Wednesday 27 October 2004

you, get back here

We had midwife appointment number two this afternoon. I can hear all of you people living in more attentive regions of the country gasp - yes, this was only our second meeting and I'm 23 weeks along. What can I say, they like to leave you to your own devices around these parts. My blood pressure is fine, I don't have diabetes or a water infection, and I'm measuring right on schedule. The only tricky bit was trying to hear Pip's heartbeat; the little imp wasn't co-operating today! I could feel him galloping around and we could hear him moving on the doppler, but we could only hear the blood coursing through his cord and not his little heartbeat. The midwife assured us that this was fine (you can't have cord noises without a heartbeat) and she wasn't worried about this in the least, it's just that the baby wasn't keeping still enough for her to hear his heart. Little scamp.

Heartburn update: still doing well although I won't venture into Curryland or Mexican Fiesta World quite yet.

Tuesday 26 October 2004


At long last, wedding photos can now be seen here. Honeymoon photos and travel diary coming soon. Honest.

Monday 25 October 2004

so that's why they call london the big smoke

I am a smoke magnet. No matter where I go, no matter how many people are around me, the person closest to me will light up a cigarette. Take, for example, our evening in London yesterday. We went out for dinner to a bar/restaurant we'd been to before we saw The Fast Show Live, as we had remembered it as being a funky, quieter place with pretty decent food. They had shut the bottom level off for "staff training", which I assume must normally be the smoking section - I honestly don't remember anyone smoking on the ground floor level last time we were there. Almost every single table was full of smokers. We had smokers sitting on either side of us and as an added bonus, we were sitting next to the bar where standing smokers surrounded us. Surprisingly, it didn't bother me that much and we managed to eat despite the fact that we inhaled the equivalent to 1/2 pack of cigs each. So on we went to see Billy Connolly at the Hammersmith Appollo, where we had to push our way through not one, but two lobbies full of wall-to-wall smokers to get to our seats. After the show, we had to walk down several sets of stairs to get to the ground floor. It was absolutely packed and the crowd was moving extremely slowly down the stuffy, enclosed stairwell - what better situation than to light up a cigarette, right? Three people directly in front of us lit up at the same time, because apparently it was too much to wait ten minutes until they got outside. The final straw came as we stood in a queue waiting to pay for our parking, and both the guy in front of us and the guy behind us lit their cigs in unison. Does everyone in London smoke?!

Now don't get me wrong; I am not one of those militant ex-smokers who'll show you pictures of diseased lungs and throw coffin nails at you whenever you light up. I used to really enjoy smoking and there are some days when I would still sell my own mother for a cigarette. If you want to smoke, grand. I won't stop you. Just please, I'm begging you, try to be a courteous smoker. When I used to smoke, I never smoked in queues simply because it was rude to blow smoke over people who may not go for that sort of thing. I never smoked in cars, around children, when people were eating, or in people's houses who were non-smokers (even if they insisted that it was okay). See? Courteous. Smoking and blowing your smoke in the direction of a table of people eating, particularly if that table happens to contain a visibly pregnant woman, is not courteous. Ditto for smoking within 2 feet of someone who is not smoking themselves. Move away, or wait 5 minutes until you can smoke elsewhere. Trust me, going 5 minutes without a cig won't kill you. Going three days without a cig when you're visiting your parents, now that's another story. 5 minutes, sorry, I have no sympathy.

My biggest beef is with restaurants that don't have designated smoking sections (or divide the non-smoking from the smoking tables with a small potted plant). Pubs and bars, fair enough - I expect to come home smelling like an old ashtray - but when I go out to eat, I don't want to taste someone's Marlboroughs in between bites.

So please, if you smoke, be polite about it. If you do, I promise to return the favour by not talking about pregnancy symptoms and midwife visits in great detail while you're trying to eat your dinner. Okay? Okay.

Oh and Billy Connolly was a hoot - excellent show.

Sunday 24 October 2004

just as long as i don't jinx myself by saying this...

...but I've had no heartburn today! None! At all! I've been careful about what I've been eating (nothing acidic, spicy, fatty, and dammit, no chocolate), snacking on almonds and yogurt, and bought some papaya enzyme tablets at Holland and Barrett. Since taking the tablets, everything seems to be much calmer and as an added bonus, they taste a hell of a lot better than Tums. So thank you for the suggestion, Libby! Fingers crossed that this isn't a one-off for today only.

Friday 22 October 2004

what not to call your kid

Caution: contains naughty words if you read them out loud.

Thursday 21 October 2004

now in the lead

It's official: my belly has now outgrown my boobs. My stomach now protrudes out further than my chest. Let me emphasize how dramatic this is by stating that I started pre-pregnancy life as a 38DD. For my bump to actually stick out further is a bit of a feat, really. I'm starting to look a lot like a snowman (or snowwoman, to be more precise), with the top smallest snowball being my head, the middle my boobs, and the biggest snowball is everything else below my boobs. Stick a carrot in my face and dress me up in a top hat, wooooweeee.

In other news, according to, here's Pip's progress this week:

The baby now weighs almost one pound/453 grams, measures nearly 8 inches/just over 20 centimetres long from crown to rump, and is proportioned like a newborn, albeit a thinner version since her baby fat hasn't yet developed. Although she's getting heavier every day, her skin still appears wrinkled because she needs to gain more weight. The lips are distinct and the eyes are formed, though the iris (the coloured part of the eye) still lacks pigment. The pancreas, essential in the production of hormones, is developing steadily.

Even this early, the first signs of teeth appear in the form of tooth buds beneath the gum line. Before you know it, your baby will be born, and soon after, her first teeth will come through.

You've probably gained between 12 and 15 pounds/5.4 and 6.8 kilograms. Starting now, you'll begin to put on weight more steadily, averaging about half a pound/225 grams per week.

Apparently he can now recognise my voice, which means I should probably cut down on the swearing. (Or try swearing in other languages.) It's amazing that he's now around 8 inches long; I can remember being excited when he was 3 inches long at our first scan, and fondly remember the days when he got his nickname by being the size of an apple seed. Incredible. Although I've not been obsessed by tracking my weight, I have weighed myself twice since July and it seems that I'm gaining according to "schedule". I've put on 13 pounds so far, which is fine. I bet if I didn't suffer from heartburn, it would have been a lot more. I didn't pig out nearly as much as I normally do when I go to the States, which is probably a good thing.

Speaking of which, if anyone knows of any good natural remedies to help combat heartburn, please let me know. I thank yew!

Wednesday 20 October 2004

i've got this burning, burning, yearning feelin' inside me

What a dilemma. I have been craving spicy food for months and I've got heartburn from hell. Where's the fairness in that? I've been chewing down a few Tums a day, propping myself up with pillows at night, and eating non-spicy food, but to no avail. I just read that chocolate can make heartburn worse, so I can't even console myself with a 2kg. bar of Toblerone. Feh.

In other unfair food-related tales of woe, while we were in California, I suddenly went off fish. Although we live on an island, we seem to get really rubbish seafood in this part of the country (I swear it's frozen and flown in from Halifax or something). Whenever we travel to coastal regions of the States, we make it our mission to fill ourselves up with fresh seafood. This last trip, we went to a seafood restaurant and I pains me to say this...chicken. I managed one seafood meal (a fantastic "Carolina Hot Pot"; tons of fresh seafood simmered in a ginger, garlic, and chili broth) but mostly ate burgers, chicken, and pasta. How exotic, I know.

I've had the strangest food aversions. Most of my friends have been sensible about it, for example, they went off slimy foods because they made their nausea worse. Perfectly understandable. Me, I go off things for no good reason. I'm not nauseous, I've not gone off anything particularly slimy, gooey, stinky, or otherwise icky, and it seems to change daily. My lovely, understanding husband leaves it up to me to decide what we eat each night, based on my preference du jour...and often times cooks it for me. I can't grocery shop without having a panic attack anymore because I cannot decide what I'll want to eat two days from now - or tonight, even. I long for the days when I had cravings; at least then I knew what I wanted to eat, even though it sometimes meant eating a variation of the same theme four times a week.

But I musn't complain. At least I've avoided morning sickness (so far, touch wood) and on the most part, I eat normally. Just don't ask me what we're going to buy tonight at Sainsbury's. Gah.

i ate all the pie

Maybe not all of it, but there's not much left. On Sunday, I made a pumpkin pie and as of last night, there are two healthy (i.e. pregnant lady-sized) pieces left. I'm not ashamed and I'd do it again. I still have two tins of pumpkin pie filling left, so I'm going to try out PaulG's pumpkin cheesecake recipe soon. It's fruit combined with dairy; it's good for me.

Did anyone catch the new series of "Little Britain" last night? I think I hurt something laughing so much - that latex Bubbles suit is the funniest thing I've seen in a long time. The first time I watched this show, I didn't really "get it". It's quirky bordering on the completely absurd and it took me a few episodes before the giggles began erupting. Although a lot of British comedy is in a similar vein (think "Fast Show" and "League of Gentlemen") as is Canadian comedy ("Kids in the Hall"), for some reason "Little Britain" had to grow on me. Now we have a new set of catchphrases: "Yeah but no but yeah but", "I want that one", "I'm the only gay in the village", "Dust. Anyone? Dust.", and so on. Sorry, I've undoubtedly lost all readers outside of the UK by this point. I'll get back to discussing pie.

So, pie. I made a lovely steak and Guinness stew with dumplings on Saturday which got me thinking about steak puddings and chicken pies. Wrap anything in pastry or stick a puff pastry lid on it and I'll eat it. Except maybe brussell sprouts - they're satan's mini cabbages. As the weather continues to be grey and wet, the comfort food cooking continues. Sausages and mash, roast chicken dinners complete with Yorkshire puds and roast potatoes, all types of pastas, starch starch and starch with a side of starch. Does anyone have a non-starchy comfort food?

Monday 18 October 2004

i like that one 'cos it's red

We went to Babies R Us yesterday, which turned out to be a much more pleasant experience than I anticipated. Normally, every time I read a baby equipment catalogue or go through a baby store site, I break out into hives. How do I know which car seat is the best? Do I really need a travel system, or should be just use a regular pram? 3 wheels or 4? What are differences between baby monitors, apart from the price? Aiiieee! Too much choice! Aaaaiiiieeee!!

So with slight trepidation, we headed into Cambridge to do some test drives. The buggies/prams/all singing, all dancing travel systems were surprisingly easy to sort through. Some were obviously too heavy and bulky, others didn't have many useful features, and some appeared to be pricey for no good reason (£300 for a pram that doesn't come with a car seat? Bah.) We tried out a few that seemed to fit the bill: I could lift it, it was easy to figure out, and it had stuff on it that we needed. Plus, the one I liked the best was red. I like red. We looked at car seats, cribs, monitors, bedding (I love how boy things always have dogs on them), and tried out nursing chairs (dangerously comfy). I made notes of the ones we liked and will see if we can get them cheaper at Kiddicare. Baby shopping no longer scares me and I have now armed myself with notes and preferences for various items. Oh yes. Hear me roar.

I still can't think about labour and delivery yet (really, the thought of how this baby must come out of me at some point freaks me out) but as the weeks go by, the reality of becoming a parent becomes much more tangible. Before the bump starts to show, before the first "real" movements are felt (i.e. the movements that are undoubtedly baby), it's all a little surreal. Even after the first scan, I was hesitant to run out and start buying little scratch mitts and teddy bears. Since the 3D scan when we found out Pip's a boy and I started feeling a lot more movement, I truly do understand that this is all very real. And it's a very good feeling. I no longer fret on a daily basis about things going wrong and I don't feel like I'm jinxing things by talking about "when the baby comes" or buying things in preparation. I was speaking to someone the other day and mentioned something about "our son", and although I tripped over the words slightly, they were so very nice to say.

But I think it'll still be a while before I can watch stories about birth on the Discovery Health channel. Blergh.

Saturday 16 October 2004

baby's first outfit

Although we didn't buy much in the States for Pip, we did buy him his very first jaunty outfit at OshKosh:

Now that we've had the big scan and all was well, let the rest of the shopping commence! Also, I wanted to mention my newest food oddity. Although I've not really had any strange cravings (I don't think pregnant women get cravings for pickles and ice cream outside of film and TV), I have noticed that some of my tastes have changed. I have been a huge fan of BLT's lately, which to most of you, may not seem odd at all. The reason why this is a tad strange is because I hate raw tomatoes - that is, I used to hate raw tomatoes until around three weeks ago. Now I'll eat them in BLT's. *shrug* I still want spicy food most days, but have been avoiding it due to a daily dose of heartburn. Mr. Tums is my new best friend.

Now if you'll excuse me, at least two hours have passed since lunch I think it's time to eat again. Hold the pickles.

Friday 15 October 2004

he's riverdancing in there

I think I've got Pip's daily routine sussed out now. It seems to consist of the following activities, repeated hourly throughout the day and night: wiggle, kick, poke, jab, toss and turn, prod Mummy's bladder and cervix, squirm, shimmy, and shake. It's a bit strange because it feels like suddenly one day the vibrating/fluttering movements I felt for weeks turned into this. It still takes me by surprise somewhat, and I find myself saying "Oh!" out loud when I feel that first kick after long moments of stillness. On the other hand, it comforts me to no end to feel him wriggling around.

Oooh, feels like he's finally decided to take a nap now. I'm sure the dancing will start up again once this banana I just ate kicks in.

missing the great pumpkin

On Canadian Thanksgiving Monday, I was in the US of A looking at sea lions and buying large amounts of chocolate. As you do. I was a bit disappointed to be away this Thanksgiving, as last year I had my very first Big Turkey Dinner with Paul's family. I was kind of hoping to start a new tradition (I like to call it "Inflict Weird North American Food Items On English People") and have an annual excuse to consume pumpkin pie. Although there were many things Autumnal in the States, I couldn't bring myself to try the pumpkin scones at Starbuck's nor the pumpkin frappucino. I think I'll make a non-Thanksgiving pumpkin pie this weekend, however unorthodox that may seem. I'm crazy like that.

This also brings me to the topic of Halloween. I used to love trick or treating, and it wasn't all about the candy. Running around the streets after dark in costume with my friends was exhilarating. Part of the fun was the build up to the 31st - carving the pumpkin with my Dad (and my Mom roasting the seeds afterwards) and deciding what to dress up as. My Mom used to make my costumes when I was younger; she's quite the seamstress. I can remember being a princess (complete with a tin foil wand and tiara), a leopard, Little Red Riding Hood, Raggedy Ann (my Mom very ingeniously came up with the idea of gluing bright orange yarn to a shower cap to create a wooly wig), a pilgrim (I won McDonald's gift certificates at school in a best costume competition), and a 50's teenybopper. In later years, I was a punk rocker (before the days I started bleaching my hair and got my nose pierced), Magenta from "Rocky Horror Picture Show", and Deanna Troi from "Star Trek: Next Generation" (what can I say, I had the hair for it). I haven't gone to many Halloween bashes in my adult life, so the only costume I can remember from recent years is the fallen angel one from a couple of years ago. Last year I carved a pumpkin and will probably do another this year.

So it's probably going to be a pumpkiny weekend, if I can manage to find some in this part of the world (last year's selection was rather dire). We might be the only people in the neighbourhood with a lit pumpkin in the window and we might only get 4 or 5 trick or treaters again this year, and I'm probably only one of three people in this region who will even go near a pumpkin pie, but it does keep the spirit of a North American autumn alive somewhat.

I'll still pass on the pumpkin scones, though.

Thursday 14 October 2004

happy and healthy

After a bit of a stressful journey to the hospital (traffic was a nightmare), we had our big scan this morning. Very pleased to say that all is well and little Pip is doing splendidly. He weighed in at an estimated 451 g. and measured 22 weeks (just under a week bigger), and all of his organs/face/skin/bones/extremities are normal. As the sonographer was measuring his femur, we could see that Pip is indeed a little boy (even though they won't tell us at this scan). He rolled around, waved his arms and legs at us, and gave us a few kicks. If the baby's activity inside the womb is any indication of what he'll be like on the outside, we'll definitely have our hands full.

My placenta is high and posterior, and I think this is why I've felt Pip moving around for quite a few weeks now. His latest trick is tapdancing on my bladder. He's so very talented.

Here he is, just slightly bigger than the last pics and facing the other way:

Wednesday 13 October 2004


As I mentioned before, the scan was amazing. We got a full 15 minutes that was captured on DVD, which is truly unique. It's one thing to try and remember what the scan was like with the fuzzy thermal images you get from the hospital, but it's another to be able to see it in its entirety whenever we want. We also think Pip will find it rather cool to be able to see himself in utero when he's older.

He was incredibly active this time around (as opposed to the 12 week scan when he wasn't up to much that early in the morning - but the large Chai latte I had shortly before this scan may have helped) and we got to see him yawn, stretch, and use my womb as a trampoline. He was a bit modest at first and wouldn't uncross his legs so the nice scan lady could see his bits, but eventually she managed to get a peek. It might have had something to do with the fact that she was training two other women during my scan, so he may have been shy around 4 women at the time.

And now for some pictures!

Side profile (it looks like he's blowing bubbles, but that's the umbilical cord):

Facing the front:

Apparently, it's a boy - although we couldn't really tell:

A 3D image; we think we see a grin!:

The 3D images weren't that great, but we knew they would be blurry at this point. The baby is still a bit small at 19 weeks and doesn't have lot of fat on him. This means that they can't pick out a lot of details until the baby's around 30 weeks along, but it was still pretty cool.

We have our detailed scan tomorrow morning at the hospital, and I'm a bit nervous. Although he looked perfect in our San Diego scan, they're not qualified to look for any abnormalities and of course our untrained eyes are of no use either. He's definitely a lively little boy, and it's no wonder I've been feeling him move for several weeks now. The flutters have evolved into thumps and prods, which will undoubtedly become distinct kicks and feet hooking under my ribs in a few short weeks. I feel him every day now, mostly after meals or when I'm stressed during plane turbulence. I cannot wait for the kicks to become strong enough for Paul to see and feel.

Fingers crossed for tomorrow, and another scan pic to come afterwards. Wish us luck, please.

who the what now?

What day is it? What time zone am I in? What meal should I be eating right now? Do I have any clean clothes?

Hi. We're back. :)

A detailed trip diary will be posted soon along with the many pics I took, but in the meantime, a quick summary. Our flight over was really good - no turbulence and we managed to snag bulkhead seats. After a night in San Francisco (near the airport, so no sightseeing managed that evening), we flew down to San Diego and spent a lovely few days relaxing in La Jolla and shopping at various outlet malls. Then I got a cold. Boo hiss. Oh and the city decided to start tearing up the road outside out hotel room at 8pm for the duration of the night. Our room was vibrating, and not in a scintillating way; we had to move hotels for the duration of our stay. We flew back to SF, and United managed to lose my suitcase. Normally, this wouldn't be a big deal except it contained our scan pictures and DVD, and my work permit to get me back into the UK - and they had no clue where it went. Stressed and very, very unhappy. Went to pick up the rental car, we had to switch it for some stupid reason, and in the fatigue and haste, left Paul's video camera in the trunk (we did get it back that evening). Arrived at the hotel to discover that they overbooked and didn't have a room for us. Sent us down the road to another hotel (a bit of a fleabag called the Good Nite Inn), where we got no sleep but had a yummy IHOP breakfast the following morning. Drove to Jenner, and settled into our rustic but comfy cottage/cabin room. Spent a very nice couple of days touring the coast and seal spotting. Unfortunately, most places are shut off season so we didn't get to try the River's End restaurant - but discovered two excellent restaurants in nearby Duncans Mills [sic]. The suitcase was finally delivered after much arguing from Paul (United claimed they couldn't deliver to Jenner and expected me to go another night without my suitcase). Drove to Santa Rosa and visited the Snoopy museum, which was really good fun. Arrived in Napa and restocked on some favourites and ate too much, enjoyed the sunshine and beautiful scenery in the Napa Valley. More shopping at Vacaville. Drove down to San Francisco to our very nice hotel, and had to cross a picket line to get inside (the hotel workers had gone on strike that week). Said picketers woke us up at 1.30 am with chanting and again at 6am, this time with a megaphone and shouting "WAKE UP! WAKE UP!". Not at all amused, but managed to get moved up to the 16th floor where it was far quieter. Visited Sausalito (very charming and pretty), revisited Sushi Rika (YUM), saw several airshows (it was fleet week), watched the sealions again, went to the Land of Chocolate (Ghiradelli Square), visited the California Academy of Science and aquarium (and found Nemo), wandered through the Metreon Center, and tried to find somewhere to eat on a Sunday night in the finance district. Flight home was slightly turbulent but managed to get bumped up after some complaining. Extremely jet lagged today and would very much like to eat something small and light for the next month or so. Particularly something that doesn't come slathered with mayonnaise or with fries.

Discoveries this trip: Americans no longer understand my accent (I had to repeat myself to everyone we spoke to), I don't think they make cinnamon TicTacs anymore, a flashing red light means you can proceed but must yield to oncoming traffic, being fat is not your fault and there are at least three different pills you can buy through TV ads to help you lose weight, John McEnroe and Ellen Degeneres have talk shows, and "Shaun of the Dead" has just arrived in cinemas and has been getting good reviews (I never thought that one would make it across the pond).

The baby blog has been updated with scan pics, and I will update the travel pages with honeymoon pics and stories at some point soon. So very tired. Must finish laundry now. Ungh.

Saturday 2 October 2004

mystery solved

It's a boy!!! The scan was absolutely amazing, and the people there we so nice. We were in there for at least 20 minutes and the entire thing was recorded on DVD as well as in a few still images. Simply amazing.

Scan piccie updates when we return. Until then, we shop shop shop for little boy things. Woooooooooooooo!

speedy gonzales

Just a very quick update from sunny La Jolla:

-I have a cold, dammit.

-did lots and lots and lots and lots of shopping. Lots.

-have eaten way too much food, but haven't been to IHOP for breakfast yet.

-have purchased way too much junk food to bring back home with us (Melanie, we found Peanut Butter M&Ms for you!).

-and last but certainly not's a boy! The scan was amazing (we can bore you with the DVD/photos when we get back) and we learned that we are going to have a little boy in February. Whee!

Flying back to San Francisco tomorrow and starting our tour of Jenner/Russian River/Napa Valley/SF. Might update again if we can but otherwise, we'll see you when we get back on the 12th. Adios amigos!