Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Lucine!

This is Marla posting, as Nadine is still recuperating - or perhaps, as I suspect, composing an epic post describing her birth experience, all typed with one hand. Perhaps we should start a pool, betting on the number of times she manages to discuss the state of her hoo-ha? By the way, I just spent a few minutes trying to find a euphemism for vagina that can be typed single-handedly, and couldn't. Anyone got anything? It is Nadine, after all, and I'm just trying to make things easier for her.

But of course, you want to see the wee beastie, and you want to hear how it's going for Nadine.

Lucine! Lucine is fantastically cute - as we can see even in this hospital-issue picture, she is not all squashy boiled red potato and weirdly new and alien in appearance. And just as in Nadine's dream, she is a little girl with dark hair. She is beautiful, and that can be said whole-heartedly, and I for one, am tremendously relieved. Oh sure, we've all had to compliment the wonderful hair or expressive eyes of someone else's child because while children are beautiful little creatures, they're not always attractive and sometimes things get awkward. It's true - once at one of my daughter's classes someone told a woman that her son had a "man-face" - then elaborated that he'll look better as a grown man than he does as a kid. OUCH.



Speaking of OUCH -

Lucine, born at 6 pounds 9 oz was taking her time getting here, as we know how the week before she kept Nadine on tenterhooks. Oh, the instant messages I got from Nadine:

N: "Can I have sex after I've lost the mucous plug to speed up labour?"

M: "If you don't mind a source that has "commune" in its name, they state that apparently you can have sex until the baby is crowning."

Nadine made it through the last stags of her seemingly interminable labour with only a shot of Demerol, and pushed for about two hours. She has minimal damage to the cooch. But more importantly, yesterday, with her mother's care and doses of the food likely to have the best effect, Nadine birthed her first poop since the arrival of Lucine, and I'm so proud of her it's like I did it myself. It's no secret that one of Kate and Nadine's favourite stories about my daughter's birth is that afterward, the only thing that separated my Episiotomy from my anus was a hemorrhoid. My first poop was so bad I had my husband come in and hold my hand, and I cried on his shoulder afterward. So, in those respects and aside from being "tucking fired", Nadine is well, and well cared-for.

And, this says everything about her first born and husband, doesn't it?


It's still early days, and the feedings and juggling bedtimes and baths and everything is hard, and wonderful, and there I can't help much either.

But tonight I'm going to visit, bringing Pocky and hugs and all of the girl clothes I couldn't stop myself from buying once I heard the news, and this most obnoxious little toy car that I found for Nate and couldn't resist, though it will likely wake the baby and annoy the shit out of their mommy. Their mommy - how nice that sounds!

Lucine, with the beautiful name and wonderful Mommy, it will be so good to hold you.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Welcome, Baby Silverthorne!



The smile that flickers on baby's lips when he sleeps - does anybody know where it was borne? Yes, there is a rumor that a young pale beam of a crescent moon touched the edge of a vanishing autumn cloud, and there the smile was first born...

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941 Indian Poet, Playwright and Essayist, Won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913)


I spoke with Nadine yesterday, and among all the other things we touched on, she told me she'd dreamed of holding the baby. A baby with dark hair, the baby she dreamed about.

Today she is smiling, because her dream came true.

This morning at 6:36 am, her little girl (a girl!) baby Lucine Seta Silverthorne arrived.

Nadine had the birth she wanted, as she did manage to include the fact in her text message to me that she had relatively few stitches in her vagina.

Warmest wishes for all the best to Nadine, and the rest of her lovely family.

We, as much as they, I think, have been looking forward to this time.


Posted by Marla




Friday, August 24, 2007

Update

Back from the doctor. 3 cm! Effaced, soft cervix, good to go! Any time now, he said. Trying not to get my hopes up, but I've been having pretty regular contractions.

Just debating whether or not to labour longer at home or go in as advised. Because of my VBAC, they are going to want to hook me up to the fetal monitor and put the epidural in my back pretty early. Where as here, I can hang out with hubs and eat chocolate while listening to Johnny Cash, unobstructed by medicine and machinery.

That being said, I don't want to put Baby in jeopardy. So we'll wait until the contractions are a bit steadier and more painful and then I guess we'll head over. The car seat and birth ball are in the car. The cat has food. Not much more to do. (Well, I'm still waiting for someone to pick up and install my new headboard, and clean my floors, but the person responsible for those things is doing a mighty fine job taking care of me, so we'll cut him some slack.)

Thanks for all your comments -- they have been keeping me going. It's kinda fun, feeling like we're all in this together. Even though we're really not -- I'm the one who'll be doing all the pushing.

I did get some good news at the doctor today. My coworker who was due on the same day as me (and had the same doc as me -- in a department of only 6 people if you can believe it!) was induced yesterday and had a healthy baby girl. I was tempted to run across the street and check in on her, but between her Trinidadian and her husband's Italian families, I figured they didn't really need another visitor in their face.

Anyway, news of their baby made me happy -- the homeopathic drugs don't hurt either. Jan has already requested that I be on the one remedy intravenously forever.

So here we are: reading, snacking, listening to the Man in Black, giggling. I don't know if the rest of this ride will go, but this part is pretty nice. Later skaters. I suspect Marla will be the next one to let you know how things are going (and when to light your candles.)

The day we've all been waiting for?

It should be noted that I'm not actually overdue. My technical due date is Saturday, though based on when I thought I was ovulating, my due date should be the 29th. However, based on when I actually had sex, in hopes of conceiving a girl, should the due date be correct, that means those dumb boy sperm swam super fast and I am definitely having another boy.

I think I got cocky when the doctor said I was 2 cm dilated. I mean, walking around with your cervix gaping open the diameter of some purse change seems pretty awesome. Plus with Nate, I didn't get to 2 cm until my water had broken. I figured this baby would fly out. Alas, not the case. This baby is not Nate and I have to keep reminding myself that.

I never really gave much thought to picking favourites, save for that brief bit of sarcasm Wednesday. Today I'm definitely leaning towards the unborn child. Nate has woken up every night this week and begged to come into our bed. And I, feeling guilty about everything, have acquiesced. Besides, I've been ordered to get some nipple stimulation and since the Dog is so tired, I am relying on my pervy toddler's need to tweak. (Yes, it's disturbing to me too. But I'm not really looking at them like toys anymore, so much as necessary appendages.)

Then Nate goes and gets himself covered with a head to toe rash. Palms and soles. The works. I have ruled out hand, foot, mouth disease, because that would mean another week similar to the cold sores/herpes and I really can't handle that right now. But now, as I am genetically compelled to do as an Armenian woman, I must worry.

The rash doesn't seem life-threatening: his mood is fine, his appetite is decent, he has no fever. Yet, I can't help but feel that I will be in the hospital this weekend, forced to make a choice between giving birth to a new baby, or sitting at the bedside of my first love. (Yes, I realize that the choice really won't be up to me, but still... I like to over-dramatize in my head.)

Thankfully, my husband tends to get really manly around the time of new babies. He stepped forward this afternoon and insisted we take Nate to Grandma's after our visit to the homey. My Homey thought Nate's rash looked like severe heat rash, though that's puzzling since it hasn't been all that hot until today and the rash appeared yesterday. Anyway, after she gave Nate a remedy for the rash, she got to talking to us about the week we've been having. She also looked at my belly and said, "Whoa Mama! This baby's ready to come out!" I have been repeating that in my head all night.

She gave me something to help get my labour going and told me to call her on her cell if I go into labour. We drove to Shamrock Burger in Scarborough, because although the books say to eat light, nutritious, easily digestible meals before labour, I am listening to body and my body wants a burger. And maybe a chocolate shake.

Oh the sense of guilt I felt leaving Nate at Grandma's. "Don't go," he pleaded with me through blubbering sobs. I heard him crying, "Mommy, Daddy" all the way to the car. I know it's going to be OK, but leaving him when he's all covered in yuckies is hard. Grandma called just after 9:30 to assure me that everything was OK and I need not worry. Nate was fast asleep.

I woke up at 3 am with contractions strong enough that I needed to breathe through them. I tried to sleep through them but couldn't. I got up and read more of Middlesex, then took a shower to cool down and feel better. I laid in a semi-lucid state with my favourite lullaby, the Dog's heartbeat, under my ear and tried to rest. But it's futile. I am restless. And hungry.

So I'm up eating Gouda and grapes (pretty good combo actually!) and attempting to time these buggers to see if there's a pattern. The only problem is, they are less frequent when I'm sitting vs when I'm lying down. Go figure. Don't go lighting your candles just yet, but here's hoping I don't have time to write again until AFTER the baby.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

What's in a name?

Well Torsdag/Thorsday/Thursday started out with thunder... it may be a sign...

I may have mentioned in the past that we can't seem to agree on a boy's name. With Nathaniel (although deriving from Hebrew and biblical origins) having such a traditional English flair when paired with Silverthorne, we thought it best to have a boy's name that would reflect either Jan's Norwegian or my Armenian heritage. Given that those two languages have a lot of rolling Rs and general hoarky phlegm sounds, we thought there must be a few names in the pot that would fit both.

The problem is that neither Norwegian nor Armenian boy names sound good in English. They just don't translate the beauty of that name in its native language. Our favourite cousin, Frode (pronounced Froo-duh) has a gorgeous name to match his incredible love of life, infectious laugh and personality, but Frode will not be pronounced correctly in Canada and he'll probably be Hobbitized to Frodo. No good.

Aksel, which is found in Scandinavia (though Hebrew in origin) and although not Armenian, is used sometimes by Armenian families, has a beautiful meaning: Father of Peace. I am staunchly against names that mean warrior or anything to do with battle or war. There's enough of that in the world. The problem with Aksel comes down to this guy: Axel. He's not got a good rep you see, and as much as I'd love a sweet child of mine to have that name, I don't want that child to be associated with this rock n' roll crackpot.

Soren, as in Kierkegaard, can be Armenianized by adding an "oo" sound = Sooren. However, neither of us have actually read anything by the Danish thinker and the name means "stern or severe" -- not really the traits of a small boy.

We are just not having any luck so we've decided to pick a name we like for a first name, and then go to a Norwegian or an Armenian middle name. Hence all this talk of Thor, meaning thunder! A-a-aaa-aahaha! Or possibly Odin, the Norse god of all the gods -- can you sense my husband has a bit of a god complex -- which means "Inspiration". (Although the god of gods is associated with "war, battle, death, victory and the hunt." So perhaps "Ny" -- that's Norwegian for No.)

With a last name like Silverthorne, you need a strong first name. Perhaps my favourite suggestion (that would be utterly cruel to use) is Sterling Silverthorne (suggested by my friend Stevie Blue years ago). Ha! But Sterling means "little star" and if you know me, you know I have a fondness for names that derive from the lunar and the stellar. (Stella, Starla, Astrid, Luna -- and my all-time girls' name of choice, which you'll have to wait for!) Still, Sterling Silverthorne sounds like a Bold & the Beautiful character or some stuffy aristocrat and our lifestyle fits neither description.

The other major problems with a last name like Silverthorne are that a)you can't choose any names that end in S, X or Z because they flow into the last name and distort the first name. Max sounds like Mack Silverthorne, par example. And b)You have to be very careful of initials -- Benjamin is out due to the initials BS. George Anthony Silverthorne would be GAS. No good.

So we're down to a handful of names we like, but can't totally commit to, since apparently the only name we can agree upon was given to our first born. As I have major back and crotch pain at the moment, I figure I'm close enough to the end, and I'm going to divulge.

George: Initially I was opposed to George because of Mark Haddon's A Spot of Bother. George sometimes reminds me of a simple guy that everyone feels sorry for. But Nate LOVES George, probably because of Curious George. It's a king's name, but also the name of the current war-mongering US president and his asshole father. I hadn't even thought of that until right now. Fark. I think George is out.

Elliot: We were thinking up idols and heroes one night. Suzuki? Too pretentious. Lennon? People might think Lenin... we're not quite THAT commie. Then Pierre Elliot Trudeau came up. Elliot! That's a nice name. Nate likes it too. Though the temptation to say, "El-li-ot" in ET's voice is pretty high. And it means "My God is the Lord" and we're not so religious, though I guess Nathaniel means "Gift of God" but that's not as worshippy.

Leonard:
We both love Leonard Cohen. I favour Leonard Bernstein, he favours Elmore Leonard. We both agree that Leonardo Da Vinci was a genius. Sugar Ray Leonard was a pretty suave boxer. The main problem with Leonard is the abreviation -- I like Leo, the Dog favours Len or Lenny, based on some pot-head South African he used to work with in the UK and the fact that he loves Lenny Leonard from the Simpsons. (Which if you ask me, is reason alone to go Leo over Lenny.) We're officially in Virgo today, so perhaps Leo is no longer so apropos, but it's just so cute. Nate likes Leo a lot. (We run all the names past Nate.)

Oscar: This was Queen Nomad's name but her husband wouldn't go for it. I am quite fond of it and she, being my bestest friend, said I could steal it. Aside from the obvious cons of Oscar the Grouch and Oscar Mayer Weiners (which I don't think they sell in Canada anyway, though we all seem to know the jingle for it) the pros are many. A Silverthorne family hero, Canadian jazz pianist Oscar Peterson, for one. A Dislioglu family hero, fashion great Oscar de la Renta for two. Writer Oscar Wilde, hottie boxer Oscar de la Hoya, some Swedish kings that ruled Norway too (though the Norwegians do not recall Swedish rule fondly) and so on... Oscars do great things. Schindler's first name was Oskar, for Pete's sake! The Scandinavian meaning is "divine spear" which is a bit on the warmongering side, but the Gaelic meaning is "lover of deer" and who doesn't love deer? I know one little girl in particular who is somewhat deer-obsessed (ahem, Josephine). Plus Ossie or Ozzie as the kiddie nickname is just too cool for words. I think the Armenian form of Oscar is probably Garo, which is not so cool, but close enough for my parents to get the point across to our fob relatives.

Anyway -- there they are. I guess we won't know for sure until we see the little peanut's face. And genitalia.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Nope

Don't really feel like talking about it. K?

This baby seems hell bent on reminding me that s/he's not Nate. I get it already! Sheesh! Now come out will ya?

Have you seen the forecast? It's going to feel like 29 Celcius tonight -- how will I sleep? Grrrr...

Off to Riverdale Farm to try to enjoy the child that is still eager to please Mom. Yes, I'm picking favourites today. Sue me.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Family Outing

As I mentioned earlier, we got Nate back and settled in for a family nap. When Nate was dropped off, my parents mentioned that Nate was having some leg pain and difficulty walking. Within five minutes of being home, he stopped complaining and started to play normally.

While Nate was napping, the Dog and I tossed around ideas of what we could do on a cold, grey day that wasn't shopping. Considering Nate would nap until 3:30 or so, our options were limited. The museums were closed and the Science Centre closes at 5 on Mondays. Seriously, for a city so big, there are not many places indoors and open late that aren't commerce driven.

Nate woke up whiny-almost-crying from his nap. I went to hold him and while I was trying to cheer him up, I gave his leg a squeeze. This sent him into full blown teary hysterics. Turning the TV on was the only thing that made him stop crying. He refused to eat or drink, but nibbled on a few raisins and some water after a time. When his mood seemed lifted, he got up to join his dad in the kitchen, but he was stiff. He started to cry, "My legs hurt! I can't walk!" He seemed in excruciating pain. And he was refusing to walk because of the pain. "Please let me lie down so my legs won't hurt anymore," he begged.

"We have to go to Sick Kids," I insisted. "Let's not waste our time with clinics, or other emergency rooms. The kid says he can't walk and he's in pain, then something is seriously wrong."

So we packed up the family and off we went to Sick Kids Hospital -- because that's exactly where someone 39 weeks and 2 days pregnant wants to be. Well, it WAS indoors and not commerce driven, so it met some of our criteria, although most of the evening was spent sitting down when I needed to be walking.

Of course, once we got to Sick Kids, Nate started doing backflips. He was running and jumping and laughing and basically humiliating us in the middle of triage. "We swear! He was in agony an hour ago!" We spent 3-4 hours there and they could find nothing physically wrong with him. He's too young for growing pains, or so they said. 3-5 is more likely for growing pains. Since the pain seemed to affect both legs, they ruled out the possibility of another stroke. His cold was present, but he no longer had a fever, so they ruled out infection. They poked and prodded his legs a centimetre at a time and could find no sign of fracture.

So we left, hit the Thai place up the street on the way home and all sat down to dinner at 9 pm! Sheesh! What a screwy day. At least we got some three of us alone time and really, if you're not actually all that sick and can ignore the sounds of kids barfing blood in the rooms beside you, Sick Kids is a pretty fun place to hang out. The doctors and nurses have incredible bedside manner -- Nate wasted no time flirting with the pretty resident and he even walked away with stickers.

Anyway, if you happen to be getting rid of your DVDs or old VHS tapes, the hospital could really use a new version of the Lion King. Everything from Hakuna Matata on was fuzzy and unwatchable -- but HELL! They have movies for your kid in the triage observation rooms! I mean, they've thought of everything!

I am beat and with the chaos of the day, couldn't really focus on the advancement of this baby. There's always tomorrow. Please tomorrow? Because I promised the Dog that if the baby is born on Thursday (and if it's a boy) its middle name could be Thor. What was I thinking?

Not Yet...

Nate is home and Baby seems to be very happy to hear his voice. Nate has been missing Baby too and spent the morning talking to her/him. Though, I'm pretty sure he was glad to come home and NOT find a new person out in the world.

Lots of hugs and kisses and a nice family nap, including the cat, seem to have gotten the oxytocin flowing and things going a bit more. Contractions are back on -- the mildly painful kind. I'm craving Thai food after a comment left on a previous post. Let's see what that does.

Too bad the Dog ran off to hide in Home Despot, because I could have used some action (still waiting on the action... someone has been avoiding the nipple stimulation suggestion, likely because he wants to go for beers tonight.) to get the old cervix a bit more softened up.

It's good to have Nate home with us, regardless of what happens. He's made a grey day much brighter already.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Who Likes to Rock the Party?

...We like to rock the party.

Still nothing at Casa Scarb. It's as anti-climactic as a live Conchords show. Thank goodness for laughter. Oh man that show just kills me.




I freaked out while waiting for my labour to really get going today. I just completely lost it. I started to Citra-Solv everything in the house and then told the Dog he needed to get out of my face. He was bugging me all day to go and see Nate and for some reason I was not "in the mood to be somebody's Mommy." Absolutely bizarre. Then, as if by magic, my homey emailed me asking if I needed to call her, and what do you know? I totally did! Hooray! She's back!

She told me that my feelings of disappointment were normal, but that I'm not past my due date yet, so I should really pace myself and get a grip on my expectations. Except she said it much nicer than that. She said that since I'm not in full-blown labour, the Dog is entitled to his feelings. Damn.

I realized she had a point. "What are you feeling emotionally?"

"Well, I'm cranky and moody. I just want to be taken out to dinner and be treated like a girlfriend."

My homey asked if the Dog wasn't being affectionate. No, no, he absolutely was -- until this morning when he became all Nate obsessed. And the rational, adult side of my brain knows he's right to, but the silly, hormonal, pregnant me wanted all the attention to herself.

"Do you need Jan, or will your sister do?"

Good point. And shortly after I got off the phone with Homey, my sis called, asking if I wanted her to come and pick me up. How's that for a connection? I said, yes please! I needed to get out of the house and also to have some protein. We arranged a breakout, complete with a stop at South Side Burger and another stop to pick up my BFF Queen Nomad. (Who probably needs a new nickname now that she's pregnant and not traveling all over the world.)

We spent the evening at my sister's watching PVRed shows and laughing about stupid nonsense as only true friends can. Then the Dog joined us and we played on the Wii -- which if you know my husband, is way more fun to watch than to play.

Anyway, we're home now and hatching a plan to spring Nate out of Sing Sing -- I mean Yaya's -- tomorrow. He's been sick with a cold and a fever and I've been avoiding him to avoid getting sick myself. But the poor lad is missing his Mommy and frankly, I could use a dose of Nate love.

That's all for now. Will continue to keep you posted, but it might be a little boring while we all wait together. Off to try some more natural methods of getting labour going now...

A Letter to My Unborn Child

Dear darling child of unspecified gender,

Wow! You're almost here! I can't believe it, but the time you've spent snugly housed in my womb has flown by. Oh sure, I've complained my fair share. It's been harder to carry you around than your brother, but you've made up for it by generally kicking me a hella lot less.

Unlike your brother, I don't really have a feeling about you. I haven't made any rash statements about your personality... OK, OK, I may have a slight prejudice that you will be a tough one, because well... your brother is kind of a dream child. (I am sure you will hate him for that someday.) But truth be told, you have brought me serenity. I've found a new calm, a new way to look at life, to deal with troubling times. I think who you are has a lot to do with that.

I am not afraid, not worried, not stressed. I feel so peaceful as your birth approaches. Because I know you are my second chance. I was so afraid with your brother, afraid of his birth and then for his life. After he was home with us, I feared that I would hurt him, that I would do something wrong. I think that by trying so hard to do everything perfectly right, I inevitably made some mistakes in my early days with him.

With you I am a more confident, more self-assured mother. There's no giant lifestyle change to contend with. I don't have to go through the pain of surrendering to motherhood. I know the tough part ends. With you I will do the things I was too afraid to try the first time around. No hiding in the apartment, afraid to go outside, afraid of what lurks in the shadows. We will go out and paint the town red, with playdates and library time and swimming classes. I will wear you proudly on my chest, dancing and frolicking, soaking up every morsel of life.

I will love you and snuggle you and become intoxicated by your sour milk smell. I will not focus on how big you're getting, but relish in your teenyness. You are likely my last baby, so I will bathe in your babyness. I will try not to wince at your cries, or wrinkle my nose at your smells, or balk at your barfy burps on my clothes. I will try my best to love every moment with you.

This letter was the most important of the lingering items on my To Do List. (You'll soon learn of Mommy's love of lists.) I hope of I've done you justice with it. I can't wait to meet you, to learn who you are, who you might be and whom I might become with you. Come soon my love. Mommy, Daddy and Natey are waiting for you with giant, brimming hearts.

live birth blogging continued

5:30 am: Still nothing. Woke up from hunger, need to pee and swift kicks in the keyster. Some mildly painful contractions, a bit more than a period cramp, but nothing to write home about really.

Have come down to eat a banana, then will try to sleep some more. (Stayed up late to watch The Hills premiere on CTV -- goodness that show is like blonde crack. Recap: Heidi and Spencer = stupid; Lauren = drinking way too much and reminding me of my clubbing twneties; Audrina = so pretty, but so young and dumb; Jen = "that girl" -- everyone knows someone like Jen who plays both sides of the popular scale so that she can be right up in there. Creeps me right out. Oh, Whitney = I heart Whitney. She is pretty, well-dressed and smart enough not to let her personal life get on the show. And she has a really cool job now.) Might have another go at a shag later in the morning to see if that helps the good ol' cervix open up a bit more. Will try for another walk and another big breakfast too.

Am feeling restless. Kinda want it to start already, but sort of afraid of it REALLY starting. (Anyone who's been in labour before knows what I mean) Am I ready? Am I rested? Have I eaten enough? I keep trying to embrace it, trying to envision my cervix opening up like a flower and shit like that, but it's not really working. I've got to get my brain in battle mode and take the pain like a warrior woman. Come on contractions -- bring it on! Bring IT!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Nothing goin' on but the rent

Well after all the excitement of the day, it looks like I'll be going to bed and getting some sleep. Hopefully I get a good night's rest and things kick up in the morning.

I rested most of the day, going for a walk on Gerrard mid-afternoon, filling up on samosas, kebabs, and jalabee. I thought the spice would help. I've had some contractions, but nothing major. Dinner was lovingly cooked for me after I requested some creamy pasta with veggies. We ate and watched Children of Men, which was oddly the perfect choice because for all its darkness, it reaffirms the magic of new babies.

I did sit on the exercise/birth ball for most of the film, hoping to get things moving down, but other than some nice kicks, nada. Baby and I had a nice chat before dinner and we agreed that we're going to rest up today and conserve our energy for tomorrow. S/he also asked me to clean her crib with orange cleaner because it's pretty stinky (we have yet to figure out the mystery smell of the imported from Israel mini-crib we bought off Craigslist.) -- one more thing ticked off the list. I love me a list!

The floors still need cleaning, but I'll leave that to the Dog. We are missing Nate and wondering if we sent him away too soon. He's having a blast at my mom's, but I could use an energy boost from a wonderful smile and some toddler chatter. I think I was too confident in knowing my body and the reality is that every pregnancy is different. The waiting game is hard, but even harder when you're missing the love of your life. Trying to stay positive and not to get down. It'll happen when it happens.

OK, must take advantage of the sleep while I can. G'night.

Live blogging early stages of labour?

OK, so I think I'm in early stage labour.

I know everyone has a different story, but I know my body. If the doctor tells me I'm 2 cm while giving me a good fisting, well I know that I'll probably have a baby in 3 days time -- max.

As I mentioned, I sent Nate off to Yaya and Dede's so that the Dog and I could get a few good meals in. Yes, that's what I said -- a few good meals. The doctor prescribed lots of walks and "intercourse" which makes me think of that old disco song Doctor's Orders. "Doc-tor's or-ders say there's on-ly one thing for me/Nothing he can do 'cause on-ly love can cure me..." (full lyrics here)

I needed a guaranteed good meal, so we joined my sis and my BFF Queen Nomad for QN's husband's birthday dinner at Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar. I ate till I burst, had a few sips of wine with my braised beef poutine, breathed some pre-September air and laughed with my loved ones. The Dog and I came home intending to get it on, but sleep beckoned. I guess sleep is a necessary part of labour prep too.

We woke up at 7 am, realizing we're going to need some blackout blinds if Baby's gonna be bunking in. That lead to smiling, snuggling and then a Sting and Trudy style marathon shagging session. We fell asleep inside each other, somewhat lucid, basking in our final moments as perfect lovers. (Let's face it, the potential for Frankenpussy after all this must be noted.)

I got up after a while and went to pee. Lo and behold, all that prostaglandin-rich semen done me proud. The mucous plug and the bloody show. We're in business boys. Looks like we're giving birth to a Leo.

The Dog was a bit bummed, since technically his vacation doesn't start until Monday and he wanted to get some Nate time in beforehand. I reminded him that if all goes well, he could go to the Jay game by Wednesday afternoon with Nate if he wanted to. I think it's good to concentrate on things like that. It will keep us focussed.

We decided we should go for a nice breakfast at Edward Levesque's (well actually, we were trying for some OK, OK action, but they were closed) and then do a couple errands. We bought Nate a small Thomas train set as a gift from Baby. We figure it's not too soon to start buying his love. Heh. Bought some protein bars for the labour, some Guinness to help the milk come in and a new cell phone for the Dog. Ticking things off the list feels good. We are relaxed, smiling, holding hands, and more prepared then we ever were for Nate. I could stand to clean my floors and do a load of sheets, but we'll see how the days goes.

So of course my homeopath is at some meditation retreat where she's not allowed to talk for two weeks and not coming back until tomorrow. Great. Looks like we might be on our own. It's up to us now, me and the Dogger. But the crazy thing is, I actually think we can handle it.

Going for a little walk now to check out the Festival of South Asia down the street. Need to use gravity to our advantage. Plus early labour is such a head trip. You walk around knowing something HUGE is happening to you, yet it's your little secret as a couple. Awesomness.

If you don't hear from me, you know where I might be. I'll be texting Marla with updates if I can, so hopefully she'll be able to guest blog here and keep you all posted. Will try and post later too to fill you in on any progress. Chowder.

Friday, August 17, 2007

A Letter to My First Born

My dearest Nathaniel,

The past two and a half years of being your mom have been the greatest of my life. There have been challenging moments, things you might read in the future that may make you think I didn't always like being your mommy.

You were my fresh canvas and I have to admit that there were many times I was afraid to apply the paint. I was unsure of my skills, of how to use the tools I had in my kit. But over the years, loving you has made me more self-assured, more confident. You've made me try colour combinations I would not have thought to use. You've taught me that painting outside the lines is not only OK, but sometimes it gives a completely unique and utterly breathtaking perspective.

You are my living masterpiece. Sometimes you are a landscape, full of natural light and sweeping in your scale. Other days you are abstract and modern, with splatters of chocolate ice cream over chunky alphabet letters, graphic and bright and messy. You are Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man, with your perfect proportions and God given lines. You are a primitive cave drawing, simple and prehistoric in your speech and actions. You are a psychedelic Warhol, a cutting edge graffiti mural, an angular cubist still life.

Like in a surreal Dali work, I watch time melt away before my eyes. Our days of being alone in the world are winding down. Our triptych is about to get a fourth panel. While we anxiously await the birth of your brother or sister, we are wistful about the days of you and only you. You are so grown, yet so small. You know your sibling is coming. Some days this fills you with worry and fear of the unknown; other days you cannot be more excited, shouting, "I'm ready for you Baby. Come out now!"

Today I went to the doctor, while you played with Yaya at home. The doctor told me I am 2 centimetres dilated. I came home elated, but when I looked into your giant chocolate eyes I saw the fear. What will happen to Mommy? I reassured you as best I could, "It could be any time now bud, but I can't tell you when exactly." Then decided we should take what may be our last nap together for a while. You woke up slowly, smiling at the site of me, safe and secure under the duvet. You asked for me to wind the mobile on Baby's criblet and we lay there quietly, staring into each other's eyes. You drank some milk and got giddy and giggly, jumping all over the bed, making me laugh as only you and your dad can do. "What's goin' on little girl?" You asked suavely, making me erupt into giggles too.

Then with a popsicle and a kiss, I sent you off to Yaya and Dede's, so I could spend one last night alone with Daddy for a while. I didn't want to let you go. I didn't want you to be so agreeable, prancing away from me so easily. I knew in your heart you didn't want to go either, but you did it for me. I am weepy, knowing I can't be all things to you anymore, that I must look after myself and soon, after a needy newborn. I wish I was stronger, younger, had more energy, more arms, more hearts, more of me.

And so I ready my paintbrush again, preparing to receive my new canvas, knowing full well I won't be getting back to my first work, my first love, with as much time and energy as I once did. You are unfinished and flawed, priceless and authentic. There will be tough times ahead, but know that I love you more than ever little one.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

August Showers Bring Fall Flowers

My husband often bemoans the fact that I have so many friends. Why? Why must you keep in touch with everyone, he asks. I don't know what it is in particular, but I've always considered myself a humanophile (sure, it's my blog, so it's a word if I say it is!) -- a lover, an aficionado of people.

I am endlessly fascinated by people from all walks of life. I collect people, their stories, their lives, and I store them in my pocket. They may end up in a future story, but most likely, they will help my understanding of life and the world we live in. And sometimes, to my husband's dismay, they land a small parking spot in my heart.

My husband prefers solitude. When he's ready to come out of his cave, he prefers ALL of my attention. I understand this too. I understand that he's frustrated because the space and time I allow others means less space and time for him and Nate. But with a heart so big, I worry that my love for them would consume me, swallow me up whole. So I ration it out, spread it around and try to make sure that I enrich the life of everyone I know.

Blogging has only increased this sphere. I now have dozens of "friends" that I care about. Care enough about to take time out of my day to see how their lives are, to see if I can make their day lighter with a laugh somehow. These relationships are especially hard for the Dog to understand, because he has no relationship with these women and men, most of whom I've never actually met.

But blogging saved me when I was drowning in my own shortcomings. I was lonely in my new role as mother, and the mommy groups weren't turning my crank. I could say Fuck and Shit and Pussy online and still talk about my kid without getting the hairy eyeball. When I moved to a new neighbourhood, far from my circle of friends, the blogging world reached out to me and said, "Hey, we know how you feel."

Then an email, a chance meeting, and a whole world of like-minded women were at my fingertips -- live and in the flesh. I never thought I could form such bonds in adulthood, but somehow I did. My friendships with these women have been some of the most rewarding of my life.

When Kate and I are together, we are often asked, "How did you meet?" It seems strange to say, "Oh, the Internet." It feels sleezy and tawdry and not at all representative of what we share together. We are raising our kids together, living a few streets apart, sharing dinners, homes, vacations, several dozen quick phone calls a day. She is a part of my life now, in a way that is hard to articulate on a screen. When I dreamed of how I would like to raise my family, I think Kate's family was a part of that, even without me knowing it. The crinkle of her husband's blue eyes, her daughter's unbottleable energy, Kate's craziness, incredible laugh, and one crooked tooth -- I'm in love with them all. Their little details are a part of my family album now too.

Marla, on the other hand, is my lifeline. My conscience. My good sense. She is the one I turn to when I don't know how to solve a problem, or how to get a stain out. I call her and ask ridiculous questions like, "If the chicken smells like mushrooms, has it gone bad?" And she patiently schools me on hygiene, housecleaning and the appreciation of older things and found objects. She is also my funny bone. The type of friend who can make you laugh until orange juice comes out your nose, or make you cry because she dropped warm cookies on your doorstep. That is a valuable friend indeed. Like a fine work of hand-crafted folk-art, she is a woman who deserves to be appreciated. Her nuances, her quirks, all the things that make her beautiful and completely unique. She is a treasure, a blessing, a lucky rabbit's foot at a bingo game, an imperfectly crocheted shawl that finds its way around your shoulders when you didn't even realize you had a chill.

These two incredible women (whom I met via blogging) threw me a shower a week ago. (A onesie shower! How fun is that?) On a patio in our 'hood, with tasty treats and stunning candles, centrepieces and gift bags that my dear, creative friend put her soul into -- like she does with even the smallest, most mundane task. It was attended by more fantastic women we met via blogging, some of whom have made it into my special roster of infrequent cocktail playdates, and others whose company I highly enjoy, but don't get to see nearly enough.

I cannot possibly do the description of the night's events as much justice as Kate and Marla did last week on their respective blogs. But the one thing that struck me the most was that these women, virtual strangers, gathered together to celebrate ME and the life growing inside me. That our collective experience of motherhood (and writing about it publicly) was enough to bring us together, face-to-face, to kvetch and laugh and share some more in person. The support these strangers have given me, knowing full well what I am about to embark on again, is sustenance as the waiting game grows long and the workload threatens.

You don't know me, yet in some ways, you all know me better than my own kin. You spend time with me each week, inside my head, inside my depiction of my homelife -- because you want to. And that is a pretty cool thing. My children are blessed to have you behind them, in spirit or in person.

So thank you, all of you. It takes a village and a village we have created. You'll always have valet parking in the chambers of my heart.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Sweet dreams and fine machines

There we were, the two of us. Perfect. Off on an adventure. I looked at his unbelievably gorgeous face from the special mirror we have in the front of the car -- the kind that's supposed to promote safe driving.

I was smiling and happy. It was like a dream. Except this dream is real. I get to be with this little boy every day. And now that our days of "just the two of us" are dwindling down, I am trying desperately to capture every drop of beauty, before I'm too busy to notice the little things.

I cross the intersection and before I know it, there are cars stopped quite suddenly in front of me. I realize I won't be able to stop in time. I brace myself for the sound and impact I know will happen in a millisecond.

The sound of steel against steel is jarring, but the hit is much milder than it is in my mind. It passes so quickly. I don't even pay attention to the situation at hand. My whiplash occurs from the speed with which I snap my head back to check on my beautiful boy. I see his lip curl into a pout, face furrowed with worry.

"Natey, are you OK? Are you hurt?"

"Yeahhhh..." and the tears of fear and unawareness begin to run down his face.

"What's owie? Are you owie anywhere?" But he's crying and can't articulate. I realize that the car seat is the safest thing and he hasn't injured himself. "Did you bite your thumb when we crashed?" He nods.

"It's OK baby. Everything is OK. Mommy just crashed into the other car by accident.
We just have to pull over and then I'll get you out."

I step out of the car to ask the driver ahead what to do. The damage to his giant SUV is so minimal that I am thinking to ask him if we can just forget about it. But he notices how pregnant I am. So do two cops who happen to be driving by. They call 911. Frack.

I pull over and rush over to Nate. I am sore and shakey and mildly contracting, but my only thought is him. Must get to him. I pull him out, examine him and then put him on the trunk and hold him tight. We hang onto each other until the man approaches. I call the Dog with what little juice I have in my cell phone and ask him to meet us.

The guy I hit is nice. He says he saw me coming. In other words, he knew he had stopped suddenly, sharply enough to look back in his rearview. He was on his way home from the airport, having just dropped off his wife and two kids for a visit to Grandma's or something.
The cop arrives to take some notes and everyone's main concern is my well-being. We all agree that it's better to be safe than sorry. The Dog arrives, reassuring and incredible in his strength, and Nate and I are at once lighter, safer. He packs us into the car and heads back home before driving us to the hospital.

We sit in the driveway, while Daddy Dog runs in to grab my hospital bag and put his contacts in. I begin to weep. I had all our greatest possessions in the car with me. I could have hurt them. I could have killed them. I am the one who is supposed to protect them, to keep them safe. The thoughts are overwhelming. When I think I'm about to burst, a little voice comes from the back seat.

"It's OK Mommy. When we go home, I will be doctor and I'll make you better."

I cry harder. I should be comforting him, not the other way around. "Natey, Mommy loves you so much," I blather.

"It's OK Mommy. You will sit there," pointing to the driver's seat, "And it will be bad, because the truck will hit you. But then, Daddy will come and save you, and it won't be bad anymore, because the truck won't hit you by acci-acci, by accident." Oh those little stammers over tough words melt my heart.

We go to the hospital where we plan to have this baby, with the hospital bag half-packed, just in case. They monitor the baby's heartbeat for 3.5 hours. I am famished (I was on my way to eat croissants when it happened) and the boys sneak me some Dirty Ron's. Except I can't really move without setting off alarms, so the Dog has to feed me my Big Xtra by breaking off mayonnaisey morsels and stuffing them in my mouth like a child.

My men play in the waiting room, while I try to pass the time by pretending this is the real thing and attempting to achieve a state of serenity and zen. There are various stories happening along side me in the triage area of the L&D floor. Most of the women are sent home, either because they are not in labour yet, or not in labour ENOUGH yet. Then a woman comes in moaning and groaning. She's 6 days over and they'd given her the induction gel earlier that morning.

It's clearly her first time. I can tell because she's totally unaware of what's actually happening to her. I want to pull back the curtain and guide her through it, but I know that I cannot.

Nate and the Dog come into the triage area, just as I'm returning from the bathroom. "What happened to your shirt Mommy?" I explain my hospital attire to him. My future fashion designer is not pleased. "Take that off right now! That shirt is not good! Your bum is hanging out!" Heh.

The resident comes in and takes us to a room with an ultrasound machine. She's young and has no children, I can tell by her bedside manner. She asks if we know what we're having. I tell her no and she seems puzzled by this. "You don't want to find out?" Well, I got two weeks to go lady, so I may as well wait at this point, don't you think?

She checks to make sure the baby's water supply is good. She calls the baby a He and then catches herself and says, "Or She. They're all He." Uh-huh. (I would not be surprised by this fact, but that's another post altogether.)

We're sent home with the All OK. Phew. We drop Nate off with our neighbourhood friends, while we go to the collision reporting centre. We go back to get Nate, relieved we have survived the day and sit down to a BBQ. The new baby is passed around as therapy, her fresh milky scent and sweet warm breath heaving on my chest reassuring me that everything will be alright. That even the most awful of blows are received more softly now that I have a family.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

SAHMing it up

A sense of having things "done" has got me singing a different tune today. I am lounging, enjoying the time alone. I guess I should have known it would take a few days for the "vacation" aspect to kick in.

So this morning I woke up to snuggles from my men. Nate knows something's up and his anxiety over the impending changes is palpable. Last night, I took out a newborn diaper to show him how tiny baby will be. He wasn't impressed. Then I took out the first onesie he ever wore. "Should we give this to New Baby," I asked.

"No," came the muffled reply through fervently sucked thumb.

"Oh, why not?"

"Because it's mine."

Good point. Think fast Mummy. "Well, you're such a big boy now, this shirt is way too small for you. What if you gave this shirt to New Baby as a present and said, 'Here Baby, this was my shirt and I'd like you to have it now.' What do you think of that?"

Suck thumb and think. Then a positive nod of the head and a "Good."

Phew.

This morning he was super crust. He actually tried to kick me in the belly after I suggested that Daddy show him more of his baby clothes. I took his feet and put them on either side of my bare belly, where Baby instinctively kicked. "Did you feel that? Baby is trying to say, 'Hello Big Brother! I can't wait to meet you and have you teach me things.' You can teach Baby all kinds of things, like how to play with trucks and maybe even how to walk. Because Baby won't know how to do any of those things."

This seemed to reassure him. So I continued. "I know it's scary, because you don't know when Baby is coming. All you know is that someone new is coming to live with us and that you have to share Mommy and Daddy. And that's hard. But I promise you, no one is going to love you more than Baby. Baby is going to think you're the coolest and want to be just like you. And if you're ever upset, you just have to tell us, OK?"

Nod. Well it's something. He is practically cro-magnun in his comprehension of such things. Last night he asked me what a court was while reading at bedtime, and it made me tired just trying to break it down for him.

After hunger drew them downstairs to the breakfast table, I hopped in the shower, then joined them for breakfast. I surfed my email and convinced the Dog to take Nate to daycare on the bike. Nate put up minimal fuss, though he's too smart for me. He out and out asks what I'm doing and why he has to go to daycare if I'm not working.

After they left, I picked up a copy of Jeffrey Eugenides' Middlesex, which I'm trying not to pre-judge because it's an Oprah Pick. Really, it's a multi-generational story about Greeks coming to America and my novel is a multi-generational story about Armenians coming to Canada, so I have to read it to make sure I don't cover any of the same stuff. OK, so he's covered our Orthodox Easter bread and the egg-cracking tradition. Scratch that... you know, that kind of thing? There are no hermaphrodites in my story, but our first sentences are eerily similar without me ever having seen this book before. Freaky.

I fell asleep, nude and giant, with the gentle breeze of the fan, the book seductively falling out of mind. Oh, that is the sweetest sleep. I awoke to phone calls I really wanted to get and made plans to walk to the post office with Kate (to pick up my Etsy.com prints -- which were much smaller than I'd hoped, but gorgeous nonetheless) and then to meet my new Mommy-friend for coffee then pick up our children early from daycare and take them to the wading pool. Hmmm... I'm getting the hang of this...

I ate a handful of Guylian Solitaires in bed (god bless Aztec Gold!), got all hyper and then went for the walk with Kate. I came back, flicked on the tube, tried to catch up on Days of Our Lives, but HOLY MOTHER OF GOD --- WHAT has ABE done to his face?!!! Maybe Bold and the Beautiful would be better... When the heck did Brooke get a sister? Argh, it's all too confusing.

Made myself an artichoke heart and pesto mayo wrap (my pregnancy addiction), then dashed out to meet aforementioned friend at Tango Palace. Walked over to Baby on the Hip on Queen East, but my credit card is maxed out so I didn't buy any expensive stretchy swaddling blankets or Bisphenol-A-free bottles.

Went to daycare to get the kids early (so did a handful of other moms) and felt cruel, because all the other kids wanted to escape too. Took the kids to the wading pool and just chilled out, holding new babies and enjoying the breeze.

The Dog met us in the park and some of us headed to Kate's for an impromptu dinner. There were moms, dads, kids, beer, BBQ and laughter. And this is the biggest difference this time around. I have Mom Friends. I won't be doing this alone. I won't feel the loneliness or the isolation I did the first time around. I've already made the lifestyle change. I don't have to mourn missing that great all-girl band, or not being able to go out for drinkie poos after work. I can be next to other people who no longer talk in full sentences and understand everything they are not saying.

Chilling out feels good. I'm embracing it. As a former over-doer, it feels good to finally learn to enjoy the present, to be in the moment and to accept that so few things are actually in our control.

Bring it on little baby. Mama's ready.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The Truth about the Home Stretch

I've been off work since August 1st. Everyday, I wobble around thinking, "Hey, wouldn't that be a great blog post?"

But the truth is I'm knackered. Like so farking knackered I have to beg people to bring me a glass of water. If only I could ask my poor husband to pee for me, I think I would.

I did have a serious burst of energy when first off work. Of course, this mostly involved shopping. Making the house a better fit for me, for who I want to be, but also making it bearable during the impending "confinement."

In the past month, nesting fever has taken over and I've been inhabited by a fabulous gay man who knows just what I like. I don't have pictures, because my digital camera is busted, so these descriptions will have to do until the camera is repaired.:
  • I've updated Nate's room to be more big boy. We hired a friend to come and paint and this DIY-er swears she will NEVER paint another wall herself again. Much like dying your hair at home vs the salon, it's just so much cleaner and more enjoyable when someone else does it. So Benjamin Moore Serenity went up on the walls, over the Debbie Travis Canary Yellow or whatever that crap was called. (We thought it would bring sunshine into his room, but it only served to make me insane.) Now I go in there when I need "Serenity Now!" Everything else in the room is crisp white and Nate got some Thomas the Tank Engine bedding, which makes him happy. He's going to need all the happy he can get before his life is turned upside down in 2-3 weeks.

  • I finally ordered the headboard that goes with my bed. EQ3 was having a sale and the Silky Bamboo colour on my walls should go with the Cafe colour of the ultrasuede ergonomic headboard. I'll be spending a lot of time in that bed, so it's time I made it what I want it to be.

  • I got new bedding from HomeSense. New headboard deserved new sheets. Couldn't have an untrasuede headboard with scratchy Ikea sheets that don't stay on the bed now that I roll over 1765 times a night. I needed thread count baby. A cool, pale tealy blue on the bed with a striped bamboo/cafe colour on the duvet and shams. Oh yeah. Almost makes me want to have sex. (Who am I kidding? I totally want to have sex. I just can't move anymore, nor can I reach my own poontang. It's tortuous. It's really, truly evil.)

  • While at EQ3, I ordered pillows to tie in the colour of the new orange/coral (nope, it wasn't actually persimmon like I'd thought) futon thingy to the existing sage-ish couch. I also ordered some prints at Etsy.com to tie the green colour in on the orange couch side of the room and hung up my Pier 1 sunburst mirror. I also bought an espresso colour Lack coffee table from Ikea for $30 -- because who can afford a spendy coffee table when you have kids and a cat. I am shitting myself -- the living room looks so good now!

  • I also had aforementioned friend paint the hallway, which was the nasty green that it's been since day one here -- the open house. I hated that green and I'm so glad to see it gone. So the main floor and up the stairs are now Ben Moore Gentle Cream. My idea to have a feature wall at the top of the stairs is now out. I'll be doing a portrait wall instead, with a conglomeration of photos in a mish-mashed yet organized shape. The wall that you see as you're going down the stairs needs a nice narrow mirror so that it will brighten the dark hallway without installing a skylight that will eventually leak and make me more insane.

  • I've switched out many dressers and change tables, etc, to make room for Baby in my bedroom. I bought the Ikea Kompliment "drawerganizers" as my pal Blondie likes to call them and everything has a proper home now. I feel so fucking grown up.

  • More organizational shit that you don't really care about, but I am so farking happy about that I need to document it. I feel like this was the summer I became more adult. Like I took our dorm-room-feeling hand-me-downs and shitty mis-matched crap stuff and brought us into "grown-ups with two kids" land. I can't believe I am embracing that land, but it feels good to get your shit together.
Anyway, I'd love to pretend that the motivation for all this is Baby, but I'm actually doing it out of the fear that after two years of living here, and with the requests to see Baby impending, I can no longer deny my old-fashioned Armo relatives a visit. They are chomping at the bit to see what kind of squalor my non-Armenian artist husband has me living in. I don't want to give them the satisfaction of gloating about the fact that I don't live in the 'burbs with a minivan, so therefore I've had to bust my ass to make this place look as good as possible. Even if that's meant busting out the credit card once too often. Yes, the threat of Armo scorn goes a long way friends.

True, my house is tiny, but at least I can walk to the grocery store. Sure, my kid passes clinically insane people and crackheads on the street every day, but doesn't that make life more colourful? And now for the first time, this house is ME! It reflects us, who we are, without being all matchy-matchy, straight out of a catalogue. Because we are not the catalogue family. We want to be homey, but stylish. Mix vintage pieces with cheap Ikea and some nicer things. And somehow, finally, after 7 years of living together, we have arrived. It's still not totally done, but it's far more done than it was.

Marla had put it in my head that I needed to forget about perfection and focus on the pleasure of getting things done. I'm there now. It was good advice. I am paying for it today, mind you, and the confinement seems to have arrived sooner than I'd hoped. My body is forcing me to shut'er down and take it easy. I'll need my energy for the birth, so this is a good thing. But I'm ready. I'm ready to chill the fuck out and appreciate my surroundings, especially the people in them.

Hmm... I guess I had more to say than I thought!