Thursday, November 29, 2012

BGB Week 31 Update

BGB and I had our appointment with our local OB today. At 31 weeks and 9 to go, we're both doing great. I'm feeling very pregnant the last couple of weeks, and have definitely reached the slowing down and take lots of naps stage. This was definitely easier at 30! Thank goodness for Steve and Jonas and flexibility at work.

In addition to our now weekly OB appointments and bi-weekly ultrasounds, we're going to start going to the hospital for weekly non-stress testing. They're basically going to monitor the baby for about a half an hour every week to make sure she's doing ok. They'll be watching for regular heartbeat and movement and, of course, any abnormalities. That means they'll be checking us twice weekly now, and will be more likely to pick-up if something starts to go wrong. With Owen's 33 week milestone staring us down, this added vigilance should be very reassuring. 

We talked yesterday about an elective c-section. Our OB reviewed all the benefits and risks, and bascially said "Whatever you two want, is what we'll do." Given our track record, a c-section is an appealing option for a number of reasons, but there are also risks to it and that we need to carefully consider. The decision may yet be taken out of our hands but for now, it's something we're considering.

No matter how it happens, in anticipation of the big day, our hospital pre-registration forms are in hand, the d-day procedures mapped out, and we go for a tour of the birthing in a week or two. If things go as planned, I'm going to work until mid-January, unless the weather really stinks or I run out of steam. Time is flying!


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Creative Christmas Fun

I'm not much of a crafter, (as evidenced by the fact that it takes me about two years to knit a baby blanket) but I'm always on the hunt for ways to make gift giving a little more fun and creative - for both me and the kiddos. Starting way back about 10 years ago, when we gave everyone cookie jars with Steve's wonderful home cookies, we've always had a propensity for giving, shall we say, less than commercially popular gifts. Last year we gave the grown-up men our secret family pancake recipe, and this year we wanted to take it up a notch. (Making pancakes is a tradition handed down from Steve's dad, to Steve and now to Jonas.) Thanks to Pinterest, I've found some dandy ideas and thought I'd share some of favourites.


Fort Kits: Flat sheet, clothes pegs, rope, flashlight, glow sticks, etc.... all in a personalized pillow case.

Build Your Own Snowman Kits: hat, scarf, mittens, rocks, buttons, carrot

S'mores Kits: graham crackers, chocolate, marshmallows, fondu skewer, tea light
Hot Chocolate Kits: hot chocolate, mini mashmallows, choco chips, peppermint

Cookie Mix in a Jar: Include layers of all the dry ingredients from your favourite cookie recipe.
Don't forget to add the recipe too!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Let the Christmas Season Begin!

We kicked off our Christmas season this past weekend with a visit to Barrie. We celebrated an early family Christmas with my Dad, Step-mom, brother, sister, brother-in-law, my two gorgeous nieces, and of course, Jonas, Steve and I. Sadly, we missed Tasha, who couldn't be with us this weekend due to work commitments.  :(

Given that none of us has yet mastered the art of growing one of those money trees, we set a low spending limit on gifts for the kids and concentrated on what really matters - being together. The food was delicious as always, and we had some fun with our family tradition of Christmas crackers, with those funny hats, jokes and little surprises. The company, as always, was the best part. The kids enjoyed opening their presents, but I would venture to guess that when the actual presents are long outgrown and forgotten, they will still have wonderful memories of playing together. Just as it should be, in my humble opinion.

The only thing I don't like about our family Christmas Eve tradition, whether it's in November or December, is that it never lasts long enough. If only Santa could deliver us a pause button for all these special moments.


Monday, November 26, 2012

7 Month Food Cravings

I was going to blog today about Jonas's home session tonight, but I'm exhausted from it so will save that for tomorrow. Instead, I thought I'd give you a fun pregnancy update.

We're at 31 weeks now, with 9 to go. I've gained 30 pounds so far, and the baby is expected to gain about a half a pound per week until she comes out and joins us. I'm trying hard to eat a healthy well-balanced diet, but do have some weaknesses. Food cravings are part and parcel of most pregnanies, and this one is no different.

My sister says she can tell that I'm pregnant because everything I pin on Pinterest is about food. In that spirit, here for your viewing pleasure, is BGB's current favourite food list.


EDIT: I forgot an important one - curried chicken and rice!
(The more spicey the better!)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Good News for BGB!

BGB and I just got home from Mount Sinai and all is well. Nine and a half weeks to go and she's doing perfectly. In fact, her placenta is now well out of harms way! YEAH!

She's very active and is growing well. She's average in terms of her growth and scored perfect on all her other tests. I passed my tests too, with good blood pressure and weight gain. (Good weight gain? HA!)  They're going to check my thyroid again at our next check-up, but that seems to be well managed by medication, much like my nausea.

I've been having a few more Braxton-Hicks contractions the past week or so, and I don't have the energy I did when I was at this point in the pregnancies with the boys, but that's to be expected. I'm not 30 anymore after all.  A long weekend of little sleep is probably making it worse this week but a few more naps a couple of sleep-ins this weekend will hopefully help at little bit.

Next week we see our Oshawa OB and we go back to Mount Sinai is two weeks, and will alternate seeing the doctors weekly. That will likely be our permanent schedule until this little peanut decides it's time to come out and see the world, or until Old Man Winter decides it's time to give us a serious wallop, whichever comes first.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Memories from a Camping Adventure

Jonas and I had an awesome weekend camping with the 9th Pickering Scouts. In no particular order, here are my favourite pictures from our weekend adventure. 

My bunk. I passed on sleeping in a tent but I probably would have slept better outside.
It was like a carnival inside those cabooses!

I was awesome to see Jonas so excited about Cub Scouts again.
We sure do miss 9th Pickering and can't wait to get back into action with them.

Jonas and the Cub Scouts worked on their knots and made their own tripods

Jonas has always looked up the "Thunder" and was very happy to be allowed to help him out
during the Scouts' Campfire Challenge

Using mom's knife to make wood shavings

His very own campfire!

Look at those rosey cheeks.
A sign of a day well spent.

Hide and Seek in a caboose!

Teddy had a great time too!

Checking out Pooh Bear's campfire blanket

Campfire snuggles

Having a blast playing with Kaa

mmmmm s'mores!

Jonas and Luke share building their campfire together

Being silly

Jonas earned his Canadian Arts Award and his Green Star!

Jonas, Angela and Luke have been friends since we joined Beavers.
It was awesome to see them together again.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Home Sweet Home

Jonas and I had a wonderful weekend at camp. It's nice to be home. Time for a bath and a good night sleep. Cheers!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Pregnant Scouter Mom is Going Camping!

When I was 8 months pregnant with Jonas, Steve and I went camping - in a tent, on the ground, at the end of May. It was cold, damp and uncomfortable at night, but an awesome trip during the day. History is about the repeat itself a little bit.

Jonas and I have had many wonderful trips with the 9th Pickering Scouts
Jonas and I are going camping with our Scout group this weekend. We're sleeping in cabooses - the real CN train kind! - on Friday night and in tents on Saturday night. I should clarify, the Cub Scouts are sleeping in tents on Saturday night. The Beaver Scouts are sleeping in the trains both nights, and I might just be with them. As a general rule on these trips, Jonas sleeps with his fellow Cubs and I sleep on my own, so it's not like I'd be bailing a night in a tent with him, and my own preference for sleeping in a tent is currently being overshadowed by an arthriticy hip that's not liking this pregnancy thing very much. (I may just pack my mega air mattress and give it go in my tent anyway. Maybe.)

This trip will be our last chance to go camping, just Jonas and I, (sort of, anyway) for a little while. It's the first Scouting thing we'll do together this year. Jonas is over the moon that I'm taking him and frankly, I am too. It's been a strange year for us. I've been very inactive, particularly when it comes to Scouts, and we haven't been camping since the summer. We both miss it.

Jonas and his cousin Jacob, enjoying Jonas's first camping trip together.
I know that this lay-off is a temporary blip on our radar. We took Jonas dayhiking almost from the day we left the hospital with him, but he didn't sleep under the stars for the first time until he was three. This baby will not be waiting that long. Camping is part of our family identity so we're going to get her out there much sooner. 

I also want to continue taking one-on-one trips with Jonas. Those trips are an important part of our relationship. Our tradition of leaving the stresses and routines of every day life behind, unplugging and getting away from it all together let's us connect in a way that's hard to describe. Sleeping on the ground in the fall while seven months pregnant? It'll be worth a night of physical discomfort. I cherish that time together and I know he does too.


Monday, November 12, 2012

BGB Update - Week 29

On Friday, BGB and I went to Mt. Sinai on Friday and all is well. At 29 weeks, she is doing great. Her heart beat is a healthy 150 BPM,  she has lots of fluid and she scored perfect on her movement tests. (We watched her practice her talking and eating the entire time.) She weighs about 3 pounds and is about 15 inches long now. That's the 65th percentile for growth and about the same size as a 3 pound loaf of bread.

She's head down but her placenta is still too close for her to get out the natural way, which is shut up tighter than Fort Knox right now anyway. They docs won't make any decisions about that until 5 weeks from now, at week 34. Our next appointment is on the 21st. Only 11 more weeks until she's full term. Keep your fingers crossed.

Having a premature baby is frightening, but we've crossed an important threshold, where 9 out of 10 babies born at 29 weeks survive. (I know, talking about survival rates is not pleasant but, let's face it, it's something we think about.) We're trying to stay optimistic and realistic at the same time. Her room is nowhere near ready (The first weekend in December is dedicated to that project) but the bassinet is. My hospital bag has been packed for a month or two (at Steve's request) and last night I packed BGB's bag. There's no diapers or soother in there yet but it's a good start should we need it unexpectedly.

Big brother Jonas is getting more excited every day. Last night after dinner, I told him he could go play Minecraft with Steven and he asked if we could watch a movie together instead. "We don't have much time left to watch stuff that you and me like. When my cute little baby sister gets here, we're only going to be able to watch shows for babies."  He didn't sound resentful, but rather excited. Still, it made me a little sad to think that he thinks we're not going to have anymore one-on-one time once she's born.

I've been thinking about that a lot lately actually. How on earth can I possible love another child as much as I love Jonas? How is it going to be possible to double the space in my heart and divide my attention between two kids? I know that it's one of the great miracles of motherhood, and it will happen without my even realizing it, but how can I explain that to a nine year old? The proof is in the pudding, they say, but how can I reassure him now?

I said "Sure, as I long as I get to pick what we watch." He smiled his huge bright smile and said "OK!" I then promptly picked one of his favourite tv shows. His look changed to one of confusion so I said "I like watching this show with you. It's one of my favourite things to do."  As his smile came back and he snuggled up close, I thought to myself, "Self, everything's going to be AOK."


Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Crab Dance

When Steven got home last night, his eyes were wide and he cringed a little when he asked Jonas how his day went.  It seems that they both forgot about Jonas's ADHD meds in the morning. Ooops!

Frankly, I didn't believe him. Jonas had a great day. He got 27/30 on his daily math drill, a smiley face in his agenda and came out of school with a big smile on his face. Actually it was a huge vampire smile. (His teacher gave him the goodie bag he missed getting on Hallowe'en because he was home with the flu.) We had a fabulous evening too. He did his chores and his homework without any fuss. Dinner was uneventful, except that Jonas ate his whole bowl of chili instead of picking at it and saying he wasn't hungry.  (In retrospect, that was a clear sign that he had not had his pill.) The boys happily played their new video game together in the basement while I puttered upstairs, even the call for bedtime was fine.

I've been going to bed before Jonas the last little while, so at bedtime he comes upstairs, brushes his teeth and then comes into our room to snuggle with me for a little bit before heading to his room. As I lay there waiting for him to finish brushing, I thought to myself  "Wow. A good day - including school - with no meds. We haven't had one of those in, well, forever. Maybe we've had a break though!" 

And then he crawled into bed and the next 45 minutes shattered my illusion of a breakthrough.

Instead of snuggling up like he usually does, he whispered "Mom, have you ever seen a crab dance?" Before I could respond, he stood up, spread his legs apart, held up his hands and started shuffling all around the bed singing "Crabby, crabby, crabby. I am so crabby!" Or something like that. Honestly, I was a little too distracted trying to protect BGB and I from him falling on us to listen to all the lyrics. After what seemed like an eternity, when I finally got him to lie down, he regaled me with the evolutionary life cycle of the crab. I missed a few evolutionary steps along the way, but apparently they start off as eggs, then morph into a "long thingies with eyes and suckers", then grow into starfish, then transform into blobs and then finally turn into crabs.

"Where'd you learn that?" I asked. He then prattled on about Futurama, his friends at school and their "club". I'm not sure how that all fits together but when he finally took a breath, I told him that it was past his bedtime. "Ok." He agreed. I got a huge hug and a kiss, as did BGB, and then he got off the bed and did the crab walk shuffle into his room. I'm pretty sure I heard him singing the crabby song when BGB and I got up for a midnight snack too.

The joys of ADHD are never ending!


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Minecraft

This is the newest sensation in our house. It's a video game that Steve and Jonas are hooked on and I'm all for it. This game's got it all - construction, a little math, a little science, lots of creativity and teamwork, planning, organziation, pet care.... there's even zombies!  And, best of all, it's good leverage to use for homework and to get the chores done around the house!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Holding Hands

If only it was as easy to comfort him at nine as it was when he was a baby!
Yesterday was a holding hands kind of day for us. When I picked him up at end of the school day, Jonas was clearly upset. He took my hand as we started the walk home, something he rarely does in front of his peers at school, and said "Mom, I didn't get a smiley face today. it was the worst day ever!"  I listened as he told me the gory details about what happened at lunch.

We walked hand in hand as he told the long story about a bunch of kids in his class fooling around with a piece of cheese at lunch time, and how he ended up getting in trouble for it. Apparently the cheese was thrown around the room until it landed on his desk. Not wanting to participate, but not wanting it on his desk either, he threw it on the floor. Knowing that that wasn't right, he went to pick it up, but by then the other kids were laughing at him, or so he thought. When he touched it, someone yelled out "Jonas has the cheese touch!" (You have to read or watch A Diary of a Wimpy Kid" to understand that reference) and then the entire room burst out laughing at him. By the time the lunch room monitor arrived, everyone was in trouble and Jonas got burned by having the right idea but the wrong execution.

"Mom, I just couldn't help it. They made me so mad! I just threw it one the floor and left it there."

Sometimes it's hard not to jump in with commentary or advice when he's upset. I squeezed his hand, took a deep breath and commiserated, telling him that it takes a lot to get me mad but once I do, I sometimes have a hard time controlling my temper too. He squeezed my hand and said "Yeah, but whenever that happens to me, I always end up making things worse." "Yeah." I agreed, "Me too."

Not wanting to direct the conversation, but sensing that he was looking for a prompt, I said "Whenever that happens to me, I always try to figure out a way to make things better the next time." 

"Yeah," he continued, "I guess I could have...." And then he went through a short list of alternatives that might have worked out a bit better for him. As he suggested each one, I couldn't help but smile as I encouraged his thinking. Seeing problem solving in action makes me happy.

By the time we got home, he was all talked out, still mad at his friends at school, and ready to just take a breather. He put his school stuff away, made himself a snack and then snuggled up with me on the couch.  He took my hand, wrapped it in his own near his heart. "Mom," he said, "I love you."

I smiled, hugged him a little tighter, squeezed his hand and said "I love you too, sweetheart." It's true when they say that bigger kids have bigger problems, but often my problem solving role doesn't increase along with it. Most of the time, just holding his hand and listening gives him the most comfort.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Good News All Around

We've spent the past week battling the stomach flu in our house. It wasn't pretty but it seems to mostly over. Other than a few little bumps, we're all hoping to be back to the grindstone today.  There have been a couple of blog worthy events, and it's good news all around, so I thought I'd play catch-up today and bring you up to date.

BGB and I went for our two hour glucose test and, and despite having the stomach flu, I managed to keep the drink down for the required two hours. Our local OB called on Friday night to let us know that we passed. The first one was probably skewed because I ate lunch on my way to the test. It's good news and a good reminder that I need to be a little more conscious about what I'm eating and get a little more exercise into my day. Operation Healthy Mama needs to be cranked up a notch as we head towards the finish line that's a mere 12 weeks away.

On Saturday morning we all got up and went to Jonas's assessment for Speech Therapy. As the Speech Language Pathologist explained that the assessment was to determine whether or not Jonas was still eligible for services, and how high of a priority he would be, my mind kept screaming "Of course he needs these services. Anyone can see that!"  I kept reminding myself that he's been on a waiting list for two years and it's reasonable for them to reassess his need. It was a very thorough assessment and, at the end of the appointment, the SLP confirmed that, yes indeed, he does still qualify. She assessed him as having moderate to severe speech disfluency (stuttering) and rated his need as high. While that's not encouraging news, it means that he will be put at the top of the list for the next therapy intake. They can't confirm when that will happen but they do expect him to start sessions this school year. While the extended wait time is frustrating, she explained that they've instituted a new program, whereby he'll be assigned a SLP who will follow him for at least two years or until he is discharged. Gone are the days of 12 sessions and then back on the gargantuan wait list. She gave us some stuff that we and his teachers can work on while we are waiting, which is another step in the right direction. All and all, it was a positive day.

We were all a little shocked that the assessment was only for Speech. We thought it was for Occupational Therapy as well. The staff that were there on Saturday knew nothing about that, so Monday's To Do List includes following up on that. I know those wait lists are at least as long as for the Speech but I need to make sure that all the I's have been dotted and T's crossed.

So, it's good news all around, except the having to go back to work part. I must admit that I'm looking forward to being on mat leave.


Friday, November 2, 2012

Gestational Diabetes?

It has been an insane week in the Blanchard house. The arrival of Hurricane Sandy was overshadowed by Jonas coming down with a case of the stomach flu that, despite our best efforts, got passed around to all three of us. Between the flu, the storm, work and doctor's appointments, I haven't been on-line very much. The worst seems to be behind us now.

I'm taking a another day off work to let my stomach finish settling and to try to get some much-missed sleep. I was awakened throughout the night with a nightmare about somebody kidnapping BGB, so I thought I'd update my blog instead of going back to the restless search for her in dreamland.

At our appointment with our local OB this week, we found out that we failed out Glucose Tolerance Test. It's a test for gestational diabetes, something that's fairly common with us "Advanced Maternal Age" mothers. We had to go back to the lab yesterday to do an extended test to confirm the results of the first one. (Taking a 9 year old with ADHD to a test that takes two hours is a blog entry unto itself.)

There are a bunch of risks with gestational diabetes, including post-pregnancy type two diabetes for me, juvenile diabetes for BGB, and a high birth weight for BGB, which can cause it's own complications. (No signs of that yet. So far BGB is at exactly the 50th percentile in terms of her growth.)  Regardless of yesterday's test results, there is diabetes in my family so it's something that we're mindful of.

This isn't the end of the world news. I may have to start taking insulin, but for the time being, it simply means that I need to cut out refined sugars, add more whole foods, and get  more exercise. All things I should be doing anyway. I've been doing pretty well in terms of my diet. Lots of fresh fruits, veggies and whole grains, not very many sweets, and even the poutine chapter of this pregnancy is behind us.

Exercise is a different story. I've been so slack. I'm wiped by the end of the work day and exercising seems counter-intuitive. We need to kick up our walking and get back to going on family hikes at least weekly. Even if this doesn't turn out to be gestational diabetes, it is an important part of the healthy lifestyle we want for our family. Now that that stomach flu seems to be on it's way out of the house, getting outside and getting the heart rate up is going to be priority number one.