Baby personalities

I got to meet my new baby niece!  My sister, her husband and their baby came for a visit this weekend.  My niece was born a month ago (exactly two weeks before Bo) and it was hard not being able to meet her right away.

She’s a gorgeous little girl!  She was a lot smaller than Bo was when he was born, so they are now about the same size.  The interesting part was how different their personalities and temperaments are.

I’ve got to say, I feel very lucky that Bo is such a good baby.  My sister is having a harder time.  Her little girl wants to eat all the time and hates being put down.  She is sweet and calm when she’s being held, but fights going to sleep.  She also likes to be walked around and isn’t as happy if you’re holding her sitting down.  The longest she sleeps at a time is usually about an hour, unless she is being held.

My sister’s situation reminds me of our first few weeks with Littleman.  He hated being put down.  He fussed a lot.  I remember spending hours walking in circles around our main floor.  He liked loud noises, so we would stand and bounce in front of the hood fan for our stove.  In the middle of the night, I would bounce on a yoga ball for ages to get him to sleep.

Bo, on the other hand, is a totally different baby.  He’s very laid back and calm.  He cries, but pretty much only when he’s hungry or if he’s mad that we’re changing his diaper.  When he’s awake, he likes to be held but he is als0 pretty happy in his chair or on his play mat.  He’s pretty easy to get back to sleep after nighttime feeds and he’ll sleep in his bassinet in our bedroom for 2.5-3 hour stretches.

I spent the first week or so after Bo was born feeling jealous of my sister.  Breastfeeding was going really well for her and she wasn’t having any pain.  Her physical recovery from the birth seemed to be going so much faster.  She felt good.  I was hurting and felt horrible.

Now, I realize how lucky I am.  I know that Bo can change at anytime and we could end up with a more challenging baby.  But for now, he’s so good.  I guess it helps a bit that I had my harder baby first.  My experience with Littleman made me expect things to be harder, so I’ve been pleasantly surprised by Bo’s temperament.

Don’t get me wrong, though.  I am still tired.  And sore.  And I need a shower.  But, if that’s the worst of it, I’ll take it!

My niece is here!

Very early this morning, my sister gave birth to my sweet little niece, Mackenzie!

In my 39 week update yesterday, I mentioned that my sister had just been to her 39 week appointment and was 2cm dilated.  She was feeling fine and was spending the afternoon doing some cooking so that she’d have some meals ready in the freezer (haha, first time expectant mom with time on her hands!)  Then, a little after 4pm yesterday, I got this text:


She called me (as I demanded) and described what she was feeling.  She thought it could be pee, but I assured her that she wouldn’t be continuously peeing every time she stood up or moved.  I think I read somewhere that only about 10% of women experience their water breaking when they start labour.  Funny that it happened to both my sister and I.

Anyway, I told her to go call her husband and she hurried off to finish packing her bags.  About an hour later, my mom arrived a my house to spend the evening with me and Littleman.  By the time she arrived, my sister’s contractions had started.  When we heard from my brother-in-law at 8pm, they had been admitted.  Contractions were 2 minutes apart and they were awaiting the epidural.  At 9:30pm, she was more than 9cm dilated and they were letting her rest a bit before she started pushing.

At this point, my usual bedtime these days, I was getting pretty anxious.  I tried to go to sleep and dozed off and on for a few hours.  Every time I woke up to pee, I’d frantically check my phone for updates.  By 3am, I was pretty much wide awake.  Luckily, I didn’t have a wait long for news.  A few minutes after 3, my brother-in-law texted to tell me that my baby niece was here!

This is my sister’s first baby and I’m so glad that everything went well.  They are doing great and the baby is absolutely gorgeous.  The only thing that makes me sad is that they live two hours away so I don’t know when I’ll get to meet her.

When Littleman woke up this morning, I told him that his cousin was born.  He said “she come out?” and then “why her not a boy?”  After that, he got a little teary and patted my belly, saying “I want ‘my baby’ to come out.”

I think we all expected my baby to come first, so little Mackenzie’s birth was a bit of surprise to everyone in the family.  But I’m absolutely thrilled that she’s here.  Now, her cousin Bo can feel free to arrive at any time!!

39 weeks

I’m actually a bit surprised that I’m 39 weeks today and I’m still pregnant.  I really didn’t believe we would make it this long.  I know 39 weeks is still early, but Littleman came at exactly 39 weeks (without many prior labour signs or warning) so with all the contractions I’ve experienced this time, I really thought Bo would come sooner.

39 weeks

That being said, I’m actually feeling ok and am happy that (so far) Bo is staying put while D finishes up his stretch of night shifts.  After tonight, I’m comfortable with him coming any time.

At yesterday’s OB appointment, Dr. P checked me for dilation.  I was surprised to learn that I’m not quite 1 cm dilated.  I really thought that the many incidents of contractions that I’ve experienced over the past couple of months would have progressed me further.  It doesn’t really matter to me, but it was interesting to find out.  He offered to strip my membranes while he was “in there” but I declined.  With D working, I’m not really feeling the need to rush Bo along.   If he chooses to come on his own, that’s great.  If not, we can think about it again next week.

One thing that’s keeping me busy while I await the baby’s arrival is the Olympics.  In fact, it’s entirely possible that this post will make no sense because I’m supremely distracted by switching channels back and forth between hockey and bobsleigh.  Woohoo, Canada just got a gold medal in women’s bobsleigh.  Now I can focus on the hockey game only.  Geez, this is intense.  But watching it live is so much nicer than watching the prime time recaps.

So, here’s how the last week has shaken down…

Symptoms: By far, the worst symptom continues to be the reflux.  I can’t make it through the night without taking Zantac.  If I try not to take anything, I inevitably wake up at some point in the night with some barf in my mouth.  So gross.  I’ve also had a bit of cramping this week, but nothing major.  Felt a bit like minor menstrual cramps.  Other than that, I haven’t had any regular contractions for over a week now.

Sleep: Littleman has a cold so he’s been waking up in the night for the past few nights.  Since I’ve been on my own this week, I’m the one who has to get up with him.  Between that, the reflux and the general insomnia, I’m getting very little sleep these days.  I try to squeeze in afternoon naps whenever I can, but I’m a terrible napper.

Just talked to my sister who is due the day after me.  She just had an appointment and is 2cm dilated.  My poor mom is starting to panic a bit about who is going to go first and where she’s going to be when each baby arrives (my sister lives two hours away).  There is really no knowing how this will all go down, so we just need to wait and see.  It’s still just kind of crazy to think that our babies could be born so close together.

A few of my favourite things (a.k.a. baby gear)

A while ago, my sister asked me if I could give her some advice about baby gear for her shower registry.  Since we don’t need many new things this time around, I hadn’t thought about baby stuff in a while.  My chat with her reminded me of some of my absolute favourite baby-related items (as well as things that I definitely could have lived without.)  I’m sure I’ll think of more items that I loved as I start to pull out all of our baby gear again, but here are the top items that come to mind immediately (in no particular order):

My Brest Friend: I knew I wanted to breastfeed Littleman and did everything I could to be prepared before he was born.  A friend of mine gave me her nursing pillow, which I thought would suffice.  Almost immediately, I knew it wouldn’t work for us. The shape and size just didn’t allow us to get into the right position.  After some frantic web searching, I sent my parents out on a hunt for My Brest Friend when Littleman was about four days old.  It turned out to be an excellent investment.  I loved the sturdiness of it and the fact that it clipped around my waist to keep it in place.  The nice, flat top kept him in the perfect position and – once we figured things out – I was able to nurse him hands-free.  He was a big baby (9 lbs, 5 oz at birth) and I nursed him until he was 14 months, so we got a TON of use out of this pillow.  I will definitely be using it again.

My Brest Friend

My Brest Friend

Miracle Blanket: I know that some people are pros at swaddling a newborn with a regular receiving blanket, but I’m not one of those people.  And with a big, strong newborn, keeping him wrapped up nice and tight was tough.  That is where the Miracle Blanket came in.  It was nice and stretchy, with a pocket for his legs and a long side that wrapped around him a couple of times before getting tucked in nice and tight.  I know some people prefer the kind of swaddle blankets that use Velcro, but we were quite happy with this one.  By the time he was big enough to kick his way out of it, it was probably time to be done with swaddling anyway.

Sleep Sheep: We were given a Sleep Sheep sound machine as a shower gift and it ended up being something we used for a long time.  In fact, we only recently stopped turning it on when Littleman goes to bed.  It makes about four different sounds, although the only one we really used was the ocean waves.  Since Littleman slept in our room for the first two months or so, we all got to enjoy going to sleep to the soothing sounds of the sea.  Unfortunately, when we moved him to his nursery, D and I had to get used to sleeping with extreme quiet again!

Sleep Sheep

Sleep Sheep

Video Monitor: I wasn’t sure that we would need a video monitor, figuring that a sound one would be sufficient.  But since it was an option, we figured we’d give it a try.  I’m so glad we did!  It definitely helped us avoid going into Littleman’s room unnecessarily.  Sometimes babies make noises but it doesn’t always mean they are ready to get up.  It was nice to be able to keep an eye on him that way.  We ended up with the Philips Avent monitor and we really like it.  The best feature (in my mind) is that the screen and audio are both only activated when there is a noise in the baby’s room.  Otherwise, the screen remains dark and the unit is completely silent.  It looks like it’s been updated since we first go ours so it may be even better now.  We bought a different brand for the farm (based on some excellent reviews) but we’ve found that there is always some background noise/static with the new one.  Also, the video screen isn’t sound-activated, so you have to reach over and manually push a button if you want to see (rather than just hear) what’s going on.  I don’t love that extra step.

iPhone: OK, so I realize that the iPhone isn’t exactly considered baby gear, but it was something I couldn’t live without during my maternity leave.  I actually only got it about a month before Littleman was born.  I knew I would have to give my Blackberry back at work, so I needed to get myself a new cellphone.  My parents ended up giving me the iPhone for Christmas that year and it was great.   I used a contractions timer app during labour to keep track of what was going on.  After the kiddo was born, I had an app that helped me track dirty/wet diapers, baths, sleep and breastfeeding (which was especially important because my sleep-deprived brain usually couldn’t remember which side I had last fed him from!)  The iPhone also helped me stay in touch with people and keep my sanity during those long, middle of the night feeding sessions.  I often sent emails, played games or read parenting blogs/websites while the rest of the world was sleeping.

 I meant to only list my top five things but I keep remembering more things that I loved.  I have to add one more – my stroller.

UppaBaby Vista: I was a bit stressed about buying a stroller because I wanted to make sure I got a decent one.  I do a lot of walking and I wanted something that would be able to handle different types of weather and that would be easy to maneuver.  While the Bugaboo seemed to be the trendy choice in our neighbourhood, a couple of people recommended the UppaBaby to me.  I gave it a try and it seemed perfect for us.  Turned out, I was right.  The handlebar extends, which is great for tall people.  The basket at the bottom huge, which is perfect for lugging home groceries or other shopping finds (it even holds a case of beer – don’t judge!)  It maneuvers pretty well with one hand for those times you need to talk on the phone while pushing.  It came with a bassinet that we rarely used (Littlman hated it) but we were able to purchase an attachment that allowed us to use our infant car seat with it, which was perfect for the first few months.  Now that we’re expecting baby #2, I’ve purchased the platform that attaches to the stroller so Littleman can stand on it if he doesn’t feel like walking.  He’s not really into being strapped into a stroller anymore, so I’m not going to bother buying the second seat, although it’s nice to know that’s an option.

UppaBaby Vista stroller

UppaBaby Vista stroller

Anyway, that list is in no way exhaustive but those are the things that are top of mind right now.  I’ll also try to write about some of the things that weren’t terribly useful or that weren’t worth spending money on (in my opinion).

All showered out

I survived the baby shower that my mom and I threw for my sister on Saturday.  I’m not gonna lie, there were moments that were challenging, but overall it went really well.

I love my mom.  We are very close and we get along well.  But, she can be a bit hard to deal with at times.  She is the epitome of a perfectionist.  I’m a planner and I like things to be done well, but I can never, ever keep up with her standards.  Nothing ever feels good enough, so trying to throw a party together (especially in my hormonal pregnant state) was almost more than I could tolerate.

I may have mentioned that I am not a fan of showers.  As much as I appreciated my own (both for my wedding and my first baby) I really struggled with being the centre of attention.  I don’t really enjoy attending showers either.  I’m not into games and I’m not great at making idle chit-chat with ladies that I don’t know very well.

My sister, on the other hand, LOVES this sort of thing.  Whenever she gets invited to something (shower, wedding, party, etc.), she get so excited.  She genuinely enjoys them.  She thinks the games are fun.  She’s just that sort of person.

So, against everything that comes naturally to me, I made sure that her shower was something that she would love.  Regardless of the frustrations, the shower went off without a hitch and my sister was very happy.  The cake was adorable, the food was good, she got tons of amazing gifts and got to enjoy time with her friends and family.


The cake!

Yummy virgin punch.

Yummy virgin punch.

Party favours.

Party favours.

You can tell by the colour of everything that my sister is having a baby girl.  I am thrilled to be expecting another little boy, but there were definitely some moments during her shower that I felt some pangs of sadness that I would never have a little girl.  The clothes she got were absolutely adorable and all the pink stuff just made my heart melt.  I don’t want anyone to think I am ungrateful for what I have.  I know this little boy is exactly what our family needs.  Littleman and his brother-to-be are the best things that have ever happened to me.  But, wow, all that pink…

After the craziness of the day, my sister and I finally got a chance to shed our party clothes for something more comfy and compare our bellies.  At just over 33 weeks, it’s interesting to see how we both look.  She had an ultrasound this past week and was told her baby was transverse (lying sideways).  At my last appointment two weeks ago, mine was breech.  You could definitely see a difference in the shapes of our bumps.

33 week bumps!

33 week bumps – I’m on the left!

Anyway, I’m glad that the shower is over and that I survived it relatively unscathed.  Now that it’s over, I can turn my attention back to the final preparations I need to do before my own little guy arrives in a few weeks!


My family is lucky enough to be warm and cozy at our farm while much of Toronto is suffering from the effects of a weekend ice storm.  We woke up Sunday morning to a thick layer of ice covering everything.  Power stayed on at our house, but as close as a block away, all was dark.

Icy trees came crashing down all over the city

Icy trees came crashing down all over the city

D had left early that morning for work and by the time Littleman and I woke up, our entire block was closed in – a downed power line on one end of the street and a huge fallen tree across the other end.  Luckily the tree got moved and we were able to escape to the farm Sunday night.  Now, I’m sitting by the fire and looking out at the snow-covered fields.

Despite the storm, my sister and her husband managed to make it into town for the weekend to have our “Christmas” celebration.  They will spent the actual holiday with her husband’s family.  Littleman’s gift from my sister – a doctor costume – was a huge hit.  He LOVES playing doctor and hasn’t taken the coat off since he got it.

I'm a doctor!

I’m a doctor!

My sister and I also got a chance to compare our 30 week baby bumps!  It’s still so strange seeing my little sister pregnant, but I’m glad that we’ve had a chance to see each other a couple of times throughout our pregnancies.  Hard to believe the babies will be here in a couple of months!

Hope everyone who was hit by the storm is safe and warm!

29 weeks

With the Christmas holidays right around the corner, time seems to be moving especially quickly these days.  At least it is for me.  I spoke with my sister on the weekend (who is due with her first baby the same week as me!)  She was complaining that we still have almost three months to go.  My thoughts were, “eek, less than three months to go!”  I suppose I might have felt differently if this was my first baby and I wasn’t super busy with an almost-three-year-old at home.  I’m trying to remember how I felt the first time around and I was probably starting to get pretty impatient by now, too. 

Symptoms:  Just when I think my skin is starting to clear up, pimples find new places to appear.  This week: my neck.  I’ve heard of backne, but neckne?  What the hell? 

Also, I don’t remember experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions with my first pregnancy.  I remember wondering what they were like, so I’m pretty sure I never had any.  This time is totally different.  Not sure if they are brought on by activity (I spend a lot of time getting down on the floor and playing “fire truck” these days) but I’m definitely noticing that I’m having contractions pretty regularly.  The aren’t painful, rather it’s just a tightening that can be a bit uncomfortable. 

Weight gain:  I don’t know exactly how much I’ve gained so far, but I’m pretty darn sure it’s more than I had gained at this point in my first pregnancy.  I have an OB appointment on Monday, so I’ll ask him then.  People keep telling me that I don’t look big, other than my belly, but I think they are just being polite.   To test my theory, I pulled out a couple of pairs of my maternity dress pants from my first pregnancy.  They were too big a couple of months ago but I thought they might fit now.  I’m happy to report that they are still too big!  Hopefully that means I’m not expanding quite as much as I think.

Other: When I had my initial blood work done at the beginning of this pregnancy, I discovered that I wasn’t immune to mumps.  I remember asking my family doctor what that would mean.  She just said something kind of useless like “try to avoid people with mumps” and that I’d have to be vaccinated again after the baby was born.

 I recall not being terribly concerned because who the hell gets mumps these days?  Well, wouldn’t you know, one of my friggin’ colleagues just got diagnosed with it.  I called my OB’s office immediately and spoke with the receptionist.  Just waiting for a call back, but I expect that there isn’t much I can do about it at this point.  I just have to really hope that I didn’t catch it!  Just another thing to worry about these days…

Not quite as planned

Today is Remembrance Day in Canada.  As an employee of a government agency, I get the day off.  It’s always been one of my favourite “holidays”, in that the general public still goes to work and schools are still open.  It means a day at home to get things done without the crowds of the weekends.

This year, I was especially looking forward to this day.  We have a ton of work to do to get Littleman’s big boy room ready and I wanted to get a jump-start on it.  D (as a firefighter and former military) had a parade to participate in, so I was planning to drop Littleman and daycare and have a day alone.  Completely alone.  All by myself!

Unfortunately, that was not meant to be.  On Saturday night – after  a lovely evening with my parents, sister and brother-in-law, celebrating my dad’s birthday – Littleman woke up with a raging fever and cough.  We were up for most of the night.  Then, he spent yesterday with a raspy chest and just some general miserableness (is that a word?  If not, it should be.)

Prepping the birthday cake - before the illness struck.

Prepping the birthday cake – before the illness struck.

So, while he had a bit of a better night last night and seems to be on the mend, I had to keep him home with me today.  My mom came over to keep us company and we managed to do a tiny bit of sorting in the spare room (soon-to-be big boy room), but it wasn’t nearly as successful a day as I had planned.

Oh well.  This serves as a good reminder that planning and parenthood don’t always belong in the same sentence!  Plus, the poor sleeping gave me a good preview of what I have to look forward to in a few more months.  Yikes, I had forgotten how bad it feels to function on only a couple of broken hours of sleep.

Anyway, the one positive from the weekend was getting to catch up with my sister, who lives out of town.  Since she’s pregnant with her first baby and it was fun to see how she looked.  Here is a bump shot of the two of us at approximately 24 weeks pregnant (we’re due in the same week in February!):

24 weeks!  I'm on the left and my sister is on the right.

24 weeks! I’m on the left and my sister is on the right.

Finding out

Until I got pregnant for the first time, I had never really put much thought into finding out the sex of my potential future babies.  It was just something that I always assumed I would do.

But, it turns out that people have VERY strong opinions about finding out versus being surprised.

I fall into the finding out camp.  I’m a planner.  I like to know things.  If something can be known – if someone else knows it – then I want to know too.  And, everything about pregnancy and childbirth was a surprise for me.  I didn’t feel like I really needed another one.  Luckily, my husband felt the same way so we didn’t have any debate about it.

I totally get that some people would prefer to be surprised.  That’s completely fair.  What I don’t get is why some people feel the need to push their opinion about it so heavily on others.  My sister was originally on the fence about finding out.  Then, for planning purposes, she decided that she wants to know.  But some people have been so rude to her about it, telling her not to find out and that her decision is terrible.  What?  Why do they care?  I feel sad that some of her friends/acquaintances are being such Debbie Downers and making her feel bad about something that she should be allowed to get excited about.

Anyway, all this is to say that finding out the sex of our baby in advance is a choice we get to make ourselves.  And, if all goes well, we will know on Monday if it’s another little boy or a little girl who will be joining our family.

When I was pregnant with Littleman, I felt very certain that I was carrying a boy from the very beginning.  I don’t know why, exactly, but I just sort of knew.  If they had told me it was a girl, I would have been flabbergasted.

This time, I don’t feel strongly either way.  D thinks it’s a girl, as do a couple of my other friends.  Others feel that it’s definitely another boy.  The old wives tales lean a little more towards girl, but I certainly don’t put much stock into those. 

A girl would be amazing because I have always been a bit of a girly-girl myself.  I am very close with my mother and having a daughter of my own would be wonderful.  But another boy would also be great.  I see how close some of the brothers are in our neighbourhood and I would love for Littleman to have that too. 

In the end, all we really wish for is a healthy and happy baby.  Boy or girl, we’ll find out in three more days!

A kind of crazy coincidence

So, this long weekend brought with it a pretty major revelation.  But, let me back up a little bit first…

My sister and her husband live in another city so we don’t see them very often.  This long weekend, they decided to come to the farm to spend time with us and our parents.  Since we would all be spending the whole weekend together, D and I decided to tell my sister and brother-in-law about the pregnancy.

We haven’t been telling other people – and we plan on waiting a while until we do – but my parents know and I didn’t want to spend a whole weekend trying “fake it” with my sister.  It’s hard to act normal when I feel like shit and am totally exhausted.  Along with the fact that I can’t lift Littleman and I’m not drinking, trying to hide the pregnancy becomes a bit ridiculous.

So, in preparation for the weekend, I called my sister to tell her the news.  Her reaction was a bit underwhelming.  But sometimes she just like that, so I didn’t let it bother me.  I also think that people aren’t totally sure how to react after our loss.  I mean, I know my parents are excited but, like us, don’t want to get too excited in case something goes wrong.

Anyway, we headed up to the farm on Friday morning.  When we got here, there was a bit of situation with one of the horses that stays on our property, so the day was spent with a bunch of strangers here.  (I’ll save the horse story for another post).

With such a busy day, we didn’t get to really hang out as a family.  We all ate lunch separately and spent most of the day rushing around and helping people out however we could.  By the time things quieted down, we decided it was time for some appetizers.  As we were putting together some dips and crackers, my sister and her husband disappeared for a minute.  When they came back into the kitchen, they were carrying a tray of cupcakes.  Huh?  It’s not dessert time yet.

My sister set down the tray and we all leaned in for a closer look.  Written on the cupcakes was “Baby” and “Due February”.  WHAT?  After a moment’s pause, we all realized that they weren’t referring to me.  My sister is pregnant!!!

She said the reason for her less-than-enthusiastic reaction to my news is that she was so shocked.  No effing kidding.  I almost fell over when she told us.

Our due dates are 5 days apart.  If all goes as planned, Bo will have a cousin the exact same age.

It’s now two days later and I’m still having mixed feelings about it.  Obviously, I’m thrilled for my sister.  I know she wanted kids and I don’t think she’s been trying for too long, so all of this is great for her.  And, I’m very glad that I’m pregnant too.  I definitely know that the news would be a whole lot harder to take if I wasn’t.  (You may recall my fear of her getting pregnant a few months ago).

I’m still scared, though.  I had been doing very well this week with the whole “staying positive” thing, but this announcement has freaked me out a bit.  What if something goes wrong with this pregnancy?  I’ll have a constant reminder of exactly how far along I should be or how old my baby should be forever and ever.

I know I shouldn’t think like that, so I’m trying to let it all out here and now.  After this, I will try to shake it off and go back to my positive place.

Because, when I really look at it, this crazy coincidence of cousins is a pretty amazing thing.