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We had a maternity photo shoot session when I was 33.5 weeks pregnant. Originally I was really apprehensive about getting photos done while I was pregnant as I did not know I would want to commemorate my pregnancy not to mention how I looked while pregnant. My husband really wanted us to get them done. Originally I was worried that he would be grossed out by my pregnant body, not the case, he is one of those guys that thinks pregnant bodies are beautiful.

We looked into a number of photographers. We wanted to get someone that would do some artistic shots as well as sensual ones. I originally came across Fish Eye in my search and didn’t look at her whole portfolio of maternity photos and for some reason ruled her out. As we were seeking recommendations, we asked our midwife office and picked up two cards there, one being Fish Eye. I contacted both photographers, and had a better, more in depth look at their photos online. Fish Eye’s maternity portraits were a little more daring than some, she has some tasteful nudes, which we really liked. We also really liked that we got a high resolution CD of the session and did not have to buy each photo individually, making it more reasonably priced. The other photographer we were deciding between charged an additional $850 for her high resolution CD, whereas with Fish Eye included it with the session cost for around $300.

I contacted Fish Eye to book a session. Martine Thomson is the photographer of Fish Eye Photography, and she was just coming out of maternity leave, she had a beautiful son about 4 months ago. Originally she was only able to book me in on April 12th, which is my due date (well 12-13th-ish is my due date, I like the 12th better). I know most first babies are late but after we’d made the decision to get the photos done we really did not want to miss the opportunity if baby joined us a little earlier. A friend of mine suggested getting them done between 32 and 34 weeks pregnant. Martine was able to squeeze us into her schedule on February 26th, which was ideal for us. As most people have told me, my belly appears like I am smaller and maybe I should have waited a couple more weeks to have a bigger belly in the photos, but I don’t think so. For me I feel ‘big bellied’ already, every pregnant woman is different. We did not want to get the photos done when I was busting out pregnant or too near the end.

Since giving birth to her son Martine has given up her 4000 square foot studio and now works out of her home studio. Only 4 months after giving birth pretty amazing to already be back at work if you ask me! It is a nice cozy studio in her home.

I was definitely a little nervous about getting some of the near nude photos taken. My husband really wanted me to try it, so for him I thought I would make an effort. Having read her reviews online, that Martine really makes you feel comfortable with the session and your nakedness, which I also found she did very naturally. There were only two times when I felt like I was naked/exposed. Once when I had to take off my clothes, we took photos clothed first and then she asked if I wanted to do some robe shots. She asked me to strip down and apologized for not having a change room, we laughed because she was going to see it all anyway, and it’s not like she was watching me, it just made me aware that I was naked when I first took my clothes off. I had a robe draped over me at first and the rest happened very gradually and I did not feel exposed or nude the rest of the session at all. I hardly noticed it. The next time I felt nude was when we were done taking photos and it was time to dress, it kind of dawned on me that I was naked! Martine was very easy to speak to and made us both feel at ease. My husband only had his shirt off for some of the photos, whereas I was tastefully draped with fabrics or body parts in most of them. We are happy with the end product.

We had our 34 week appointment yesterday. I am a little relieved to report that my fundal height has grown since my last appointment, and it is now 32 cms. My midwife says she can feel baby’s size and he is growing, good news 🙂

I had someone comment to my husband that it did not sound like I was doing very well in my blog, and perhaps I would benefit from going off work now. My husband made the comment that maybe I write about the negative things too often and not the positive. I always try tell it like it is, but also but a positive spin on it at the end. I think for some men it all sounds awful and hard to deal with. People ask how I am feeling, and I say you know little tired etc… but I AM pregnant after all. All the symptoms I have experienced are completely normal and I have had a healthy pregnancy so far. I am very fortunate and have not yet experienced any of the pregnancy complications that some woman do. I am still growing a person inside me, so it does take more energy and I am experiencing some pregnancy symptoms that cannot be called pleasant, but are all manageable. Sometimes I get overwhelmed and feel like I am falling apart, but in the grand scheme of things I am fine. I have enjoyed the journey through pregnancy thus far, and even though some things I did not imagine to be like they are (e.g. the books didn’t tell me about THAT!), it does not necessarily mean they have been bad, au contraire, just different.

My mind is constantly blown away by the miracle of pregnancy. I still cannot fathom that I am making a person inside me and carrying him around, despite his constant reminders when he stretches his little legs into my ribs 😉 Baby could come now in the next 3 – 8 weeks (which is between 37 and 42 weeks pregnant). My midwife said the statistic for first pregnancies is to go 8 days after your 40 week due date. I was born a couple days after my due date, and my husband was born a day after his. We both weighed in the 7 lbs range.

I often get my husband to put his hands on my belly to feel baby move. Baby is most active after dinner and when I am going to bed at night, particularly when my husband reads to us before bed. Often my husband will say “wowwooo!” to some of baby’s movements, because they are so large or so strong. Space is getting tighter as baby grows, so I feel less wind up kicks of punches, mostly legs stretching or hiccups. Hiccups are so funny, because baby will start hiccuping and I feel a very rhythmic knocking, then a couple minutes into it he starts to move (my guess is he is annoyed that he is still hiccuping so much and is moving around out of irritation), very cute. I feel bad for baby sometimes because they can be quite persistent for a while. Typically they happen after I’ve had something to eat or drink (which I’ve read is common).

I have baby and pregnancy on my brain. I am looking forward to having some time at home before the baby so I can focus on them and also get some more rest and perhaps even relax 😉

Some people are asking me why I am referring to baby as “he” in my blog posts and when I talk about baby.

NO we do not know if we are having a boy or a girl.

As I mentioned at the end of my post titled “Countdown is on…”, to make it easier and nicer than referring to baby as “it”, or “he or she” all the time, I use “he” to refer to baby and my husband says “she”. It balances itself out I think. I think it comes from not creating expectations for us to be disappointed with. Neither of us really cares if we have a boy or a girl. We are just hoping for a healthy baby.

I think at some point Moms often hope for girls and Dads often hope for boys to be able to have that special bond with their child. I would like one of my children to be a girl, because I really enjoy the bond my mother and I share. Also I think, ‘what am I going to do with a boy?’ Things like baking cookies, crafts, and shopping up are girly things mostly. My husband only has a brother and wasn’t raised around girls, so I presume deep down he wants a boy so he can share the ‘manly’ things with him. On the other hand there is a special bond parents share with their child of the opposite sex as well. 

Might make it confusing but makes sense to us. I really dislike saying “he or she” all the time. As I mentioned, in our regular scheduled ultrasound around 19 weeks, baby had his or her legs crossed. So even though we did not want to find out the sex, baby wasn’t revealing it to us anyway. 

Many people prophesies about what sex of child I am having. The majority of people think I am having a boy. Mostly telling me it is the way I am carrying baby, you don’t know how many times I hear “you are carrying like a boy”, my husband thinks that’s a funny comment and I’m carrying “like a baby”, not like one sex or the other. I’ve only had a few people think I am having a girl. My Mom and Grandfather, who like to think they are always right when it comes to predicting things like this, both think I am having a boy. Time will tell. 

I would honestly be happy with either a healthy baby boy or girl. Green is my favourite colour after all. 😉 

… which is April 12th. 

I am finally starting to feel a little back to normal after my stomach flu. At least I’ve started to eat regular foods again, instead of the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, apple sauce and toast). 

We had our 32 week midwife appointment this past Monday. At my 30 week appointment my uterus measured 30cms. At this appointment it still measured 30cms. They like to see you’ve grown a little each visit. My midwife thinks it is just because I was so badly dehydrated the week before, and it may just be my amniotic fluid level has decreased a bit because I am not hydrated enough. She said feeling the size of the baby, baby feels like a normal size, not too big or small. When I was recovering from the flu I could only take little sips of lukewarm water as ‘gulps’ were too  much for my stomach to handle. Prior to being sick I was drinking at least 2 litres of water a day, so the past couple days I have been trying to do the same again. My midwife said if there is no change again next week they typically order an ultrasound to see what is going on, and often it is just a decrease in amniotic fluid. Of course it makes me a little concerned, and I’ve been drowning myself in fluids now that my stomach is feeling a little better in attempts to re-hydrate. 

Prior to getting sick I told her I was really tired (still am) and also experiencing restless legs at night. She said this could be a sign of low iron. She checked my blood, and my haemoglobin levels are a little on the low side. They like to see between 120 and 150, mine was 109. She thought this also may be why it was taking me so long to get over my bronchitis (at my 30 week appt). She told me to start taking iron supplements, and to try to get more iron sources in my diet. I was only able to start taking them yesterday due to the interlude of the stomach flu. I was suggested to take ‘Female Iron Tonic’ made up by the owner of a couple of the Pharmasaves in Victoria, one of which is now in Tuscany Village, I was told it is easier to digest than some of the commercial brands. Hopefully that helps get my energy up a bit. 

I honestly thought the last bit of pregnancy would be a little easier than it is, silly me. I am finding it hard to get enough rest at night. Heartburn and tummy upset has made it harder to fall asleep lately. I am still waking up many times a night, which I’ve been told by many moms, is the preparation for motherhood. I now need to spend longer time in bed to get the same amount of sleep I was getting before. I am trying to lie down after work, but often I am not able to sleep and just end up dozing. 

My plan was to have my last day at work as Thursday March 27th, and start taking vacation days on Fridays to make my week a little more manageable. I ended up having to use 2.5 days of my vacation time when I had the stomach flu (due to my employer’s silly short and long term disability policies of re-qualifying, that’s a whole other story!). So now I am 2.5 days vacation days short. Currently if I make it to the end of March, I plan on taking the couple Fridays as unpaid days instead. We will see how far I make it. I feel I have lots to do at home with wanting to get the house in tip top organized shape before babe arrives, but if I take more time before babe arrives, I get less time at the end with him or her. But then again this is my last alone time for a long while, so perhaps I should take advantage of it. I go through the debate daily with myself. 

My next midwife appointment is next Thursday. Then for the month of March we will be seeing our ‘backup midwife’ because our primary midwife is off for the month (they schedule one month off every 6 months). We go to ‘Cook Street Community Midwives’, our primary midwife is Colleen, who both my husband and I think is wonderful. Over the past several months we have built a trusting relationship with her. I sure hope that she is there for our birth. One of the constant things that I worry about is not getting “my midwife” when I am in labour because she is at another birth, or off call (after all April 20th is a full moon, ah!). I know everyone else in the Cook Street office is very competent and caring as well, but I feel it would just not be the same. This is my first time after all and even though I’ve read lots (perhaps too much) on what to expect, it is often very different. It is totally out of my control, as I am learning so many things are in pregnancy. I am just the vehicle. 

It’s pretty wild that it is now 2008. What do we have planned for 2008? our first child! This time last year we were not quite thinking that we would be expecting our first around now. It is amazing how life changes so quickly. In 2007 we bought a new house and found out we were expecting our first child.

Christmas season was busy as usual. I was happy when my family arrived safely home. My brother had a car accident on his trip from Calgary, and luckily no one was hurt. They took the bus the rest of the way home and arrived a day later than expected. My parents were also travelling home from Europe. Their first flight got cancelled, and they were re-routed to arrive a day later. Arrived just in time for Christmas, which was 11pm on the 24th! Their 30th wedding anniversary was on the 24th. Ha, ha at least they got to spend it together! My husbands 30th birthday was also this past month, happy birthday sweetie 🙂

The past month I have been experiencing an odd sensation in the middle of the night. I would wake up to a heat rising feeling in my ears, and a blackness coming over me almost – feels like I am fainting. I have spoken to my midwife about it. I have a relatively low blood pressure, of about 100/55.  Fainting can happen in pregnancy with the increased amount of blood in your system. She assured me the danger of fainting is falling and not the lack of oxygen. Since going to see her it has been happening more regularly, not sure why. When it happens I sort of wake myself up and then go back to sleep. Sometimes I wake up and start to worry about what is happening, which just exacerbates it. I had another horrible night last night, and decided to go to my regular doctor today as I am still concerned about it. He confirmed everything my midwife said. He said the heat sensation I was feeling in my ears is from my blood vessels dilating, letting more blood through and my blood pressure is dropping, which is why I would be feeling that blackout sensation. The dilation is caused by the increased amount of hormones in pregnancy, particularly estrogen. I asked why it happens in the middle of the night, and my Doctor’s reponse was that is similar to when estrogen surges happen in menopausal woman who get ‘hot flashes’ in the middle of the night. I am particularly worried because I am pregnant and worried that a drop in my blood pressure means a loss of oxygen to my baby. The doctor confirmed that the baby has a way of maintaining his own blood pressure even though mine does not. One of those miracle of nature things. He confirmed what my midwife said, that the danger of fainting in pregnancy is falling and thereby injurying myself/baby physically with the fall. It is not from the blood pressure drop. Most of the time blood pressure goes up in the third trimester, thus far mine has not. He told me to drink more fluids and have more salt in my diet, which could possibly help.

Estrogen softens and relaxes things in pregnancy, blood vessels and esophagus included. I suffered from heartburn a little in my first trimester. In my wisdom, I thought the blood pressure drop could be related to drop in blood sugar throughout the night. So I put a cup of o.j. (orange juice) beside my bed, which I was drinking throughout the night (last Thursday night). I woke up at 4:21 AM to turn over and by moving experienced some severe heart burn. Ouch did it hurt! I got up and took a spoonful of liquid calcium. After sitting up a minute seemed to help a lot. O.j. I guess is just too acidic when had alone. Last night I also had bad heart burn, after having a half glass of o.j. after dinner. Guess I need to eliminate the o.j. and anything more acidic for a while. Heartburn sure isn’t fun either. And as baby grows bigger it is not supposed to get much better.

My round ligaments and muscles have still been hurting (near my hips). Mostly towards the end of the day, probably just tired from the day of holding my belly up. Does not help much when baby decides he is going to kick them. Ouch! 

Currently baby is the most active at night and after dinner. Starting to feel bigger movements, like rolling. The latest is pushing. I can feel baby push his feet on one side and body on the other. A neat feeling.

It’s amazing I only have 14.5 more weeks until my due date.
Here is a most recent photo of belly:

It is amazing how quickly it is growing. At my last midwife appointment, she measured my uterus to be just under 23cms, at my 24.5 week appointment. Typically the number of cms you are match the number of weeks you are pregnant. 1-2 cms less or more is still considered normal and fine.

Congrats to my husbands’ colleges with recent additions to their families at the end of November and end of December! How exciting.

P.S. I used “he” to refer to baby in this post. We do not know the sex of the baby. My husband says “she” and I say “he”. Easier and nicer than referring to baby as “it”, or “he or she”.

In the first trimester I was super tired and really thought that in the second I would go back to feeling like I had as much energy as I did before pregnancy. Not so. I am not as tired, but still tired. I still need to nap occasionally when I get home, especially on the nights when I go to deep water aerobics class. I am in bed by around 9:30 PM most nights, where before pregnancy it was around 10:30 or 11 PM.

With the second trimester also come different aches and pains, and the first trimester stuff (like nausea) diminishes a lot. I have been getting round ligament pain on and off. Also discovered that I cannot do prenatal yoga, my back just does not like it. I had been working with an Athletic Therapist who is also an Osteopath since last May. She has helped me out a lot! We basically started building up my core strength as if I had nothing. I had to do my exercises regularly but it really paid off. As well as increasing my regular cardio exercise in order to get the positive endorphins in my body, which she told me are as powerful as morphine. My back was doing SO well! ………..up until I tried Yoga. At my last therapist visit she adapted a lot of the Yoga moves so I could do them. My back was a little soar after trying them, then on Tuesday I did them on my own and had shooting pain on my right side (I think it was my sciatic nerve). Since then the sciatic pain has subsided a lot, but not entirely, and gets worse after sitting all day long. I think it was associated with the yoga exercises and seems to have subsided since I’ve stopped them, I really really hope that is all it was. Having had lots of back pain I am scared to go back there. The sharp sciatic pain on one side is not my typical back pain either. Before it was more of an ache pain across the whole lower back.

I have also been having muscle cramps in my feet and legs. I have heard it can be the lack of calcium/magnesium in your diet. All of a sudden my foot will cramp up and the muscle will go super tight. Very strange! I just started taking liquid calcium this past week and hopefully that helps subside it.

It feels like in the past 2 weeks my belly has “popped”. I definitely have a pregnancy belly now. I also look more pregnant I think because I am also wearing all pregnancy clothing, which is so much more comfortable! Many people are noticing now. People around the office who don’t official know are looking a lot at my belly (probably thinking… she must be pregnant with her belly like that 😉

I have to go get a mole removed on Wednesday. Another part of pregnancy is your hormones can cause things to grow, including moles. I went to my regular doctor to get it checked out and he said it appears to be fine, but to be on the safe side lets take it off. Even though I am terrified of needles, it is fine by me. It is a raised blood mole on the back of my right shoulder (yea yuk!). I also worry about getting it caught on something, but it would be even more ‘yuk!’ if that happened.

My husband came down with a bad head cold a little less than 2 weeks ago. He is feeling better now, but still a little congested. I don’t feel I got what he had, but I don’t feel one hundred percent either. My nose is a little more runny and I have a couple spots on my throat/tonsils, though it does not hurt (yet! knock on wood). Hopefully this is the worst of it and it just goes away (please!). I worry about getting sick and the cold taxing my immune system when I know baby needs all he or she can get. My midwife reminds me that baby will take whatever he or she needs; it will be me that will be left deficient.  

I have this strange urge to clean house and get everything organized. I want to re-do closest spaces, go through boxes in the basement, and re-organize in general, so everything is “done” when baby arrives. This seems like it’s a nesting instinct, however from what I’ve read it says nesting is a sign that you are about to give birth and doesn’t normally happen until much later in pregnancy. So is what I am experiencing nesting, or could there be something wrong, or perhaps I am just odd that I am trying to prepare so far in advance?

My husband has finally felt baby move, first time about one week ago (around 20 weeks), then yesterday and today. It was kinda funny because yesterday I was on the couch, and asked him if he wanted to feel it. He put his fingers on my belly and baby kicked (or moved) big! He looked at me and said did you do that? He thought I might have exaggerated the movement (which I did not). He couldn’t believe that baby could kick so hard. He was like, “even if I didn’t have my fingers there I think I would have seen your stomach move!”. It is quite amazing that something so little can make such large movements. 

We had our ultrasound this past Monday; I would have been approximately 19 weeks and 2 days (give or take) pregnant.

I was scheduled for ultrasound weeks ago, and they scheduled me for it way out at Saanich Peninsula Hospital. I guess they are really busy, because the Save-On-Foods center where I know most OB ultrasounds are scheduled was booked and they were booking into December when I tried to change my appointment to be at a closer location.

We got a really nice technician, which I was super happy about (as per recent post I was worried about that). Baby’s head was way down, right next to my cervix, which she mentioned if baby was to be born today is a good place. Baby’s spine/back is along my left side, and feet are up in the top of my uterus, near my belly button and a little to the right. Hands are often up by baby’s head. This all makes sense now with the kicks and punches I have been feeling!

For taking pictures and measurements baby was not such a great place. The technician tried and tried (and pushed and pushed on my full bladder!) to get a proper measurement of his or her head, even tried to place me on my side, and halfway through the exam I emptied a little bit of my bladder – all done to see if baby would move out of that spot so she could get a head measurement – nope!

She went through the rest of the body, showing us as we went along (which was nice as I’m sure she did not have to do that). At times she would say “oh and there is ____, can you see that?” often my response was “yea, um… no”, and she would try to point it out. Definitely lots of smudges and spots on the screen that I didn’t really know what were. She pointed out the heart (4 ventricles), bladder, tiny kidneys, arms legs, spin, back of neck etc. It was also a little bit of a challenge for the technician to get a good photo of the heart, because baby had his or her arms up in front of his/her head. She did all her other measurements (besides the head), and let us know that I was on track for my due date.

We did get a couple print outs of some photos, though they are a little blurry, one is posted below (and the rest are posted on my flickr page):

When the technician was done, (and I was running to the bathroom, OMG I did not know my bladder could hold so much water!) she said she did not ask if we wanted to know the sex of the baby because she could not see it, baby had his or her legs crossed! We said thanks but we did not want to know anyway. 😉

I am starting to feel bigger kicks from baby now. My husband still has not felt baby kick, most of the time I put his hand to my belly and baby just does the smaller kicks or movements. Sometimes I actually jump a little because I am kicked more strongly. I just put my hand on my belly and felt a kick and my hands moved a little, so I know they stronger movements exist, but few and far between currently. Now we just have to get the right timing for Daddy to feel it too. 🙂 I am very eager to share the feeling of baby moving with my husband.

In Victoria for clothes styles, when you find a cool shirt or outfit there is a big possibility there could be 2 other people in your office wearing the same thing. I feel Victoria does not have many of the major retail chains, and there are slim pickings sometimes. Personally I don’t like to have the same outfit as someone else. As I was thinking if pregnancy styles and clothes, the one good thing about it is unless you have many pregnant women in your office, you are likely to be the only one wearing your new pregnancy top 🙂

My husband and I both got a flu shot this morning. Yesterday I was supposed to get one with my work ‘flu clinic’, but last minute I started to look into the safety of flu shots in pregnancy again. I found that there is a different flu shot for pregnant woman in California. I thought I would call my regular Doctor’s office to ask if it was safe. I called and the receptionist mentioned there is another shot with pregnant woman, which the flu clinic at work did not carry. The ‘other’ flu shot is for pregnant woman and children from 6 to 36 months of age. It contains less of a couple preservatives than the regular flu shot. This morning I brought my husband in with me to my Doctor’s office to get the ‘pregnancy flu shot’, and discovered he could get a regular flu shot as well at no charge. Actually there was no charge for either of us, because we will be caring for an infant in flu season. The doctor that was giving us the shots also let us know that anyone caring or going to be around our infant regularly is also covered for a free flu shot (and in her opinion definitely should get one!). Something I did not know! My arm is soar where I got the shot (feels like I’ve been sucker punched), so far that is the only side effect I’ve felt. 

I am now 19 weeks pregnant. Today we go for our ultrasound appointment (in Canada unless there are concerns, standard is one appointment between 18-20 weeks). I have to drink an entire 32 ounces of water by 1:15 PM for an appointment at 2:00 PM. I am not looking forward to it. I can only imagine what my discomfort will be. I have been a little nervous about the appointment. I have heard of friends who have gotten nasty ultrasound technicians, I even had a bad dream (vivid dreams are part of my pregnancy) that I forgot to drink my water before my appointment and I couldn’t find any water anywhere to have.Last Wednesday I started to feel a sharp pain in my lower abdomen (not severe just sharp). Initially I was really concerned and called the midwife office the next morning. After speaking to a midwife, she is pretty sure it is just round ligament pain. For me any type of pain, especially from down there, concerns me because I think it means something is wrong. It continues to happen on and off. Sometimes on my left side, radiating towards the center of me, it feel more like a sharp pain (not really an ache), and it only stays for a little while before it goes away. It can go on and off for a while sometimes. The midwife said currently nothing to worry about, unless it gets worse, starts to feel different, or is accompanied by bleeding.

I am starting to feel like I “look” pregnant or maybe just fat. I asked my husband this morning, because I am wearing a stretchy shirt if I looked too pregnant in what I was wearing. He just laughed and said he wasn’t going to answer. I guess it does sound like a silly question (if he choose to answer it might have been “um you are pregnant” lol), but I am still looking more chubby in the middle than pregnant. So I don’t want people to mistake me for fat instead of pregnant. And I do not really want to be flaunting pregnant yet, as I am not sure who knows and does not in my new office environment.