Last minute purchases

I mentioned a few days ago that I was going to get moving and start preparing more actively for this baby’s arrival, so today I sat down and made a few purchases. Finally.

New Look – Tall Grey Floral Print Tie Waist Wrap Dress - Amazon France – Zoli Buzz B electric nail buffer Etsy baby – Monhtly stickers growth milestones – Fisher-Price Moonlight Meadow Deluxe Newborn Rock ‘n Play Sleeper

-1- New Look – Tall Grey Floral Print Tie Waist Wrap Dress for 19.99€, here.
I was initially looking for a nightgown of some sort and a lightweight bathrobe; ideally with short sleeves. I went to several stores, including a maternity one not too far from here, and I just couldn’t find anything. So – out of utter desperation – I decided to look for a cheap dress instead. One of the absolute requirements was lightweight / short sleeved, because it’s always so ridiculously hot at the hospital. So then I found this kimono style dress. It’s a wrap dress, which shouldn’t be too impractical if breastfeeding works out. I also figured I’d like to look somewhat presentable this time around when people come to visit. Last time was obviously a nightmare, and my overall appearance reflected it. This time, hopefully, we’ll have a happy outcome and nice pictures. I also like the wide sleeves, which should make it easy when the midwife comes to measure my blood pressure. I had to roughly guess what size will fit me right after birth, which isn’t an easy thing! I took one size larger than usual and this is also a “tall” version, as I don’t want a mini dress under these particular circumstances. Hopefully it will fit. The fact that it’s a wrap dress should make any sizing quite forgiving.

-2- Amazon France – Zoli Buzz B electric nail buffer for 37.81€, here.
This should come in very handy during the first month or two. I’m scared to death of cutting paper thin newborn nails, so I’m hoping this electric nail buffer will do the job. I read many reviews that said it gets useless past a few months. I’m personally aiming at the whole newborn phase for the most part, so as long as it gets me through the Summer without injuring my baby, I’ll be happy!

-3- Etsy – Monhtly stickers for 9.22€, here.
These are meant to be put on baby’s little romper each month, to take a cute picture and mark his monthly growth. I purchased similar stickers before Sam was born, but they were a different color. They’ve been packed in his box for a year and a half now, and I had decided I could simply use them for his little brother. But then Gert didn’t seem too crazy about the idea. He told me he’d rather keep Sam’s stickers in Sam’s box and asked if I could buy a new set for this baby. I was a bit surprised, since he’s usually the cool headed, practical one. But I thought it was actually really sweet of him, so I didn’t even try to change his mind about it. I had already looked for a new set of stickers about two months ago, but couldn’t seem to find anything that I liked. Today, I decided I just needed to make up my mind and buy one. After spending an hour today going through all the baby clothes we have ready in the nursery, I figured this blue set would match nicely.

-4- – Fisher-Price Moonlight Meadow Deluxe Newborn Rock ‘n Play Sleeper for $70.99, here.
This had been on my list for several months now. I FINALLY bought it. It doesn’t seem to be available in Europe, so I had to purchase it from the States. It should arrive exactly one week before he’s born lol I read some amazing reviews about it. What really convinced me is the vibrating feature, which apparently really soothes babies and even seems to help with their digestion. You can manually rock it back and forth. And the best part of it all is that it’s lightweight and collapsible, so it doesn’t take much space to store away. The storage space in our house isn’t exactly huge, and all the models I found available in Belgium (and the rest of Europe too) were super bulky and couldn’t be folded or collapsed in any way.

That’s about it for now. There are a few more items I would really love to get. One of them is the AngelCare breathing monitor:
Angelcare Baby Movement breathing Monitor
It’s supposed to trigger an alarm if it detects that baby hasn’t been breathing for 20 seconds. I know I’ll be petrified of the sudden infant death syndrome, so I really really want to get this before we bring him home.

Besides that though, I think we’re all set for the most part. Whew!

Pregnancy – Week 33

Feeling so tired right now. I’ve been feeling overall okay though since my last update, but we had to get up super early this morning for my appointment at the hospital. I went in to monitor baby’s activity for about an hour. Everything went fine. His heart rate goes up and down a lot, which is apparently a good thing. It goes up when he’s moving around, just like our pulse increases when we’re walking or running. And it also seems to go up when he hears strange noises or voices he’s not familiar with, which is kind of funny. The midwife explained that when he hears my voice, or Gert’s voice, or probably even our parents, it sounds familiar to him so he’s relaxed and his heart rate reflects it. But when he hears a stranger’s voice, he becomes more alert and his heart starts beating faster. How weird, right? She said it’s an excellent sign that indicates everything is well in there, so hopefully it will stay that way. Apparently they’d be worried if his heart rate was too consistent, with no signs of activity or reaction to anything. Now I FINALLY understand why they keep saying that a fluctuating heart beat is a good thing. It only took the right person to finally explain things properly!

The doctor came in and offered us to do an extra ultrasound for our own peace of mind. For once, we declined. We felt like it was unnecessary, and we have a very detailed ultrasound scheduled next week anyway. So it would feel like overkill at this point. I wouldn’t have that kind of confidence if I wasn’t keeping track of all his movements from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to sleep. Every.Single.Day. My agenda looks like it belongs to a crazy person …

Every blue cross marks a movement. I also write down what I eat, what I feel, when he hiccups, and when I get Braxton Hicks contractions.

Speaking of which, I experienced my very first labor scare on Monday evening. Practice contractions are a normal thing at this point in pregnancy. They’re not regular, they’re not painful, and they’re harmless. But on Monday evening, at 10PM, things got scary … it suddenly started pretty heavily with back pain and everything and they were extremely regular; exactly 2:30min apart. I thought “SHIT. My hospital bag isn’t even ready yet. It’s also too soon; his lungs aren’t fully developed yet.” I was praying they would stop, but they didn’t. So I went ahead and called the maternity ward and asked them what I needed to do. I didn’t know if I was supposed to come in or give it a bit more time or what. The answer I got was pretty useless: “If you’re worried, come in. If you wish to wait it out a bit first, that’s fine.” Basically, I was still clueless. I decided I was too panicked and stressed out to drive there right that moment, and felt like it would be better for me to lay down on the bed for about 15 min, and basically allow myself to calm down first, and also to give things an extra chance to fade. Eventually, the contractions stopped, I calmed down, and I basically fell asleep soon after. Poor Gert was clearly feeling helpless about the whole thing and was ready to drive to the hospital on a Monday night lol I’m glad I made the right decision in the end.

As for the rest: my blood pressure is low, but that’s just how I’m made. I’ve never had high blood pressure in my life, and it does easily go on the low side. This could actually explain why I’ve been feeling dizzy every now and then. They said it was excellent and that they’d rather see me with low blood pressure than high blood pressure. Personally though, I wasn’t so thrilled about it. I read an article a while ago about how they’re starting to study the correlation between low blood pressure and a higher rate of stillbirth. But, no proof just yet. There’s so little effort being made about stillbirth; it’s mind boggling.

Anyway, my sugar was perfect this time. Thank God. They had already assured me previously that it couldn’t possibly be gestational diabetes, since I passed the test about 10 weeks ago or so and the results were fine. But it still worried me a bit. I’ve been avoiding desserts like the plague ever since. Not that I indulge on a daily basis, but I do like to treat myself once or twice a week after lunch. And as far as beverages are concerned: I’ve been drinking water only for the past 9 months. It was so hard at first, but I’m so used to it now that I think I might stick to this after I’ve given birth. I’d like a cup of a tea or a glass of white wine every now and then (after he’s born, obviously), but the added bonus of water containing zero calories seems to really be helping in terms of weight. I’m still a bit annoyed at the comment I got last time when the doctor said I should stop gaining weight. Seriously?? I’m 1m75 … I’ve gained 12 kilos by now; that’s nothing extreme. I’ve only got 4.5 weeks to go. Most likely I’ll only have 3 or 4 kilos left to lose after birth, which is nothing. Another pregnant lady stepped on the scale this morning. She was about my height, and she weighed 96 kilos. I would have loved to hear that one doctor’s opinion about it! Heh. Quite frankly, I don’t know where she hid her weight though, because she didn’t even look particularly big. It’s so strange how differently people can carry weight. Goes to show that numbers are sometimes a bit meaningless.

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Anyway, Baby’s doing fine. Even though his name is 90% set, I notice that we still tend to go back and forth a little bit. At this point I can’t help but laugh about the whole thing. What a saga this name picking has been so far! I’ve also been extremely laid back about any birth preparations. I still need to figure out the birth announcements and little knick-knacks. People are so focussed on that crap. It all seems so meaningless to me after everything we’ve been through. I don’t even care if they get a birth announcement one month late. I do need to get myself in gear though. This baby will be here next month and I’ve barely prepared the nursery for his arrival. Of course it’s still complete from before Sam was stillborn. But, I need to make a clear inventory of what we have and then figure out if we’re missing anything crucial. We were missing so much stuff before Sam arrived. If he had been born alive and well, there would have been a ton of emergency trips to all kinds of stores. I kind of want to avoid that now. There’s also still some of my own clutter that needs to move out of the baby’s room. It’s such a weird state of mind to be in right now. I notice Gert seems to be in the same funk. It’s like, we’re eagerly awaiting this baby’s safe arrival, yet we can’t really seem to prepare properly like he’s REALLY going to be here soon. I guess because our only experience is preparing for nothing, so now we’re sort of in this thing now where we feel like we’ll deal with it when we actually really get there. It still seems like an impossible goal right now. Yet it seems so obvious to everybody else around us that things will go well. There’s no way we will ever be that confident about it.

There have also been some more difficult moments recently. Like when we went to a maternity clothing store and the cashier asked full of enthusiasm if this was our first … Oh that damned question. There it was. Right in my face with no warning whatsoever. I quickly mumbled, no, it’s our second. And prayed to God that she wouldn’t comment any further or ask any other question. Strangely, she seemed to have picked up on the fact that something was off and she didn’t insist. I hate that question so much. People ask it so freely without ever thinking that it could break someone’s heart into a million pieces. And at the same time, I just can’t lie about it. I could NEVER pretend that this is our first. It feels so wrong.

Anyway, I’m sorry this blog is turning into a pregnancy log. I actually meant to blog more this past week, but then Gert’s dad handed me his camera so I could get a copy of all the videos he’s been filming this year so far. He loves filming! He takes his camera everywhere and films every single family occasion there is. It’s something I’d like to start doing more myself. But yeah, it does take a lot of time. I basically spent several days putting all the footage together into nice little movies with intros and some music. Not something we’d watch on a regular basis, but it’s still lovely to have. He’s been documenting their entire lives like that since the 70’s. I’m always so impressed with his collection of family movies. I’ve been doing the same for years with photographs, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be taking over the video part of it as well soon. Especially with this baby coming next month. I can’t wait to start gathering all kinds of random family footage. Fingers crossed that things go well this time though … It seems like every time I make positive plans, it ends up crashing into a big nightmare.

Alright, this blog post is becoming way too long now. I’ll stop right here. Only one more month to go!

Pregnancy – Week 32

Feeling a bit defeated right now, and I think it shows. I went to yet another prenatal appointment yesterday. All I can say at this point is: I can’t wait for all this to be over. It was one of the shittiest appointments so far. For the first time ever, my tests came back indicating that my sugar level was above normal. I’ve never had this in my entire life. Of course they brushed it off and basically went like “no big deal, we’ll just keep an eye on it.” And then the doctor randomly decided to discuss my weight, which was never brought up before. She subtly implied that I need to stop gaining weight now because I’m kind of on the high end of the weight gain chart. Are you kidding me? I don’t even think that she took note of my height into her equation. I’m pretty tall. And I’ve gained less this time than when I was expecting Sam! I don’t even eat that much. Nor do I stuff myself with sugary treats. I eat pretty healthy and stick to normal portions. I’ve only gained 12 kilos so far. When Sam was born, I instantly lost 10kg from giving birth alone. You’re not just losing the weight of the baby; there’s the placenta, amniotic fluid, umbilical cord and all sorts of lovely things. I stepped on a scale 2 hours after he was born, and I was already 10 kilos lighter. If it’s the same this time, I will only have a few kilos left to lose, which isn’t that hard. So yeah. **major eye roll** 😒

Then I got to meet one of the two doctors who will be following me up from now on, since the professor who took care of me decided to move abroad at the worst possible time. Just my luck, right? Now that I’ve met one of the two, I’m not exactly reassured. He came in and tried to sell me his spiel about how this is a totally different pregnancy, and how the odds of things going wrong twice in a row are very low and that we should basically stop monitoring things so closely because it could cause more anxiety than if we let things run their course. The fact alone that he suggested to cancel next week’s monitoring almost gave me a panic attack! Those appointments are exactly what helps me stay calm! I completely closed up. I let him finish his speech without answering a word, then thanked him and said goodbye. As soon as he walked out the door, I booked my appointment for next week! Silly man.

I also want a full blood test next time. I often feel dizzy since last week, and now with my sugar being higher than normal, I just want to make sure that everything’s okay. I was low on iron during my first pregnancy. So I also want to make sure that this isn’t the case again. And if they don’t want to do it, then I’ll just go to my family doctor. Pffft. They were so cautious during the first and second trimester. Why are they suddenly trying to play things down now like it’s no big deal when we’re right in the final weeks? This is exactly when things went completely wrong the first time! 😡

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Anyway, Baby’s doing fine. He’s still very active during the day and spends peaceful quiet nights. Here’s hoping this pattern remains after birth lol I can’t wait to meet our little man. We’ve finally made up our minds about his name! We went back and forth a lot, and then eventually just kept going back to this one, which started to feel more and more right as weeks went by. At this point we’re used to calling him that, so there’s no changing it anymore. It was about time! I’m only 6 weeks away from giving birth. I was starting to worry that this baby would be born without a name. I really don’t care what gender we have next. But if we end up having boys only, I do worry about future names … Boy names are difficult! Hah!

38 more days until I get induced. I’m getting so impatient. It’s almost to the point where I’m annoying myself. I get so frustrated when I can’t do certain things, and I can’t be as physically active as I’m used to, and I can’t eat or drink certain things. Ugh. So sick of it. I know this probably sounds shallow when obviously my main priority is having this baby alive and well. But I’ve gone through such horrible, frustrating years so far. It feels like my whole life has been on hold and that I’ve been holding my breath ever since I got pregnant in January 2014. I can’t wait to move forward and breathe again. Six more weeks … sounds like nothing, but it feels like an eternity right now.

Pregnancy – Week 31

I’m so exhausted right now. I don’t know if it shows in my picture, but I definitely feel it. I practically didn’t sleep last night due to painful hips and we had to be at the hospital at 8AM this morning to monitor Baby’s activity for an hour. I had never done this before, so this was a first. They basically put 2 straps around my belly and I had to lay on my left side. The midwife explained the basics of what we could see on the monitor and in which case we’d have to call her right away. There were two other pregnant ladies hooked up to a monitor in that same room. I only briefly saw them as I walked by, because the whole appointment was spent behind closed curtains. Gert was so involved. It was cute. 😄 💕

Baby was kicking those monitor straps like it was really bugging him. He had hiccups, practiced breathing, turned around several times and showed a perfect heart rate. All was looking perfect. Thank God.

At one point, one of the other pregnant women a little further away started crying. I couldn’t see her as we were basically in a little closed cubicle, but she cried nonstop for a solid 40 minutes. I have no idea what was going on. One doctor came in, her husband went to get her some water, and she basically sobbed the entire time. Part of me wanted to ask the midwife about it – since my mind naturally jumps to the conclusion “dead baby”. But then I figured maybe her case wasn’t nearly as tragic as what we’ve been through so far, and it’s already been emotional enough for me, so I didn’t feel the strength to put myself in a vulnerable position. I’m not sure if most of us who go there are dealing with a pregnancy after a loss. In any case, I noticed that none of us acted like the average pregnant woman. There was no enthusiastic talk about baby’s growth and activity, no fun chatter about future plans … only worries. It was definitely a weird vibe.

When all that was done, they decided to do an ultrasound so we could see Baby and check things visually. They said this was mainly to reassure me. It was nice. But I have to be honest: I wasn’t really worried at that particular point. But at least this gave me a chance to ask them to check the umbilical cord. I wanted to know if it was anywhere near his neck. Luckily, it’s not. If it had been, I would have had to pay closer attention to possible distress signs from now on, such as increased hiccuping. I write it all down anyway. But it’s reassuring to know that – right now – the umbilical cord is fine.

My next appointment is next Wednesday, and then most likely we’ll go back in to monitor the baby the week after that.

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While last week was one of my best weeks so far in terms of how I felt physically, I can’t really say the same about this week. I’m getting more and more tired and my hips are hurting so bad at night. I feel dizzy quite often, but the only plausible reason seems to be my lack of sleep. Household chores have become quite difficult. I gave the dog a bath yesterday and then had to lie down on the bed because it had triggered some mild Braxton Hicks contractions. Not pleasant at all! Although perfectly normal at this point in pregnancy.

We thought we had found his name last week, and now we don’t again … lol I swear this is hard! I’m usually not like that at all. I’m generally the kind of person who quickly figures out a few options and then makes up her mind about it fairly quickly. Now I keep going back and forth and I feel so indecisive. It’s annoying. Bless Gert for being so easy going and patient. He’s already found enough names for 10 more boys. Haha!!! I’m just not convinced about any of them. I still have my top 4, which he likes, but, I just can’t decide. Sometimes I feel like it would be easier once I meet him and see what he looks like. The weird thing is that I never felt like that with Sam. It was so easy with him. Everything was easy. It all felt so right. Maybe it would be easy again if Sam hadn’t died. Now it feels like extra pressure and extra insecurities. Part of me keeps thinking: “If this baby dies too, then basically, which name that I love am I going to sacrifice? Because then it would never actively be used.” Just like with Sam. It kills me that the only times I ever speak out his name, it’s because we’re talking about something sad. And it’s never on a daily basis like I imagined I would during that pregnancy. Once we had decided about “Sam”, I could imagine baby Sam, toddler Sam, teenage Sam, groom Sam … the older handsome Sam who’d be holding my hand at the hospital at the end of my life. That whole future was gone in the snap of a finger before it even started. I don’t think anyone can imagine what it does to a person, unless they’ve experienced it too.

Right now, I just know that I’m expecting a baby boy and that’s pretty much it. What will he look like? What will his name be? What will our future basically look like? No idea! It’s all so abstract. I just know that I want him alive and well so we can go on instead of being stuck in limbo … I can’t wait for D-day! Only 45 days left.


Pregnancy – Week 30

I went to one of my many prenatal appointments yesterday, and had what was supposed to be my last ultrasound of this pregnancy. The perspective of this being the last time I would ever see this baby on screen was scaring me. And the fact that this was the exact same time that we last saw Sam alive on an ultrasound screen was enough to trigger anxiety. I started feeling my heart racing while we were sitting in the waiting room, and it was slowly becoming painful. Then the doctor called my name and we walked in … She asked if we already knew our baby’s gender and I said “yes, a little boy”. She said “Great, this is your second, right?” I said yeah and she went: “Oh, how fun that’s going to be: two little boys at home!”

I crashed into a puddle of tears right there and only managed to mumble “not really, our first son died right before birth”. She apologized profusely and obviously felt bad. She kept saying how she should have read my file more thoroughly and how sorry she was. The harm was done though. I spent the entire ultrasound sobbing and feeling sorry for myself. I couldn’t stop staring at my baby moving on the screen and thinking that this could be the very last time I see him alive, just like with Sam. Gert managed to keep a cooler head – Thank God. He took charge of the situation and became much more vocal about what he’d like to happen in the next few weeks so we could keep the anxiety down. He demanded at least one extra ultrasound as well as more frequent monitoring. I must have looked like an emotional mess, because they suddenly agreed to absolutely everything; which hadn’t been the case before. Now all of a sudden, I have an extra ultrasound planned in 4 weeks. They will check everything in detail again, including the quality of the blood flow through the placenta as well as the baby. And I’ll be going to the hospital once a week from now on instead of every two weeks. We will alternate between two types of visits: one week they will put a band around my belly for an hour and monitor baby’s activity, the next week we’ll be seeing a doctor for a full prenatal checkup, and so forth until we finally get to my induction date.

Suddenly, they also seemed a lot more open minded about inducing as early as 37 weeks. That was a huge relief. Honestly, I’m not sure I will do this; it will depend on many factors and I’ll have to see how things evolve and how I am feeling by then. But it eased my mind to know that the option is definitely open.

One bad news we got is that the professor who’s been taking care of me from the start is apparently moving abroad or something, so he handed over my file to two of his colleagues … and now I have no idea who will deliver this baby. It sucks. I’m generally not someone who gets all hung up about having one specific doctor, but this situation is quite exceptional and I was so used to seeing him. He was there through it all, he delivered Sam, he knew my entire case by heart. So, yeah, it sucks.

I really can’t wait for all of this to be over so I can focus on motherhood, taking care of my baby, taking care of myself, and forget about all the pregnancy stuff for a while! Gert was already talking about having more children, but I feel like I’m seriously going to need a break for a while after this one. Of course I’d like to have more than one living child; and maybe I will change my mind about the timing of it all once I’ve delivered this baby, but right now I’m like “I need a break and a piña colada!”

I was reading through Sam’s 30 week pregnancy update, and I was stunned to read how similar this 30th week is:
– I’ve been having much more peaceful nights, and Baby seems to have gotten the hang of a somewhat coherent sleep pattern when I go to bed.
– As Baby’s grown a lot in a short time, the way I feel movements has now changed. It’s gone from actual kicks to feeling more like things rolling around.
– This week marks the very first time I have been able to identify for sure when he’s hiccuping. I’m not supposed to count hiccups as movements, so I have to leave this out of my daily kick count. I do write them down though, but specifically mark them as hiccups now.

The things that bothered me with Sam but I don’t have this time: no leg cramps, no stomach acid, no swollen feet.

Anyway, on to the fun stuff. Here are this week’s sonogram pictures:

All they managed to snap was his profile. He’s obviously too big now to get a full body shot, so it’s his face only. And they had a hard time even getting this because he had his arm and hand in front of his face the whole time lol Stubborn little guy. I don’t know why I felt from the beginning of this pregnancy that he’d end up looking more like me. But based on these pictures alone, I’m a bit puzzled to see that his profile actually matches Gert’s more. I can’t wait to meet him!

He also didn’t appreciate it when the midwife measured my belly; he kicked that measuring band so hard. Haha!

One funny detail that I noticed since about a week or two: he reacts to the doorbell, the phone ringing, the kitchen timer and the alarm clock in the bedroom lol So obviously, his ears are working well!

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On a side note: I think we have finally found his name! We haven’t officially called it a final decision yet; but it’s slowly imposing itself as the obvious choice. So, we’re giving it a bit more time now just to get used to it, and then I suppose we’ll both be like “okay, let’s stop going back and forth because this is the one.” Now I just have to figure out his two middle names. I was sooooo sure about his middle names, but now they don’t flow well at all with the first name we’ll most likely end up settling for. So … I now have to think real hard of two middle names that will sound better with the first name. Traditionally, the rule here is to use the first name of the godfather and the godmother. If it’s a boy, you obviously try to use a male variation of the godmother’s name, and if it’s a girl, you stick to a female variation of the godfather’s name (or something that sounds close enough). Personally, I’m not a fan of that rule. I look at those 2 middle names more as a way to make my baby unique. Especially with Gert’s last name being ridiculously common! I don’t want this child to get mixed up with someone else. That’s why his two middle names are so important to me. They will be part of his unique identity.

Whether our families will like it or not is the least of my worries at this point. They’ll get used to it!

My countdown shows 52 days left … Although at this point it could even be sooner than that. It’s all up in the air at the moment, but at least the end is in sight!