Nursery Preview – Odds and Ends

Most of the nursery furniture was set up yesterday, but there’s still some things to do with all of that. Figured I’d leave it for another post.

I have a few things for Spawn’s room that we’ve either picked up over the years, or are just small pieces that I’ve brought in to make everything else more special.

Without further ado….

Harry now carried a large cage that held a beautiful snowy owl, fast asleep with her head under her wing.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s [Sorcerer’s] Stone, Chapter 5 – Diagon Alley

Every Potter fan I know always laments that no one has figured out a way to actually use owls for delivering mail. Harry’s owl, Hedwig, in particular caused a huge issue when parents started buying their kids snowy owls as pets not realizing that owls are…not pets. Clearly, I was not in the market for a live owl. But a ton of the stuffed animal owls I’ve seen look…not good.

Then Chapters came out with a 12″ tall white owl with actual feathers. I couldn’t find it in stores, but when it went on sale online I picked it up. Just came in today, and I am so pleased with it.

Now we just need a name...

Now we just need a name…

…it was tiny, about the size of a large walnut. It was bright gold and had little fluttering silver wings. “This,” said Wood, “is the Golden Snitch, and it’s the most important ball of the lot.”
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s [Sorcerer’s] Stone, Chapter 10 – Hallowe’en

Much like with the winged keys, I thought about making a golden snitch. Then I found a super cheap version (also at Chapters) and just figured I’d call it a day. It comes on a small stand, but I may just hang it from the ceiling. We shall see…

I got 99 problems, but the snitch ain't one...

I got 99 problems, but the snitch ain’t one…

[Hermione] pinned the piece of parchment with all of their signatures on it on to the wall and wrote across the top in large letters: DUMBLEDORE’S ARMY.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 18 – Dumbledore’s Army

When MFH and I went to Florida for our Honeymoon, we wanted to bring back something that was 1. sort of over the top and 2. something we’d normally never spend the money on. We ended up coming home with a set of wizards wands. The Dumbledore’s Army set, to be exact. It used to hang in our entryway at our old place. Now, though, it’s going to Spawn.

I won't deny that we've occasionally amused ourselves by waving these around and shouting nonsense at one another.

I won’t deny that we’ve occasionally amused ourselves by waving these around and shouting nonsense at one another.

As if you needed further proof that we’re Big Huge Nerds, we also own the Harry Potter Wizard’s Collection BluRay/DVD set. (Just to be clear, we did not pay $699.99 for it, no matter what that Amazon link says. Holy Christ that’s a lot of money.)

It was a Christmas present to ourselves (along with the Bond 50 Collection) when MFH walked away from his office’s Christmas party with a $500 Visa Gift Card.

It comes in a great big box that opens up and has random compartments with things hidden in it. Opened, it’s huge, but closed it’s still a great big box. It never fit well in our living room, so it’s fun to be able to place it somewhere where it can be showcased properly.

It IS pretty awesome...

It IS pretty awesome…

I may or may not end up using some of the other “extras” that are in the above collection. One thing that for sure will end up as part of the décor is the map of Hogwarts, the surrounding area, and other places of note. It’s big, fabric, and sort of ideal for hanging on the wall. As per the usual, not exactly sure where exactly it’s going to go. Just that it will be there somewhere…

wizcollectionhogwartsmaplg

So that’s about it for now. More to come soon…

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Birth Plans (kinda)

Lately (literally within the last few days), I’ve been thinking a lot more about the actual event of getting Spawn from my belly into my arms.

Not really sure why, I just know that it’s something that has taken a much stronger forefront in my mind than ever before. As I’ve been reading about births since before I got pregnant, i can’t blame it on new information. I can’t even blame the dream, as that was more about keeping Spawn in then getting Spawn out. Maybe now that I’m (hopefully) over half way done being pregnant, I realize I’m getting closer and closer to birth every day?

Regardless, birth is on the brain.

I remember being younger, thinking if I ever had a baby, I would have a fully medicated birth. My preference was c-section, but not for any reason I can fully recall. I have vague flashes that had to do with being small and wanting to stay small…

My mother had an epidural with me. My brother messed up the docs timing and it was too late for her to have one with him. (And him at 9 1/2 lbs, no less.) She has much fonder memories of my birth then his.

Suffice it to say that I never had any issues at all with medical intervention and pain meds in birth. I grew up with menstrual cramps that I had to be medicated for. I felt like if the mere act of shedding my uterine lining was going to give me that much pain, managing to get a child out of me was going to be far too much for me to handle.

Then I started my crazy-lady research into all things pregnancy. I listened to other mothers’ stories. I watched documentaries, read medical studies/journals, took notice of professionals sitting on opposing sides of the fence and their varying opinions. I went back to mothers I knew and started asking questions about their births, their friends’ births, etc.

I started to realize that I would like to have a midwife rather than an ob/gyn attend me. I also realized that my gall bladder surgery made me really, really not want a c-section.  All of a sudden, I wanted a natural birth, free from instruments and medication and what have you.

Now, I’m not going to refuse these things if I actually need them.  I’m not anti-western medicine. I’m anti a doctor’s ease/comfort over my health. I have even read of situations where an episiotomy was very much required. If one of those situations was to occur, well, then I’m all for it.

The c-section is the one I’m having the biggest issue with. I know that I will take a serious situation for my midwife(s) to send me into surgery. There will be no other choice. Logically I get that. It is just something I want in my heart to avoid. Hopefully I’ll be one of the 94% that does. (If I wasn’t with a midwife, my chances of not getting a c-section would drop to 72%.)

Because I’m nothing if not a reader, I’ve been spending my non-fiction reading time with books on childbirth. I’m finding it’s best to take the good, disregard the nonsense, and do my due diligence with the rest.

Hypnobirthing, for example.

I might have been able to buy into the idea that the pain of childbirth was all in ones head, if not for two prime examples. The first being my beforementioned period pain. No one told me it would hurt, and I started a heck of a lot earlier than anyone I knew who would have been kind enough to inform me. So I had no fear of pain, just pain. The second is Mongan’s assertion that dogs or horses don’t feel pain in labor, so why should we? Maybe this makes sense for a lot of women, because they live life away from animals. I have watched horses gnaw their sides trying to get their contractions to stop. I’ve seen a horse with a hairline fracture in its leg act calmer than a mare during her first birth. If it hurts for them, and in theory they aren’t comparing birth horror stories in the paddock, then where’s the logic?

Now, do I believe that you can use mind over matter to control pain? Yup. Sitting on top of the pain of my infected gall bladder meant that when the doctors finally saw my scans, they were shocked by the severity.  “She’s been here for six hours,” one of the ER doctors muttered. The specialist immediately replied, “Get her on morphine now.” It wasn’t like I hadn’t told them I was in a lot of pain, I just didn’t want to be a crybaby in ER triage in front of all these other people with colds. I guess at some point they just assume if you’re not screaming, then you’re probably okay. :p

I also believe that fear does bad things for pain. After hearing that above conversation, I can tell you that my symptoms drastically increased. Of course, at that point I was in a bed behind a curtain, so the privacy ment I could permit myself to show/vocalize the pain more as well.

I wonder if that means I’d birth better in front of an audience? (Doesn’t matter, still wouldn’t do it.)

I’m enjoying Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth more than the Hypnobirthing book. There are things about it that still bug me. And I do occasionally just roll my eyes at it all. I do agree with the idea that a “civilized” woman should maybe get over herself and go a bit more “native.” Most ob/gyns will even admit that giving birth on your back is the worst position for getting the baby out, while adding that it is the easiest to monitor/deliver for the doctor. Personally, I’m not overly fond of PAPs/Gynecological exams. I’ll be perfectly happy to squat if that means that I won’t associate my birth with that event.

But despite all that, and my basic personal need to be on top of/control everything, I don’t really have a plan. I don’t know if you can fully understand how weird this is for me. It’s possibly the single event in my life in which I didn’t flare up in hives at the thought of how much I can’t control.

Maybe it is a bit of a lie to say I have no plan, though. My plan basically equals ending the event still alive with a baby. I feel like I’m allowed that plan without being called on my OCD.

More than that, I have a few things I would like, and a few I’d really like to avoid. Most will be managed by my midwife(s). I hired them because I wanted them to have control over my pregnancy. I don’t have any grand plans to suddenly take back the reins for the birth. And who knows, the day Spawn decides to start the process of making an appearance every single thought may go out the window. I can’t get hung up in all that.

All I can do is what I always do…
Read, listen, learn. Go forth armed with information and free from fear.

Birth-plan

Good News

After a very long 4-day wait, MFH and I got the news: We’ve officially been approved for our new, much bigger, apartment!

I had no idea how stressed I was about this until I got the news. It must have been the same for MFH, because when I called him he let out this breath for what seemed like a full minute. Isn’t it funny how you don’t realize how much you’re holding in until you relax and let it all go?

I can’t even express how happy this makes me. November 1st I will have a whole room to decorate for the Spawn! I’ll also have more space for all our books…and everything else. It’s two streets over from where we are now, so we know exactly what we’re getting into with the neighborhood.

It’s also about 400 sq ft bigger than what we’re in now. That makes it so much easier for me to imagine little toddling feet running around.

In our current place there’s barely enough room for MFH, Piper, and me. The books have taken us over. In the new place we’ll be able to put up at least three more Billy Bookcases (as our living room slowly turns into a library….).

Books Everywhere

This is more or less how I feel now…
[image via Fluffytheartist @DA]

The idea of spreading out in general is pretty comforting.
Which brings me to another topic altogether…

I had a convo on the phone with my Mom the other day. We were talking about, basically, how I’m kinda stoked for the growing belly. I’m fully aware that it’s not fat, it’s a baby. I’m happy to wear maternity clothes, because I feel like the cut and style tends to make me look pregnant, rather than “chunky.” I also admitted freely that I may change my tune completely come the discomforts of trimester 3.

Then, low and behold, the next day my reader feed was full of women coming in on one side or the other of this “I feel beautiful, I’m growing a human” vs. “I feel like a big fat blimp” debate. It was like all these people had listened to our conversation and were weighing in. And it kinda bummed me out a bit.

Well, not all of it. A lot of it was really supportive and wonderful and how I wish all preggos could feel about themselves.  But some of it was really bad you guys. Some of it had photos of women who would look good if someone told me they weren’t pregnant…and they were being really, super hard on themselves.

It brought me back to the convo with Mom, and something she said that really hurt my heart. When she was preggo with my brother, my Dad informed her that he just thought she looked fat. It kind of blows my mind that 1. he would say that in the first place and 2. my mother didn’t kick him in his dumb face.

I certainly don’t think MFH has any particular fetish for my expanding tummy, but I do know that he’s pretty happy with me being happy. (And I’m sure the spectacular boobs don’t hurt. He is a Marilyn guy, after all.)

But the fact that he is super supportive of my curves no matter how they actually curve probably makes this a lot easier on me. Women on my baby boards talk about the same maternity underwear I have and how their significant other makes fun of them when they wear it. MFH comments on their cuteness…or my cuteness in them. And, just like most things in my life, his approval/support means that I get dressed every day feeling comfortable (OMG soooo comfortable) and confident in my appearance.

Much like with the decompression of worry about the new apartment, there is something so wonderful about accepting your body and its changes and just letting go.

So I’ve had to keep a tube of cocoa butter at work as well as home to fend off the itchy belly skin as it expands; who cares? I’m comfortable. (And I also smell like chocolate. :p) Does it really matter that I sometimes wear my regular pants and other times wear my maternity ones?

I used to read Go Fug Yourself a lot. (I still do, but not half as regularly as I used to…I actually am busy at work these days.) One thing the the Fug Girls used to say often was, “GO UP A SIZE.” In their [paraphrased] words, “No one will know what the tag on your dress says but you. And you’ll be able to sit down AND breathe at the same time.”

It’s funny, but true. I remember a time when I would not buy an item of clothing if I couldn’t fit the size I thought I should be in it. Can’t get into those beautiful suede pants in a zero? Why don’t I try a two? I CAN’T! I’m not that big!! (OMG, I’m so glad I’m over that mindset. I look back now and roll my eyes at myself, totally unimpressed.)

Is it really worth fitting into my non-maternity jeans, if when I push them down they cause a bit of blood flow issues? It might be for someone else, but it sure isn’t worth it for me. I bought a pair of convertible panel Old Navy jeans. I can roll the elasticy part down or pull it up to my boobs, depending on the style of top I’m wearing. They are real jeans to about an inch above my pelvic bone in the front and almost as high as regular jeans in the back. I’m so excited to wear them, I’m planning a whole event outfit around them.

Maybe it’s me making the extra room, or maybe it’s just that time…but I got my first confirmed Spawn movements yesterday. I’m still fairly certain the weird lapping water feeling was Spawn, but yesterday was a lot more aggressive. I had  a long, very specific pressure (like a stretch) on one tiny part of my belly while in the shower…and then later I got more of a swatting sort of feeling around the same area. Definitely nothing like a kick yet, but really cool regardless.

I can’t wait until MFH can feel them. I think he’ll enjoy that. He’s already threatening to teach the Spawn how to tickle me. (I’m am ridiculously ticklish everywhere but the bottom of my feet. Yes, everywhere.) It’s annoying and I hate being tickled, so of course this idea is hilarious to him. That’s alright. I’m pretty sure Puppin and Spawn will team up against us soon enough…then he’ll be sorry. :p

It’s a happy day. (Happier day, even.) I’m bringing a bottle of champagne home for MFH to enjoy, and he’s bringing me a Chipotle burrito. Celebrations will then commence!

Feel free to stop by… 😉

The Harry Potter Thing

For a lot of my young adult life, I more or less got away with being a nerd. I acted/danced, and was close enough to goodlooking that no one really bothered to wonder if I’d rather watch Star Wars rather than 90210.

For the longest time, all anyone knew was that I read…a lot. And while reading a lot might not have been strictly a habit shared with my hipper contemporaries, it wasn’t so far out of the realm of “normal” that anyone really cared. Until they came to my house and commented on the shear amount of books on my selves. But still, I got away with this quirk without much more than an eye raise or two.

But that was just people I knew. My close friends and family find infinite humour in the fact that I’m as likely to obsess about a new Louboutin as I am about the newest breakthrough in DNA. The eclectic taste is a through thread in my life. What I watch, what I read, my interests…they’re all over the board. It’s easier to talk about things I’m not interested in, then get into everything I am interested in.

My love of all things science and my very specific obsessions with certain genre books/movies was (and occasionally still is) meet with amusement by my friends and family. Even MFH had his moment when we first started dating. He’s mostly over it, I think, but that’s only because we’re so similar in our tastes.

He found this online not long ago, and presented it to me with a massive grin on his face:

I laughed, agreeing, but also stipulating that Daddy was no better.

That’s the great thing about MFH and I. With obvious exceptions, we mostly complement each other with our temperaments. And then there’s the book thing…

I mentioned already that I’m a massive reader? Well MFH is the only person I’ve ever met who could keep up with me. We met working at a bookstore. He now works for a humongous publishing house. Our house is basically held together with books. If people used to comment that I had, “a lot of books,” now they walk in and say something like, “Holy F***, you guys have a lot of books.”

Our collection of movies is hardly better.

There are a few series or stand-alone titles that MFH and I try to watch/read at least once a year. Not many of those titles overlap. Harry Potter, however, is one that does.

Back when Potter fever was just hitting North America, I was completely uninterested in the books. Kids books about magic? Wow, I’m 18 and have better things to do with my time. I also have issues with reading something just because it’s popular…but that’s a story for another day.

Anyway long story shorter, I came home from my first long break at University for Christmas. My mother informed me that I would be seeing the Harry Potter movie because I was part of the family and everyone was going. I’m sure I gave an eye roll or two at this news, but it was a long time ago so I’m not swearing to anything.

Also at that time, I often suffered with insomnia. Staying awake for days is only something I’ve managed to kick in the last five years or so. Regardless, back then the insomnia was in full force. I’d always made a point to read a book before seeing its movie version. I figured I’d start book one of Harry Potter, bore myself to sleep, and kill two birds with one stone.

Ha.

I was halfway through book two before I feel asleep — sometime around 4am. Needless to say, I was hooked. I read everything that was out at the time. Then religiously reread the series before the next book came out. It was what I picked up whenever I found my local bookstore lacking inspiration. Even now that they’re all out and done, I reread the series at least once a year.

Once such reread happened while Universal Studios announced the opening of their Wizarding World of Harry Potter section in Islands of Adventure. MFH had asked me to marry him the March prior, and joked with me that, “that’s where we’re Honeymooning, isn’t it?” The idea had never occurred to me.

Until he put it into my head of course. 😉

So off to Florida we went. To swim with dolphins, cheer at dueling piano bars, and ride the rides of Universal’s theme parks. And yes, to play in Harry’s world. We drank butterbeer and pumpkin juice. (And waaaay too many hurricanes, but that wasn’t technically in the park.) We brought home postcards stamped at the owl post and a scroll full of wizard’s wands. Still have a half eaten package of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans.

But it’s not like we run around wearing wizard’s robes or playing quidditch on the weekends. (Not that I’m saying there’s anything wrong with either of those things. I’m just trying to put things into perspective here.) We have a deep appreciation for Harry Potter.

Which is why the Spawn is going to be surrounded by the colours of Hogwarts, and the imagery of Harry Potter. It’s not just a fun way to decorate a room. (Although, all you have to do is look at my HP Nursery Board on Pinterest to see it’s also a fun way to decorate a room.) It’s a theme that has so much meaning for us. How better for our new most important person to start his/her life?

One last little gem, for all you other Harry Potter nerds out there:

Preconception Cocktail

Last time I promised to give info in my whole preconception prep insanity, when I had some time to do it justice. I do my best to be a woman of my word, so here we go!

It’s not that it’s all that complicated, it’s more that there are a couple different subsections to the process. So it’s not somuch of complicated as just loooong. Also, maybe boring.

The thing is, I really feel like it’s helping me. My irregular cycles have gotten their (her?) act together. My skin looks amazing and my body is fitter. My hair is finally getting over the insanity of my gall bladder diet and looking less like that of Frankenstein’s Monster‘s bride. I get a a lot of complements. (On my “glow.” As of today, no one has complimented me on my regular cycle. Although, a ultrasound technician did tell me last Summer that I had a perfect uterus… So there’s that.)

Is this the only way? Clearly not. This is just my way.

The Books:
These guys get top billing for two reasons. The first being that books are awesome, and make me feel happy. The second is that a lot of what these two advised me, I picked up and used myself. (I would like to add that I’ve read/am reading several others, but this is the preconception shelf.)

Without further ado:

Before Your Pregnancy

This was my first foray into the Pre-Preggo world. It was literally the only thing I could find regarding the crazy (Read: OCD) desire I had to plan planing to get pregnant. I read it last August. It gave me the idea of having a three-month countdown.

Of course, the fact that my 30th birthday was followed in three months by May…which is sort of the perfect time to start trying to conceive if you don’t want to be hot during months 5 through 9…also helped.

The Everything Getting Pregnant BookMom got this one for me. (Actually she got me two, but the other one was more for couples who are really having problems getting preggo. Fingers crossed I won’t need it.)

Most of the information was doubled, but there was a small section on some useful herbs that sparked my interest and (after an extensive search) led to one of my major daily activities…

(See below, The Tea.)

The Pills:
I was never a fan of THE PILL, as it seemed to do nothing but really make me feel terrible. I mean, I guess it also helped me out with not getting knocked up. I just feel like it only did that grudgingly. (Look, if you haven’t figured out by now that I’m a little (a little?!?) neurotic, well, you clearly haven’t been paying attention.)

But I’m getting off topic here.

What with cooking a new human being, the body of a pregnant lady needs both more and different things than the body of…well, everyone else. And the really creepy thing? If the stuff the Spawn needs isn’t there, it will actually start leaching it from things regular people need. Like, pulling calcium out of bones. The Spawn is like a nutritional vampire!

So, to counteract said leaching, you’re supposed to eat really well. Also supplements. LOTS of supplements.

Here are mine:

Folic Acid

Last Spring, I got my annual checkup. Despite having to go in for further more…internal tests, the doc did suggest I start taking Folic Acid. Even though I didn’t want to get preggo for a year. Her words: “This is good. Just in case. That way if mistake, is still okay.”

The focus always seems to be on the girls and the eggs. How many times have you heard that Folic Acid is super important for guys and their swimmers too? Never? Yeah, neither had I, until I started researching preconception.

In a move that seems to be sort of obvious to me, guys who take a good multivitamin and Folic Acid supplement 3+ months before conception also have less instances of children with terrible things like Spina Bifida.

So, since MFH is…well, fantastic, he’s been taking the 1mg a day with me for almost a year.

GNC Prenatal with DHA

Prenatal vitamins are super tricky. I mean, google it. (I’ll just wait here.)

I KNOW! 3 Million results! Crazy, right?

It’s even crazier when you’re trying to make sure that you find one with everything you need. So why did I pick GNC‘s formula with DHA? Couple of reasons.

I adore that I have to take three a day, because it makes me feel like good stuff is in my system longer. Also, it makes it less traumatic on my stomach. If I do have morning sickness, three options to absorb the goods seems like a better option than a one-shot.

On top of all the general goodness you’d expect from a prenatal, it has Choline and Biotin. Bonus points for the extra DHA.

I couldn’t find anything comparable up here. As I often do in such cases, I outsourced to the USA.

Vitamin D

MS runs in MFH’s family, so vitamin D will forever be a part of our lives. The data is inconclusive, but vitamin D seems to help in prevention and symptoms. We take extra beyond our multis because:

  1. Not doing so would brake my MIL‘s heart.
  2. We live in Canada. It’s dark a lot in the winter. Some years winter is really freakin’ long.
  3. I’m notsofond of the Sun in general. I realize how crazy that sounds but the only thing lots of sun ever got me was some serious burns, heat stroke, and super crowded beaches and amusement parks. I like having porcelain skin and looking 5 to 10 years younger than I actually am. I also enjoy a brisk 68*F to 71*F (20 to 22 in Celsius). Ergo, I avoid the Sun in general more than I should.

The Diet:
Let’s get one thing clear right now. I’m not talking about something one goes on to change total body mass. I’m using the word in the strictest definition only. (Per Webster: “food and drink regularly provided or consumed”)

It’s pretty basic. Lots of real food (not in packages), as local as possible, mostly green or other bright, intense colours. Meat from farms, not factories, fed vegetarian food. Low mercury fish.

No alcohol. Cutting back on the caffeine. (The diet coke withdrawal is probably my weakest point in this entire enterprise.)

Also? Water. SO MUCH WATER.

Nalgene Water Bottle

See this 32oz BPA free bottle? I have this exact one. (So cute, right?)

I put back at least 3 of these suckers a day.If I’m in reliably close proximity to a bathroom, I’ll pound as many as 5.

That’s right, be awed by the power of my bladder!

Or…you know what, don’t be. That’s a super weird thing to be awed by. Also, MFH insists that I have the world’s smallest bladder, so there’s another point against.

The Tea:
I like “natural” and “organic” stuff. I’m not a blind follower of either, but I do like both a lot. I especially like when the use of herbs and such are proven alternatives to drug store fare. The thing about herbs/plants (and I’m going to try and stay off a soapbox here) is you can’t patent it. So lets say sunflowers cure ear cancer (I’m making shit up). It would take a lot of nonprofits a lot of time to pull that study together, because no pharmaceutical could say sunflowers were theirs to sell to ear cancer patients.

Enter in the healers. Thanks to literally thousands of years of anecdotal evidence, some herbs/plants have been looked at in traditional medical studies. Some of the time, science proves what healers have been saying for years.

This is how I got onto Red Raspberry Leaf and Red Clover Blossom. There are actual medical studies that have shown that women who take Red Raspberry Leaf are less likely to need a C-Section, extra help (vacuum/forceps), or days to give birth. It’s also supposed to be really good for fertility. Red Clover Blossom helps regulate cycles and cleans the body.

I take a high concentrated tea of both (along with some peppermint for flavor), at least two cups, every single day.

So that’s it…It’s hard to say if all of the above, combined with my exercise and BBT charting will make any difference until I actually start trying to conceive. What I can say is what I have said before: my cycles have normalized; I’ve been told I look great (I also feel like I’m looking better, but it sounds less narcissistic if other people say it.); and my overall energy is way up.

But more importantly than all of this? I actually feel ready to have a kid.

Or at least as ready as anyone can ever be…