Things made more difficult thanks to my belly-baby

Ladies and gentlemen, I am in the home stretch.  The third trimester.  I am thirty-one weeks along, which means that in nine weeks (give or take two weeks on either side) I will have a baby.  Cue mild, moderate, or maximum panic.

The first trimester sucked.  I was exhausted all the time.  I threw up a lot and couldn’t actually walk through my building because the smells emanating from my international neighbours’ apartments were just too much to bear.  My throat burned from puking one too many times.  I couldn’t celebrate graduating from Queen’s in the proper way (read: have a beer) and had to miss a friend’s wedding because I was too damn sick.  Worse, I had nothing to show for it.  No belly, no “glow”, no think luxurious hair, nothing.  It was not a good time.

Second trimester brought some relief (bye bye morning sickness!) but also new complaints.  I have terrible seasonal allergies.  I pound reactine and sniff flonase like there’s no tomorrow.  Well…those are apparently big no-nos for pregnant ladies.  There did come a point where a few hits of prescription nasal spray entered my nose, because I think not being able to breathe is much more damaging to the baby than any potential side effect.  I somehow survived allergy season through a combination of saline solution, local unpasteurized honey, too many showers, and creating my own little hermitage.  The hermitage thing worked pretty well…until the heat wave began.  The day we installed our air conditioner was the best day of my life.  Jason and I dragged the mattress into the living room and watched movies in sub-zero temperatures.  And preggosaurus survived another day.

Now I’m in the third trimester.  Insomnia is here, so there is a lot of middle-of-the-night-knitting going on in this apartment.  A bottle of gaviscon tablets is always at hand so I can cope with heartburn that often leaves me in tears.  I officially look pregnant: people ask me when I’m due and what I’m having.  A guy gave up his seat on the bus for me.  Baby kicks strong and hard enough not only for me to feel it, but also to see it.  And my belly is getting bigger every day.

Big enough to get in the way of just about everything.  Cygnet, I love you, but you do make life a little more difficult these days, although you provide some great laughs while doing so.

1.  Furniture.  Something I used to take for granted was getting in and out of bed. Or up off the sofa.  Or to sit on our crappy Ikea dining room chairs and not leave a pool of sweat behind.  Movement once fluid and free is now a calculated, multi-step process (and it looks pretty damn awkward most of the time).

2.  Clothing.  NOTHING FITS.  I know, this is not a new complaint.  I have made the best of the situation, as thankfully many of my sundresses and tunics were able to accommodate my growing belly.  And second-hand stores are a treasure trove when it comes to high-end maternity wear, as is simply buying things a few sizes bigger than I normally would.  But…I’m getting to the point where some of my earlier maternity wardrobe no longer fits (see you later, black cords).  And then there’s the matter of undergarments.  My bosom is most ample.  My bras?  Not so much.  Even getting dressed is a challenge: thanks to pelvic pain and a basketball-belly it is a challenge to put on socks and underwear.  I want a muumuu.

3.  Anything that involves bending over.  A few days ago there was a big pile of dirty clothes on our bedroom floor.  Every day, I told myself I would tackle the pile.  And every day, the pile remaining, taunting me as it grew with new articles of cast-off clothing and miscellaneous accessories.  Eventually, I broke down in tears, pleading with Jason to please please please take care of the pile.  He did, because I simply could not bend over to pick up the clothes.  And there are only so many squats I am willing to do, no matter how much that form of exercise will help me during labour.  I have the same problem when it comes to reaching over: it can’t be done.  If I am knitting at one end of the sofa, and my pattern book is at the other end…well, I have to get up and walk over, or have Jason fetch it for me.  And don’t even think about asking me to clean the bathtub.  It’s not going to happen, even with all-natural organic pregnancy-friendly plant-based cleaning products.

4.  Prolonged sitting.  Car rides between Kingston and Ottawa.  Movies.  Church.  All new and unusual forms of torture.  My back doesn’t like it.  The baby doesn’t like it.  I have to pee.

5.  Peeing.  Pregnant women pee all the time.  Did you know that?  They spend half of their time on the toilet and the other half looking for a toilet.  But that’s not the annoying part.  The annoying part is the OMG I AM GOING TO WET MY PANTS feeling, sitting down and expecting Niagra Falls, and then producing the teensiest little tinkle.

6.  Aquafit.  I used to be a champion in the water (not that anyone gave out prizes).  I could have been in an underwater kick line.  Oh how I kicked!  Oh how I jumped!  Oh how I crunched!  And then I had to go and get knocked up.  And crunches were out.  And my kicks became lower than those of the woman recovering from knee surgery.  And eventually I just started doing the duck walk for every other exercise.  I AM SICK OF THE DUCK WALK.

7.  Walking.  It hurts.  Especially walking up stairs.  Have I mentioned we live in a third-floor walk up?  Maybe it’s time for me to re-visit the hermit thing.

8.  Sex.  Enough said.

9.  Halloween.  A few years back I made myself a rocking bee costume.  Antennae, wings, and a yellow shirt I painted with black and gold stripes.  It was a simple and cheap yet cool and kickass costume.  I was working at Circle K/Irving back then, and I think it was the only time I was excited for work, because I got to wear my bee costume.  Last year I was candy princess (although I learned the hard way that it is a dumb idea to wear a costume involving candy when you teach grade nine).  I donated most of the candy princess costume, but recently found the bee costume.  Hmmm, maybe this will work!  And then I stuffed myself into the yellow shirt.  And couldn’t get out again.  Bee costume FAIL.  I will probably spend Halloween eating my way through a 54 pack of “fun-size” candy bars.

10.  You know what?  Life in general is made more difficult because of my belly-baby.  I can’t wait for my due date.



Thinking about the ‘holiday season’

I used to get really pissed off when Christmas ‘stuff’ hit the shelves in stores, specifically in that “oh god, it comes earlier every year” kind of way.  Halloween isn’t even over yet, and then there’s the issue of Remembrance Day.  I personally feel it is incredibly disrespectful to have any kind of Christmas decoration out until after Remembrance Day has passed, and that includes all the other crap you see at the stores or on people’s houses.  Even if you wait until after November 11th…there’s still six weeks to get ready.  Six weeks to shop, decorate, and plan parties to your heart’s content (and maybe focus on what’s actually important…you know, faith, family, friends…just a thought).

But this year I’m feeling a little different about the whole thing.  I haven’t actually seen any decorations, nor have I heard any Christmas music, although there is a boatload of merchandise at just about every major store.  Maybe it’s because I’m pregnant and so now Christmas takes on a whole new meaning…maybe it’s because I’m having a Christmas baby, so I’m already on countdown.

Or maybe it’s because I’m insane and am aiming to have a handmade Christmas this year.  The whole shebang.  I started working on gifts in September and it doesn’t look like I’ll be finished any time soon.  There’s much to knit, to craft, to bake.  I find myself walking the aisles at Michael’s and Zellers and Value Village, seeking out inspiration, and actually being thankful all that merchandise arrives nice and early, because crafters can never have too much time to prepare.

Plus, I’m home all day by myself.  If I didn’t craft I would go insane.  It’s relaxing, fun, and productive.  That sweater I started for Jason LAST fall?  It’s actually going to be finished in time for Christmas.  I’m learning new knitting techniques.  I get to build our own decorations and dream about new family traditions.  I’m already thinking about next year, believe it or not.  Baby could come any time, but I don’t think it’s likely Cygnet will be here until 2012.  So, I have a ‘Christmas 2012’ file folder in my head…although who knows.  Maybe with a baby on hand I wont have the time or energy or desire for a handmade holiday.

But I like to think that I will.  I like to think I can start this tradition.  So maybe Christmas coming earlier every year isn’t such a bad thing.

What I do

Sept 28th, 2011
What do I do with my days? How do I pass the time? What do I accomplish? Does my work have meaning? Should I even call it ‘work’? How do I define myself? What is my value to society? To my husband and family? To myself?
I don’t have the answers. My days are varied. Here is an example of what can happen on any given day (today happens to be Wednesday).
6:00 am. I have set my alarm for 6:20 in hopes of making it to early morning aquafit at the YMCA. My body wakes me before the alarm-this is typical. Our bedroom is much cooler than it was when I climbed into bed last night…ahh. It is pouring rain. I would get soaked before jumping in the pool. No dice. I reset the alarm for 7:20 and roll over (this is now a multi-step process.)
7:20 am. The alarm goes off. Snooze is hit. I eventually pester Jason out of bed, as he works at nine am. I hate being late, and also hate the thought of him being late. I can stay in bed, but slowly sit up, then stand up, holding my belly with my left hand. Still raining. I wander out of the bedroom-Jason is on the computer, no breakfast in sight. I drink a glass of water, then put some water in a pot to boil for oatmeal. While it boils I throw together a lunch for Jason. We pack lunches to keep our dining-out expenses at a minimum. It mostly works, although a green bowl has gone missing, as has a few pieces of cutlery.
7:45 am. Breakfast. Oatmeal. With milk and brown sugar. A classic. I catch up on facebook gossip. Jason eventually climbs in the shower.
8:25 am. Jason leaves for work. I pout, since my rainboots have holes in them and my rainjacket has been missing for quite some time now. Unless it lets up, I don’t think I will be making a trip to the library. We kiss goodbye. “Do you have your lunch? Eat the healthy stuff first, BEFORE you eat your treats.” “I have treats?” “Yes, two chocolate biscuits and that nasty eyeball pudding.”
8:30 am. Time for what my mother calls “puttering”. Picking up and putting things away, or at least making a pile to be sorted. Things have a tendency to migrate within our apartment: cookbooks, knitting patterns, clothing, mugs and cups, beauty products, dvds and books from the library, a bunch of leeks left on the dining room table, the list of pager numbers for my midwives…I make a small pot of lady grey tea while I start tidying up.
9:01 am. What needs to be accomplished today? The bed needs to be made, clothes need to be sorted and put away, I must make a pot of potato leek soup for tonight’s potluck, garbage and recycling should go out, library books are due back, and I really want to finish that mitten so I can cross one Christmas gift off my list. I want the apartment to look presentable for when Jason comes home. He works nine to five today, and I know he’ll be less stressed if the apartment is clean and organized. The song “Happy Homemaker” plays in my head.
9:17 am. It has stopped raining. Mostly.
9:29 am. I leave the dishes to soak while I take my shower. Before I was pregnant, I never showered every single day. I didn’t need to. Now? I sweat. A lot. And the icky-sticky feeling makes me warn to scream, so daily showers it is. Post-shower I engage in a very important ritual: Lubriderm for my belly, boobs, and bum, and baby powder for everywhere else. These are the life-savers of the pregnant woman. Or at least, this pregnant woman.
10:01 am. Dishes done. I hear a rare but familiar noise: the street sweeper is out. This one is orange, and owned by the city of Kingston. The ones in Ottawa were blue, and the contract had been privatized: “John’s Sweeping”. I always liked watching the street sweeper, back when I was a little girl, as the giant brushes held the same novelty as the corkscrew blade on the snowbank eater (minus the terror). The street sweeper reminds me of something else: the knife sharpening van. It would drive slowly through our old neighbourhood, ringing a belly in a rhythmic pattern I can still recall today, back when people actually took care of their knives and had them professionally sharpened instead of buying another set. The guy who drove the van was ancient when I was a child. I wonder if he’s still alive.
10:16 am. Bed made. I hope the temperature drops soon because I want to put my duvet out! And retire the blue blanket, permanently. It’s a decade old and very thin and covered in pills. I had a sentimental attachment for a while, but it’s waning. I realized over the summer: it’s only stuff. It’s okay to let go.
11:13 am. Talked to my friend Maggie on facebook chat, then finished a major part of the mitten. Now to add the funky handspun wool I bought in Sackville however many years ago. Mitten will be finished today! I’m already dreaming of a leaf-inspired scarf as my next project. Then leg warmers for Allison. And maybe if Jason is lucky, I’ll finish his sweater. You know, the one that was supposed to be his Christmas present LAST year.
12:24 pm. Lunch was simple: ramen noodles in chicken broth topped with leftover pork and broccoli. I sliced the pork as thin as possible: the result was sort of a bastard pho. It satisfied my cravings and also took care of the dizzy spell I was having. My blood pressure is naturally low, so I’m prone to dizzy and fainting spells. Pregnancy makes this worse, due mostly to the fact that my blood volume has doubled, my heart has to work twice as hard, and my lung capacity has decreased. I think I will head to bed now: knit for half an hour and then nap. And god knows when I’ll wake up from the nap.
2:48 pm. I did what I said I was going to do. Knit in bed and then napped. Now I am slightly bleary-eyed.
3:16 pm. Snacktime (applesauce). I’m starting to feel like a human being again (I am waking up). Jason called a little while back, he got the job at Rogers. And soon we will have a long drawn-out conversation about the pros and cons of Rogers versus Future Shop. I think a trip to the mall to help figure this one out will be in order. Hopefully that trip results in pretzels. I like pretzels.
3:40 pm. I sort and put away clothes, “put away” meaning that most items go into the laundry basket. I need to do laundry. I hate doing laundry. The stupid machine is three floors down, two buildings over. It is an all-day job. One I will do on Friday. The mitten nears completion.
4:04 pm. Getting ready to go out. I have library books to return and new ones to pick up, and for some reason the KFPL website wont let me reserve “Not Your Mama’s Knitting”. I may also check the mail. I like getting mail. There is probably nothing there except coupons or junk or a vast empty void.
4:40 pm. Back from the library. And we had mail! An invitation to my Aunt Louise and Uncle Tommy’s 50th Wedding Anniversary Party. I hope we can both attend. I am now hot, sticky, dizzy, and out of breath.
4:50 pm. We’re going to a potluck tonight, and the challenge is to make something new. For me, this means potato leek soup. It’s very seasonable. One note: leeks and onions from the farmer’s market are far more potent than anything you can buy at the grocery store. My eyes are still burning. I kind of want to buy a pair of those special goggles that protect sensitive eyes while dicing onions and other pungent things.
5:22 pm. Just vacuumed the damn rug. Oh how I hate that rug. In twenty minutes it will look dirty again. Note to self: never buy black rugs. And never let your husband buy black rugs. Essentially, fuck carpets (but thank god for Dyson vacuums).
5:43 pm. Jason is home. Kisses. More kisses.
5:50 pm. Chocolate biscuit time!
6:39 pm. Time to leave for the potluck. Soup has been blended and transferred to my cast iron dutch oven. If someone tries to mug me, I have a pretty good weapon.
10:34 pm. Back from the potluck, and stuffed, as usual. SOOO MUCH GOOD FOOD. Korean salad, quinoa, polenta, potato leek soup, spaghetti squash burritos, blueberry pie, apple cheesecake chimichangas, and a failed baked Alaska turned weird scrambled egg dessert. And beer, not that I could partake. Lots of good company and conversations. Three pretty kitties, and I didn’t have an allergy attack! Jason and I went for a quick drive afterwards. I will probably crash soon.
10:47 pm. Time for a little knitting before bed. I need to wind down.
11:13 pm. The mitten is almost finished. All I have left to do is the thumb, and the final details (weaving in loose ends and blocking the pair). Bed now, after teeth brushing and face washing and all that hygienic stuff. Thus ends my day. I am exhausted. I feel I accomplished many things…not everything I wanted to do, but close enough. A tiring day. A good day.

(I wrote this almost one month ago…lately I have been keeping my writing private, and personal. As it gets harder to move about, I think I will spend more time writing and crafting, so hopefully there will be more blog posts to come.)