Sunday, October 4, 2009

potential and expectation

It is now October. Officially fall and my favourite time of year. The air takes on the smell of potential and expectation, a leftover conditioning from my school days. I am taking a physiology class, and I delighted in the trip to the school bookstore and picking up new notebooks and glistening pens that look like candy in their wrappers. The air is cool enough for a light jacket, and the grime of the streets is washed away nightly with the rain that pitter patters on my roof, lulling me and my family to sleep every night.

In this season of potential and expectation, I have begun going to the gym. I had to do the mandatory thing when you join a gym, which is when you go for a 'fitness assessment'. If you've never had one of these, picture this:

A man or woman in significantly better shape than you, with better highlights and more coordinated workout clothing makes you do cycle for as long as you can, do sit ups and suppresses a smile while you fail at a push up. At the end, they weigh you and inform you that you are 42% body fat, and the only way to get in the shape you want is through 2300 dollars of personal training over the next three months. But don't worry, they say, they have a fantastic plan that can stretch your payments out over a nine month period (!) and you can't really put a price on your health, can you? At which point you leave, thoroughly discouraged, and that is pretty much akin to death in the workout world. Discouragement means fatness. However, you swallow your pride, and return to the gym the next day, huffing and puffing and jiggling your way up a stairway that leads to nowhere.

Anyway, the end of this story is that I have 30 pounds to lose, and I'll be damned of I'm not going to do it myself, without any kind of personal training. I can put a price on my health, and it stops at the price I pay for a gym membership. I know I *can* do this though, because I've done it before. Though, before my technique was smoking and drinking the weight off, I'm sure this way works too. Plus, you get a total endorphin rush when you finish working out. I highly recommend it as an end to any argument with your spouse.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Freedom from, freedom to.

Is it shamefull I miss my freedom? I think it is. Here, I have this wonderful, perfect little person, and I find myself thinking about my days in Montreal when I could just step out the door with no preparation other than checking that I had my keys and wallet. Not that I was particularly happy then. Oh, quite the contrary. I practically sought out reasons to be miserable, and I had a few legitimate ones too. Of course, I've never laughed and cried more in the last four months than I have in my entire life, I think.

Freedom is one of those gestaltist things that you can only see and remember by comparison. My freedom now is less than what it was. Probably for the better. I didn't use it well. I didn't respect it. Now, my little guy as my gatekeeper, I am forced to treasure every moment of quiet, every second of sleep, every sunset and sunrise. I notice every puff of dust, to sheild his face, every sudden noise, to cover his ears. Every time it is too cold or hot, I touch his skin to check his temperature.

Today were Ender's fourth round of shots. He is a brave little guy for the prick of the needle, letting out a single shout of surprise and usually fine by the time we get back in the waiting room to book the next appointment. It gets bad afterwards, once the vaccine takes hold and his little body begins to fight the (weakened) viruses that have (purposefully) invaded. He'll take longer naps today, waking with a wail and then falling back asleep again. His cheeks will flame bright red with a mild fever. He and I are now old pros at all of this. The trepidation of 'what if' doesn't come into the equation anymore. I am armed with infant tylenol and a mommy-smelly blanket and other wonders of modern parenthood, but also with cuddles, breastmilk and love. He reciprocates with the occasional drowsy smile to let me know I'm doing all the right things.

Sleep has not improved, but I've settled into a routine of no longer caring that I only got so many hours in a night. It helps to not count. I used to count because the health nurse told me that if I was getting under 6 a night, it put me at risk of depression and reduced amounts of breastmilk. Now I've stopped counting the hours, which I found needlessly stressed me. I get enough that a cup of coffee wakes me in the morning and a foot or backrub from my husband in the evening keeps me going so that I can tidy up toys, onesies and tiny socks into neat piles and empty and refill the dishwasher. My supply for nursing is well established...I won't have to worry about it declining until I go back to work or school. That is, if I do.

I guess the loss of my freedom is something I should mourn as well as celebrate. I have so much more to fill my mind and heart nowadays. And that is more important than being able to leave the house for a pint. Though a beer would be pretty great right about now!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

remembering sleep, or lack thereof

I can't decide whether I should keep on trying different things to get the baby to sleep in his crib, or just accept that he'll only sleep with me.


I feel the need to document this so that I can look back on it one day, remembering how frustrated I was, and feel that things have improved.

Nicole out.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Final Thoughts

Oh, my poor neglected blog. I certainly hope you don't go the way of the Dodo, like my other blogs. I just haven't had the time to give you the attention you deserve.


Lately, you see, I haven't been getting a lot of sleep. It would appear that the honeymoon period of sleepiness on the part of Ender is completely over, and I find myself so sleep deprived that simply keeping my eyes open is the worst kind of chore, let alone having to get dressed and go out and be seen. That said, things are starting to improve. Whereas before he would scream as soon as he was set in the crib, now he will sleep there for 3-5 hours, and then insist on sleeping in bed with Mike and I.

Not that I mind.

Cosleeping, in my opinion, is a great concept. When Ender was first born, and sleeping in a bassinet next to the bed, I would wake up searching the sheets for him. I had a natural inclination that he should be there with me. I didn't, because I was afraid of this tiny person that couldn't even roll or protest being in bed with me. Now that he can roll, open his eyes and scream when he's mad, it's not so scary. It's also really nice to have a tiny person to cuddle with. Dr. Sears had a quote that clinched the deal for me: "Nighttime is a scary time for little people." D'awww. Motherhood has made my heartstrings so easily plucked. I'm not sure I even had any before.

It all would be perfect if we had a king and not a double. Mike and I are cuddlers, and never minded tiny sleeping space. For the first year or so of our relationship, we slept in a single together. And if you've seen us, we're not small people. We managed, though. A double is nice because neither person can roll away. Lots of cuddling.

For three people? Not so much. I find myself not moving for long periods of time, cradling and protecting my baby from the less maternal and concious flailing arms of his father. Still, I get SO much more sleep. The baby seems happier in the morning, and it really fits with my vision of Attachment Parenting.

A disclaimer about Attachment Parenting: Most of the stuff I read about it makes me feel like a bad mom and terribly lazy. My vision of AP is following my intuition. There's nothing wrong with my baby sleeping in a crib as long as he's happy being there. Once he stopped being happy there, I reacted, rather than forcing him to stay somewhere that made him scared and upset. This works for me. It works different for every mom and every baby! This is a hard won lesson of mine.


I've also registered for a physiology course at U of T. An odd choice, I know. I just remember how much I liked science in highschool, and I haven't really done anything science-ey in a while. It's once a week and also my only missing prerequisite for an RN program. Not that I really want to be an RN, but it is an odd quirk of my personality when I find I am not qualified for any university program that I have the vaguest interest in, I insist on filling in the gap. This is my excuse for my diverse employment history, also.

I've compiled most of my resources for my 2010 application for law school. Frankly, I don't think I'll get in, but I figure I'll just keep trying and trying every year until eventually I get admitted. I'm taking an LSAT course before I do the test, which will hopefully up my grade. It's a pity if they don't admit me, since I'd be a damn fine lawyer. Everyone says that, I know. But I like to think that after working in a law firm and having two lawyer in-laws, it comes from a fairly informed place.

I also don't want to leave my baby, unless it's to do something that has long term benefits for everyone involved. School is, in my opinion, a lot more valuable at this point in my life than some dead end job.


The house is in need of repairs. It's always something, isn't it? Mike went upstairs to the terrace to smoke and the doorknob snapped off right in his hand. We were talking recently, and we realised we rarely have time to just sit about anymore. There's always a long list of 'to do's'. As people with a natural (or unnatural) inclination towards laziness, we are both hesitant to set aside time for eachother. It's a slippery slope. We seem to vaccilate between doing everything that needs to be done, or completely ignoring it all. I think for now we just need to accept this frenetic pace of our lives, knowing it won't be forever.


Final thoughts. That reminds me of my grandfather, who was a minister. I'm not sure why, I think that was how he ended his type written sermons. Perhaps not. There were so many of them, made into booklets out of coloured paper with old fashioned clip art on the cover. I remember my grandparent's office. Complete with computer, printer, photocopier, and a rainbow of coloured paper. The burnt and chemical smell of toner was in the air, mingling with tobacco, a print of a man with words spewing out of his mouth hung on the wall. It is, come to think of it, the only print I remember from my grandparent's house. Aside from a rubbing of two old christian gravestones (that were in the pinkishly-hued guestroom my mother and I always stayed in), of which I have found a close approximation, and now hangs over my sofa.

The guestroom was just down the hall from the bathroom, which was stocked with children's toothpaste that glittered blue and tasted of bubblegum and came out of a star-shaped extruder. These were the wonders of American consumerism that were not available in Canada at the time. The floors of this house protested loudly as I crept from the bed I shared with my mother to steal fingerfuls of toothpaste.

I miss my grandfather lately. He was such a magnanimous force of my childhood. I recall him speaking so infrequently that when he did, we were all hushed to silence. When he noticed me, I felt remarkably special, as he motioned to a large jar of candy of which we both silently partook. The things he loved, toy trains, minature houses with pantries stocked with tiny cans, and junk food (ad infinitum, and of specific description), created such a pefect world of whimsy. Combine that with my grandmother's love of her grandchildren and Victorian anachronism, it was a children's heaven.

Thos are my final thoughts. Now, off to make lunch!

Monday, June 22, 2009

An open letter to my man

To the father of my child:

Thank you for taking this journey with me. When I told you two and a half long years ago, when you were known to me, but not familiar, that I wanted to bear your children, I was serious. Your pause and mischevious smile showed that you knew I was, too. It was maybe a strange kind of flirting, but in all our time together, we've had a sense that it was somehow our duty. And even though neither of us believe in fate or gods or mysticism, we can't help but use those words when our child is involved. Our miracle, our blessing, our angel.

I didn't think that being pregnant would be such a couples activity. Or that when I couldn't eat anything, you'd bring me glasses of juice, ad infinitum. When I couldn't watch food on tv, you'd turn it off. I didn't know that when the baby's kicks became so strong they were visible as ripples across my skin, that you'd stay awake while I slept, watching him. You and he, cut of the same cloth, nightowls together. I didn't know that all of it would make me love you, and him, even more.

Now, as we navigate this terrain, where we've had to cast aside our long nights out on the town for early ones at home, I am as glad to have you with me as ever. When our babe finally sleeps through the night, his face suddenly adult with all the composure of sleep, I feel like we've accomplished more than a million roadtrips across the country and back.

With much love,

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

mommy solidarity

I went back to 'the country' again this weekend. We had thought that Mike might have to go to Ottawa for work this week, so rather than spend it by myself, lonely and stressed at home, I thought it would be a good idea to go to my mom's place. While we haven't always got along, I'm finding spending time at her house increasingly comfortable. Ender and I can relax, and leave the cooking and cleaning to my mom and Don! It turned out that Mike didn't have to work in Ottawa after all, but I stayed anyway for a few days.

My visit included a baby welcoming party for a girl I knew from highschool. She was blessed only two weeks ago with a tiny little baby boy. Her family is enormous, wonderful, and I really enjoyed being surrounded by kids and moms. There were so many of them! Plans were then made for Jackie to come visit at my mom's place and I got to meet her precious little girl. While I've poo-pooed the idea of mommy groups already, I think I'm starting to get it. There's something just plain invigorating about being around other moms. There's no need to explain the dark circles beneath your eyes, your messy, just-swept-into-an-elastic hair, or the fussy, drooling baby in your arms. Everything is silently understood over a cup of incredibly strong coffee. There is a solidarity in parenthood, which is severely lacking here in the city for me. So I guess I should try one of the GTA mom's groups after all.

I'm relaxing on my couch with a can of pabst blue ribbon (pabst, how I missed thee) watching my baby sleep. He has started smiling. It melts me every time. Every day my connection with this little person grows. When I used to be tired of holding him, eager to pass him to Mike, I find myself holding him a little longer, a little closer, whispering little secrets in his ears. He may not understand the words, but he certainly understands the tone. I find him more relaxed lately, sleeping and cooing and staring at things instead of crying all the time. I envy his blank slate when his eyes widen at something new, a recognized face, or a new sound.

I need to start packing. We have people looking at the apartment this weekend and it has made me start to think about how incredibly difficult it's going to be for me to pack! Ender sleeps probably a total of 4 hours a day, 2 of which I use for a nap when I feel like I'm going to fall over. Where is the time to pack? Or find boxes? Eep! I definitely need to start now. If I pack for an hour a day, I just might have it all packed in a month and a half. We'll see...

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The challenging baby

The shopping trip went off without much of a hitch. I mean, I only went out for two and a half hours, and bought only three items, but it was nice to go out!! I was checking my phone constantly, and when Mike called to tell me everything went fine, I could hear his little wail in the background, and before I knew it I was on the bus home. It seems the 2 oz I pumped wasn't enough for the little monster, and Mike was left with a hungry baby. I was so happy to see the little guy when I got home, I don't think I'll need to leave him behind again for a little while.

I've been reading a parenting book these days, and I found an interesting section called "Do you have a challenging baby?" and a subsection headed "The active baby." It read "babies often send the first clue that they're going to be more active than most right from the uterus." check. The ultrasound technician, midwife, obstetrician and myself all commented on it. He never was still, even in his 'resting' periods, I got regular jabs poking all over the place. "Dressing sessions become wrestling matches..." check "...and baby always ends up on the opposite end of the crib after a nap." partial check. He's not mobile enough for that yet, but still manages to roll himself onto his side sometimes when he sleeps, freaking me out in the middle of the night. (I wonder if the increase in SIDS literature has lead to an increase in sleepless nights for mothers?) I guess what I find interesting about this is that they call this a 'challenging' baby. I can't imagine it any other way, and I certainly don't find how active Ender is a challenge. He usually takes only two or three naps a day, and spends the rest of it entirely awake. I love the way he's constantly staring at something, interpreting and figuring things out. And also, how is any baby not a challenge? They are fickle, emotional creatures. A breeze or a loud sound is enough to elicit sobs. But just as people have been telling me that I am the perfect mom for my baby, it works the other way around too. He is the perfect baby for this mom.

Update on home purchase/interior decorating: We finished up all the paperwork for the house. It's ours. We have two visitations to do before we move in July 20th, so we can take some measurements and figure out what will fit and what has to go. I've decided on two 'accent walls' to be painted a charcoal colour that Mike hasn't protested against. Easy, right? Wrong. There has to be about ten million shades of grey available. Some with hints of blue, green, red, and so on. I think I'm settling on a greenish/olivey shade of charcoal. Good God. This is why I hated working at the fabric store, staring at three swatches of beige fabric while a woman deliberated on which was 'ballet white'. I also need to pick a shade for Ender's room. It's pretty small, so I think a lighter shade will be best. Blue is too boyish. I'd like something soothing, gender neutral, and modern (since his crib is ikea).

Also, we purchased a baby bjorn carrier, which I'm totally in love with. I went to the store and put him in each one. All made him cry except the baby bjorn and the ergo. I couldn't actually do the ergo myself. You have to put newborns in in this awkward sideways way with a padded insert, since the space between the legs is too spread out for younger babies. I had a salesperson and Mike helping me, and I still found it difficult to put him in. The bjorn puts him to sleep, or in a happy dozy state staring at stuff, almost immediately. It's easy to put him in, which is good since it doesn't set him on a crying jag as mummy fumbles with snaps and buckles. I feel a lot more secure knowing I can go to the store by myself while Mike is at work, which I did today. Very liberating!!

Monday, June 1, 2009

promises, interior decorating, and guilt!

We bought a townhome. In a way, we have to 'eat our words', to quote Mike. We both swore we'd never live in a condo. But I might as well put that on the growing list of things I swore I'd never do: Live in Toronto, get married, have kids, stop smoking...hell, I even said I'd never own a home at all! I even recall saying I'd never like boys when I was five. Now they're the two best things in my world. So there, dear reader, is a testament to the changeability of life. Absolute statements are worthless.

The home is beautiful. It's a bit small, pretty much the same size as where we are now, but there are two rooms, and three levels. The top level features a rooftop terrace that looks out over King street. My favourite parts: the view, the dishwasher, a washer and dryer of my own, and walls I can paint and pound nails into ad infinitum. It's scary though, there's all sorts of payments that I've never even thought about and I'm terrified of owing the bank so much money. But it's better than renting, and I'm excited! We move in July 20th, which gives us some time to paint and remove some of the disgusting (AWFUL) wallpaper that the previous owner put up. My head is swimming with thoughts of design and the best way to use this precious little space. As usual, I want to make it look like a Victorian brothel...complete with red velvet, chinoiserie wallpaper, and candelabras. Also as usual, Mike finds my taste...exorbidant. We'll see who wins out. I'm going to guess the budget will.

Tomorrow the plan is for me to go to the mall by myself to go get some new clothes. I'm afraid. I'm afraid Ender will cry the entire time and traumatise himself AND Mike. I'm afraid that the meagre amount of breastmilk that I've pumped (I'm terrible at pumping, by the way, it seems I make just enough for him to eat and that's all) over the last month won't satiate him while I'm gone. I picture him crying, his little face all red and scrunched up.

Hell hath no fury like a mother's guilt. I'll let you know how it goes.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Today is Mike and I's one year anniversary! I can't believe it's been one year. It feels like it has been longer and way less than that, all at the same time. Either way, it has been wonderful. We've been through so much together and are still going strong. I can't wait for all the things ahead that we'll experience together. Mike's in the kitchen cooking me a special meal while I look after the little man; I've peeked my head in and he seems to be doing well! I feel guilty that I can't do more for him on this day to show him how much I appreciate him and everything he does.

It's so strange to think that this time last year I was putting on a white dress and saying my vows. What a perfect day it was. Everything went off without a hitch.

I love you Mike!

I hear some gurgles from the bassinet...

Saturday, May 23, 2009


I've started a lot of posts, but not posted any of them. Most of them were weepy, boring and not really what I wanted to contribute to cyberspace. Everything is going well. Dare I say I feel used to being a mom now? That would probably be an overstatement. But I love routine, and I've finally fallen into the routine of having a baby. Nothing really bothers me as long as I can predict it and organize my life around it. It's weird really, that I enjoy anything habitual and I am such a disorganized person...anyway, I mostly know when I can fit things in here and there.

Mike goes back to work week after next and I'm terrified of that. It will change my routine, and I'll have to work it out all over again. He has been such an amazing help, holding and playing with Ender when I need to sleep, changing diapers and making dinner when I was completely conked. Of course, I can handle it on my own, but it's the little things: getting the stroller down the stairs by myself, getting him to his ten billion appointments in the next two weeks, and keeping him happy (and myself sane) through the course of the day. I've had people recommend moms groups to me, and I'm not sure how well that will work out. Toronto moms my age are few and far between. Its an expensive city to live in, and people who can afford to have kids in the GTA are usually way older than me and completely removed from my socioeconomic class. I need to find some kind of cool punk-rockity moms group, otherwise I don't' think there's any point of me going and feeling uncomfortable. Of course, that's probably the reason why I have so few friends.

Other news in my life: we're still looking for a house. We're looking at more on Monday, they're actually condo/townhomes in the area we used to live in. It's more downtown than we are now, which would be really nice. I miss living downtown, closer to Queen W. These townhomes are two bedrooms, two bath, two stories and have a rooftop terrace. The condo fees are 150-2oo, which is negligible compared to the going rate everywhere else in the city which is 400-500 per month. For many reasons, I look forward to home ownership. Mostly I want Ender to have a place to call home that we own, be able paint his room, have a dishwasher, and these townhomes would suit that purpose for the next 5 years, maximum, enough for its value to appreciate and let us upgrade to something larger when we needed it.

Also, I NEED to go shopping and SOON. All I have for clothes is two pair of jeans that are too big and a nursing tank top. I bought myself some shirts for postpartum but they're too small and the ones that fit are no good for nursing. It's dismal and depressing. I have prego dresses that fit, but I'm sick to death of them and they're not incredibly summery. I'm still waiting for my tax return to arrive, which will be spent on the following:
1. A pedicure. My feet look terrible, now that I can see them again.
2. A haircut. My hair has returned to normal, and I feel like I can cut it again without ending up with something that looks silly.
3. Sandals. Who wears socks in the summer? Not me.
4. Summery dresses and t-shirts with good boob access
5. A baby carrier. Ender hates his sling. He cries when I put him in it regardless of his mood, so we need to take him to a store and try out a bunch of them. We also need this for our trip to Calgary this summer, as he'll be too small for the umbrella-type strollers which are the only kind you're allowed to take as carry on on the plane.

Phew. Ok, I need to get back to life now. By the way, I am in awe of anyone with more than one kid. How do they do it with time to wash, get dressed and be seen in public??

Also, I haven't started smoking again. I thought I would, but it just didn't happen *shrugs*

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Birth Story

Okay, so in all the madness of being a brand spanking new first time mom, I've neglected writing out my birth story. This is no good, as I feel the memory of it slipping away from me already. So here we go.

On Thursday, I had another midwife appointment and had my membranes swept again by Kay. This time it hurt quite a lot, but she said I still wasn't very dilated and that the baby was posterior. His head was pressing on my spine, rather than turned the way it should be for easy passage. This was disappointing, but I was more focused on the fact that I was dismally overdue. That night, my back started to hurt a lot. I got frustrated with that, thinking that there was no progress anyway, that it wasn't labor and that I was just going to be uncomfortable until my induction date, which I had set for the following Wednesday. The back pain continued until Friday, and Mike took me out to Ethiopian food to cheer me up. We ended up going to the restaurant we had our first date in. We sat at the same table (not that difficult, because the restaurant is so small) and were served by the same waitress. It really is the best Ethiopian food in the city, aside from the sentimental connections. But those connections certainly made the meal more special. The waitress/owner commented jokingly that her food would 'make the baby'. I suppose it did.

That night I started having irregular contractions. The back pain would intensify and then ease off. We measured them online with 'contraction master', which Mike found humorous. The contractions surprised me. They didn't feel like I expected them to, and were mostly in my back. Since I had had contractions before that let off when i went to bed, I trucked myself off to sleep. I woke at 1:45 with intense back pain. I woke Mike up and we started timing. I called the midwife and she told me that they weren't long enough, so I should go back to sleep and rest up in case it was the real deal. I tried, but ended up sleeping on the couch, semi-reclined. When I laid down the contractions became intensely painful. I called Kay again in the morning, and she was already at another birth. She stopped by shortly, swept my membranes again, said I was only 2-3cm. She said she would send another midwife, Houley, to monitor me until she was done with the other birth that was in progress.

At 1:00 Houley arrived. Houley was a midwife from Africa who I had heard of but never met. Her English left much to be desired, which frankly stressed me out. I started to moan through the contractions, unable to speak. Houley made me some tea, and gave me some pausatilla, a homeopathic remedy, to hopefully turn the baby. The pain remained mostly in my back, which is referred to as 'back labour' and as far as I understand it, a whole other animal from regular labour. Mike rubbed my back incessantly, patiently holding me when I needed it. We 'slow danced', rocking back and forth for hours. I stared at his eyes through contractions, losing myself in them. You'd think that time measured in four minute increments would go slowly, but it raced by. My contractions were on top of each other, my uterus irritated by where Ender was sitting. They were two at a time sometimes, with double peaks, one minute apart.

Houley was relieved by Kay, who checked me again and said I was 3-4 cm. I had only dilated 1 cm in about 7 hours. I called my mother at some point through all this, and she arrived. She kept the mood light, remembering funny stories from when I was a kid. Her and Kay sat cross legged on the bedroom floor while I sat on the bed with Mike, labouring away. I sat in the bathtub and could feel the head of my future son bulging in my back, literally lifting me from the floor of the tub a little with each contraction. Mike could feel it too, as he rubbed me. Kay could tell I was getting tired, and told me that I should lay down. I got panicky, as this was my most painful position. She insisted it would lengthen the time between contractions, and probably move the baby more efficiently with each contraction, not to mention let me rest a little. I did so for a while, apparently passing out from the pain at one point, but this is what I was told by everyone else.

By midnight or so, I was getting frantic. I was exhausted, in a great deal of pain, and I didn't feel as though I was progressing. I wanted to go to the hospital. While the midwife's measured me as in 'active labour' for 12 hours, I had been in labour in my own mind since Friday. I sat in the bathtub, calling in Mike, my mother and Kay all in one at a time, like a ruined monarch. "You have to take me to the hospital." I said, "Nothings happening!". Mike tried to put me off. He knew how much I wanted a homebirth, but after I begged for a while he relented. Kay wanted to check me again before she transferred me to the hospital, just in case I was more dilated. I wasn't. She agreed now, that the transfer to the hospital was the best choice. I was going to be too exhausted to push soon, and I was still only at 3-4cm.

The car ride was a blur. I refused to wear my seatbelt, rocking my pelvis though contractions. My mother drove slowly down Queen street, and I vaguely recall swearing at the hipsters that blocked the road on the way to St. Joseph's. We got there, and I lumbered my way down the hall to labour and delivery. I didn't know I was capable of it before, but I walked forward through my contractions, silently. I didn't want to disturb any of the truly sick people! Imagine my conscientiousness! My eyes were wide, fixed, and I walked and walked and walked. I got to labour and delivery and let myself moan again. The nurses rallied around me, a transfer of care was given and a shot of morphine dispensed. It didn't make the contractions hurt any less, but it let me focus on resting in between them. By now my moaning had become monotone, repetitive. Women in other rooms laboured as well, moaning almost exactly the same as I. "I can close the door." Kay offered. "No, no, it's fine." I demurred. "She's doing good." Occasionally you'd hear the first cry of a baby. My mom smiled at me. I sat hooked up to monitors, leaning forward and eventually removing them. I couldn't sit still for them to do their work. Kay checked me again and I was 6cm. She told me we could still do it naturally, but I refused. I was so, so, so tired. I needed sleep.

The anesthesiologist, from what I can recall a skinny man with owl glasses who condescendingly asked me if I wanted my epidural now. It was 5 am. The hardest part of the whole labour was probably this, where I was expected to sit perfectly still through my contractions, which were still no more than two or three minutes apart and very lengthy. Mike held my feet as I sat on the side of the bed, rubbing them reassuringly. They finished, and taped up my back. I leaned back and slowly lost the burning, twisting sensation that had been plaguing me for the last two days. I slept. Mike slept on the pullout chair in the room. My mother kept vigil on a small steel stool next to my bed, as though convinced she was the only one monitoring the baby's heartbeat. I told her to go sleep in one of the family waiting rooms, but she refused and stayed with me. Kay went off to sleep in one of the unused hospital rooms.

By 7 in the morning, I was almost ready to push. I felt so much better and more refreshed. I could still feel my contractions through the epidural, it just didn't hurt. Nurses, midwives and obstetricians piled into the room to watch. Babette, my other midwife arrived. I pushed and pushed and pushed. I put my heart and soul into it. Everything I loved and hated and felt ever in my life, I put into pushing. My mother laughed at said she'd never seen me try so hard at anything in my life. Probably true. Kay told me to push three times for each contraction and I always tried for four. At one point, the lack of oxygen made me forget where I was. Why was I pushing? Who were all these people around me yelling for me to keep going, keep trying? I came to my senses with a gasp of air in. Mike was to my right, whispering in my ear. I really mostly listened to him, and blocked everyone else out. In between pushes I rested, smiling ear to ear and giggling like a little kid.

The push that pushed Ender's head out felt amazing, as did the one that pressed the rest of his little body out and into my arms. Mike and I screamed and laughed and cried. He was wet and warm and beautiful. I've never felt such a rush of inhibited joy before in my life. He cried softly at first and gave us a little pout of his lips, drew breath and let out a scream. He started to turn pinkish. They took him away to weigh him and he came in at a whopping 9 pounds 12 ounces. He was healthy and strong. The placenta showed no signs that I was almost two weeks overdue. He had come just when he wanted to, and just when it was right.

And that's the story of how it all happened. Now I can't forget.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A mommy!

Well after a long labour of love, Ender John Daniel Dowdall has arrived. I love him so much and he is absolutely beautiful. I've never experienced the joy that I did the moment he came out and was put on my face. I've never heard those sounds come out of me before, laughing and crying and screaming with happiness.

Now, however, I'm dealing with the baby blues. I'm enjoying myself, but crying all the time at everything. I'm told it won't last long, and when it's over I'll enter the world again. Until then, I'm a little useless to everyone except myself and Ender.

Being a mom is harder than I thought and easier too. More later though.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


11 days overdue.

I'm finally in labour. It's mostly back labour, which is unfortunate. I can kind of feel him grinding on my spine a little with each contraction. Called my mom to let her know what was up, but told her not to hop in the car just yet. The midwife is coming by soon. Contractions hurt at the moment, four minutes apart and one minute long, but are bearable with a tight grip on Mike's hands, breathing and some visualization. I'm so stoked I get to meet my little guy before the end of today.

More later.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Pity party

10 days overdue. (I'm going to admit right now, that scares the crap out of me to see written down)

The midwife did another much more successful 'stretch and sweep'. Boy-o-boy did that hurt! Mike held my hand and I had a chance to practice my breathing. She said while she did it, the baby descended some. He was following her fingers! What a strange little chap. Anyway, the result of this was apparently not labour, but spine crushing back pain that has been with me since this all occured. It's really really uncomfortable. I can't help but thinking that feeling this way is supposed to help me cope with the thought of induction. If my back hurts like this much longer, I feel like I'm going to go mad. I can't sleep, sit, lay down or do anything without moving every five minutes. Even the bathtub provides only momentary relief. To add to my pity party, the City of Toronto has decided to rip up my sidewalks. There is nothing more enraging to me than construction workers screaming outside my house at 6:30 in the morning. Why do they scream? I don't get it. The rest of us can talk in normal tones. Is it that much work to walk over to the guy you need to say 'more gravel' to? Apparently so.

As for the induction conversation. My 42 week deadline is the 5th of May. My midwife is willing to let me go past that, but only if I have a scary conversation with an OB about all the risks of it. I was planning on scheduling the induction for May 7th (the Friday, two days later) just in case he decides to come out on his own. The whole 42 week thing seems very arbitrary to me. Some babies just take longer, and it seems like ALL first time moms take longer. At the same time, I'm really torn. I don't want to risk anything with my baby. He's my world and if anything happened to him I would die. So I feel stuck between a rock and a hard place. Both induction and having a postdates baby have their risks. No matter what I choose I'm going to have the burden of choice and be up late at night worrying about him. Welcome to motherhood, right?

I am just so frustrated right now with my body. Everyone is calling all the time, Mike's on my case about when/how he should schedule work, my mom ditto, even my midwife joked that she is waking up every morning wondering why I haven't called her yet. While I'm sure women who are trying to concieve would call it a stretch, I suddenly have so much more understanding of what kind of frustration that would involve. It seems like such a simple thing that everyone can do. Then your body just decides not to do it. With labour it is decidedly public. I can't make it a quiet little secret that my uterus has decided not to rhythmically contract to the point of pushing this child out.

So here ends the pity party. Blame it on the back pain.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

History of me

9 days overdue.

Waiting for your first child to come into the world invariably makes you think about your own childhood. So, I've decided to give a brief (if that's possible) history of me. Everytime I write a history of my childhood I always discover new things. Last time it was that I am too self-pitying. The time before that I realised that I blame all my problems on others, etc. So this will attempt at being non-judgemental as well as self-exploratory. I will try and exclude unimportant extraneous details for the comfort of the reader. Here we go...

I was born in the summer of 1984 in Toronto, Ontario. My mother was the same age as I am now, and my dad was a year older than Mike. I was an 'accident', but as far as I can tell a happy one. My mom walked long distances in the mucky Torontonian heat, and from what I understand, had a relatively easy pregnancy. I was born in a hospital, taken home, and loved.

Mostly what I remember of Toronto is the east end of it known as Little Greece. I still love this part of Toronto and if I could afford it, would love to live there. Unfortunately all the houses are running at half a mill. I remember having a steep front lawn that would topple any self-respecting lawn chair; I remember our elderly neighbors with whom we shared a yard giving me ice cream; I remember my babysitter making me honey sandwiches with the crusts cut off. I remember it was always summer. What I don't remember is probably more noteworthy, but this is my history, not someone else's. All I can rely upon are these sketchy memories.

When I was five, we moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia. My dad is a Nova Scotian, and met my mother there, though she's technically an American. I was first placed in the public school down the road, where I learned colors and names of foods. The kids in my class seemed enormous. My friend was a girl with stringy hair and perpetual conjunctivitis. I sat near female twins that sucked on their hair nervously whispering to one another. During recess and lunch I would stand outside the school and stare at my pink velcro sneakers that had become increasingly brown and dirty from the Halifax rain. There was no playground, it was just a perpetually wet blacktop. The black girls would play double dutch, but gave up on me immediately when they realised I had no aptitude for it. My dad would pick me up and zip up my coat and ask me how my day had gone. I think I probably lied, making up more interesting things than had actually happened in that place. After school I would ride my bike in the gravel parking lot of our apartment building while my parents looked on, god-like, through the glass sliding doors on the level just above.

We moved again within Halifax to a detached house on a residential street, and I switched to a private school. To get in, I took a test in an airy classroom with sections for desks and sections for play. The test asked me to draw lines from coloured kites to the names of the colours. I suppose I passed. What followed was 5 years of intense academic study and wonderful friends. I would cry at night because my own brain wasn't organized properly for the amount of homework that private school expected. My mind would wander. I excelled at art, singly. All other report cards stated that I enjoyed socializing too much, and that I was disorganized. My best friend organized her coloured pencils by the tiny golden numbers engraved at the side. My cubby developed an incurable case of fruit flies. I learned subversion in this place. I purposefully forgot my uniform for gym constantly, learning that it would exempt me from the tedium of jumping, running and competition. My friends were children of doctors, lawyers and construction barons. They carried leather backpacks, and lived in enormous houses with pillars and had nannies that would pick them up after school and feed them celery with peanut butter. That said, I never felt they were better than me. I never envied what they had. I had plenty of my own, really. Perhaps they pitied me, but I'll never know. I did feel different from them, but this feeling of difference was minimal compared to what I was about to experience.

When I turned ten, the announcement was made that we were moving to Ontario and moving onto a farm. This was an ongoing dream of my parents': my father liked the idea of living on the land and being able to shoot guns whenever he wanted, and my mother was an acknowledged horsewoman. So we moved to the farm. This is where things get messy. Or maybe they were always messy, and this is just where I get old enough to notice. People ask me if I liked living in the country, and I've never really felt like I can answer that question fairly. All I remember about living in the country, start to finish, was how lonely I was. Through elementary school into highschool, it didn't matter how many people I had around me. I would walk around the land of our expansive farm by myself for hours. The majority of the year it was grey or snowy and the wind whistled across the fields and through the trees and I could scream and no one would hear me. It made me feel very very sad. Of course, other things were happening then too. My mother moved out, and became a teacher at my local highschool. I stayed with my father, on the farm, where my mother still kept her horses, as I recall. I started dating a boy from a nearby town. I think I liked him because he was tall like me, and gentle. To this day, I appreciate his gentleness, because it was a quality that previously I didn't know that men could posess. After that, it was one of my main attractions to any potential mate.

He and I moved to Montreal. But that is where my childhood ended, I think. When I paid (or didn't pay) my bills and cooked my food, and got fat and then skinny again. When I bought beer and cigarettes and it was legal.

Parenthood, as far as I can see it, is a chance at a second childhood. While my own was imperfect, I hope I can give my son all that I had, with regard to breadth of experience. I look back on what I've just wrote, and I realise I've left out some of the most heart-wrenching, smuttiest and hilarious stories that I have. The best thing I can hope for him is that one day, he'll have a mind and body full of similar stuff.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Activists need not apply

8 days overdue.

The biophysical profile at the hospital went well. It seems baby boy is healthy and from what I could tell, has a very fat little face!

So my dear blog followers, are you going crazy with waiting yet? I certainly am. I actually laid in bed for a while today, arms petulantly crossed: "I'm not getting out," I said to my baby "until you at least try to." Both he, and my bladder, won. It would seem that it has come to a battle of wills, and I'm losing. I'm not at all surprised considering his father and I are both pig-headed to the point of insanity. Thank goodness we have internet at home, which slices most 'I'm right and you're wrong' arguments in half with regard to duration.

Another midwife appointment tomorrow, another attempt at the 'stretch and sweep' hopefully with better results than last time. Then another biophysical profile on Saturday. Between the calls, e-mails and trips to the hospital, I'm feeling rushed. I can't imagine how liesurely it would have been to have gone into labour a couple of days before my due date.

Now, Mike and I are off for a picnic, which will serve the purpose to help me forget that waiting is driving me mad. He tried to nap, but I'll have none of that! I need mental stimulation, and plenty of it.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


1 week overdue.

Last night Mike and I went for a drive down the waterfront. Our plan was to go for a walk. Unfortunately, after nine is the worst time to try and find parking there. We drove up and down one stretch of street four times before I flipped out and told him to take me home. He didn't, and parked in the airport island ferry parking lot. Thank the good lord for this man, who ignores my screeching and puts up with me.

After I calmed down, it was really the loveliest walk imaginable. The air was very warm and the breeze was light. The lake was almost still and reflected the light in little pinpoints from the sailboats in the marina. We walked to Lower Spadina and sat on the 'wave boardwalk' sitting and talking and staring at the lake. It felt like we were dating again. It also reminded me a little of when we lived in Halifax, and used to go for walks by the waterfront at night. It's different of course, the lake doesn't have that wharfy smell or the dynamism of the ocean, but there's something about sitting by a large body of water that soothes two parties into a restful, easy conversation that couldn't have occurred anywhere else. They should have international peace negotiations in front of bodies of water in the summertime. I'm sure it would do wonders, especially when the wind picks up and drowns out everything they thought was important.

By the end of the walk I was getting painful contractions and the baby was sitting so low I needed to get home. When I start to feel this way a car ride is incredibly painful. Every bump is torture; I gasp involuntarily as Mike swerves around attempting to avoid the potholes that litter the spring streets. Some streets are worse than others. The ones around our house are the worst. When it comes to the municipal purse, ours is a forgotten neighborhood. Our sidewalks were nearly blocked with ice and snow all winter, keeping many elderly residents housebound; our power went out for a full 35 hours on the coldest day of winter; our water gets shut on and off on a regular basis with less than two hours notice; and now our roads are being completely ignored. Mais, c'est la vie. If it weren't this way, it would just be one more neighborhood where we couldn't afford rent.

So if I don't go into labour tonight or early tomorrow morning, I have to go get my biophysical profile done at the hospital. Well not mine really, but the baby's. He'll get his little lungs looked at my ultrasound, and a battery of other tests to make sure the placenta is still giving him all he needs to survive inside of me. I think tonight's the night though. I can feel it. Or tomorrow. haha.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


5 days overdue.

Sunshine has been replaced by rain and humidity. Somehow I still managed to wake up with a dry, hacking cough. I blame the fan, which oscillates in a full circle around our bed, and dries everything out including my throat. Hack hack.

What shall I write about today? Well the thing on my mind today is boobs. Yes, boobs. Last night I watched the very underrated comedy starring David Schwimmer called "Breast Men" which is the story of the men who invented the silicone breast implant. The story is interesting on a twofold level:

Firstly, because the fact that several generations of women (when they have adequate funds) see nothing bizarre about stuffing their breasts full of sacks of fluid. If you are one of those women, one really only has to watch a breast implantation surgery to make it alien. If the incisions are made in the crease where the breast hangs, the surgeon stuffs his hands in there, separating muscle from rib, then cramming the gelatinous pod inside. If it is an armpit or belly button insertion, the empty implant is rolled up in a tube and once at its desired location, inflated like a life raft. One of the main issues post-surgery is the hardening of the breasts, where the body recognizes the foreign object and begins to wrap scar tissue around it. This can be alleviated by massage.

Secondly, the story is interesting because the silicone scare in the 90s was nothing more than hysteria. To this day there is no medical evidence that silicone in the body causes auto-immune disorders or any kind of sickness. Silicone is still used in a number of medical procedures, cosmetic (facial implants, most notably) and otherwise (pacemakers, for example). However, the claims that women were immobilized by those beacons of power -- full, voluptuous bust lines -- were too interesting to ignore. It was sexy and tragic. It represented so many archetypes: Narcissus at the river; the mutilated prostitute; even the forbidden apple of original sin. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were awarded to women who claimed they were victims of silicone. For a while silicone breast implants were inexplicably illegal. Now, if you want silicone you need to get saline first and then the doctor will change it up for you after. If you peruse cosmetic surgery forums, there are women who plan to do just that: they undergo expensive surgery with the full intent of them being 'starter breasts', waiting to get the more lifelike feel of silicone.

I feel like this has all been too condemnatory. I'm not opposed to breast implants at all. In fact, I think along with rainbow colored hair, piercings and tattoos, breast implantation is just another side of the multifaceted aesthetic of womankind these days. If all people were gung-ho about the appearance of altered breasts, I would be more concerned. The fact of the matter is, it's just a different kind of breast which tells a different story. Frankly, I think that's glorious to have as an option.

Breasts are on my mind, unremarkably, due to that movie, as well as the idea of breastfeeding. Our culture doesn't really explicitly prepare women for the transition of breasts from being sexual to functional in any way. I can see why after pregnancy, when they no longer look the same, women line up at the door to re-inflate. Instead, I hope to look at the whole activity the same as my stretch marks -- when they first arrived I was devastated. Now I see them as a testament to the journey that me, my husband and my son have all gone through together. I hope that I will have the same strength and joyous association with my whole body.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


4 days overdue.

It's a gorgeous day out. It's only 11 o'clock and it's already in the twenties. Mike and I stood outside for a little while, enjoying the sunshine. The plan is to go find a patio to have lunch on, if they're not all full. We have a car, so it shouldn't be difficult to roam around and find one. My heart starts to beat too hard from overexertion if I just stand for too long, which is a strange sensation. The baby is still happy in my womb, it would seem. Mike lightly jiggles my belly with his hands every once in a while, urging him to come out and meet us. He doesn't want to. I've decided I am making peace with this today.

There have been many times that we've talked about moving somewhere with better weather. We are young, transient, with very few obligations that keep us in one city. I like to live this way, even though home ownership has been an idea that's been batted around lately. Not having to endure another winter (though by far this one, combined with pregnancy, was one of my worst) is an incredibly appealing thought. However, I suspect that if we lived in a place where the weather was fine most days of the week, and I didn't own a winter jacket, I would in some ways feel cheated out of the unadulterated joy that the first warm sunny day of the year brings. It's like christmas morning for me; I open one eye just a little when I wake up, noticing the sky is blue. Cautiously, I open the window next to our bed and stick my hand out to feel a warm breeze. Warm! It means so many things! Sandals. A day outside. That delicious city smell; a mix between rotting fish guts and sunshine. Fantastic.

I seem to have lost my attention on this post, half way through. I meant to write more, but I am distracted. More later.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Induction insanity

3 days past due date.

The 'stretch and sweep' didn't work. The baby's head wasn't quite low enough to get a good hold of my cervix and therefore, no results. I am still terminally pregnant. Once again, I cleaned the apartment in preparation for nothing. Its cleanliness is starting to get to me. I feel like I live in a show home. I have the odd compulsion to throw things around, just to make it look more lived in.

So, as I've awaited going into labour, I've tried a good many things to get labour started. Some old wives tales, some supported by hard science. As a friend of mine said, these things seem to just keep a woman waiting for labour busy, more than bring it on in any fashion. At first this comment annoyed me, but here I am and I see the truth of it. So far I've tried:

1. Walking
I have walked high and walked low. Yesterday we walked through the Brick looking at couches (which admittedly turned into a lot of sitting, but the up and down motion must be good) and then cruised up and down EVERY isle of my favourite grocery store in forest hill. Yes, I have a favourite grocery store, and it's mostly because of the movators; slanty escalators that push your cart uphill from the underground parking. Awesome. Anyway, walking always seems to make my cervix hurt, and bring on a few contractions. Nothing really serious though.

2. Sex
I don't know what cruel scientist decided to test this and then publish the results that it helps bring on labour. Like a woman burdened with child really needs her husband to know about it. Ugh. But facts are facts, so they say, and even the midwife recommended it. Again I quote a friend in describing it as a 'kinky cirque du soliel'. It isn't pretty, it isn't comfy, and it hasn't yet brought on anything aside from a fit of giggles over feeling like a human pumpkin when I'm nude.

3. Spicy Food
I think that I had a few strikes against me for this one already since we consume spicy food many nights a week. Hotsauce has a place on our table next to the salt. I ordered the spiciest food they had at an Indian restaurant that I love. The waiter kept on checking on us making sure we were okay, stating that we were crazy and even he wouldn't eat something so hot. We broke a sweat, I had a few contractions, and then zilch.

4. Nipple Stimulation
I used my breast pump for this one. It did nothing except hurt. Ow.

5. Red Rasberry Leaf Tea
I've been drinking this since 36 weeks or so. It doesn't induce labour, but everyone operates under this false assumption. It is just supposed to improve the usefulness of the contractions. Admittedly, I've fallen by the wayside in my tea. But then again, I figured I would have this kid a week ago.

6. Evening Primrose Oil
Again, not meant to induce, but prepare the cervix for dialation and effacement. The midwife said I was 1cm and 30%, so I guess it worked?

So there you go. The conclusion I've come to? Natural induction doesn't work, and I probably won't waste my time if I ever have another overdue kid.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Pioneering motherhood for Torontonian twenty-somethings

2 days past due date.

I have my midwife appointment today around three. I'm going to get my 'membranes stripped' also known as a 'stretch and sweep'. Basically what happens is the midwife puts her fingers up my hoo-ha, and if I'm dialated sufficiently (I think it only has to be 1cm or so) she will seperate the bag of waters from the uterine lining. This trauma, which can have side effects of light bleeding, releases the hormones that spur on labour. Studies that I've been reading say it increases the chance of spontaneous labour by 20% in the 48 hours following the procedure. It sounds terrible, doesn't it? But at this point, I'm just happy for that 20%!! Also, I'm going to clean in preparation for the homebirth, before my appointment, just in case I get hit with really hard labour right after. My plan was to clean in early labour as something to do and get things moving along, but I'm afraid it'll hit me like a ton of bricks and I'll look at my hubbie's undies on the floor and be like, screw it! It doesn't matter! I hurt! Which to the pain-free me seems like a horribly embarassing, but very likely, thing to have happen. I like to maintain the illusion of cleanliness, even though we are slovenly pigs.

In other things on my mind -- a ton of people I know are getting married this summer. When Mike and I got married last year, every last one of our friends were taken off guard. Firstly, because it was us and we were the last people that were expected to buy into such an institution (but isn't part and parcel of being nonconformist, doing exactly the opposite of what people expect?) and secondly, because we were all so young (or so they kept on saying). Now I know a bunch of people who have announced plans this month to get married in the summer. Some I'm happy for, some I'm not. I feel guilty that I feel that I, in some way, have a right to feel one way or the other about it. If they want to do it, great! We had such a supportive wedding, and I wonder now how many people were secretly shaking their heads and thinking it was a terrible idea. But then again, we had no history of infidelities, and were always happy with one another, etc. Ugh. I think this may be part of being a grown up; learning to keep your mouth shut. So, the question is, after this crop of weddings, how long after the crop of babies!? I probably shouldn't get my hopes Toronto friends are yuppies at best (or perpetual students, artists and various misfits), and most of them won't have kids until they are in their forties. By then, oh how they shall grovel on their feet for my maternal knowledge!

I don't mind. I'm glad I'm taking the road less travelled. It makes me feel like a pioneer.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Waiting is such sweet sorrow...

1 day past due date: The wait begins.

I knew this would happen. I've read, in total, 5 mom-to-be books, perused the "Mothering" and "Babycentre" forums for months now, and am friends with mothers, doulas, and have two very informative midwives. Yet still, as my due date came and went yesterday, I couldn't help but feel a sense of disappointment.

I am unusual, I suppose, in that I am not afraid of natural birth. It just doesn't scare me. I blame this on my mother, who has but a vague memory of her birth story, and always recounted it as 'not so bad'. My grandmother did four natural births before it was socially acceptable; she had to scour New Jersey to find a doctor that would agree to it. So this is the tradition whence I came. My mother didn't even know when I was due. We are very casual in our strength as matriarchs. I am not afraid of pain.

I am, however, afraid of missing out on spontaneous labour. I'm afraid of knowing in advance, whether it be in the form of induction or c-section. My mind will build it up too much and then yes, I will feel fear. Fear of staph, scalpels, pitocin, cervadil, extractions and infections. A series of contrived words that all seem to be missing vowels and humanity. Things that I don't want involved in the birth of my baby boy.

I think a lot about him these days. I wonder if he'll have the thick, spiky black hair his dad sported from birth, or my own downy peach fuzz. I wonder if he'll be willing to try calamari, foie gras and sushi, or whether he'll insist on hotdogs at every meal. I wonder if he'll like me. I wonder if when he cries it will make me cry, or when he pukes, if I'll puke. I wonder what we'll have in common when he's a teenager, if anything. Regardless of the answers to any of these questions, I am so excited to find out.

In a more trivial vein, I am also looking forward to getting back on the treadmill (metaphorically, of course, since sidewalks are just as good, and free) and getting back to myself again. This kind of 'body as temple' responsibility just doesn't suit me. I am a woman of evening cocktails, a late evening cigarello, and yes, I like to look sexy. Once you're pregnant, you immediately feel guilty for all of these things. Smoking and drinking most obviously -- but more insidiously, looking sexy. As soon as you see that tiny person scooting around on the ultrasound screen, you feel wrong wearing red lipstick, high heels and a pushup bra. There's a tiny baby being held inside you after all, and I doubt he'd choose for you to dress that way! haha. It's a strange thing. A strange sense of responsibility.

So here I am, waiting for my baby to come, with so much important (and less important) things to look forward to! Either way, he'll be here in the next 13 days. Huzzah!