Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Mrs. P Baked Some Cookies

Mr. P came home from work the other day and said; "I have to bring something in for the Thanksgiving Pot Luck at work on Thursday.... can you double that spinach salad recipe so I can bring some to work?"  

I didn't have enough ingredients  to double the recipe- and was not in the mood to fight the Thanksgiving shoppers again that day.   So I volunteered to bake cookies.  This idea was well received. And then I  was faced with the daunting task of actually following through with the idea. I am not a precision cooker, and, while I am good at and enjoy cooking, baking and I have never really been compatible.

A number of years ago after a co- worker at Comedy Network was married another co-worker of ours would always ask the newly wed; "Mrs. McKenty will you bake some squares?" This was an ongoing question - a tribute to the new wife - I guess.  There never were any squares baked. 

All week in my head I kept hearing said co-worker's voice only this time she was asking "Mrs. P will you bake some cookies?"

Um, sure.  Can't let hubby go to work empty handed.  And as a mother to be I best get brushed up on baking cookies, cupcakes and rice crispy squares.  My usual success to date in this department has been to make door stops and hockey pucks. 

So I rifled through the Jamie Oliver - I'll Make you into a cook, Martha Stewart Holidays and the Joy of Cooking before settling on a peanut butter cookie recipe from Joy of Cooking.  Apparently this recipe won't be allowed to go to school (peanuts are banned due to allergies) but will be accepted into the office.

To my surprise - in two hours time - I produced 6 dozen cookies. Light, soft, edible peanut butter cookies.  Success.  Maybe it has something to do with being in the family way? Nesting?
At least it was too cold to go barefoot in the kitchen.  Maybe next week ... I'll try my hand at some squares.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I am a newborn.

In week 20 of the pregnancy journey I have really come to understand that I am no longer the boss of me.  Yup. It took me 20 weeks to figure this out.  

I have always been headstrong, independent and able bodied.  I have fought hard for things I believe in, my family, my career, my relationship, my committees. I have been guilty of working too much, playing hard, wearing myself out physically and mentally only to back off and reboot so I could to launch into it all over again.  It's a pattern with me.  In those burn out times I remind myself to get back to working moderately, eating well, exercising and sleeping better. Only the last time I did this - I vowed to stick to it - and I have made the latter my new pattern in a conscious attempt to balance out my life.  Michelle on half speed is still twice as fast as most on full speed.  It's just me. 

This was working well for the most part until ... pregnancy. Suddenly my career, my play, my exercise, my relationship, my sleep - is ours.  Me, me, me, my, has become you, you, you, we, ours. 

I thought I was ready.  I have very new nieces and nephews and have seen first hand the commitment to rearing the young.  I just didn't know it starts so soon in pregnancy.  At week nine my mother in law emailed to ask how I was feeling.  I told her I was ready to move the fridge beside the toilet and just camp out there.  I was wearing a path into the floor between the bathroom and the fridge.  Not to mention I had not slept in days. I was either up to go to the fridge or the bathroom every half- hour. It was SO annoying.  I was annoying myself.  

Each day would start with a plan to clean out the last of boxes in the office, vaccuum the house, plant the spring bulbs, and write an article. But, shortly after my morning shower baby would take over and say  - hey you,  lady, it's nap time, I'm STARVING, or let's skip to the lou...NOW!

Needless to say my responsiblities around the house and work were slipping to lows I had never let my self experience.  The super odd thing was - I didn't even care.  I was so tired.

By weeks 15 - 19 I was sleeping like a baby or so the expression goes. The weather had cooled off,  I was wearing my favorite flannel Pj's and was nestled into bed for perfect nights sleep.  Ah, starting to feel like old me - only fatter - I can handle this.   Baby was cooperating with me - we were sharing the host body quite amicably.   The house became Ship shape,  I did get to the boxes, the articles and to hosting company again.  My world was right. Our world was right.

And then sleep became illusive.  I began awakening to allergy attacks.  No, no symptoms other than a stuffy nose. Oh I hope I am not getting sick. I  dip into the vitamin C.  The next night I am in for a repeat show.  Honeslty this is a nightmare.  It's like being dragged to the worst play night after night and being made to sit in the front row.  Up and down for the nose, the chap stick now necessary due to the new mouth breathing technique I have adopted, then for a sip of water, which leads to the pee break and a new cycle begins.  

Apparently, a stuffy nose in the night is very common in the second trimester.  There is no cold. There are no allergies - but - if you suffer allergies  they will get worse,  I read in my pregnancy guide.  Awesome! 

Last night sleep was taken to an all new high when I awoke choking at 4:30 AM.  

Steve:  Are you okay hun?
Michelle: Yeah, I am pregnant.
Steve: You are! Is it mine?
Michelle: Pretty sure.

I get up for easily the 10th time in eight hours. 

I am pretty sure this is newborn baby boot-camp. Only I am playing newborn now. Nature has an interesting way of teaching us new patterns.

Friday, November 21, 2008

20 weeks = Half Way

Today we celebrate our half way point to baby's arrival.  It's really gone by quickly.  I can't believe it's me saying this after thinking that week 8-14 were the longest hangover crossed with motion sickness I have ever felt. That part was so tough yet seems so far away. It's been completely replaced with excitement and curiosity over what is to come.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Baby Daddy Builds Baby Pram (boat not stroller)

The Plans

The Frames

The Stringers


Baby Boat is Half Way Done - So is Baby!

Little Blue & Steve - Kincardine Harbour

Shortly after we found out Baby P was coming to live with us.  Steve pulled out his wooden boat building books and began skimming through the pages.  Then he began to surf the Internet for plans.  This is not unusual for Steve  - he loves his boats - a few years ago he built a 17 FT wooden Skiff we call "Little Blue."  He is always on the look out for a new design and there is always talk of our NEXT boat.  

But this boat proved a different story.  Steve told me he wanted to build Baby P a cradle in the shape of a dory.  Really!  I loved this idea so much.  Steve showed me some plans for a dory and upon pulling some numbers realized the dory would be too narrow.  New plans were found and few weeks later he was underway  in his workshop scaling plans to begin Baby P's Pram.

The Pram is an exact replica of a 8 ft pram - only scaled down.  Had Steve used marine grade plywood this little pram would actually be seaworthy!   

My heart melts over how lucky Baby P is to have Steve for his/her daddy and it melts even more to know he is this Ship's mate.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Baby P Has Mastered Uterine Baby Sign. So Smart Already!

                   Baby P - looking at us.

                          Baby P's Feet


                                    Thumbs Up!

On Wednesday November 12th, 2008,  Steve and I went for our ultrasound.  
We were both SO excited to see our Baby P.  The last time we saw Baby she/he resembled a Gummy Bear more than a person.

We have decided not to find out the sex of the baby.  We are greeted by mixed reviews on this by family and friends. Most have a very strong opinion of this on one side or another. I was not the kid to snoop through bags before Christmas or unwrap and re- wrap gifts just to see what I was getting.  I like a surprise.  Steve was the kid who opened presents before Christmas, so, Steve took some convincing - he thought he could know and not tell me.  But, then he too, was won over! (Thank you Adam & the ED gang for your persuasions!)

Our ultrasound technician & midwives were excited by our request to not know the gender. "There is no medical reason to go and look for the baby's boy or girl parts - we can't change the sex.  Let's enjoy the surprise! " They said.   They also made every effort to not know the sex either. And so we did not go near the nether regions....which is why we have pictures of body parts but nothing full length to show off.

Much  to our delight Baby P gave us a show!  What a wiggly baby.  We watched baby yawn, swallow, look right at us, give us a peace sign, rub it's eyes with both fists, stretch so that both arms raised over head and push back at the ultrasound wand with it's feet.

Baby P is measuring a week larger than our dates but they say it's not enough to move the due date.  Baby has a pretty head & spine according to the ultrasound tech. We saw left & right brain, four chambers of the heart, kidneys, ribs and the umbilical chord attached to baby's belly.  

Baby P 's weight is approximately 10 oz.  If you made the hang loose sign with your hand you would have Baby P's length head to toes. Pretty Cool!

Everything at this point looks good - we were told.  But, we knew that already because Baby P gave us the Thumbs Up!  

We have another ultrasound at 28 weeks to determine the position of the placenta - I am carrying low which at this point is no cause for alarm. But, If baby does not move up there is concern the placenta will grow over the cervix which would mean I would not be allowed to labour.  This has an 80% chance of correcting itself.  Pretty good odds we think.

Friday, November 7, 2008


I am absolutely a few days late in reporting this - but - I felt the baby move! I have been waiting, wishing, asking little baby to give me a sign and then baby responded!

While I join the whole world in a shared history of the final day of the USA Presidential Election November 4th, 2008, marking the day Mr. Obama a Democrat, and the first black president of the United States, was elected into office. I will say forever that feeling you flutter in the base of my belly Baby P, for the very first time, was more remarkable.

So cool and already so much love.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Placenta Brain

Just when I thought the placenta brain was wearing off ... I poured orange juice into my coffee. And not just a splash - I poured orange juice all the way to the top of my cup when it slowly occured to me that the coffee was not turning a creamy colour.  I decided to take note of which container I was holding in my hand. "Aha. That explains it!"  I say aloud, as though I had figured out the last factor in the syrum for the cure to cancer. Quickly followed by, "you're such a nob" and laughing at myself.  Progress.  Early on this move would have frustrated the hell out of me. Now, I guess, it's going to be par for the course.   

My friend Renee (who is also expecting) introduced me to the term "Placenta Brain".  She mentioned it early on in her pregnancy as a reference for how forgetful and foggy she had become. I laughed thinking she was cute and that placenta brain was a Renee-ism.  Then I got it. 

Placenta Brain had me in a daze wading through a thick fog. I lost my words. I lost my memory. I lost my meticulous self somewhere into the abys of placenta brain.   How could a baby the size of a Gummi Bear wreak so much havoc on my brain?  

I would do things like; enter the kitchen open a cupboard then leave the room only to reenter some time later to see the cupboard door open.  Hmmmmm. I am home alone.  We have ruled out our house built in 1910 is haunted - so - I must have done this. I have no recollection.  Who am I? 

The list of things goes on - too many to mention for this one:

Craving a piece of chocolate cake I drove to the bakery across town to buy a slice.  I made sure to take a fork because I was not going to be able to make it all the way home without first tasting the cake to appease the craving.  It was delicious.  As I backed out of the parking lot of the bakery I notice a lady waving and running after me.  I stopped. She caught up to me, reached to the top of the car, "You forgot this" she said , handing me the cardboard box containing the coveted cake.  Oh no, when did I place the cake on the roof?  Do I tell her I am pregnant? Is this universal? Will she "get it?" I decide to say nothing but thank you and smile before driving away.

Other mothers sympathize when I tell them of my placenta brain.  They tell me it gets worse. Oh great I think attempting to smile but feeling like a slowly deflating balloon.   

One sketch we created for my TV Series GWBG was of a mother placing the infant car seat on the roof of the car then driving away.  We taped bystander's reactions.  How far away from this is my reality?  Am I going to hell for making such terrible jokes?  Is this what is meant by "nemesis?"

Gawd, I hope I don't leave the baby somewhere when it gets here.

Monday, November 3, 2008

We Passed the Triple Screens!

This just in!

The OB Doc called me personally to give me the test results from the Triple Screens.  He formally introduced himself to me over the phone.  Why? Because I have been seeing midwives and will only get to meet with this doctor at my 19 & 36 week ultrasounds - so we have yet to meet.

OB Doc said he calls all mothers over the age of 35 to give test results in person as women over 35 have a 1 in 230 chance of having a child with Down Syndrome.  He said my results were excellent - we passed! PHEW.  My test (based on hormone levels) showed a 1 in 900 chance which was very good given the actual numbers for may age group.  He then said he was required to offer me an amniocentesis. I declined the amnio based on the test results.  OB Doc agreed with my decision but could not council me one way or another in advance of hearing my response to the offer.  See you in a week for your ultrasound - I look forward to meeting you he said.  We hung up. 

I exhaled deeply for the first time in a week (since the blood for the test was drawn)  which says a lot about how I was feeling about the results of this test.  Especially, given that I teach breath work in 5-6 yoga classes a week!   Don't forget your breath I repeat in all my classes. You too Shipley!   I have learned I am always the student.