Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Growth, Hormones, Jokes and Joy

Hey there my sweet little baby, its dear old dad stopping in for a little chitty-chat addition to this book-o-love your parents have been putting together for you.
Soooo.. on Monday your folks embarked on yet another trip to see Dr. Wavy Eyes and get an update on how you're doing in there. In brief, it was a much better trip this time. Your gorgeous mum got the directions right, she was on time, I found a parking spot without much issue, we had decent gas mileage in your mum's big Jeep, blah blah blah that's what your dad does blah blah blah...but what was really great was what happened when the doc came into the room.
It was normal at first, a little "hey doc, how's the vertigo working out for ya?", that sort of thing. He remembered, blamed it on a migraine, cracked wise, then whipped out his Sony Walkman. It got a bit weird, I couldn't figure out where the cassette went in, he rubbed some stuff on your mum's belly, and it only had one headphone. Maybe he lost the other one jogging in '86 listening to Huey Lewis, who knows, but it still worked because he put it on your mum's belly and we could all hear it. Loud and clear. Dunta dunta dunta dunta dunta...ah yes, the heart of rock 'n' roll is still beating. Good on ya my wee rock star, good on ya. Best beat I've ever heard. I tried to dance, but being mid-30's and white, I can't. Your mum did her best to boogie but really all we were doing was holding back tears. I wanted to ask for a bootleg copy of the tune to sell to my friends at a mark up, but it was too late. Alas, your parents sing it to themselves.
Your mum has been great. She's looking as beautiful as ever (pray to God, and all gods, and non-gods alike that you get her beauty) and so far has dodged any ailments or other pregnancy related go-alongs like morning sickness or cravings for pickles&ice cream at 2:00am. Although your big bro Tucker has been cutting wind a bit more frequently of late... No matter, what has happened with these hormonal changes your mum is going thru with you growing so rapidly in her belly is her inate inability to comprehend your dad's wonderful use of sarcasm and one-liners. It's true, my baby bundle of absolute love, your mum no longer gets your dad's jokes. Its been trying at times, but I'm dealing with it as best as I can. I've tried new material, I've gone back to the classics, I'm busting a gut here (please, someone get that one...). I know you're laughing in there Bridget or Sean, and one day I'll teach you how to get your mum all wound up, too. day I get to teach you something. That's amazing. And that's no joke.
Big Love my little rock star. Nice beat.

Love already,

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The avocado has a heartbeat? What?!?

Hi babe!

There's a lot to tell you from the past few days! Where to begin ...

Well, your uncles Anthony and Joe picked up their new bundle of joy - a gorgeous Toller puppy named Ajay (eh-jay). She is just stunning but right now you have to be aware of her razor sharp baby teeth, a few times she's latched onto skin and it feels much like I would assume the prey of a piranha would feel. Rest assured, this phase will be over by the time you meet her. Your uncle Anthony is hellbent on doing something called 'clicker training' though I am betting $5 that soon those clicker books will be used as coasters or will be seen on a 5 cent table at a jumble sale somewhere and this gorgeous puppy will have them wrapped around her paw and be absolutely wild. Time will tell I guess :) Tucker and Skye are a bit put out by the new addition but I know that as time goes on they will be bestest friends.

We were supposed to go to your Granny's birthday party on Saturday night - in fact, we were bringing the cake - but the neverending winter lashed out with a snowy storm once again and we had to stay home. The roads were too icy and therefore it was too risky to make the journey. Therefore we were left with a cake that fed 25 people. Needless to say, nary 5 minutes had passed from letting your Granny know that we wouldn't make it than a piece of cake was in my belly. It was delicious. Truth be told, I've had two very generous pieces every day since Saturday (the first on Sunday at 7 am ...). Your dad has indicated that it is time to let go and reluctantly I am agreeing. It's getting a bit hard and funky-tasting.

You will be surprised (as was I) that all of this sweet-eating has resulted in zero weight gain between doctor's visits. No, the visits weren't hours apart, cheeky. I gained 0 lbs in four weeks - woo hoo! When the little old nurse said 'you are the exact same weight' I could have kissed her. Now the fact that she smelled like she had just finished 'a liquid lunch' if you know what I mean and was therefore as tilt-y as the scale is neither here nor there. The fact is that she wrote down that I did not gain a pound. It is in my medical records. I am a pregnant marvel of science. So there. Now the shock and horror that I will likely see on her face next visit as she jots down the double digit surplus is something that I don't look forward to.

The doctor's visit went FANTASTIC! Basically, the point was to take my blood pressure (122/69 - awesome!), weigh me (0lb weight gain - awesome!) and HEAR YOUR HEARTBEAT! (very awesome!!!!!) The doctor put some ultrasound jelly on my tummy and put the fetal doppler on and began moving it around to find out where you were. At first all we heard was the swooshing of my stomach. Truth be told, I have never really thought about what my stomach would sound like day to day on the inside ... but now I know. Kind of like the ocean, actually. Anyways, it was only mere seconds before he found the perfect spot! As soon as I discerned the heartbeat (sounds like galloping horses) I looked at the doctor, my eyes filling up with tears. Your dad moved closer and his face lit up. What an amazing experience. Your heartrate was 162 beats per minute - perfectly healthy and strong. I smiled like a fool for hours and I kept making your dad recreate the sound with his mouth.

Now, the old wives tale would say that you are a girl as your heartrate is above 140. This gave your dad ammunition as he thinks that you are a girl though I pulled up articles to indicate how often this has been disproven. He still didn't believe me. But we will know for sure in three or so weeks, provided that you co-operate. So if you could be good and spread your legs when the camera is on ... we would be grateful. For the record, this is the only time in your life that you will hear that phrase.

Well babe, I am going to say bon soir and join your dad in the living room. He has a cold and is being pretty dramatic about the whole thing. Geeze, I'm growing life here! Hello?!? Have a great week. I am four months tommorrow - eek! You are approximately the size of an avocado now (that image is cracking me up) and will DOUBLE in size over the next three weeks! WOW!

Take care and stay as snug as a bug in a rug.



Friday, February 20, 2009

15 Week Checkup!

Good morning Munchkin!

I haven't written in awhile because quite frankly, there's not a heck of a lot going on here. Right now my life consists of eating, sleeping, working and entertaining the pooches (and other duties as assigned). I really feel fantastic and am so grateful to have bypassed morning sickness and some of the other ailments I read about on pregnancy boards. In fact, with the exception of random facial acne (which is bringing back horrible memories of my teen years), excessive flatulence, pale skin, raging hormones (which cause me to cry at the drop of a hat) and weight gain - I am positively glowing!

Your dad continues to be a fantastic support and bends to my every whim. If I am on the couch and am hungry/thirsty/warm/cold he makes every effort to rectify the situation, even at the risk of his own discomfort. I need to reign in my demands though because I don't want his patience to run out before I am at the end of this journey. The 'journeys end' being me in mid-July laying on the couch like a beached whale, physically unable to get up by myself for a glass of water ... or 6 pack of pudding cups. Yes, I need to ensure the longevity of this reign of power. I am now 15 weeks (woo hoo!) but still have 25 weeks and many, many bra sizes to go.

On Monday we go back to the Doctor whom your father has affectionately renamed 'Dr. Vertigo' though I am assuming his condition will have improved by this visit. I am hoping that he rolls out the ultrasound machine again but know that even if he doesn't we get to see you in just under three weeks! Cute fact - you are frequently getting the hiccups now, though I can't feel them. Your dad frequently gets the hiccups on a Saturday night after a few adult beverages - see how much you have in common already?!?

Anyways Babe, thinking and speaking of you always. Stay snug in there and grow nice and strong.


Friday, February 13, 2009

Osmosis, anniversaries, and Big Love

Hello there my little one, dad checking in! We haven't forgotten about you (good lord, you're pretty much all we talk about!) but I didn't want to inundate our friendly loving uber faithful followers - f.l.u.f.f. - of your story with tooooo much all at once. That's the key, my little bundle of loveness - always leave them wanting more...and, in retrospect, use less punctuation and such in run-on sentences. Ooops, I did it again. Hey, that'll be a classic when you're older.
Soooo....your mum is feeling better. Not that she was feeling bad, but she's been able to stay up past 9:00 now on most nights. Funny though, your dear old dad used to be a nighthawk, able to stay up late then get up early and leap small buildings in a single bound. Lately though, I've been feeling really tired. I fall asleep with your beautiful mum at 9:00. And I think I'm putting on some weight. Your mum has been cooking up these great dinners every night, and she's got me eating healthy lunches (I still love you Tacos Tony mexican food...the carne asada is beauty...I'll be back). Perhaps the pregnancy is affecting your dad as well. Maybe the love inside that belly is permeating outwards and I'm going thru what your mum is going thr.......ummmm...then again, maybe not.
Tomorrow is Valentine's Day. Its this big commercial event where everyone spends money on cards and flowers and chocolates just to tell the one they love that they love them. Whatever, your parents do that everyday. We don't need a calendar to tell us when. But, Valentine's Day is also an anniversary for your parents. Yep, it was 9 years ago tomorrow that we sat on the futon in my old studio apartment in downtown London on our 3rd date (maybe 4th), and your dad played his guitar and sang a Valentine's song that he wrote for your mum. Little did we know that 9 years later we'd be so much in love and anxiously awaiting the arrival of you, our child. I guess maybe this Valentine thing works in mysterious ways. One day you'll have your own Valentine. Lets hope you're as lucky as your parents were.
Big Love to you my little miracle. Keep on keepin' on in there. I get to see you again very soon, and I can't wait.

Love already,

Sunday, February 8, 2009

In Remembrance

Good morning Babe,

I hope that everything is still going well in there and that you are getting everything that you need. I'm doing my best to eat a variety of foods, fruits and vegetables but I seem to be acquiring more food aversions everyday. Red meat is basically out and chicken is precarious. If I don't overthink it, I can eat it. I basically have to clutch my stomach, hold my nose and run past the meat section when in the grocery store. I then, literally, have an internal battle about whether or not I should buy the large box of Twinkies that I'm holding onto like a lifeline. I haven't purchased them... yet ... but my willpower is quickly running out. You seem to be taking after your mom and loving carbohydrates and sweets.

I have stated that I am going to be 'good' up until July at which time I will begin rolling into work in a mumuu holding two extra-large McDonald milkshakes and a jumbo box of Junior Mints ... for breakfast. I was in the Bargain Shop yesterday and they were actually selling mumuu's - so I can be both comfortable and still support the local economy. The mumuu's had cats and daisy's on them ... random imagery, but at that stage I don't think people are assessing fashion sense. Needless to say, there will be zero pictures of me in the last month of my pregnancy.


I have been struggling about when to introduce you to your Gram, my mum. Up until this point my posts have been happy and upbeat, inline with my perpetually sunny disposition. (I actually laughed out loud when I typed that ... but for the most part I am pretty much an optimist). I don't want people to feel sorry for me, nor do I want people to feel that they are constantly revisiting my hurts when they have so many of their own. Quite frankly, I don't like to bring a party down. But my mum was so incredibly special and such a wonderful mother that I want to share her with you, and I will - everyday of your life.

In sharing stories and memories, I go through a range of emotions; I can laugh and cry through the course of one story. Losing my mom has been the hardest thing I have ever gone through and though 15 months have passed, I still cry most days. I don't tell this to many people as I don't want anyone to worry - I am certainly not wailing or refusing to get out of bed and my day to day life is not affected by these episodes - but something will come to mind, I will find a piece of my mum's clothing or hear a song that she loved and I will get choked up. How has pregnancy affected this? Well, hormones compound emotions - I get REALLY happy, REALLY sad, REALLY angry and REALLY annoyed very quickly (just ask your dad :), but these extreme emotions are fleeting and I even out eventually. I wish I had asked my mum more questions about her pregnancies - did she get sick with us? did she have cravings/aversions? when did she feel us moving? - but at the time you were not on the forefront so I never thought to ask.

It breaks my heart that my mum won't be able to meet you in person, but I have a sneeking suspicion that you will carry with you a lot of her traits - and this is a phenomenal thing! I'm not the first woman to raise a child without her mom present and I certainly won't be the last. I am just incredibly lucky to have the support system and friends that I have.

So here is the introduction to your Gram (though by the time you will be able to read this, you will have heard these stories a thousand times):


On a sympathy card I received after the sudden passing of my 58 year old mum the sender had written ‘You are your mother’s legacy.’ These five words really struck a chord with me and since receiving that card, I have been reflecting on those words. By definition the word legacy means “something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past.” Therefore, what does it mean to be my mother’s legacy? Am I even worthy to be her legacy??

My mother walked 5 miles a day. Walking with my mum was like walking with a local celebrity. Horns were honked and arms appeared, waving frantically out car windows at her. People came out of their homes and shouted across ‘Hi Moe!’ Strangers received a kind word and smile. Everyone who met my mum on her daily walks left smiling, remembering the thick Scottish accent, quick wit, twinkling eyes and ‘throw your head back laugh’ that my mum offered. In these moments of quick conversation, it was amazing what people would share with my mum, even exclaiming ‘I don’t know why I am telling you this!’ This was a testament to her wonderful personality. People were comfortable with her and knew that she was a compassionate confidante.

My mother’s self-proclaimed ‘great days’ were not ones in which she received recognition or money or weighed less than a previous day. Her favourite days were those on which she spoke to all three of her children. Some days I would call and my mum who would happily announce, ‘I have spoken to your brother and sister today too – this is a great day!!’ My mother was our number one fan and she couldn’t have been prouder of us. My brother studied Hellenic Studies (all things Greek), I took Political Science and French and my sister went to college to become a Health Care Aide in a nursing home. These were a far cry from my parent’s vocations but they did not question our choices and instead revelled in them, talking about us to all who would listen.

My mother so loved children that when I was 13 we became a foster family, taking in many children that had been abused and/or neglected. There were times I would wake up in the morning with a new 'brother' or 'sister' that had been taken from their home overnight. We've fostered children of every ethnicity and faith. With the children, my mum was a loving and fun mother, offering stability and hope. Alone, she wept her heart out for the horrible abuses that many of these children suffered. Even upon my parent’s separation, my mum continued to foster our long-time special needs child Ashley. The year before my mum passed, Ashley went to a permanent home but visited often.

My mother’s faith was very important to her. Each morning she would sit in her sunroom, light a candle and say prayers and novenas for her family and friends. When my mother said ‘I will say some prayers for you,’ she meant it. My mum had a Saint for every condition, ailment and life-changing event and she carried medals and prayer cards with her wherever she went. My mother never pushed her faith on others but even non-believers and non-Catholics who shared their trials with my mum accepted the medals and prayers gratefully and with excitement. It is easy to be inspired and have hope when the messenger is glowing with the happiness and contentment that they receive from their faith.

My mother was an incredible woman and wonderful mother. I could regale you with thousands of stories but won't, she would have been embarassed with all of the attention. I am lucky to have had my mum in my life, even if it was too short a while. If I am, indeed, my mom's legacy then I have a lot of work to do to becoming a more forgiving, compassionate and overall better person.

Love you baby - talk to you soon,

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Once upon a time there was an innocent cheesecake sitting in the freezer of the Superstore ...

Hi there little one,
Quite a lot has happened since I last checked in. You are apparently growing like a weed and this week got your larynx and tooth sockets in place. Good for you! You've accomplished a lot, whereas your mom feels like she is going backwards most days. Sometimes I think that I can feel you, like a little flutter in the lower left hand side of my tummy. Really, it is probably gas - but I kinda think that it is you. I am so excited for the day when I know for a fact that it is you - if you could be so kind as to not use my ribs for kicking practice, I'd be grateful - but I can't wait.

Your big fur-brother Tucker and fur-sister Skye, had a playdate on Sunday with another lab and a golden retriever. Everyone had a riot, balls were chased and sticks were eaten - and the dogs managed to have some fun too. After everyone left, Tucker became very ill and vomited through the night. I was terrified, much like I will be with you. I'm not comparing babies and dogs but I think that having the pooches has been good practice. It is difficult to understand what is happening with that which cannot communicate verbally. It's scary and heartbreaking to feel so helpless. The big guy was miserable. I also learned a valuable lesson in reheating two day old Chicken Alfredo and paid for it myself. Needless to say, it was quite the Sunday night/Monday at the Stewart-Thorup household.

I left work early on Monday and laid around until it was time to take Tucker to the vet. Tuck got checked out by the nice doctor (who your dad claims is a she-male - not that there is anything wrong with that - but she could very well be the white RuPaul) and she decided that the big guy should be kept overnight for xrays and observation. The look on Tuck's face as he was taken away broke my heart. I then went to the Superstore to get some dinner which, in hindsight, wasn't the best course of action. To anyone who noticed the girl with tears rolling down her face as she stared blankly at the butter section - she was not, in fact, upset the the price of salted butter has increased. Though, now that I think about it - I am kind of pissed. To non-dog owners/lovers this sounds ridiculous but for those of us who dress up our dogs for holidays, pay more for dog food than 10 steak dinners would cost and recount countless stories of the antics of our animals at dinner parties - this is completely normal and acceptable behaviour. Anyways, I consoled myself by buying some cute sleepers for you (and a cheescake for me). The sleepers are blue because I am 100% positive you are a boy, if you are not then you will be a girl wearing blue sleepers. I don't subscribe to boys in blue, girls in pink - though if you are a boy I will choose to let you decide when you are older if you want to wear pink, or 'salmon' as it is known in metrosexual circles.

Of course, the big guy came through everything just fine though he was violated with a thermometer and deprived of food. He is now resting comfortably on his pillow.

This week I began to tell more friends about your impending arrival and tonight I told the full branch. I have received nothing but excited and happy wishes and lots of hugs. I have wanted to shout it from the rooftops but there is that little voice inside telling me to keep it to myself so not to jinx it. It's silly, I know. I just want everything to go well so badly that I am more superstitious than I would otherwise be. But I had to tell the staff. I'm getting to that stage of 'is it possible that she is pregnant or is she just really letting herself go?' My face is getting rounder and my ponch has taken on a life of its own. I'm still stuffing it into the same three pairs of pants but this situation is going to come to a head real soon and it is just a matter of time before buttons begin popping, causing a hazard to anyone approaching me. I would never forgive myself if someone I know lost an eye because my ponch needed to be set free. I really need to go shopping.

I am getting more energy (as we speak it is 10 pm and I am not in bed! Woo hoo!) and feeling fantastic. We are still getting snow (blech!) and it is bloody freezing outside - I can pretty much guarantee that you will likely be more of a water-skiier than snowboarder. Your dad and I just don't enjoy winter. Your aunt Liz calls us lizards because we love to be in the roasting sun.

Anyways babe, that is it for tonight. Good luck with your development over the next few days - apparently your bones will be ossifying and you will be creating bile and insulin ... sounds exhausting, so make sure you take care of yourself in there!

Love you lots,