Preparing for Our Second Baby

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Forget the gear. Everyone knows that you need the basics before baby: crib, stroller, freezer meals, diapers, duh. The Jess essentials (can we call them Jessentials? Probably not, right?) that I’m relying on to get through the Fourth Trimester this second time around are a little different from your standard pregnancy checklist. Last time I prepped so much for the baby that I forgot to take very good care of myself; I think that if I had put some tools in place for my own wellness, however little time I had to devote to it,  maaaaybe those colicky months wouldn’t have hit me so hard (but also they were just so freakin’ hard so I dunno, maybe nothing would have helped).

This time around it’s all about self-care; the baby is getting the basics and the rest will be for me because as any parent knows, when the mama is feeling good pretty much everything in the house runs more smoothly.

Basics for Baby. What the basics are will look different for every family. While most of Hennie’s clothes were pretty gender-neutral and I often shop for her in the boys section anyway, she was a newborn in the winter and Baby 2 is due in August so some lighter newborn-sized clothes were needed (tbh I picked up a few packs of plain white short-sleeved onesies and called it a day… #secondbabysyndrome ). Other than that we bought a mini crib, a Snuggle Me lounger, and invested in a really great double stroller and that was about it.

Catering to My Coziest Self. Obviously with the arrival of a new baby comes the arrival of those sleepless nights – so much time spent in bed without getting to sleep in it! This time I’ve resolved that if I’m going to be bed-bound for those long late night nursing sessions, I may as well make myself as comfortable as humanly possible (I mean, as comfortable as a mama recovering from childbirth with the postpartum sweats in August can really be). To all impending moms I would say this: whatever your cozy Saturday morning feel-good hangover jam is (or used to be), invest in that! Get some new pyjamas to cozy up those midnight feeds, some furry slippers if you’re due in the winter months, or plush new bedding to fall into for 45 minutes after being awake for three days. Whatever will add a bit of coziness for you is key. Obviously everything is going to revolve around your newborn for a time but it’s okay – and often crucial – to make a few tiny parts of your day about you. As you countdown those last few weeks go pick yourself up some small pleasures like some new shower products, a super soft shirt you can look forward to fitting into once that big ol’ bump is gone, a few pounds of fresh roasted espresso to look forward to each day, or a new shade of lipstick to throw on when you feel like a total postpartum dirtbag (it’s gonna happen some days, just embrace it)!

Sharpening My Coping Tools. Doing some “emotional work” is something I’ve been trying to make time for since I found out I was pregnant again in December. No one is at their best when their hormones are out of whack, they haven’t slept, and they’re trying to figure out what their brand new baby human wants. It’s a tough time for every family member as everyone adjusts to a new dynamic so the more tools you prep yourself with to help you cope with your stress the better off you’ll be able to handle that transition. Consider what usually helps you feel the most relaxed or focused; maybe it’s aromatherapy, listening to a favourite album, doing deep-breathing techniques, going through some favourite yoga poses, or having a chat with someone who always knows how to put things in perspective. Maybe it’s online shopping with a bottle of wine; I get it, but maybe try to find a few new tools before your due date. Keep a running list so that when you feel like things are getting to be too much you can take a few minutes (hopefully more if your new babe will allow!) and access these resources to find something to help you unwind or find a moment of peace. After my first baby was born I found that I felt much more capable and less anxious on days when I was able to leave the house even for a very short time. Every day I walked around the block a few times in the sunshine (alone!) and often stopped at the cafe on the corner to people-watch for a few minutes. These small moments were enough for me to regain some perspective and feel less isolated as I watched people live their lives around me. I suspect the caffeine boost didn’t hurt, either.

Becoming a Napper. There are two kinds of people: those who sleep easily and those who do not. I realize that to the types of people who can fall asleep anywhere, anytime, this advice is going to sound absolutely laughable. You freaks can fall asleep upright in an armchair at a toddler’s birthday party or under florescent lights in a waiting room or on an airplane, and I will forever be envious of that skill. But there are those of us who struggle to fall asleep even when conditions are optimal. I have never been able to nap  and quickly realized after my first baby was born that after sleeping only at night for thirty years, trying to grab a 45 minute catnap when my newborn was sleeping midday was next to impossible, no matter how exhausted I was. I wish that I had trained my body to fall asleep outside of it’s normal hours. I planned to spend the third trimester of this second pregnancy grabbing a midday nap when my toddler was down in an effort to teach myself this essential new skill, but so far it hasn’t happened and we’re now two weeks away from our due date. Kinda screwing over Future Jess but hey, can’t win ’em all!

Tom’s Preparation for Baby #2: I asked Tom what the number one thing is on his mind as we approach our boy’s due date and he answered that making the transition as easy as possible for Hennie is his top priority (assuming of course that I can take care of my own recovery). She’ll only be 21 months old when he’s born so we aren’t really able to explain the concept of a sibling to her in a way she can understand. Our plan has been to just attempt to stick to her routine as much as possible to avoid her feeling like the family is in upheaval. Or maybe she’ll be enthralled with her baby brother and won’t notice much else? We’re just as interested to see Hennie’s reactions to her brother as we are to meet him and see what he’s like!

If you have multiple kiddos, how did you prepare for baby #2 and what did you do differently than the first time? I’m so interested to hear, if you’d like to share.

 

Our Kitchen Update

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Hi, guys! I know this isn’t normal fodder for this mama-focused blog but I thought I’d share our completed kitchen renovation today. Maybe it would be more of an ‘update’ than a full-scale renovation because we chose to reface the existing cabinet doors rather than redesigning the entire kitchen. That said, it took a long time and was a lot of work so no matter what you wanna call it, I am enjoying baking muffins right now in the finished product!

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When we moved into our condo in September we instantly agreed that the limited amount of funds we had left over after closing on our new place would go toward updating this kitchen. I spend a lot of time cooking, baking, and meal prepping and it was clear that the kitchen hadn’t been updated since the building was built in the 1990’s. It wasn’t overtly heinous, but it was definitely dated. Since we were working with a small, firm budget we chose to keep the original cloudy-grey flooring for the time being and focus on re-facing the cabinets, replacing the laminate counters with quartz, installing under-cabinet lighting and a tile backsplash, and updating the sink, fixtures, and hardware.

When selecting colours and materials my aim was to modernize and brighten the space without doing anything too trendy. This is our first home and while we intend to spend a few years here before moving on, we also want to make all of our home reno decisions with resale value in mind. Our biggest obstacle to overcome was lighting – there is no natural light in our kitchen and it can be quite dark. Luckily I’m a fan of all-white-everything anyway! I chose soft white cabinets, glossy white subway tiles, and a white flecked countertop, offsetting all of the light colours with traditional style matte black hardware throughout the kitchen and a custom wood bar for the pony wall. We installed an open pantry on the bare wall to the right of the fridge and that was made from the same raw ash as the bar.

Here are the ‘before’ pictures, if you’d like to see how far it’s come! Can we all agree that under-cabinet lighting is a total game changer? I can actually see the food that I’m preparing now! Having a big sink and a new faucet also turned out to be a crucial and simple update that has improved my quality of life more than I’d like to admit. Tom can attest to how often I used to curse while doing the dishes – some appliances like our Vitamix didn’t actually fit under the old faucet and I had to rinse them in the tub!

Hope you likey (but if not, whatevs, ’cause I’m the one who spends half my day here!). Insanely massive shoutout to my Uncle Russ who measured, ordered, and installed all of our new cabinet doors as well as creating all of the custom woodwork. He did over 80 hours of free labour in our home in the last six months and without him we would have had to wait years before tackling this project. We love it and we’re so grateful!

Bump Update – 32 Weeks with Baby #2

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Sleep: sleep is not going super well anymore. It could definitely be worse so I appreciate what I am getting but between Hennie’s teething wake-ups, third trimester insomnia, my growing physical discomfort, and needing to pee every hour I can’t say I’m getting those deep sleeps that our bodies crave. Oh, well! It’ll probably be years before we’re getting good sleep again and I’ve resigned myself to that.

Movement: This baby is so interactive that I feel like we’re already hangin’ out together in the middle of the night! When I press against his feet at night he always kicks back. I don’t pay much attention to his movements during the day but once Hennie is in bed for the night I notice every little jab. His feet are tucked right up in my ribs in the same spot his big sister’s were last time.

Appreciating: this recent June-uary weather. I know the sun and heat will be back so I’m enjoying the cooler temps these days while I can. I expect July is going to be an uncomfortable month for me.

Craving: spicy chicken burgers, always! Not sure this counts as a craving since it was my favourite meal before pregnancy too, but it’s basically what I feel like eating at any given moment. Send me all the FatBurger gift certificates, please!

Nesting: I’ve been so funny lately – I can’t make a decision to save my life but when it comes to little jobs around the house I’m getting. shit. done. Organizing, re-organizing, making space for another crib, you name it! Still lots to do to get ready but I’ve got time left to do it.

How I’m Feeling: tired and slow, but all is well and I certainly can’t complain when I’m having a healthy pregnancy. Some days I feel like I don’t have the energy to even get out of bed but some days I can get a walk and a workout in no prob. I am listening to my body day to day and just responding according to what it needs. Unless it needs a nap…

Noonan Syndrome: Our Story

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I’d like to finally share something that has been on my heart and mind for the last year: the diagnosis of Noonan Syndrome that our daughter received at six months old.

What is Noonan Syndrome?

NS is a congenital disorder that was recognized by a paediatric cardiologist in the early 60s and is closely linked with certain congenital heart defects. It occurs in approx 1 out of 1000-2500 births and while most people have never heard of it, it occurs roughly as frequently as Downs. Roughly half of babies born with NS had it passed on from a parent while it develops spontaneously in the other half.

One of the most important things that we’ve learned about NS is how variable the symptoms and severity of health issues are. While some issues (like the presence of heart defects) are very closely linked to NS, every individual will present their own set of issues with varying degrees of severity. Because of this wide range, kiddos with NS are closely managed with multidisciplinary care.

How did Hennie get diagnosed?

For those who are curious about our particular family’s situation, Hennie was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect at three days old. Her paediatrician thought she heard an anomaly and sent us for an ECG and echocardiogram to confirm, hoping it was just a murmur. The cardiologist diagnosed her with Pulmonary Valve Stenosis, a heart defect that is very commonly associated with Noonan Syndrome. Because Hennie exhibited multiple other facial and physical characteristics associated with the syndrome we were referred to Medical Genetics at BC Children’s Hospital. While we waited several months for those appointments I researched NS and felt fairly certain that she had it based on what we already knew as well as some other symptoms I had noticed in pregnancy that had been tested and all fallen just outside the range of what was considered ‘normal’.

Hennie received her diagnosis at around six months old. At the same time it was ascertained that neither Tom nor I have NS and that Hennie’s case occurred spontaneously. All of the testing was done through a clinical diagnosis which means no bloodwork was done and we don’t know which “strain” of NS Hennie has (the bloodwork to confirm this is very expensive and not covered for us so we have chosen not to do it unless we need to know in order to better manage her health). Because Tom and I don’t have NS it is extremely unlikely that any subsequent children we have will have it, though our ultrasounds for upcoming baby no 2 were looked at closely by a pediatric cardiologist to make sure. We opted out of the more invasive testing for baby 2 as no soft or hard markers for any disorders were found in our 20week anatomy scan.

Why are we just talking about this now?

There are so many reasons, but here are the main ones:

I wasn’t ready. It has been way too emotional for me to think about all of this stuff until recently. Processing and managing a child’s health concerns is basically an ongoing part of life now, but for a very long time it felt too overwhelming to talk about. Despite all of the positive prognoses we’ve received, the first months of Hennie’s life were deeply traumatizing for me and greatly coloured my experience as a new mother. An extended hospital stay, tests on my colicky newborn at three days old, months of appointments and hospital visits after that finally leading to diagnoses and figuring out what it could all mean for my daughter and for our family… it has been a lot, and I only started to feel more at ease in my role as mother and advocate around Hennie’s first birthday. I have taken my time in putting my scattered thoughts into words and I’ll probably be continuing to work on it for a very long time.

I was afraid of speaking as a part of the NS community. For a long time I didn’t think it was my place to speak about being a NS parent because so far Hennie’s case has been so mild that we haven’t shared many of those other parents’ experiences. Others have had to deal with much more difficult health implications and diagnoses as well as critical, ongoing developmental issues. For a long time I have felt that while I am technically a part of the NS parent community the last thing I wanted to do was to co-opt an experience other parents were having that I clearly am not. I don’t identify as a special needs mama like some NS parents do because so far, Hennie hasn’t exhibited any special needs and we have been lucky enough to get to treat her like a “normal” toddler. We often forget she has a syndrome until an issue crops up that gives us a reason to pause and consider. But I do believe that as a fierce and vocal mama I am well positioned to be an ally to the NS community.

We weren’t sure it was our story to tell. …and to be honest I’m still not sure that it is. My worry has been that I’m making a choice on Hennie’s behalf that puts her in the position of being an advocate or spokesperson when she may not want to be in that role. When she is able to articulate her desires to us we will undoubtedly respect her decisions and comply with whatever her wishes are at the time. But for now I know too well how terrifying it can be to receive this diagnosis for your child and have no idea what it means for your family. My aim is to be an advocate for this community that has become such a permanent part of our family and to be accessible on social media to parents looking for information. It might seem surprising to non millennials (haha) but social media was actually the first place I looked when we received our diagnosis. While we were provided with plenty of access to clinical resources like medical studies and research we were given no “real-world” information about how our day-to-day lives might look. Of course I understand why that was the case, but searching through NS hashtags to find families on Instagram who were vocal about their struggles (there weren’t many!) was such a comfort to me in those very early days. Seeing even one or two families living normal (ish) lives with their little Nooneroo’s when I knew virtually nothing about how Hennie’s diagnosis would affect her gave me visual confirmation that this wasn’t a death sentence for us. That may sound morbid but no one mentioned life expectancy or quality of life to us when we sat through those appointments so we were left with some pretty big questions about the future. I still don’t know if it’s “fair” for us to talk about Hennie having NS when other families may not be as fortunate as we are to raise a Nooneroo who is (so far) so indistinguishable from a ‘normal’ kid, but admittedly I’m not really one to stay silent when an issue is close to my heart.

How do we expect this to affect Hennie’s future?

The bottom line is that there is just no way of knowing what will or won’t affect her later, so we mostly manage her care with a “wait and see” approach.

We were told when she was a baby that it’s common for the physical characteristics and facial features to become more subtle as kids grow up and we certainly have noticed that this has been true for Hennie, since it was quite obvious to us that she looked different as a newborn, but her doctors all agree that they would never think to refer her to Medical Genetics if they saw her now. Perhaps it sounds vain for us to talk about physical characteristics that don’t generally pose a health risk but any parent just wants their kid to be able to grow up feeling ‘normal,’ and we’re no exception. We know now that not having to think about your health is the biggest luxury a person can have and we hope that Hennie will be fortunate enough to grow up worrying about normal kid stuff like having cool shoes and getting Dunkaroos in her lunchbox!

As for her heart condition, at six months old her cardiologist said her PVS had gotten milder so our next cardiology appointment isn’t until she’s three years old or so. Like most individuals with NS, she will continue to be seen by cardiology until adulthood regardless of the severity of her heart condition, as a precaution.

There is a “guidebook” of sorts (a medical journal dictating Clinical Management Guidelines) and I’m part of a huge community of parents (on Facebook) whose knowledge and experience I can easily tap into whenever I have a question or concern. For now we are comfortable knowing that we have a cardiologist and a paediatrician who are familiar with our family and who we trust to give Hen the best care possible. We are also being followed by our local Infant Development Program who come to our home every 3 months for a short visit to check in on how Hennie’s development is progressing. We feel so lucky to live in a country where these things are all free for us.

What would I say to parents who have just received this diagnosis?

Knowing how much it goes against the nature of many parents to keep completely calm after receiving news that the current or future health of your child is unknown, I would never counsel another worried parent to not freak out. Some emotional processing is necessary and each family will need to navigate that period the best way they know how. BUT that’s not a place you want to stay, emotionally. After my initial panic and heartbreak I immediately sought out a small village. I was able to connect with a few other parents and immediately had the feeling that we weren’t alone in our journey. While an amazing Medical Genetics team and paediatrician are essential to galvanize yourself with information, it’s highly unlikely that any of those individuals are actually parenting a child with the same diagnosis as your own. There’s something bolstering about knowing that someone else understands your worries because they’re going through it, too.

Taking things one step/diagnosis at a time has been essential for me to manage my natural inclination toward anxiety, but I would say that it’s pretty essential to the management of NS in general. Worrying about the future has never done anyone any good and it can be an especially tough habit when faced with a variably expressed disordered like NS; there are so many uncertainties and potential minor and major risks that wondering which ones could impact your family will drive you crazy.

Here are a few things that have worked best for our family in our ongoing care for Hen, if you’re interested:

  1. Arming myself with formal medical knowledge: both my husband and I are big on academics and believe that knowledge is power, so the first thing I did was make sure that I was gaining the right kind of knowledge and not just reading about random people’s experiences. This meant that I read through a lot of medical journals, sometimes asking my two nurse besties for a little help deciphering the information I found. Knowing the basics made me feel much better and made her syndrome feel less rare and hard to deal with. Additionally, many professionals aren’t super familiar with NS and parents in more rural areas often have to explain the basics to their child’s healthcare practitioners and teachers. Becoming an advocate for your child is always important but it becomes much more important when your child isn’t in perfect health. Luckily in Vancouver we are in close proximity to BC Children’s Hospital and so far haven’t been met with this particular challenge.
  2. Deal first with all current issues: aka “one thing at a time” as I talked about above. How you deal emotionally with your child’s health issues will depend on your own parenting style and personality type, but compartmentalizing things helped me feel less overwhelmed. I do my best to focus on the biggest and most current issues before moving forward. Once we had received good news about Hen’s heart I did my best to let it go and not worry about the future until our next appointment. Easier said than done sometimes but it’s a habit worth cultivating.
  3. Being proactive about potential future issues: like I said, worrying about every future issue is not helpful, but familiarizing ourselves with the most common issues was still very important to me. Hennie has low muscle tone so I made sure we were referred to a physio who could show me how best to help her increase her core strength so she would have an easier time as her little body grows. Children with NS quite often require growth hormones after 2 yrs of age so we keep a close eye on her growth chart to watch for drastic plateaus. Eye issues are also common so I asked for a referral to a paediatric ophthalmologist the second I noticed anything unusual.
  4. It will always be a part of your story: even when the outcome seems mild and no issues are currently popping up it is always there in the back of my mind, a gaping “what if” that lives alongside all of the other what if’s that we deal with as worrisome parents. So basically, make your peace with this part of your life so you can give your little Nooneroo what every kiddo wants, just your love and attention.

If you’ve found this page because you’ve recently received a diagnosis and you’d like to chat, feel free to reach out! A great starting point for basic information can be found here: https://www.teamnoonan.org/general-information . You can email me directly through the contact info on this blog or pop over to my Instagram account and comment or Direct Message me there. I can connect you with the FB Support Group for families dealing with a Rasopathy, where you can also find a huge compilation of relevant and informative journal articles. If you’d like to check out another family living their own experience with NS go to Elisabeth Parker’s Instagram. Fun Fact: she’s the first NS mama I found after receiving our diagnosis and is a fierce advocate for NS research in the US as well as a wonderful resource and mentor to me this past year.

If you have any questions, please ask away! I’m open to receiving all forms of curiosity, concern, and of course encouragement 🙂

Mamas and Daughters

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It’s a big weekend around here – Canadian Mother’s Day and the start of my third and final trimester carrying our second child! I’ve never been a huge fan of holidays, admittedly; I’d much rather have a long weekend. Give me an extra day to spend with family without the plans or pressures that accompany most holidays! That said, Mother’s Day has caused a little introspection for me this year. This is my last Mother’s Day being a mom to just Hennie and I’m feeling so many feels! Rather than worrying like a normal mom about how she’ll handle all the change that’s coming to our family dynamic, I’ve been selfishly worried about her relationship with me.

Since her birth, Hennie and I have always had an interesting and complex relationship. I suspect that most mother-daughter relationships have these qualities, but having only one daughter (and being only one daughter) I don’t really have enough experience to know for sure. In the beginning I blamed the colic and high-needs attributes for her not wanting to co-sleep or cuddle, but as she grew into toddlerhood she continued to remain pretty indifferent to me, not unlike the beloved cat I had when I was twelve. I begged my parents my whole life for a cat and when I finally got one she completely ignored me and rebuffed all of my attempts to cuddle with or pet her. My response was to forcefully smother her with my affection even as she clawed her way out of my arms. I was never able to successfully convince her to acknowledge me when she wasn’t hungry and I quickly realized that tactic wouldn’t work on Hennie, either. So instead of smothering my daughter in love I have dutifully heeded my parenting instincts, which have instructed me to stand back and let her comfort zone blossom over time, offering attention and affection only when it is asked for. It friggin’ kills me, but she responds well to being given her space.

In time I’ve learned to see her independence not as a rejection of me but as a movement toward her own freedom. I’m happy for her that she self-soothes at such a young age and sleeps well in her own bedroom. I’m happy for her that when she falls her first instinct is not to look for me, but to pick herself up and continue determinedly forward on her own path. I’m not getting the cuddles I always dreamt I would receive from a child but hey, there’s always the next one. And I certainly cannot deny that the girl is unstoppably strong-willed; in fact I had hoped for this quality in spades for any daughter I might be lucky enough to raise.

Things have changed oh so slowly and Hen really seems to love it when we spend time together now. Our weekdays as a twosome are full of fun local adventures and my heart pretty much explodes every time she reaches for my hand or runs toward me with her arms raised. We snuggle a little more often and once in a while I even catch her looking at me with an expression that feels like the whole universe is shining it’s light on me. Maybe after the new baby gets here she’ll regress back to her “I don’t need no mama” attitude, but I’m secretly hoping she gets jealous and clingy and I become buried under babies that my body has made. The future remains a mystery until this baby comes so for now I’m gonna soak up three months of summertime park hangs, iced coffee dates, and hand-holding with my smart, strong-willed baby girl. 

Bump Update – 27 weeks with Baby #2

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Sleep: that third trimester pregnancy insomnia is kicking in lately and keeping me awake at night. Mostly my mind is day-dreaming about life with two kiddos, what our son will look like, and how labour will go this time #alwayswondering

Movement: So many kicks all night long from this night owl! Hennie was exactly the same in utero so I guess we’re in for another super active baby! Please no colic this time though, k thanks.

Enjoying: I’m a summer girl through and through so I’m loving this balmy weather! Leaving the house in shorts and a tee shirt (even when all your shirts are too small…) is a dream! We always try to prioritize a family “Adventure Day” each weekend and this weekend we went to the garden store. Hennie loved walking among the plants and touching each one. Those big outdoor nurseries must feel like an exotic jungle to a kiddo!

Craving: a baby in my arms! I’m having recurrent dreams that he’s here and I’m holding him. I’m happy to have another few months to soak up my time with Hen but I’m also pretty excited to have a little baby again. I know it sounds like I’ve forgotten the trauma of colic, but I have not; I’m just really hoping for a different experience this time.

Nesting: filling our home with plants counts as nesting, right?

How I’m Feeling: tired – the second trimester has been a time of big growth for this baby boy and a time for me to slow down a little (when Hen allows). Also so surprised at how fast this pregnancy is going. Everyone told me it would happen but it just feels so surreal to be heading into summer months when I’m expecting a late summer baby. I can’t wrap my head around it!

Bump Update – 24 weeks with Baby #2

 

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Sleep: I keep saying this but I’ll say it again: because I know what’s coming I’m truly savouring every single good night’s sleep I’m getting. 6-8 hours without waking to a baby’s cry is heaven and the luxury is not wasted on me. Oddly enough, the teeth-falling-out dreams I had around this time last pregnancy have started coming back again a few times a week; isn’t that crazy? I googled what it means and apparently these types of dreams can occur when a person is going through a time of transition and feels as though circumstances are out of their control. Okay then. 

Movement: his movements are changing lately as he grows bigger – less spastic and jerky and more big, rolling movements. I know that until week 28 ish is the time that a baby usually has the most space relative to it’s size and it sure feels like he is somersaulting in there while he still has the room to do so! Apparently he’s around 1.5 lbs these days, I can’t believe how fast these babies grow!

Enjoying: watching Hennie interact a little more with other kids and new people. We go to a drop-in play group during the week and she is usually so shy but is slooooowly warming up to playing with others instead of just near others. It’s so much fun to watch her confidence and curiosity grow over time. It makes me so interested to see what she’ll be like when her brother arrives and how she’ll react to him. 

Craving: Sunshine! I’m so glad it isn’t cold or dark anymore, but it was hailing like crazy last week and I’m ready to be barefoot in the grass. We are getting little pockets of sunshine here and there but it would be nice to retire my toque and hiking boots until next Fall. I ditched my winter coat a while back since I’m past the point of zipping it up anyway.

Nesting: we’re loving calling the baby by his name now that we’ve decided on one, not sure if that really counts as nesting but it makes me feel warm and cozy on the inside, so I’m going to pretend it does. I don’t think it’s pregnancy related but we have been on a major home improvement kick lately and I’ve been on an unstoppable plant-buying-bender. I just can’t get enough greenery in our home!

How I’m Feeling: I’ve been surprised to find how different this pregnancy is to my first; I admit that I was pretty much expecting to have the same experience as I had carrying Hennie, but of course that seems like a pretty silly expectation. This time around my back is giving me shooting pains and a lot of the standard pregnancy aches that didn’t catch up to me until very late in my last pregnancy have started much earlier, likely because these kiddos are relatively close together and my muscles aren’t nearly as strong as they were last time. But I still think I’m having a fairly fantastic pregnancy in the scheme of things!

What’s New: lately Hen has been discovering just how much fun it is to throw things across the room or onto the floor. Even though it makes her laugh uproariously and we find it cute most of the time, there’s something incredibly disheartening about thoughtfully cooking a delicious family meal every night and then cleaning half of it off the floor shortly after it’s done. Bonus points to me if Hen puts as much food in her mouth as she puts on her head! Oh, the toddler stage.

Bump Update – 20 weeks with Baby #2

 

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Sleep: getting great sleep when Hennie lets me and soaking in every precious hour of it that I get! She slept in until 9:30 one day last week (not normal), and I wondered for a while why we were having another newborn so soon when we’ve got it so good 🙂 Of course the next day I got cocky and stayed up late and she woke me up at 6:30. 

Movement: B2 is moving and grooving all over this belly! I don’t pay much attention to it during the day as I’m way too busy with B1, but as soon as she’s in bed and I get to sit down for the first time I feel lots of spastic movement. B2 is still small enough that he/she can move all around in there, not just kick, which is fun. Once the space runs out it gets a bit tighter and trickier for the both of us. 

Enjoying: each stage for what it is. With this being my second rodeo I know what’s coming in late pregnancy – inability to roll over in bed, swollen ankles, back pain, heartburn, and a general slooooowing down. This time around I’m finding myself so much more appreciative and less in a rush. Why would I rush the second trimester anyway? It’s the best one! ha. 

Craving: patio season = craving a patio cider in the sunshine! I feel pretty “meh” about most food lately, I’m eating when I need to (lots of smoothies!) but no major cravings or foods that I “gotta have right now”. 

Nesting: starting to research double strollers and think about where to put a minicrib in our bedroom. Working on little projects around our house keeps me feeling productive and happy. Waiting to tackle Hen’s closet until we know what we’re having!

How I’m Feeling: overall, great! I take these steep New West hills a bit slower than I used to but I have decent energy, am keeping up with my workouts, getting out of the house with Hen as often as possible, and just enjoying being mobile while I can.

Bump Update – 18 weeks with Baby #2

 

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Sleep: I’m getting decent sleep, or was when we were back at home. In Palm Springs this week not so much! Sharing a house with family has its perks, but “quiet” is not one of them. 

Movement: As is obvious when comparing the pic above with the one from four weeks ago, my belly has really popped out this week! As a result I’m able to feel way more little kicks and bumps and I’m absolutely loving it. For a worrisome mama like me those movements are constant reassurance that Bugaloo 2 is doing okay in there!

Enjoying: A break from the incessant rain, cold, and perpetual sicknesses that this winter has wrought in all our lives! As a hater of cold weather and a true Summer bum, Nov-Feb are my least favourite months by a long shot and I’m deeply happy to be rid of them for another year. The weather in the desert is wonderful and since we fly back home on Daylight Savings Day we hope there’ll be a little more light after this trip!

Craving: A workout! This is the first warm weather vacation I’ve been on in five years and I’m loving it, but I miss moving my body and have been eating too much junk food. Maybe some Desert Bootcamp is in order!

Nesting: I’ve been trying to find little projects at home to improve our space – adding plants to the mix, putting up little shelves here and there. It’s lovely! Still not sure we have room for another baby but we’ll figure something out when the time comes!

How I’m Feeling: Like a million bucks! The second trimester is always good to me. My belly grows a lot but I have good energy and no nausea so I certainly can’t complain!

Bump Update – 14 weeks with Baby #2

 

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Sleep: as good as can be expected with a toddler; we’re feeling super grateful that Hennie sleeps so well (thank you, sleep training!) and just need to work on getting to bed earlier. A constant struggle when the evening is your only time to get stuff done!

Movement: not much movement from this itty bitty baby belly yet, but I expect and hope to feel something soon! That was my favourite part of pregnancy last time so I’m really looking forward to it. 

Enjoying: having a silly, funny, sassy, smart toddler to hang with during the day! She can sure be a handful but now that I have some of that Second Trimester energy back I don’t mind running after this little bugaloo all day long. 

Craving: I don’t think I have a lot of cravings in pregnancy. After the CarbFest of the first trimester I’ve been enjoying fruit smoothies and healthier dinners lately. 

Nesting: lots of home improvements being made lately but I suspect it has more to do with home ownership than pregnancy symptoms! We are in the middle of an ongoing kitchen renovation that is “on a break” for a few weeks in February while we wait for our new cabinets. In the meantime I’ve been painting our bedroom – it was baby blue with lots of big marks and dents when we got possession of our condo but I prefer a nice crisp white. Our room is cleaner, less cluttered, and more of the “sanctuary” space that I always like my bedrooms to be. 

How I’m Feeling: excited about the prospect of having another baby but super content with it’s arrival still being six months away. During my first pregnancy I always wanted to rush things along at top speed so I could become a mom; this time I know the chaos that newborns bring so I’m revelling in the time with my daughter (and the sleep!) we’re enjoying and not wishing the months away. That’s a lie, I wish it was Spring, the dark and dreary winter months have been a tough slog this year 😉