Friday, May 4, 2012

Sugar and spice and everything nice...

I survived my glucose screening test! I was dreading it because (as I've mentioned before) I have a terrible phobia of needles/pain/blood to begin with and the thought of chugging back a sickening sugar drink then watching the clock for an hour, psyching myself out before the needle, didn't sound too appealing. Surprisingly, for the first time in my life, I DIDN'T FAINT when I got the needle! I'm not sure why this time was different. Maybe the baby made me stronger (she was nudging me a little during the test as if to say "It's OK, Mom!") Maybe being loaded with sugar helped. I think I actually have low blood sugar (I have low blood pressure) which contributes to fainting spells. After losing blood, I tend to feel weak, lightheaded. Or maybe it was because rather than resisting a fainting spell, this time I was fully EXPECTING it. I was surrendered to it, prepared for it. If "what you resist persists" (Carl Jung) then I guess what you surrender to retreats. I was prepared for the worst so it didn't wind up being so bad. They gave me the glucose drink which I had five minutes to consume, in the waiting room in front of an audience. A couple of the ladies were smiling at me knowingly, either because they had been through it themselves while they were pregnant or they were just enjoying watching someone else's discomfort. I made a bit of a face after the first sip but got used to it after a few gulps. It wasn't really THAT bad. It was orange flavoured. It had a C-plus/Tang/Gatorade feel to it -- none of which I like but which are tolerable. It was a bit sugary but I have a sweet tooth (Coca-cola is my weakness) so I could take it! I had the foresight to bring a magazine (which was good because they had nothing interesting in the waiting room) to occupy me for the hour while I waited for the sugar to go through my system. I read how Jessica Simpson was so petrified of the pain of labour (particularly after seeing her sister suffer through a 30 hour labour) that she wound up requesting a C-section for her delivery. It was the kind of magazine whose headlines are often suspect (or dead wrong) so I took the story (and the rest of the magazine) with a grain of salt but it was entertaining and did manage to pass the time. Before I knew it, I was on the last page and it was 5 minutes to bloodletting time.
"Ann Marie -- Room Number Two."
"Am I allowed to go to the washroom?" I asked sheepishly.
It was a relief because after an hour, I needed to go. I was also kind of hoping I'd eliminate all the sugar from my body and pass the test with flying colours so I wouldn't have to take the subsequent three hour test they subject you to if you fail the first. That one would be worse because you even have to fast beforehand. I think I'll be fine. If anything I believe I have low, not high, blood sugar. I've always had low blood pressure. Of course they have to test you to be sure you don't have gestational diabetes. I did try to cram for the test. I altered my diet, limited my sugar the day before the test so there wouldn't be a surplus in my system. I had extra vegetables rather than fruit, plain chicken and spinach for dinner. I drank milk and water rather than any juice. I didn't even have OJ in the morning as I usually do. (I was actually surprised by the sugar content in juice. You think that juice is healthy but fruit has its own natural sugar and in juice form it's even higher. I may start watering it down a little.)

I had plain oatmeal au natural (without sugar. It tasted like sludge. It reminded me of the line from "Goodnight Moon" -- "and a bowl full of mush." Quite different from the super yummy flavoured Maple and Brown Sugar Oatmeal. Mmmm. Mind you it's only 14 grams of sugar which isn't the end of the world.) I don't know if that's considered cheating. To me it was sort of like cramming for the dentist. I don't floss for a year and then the day of my appointment I brush my teeth four times and floss the heck out of my teeth and gums. They end up bleeding a little. I'm not a fan of going to the dentist either. I am honest when they ask though: "Have you been flossing?" "Truthfully no. Just today..."

So I get to Room Two and I warn the girl that I am a fainter. She kindly led me to another room where I could lay down instead of sitting up for the needle, which is helpful. She was very understanding and comforting. She said that a lot of people are squeamish of needles and feel a bit sick. I told her I was embarassed that I was such a wimp and that I didn't know how I'd ever survive labour.
"You'll do fine," she encouraged. "Is this your first child then?"
"First, last and only! Unexpected miracle baby. I'm 42. I actually thought I was going through early menopause. Didn't think I could be pregnant."
"Congratulations! That's awesome. Wow you don't look 42. I would have guessed you were much younger!" So that was nice to hear. The needle didn't hurt that much. I tried to relax. I breathed in through my nose, out through my mouth. The baby moving was a bit of a distraction. When it was over and she put the cotton ball and bandage on me, I waited for the familiar aftermath -- perspiring, vision going spotty etc -- but this time it didn't happen. I didn't faint! Woo hoo! Maybe I am getting stronger...

The nurse asked me if I knew what I was having. I was tempted to say "A baby!"
"A girl, I'm hoping." I explained, "but they could only be 70% sure at the ultrasound..." That was the 19 week ultrasound that was supposed to determine the sex definitively, but baby wasn't cooperating. My doctor wasn't going to send me for another ultrasound because the baby appeared healthy and she had no concerns. When I pouted she said "I guess I could send you for another at 32 weeks." That sounded so far away but now it's just another 4 weeks away. I'll remind the doctor to give me a requisition at my next appointment. I do want to know for sure. BEFORE the delivery.  At my last doctor appointment the doctor referred to the baby as "she." Everyone just seems to be operating under the assumption that it's a girl. Myself included. It just has to be a girl!
Mini beachwear! Can you stand it?

Little dresses are so cute!
I already have pink clothes. Most of the donations and gifts I've gotten so far have been pink. And I couldn't resist picking up a couple of little girlie outfits myself. Tiny little dresses. Even a miniscule bathing suit and sunglasses. Yes this baby HAS to be a girl! I'm a girlie girl. I couldn't relate to a boy. I don't like sports. Their clothes are boring. Their toys are boring. And frankly, after what I've been through (having my heart broken by a series of boys, most recently and dramatically by the baby's father) the male gender is not my favourite right now. It would be tough. Of course I would love my baby no matter what. I have loved boys. My nephews and the sons of single dads that I had dated in the past. I know that boys can be fun and sweet and an adventure. Girls can be higher maintenance, more demanding than boys. But I've been thinking girl all along. I'm counting on a girl. Sugar and spice and everything nice. I'm really not prepared for snips and snails and puppy dog tails.

Some people asked didn't I want to be surprised and why did it matter? Easy for them to say when they're married and have a boy and a girl. This is my one and only child and will be my life companion. Of course it matters and of course I want to know! Why would I want to be surprised? I'm a control freak! And I think I've had more than my share of surprises already! (Becoming pregnant at all was a shock and then being abandoned by the baby's father was another. No more surprises please!) Yes of course I would still love a baby boy but I would need to be PREPARED. I would have to rethink a lot of things. I'd have to come up with a name for one. I'm set on Michelle now for a girl (it was a play on her father's name which doesn't bother me, it was also my best friend's name when I was a kid. But if it's a boy I'm sure as heck not naming him Mike!!! Though I have known some wonderful Mikes -- my brother included -- I couldn't name my son after his deadbeat dad. No way.) I would need some boy clothes. Some people suggested it doesn't really matter for the sleepers because the baby wouldn't know the difference and no one would have to see them but I'd feel guilty putting a boy in pink. I couldn't do it. My Mom tried to tell me that between spitting up and messy diapers that I'd be going through six sleepers a day. I think she's exaggerating. If it's a girl, she's covered from 0-3 months. If it's a boy, I'm screwed.

I knew a woman who wanted a little girl so badly and had a boy instead. She and her hubby tried again, thinking the next child was bound to be a girl. By the end of it, she had four boys and never did get her girl. Of course she adored her sons and spoiled them rotten, but it was heartbreaking to never get the little girl she had dreamed about. I'm only having one and I'm hoping she'll be a girl, a girlie girl like her Mama. I'm really hoping the baby will not take after her dad. Or if she does that she'll get his few good qualities and skip his many tragic flaws. Of course our child could very well inherit traits from both parents but I believe people are products of nature and nurture. You are born with certain traits but the way that you are raised helps to shape the person you become. My ex had a tragic life and it damaged him beyond repair. No matter what my child will be raised with a lot of nurturing and love that was absent from my ex's formative years. I will do everything in my power to raise a happy, healthy, strong, well-adjusted child. Everything that he wasn't. I think that a mother's love is the most important foundation any of us can have. Mike missed out on that (his mother thrown in jail when he was one) and it scarred him for life.

Though not scientific, we did our own testing very early in the pregnancy to determine that it was a girl -- the "ring test" (where someone holds an object on a chain over your belly. You hold it still and let the energy of your body direct the object. If it circles, it's a girl. If it swings back and forth, it's a boy) and it circled for a girl. Each time we tried it, it circled. Yes it sounds like silly superstition but I believe there's something to it and my sister said it correctly predicted each of her children -- boy, girl, boy. (Then again it might be coincidence and the odds are 50-50.) I felt in my heart all along that my baby was a girl. I already named her and even her father, when he was still in the picture, was calling her "Michelle." The ultrasound technician did say 70%. Those are pretty good odds. Better than 50-50 anyway.

Me with my niece Shannon as a baby

Aside from a brief stint as a tomboy in my younger days (where I refused to wear dresses and ran around with scabby knees chasing frogs and snakes) I was always a girlie girl. I hated sports (with the exception of track and field where I seemed to excel. I was a very fast runner and could win any race. I liked to pretend I was the Bionic Woman or Wonder Woman. I was also good at high jumps, long jumps. I won the award of excellence in "Canada Fitness." It was organized sports that I couldn't do. I couldn't throw, catch or hit a ball to save my life. I hated gym class. I was always the last one picked for the team.) I loved Barbie. I wanted to be Wonder Woman. Beautiful, glamorous and powerful. I'm hoping for a girl that will love to dress up, dance ballet, sing, love art, writing, acting. I always wanted piano lessons and ballet lessons but my parents couldn't afford it. I'd love the chance to put my daughter through ballet. Is there anything cuter than a pink tutu?! Of course I wouldn't force her into anything she didn't want but if the interest is there I will certainly encourage and support her every way I can.

Shannon & me on the beach last Summer

My niece, Shannon is a beautiful girlie girl. With a pink and purple princess room. She likes wearing dresses. She won't even wear jeans. She's a lot like me -- she loves cats, she's an artist (quite a talented painter!) and a writer (clever, creative and imaginative, she's already written and illustrated several of her own little books. One is about a group of cats making a trip to a tropical island.)
I imagine having my own little girl. Playing with dolls. Having tea parties. Going shopping. Dressing up. Confiding in each other. Giggling. Hanging out at the beach together. I'd love to live on a beach someday. It's still my dream. I'm hoping my girl will love the water. I'm hoping she'll love Barbie. That's one thing Shannon never got into. Girls today don't seem to have the same affinity for Barbie that they did in my generation. Shannon had no interest at all. Everything had to be cats. I loved Barbie when I was younger. I would role play with her. She was a rock star, a spy, a superheroine, all the things that I wanted to be.

"Madame du Barbie" by Bob Mackie
Decades ago I discovered collectible Barbies and got into the hobby (back when I lived with my parents and had a disposable income.) I was even in a Barbie club with a bunch of gay men. It was a hoot. We went to conventions and on road trips. We had monthly meetings. A lot of the guys in the club were designers and on one occasion even dressed me up as a living Barbie! I don't collect them anymore but I have my collection in glass display cabinets. Barbie used to have her own room (the guest room) but was relegated to the basement when Mike moved in. It's just as well because now that room is available for the nursery. My little girl will inherit my collection. I won't let her play with the designer ones until she's old enough not to destroy them! The Bob Mackies are my favourites. When people asked me why I collected them I realized that it was a combination of things -- partly nostalgia for my childhood and partly wanting to live vicariously through Barbie. I will probably never have an opportunity to wear a Bob Mackie gown. But Barbie does. "We girls can do anything, right Barbie?"

I may be biased but I just think that girls are superior to boys. From what I've seen they are smarter, they learn faster, they communicate better. They are more fun. They are more sensitive. As babies they seem to develop much faster. They're easier to toilet train. They walk, talk and do everything sooner than boys do (at least from the majority of families I've seen.) Of course I know it's not all sugar and spice. Girls can be moodier, more demanding, more high maintenance, more complex. And little girls grow up to be teenagers and that can be scary! I'm sure I will be an overprotective Mom. I wouldn't want her to date until she's 30! And I would try to keep her away from the sort of characters that I often ended up with! In fairness, most of my long term boyfriends were basically good guys, just wrong for me. But some of the ones I fell for (including and ESPECIALLY my baby's father) -- Hoo boy! I may not have been very cautious about my own well-being but I'm not letting some monster get his mitts on my little angel! At the same time I don't want to be so controlling and restrictive (shades of my own mother) that it makes her want to rebel. It's a delicate balance, parenting. You want to give them enough discipline and structure to show them that you care and want to protect them. At the same time you have to allow them enough independence and show them enough trust that they can be their own person. My Mom never wanted us to be independent. She didn't want us to leave the nest. She almost got her wish with me! If you missed my previous post, I didn't actually move out of my parents' place until I was 36! I kept thinking I'd leave when I got married but then I never got married. I finally bought a house on a dare and here I am a few years later, a single Mom. So I got the house and the child, I just skipped the whole husband part. What can I say? Mr. Right never showed up. Maybe he will someday. Maybe I've done everything a little bit backwards but it's OK. I know a lot of people who did the whole natural progression from marriage to house to baby and it didn't pan out so well. Then they find themselves later in life, divorced and having to start all over. If I ever get married (and that's a huge IF at this point!) it will be for good. I wouldn't go into it if I wasn't 100% sure. There's too much at stake. I'm not dating for at least a year and even after that I would be very careful who I would let into my life. My child is my number one priority.

The bond between girls is so strong. Of course I love my father and my brothers but I'm so much closer to my Mom and my sister. They're my heart, my home, the ones who know me best and that I'm closest to. Even though my Mom drives me crazy sometimes, I can't imagine life without her. I talk to her every day. My sister is my best friend. I trust her implicitly. She's always been there for me. We have so much in common. I feel so comfortable with her. And she makes me laugh like no one else. My father was quiet and distant. It was my Mom that did the lion's share of the parenting. Dad just sort of had a background role. My brothers come to visit occasionally but not very often. Usually just on special occasions. Overall, I feel like women are closer. They are the glue that holds a family together. Women confide in each other at a level that men don't seem capable of. Men don't seem to have the same capacity for caring, tenderness, closeness. To me, having a little girl means having a lifelong companion and friend. I don't know that it's the same with boys. There is a saying -- "A son is a son 'til he takes a wife. A daughter's a daughter all of her life" and I definitely think there's something to it. I think the relationship between mothers and daughters is so much deeper.  My Mom, sister and I get together all the time. Girls are more sensitive, sentimental, thoughtful. More loving. More open. At least from what I've seen. (I'm generalizing here! I know there are some exceptions to every rule!)
"Mermaid Mother and Baby" by AMP

My little tropical backyard
Time is flying and there's still so much I want to do before the baby comes. I can't believe I'm in my third trimester, the home stretch. We're already into May and July is coming up so fast! The nursery is painted now but I still need to get the furniture from my sister (her hubby is going to bring it in his truck.) As part of the ocean theme I'm going for in the nursery (with walls painted turquoise already) I'm doing a series of mermaid paintings. This is one I've finished so far. I've always loved mermaids and I'm obsessed with the ocean. I'm not giving up on my dream of living on the beach someday. I'm hoping my daughter will love the beach as much as I do.

For now I have a backyard beach consisting of a palm tree, a sandy beach with lounge chairs, a flagstone patio and hardy tropical plants. I got the idea a couple of years ago after a trip to the Dominican. I wanted to recreate my own little tropical paradise here at home (though being in Canada, winter kind of puts a damper on the whole thing!) I always loved the feeling of sand in my toes. My nieces and nephews (as well as boyfriends' children) have played here in past Summers but I never imagined that one day I'd have my own child to build sandcastles with in my backyard.

A friend of mine when I told her that I was pregnant said that even before finding out she'd had a vision of me with a baby, but at the time she didn't know what it meant. She never imagined I'd be pregnant. (Anyone that knew me knew that I didn't plan to have children.) My friend is a little clairvoyant. She has had visions before that have come true. For example she kept seeing this log cabin in her mind and then one day saw it in real life, just as she had pictured. It turned out that it was part of her family history that she didn't know about. Even before hearing my news, she had a vision of me at the beach, in a bikini (hopefully I can get back into bikinis after the baby!) kneeling at the water's edge and holding a little girl up in the air. She had a little bathing suit and a sun hat on and she was laughing as I lifted her over my head. I have visions of walking on the beach, splashing in the water, playing in the sand. I can see us sleeping in a hammock. Having breakfast on the deck watching the sunrise. Yes I'm not giving up on my dream of living at the beach. But now there's a little girl there with me. And maybe someday a nice man to join us too. Until then we still have a sandy beach and tropical garden in the yard. We are surrounded by images of the ocean, palm trees, mermaids and fish. We have a bit of paradise here at home.

My life and my dreams are changing. The baby is my focus now. I won't stop being me. I will always try to make time for creativity -- writing, singing, painting etc and I'm hoping it's something I will be able to share with my child as she gets older.  But my baby will be my world. Especially in the beginning when she'll be dependent on me for everything. There is so much to share with her, to teach her. And I will no doubt learn from her. It will be good for me. It will help me appreciate the beauty and the magic of the simple things in life, seeing them again through her eyes. I want to be a good Mom, a Guardian Angel, a teacher, a friend and companion. I want to support and encourage her. To give her everything she could want. To make all her dreams come true, whatever they may be. And I will be there for her through anything.

This is the latest lullabye I've written for my baby -- "Right by your side." I already feel the bond between us and I know that I will always be there for her, for the rest of my life. Right by her side, supporting and loving her every step of the way.


  1. Interesting that you were given the 1 hr glucose test. The 3 hr test is usually standard in Ontario...I had to do the 3 hr test TWICE! But it was near as bad as I'd thought it would be. I hope your results are good.

    Your painting is beautiful, absolutely beautiful! I love the sound of your should post some photos!

    1. Really? Wow I guess I lucked out. Maybe because she suspects I have low blood sugar to start with? Or because she knows about my fainting & wanted to put me through a minimum of torture! Fingers crossed the results are good.

      Thank you re my painting! I was going to post a photo of the yard. I'll add one now if you want to check back again!