Saturday, August 22, 2009

20.7 Weeks

I have to start off by saying that I was a bit disappointed by the fact that my 18 week picture looked so similar to my 16 week picture, so this time I decided that maybe wearing yellow would be enough to mix it up a bit. Add that to the fact that I've had a bit of a growth spurt just this week, and we have a recognizable change for the halfway mark at 20 weeks!

I was really looking forward to the 20 week blog post, because this marks the halfway point in the pregnancy, and I was all set to blog about how I'm already halfway there and how it was all going to go quickly from here. Unfortunately, for most of this week I've been feeling more only halfway than already halfway - it all seems to be going so slowly.

However, this week actually has ended up being somewhat of a turning point. I've started to get some comments at work from the cafeteria ladies, asking if I was pregnant and offering their congratulations, and also this week I went out and bought my first maternity clothes. Ok, to be fair since I know that he will comment about it, I admit that the way it actually happened was that Michael went to the store during the day and bought some things in my size from the maternity department, and when I got home at night he told me to try it all on and that he would return anything that I didn't want the next day. What can I say, I hate shopping.

But most importantly, I'm really starting to feel the baby move around and kick this week. I started to feel occasional gurgles of movement about 2-3 weeks ago, but they weren't happening every day and felt so much like gas or digestion that it was always hard to tell if they were actually kicks. This week it's all becoming more regular, and I can tell that the baby is getting stronger because she's getting better at kicking. Michael even felt a couple of the kicks last night when he had his hand on my stomach, which was exciting for both of us!

Finally, I can just about say that I'm 21 weeks in now, and the only thing better than being halfway there is being more than halfway there! Only 19 weeks to go!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

More Pictures From Tunisia

We've been back from our vacation for a week, and I'm just now getting around to posting some more of our photos. As you can see, the weather was great and so was the water! Notice how Michael is in the water for almost every photo? And he wonders how he ends up with a rash...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Scenes From the Sea

We're on our second-to-last day of vacation! We've spent a whole week enjoying the sun, sand and sea at the El Mansour Hotel in Tunisia and we've had a blast. The internet connection here is pay by the hour, so this is our first time logging on, and we're really only logging on today because Michael is suffering from some type of rash that could be due to the sun, or the sea, or some potion that he's put on, but in any case we're both happy to spend a little time inside today. The weather has been gorgeous - not a cloud in the sky the whole time - and we've spent most of our time down on the beach underneath an umbrella enjoying the breeze coming in off the sea. We're back in Belgium on Wednesday late at night, and I'll post some more pictures and stories on Thursday. For now, here are some of our best shots.

The view from our balcony:

The view from our beach chairs:

Michael in the Mediterranean:

My "pregnant chic" look:

Happy on the beach:

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

R&R in Tatooine

We're off for a week of vacation at the El Mansour Hotel and Resort in Tunisia. I'm not normally one for beach vacations, but in this case I just can't wait to spend a whole week relaxing either by the pool or on the shores of the Mediterranean. The hotel is right on the coast, and the beaches in this area are legendary. We got an all-inclusive package, so all our meals, drinks and snacks are already taken care of - we never have to leave the hotel!

Our original vacation plan was to go to India for my friend Anita's wedding. Michael and I talked about it for a long time, and in the end we decided that it just wouldn't be a good idea for us right now. I'm not a great traveler to begin with, and add to that the burdens of traveling around India to see the sights with the heat, and worrying about food, and less-than-luxury travel methods, we didn't want to end up being miserable the whole time (ie. Michael stated quite flatly that he refused to spend two weeks in India listening to me moaning and complaining and refusing to leave the hotels because I didn't feel well).

So we're onto plan B. We went into a travel agent and asked for a last-minute deal. Some of our other options were Spain and Portugal, but I didn't want to feel obliged to go out and see things. The appealing thing about this resort is that there is absolutely nothing else to do there. 40% of the country is covered by the Sahara desert! Michael is threatening to go out to see the remains of the Star Wars movies (all the scenes on Tatooine were filmed in Tunisia - this is Luke's home planet, and also where Jabba the Hut lives). I told him that if he wants to get on a camel to venture out into the desert to see the remains of an old movie set, then to make sure he gets a picture of himself going "These are not the droids you're looking for", and that I will see him again for dinner back at the hotel.

We're not sure if there will be internet access in the hotel or not. If there is, then we'll try to post the occasional picture, and if not, then we'll be back in a week!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Will the nursery be pink or blue?

We just got back from the doctor's office! We aren't scheduled for the "full anatomical scan" for another 3 weeks - this is the ultrasound when the doctor has a detailed look at all the baby's organs and makes sure that everything is in place and working. But with the less detailed scan that we did today, it was still possible to determine if we're having a boy or a girl! First of all - the baby looks great, moving around well with a strong heartbeat. Secondly, the doctor couldn't be 100% sure that she has predicted the gender correctly, because the umbilical cord was slightly in the way. We'll get 100% verification in 3 weeks at the big ultrasound, but in the meantime, it looks like we're having a little girl!

The first thing I said was "This is wonderful! She and I will be able to do science experiments together!", to which Michael replied (a bit haughtily) "Boys can do science experiments too, you know". But the point is that boys like to light things on fire and blow things up, which is not the same as experiments. And I have never heard of a girl wanting to put goldfish into liquid nitrogen. Of course, it's equally likely that she'll be into poetry or something, but I'm trying not to think about that for now. :)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Everything the Light Touches

Michael's latest invention is a double-paned piece of plexiglass that fills in one complete side of the double-doors that lead out to our porch -- with a cat door installed in it! The cats adore it - now they can come and go as they please to explore their territory, or to simply bask in the sun on the porch before coming back inside to cool off a bit, and then heading back out. Finnigan has also been practicing her quick escapes in anticipation of the not-so-distant toddler years - she has heard horror stories of tail pulling, not to mention the dreaded "tea parties".

18 Weeks

I've made it to 18 weeks! This is one of the milestones that I've been aiming at, which mostly has to do with the bizarre way of counting weeks and months during pregnancy.

A normal pregnancy is 40 weeks, or 9 months. But usually you would count 4 weeks/month... you can see that the math doesn't work out. So some "months" are actually 5 weeks long, while other "months" are 4 weeks long, and to make it especially confusing, everyone has a different way of counting the months. It may not seem like this is important, but when you're constantly running to google to see if your symptoms are normal, it is a big source of stress ("Is that ache in my stomach round ligament pain? I'm not supposed to feel that until month 4... wait, what week am I in again?").

In any case, it is Universally accepted that month 5 is weeks 18-22, which straddles the halfway point at week 20. This is a big month, because it is during this period that the sex of the baby can be determined for the first time, and it is also during this period that the baby's movements can first be felt. Two very big steps! And, according to What to Expect When You're Expecting, by the end of this month the "in between" stage should be over, and there should be no doubt that I'm actually pregnant. FINALLY!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

A big purchase

Our latest escapade started out with a fairly innocent comment. Michael picked me up from work and when I got into the car, he said "Baby 2000 is having a sale this week, want to go over there now?" (Baby 2000 is a big box store, very much like Babies R Us). I didn't want to go right then, because the place is usually packed with traffic - it is right beside IKEA - and since they are doing construction on the roads near there it is quite a chore to get in and out. In any case, they close at 7pm and by this time it was already past 6... "No problem" says Michael, "I'll go check it out tomorrow on my own".

Fast forward to the following morning. I'm at work when my cellphone starts dinging me with text messages from Michael: "I'm at Baby 2000 now, they have the stroller we need to get and it's on sale! We have to get it today". At this point I'm thinking, wait - we haven't properly RESEARCHED strollers yet. I know that I want something that converts from pram to stroller, and that three wheels are better than 4, but I still have no idea what the best brands are, and which features are actually useful vs. just trying to get you to spend more. And what about weight? Folding capabilities? Have we read any reviews yet?

Next thing I know, Michael is back at home sending me reviews via google chat. He's picked out the Urban Jungle stroller made by Mountain Buggy (a New Zealand company), and sure enough the reviews are great. It turns on a dime, it can manoeuvre anywhere - streets, trails, grass, sand, it goes there. The kids love it, it's comfortable, easy to push, fully adjustable, lightweight, folds down easily. It's in the top 5 of all the major baby product review websites. Best of all, Michael texts me, "It's Orange!!". Now usually I would scoff at the idea that the colour is more important than say, will I be able to lift it into the trunk while holding the baby in one arm, but in this case I have to admit that orange was a bit of a turning point for me.

All of a sudden Michael and I are in Baby 2000 together on my lunch break, after having eaten some Swedish meatballs over at IKEA. I'm insisting that we have to push every single one of the 100+ different strollers in the store to get a good feel for what the options are like, while Michael is insisting that if we don't buy this today, then we're just going to end up coming back and getting this exact model when it isn't on sale ("The next sale isn't until December! That's just cutting it too close!").

So we chat with some salespeople and the next thing I know we're loading this super-duper state-of-the-art all terrain stroller into the back of our car, along with the buggy/pram attachment and some extra goodies that came with the deal - a baby bag that clips on to the handlebars and a baby sleeping bag that I swear is warmer than my own winter bag that is rated to -40 degrees, and that has special holes in the back of it so that the stroller's safety harness can thread through it. We also got an infant car seat, which was a no-brainer - it's a Maxi-Cosi brand, which will also fit directly onto the stroller frame, and it was 40% off.

I'm still in a bit of a state of shock over this big purchase. On the other hand, I don't think Michael's feet have touched the floor yet. He has been talking nonstop about how he can go jogging with this stroller, and how perfect it will be for shopping trips, and how if we can get the baby to sleep in the pram attachment, then we'll never even have to move him, and won't that be great? I tried to get the cats to sit in it, so that I could practice rolling it around with a live thing in it, but neither of them would stay. So I've been going up and down our (fairly rugged) driveway with an empty stroller instead, which is also fun.