reunion and speculation

Tomorrow I get to have a little reunion with my baby :) I was hashing this out with my cousin this past weekend. How when I first heard MM's heartbeat, I felt like I was finally "meeting" him/her. Finally getting to communicate, if only one-way. MM to me. But it was pure bliss.

Tomorrow is my second appointment with my OB so I get to hear MM again. What a sweet sound. Now that I'm feeling MM move I'm even more eager to hear him/her because I feel MM's presence more daily, and definitely more positively (MM used to like to remind me that he/she was there by causing me to vomit and cry and sleep for 13 hours a day, now MM just gives me a nudge every so often... which I will tell MM when s/he's older is much more appropriate).

I can't wait for tomorrow, and to talk to my OB again (I have some questions), to get my "clean bill of health" from Dr. Hall so I can fly all over North Africa in a few weeks, and because after tomorrow it's only 19 more days until we find out what kind of MM MM truly IS. Though I'll tell you a secret, I have a hunch that MM is a BOY.

Why, you ask? I think you'll remember how SET I was on a girl. I was kind of afraid of a boy because I had been brought up surrounded by girls, all female cousins, friends, and 1 sister, NO BOYS ALLOWED basically :) So I don't know how I'd be as a mom to boys since I have such little experience. But maybe about a month ago I started LONGING for a baby boy. Out of nowhere. I'd see little boys (about 2 years old or so) and just DROOL over them. So cute, if not inappropriate. I would think more and more about having a boy and switched from constantly referring to MM as "she" right to "he", and now I'm stuck on "he"!

My theory is that God is preparing my heart for a boy.
And He did a darn good job, because I'm now at the point where I really truly want a boy. I still want a girl too, I'm perfectly balanced (FINALLY) and really just so excited to find out the gender either way. But gosh, I can't stop thinking about boys and how cute they are and how my dad would be in HEAVEN (like me he lead a life surrounded by girls) and so would Brad and it would add a nice mix to my female-dominated family...

But little boys grow up into big boys and that scares me. I work in young women's ministry, I understand what teenage girls go through and can walk that path with some awareness. Teenage boys who refuse to hug their moms or grown men who don't have strong bonds with their moms is a horrible thought to me. Most grown men I know don't call their moms very often, whereas most grown women I know do... Little things like that make me scared, just for a second or two.

So in conclusion: hearing MM again (can't wait!, I've missed you MM!) tomorrow, wanting a little boy very much these days, but still aware of the differences it will bring to life :)


100 posts!

Just realized that I've been blogging for exactly 100 posts, {7 months}

I started as a skeptic and now I'm in LOVE. Blogs/Blogging = my new diary, newspaper, magazine subscription, cookbook, additional sphere of friends & people I admire, and scrapbook. All of those things are found in the blogs I follow and in writing my own. I LOVE IT.

Some new blogs I suggest:
  1. {Our Nest In The City} - my post-bump-and-sometimes-now-blog (button @ side)
  2. Le Blab - a Pastor/Church-Planter's wife and full-time mom in Quebec City
  3. Homemade by Jill - an adorable DIY site
  4. From an Igloo - another adorable DIY blog based in Alaska
  5. Cheeky Kitchen - a great recipe blog especially for cooking for kids
  6. Things of Beauty - a DIY blog by a very creative woman


a sick little prego and a silver lining

uhhhh I'm sick.

Not the prego sick I have been (i.e. barfing random mornings, feeling sleepy, etc).

Full-blown, can't-hold-anything-down-or-in, can't-taste-food, tummy-ache-city. It started last night around 1am. That was my first clue this wasn't prego sickness. I have only been sick once at a time other than around 7-9am during this pregnancy, and it was about 5am, simply because I was REALLY hungry and my body thought it was morning, hence morning sickness.

We went out to dinner with Daymond and Alysha, my cousins visiting this weekend. Eating rich and great foods all weekend made me think it could have been food poisoning (I'm not fantastic with dairy, though usually ok, but I had super rich pasta and whipped cream all in the same day). So a few hours after returning home and thus digesting, it happened.

You know the ultimate shame when you're sitting on the toilet because you can't get off, whilst puking into a garbage can that you forgot to line with a plastic bag? Yeah. With company over. Beauty. Now they're family so it's not the end of the world, but the sounds and smells were probably hard to ignore :(

I finished in the bathroom around 2am, drank piles of Gatorade and ate Life cereal (with NO milk) before waking up every hour afterward, since I maybe did drink a gallon (hey, I thought I was dehydrated). So it was hard to have a good night's sleep but this morning, though tired, I thought it was over. Fell back asleep until around 2pm, waking to a raging tummy ache, no taste for any food whatsoever, and that general kill-me-now-i'm-so-sick feeling.

On the plus side, last night before the world's worst hostess, hour long, visit to the bathroom, I felt MM kicking away and this time from the outside of my belly! I had felt the fluttery movements for the last week but this was clear as day. My hand was just below my belly button and I felt him/her squirming and moving around. I wonder if his/her tummy was upset too? Or if MM even noticed the mass exodus of all solid materials form my body? How much of our own sicknesses and pains does the baby participate in?

Going back to sleep :)


mm @ 18 weeks!

what's 5.5 inches long, 7 ounces, and can show you which way to the beach?

MM! At 18 weeks, MM is flexing arms and legs and that explains why I'm starting to feel what I am interpreting as movements/kicking. Not to mention the size of a bell pepper :)

See posts below for:
a) pics of me @ 18 weeks
b) where I'll be blogging when MM is no longer a vegetable but a pooping crying living baby

18 weeks

I know I'm growing, and by now have gained about 5-7 pounds, but it's hard to believe this is the half-way size/shape of a prego. I think I felt like I'd have gained 20 pounds by now and be "showing" much more... Who knows.

I don't see a change week to week, it's more like after a few pass I think "I'm HUGE!" that or when I can't fit into things that were 2 sizes too big before the pregnancy... I mean technically not maternity clothes, but basically are...and are not too small. Reality check!
#1 the modest side pose

#2 the belly side pose

#3 the full-frontal pose (is this caption misleading?)

#4 my view from the top


blog for later:

{our nest in the city}

see button with attached link ------------->

the post-bump blog is up, but will be rarely updated since my life revolves around this bump and I don't have enough spare time to host TWO blogs. But I'll keep this one even after MM is born for MM2, 3, 4 (God-willing).

To be honest, I always thought blogging was kind of ridiculous, but once I actually started READING them (yes my judgment was based on no experience whatsoever) and writing one for myself, I began to love it. I love that my community from back in Ontario can read here and know what's going on. I love that I have it recorded so I won't forget. I love that I can have a place to write my thoughts instead of them crowding up my packed head.

So, a blog for later has begun :) A blog about my relatively new life in the city, Brad and my journey as new parents, new home owners (hopefully soon!), new full-time job (on maternity leave), new LIFE period.
Hope you'll read it :)


bilingual names

we are having a really hard time finding names we

a) both like

b) work in French (our kids will go to French school and live in QC so it's pretty important)

c)still work in English (all of the kids' family members are Anglophone and they'll still go to church and speak English at home)

ESPECIALLY for boy's names. Girls names tend to work easily in French and English because feminine sounds are often borrowed from French. Take Emily. Emilie, and just like that you have a French name. Or better yet, Amelie. But boys names are much harder. Most of the boys names I've mentioned liking we both agree could never work in French since they come from my Scottish background, and sound ridiculous when pronounced by anyone with a French or Quebecois accent (believe me, we've tried).

We have our names chosen for the first TWO girls we have (if we ever have girls!) but boys names, we haven't thought of any that we're both sold on. A lot of names that we like in French (i.e. Etienne) we don't like in English (Stephen). Or names we like in English (i.e. Luke) we don't like in French (Luc, pronounced "LOOK").

Sigh. I'm sure if we find out we are having a boy, 3 weeks from now, we'll start thinking more seriously and find something, but it's been a lost cause so far.

Suggestions welcome!!


mm @ 17 weeks!

an early post, but I can't believe I can even be writing 17 WEEKS! It seems so "far along"! So close to the 20 week part-ay of being half way there and knowing the gender. SO yes, I"m jumping the gun, MM turns "17 weeks" tomorrow, but we're leaving the city today (in about 5 minutes...) so it was my last shot.

I don't eat turnip all that often and I don't think I'd know what one looked like if I saw it looking like it does above... Not enough time on the farm I guess. Or the market. Shame. But hey, I live in Montreal.
Either way, MM is the size of a turnip this week, specifically MM's 5 inches long!! I just looked at a ruler, and woah. That is LONG. In other news, MM's skeleton is developing from cartilage to bone and MM's other organs are pumping away.
3 more weeks til we know who MM is!!


where it all began {part 2}

A while back I posted about going back to North Africa, the place where I first laid eyes on my wonderful husband. It was amazing to be back there seeing all the same sights, smelling the same smells, seeing the same people, but being MARRIED. really weird.

Weird thing part 2: this weekend we're pilgrimage-ing back to a retreat center about 1.5 hours out of the city for a planning weekend with work, at the SAME PLACE where MM's journey began.

I know. Ew, right? Maybe an over share. But I'm excited to be back there and almost say to the place WE'RE PREGNANT! Not that the walls could respond or the buildings could sense the significance, but it's still cool to me. We were there the first week of December, and little did we know our lives had already changed forever. We didn't find out we were prego until a few weeks down the road (if we were in North Africa and we knew we were pregnant that would be crazy, really fast-forwarding since the last time we were there w weren't even dating... but that honour comes this May and June when we go back for a third time, this time knowingly pregnant, and yes of course married).

Hard to believe that was so long ago now. Week 1 of my pregnancy (even though "they" would say it was already the second week by the time I officially became pregnant). I wouldn't start feeling sick for a whole month from that date. And I wouldn't start being excessively tired and hungry for another 2 weeks. Those first weeks of ignorance were so funny. Business as usual. Having no idea I had life inside of me (and yes, I even took the free wine on Air France heading to North Africa, unknowingly of course...my bad). And now I'm approaching the half way point of this pregnancy.

HALF WAY. As in, just a few weeks from know we'll know if Vanessa's guess is right (boy) or if MM is a girl. As in, MM will be growing and so will I to the point that no normal clothes can probably contain him/her. As in, a few short months from now I'll be somebody's mom. WOW.



I've taken a lot of flack for not posting baby bump pics on facebook, which I decided not to do, but I was always planning to post them up here, just never got around to it. The first posting of bump pics were taken by me in a mirror and looked pretty cheese... but I enlisted Brad and was having a good hair day, so I'll post these proudly :)

16.5 weeks


mm @ 16 weeks!

mmmmm, my favourite:

It's widely known that avocados are my FAVOURITE snack - especially in guacamole (lime and salt and avocados, so simple but SO GOOD). Well this week my unborn child is the same size as one! Other amazing information is  that MM's heart is now pumping about 25 quarts of blood each day! What a strong heart, how much is mine pumping? Who knows, but I'm impressed.


Great post from Alpha Mom on "The Office"

I read this today and it made me laugh, intrigued, and want to watch The Office and then compare it to Father of The Bride part II, Nine Months, and all the other baby-delivery-type-movies.

I have written a couple times about how much I hate -- nay, truly and forcefully LOATHE -- the way pregnancy and birth are depicted on TV and in movies. It usually looks something like this:

Female character's water breaks at a hilariously inopportune time, without warning or any contractions, usually all over a male character's shoes. Everyone rushes to the hospital, and by the time they get there the female character is (of course) in active labor and screaming hilariously for drugs. (Bonus hilarity points if the female character ever mentioned a plan to have a natural birth.) The father of the baby is either trapped in an elevator or across town thanks to a wacky series of hilarious circumstances, or whining about the female character squeezing his hand too hard and cursing at him. Non-related male characters accidentally barge into the room and faint and/or vomit at the horrors they witness. A few minutes later, the doctor presents a six-month-old covered in Vaseline and food coloring to the entire cast. The baby's name is probably the one you picked out for your own baby, which means you have to start over because people will think you copied. The female character gets the world's largest hospital room, capable of handling unlimited visitors, and she drops all the baby weight in a matter of hours and spends exactly one scene dealing with the indignity of slightly frizzy hair to indicate what she just went through.

Then they all go home and the baby spends the rest of the series asleep in its crib off camera.


So...I was really genuinely surprised that of all TV shows, The Office got childbirth and its aftermath almost completely right.

If you haven't seen it, the two-part episode is available right now at Hulu. Part one is here, and here's part two. The first part, the one with the actual birth, is worth watching, for a few reasons:

1. The labor details are more or less accurate. Pam has contractions that slowly build in frequency and intensity. Her water breaks after she's already in active labor. (It can certainly happen the other way around, but it's much more common for the water to break after contractions have started.) And the breakage simply requires a wardrobe change, not a mop and a haz-mat crew.

2. Pam's reactions to labor are sweetly believable. She stays at the office past the 5-7 minute point because she doesn't want to check into the hospital until midnight so she can maximize her HMO's stingy hospital stay coverage. And once it seems like she's getting a little ridiculous in this sticking point, she reveals that actually, she's mostly just really scared.

3. The delivery is off-camera. Sure, Michael does the cliched burst-into-the-delivery-room gag and there's plenty of screaming, but it's by far the least eye-rolly of television birth scenes I've seen.

But the reason I'm really writing about a stupid TV show is because of the second part. The baby (an actual newborn!) is born, but the camera stays with Jim and Pam throughout their hospital stay, and oh, it was eerily accurate. Hospital birth in America? The Office is onto you. Pam wants to breastfeed, but has trouble getting her baby to latch and receives less than enthusiastic support from the hospital staff. Her nurse keeps pushing formula while Pam's frustration mounts and her heart breaks. The nurse rolls her eyes when Pam worries about nipple confusion and generally does little to support her desire to nurse. Pam gets a roommate (for whom everything is going just SWIMMINGLY) and she and Jim crowd together on her hospital bed, terrified of the ticking countdown to their coming discharge time.

There's of course, typical sitcom stuff (a male lactation consultant; Jim grabs their roommate's baby in a sleep-deprived haze and Pam nurses it by accident), but even that was kind of daring -- both for the taboo of nursing another woman's child and the heavens not crashing down, but also the act makes Pam realize that her baby doesn't latch like that baby. (What have I said, over and over and over again? Babies know how to suck, not latch, and it's not YOUR FAULT if everything doesn't work like clockwork at first.)

Jim and Pam's fear of a short two-night hospital stay was a framing device across both parts, and they fight it until the very last minute. But it isn't until they leave the hospital (or, more accurately, Pam is unceremoniously dumped on a bench outside because the wheelchair and nurse are needed elsewhere), that things actually improve. The baby cries and Pam reaches into her bag -- and my heart clenched because I was sure she was reaching for a bottle, having been convinced to give up -- and grabs her nursing cover. The baby latches and nurses in earnest just as Jim returns with the car and he beams with pride, and waves of relief wash over them both. They can do it. They can do this.

I'm getting chills just thinking about it. It! A SITCOM. And not a particularly sentimental sitcom at that. And yet when it came to BREASTFEEDING, I'm not sure I've seen a better take on the first days postpartum. So...thanks, Office writers and actors, for getting it mostly right, and for not being afraid to show that breastfeeding can be both really really hard and really really worth it.

(That's what she said!)

**taken from Alpha Mom's Blog


Go Ahead And Ban Me From Motherhood

Yeah... this hopefully isn't a bad sign of my actually relations with my own future child... but I am not a baby person *hangs head in shame*.

Is this a horrible thing?

I talked to my friend Hailey the other week about this. She has a lovely little girl named Stella. Hailey is not a baby person either. Phew! Community for the wretched! She said it was something she was quasi-ashamed about too. I mean, what pregnant woman isn't a baby person? I guess me! And Hailey (thank goodness).

Case in point: today on the metro there were TWO brand new babies in carriages with their respective mothers. Everyone around them were cooing and smiling, and I was avoiding eye contact. I don't really care about other people's babies. I mean, some more than others. I love playing with Andy and Loni's baby girl Olivia. But I'm happier to hang out with their 2 and 4-year-olds and play and wrestle and hug the heck out of them. Gosh... I feel like I'm confessing alcoholism. The guilt! The shame! The FREEDOM!

I am not a baby person.

I do not thing most babies are cute.

I do not look at albums of babies on facebook (normally). I look at mama's growing belly albums, baby's nursery albums, and albums of kids, but not babies. Wait a second, aren't I about to like...have one? Yeah, I know. SCAREY.

I do firmly believe things will be different with my OWN baby. I mean, I already love it and it's just a heart beat and cause for nausea. I pray for my baby all the time, and not just for his/her health and development, things wayyy down the road. Like their faith, their friends, their future spouses. I am in love with this baby in my belly. So why not other babies?

Jamie is a baby person. She CRAVES babies. To cuddle a new born is like a high for her. It's one of her favourite stages of a person's life. I'm so lucky to have her around, please O please rub off on me Jamie!! Jess, again, LOVES babies. Every time we're together with a new born baby (every time we're at the Smits house basically), you know where to find her. Baby in arm, sitting somewhere, in love. Where am I? Other room, possibly Hug-Attacking with Matty (something we had to bring in once I got pregnant and could no longer tickle-attack with him which always resulted in flailing punches to my belly).

I, on the other hand love KIDS. I think they're so fun and they "say the darndst things" and they love you in such a real, pure way, and they make me laugh, and they can hug back, and they ask such great questions, and ahhh... I could go on forever. As I type this I'm thinking of my best boy, Matty. I love Matty. I want me own Matty... I know how to deal with Matty's. I think babies on the other hand, scare me. They're unpredictable, they can't explain themselves, they can't ask me for anything (I just have to KNOW)...

Anyway, again, I've been told many times that non-baby-people become baby-people with their own babies. And I can see glimpses of that already with the love I have for our baby. Just a confession that I think needed to be made.



I woke up this morning with indescribable lower back pain, in one particular spot - left of my spine.
After some trolling on Mayo Clinic and other sites I learned this is probably a pinches nerve caused by the uterus taking over my insides (I am growing, people!!) or just a common thing since I'm getting bigger, walking differently, and have hormones that cause muscles and joints to relax at weird times.

Well, glad it's normal. Not glad it's HAPPENING. I was trying to blow dry my hair for church this morning and gave up. Hence, it's 10:43am on a Sunday and I'm sitting in the most back-supportive chair I could find - our office chair. Church didn't happen.

I was especially crushed because yesterday we had an amazing day with many of our church friends at a ministry training conference, then out for dinner, then a movie, and I couldn't wait to see them again :) Plus today we're doing Communion which means so much to me. The symbolism of taking/eating (read: accepting) the wine and the bread (read: Jesus body/life and blood/death) is a practice I find great joy in doing - especially since our church only does it all together once a month.

Oh well. Maybe I'll go eat a pita and some grape juice and have my own :)

In the meantime, anyone have any tips for me? I have a prenatal massage booked for tomorrow, but for pain relief NOW? Karen? Nurses? help!


mm @ 15 weeks!

Into the 2nd trimester and loving it!
this week, MM is the size of an apple! Look how big MM looks compared to a 25 cent coin:

I'm feeling GREAT this past week!
Haven't been nauseous in a long time and my energy is really climbing. Things I've done in the past 2 weeks that were impossible the last 3 months are:
  1. Walking to the grocery story at the end of the day (UP HILL) and doing groceries for about an hour
  2. Sleeping between 7-9 hours a night (just a reminder, I was up to 13 some nights a month ago!)
  3. Staying up to midnight some nights (REBEL!!!)
  4. Eating meat again (though still nothing like a huge pot roast... that still seems disgusting to me, but other red meat is fine now)
  5. Working longer hours without being as exhausted (though I still am after a full work day or sometimes after 6 hours)
As I read this list I see how LAME my existence has become... that these five things are milestones I've been able to regularly accomplish in the last 14 days that I haven't done or even thought about since 2009. What has my life come to?! It's funny and somewhat pathetic but I'm still celebrating :)

I feel like ME again.

Minus the crazy hormones that have me crying or really angry at the drop of a hat... yeah those can peace out anytime.

And a little update on MM: s/he is 4 inches long this week! Which I think, after looking in my fruit bowl, is actually larger than most apples, but whatever. S/he is also sensitive to light now which means if I were to shine a flashlight up to my bump, MM would squirm away from it (who wouldn't?) even tough his/her eyelids are still fused shut. WILD.
MM is also evening out, with the legs growing longer than the arms now (with a LONG way to go since MM's MY child!) and has taste buds. I hope MM likes regurgitated King Crab, since that's what Brad brought home last night for us to have tonight... It was 50% off and is one of our most favourite meals (though usually too expensive to have often).

Other great news for ME: I got some more maternity clothes this week! Old Navy had a $6 sale on all their basic T's and tanks and I'm lucky enough to live 10 minutes away from one of only TWO Old Navy's in Canada that carried their maternity line. Normal prices were $9.50 and $14.50. GLORIOUS.


the perspective timeline

On April 20th - about 7 weeks from now, I'll be a boy's mom or a girl's mom. Technically I already am one or the other, but I won't know for sure and start seeing everything through that lense until my ultrasound.

MM, what will you be? A boy? A girl? After hearing the heartbeat this week, perspective hit me like a ton of bricks. I don't care. You're alive and well and ours.

I've thought a lot more about the sex of MM lately too especially since I'm riding a new wave of assurance after hearing our little baby's heart ticking... what an experience to remind me of what's important. I mean, the first month - December, was just crazy excitement and blissful ignorance (think traveling to North Africa while 1 week pregnant and having no idea, just being a bit sleepy 24/7).

some shots from our trip to North Africa over Christmas break. Completely in the dark until about the second to last day when I began to feel nauseous and had extremely heightened tastes and smells of nearly everything (and this is NOT an easy country to have this symptom!)

Then there was the second month - Mid January-February. To recap: yawning, sleeping, barfing, crying, repeat. Not to mention complaining. You remember, you read alllll about it. I felt so bad for myself (partly justified, I was after all heaving daily) that I lost perspective completely. I spent a lot of time defending my pregnancy. Reminding people of my fatigue and the cause: a child being fashioned in my body. Reminding people that I am indeed pregnant even though I didn't look it. Reminding people who simply meant well that I wasn't getting "too much sleep" but that I simply needed me and would still be fatigued at this stage of pregnancy.

It was a hard month. A lot of difficulty and no bump or sign of the nausea or fatigue ever ending. I thought a lot about myself during that month, and very little about MM. I think part of me was protecting myself. I wouldn't dare buy anything baby related, think about being a mom for more than 5 minutes, or get *too* attached. I couldn't shake the fear that I could miscarry at any moment and was still largely living in the dark regarding my pregnancy to the majority of my friends. I didn't think much about MM in a personal way. I was too afraid to. I just worried about MM and was bothered by my symptoms.

And then the 3rd month came. Sort of like how they say March "comes in like a lion and out like a lamb" in regards to starting all winter-y and ending with spring weather. But think sickness, fatigue, and belly size. The beginning of February was pretty much the same as January. Sick, tired, bump-less. I was becoming more confident by the day that MM was healthy as the 1st trimester drew to a close. I was starting to show a bit more and when I wore *just the right outfit* I looked pregnant :) My nausea and fatigue also lessened though they make occasional visits to this day.

And this week we entered March. It's my 14th and 15th weeks of pregnancy and I'm almost back to form, eating foods again that I thought I'd never stand the smell or taste of again (meat. yum.) and sleeping much less while I "show" more in the belly region.

The journey through the first few months of pregnancy had been long and winding. As you can tell there have been a lot of changes, and to think I've only gained between 2-4 pounds! Seems like I've gained a new personality/character traits/opinions/fears/doubts/dreams/and new wardrobe. That seems much more significant! My perspective changed once again after hearing little MM, beating away in my belly. All of the symptoms have been hard to deal with, and definitely the uncertainty of the first trimester was a really big faith barrier to overcome, but this new place - beating hearts and 2nd trimesters - is exciting and I know it's going to be good.


I heard MM today. Loud and clear, steady and quick. WOW.

The doctor warned me that it could take 5-10minutes to locate the heartbeat and to not be anxious if we didn't find one right away.

Five seconds later she said "That's your baby" and we heard it.



tomorrows a big day

Trusting in the Lord...Freaking out. Trusting in the Lord...Freaking out.

This is pretty much the pendulum swing of my life right now. One minute I am saying "whatever happens tomorrow, it is well with my soul" and the next minute I'm seconds away from grabbing a paper bag to aid my breathing. Maybe not that extreme, but close.

Tomorrow we *should* hear the baby's heartbeat.

I say should both because it could not be there and because there's a chance that my doctor doesn't have that planned for this our first official appointment - but most Montreal moms I know tell me they hear the heartbeat at the doctor appointments though they don't see their baby until the 20 week ultrasound. So tomorrow could be the day. Wow.

Brad's booked that hour away from work and so have I, so at 3:30pm we'll both be there at the doctor's office. Praying for a heartbeat. Praying for reassurance. praying for MM.

Join us?