2- Breastfeeding: When women describe it as a journey, they aren’t kidding. I swear that the first few weeks, whenever someone asked me how I was doing, all I could answer was “my boobs hurt“. Labour was painful, but at least it was only a few hours. Breastfeeding pain lasts weeks. It takes over your mind and body and makes it hard to do anything. It became obvious to me why a lot of moms find breastfeeding takes a toll on their mental health. Then one day, around 5 and a half weeks in, the pain just stopped. Breastfeeding’s been great ever since.

3- Cloth diapers: My mom used cloth diapers on all her kids. How she managed to figure it out before the internet, I have no idea. But anyway, I wanted to carry on the tradition, hopefully saving money and landfill space. Several weeks in, I don’t think I’m saving a whole lot of money (today’s fancy pocket diapers are way more of a luxury item than my mom’s re-purposed flannel sheets), but I do admit that I really enjoy the micromanagement that comes with cloth diapers. Insert strategies, washing schedules, cover rotations… Makes me feel alive! Ed refuses to use cloth and I do try to avoid having reusables on when I feel that little guy is going to be messy so I probably do cloth like 75% of the time. It would tough to maintain if I had to go back to work, though. It’s not hugely time consuming but it is a commitment.

4-There’s way too much overthinking: How do I get baby to sleep in his bed? How do I drop the swaddle? How do I manage naps while going out? How do I get into a routine? At less than 2 months old! I understand not everyone has the luxury of parental leave and need results right away. I also may have an exceptionally chill baby, but I got him to sleep in his bed by putting him in his bed. I dropped the swaddle by not swaddling him. (He seemed to hate it after the first 2-3 weeks anyway – when we ditched it was when he started sleeping better.) Going out is how I get him to nap (I suspect he’ll be a roller coaster aficionado when he grows up – he lives his best life when the rest of us are motion sick). We don’t have a routine down yet, but one is emerging organically. I feel like all the (conflicting) how-to guides out there are treated more like recipes than the troubleshooting suggestions they are supposed to be.

5- Cats: Everyone IRL wants to know about our three firstborn. Our older two don’t care. One isn’t a fan of the crying. He has a similar relationship with baby as he does with the vacuum cleaner and coffee grinder. The other is a sweetie who actually tried to groom our little one. (Baby wasn’t impressed, cat tongues are a tad exfoliating. Probably kinda unhygienic too.) Our young cat, though, is jealous AF. Whenever I’m feeding, he tries to walk on me, jumps on forbidden counters, knocks stuff on the floor, claws the furniture… Oh and I gave up on keeping the cats out of empty baby beds. Look up “futility” in the dictionary and you’ll see a picture of someone chasing cats away from baby stuff. Soft blankets make reasonable baby sleep space protectors. Obviously the cats (and the blankets) are removed when the beds are in use by their rightful owner.

Fran├žois, trying so hard to be a caring big brother.

6- I don’t know how anyone can do this by themselves: I’ve never had more respect and admiration for single parents than the first time I sleepily handed baby over to my husband and said “please take your child”. The key our sanity (and our hygiene…) has definitely been taking shifts with the little one. It’s hard enough to make food and scrub pink stuff off the bathtub while keeping the little human from shrieking when you have two sets of hands. It blows my mind how some people do it with one. (And some people are single parents to twins! Like how does that even work?!?)

The Final Word

It’s like a rite of passage: Have a baby and suddenly share milk, vomiting and poop tales. The moment where I fully realized the glamour of motherhood, though, was when I put baby down on the bed to grab something in the room. A half hour later, it occured to me that I was still standing over him. The world around me had faded away and I’d been making squeaks, fart noises and silly faces to my giggling spectator the entire time.

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Starting April 1, Baby Box Co. Boxes Won’t Be Distributed in Canada Anymore

I’m quite heartbroken about this. I was planning to write a Baby Box post to let everyone know how how awesome the box is, but instead I’m writing a “get it while you can!” post.

I ironically don’t have a picture that doesn’t violate almost every safe sleep rule outlined in the course you take to get the box… Rest assured the blanket and bear are photo props only!

The concept is this: you watch videos on safe sleep on the Baby Box Co. website and when you pass the test at the end, you can order or pick up a box (if you live near a pick up spot) that works as a lightweight, portable bassinet. It also comes with some nice freebies and samples that vary based on supply and region. (An unboxing video I watched even had a box that came with a membership to the local public library, which I thought was brilliant.)

I suppose switching from the box to a sleep sack makes sense since I don’t think many people actually use the box for its intended purpose. Shipping a large piece of cardboard can’t be very economical either. I absolutely used my box, though, and loved it. My little guy was getting kinda cramped in it for overnight use by 4 weeks (the company says babies should fit until 5-6 months old in developed countries, which I find hard to believe – at 6 weeks he only has an inch leeway), but I still keep it in the living room as a nap space next to my computer desk.

It looks like US parents can still get the box (plus other rewards for the completing the various courses on the site) – so US parents who share articles about the Finish box and lament their lack of boxes can go to the Baby Box Co website and rejoice, but Canadians only have two days left to get theirs.

For readers who enjoy unboxings, here’s a look at what was in my box:

Everything together. The box is easy to assemble upon reception. (For some reason, I was expecting them to ship it pre-assembled, but it makes sense this way as it would be easily damaged in transport).

The box came with a onesie. It’s plain and white, but the quality is great and the fit is perfect.

I hadn’t opened this sample from Lansinoh, so it wasn’t until I was going through my pictures that I noticed that it contains breastmilk bags. I was considering buying some now that my pumped supply has outgrown the demand, so this was a fortunate discovery.

This hat and diaper cover are super cute! I don’t know when I would use them, but they are adorable!

Can never have too many muslin blankets!

Every sample bag comes with some kind of baby shampoo and soap. Not complaining, though, I love the travel sizes.

The bag everything came in. Not sure what I’ll use it for yet, but it is a nice bag.

And the final product put together! It also comes with a properly fitted mattress, mattress protective cover and mattress sheet (not shown). The only complaint I might have is that there’s no way to obtain more than one sheet, so you have to go sheetless during laundry time.

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A Baby’s Story, Or, How Almost Nothing Ever Goes to Plan

Content Warning: Close call for baby but everything turns out ok in the end. Also possibly too much information (TMI) and slightly graphic… the easily grossed out may not enjoy.

It felt like it would never happen, but finally, on Feb 10, baby boy Garrett joined our family. He was a big one at 8lbs15oz and 52 cm long (exactly the same length I was as a baby, interestingly, and a few ounces lighter).

We are all doing well and adjusting to having our new, always hungry, family member.

“Oh, I’ll never share pictures of my child on the internet.”
– Me, prior to becoming a proud mom.

In my last weeks of pregnancy, I really enjoyed reading birth stories and looked forward to sharing my own. It ended up being unexpectedly eventful, especially since my pregnancy was so uneventful, but fortunately everything worked out and we have a healthy mom and baby.
Continue reading

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The Final Stretch

Here we are.

My due date has come and gone. Baby is wiggling and stretching, looking for the exit (I hope) but ultimately failing at finding the way out. (No worries, baby is still young, lots of time to work on resourcefulness and path-finding after birth). My induction is scheduled for next week, so it’s just sit back and wait until then.

The bump at 34 weeks (at Christmas) vs my due date at 40 weeks. Probably not too hard to tell which is which. And apologies if my ugly mug breaks your computer monitor. Some of us just aren’t cut out to be Instagram models.

It’s not too far from what I expected: I’m told first time moms and older moms typically go overdue, and I am both. As cool as it would have been for baby to be born on its due date, in a goofy “we do things properly and on time around here” sort of way, I don’t mind too much. I browse Babybumps on Reddit a lot (but no posting – I am firm in putting my days as an internet forum junkie behind me) where I read all the expecting mom rants and realize that I have it pretty good. My back and hips only hurt if I spend too much time on the computers or laying in bed (I even shoveled and brushed snow off my car in -30C weather on my due date), I have an awesome massage therapist (who I just saw, and I walked both there and back), I don’t have to go to work for another 11 months, I’m not sick, my blood pressure and glucose levels are fantastic, I don’t have body image issues (mother nature wrecked my body long before pregnancy and the “pharmacist diet” of being on my feet 14+ hours a day with no time to eat kept me fitish), my husband is a keeper, my family is respectful, my sleeping is no worse than it was before being pregnant, baby is active but not disruptive.

Drowsiness and lack of motivation are problems (apologies to those who commented on my last post in October and that I didn’t even see until today because I couldn’t bring myself to log into WordPress!), but pretty minor, really. As long as the cats are fed and the humans have clean clothes every day, no one cares that I spend 10 hours a day semi-passed out on the couch. I can’t even tell whether my lethargy is due to pregnancy or to recovering from the stress of work. (It was fortunate that I became pregnant when I did because the inhumane working conditions and increasing pressure from management were getting to me more and more. If not for maternity leave, I would have needed to either quit or take medical leave.)

I was told there would be nesting! There is no nesting. It took me days to pack my hospital bag. In fact, I didn’t really pack my hospital bag. I just moved a suitcase to a shelf (that the cats can’t reach but I can) and put stuff I might need on top of it. 4 days to do that. 4.

I did put together one of those portable convertible bassinet/playpen thingies:

Added bonus: you can admire how crammed our small house it. The changetable is used for storage.

I get asked a lot if “the nursery” is ready. We have a 900 sq foot house that is mostly kitchen and living room. The door of the master bedroom doesn’t even open all the way because the furniture doesn’t fit and the guest room gets too cold at night for a baby. WTF is a nursery? Can’t be too bad though, right? People the world over raise families in one bedroom apartments smaller than our house and they survive.

I ordered a baby box from the Baby Box Co. but it hasn’t come yet. (At the time I did the training videos, I could have picked up a box for free from our local Pregnancy Center, but I waited too long, they stopped carrying them so I had to order one directly from the company.) We have the bassinet/playpen in the meanwhile, we have room in our own dresser for baby’s stuff, diaper changing can be done on the bed or on the floor (my mom said that despite three babies, she never used her change table). Anything else we need we can improvise, I’m sure. On the bright side, having such a tiny living space is forcing us to be frugal and consider all our purchases carefully.

Kitten thinks the bed is for him.

Now back to the couch for more staring at the ceiling.

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Past the Halfway Point

23 weeks today! (On paper it goes up to 40. I didn’t know that before getting pregnant so I figure I should add details for those who prefer a deeper context.)

I was told wonderful things about the second trimester. About nausea going away and energy bursts and glowey skin and luscious hair and other bullshit like that.

Gotta laugh. Just gotta laugh.

In all fairness, my nausea eventually got a lot better. No energy bust, but I think I’m back to normal. Only that didn’t happen until well, well, well into the second trimester. I mean, it happened like 2 weeks ago. (For deeper context: second trimester starts around week 13 or 14.) I got through a day at work without crying or being furious (at my worst, I cried on my way to work, spent all day seething about inhumane work expectations, cried on my way home and sometimes would take bathroom breaks to sob) and realized I was back. I suppose my fatigue and nausea hit late in the first trimester (for awhile there I had my hopes up at having a unicorn pregnancy!) so it only makes sense that it carried on so late.

I am losing hair by the handful (my poor shower drain – we’ve tried two different types of hair catchers and I’m still clogging it every week) and my face is all road rashy so no glow or lovely mane for me. If I’m lucky I won’t look like something out of a zombie movie by the time I give birth. Honestly, though, the fatigue was the only thing that really got to me. I describe my work environment to be like an understaffed fast food joint at rush hour where the slightest mistake in someone’s order could result in a death. I could NOT afford to be fatigued.

Things to do while pregnant #1: Home Renos

Right. Now that I’m back, we’re jumping into the wonderful world of home renovations.

Our cats are having more and more trouble understanding that carpets are not litter boxes. We suspect previous cats have left… odours… which are bugging our cats. My pregnancy is not helping this. We run the carpet cleaner constantly and we keep the bedroom doors closed but there’s only so much you can do to keep up with it. And I don’t want the baby crawling on a pee infested carpet. So goodbye carpets, hello fake wood vinyl!

The other day I was reading a Reddit post from this lady who was coming to terms with her friend’s “perfect life” on Facebook (which is a problem I can’t wrap my head around – after reading people’s whining for 20 years and now seeing their stupid memes, clickbait political propaganda and made-up pseudoscience junk, I am freaking OVERJOYED when people post good things about their lives). Apparently the friend remodeled her kitchen 3 times in 2 years. I cannot, for the life of me, see how I would be jealous of this person. In fact, I feel bad for her. Home renovations are those terrible, necessary evils, like ripping off bandaids or firing a sweet employee who just can’t keep up with the work. I can’t imagine having to do this out of compulsion instead of out of need.

Since a picture is worth 1000 words, here’s 2000 words worth:

Since we needed to treat the wood under the carpet (our house is like 60 years old – that’s potentially 60 years of wood marinating in cat pee), they ripped out the carpets on Friday, we treated the wood on Saturday and we wait for it to dry. Then they put in the floors on Tuesday. Hopefully then we get our house back. Or at least for a little bit until we get the new baseboards put in, because you can’t just remove carpet and put in vinyl without either repainting or getting taller baseboards.

On the bright side, the cats love the current hoarder look of our house. And hopefully our bedrooms will look fantastic with vinyl floors.

Pregnancy: finally looking the part

In other news, one day my belly popped out! Despite my mom’s begging, I don’t have any pictures just yet. I have yet to master the selfie and I haven’t the gathered the courage to ask Ed to be my photographer. You know how it is, one minute they’re taking a pregnancy picture for your mom and your two-updates-per-year blog, the next they’re an instagram husband, forced to take scripted pictures a million times a day. It’s a slippery slope!

So you’ll have to take my word for it, but I do have some kind of cute baby bump. It started off with a bump at night that would disappear by morning (am impressed by haywire a digestive system goes during pregnancy!) but soon enough I had an around the clock bump.

The downside is that it’s really hard to breathe, especially at night. I got one of those bed wedges with mixed results. Some nights it helps, some nights it doesn’t. I must be getting used to baby kicking my diaphragm, though, because the last few days have been a lot better.

The upside is that the bump is really, really cute, if I do say so myself.

According to my doctor and the ultrasound technician (and my common sense), I have an anterior placenta (deeper context: usually the placenta sits between baby and mom’s back, anterior placenta is when the placenta, which is shaped like a big round pillow, is between baby and mom’s front), so no feeling baby yet. I get over it by reminding myself that by week 35, I’ll be totally done with baby kicking. Maybe if I have wait longer to feel it, I won’t get fed up with it as fast.

Last city trip, I picked up some maternity clothes. The tops look excellent and make my bump all movie-star-like. The pants, on the other hand… So my normal pants don’t stay up because my belly is too big, but my maternity pants won’t stay up because my bump isn’t big enough. All these problems I never anticipated!

As for the criticism that maternity clothes are overpriced for the quality, I sadly have to agree. They look great – I actually have to restrain myself from buying ALL THE STUFF, but they’re super fragile. 1-2 wears and a handwash (yeah, I can’t even use the washing machine), they look like I’ve had them for years. I don’t mind paying 60$+ for sturdy clothes (one of the things I was most looking forward to while I was a poor, starving student was being able buy high quality clothes), but these are a world away from sturdy.

Prepping for Mat Leave

At some time in my exhaustion haze, it occurred to me that I need to use up my vacation time prior to going on mat leave. (I haven’t decided when I’ll take it yet…if I’m not too much of a mess in the third trimester, I might actually wait until like a week before my due date so I get more time with baby at the end.)

So I get vacation time in October! And vacation time in November! And then December and early January are usually fun months at work as the holidays really slow stuff down. Then it’s bye bye for a year!

I know mat leave is actually way tougher than it looks, but after dedicating 24/7 to bullshit (people say things like “you don’t get lunch or bathroom breaks as a parent!”… they must have really cushy jobs because I don’t get lunch or bathroom breaks – unless I’m having a meltdown- as an employee either), I am SO ready to dedicate 24/7 to a little human. And then maybe after a year of dedicating 24/7 to my little human, I’ll be fed up with that and ready to go back to work!

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The Good News

A few weeks back, one Friday, a day before my period was due, I took a lolpregnancy test.

It was negative.

Nothing new. As my post history (overly?) details, we’d been trying for nearly a year and a half. Other than an early loss on the same cycle as my HSG, there’s been nothing to show for our troubles. (I asked for another HSG but they told me no. /sad) In January, a bit over a year of trying (and like 15 cycles or something, I have short cycles), I asked to be referred to the fertility clinic. Unlike our Southern neighbours, Canadians can’t just walk into a fertility clinic. You don’t shop for a fertility clinic, unless you have a lot of time and money to travel. There is one clinic for half the province. Waitlists for just a consult, especially for an unexplained case in someone under 35 (even though I’m getting pretty freaking close to 35) can be up to a year. I was quoted 4-6 months. It was a bit over 5 months and nothing.

I had high hopes for this cycle. We had gone on holidays! I mean, the holidays didn’t coincide with our fertility window but according to everyone who eagerly offers bad fertility advice, there’s nothing better for your fertility than going on holidays.

I went out and partied that Friday. Also booked an emergency weekend trip to Taiwan as Ed’s aunt passed away (no need for condolences, he had met her 3-4 times in his life and I had never met her) and his family was requesting our presence. Then Saturday I invited people over and partied harder.

Pregnancy tests should be repeated every 48 hours until you have your period, so Sunday, before work, I took another. It was immediately negative. I gave myself the usual deflated self talk. Oh well, maybe we’ll hear back from the fertility clinic soon.

I brushed my teeth and did my hair, the usual getting ready for work routine. I took another peak at the stick after the three minute mark.

Lo and behold, there was more than just a control line. It was faint, but it was there.

Telling People

On pregnancy message boards, many ladies like to come up with witty ways to tell their partners. Especially since I got my positive close to Father’s Day. Creative internet ladies LOVE imaginative ways to share the news with fathers-to-be around Father’s Day.

I have no such patience.

I woke Ed up, shoved my pee soaked stick in his face and asked if it looked positive to him. (I believe his half-asleep response was something like “Um, yeah, sure, whatever you say.”)

I also told everyone at work. By the end of the day, half the town knew about that morning’s fortunate test. I know you’re supposed to wait until the end of the first trimester because of risk of loss and all that, but I was vocal about my shitty fertility, I was vocal about my last loss and was prepared to be vocal again should this one end badly.

My parents found out a week later. I wanted to tell them over the phone but the time difference combined with our emergency trip to Taiwan and my crazy work hours made it difficult. Ed’s parents will probably find out after the genetics testing, as I feel like they (and we!) will be happier if we don’t get their hopes up until our chances of everything being ok are pretty good.

On Being Pregnant

So, there’s a misconception about me wanting to be pregnant. See, I didn’t especially care to be pregnant. I just want to raise a baby and, well, even with our fertility struggles, good ole fashion pregnancy is the most efficient way of putting myself in that position. Still, after a year and a half of heartbreak and disappointment, I promised myself I would not take pregnancy for granted.

And I don’t. I think there’s a healthy way to be grateful every second for the opportunity to bring a child into your family while still not appreciating your body’s protests.

I would say that I’ve been lucky. I’m not having one of those “I can’t even tell I’m pregnant!” pregnancies, but it’s not like my face is in the toilet 24/7 either. I feel like things would be easier if I had an office job where I could work at my own pace and not have to deal with hordes of inane people and their rambling (it’s not that I’m insensitive to how your insurance is now charging you 30 cents more on your already really cheap drugs and that you had to wait an 5 extra minutes because the person in front of you had a question, it’s just that I’m starving, covered in sweat, can barely see from the headspinning and if you don’t shut up I am going to legit puke all over this counter.)

Lessons I’ve learned:

1- Never be hungry. Ever. I’m having a pretty bad aversions to meat (Ed is disappointed that I have no amusing cravings yet, just lots and lots of aversions), so my backpack crammed full of salads, fruits, carrots, hard boiled eggs, broths and granola bars. I eat nonstop and I don’t care what the customers think, I’m pregnant dammit. Funny story, the other day I bought a pack of croissants at the grocery store. They were delicious so I ate 3 in one sitting. And was still hungry.

2- Take breaks. I don’t have scheduled breaks at work and I’m so swamped that I usually don’t stop for more than 5 minutes twice in a 13 hour shift to stuff something in my mouth, but since being pregnant it’s a lot easier to put myself first. When I feel the wheels about to fall off the wagon, I tell the customer I’ll be back in 15, get someone from front store to watch my counter and I leave. I’ve also cut down on the volunteering (I work 14 hours shifts, but am only paid for 11 – I still have to volunteer a bit and go in on my days off otherwise everyone in the nursing home will die for lack of meds, but I now proudly do the bare, bare minimum.)

3- Diclectin works miracles. (I think it’s called Diclegis in the US.) I wasn’t having any nausea at my first appointment but my doctor suggested I take the prescription just in case. And wow. When I started feeling sick, I took one and I could actually feel the humanity returning to me. It’s been doing wonders for night stomach pains, morning lightheadedness and insomnia. 10/10 would recommend.

4- I plan my life around sleep. I do okay on days that I work, but my days off go kind of like this: wake up at noon, pee, eat something, fall asleep on couch, wake up 2 hours later, pee, eat something, crawl into bed, wake up 2 hours later, pee, eat something, go play phone games on couch, fall asleep, you get the picture. I would have blogged about this sooner but the way my life is right now, I’m either at work or asleep. I get frustrated that I can’t do the things I want to on my days off, but part of me enjoys just giving my body what it needs, guilt-free.

Ultrasounds

I saw my doctor around 7 weeks. Last time I saw the doctor earlier because I had started bleeding before I even knew I was pregnant, but this time everything was going well so I held off as long as I could. According to her, I was actually 7 weeks 4 days at my appointment given my short cycles (it’s amazing how internet women always know exactly what week and day they’re on. I try to keep track, but the more time goes by, the more I need to rely on my calendar.)

My doctor offered to try to find a heartbeat with the handheld ultrasound machine at the clinic. I didn’t know you could do an abdominal ultrasound so early on, all the internet ladies had their early ultrasounds done vaginally, but apparently you can. We saw the baby (if you can call it that) and the heartbeat! She then ran to grab the clinic Doppler and we were able to listen. Amazing!

I think I was more relieved than excited, though, to be honest. While our struggles to get (and I guess, stay) pregnant were minor compared to many, they did bring me in contact with a lot of unfortunate women. Nothing is ever a given. There’s no certainty you’ll become pregnant. There’s no certainty a fertilized egg will grow. There’s no certainty of a heartbeat. There’s no certainty that the baby will be genetically viable. There’s no certainty it’ll survive childbirth. Worrying about your child’s survival, I’ve discovered, doesn’t start at birth. It starts at conception.

I had the official dating ultrasound on Thursday but have yet to hear back. The technician scolded me for having an empty bladder (They told me to void an hour before then drink water! That’s what I did! And my bladder certainly didn’t feel empty!) but as far as I can tell, the pictures looked fine. If I can see everything clearly, they should be able to see everything clearly.

* * * *

The next step, other than hearing back on the dating, is getting genetics (I think chromosomal is the proper word, but I’m not sure. I believe genetics applies to the parents and we aren’t doing for that, as much as I would like to) testing done. My doctor suggested the Harmony test so we’re going with that one at 11 weeks. It’s not covered by provincial insurance and there are no private labs in town which means we need to travel to the city for the blood draw, but the peace of mind (and the COOLNESS factor! Is it bad that I’m really excited about the coolness factor?) will be worth it I think.

Otherwise, just gotta hang in there, I’m told my energy will be back in the second trimester. Fingers crossed that baby will stick until then and beyond!

Oh, and if you want to hear something funny, the day after my doctor’s appointment confirmed heartbeat, the fertility clinic called. (They were super sweet and understanding, by the way. Absolutely reassuring for if I need to rely on them in the future.)

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Holidays and Conventions

When I graduated school, I was excited to get into the workforce: get paid, not constantly be graded and, most importantly, the ability to come home and shut it off.

Turns out it doesn’t really work that way.

I’d still pick my job over school any day (at least, over necessary school with all that pressure – if I were rich, I’d totally do funducation for my own personal growth for the rest of my life), but the 8am to 10pm days kick my ass. And I feel too guilty to charge my employer when it’s probably my own fault that I can’t keep up or don’t have my staff trained properly, so I don’t even get paid for the extra 3 hours a day. I suppose it comes back to me with quarterly bonuses (and a reduction in staff meltdowns – always important!) but it doesn’t change the fact that I’m tired. My days off are usually spent on the couch, staring at the ceiling. Makes it hard to keep up with my video gaming goals. On the bright side, I do love the work. I used to whine and cry and panic about the mountains of work but these days…I don’t know if it’s some form of acceptance or Stockholm syndrom or what, but I actually kind of look forward to work.

Anyway, what I wanted to get to is that I have real vacations planned! My customers are even more excited about it that I am.

Customer: I heard you’re going on holidays! (It’s a really small town, sometimes customers discover stuff about my life before I even do.) What exotic location do you have lined up this time? Guatemala? Zimbabwe? Samoa?

Me: (proudly) Calgary!

Yeah, that’s right. After two years of living on a shoestring budget carrying all my belongings on my back, my ideal holidays are really just enjoying my house and doing continuing education credits to buff my professional profile. Also playing video games, relearning how to write and sipping expensive coffee. (Besides, maybe one day I’ll get off the extremely long fertility clinic waitlist and have little Ophies and little Eds running around, meaning that my days of relaxing in home activities will be put on hold for 20 years.) Still, it’s important to get out once in awhile. Ed was disappointed when he couldn’t go to Calgary with me a few months back when I was sent there for training. So Calgary it was!

Calgary Comic Con is happening at the end of April. I haven’t been to a geek convention in a few years so I excitedly bought tickets and booked a hotel. Since I have like, you know, actual time off work, I went all out and bought the premium package! I’m not exactly sure what that entails, but it was only slightly more expensive than the ordinary weekend-long package and I’ve never bought a premium package before and I’m all about trying new things!

I love conventions. Love, love, love them. I think my first was Blizzcon, so many years ago. If I remember right, I didn’t even have tickets and went just to go to the parties. It was an absolute dream. The parties were excellent (I always say I hate parties but I’ve discovered that I actually love parties – I’m just very snobby about who I party with) and I ended up with tickets when someone had to leave early. I’ve never done strong drugs, but I imagine it’s pretty similar. You have the most intense, most surreal fun. When you come back down to reality, you’re miserable AF, bedridden with con-crud and crushed that it’s over, and all your mind can do is countdown the days, the hours, until next time.

After a few Blizzcon buzzes, I branched out and showed up at PAX when I somehow ended up with tickets. (I don’t exactly remember how it happened, it was so random. I think someone tweeted me that tickets were on sale? I clicked the link for shits and giggles thinking they’d be sold out? Suddenly I had tickets?) No one I knew attended (actually, no, lots of people I knew attended, but obviously I didn’t know them well enough to be aware of their attendance until after the fact) so it made for a totally different experience. I worried about awkwardness and lonelyness, but oh boy, PAX is NOT awkward and lonely. I want to reign in the drug comparisons because Cons are and should be family-friendly events (I feel like this blog should also be a family-friendly blog but who am I kidding?) but the pharmacist in me can’t help herself. Where Blizzcon is a stimulant, PAX is a hallucinogenic. I just chatted up random people (and I’m a super shy, quiet person, I swear!), attended a few feel-good panels that ended with wonderful oversharing and the occasional group hug and finished up with tons of fast friends that I never spoke to again.

Calgary Expo is a different experience. It’s the only convention I’ve attended that isn’t gaming-exclusive and I don’t consume a lot of media so I have no idea who most of the panelists are. What that means, though, is there a lot of opportunities to discover new artists and new work. There are a lot of local panelists and exhibitors as well, which I discovered is really important to me. It was my first attendance at the Calgary Expo that made me realize how much talent there is and how much cool stuff people were creating in Alberta. I started going to more events, festivals presentations and shows during my Edmonton trips. One day I realized that I felt Albertan and that I had fallen in love with Edmonton and I totally blame the Calgary Expo for my conversion (one of these days I need to make it out to the Edmonton Expo – much smaller but I bet I’ll love the even more local aspect of it. Also, you know you’re Canadian when a city 300km away is “local”.)

In previous installments, it was also an opportunity to connect with other Albertan gamers. While the parties weren’t on Blizzcon scale, the intimacy factor was wonderful and I felt like I had real quality time with friends. Sadly, I’ve fallen out of touch with pretty much everyone from my WoW blogging days, so it’s a gamble. Will I meet other cool people PAX-style? I’m much older than I was at PAX, plus the setting in Calgary is way more family-oriented than a pure gaming convention is, so it might be harder, but who knows? Maybe I’ll meet less people but will be more likely to keep in touch after the event.

Ed has also never been to a convention (I know, I’m shocked too!) so I’m nervous because I want him to understand why I love conventions so much. That’s a lot of pressure on Calgary Expo to deliver!

Whatever happens, we’ve also got plans to wrap up in Banff National Park, hopefully get spring skiing (that’s right, there’s still snow up here in the Northern Rockies!) and some hiking (deep in avalanche season so maybe not!) in. We got a great deal on fancy shmacy accommodations so even if we’re trapped inside the whole time, it’ll still be wonderful. (Note, we also got a great deal on our accommodations in Calgary – another perk of Cons is that they often partner with businesses to offer discounts on hotels, restaurants and even flights.)

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