Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Nine Month Itch...

I got the nursery furniture on Thursday! My sister and brother in law came with the crib, change table and rocker! I am so grateful to them for giving me these much needed pieces now that little Reggie has outgrown them.

The nursery has been nearly empty for so long, I was excited to have everything here. I couldn't wait to get the room all set up. I filled the shelves, washed and set up the bedding. Then I felt all warm and fuzzy thinking about having my baby girl in her room...

I had decided on furniture placement months ago, before I had anything in the room. Originally I was planning to have the crib under the window as the focal point. I had everything set up in my mind. I did a bit of research however and discovered that when it comes to a baby's room you can't just think of aesthetics. You have to plan for purpose and safety. It's dangerous to have the crib close to a window (I guess for when they get old enough to reach the window and possibly climb out!) It makes sense to have the crib as close to the door as possible so that baby is easy to reach in the middle of the night. (Crying happens, go figure!)

I had decided on an ocean theme very early on. I am obsessed with the ocean and it's a theme in almost my whole house! I painted the room turquoise, did a series of mermaid paintings and looked for oceanic items to fill the room. I was thrilled to get this Lambs & Ivy "Under the Sea" crib bedding set at my shower. It also includes the valance and diaper stacker. The sea theme is rather unique and difficult to find. Most bedding sets out there seem to have animal themes -- Disney, jungle animals, monkeys. There are also birds, bugs, flowers. All cute, but none quite right for baby and me. I was happy as well that I managed to get a cute little clip on musical aquarium for the crib for $5 on Kijiji! I was buying an ocean theme kick and crawl gym (also a steal) and asked if she had any other ocean themed items. She dug out this aquarium for me. It just needed a little TLC. New batteries and a good cleaning. Brand new these things can go for anywhere from $40-75 so it was a real bargain! I've always been a bargain hunter and as a single Mom I'm sure I'll have to be even more creative/resourceful with my purchases. My Mom gave me a poster of tropical fish in Fiji. Aside from my paintings I wanted to have images of real fish in the room. If they weren't so much work I would LOVE to have a real aquarium. Tropical fish are so beautiful and so soothing to watch. I have a DVD called Naked Fish that turns your TV into an aquarium of sorts. But it's not quite the same.

The rocking chair is next to the crib and the bookcase -- again, placed for purpose since I'd be taking baby from the crib to soothe and feed her in the rocker as well as reading her bedtime stories before putting her to bed. I've managed to collect several storybooks already, some even in an ocean theme! I also added little sea theme toys to the shelves. It's so colourful. I got the little bookcase at Walmart. It was quite reasonable and I knew that the wood would match the rest of the furniture.

The change table is placed between the closet and the dresser to be convenient for changing the baby. It has a drawer and shelves for supplies which I've filled with diapers, wipes, baby wash, shampoo, powder, other supplies and toys. I have the beautiful diaper cake my friend made nearby. I don't know if I'll have the heart to dip into it. I have enough diapers to last a while. Maybe if I run out I'll just try to sneak one out here and there without ruining the cake! The IKEA dresser I've had for a while. I got an amazing deal on it on Kijiji. On a tight budget, having furniture donated or finding items really cheap has been a godsend.

I can't believe the nursery is done! It's not like there was a rush really. When I first bring baby home she'll be in the bassinett in my room right next to me for the first couple of months anyway. I was just anxious to see it all finished and for baby to have her own room ready before she arrives. Not that she'd be able to see/appreciate it for a long time anyway!

It's so surreal standing in this bedroom now. The room had already undergone a metamorphosis at the end of last year, before I knew there would ever be a baby. When M, my baby's father had moved in in October, he had insisted on taking over this room as his office. The walls were grey. Given his rather macabre/creepy collection of scorpions and swords and his vampire-like tendency to keep the shade drawn all day, it was a rather dismal room while he inhabited it. It had been my collectibles/guest room before that (Many years ago I used to collect Barbies and bears. Yes my girl will have a lot to play with one day! Though I may try to steer her away from the Bob Mackie designer dolls!) At first I was reluctant to move all my display cabinets and the guest bed to the basement. But I wanted him to feel at home (and being a Scorpio he was controlling, had a spell on me and a tendency to get his way!) I was committed to making it work and I cleared the room for him, as requested (make that demanded! M didn't ask, he told and I complied.) I couldn't have dreamed at the time that it wouldn't stay his room for long (4 months). That he would leave me PREGNANT and that this would become the baby's NURSERY!

Perhaps it was because I was ready, unwittingly, to have a baby. My body was certainly ready! I conceived at lightning speed! I had been closed most of my life. Never fully committed to anyone or anything. Never really let love in completely. Always had one foot out the door. Even in long term relationships spanning several years. I was usually the control freak, used to getting my own way but with M, I surrendered. I gave myself completely. I opened my heart and my home in a way I never had. I was ready to let love in, as unlikely a partner as I'd chosen to do it with! I didn't realize that the love I was giving a space to would be a baby. She truly is the love of my life. I wonder if M had done the math and realized that he'd be losing his office to the baby. Maybe he thought I'd be so wrapped up in the baby that there wouldn't be room, time or energy for him anymore (he was rather demanding, like a baby himself! Again, I guess that was training for me!) If so, he may have been right. The baby is taking over my heart, my life and he would have been in the way. I still can't see how someone could walk away from his own child but perhaps it's different for men. Especially someone like him, with such a tragic past (no father, taken from his mother at 1 year old, bounced around foster homes), he'd gotten used to drifting and not really having a home. I have felt such a strong bond with the baby all along, but then I've been carrying her, feeling her move inside me, going through all the physical and emotional changes of pregnancy. He was somewhat detached from it all. It seemed like he was committed to this and wanted us to be a family in the first few months but then I guess he got scared/overwhelmed and as the first trimester closed, he made his exit. It's OK. Baby and me will be just fine without him. Despite the betrayal and heartbreak he caused me, I am grateful to M for this miraculous gift. If I hadn't met and fallen for him, this baby, this blessing would not exist. Having a child was something I had never imagined or dared to hope for myself but that I now know was always meant to be. It's ironic, after all the long-term relationships I've had, all the men I've loved that this most unlikely of partners/fathers was the one to give me a baby. The biggest (and best) surprise of my life. Life is strange. You can try to plan it but you can't predict what magic may happen to change all your plans and to change you forever.

After they had all the furniture set up in the room, it hit my sister that this was it. Her baby isn't really a baby anymore. He's a toddler now. Saying goodbye to the furniture was like saying farewell to the world of babydom. Considering babies are so much work, you would think it would be a relief to move on but I know a lot of Moms who miss having babies after their children start getting bigger. I guess that's why women are often willing to go through the whole ordeal again and again after their first child. I'm pretty sure (99.9% sure... Mind you, that's how certain I was that I'd never have children at all, so you never know!) this baby will be my ONLY one! I will cherish the time that she's small. I know it goes by so fast.

I don't know if it's just a coincidence but now that the room is complete, I feel ready. I was apprehensive about the big day, nervous about labour, delivery, birth, having a newborn. I was afraid of going early, terrified of my impending due date. I didn't think I was ready. I'm over it! Let's get this show on the road! Though I'm grateful for the experience, I don't think I'll ever miss being pregnant!

I've got the nine month itch. Literally and figuratively. My skin, stretched to capacity is so itchy. The belly and legs are bad enough. For some reason my big old swollen feet are BEYOND UNBEARABLE! I try to resist the urge to scratch but then finally give in and rip the hell out of them. Like any itch, it's Heaven while you're scratching but as soon as you're done, they're on fire. Sore. Raw. And itchier than ever. I've never had anything quite like it. I've never experienced poison ivy. The only comparison I can make would be if I had 10,000 mosquito bites on the tops of my feet. I managed to dig out an old container of Gold Bonds Medicated Powder to dust off my feet trying to relieve the itch. I think it helps a little (like maybe 2%) but the problem is now I'm leaving white footprints everywhere and it looks like my house has been invaded by a giant jelly donut!

I was feeling sad and depleted a week ago (refer to my previous post -- Worrying, waddling, weeping!) but now I have a renewed energy and excitement. I can't wait to have this baby! And I can't wait to be done with all the physical discomforts. Now I'm not so concerned with the pain of labour and nervousness about the baby as I am just focused on the excitement of finally having my baby and getting my body back to normal.

Unfortunately on Friday the doctor told me that it looks like I may go late! The baby's head was a bit lower but she hasn't really dropped yet. So it seems she isn't quite ready. D'oh! I don't want to be late! I asked the doctor, hypothetically, if I did go past my due date, what's the cut-off point. When do they induce? She said generally if it goes over 2 weeks they'll consider induction. TWO WEEKS?! I don't want the baby walking out at 10+ pounds at 42 weeks! She said it depends on my health, the baby's health, the hospital availability etc. Oh dear. This is getting more complicated. I asked if there was anything I could do myself to help things along if need be. She smiled and said "Sex." Uh yeah, that's not possible right now!!! No men in my life for quite some time (not since my baby's father). "Anything else?!" I asked. "MSG," she said. Mmm. Monosodium glutamate. Unhealthy though tasty and addictive little food additive. Bingo! I'm all over that! Chinese food and McDonalds, here I come! "What about dancing?" I asked. "Dance if you like. Do whatever you like but it wouldn't really help. Some people might have their own methods but even if they went into labour there would be no proof that that activity was actually why." Baby will come when she's good and ready. I just hope she's ready on time. Maybe she figures I take my sweet time with all my major life events (Leaving home at 36. Having a baby at 43...) so why rush? Besides, I had been putting out the vibe that I wasn't ready. Now I guess I have to radiate just how ready I am!

My body is preparing itself, I believe. I am getting more of those Braxton Hicks contractions. They used to come just once in a while. Once every couple of days. Then a couple of times each day. Now I seem to get one every hour or two. Sometimes they're more severe. I've started feeling more pressure, lower, very low, (almost like baby's on her way out sometimes!) and getting back pain, which is new. I mean my back is sore if I try to do anything or bend over but now I've had some back aches even when I'm doing nothing. I feel different. I look different too. My belly has gone from round to kind of an oval shape with a point at the bottom. I know from the doctor that that's the baby's head down there. She does feel lower now. Maybe she has moved down a bit after all the activity yesterday.

After my doctor's appointment, I went to visit my sister who had suggested we go swimming. I hadn't been swimming since pregnant and wanted to try going at least once this summer. My mother, who didn't want to go herself ("I couldn't stand being out in that heat!" But that's the best time to go swimming! "And it's too far to the washroom!" Well she did have a point there, but I won't let her know that!) tried to scare me and stop me from going. "You can't go swimming while pregnant! You could get an infection and hurt the baby!" I tried to tell her that I hadn't lost my mucus plug, my water hadn't broken. Baby was safely sealed up in her little biosphere. Besides we were going to a large chlorinated pool, not a contaminated lake. "You'll sink like a stone with your big belly!" Mom warned. Oh brother. I told her that in the water, everyone floats. You could be 400 lbs and still float. She told me to check with the doctor. So I asked. The doctor confirmed what I'd already told Mom. (I should have got the doctor to write me a note -- Dear Mrs. Pincivero -- you are WRONG again!) She said that swimming was a great idea. Good exercise and absolutely safe for baby and me. So there, Mom!

So we went to a local provinicial park with a huge pool. It was my first time swimming this summer. It was quite different squeezing into my tankini this year than changing into my assortment of bikinis last year. The water was very refreshing. Unfortunately the walk from the parking lot to our spot in the shade away from the pool as well as the long walk back and forth to the washrooms, nearly destroyed me. My sister was up ahead pushing the stroller, my niece tried to lag behind a bit to wait for me. I couldn't keep up. Normally I'm a fast walker but while pregnant even walking and breathing are a chore. It was one of the hottest days on record. 37 degrees. About 50 degrees with the humidex (That's 122 degrees fahrenheit for you non-metrics!!!) Yeah. Carrying around the extra weight (and stepping on the doctor's scale earlier was a shock. I have gained more than I thought...) and trying to walk with big swollen legs and balloon feet makes it that much harder. So I had some trouble breathing and felt like I might pass out.

I tried to set up the self-timer to get a photo of us but the timer only gives you 10 seconds and I couldn't waddle over that quickly! I did finally manage to get one. I just had to have my sister and niece standing nearby so I didn't have to cover so much ground in 10 seconds!

They say the camera adds 20 lbs. I think that when you're pregnant it adds an extra 50! I look back at photos from last summer and I can't believe how much bigger I am now. I was hoping I might start to get back in shape in August but from what I've read it looks like you have to wait 6-8 weeks before you can even start an exercise regimen. You have to give the body time to heal and get back to normal. I guess I'll have to aim for next summer. Of course I don't know how much my stretch marks will show. Maybe I'll have to retire my bikinis permanently. I didn't know after all my hard work to get in shape last year that I'd wind up pregnant in the Fall. Baby is worth it of course. I hope she appreciates it! I read that being pregnant actually tears your abdominal muscles and it takes a while for the space to close up. It's like your whole midsection is torn apart and renovated when baby moves in and even when she moves out it takes a while to remodel and refurbish the old digs! Breastfeeding is supposed to help the uterus shrink back to its normal size. Too bad it doesn't automatically do the same to your abs and everything else!

It kills me when I see celebrities that just gave birth and there they are on the beach with a flat tummy almost instantly. Then again they have the advantage of a million dollar budget, staff, nutritionists, personal trainers, not to mention airbrushing, smoke and mirrors!

The water was relatively cold but when the air is that hot you're happy to ease into it. I found it somewhat difficult to tread water and to swim forward on my tummy. It was rather uncomfortable. (I wouldn't want to admit that to my Mom. Though I did not, as she put it "sink like a stone!" I don't go in deep water anyway. I never did, even before I was pregnant. I like to be able to stand and have my head above water.) Floating on my back was relaxing and refreshing. I felt weightless. I looked up at the clouds and for a few moments had a flashback to last summer. It is very different being pregnant. I highly doubt I would ever have another baby. Even if I did I think I would try to arrange NOT to be pregnant during the summer, if at all possible!

The heat really has been a challenge. Just my luck that we're having the hottest summer on record. It's not so bad when it cools down at night at least but sometimes even the sun going down doesn't give you a break from the suffocatingly hot, humid air.

Last night I was so exhausted after swimming that I went to bed super early. I slept in the basement where it was cool. I woke up disoriented at 3 a.m. and came upstairs for something to eat. I ended up starting this blog at 4:30 a.m. I was too awake to sleep (and my powdery itchy feet weren't helping!) but too tired to stay up much longer. I ended up going back to bed and leaving the blog to finish today, Saturday. I wasn't sure whether to head back to the basement, crash on the couch (there was a nice breeze on the main floor but it didn't seem to reach the upper floor) or go try my own bed upstairs, in the hot zone. I finally settled on going up to my own bed. It's the only place I can ever seem to sleep properly. It was a bit warmer but did cool down somewhat and the fan next to me made it bearable. I even managed to sleep in today so I'm quite well rested now but I probably needed it!

I'm ready. Nursery done. Carseat installed (and I even got special little mirrors for the car so I can still see baby's face in the rear-facing seat.) Hospital bag packed. Stomach (feet and everything else) stretched beyond comprehension. The only thing that wasn't ready was me, mentally/emotionally. I was nervous about the pain of labour and scared by the prospect of being a Mom to a newborn. I'm over it. Hell yeah, I'm ready! Bring it on!

Maybe this is how it's supposed to be. Maybe the itchy feet and other discomforts are just to give you that push to motivate you past the fears and make you eager to face the most painful, difficult experience in life (labour!) To make you think, enough already, let's get this over with! I can't believe just a week ago I was telling people that I wasn't ready yet. What a donut I was! A powdered, jelly filled donut. I've actually now resorted to Penaten cream for my itchy feet because I was tearing them apart with my nails. Good old zinc oxide. It is soothing. And it keeps you from scratching because you don't want that white cream under your nails. Do you have any idea how sticky that stuff is?! It's almost impossible to wash off! I couldn't get it off my hands. Had to lather up several times, washing vigorously. How do you ever get it off a baby's butt when you use it for diaper rash? I guess it just stays there until the toddler years...

Today, I'm just taking it easy. Putting up my tired, sore, red, bloated, itchy as Hell feet. I got more than enough exercise yesterday. They talk about a "walk in the park" as though it's easy but when you're pregnant that walk in the park in blistering heat is like running a 50K marathon, after you've been hit by a bus and while wearing a suit that weighs 1,000 lbs. I think I also neglected to mention that the public washrooms are on a hill and our spot under the shade of a tree was also on a hill at the opposite end of the park. The pool was the valley in the middle where I could relax and get refreshed between my arduous uphill climbs. Hauling my big ole belly back and forth up one hill and the other was frustrating and exhausting, a little like Sisyphus (in Greek mythology) rolling the boulder up the hill just to have it roll back down again and again.
Anyway, I'm babbling! This was supposed to be a short post about the nursery and wound up being another long one. I may not be able to ramble like this in future posts. I'm soon going to have so much on my plate I don't know how I'll find the time. I imagine after the baby it will really be a challenge. I'll just have to jot down a few thoughts when I catch a minute here and there. Then again they say newborns sleep 16 hours a day. Of course, not all at once. This blog is like a diary and helps me through my journey so I definitely want to keep at it. And I'm sure I'll have a lot to say about my baby adventures!

This nine months has flown by. I've gone through such a range of experiences and emotions to get me here. Now this journey is ending and a new one, the biggest, most exciting adventure of my life, is about to begin. I'm ready when you are, baby! I'm anxious to meet you! Won't be long now (I hope!)

What should we have for dinner tonight? Something healthy for you little girl (salad, asparagus, fresh fruit) and then a treat for Mama. I've got a craving for MSG!


  1. Wow, what a struggle and journey you have had,It will all work out for you, have faith,you post a lot of pics, you should try this site, you get paid for sharing pictures, its a good gig, and with baby on the way a few extra bucks sure will help,I'm sure

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    1. Thank you! Yes it has been quite a journey! I do have faith that things will work out, it's just tough when I don't know how. I'll have to check out that site. Cheers, Ann Marie