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March 2007

Learning

I'm learning to understand my son. He usually cries when he's hungry, dirty or wants a snuggle.  Each of these needs has their own specific cry.  Piggie cry, where he snorts ( I kid you not and it's so freaking cute) when he's hungry. Usually there are tears that go with the piggie cry. Loud, large and in charge cry when he's dirty. His face turns red and sometimes stops breathing which scares the crap out of me but there are no tears. It's what my mother-in-law calls a caca nerveux. Temper tantrum. And his snuggle cry is just little whail he lets out that just melts your heart. He wants to be close to you, skin to skin contact. Usually calms him down and he goes right to sleep. 

I can't help but rush over to his bassinet the moment I hear him stir. I wonder if he's alright, what he's thinking about or what does he need? He's so little and I'm his number one protector. A friend said something about wanting to put her son in her pocket and carry him around with her at all time. I so feel that right now...I have forgotten to pee the last couple days because I just can't bare to walk down the hallway and leave him alone for those few minutes.  Right now, I've been typing and looking over at his basinett listening to him coo and moan. He is okay, I think. Working on a poo, perhaps. But he's not crying. So, I think he's okay.

I cried last night. Hard. I felt lost and unable to communicate my feelings about how I feel about being a mom. I know I've had 9 months to prepare but I don't think I prepared myself very well. Maybe I'm kidding myself into thinking that women can prepare themselves to become moms.  Is it normal that I feel like crying all the time right now and want to sleep?  I have snapped at Julien more in one week than I have in our 5 year relationship. He must think that I am out of my mind.

I have so many things going through my head right now. Am I doing this right? I forgot to give Max his vitimins last night, is he going to get sick? Is his poop the right color?  I don't even know baby CPR, what happens if my son stops breathing? I wish my mom were here. I wish my stomach where I had open surgery didn't hurt so much. I wish I could KNOW that I'm doing everything alright. 

Well, Max is crying... he's dirty.  The kid poops all. the. time. I hope that's ok. I mean I feed him all the time so it makes sense. I've just picked him up. He's resting on my shoulder cooing lovingly into my neck as type this one handed.  As hard as this is right now, little moments like this make the sad ones I've had lately just disappear. 


Homecoming

We're home.

I can hardly believe it. 

I walked Maximilien home in the stroller the 4 blocks from the clinic to our apartment. Julien drove home my suitcase, Max's suitcase, care packages, presents and other little things I collected over the week.  As I pushed our brand new Maclaren stroller across the rue de Tolbiac towards ave Edison, I was suddenly overwhelmed with emotion.  I was taking our son home. When we walked into the apartment complex, Maximilien was a little distraught.  The stroller was weird and he was so far away from mommy.  I kept looking down at him through the window at the top of the stroller but he couldn't see me, his field of vision doesn't extend that far, yet.  We reached our building, I loaded us into the elevator and then we were in front of our door. I picked up Max and held him close and said, "Welcome home". Opened the door and saw the amazement in his eyes.  He stopped whimpering and with wide alert eyes took in the new environment. He turned his head left and right (no floppy head for our Maximus) taking it all in.  Since coming home, we've cuddled in bed and he nursed while I caught up on emails and  blogs.   Julien has experience his first poop explosion with a nice shower of pee to top it off. Made me laugh so hard I peed my pants a little. At least Maxou is sharing the love, he pooped and peed on me yesterday at the clinic.

So, there is a baby in the apartment now.

I don't think it's really hit Julien yet.  It's hit me. I feel a little panicked because soon I will be alone with him.  I have another week to prepare myself to be alone, tonight Julien's stepmom arrives to help me transition. I'm grateful because I admit that I'm scared shitless right now. 

I've really enjoyed reading (and re-reading) all the marvelous comments from everyone here on my blog and at Flickr.  The power of the Internet is amazing. I'm so happy to have been able to share the first week of Maximilen's life with everyone. Aren't mobile phones just great?  The love Julien, Max and I feel from the people close to us and all around the world  is just extraordinary. My heart is so full of love it's bursting... thank you, thank you so much.

I took nearly 200 photos of Maximilien while we were in the clinic. I need to sort through them and put them together into photo sets. Here's a favorite of ours, Maximus with his eyes open! He's such an alert baby. AT NIGHT! :)

 

Quel beau bébé !!
Maximilen, 5 days old.

8:46am on your birthday, son

I'm sitting here at the computer reading my morning emails (something you will always see me do), sipping my one allowed cup of tea before surgery later this afternoon. It's Kusmi Mint Chocolate. A couple extra lumps of sugar for good measure, as my doctor prescribed.  I'm feeling you move around like you have done the last six months, re adjusting yourself. Trying to find space. Imagine in just over 5 hours, you'll be able to spread your legs out and stretch your full body while mom and dad look down at you in awe.  The impact you've made on my life is already awesome, I can't believe that I am going to finally get to hold you in my arms today. 

Your dad is still sleeping.  Trying to catch those last precious winks before we have to leave for the clinic.  I'm awake after a wink-less night, I couldn't stop thinking about you. Holding my belly, waiting for you to move one more time to remind me of this momentous period in my life. You obliged me all night long, giving me little tickles as I'd tickle you back.

I'm imagining all the places we will go and things we will do together. The stories I will tell you of your grandma in heaven who has been looking over us the last 9 months.  The laughter you will bring into our lives. The joy of just knowing you.  Happy Birthday, my son... today is your day. Mommy and Daddy are waiting for you.


Down to the wire

We are getting down to the wire and as I’ve known the date of our baby's arrival for a couple weeks now it seems my body has become attuned to that date and is preparing itself. I started having heavy cramps last night, which made me kinda frantic, like I couldn’t sit down for more than a few minutes, I kept puttering around the apt picking things up, cleaning things and throwing things away. It drove Julien bonkers, he said I was acting like I was out of my mind.  He sent me to the bathroom to take a hot shower. Things calmed down after that and then he put me to bed. I had really strange dreams last night and this morning I found that I had lost my mucus plug (Sorry, TMI!), which is a sign that things are moving right along. The cramps are back from yesterday, sporadic but very noticeable. But all this will be over and done with tomorrow afternoon right after 13h. We are so excited. We worked hard this weekend to put up shelves and organize things. I have one last task  to take care of today and that is putting away my clothes and knitting (done!!).  It’s hard to wait for something as big as the arrival of our baby.  The anticipation is just so tremendous... this is the biggest thing I've ever done in my life.

Tomorrow, I will be a mom.  Julien will be a dad. We will be three.

I wonder if I'll sleep tonight?  I have been obsess knitting for the last couple days. Anyone want a dishrag? :)  I think these will be great for bathing the babe when he gets home.  I feel like I should be doing something other than blogging right now. But there isn't anything to do really now...

Tomorrow, Julien and I will walk hand in hand to the clinic and welcome our son to this world.

Yeah, I'm so not sleeping tonight...


Want to know a sure fire way to go into labor in France?

Go and take care of something administrative at the Social Security office.

I've been on congé maternité since February 6th.  I was supposed to receive a payment from the social security at the end of the February. Well, February ended and nothing showed up.  I didn't worry too much about it since this is France and things take a little longer to happen.  Also, living in Paris, it seems like administrative offices take a bit longer to process things.  A week ago, Julien asked if I had been paid or not by the social security. I check my bank account and still nothing.  I started to sweat a little because this meant that I would have to call them to see what was going on. I hate calling administrative offices to ask questions.  I always seem to get the one person who doesn't know what's going on, or I end up being on hold listening to elevator music at 15 centimes the minute.  I think Julien saw the fear in my eyes and said he'd do it. Whew. Later that evening he came home with a short list of documents that my dossier was missing.  And that was why no payment had been  made. Why they didn't write a letter to tell us that something was missing?  We don't know.  And Julien and I had no idea that we were supposed to send in these specific documents either.

So, I ask the question. How are you supposed to know what to do and when?  I'll have an answer for you in just a second...

I had lunch with a friend today which motivated me to go to the Social Security office and complete my dossier.  I had to present myself in person because they do not take mail ins for this kind of administrative task.  I took my number and waited. and waited. and waited. and waited.  It was hot. And I continued to wait and wait. At least I was sitting down. Finally, after about 45 minutes they call my number.  I head over to the desk with my number flashing and explain why I was there.  The woman pulls up my file and starts listing off the documents she needed.  It is a different list than the one that Julien gave me the night before.  Well, slightly... there was one attestation that wasn't on the list and a certificate that I no longer had possession of because another administrative office had taken my original and not given it back to me. and this certificate happened to be the most important thing on the list according to the lady.  Luckily, I had the attestation with me. But the certificate was another story.

Sweat started to bead on my forehead.

For 15 minutes the woman behind the desk went back and forth on why this one certificate was so important. All the while she grew more and more rude with me.  I asked her if we could call the other administrative office  and have them fax over a copy. She rolled her eyes and said, "oh we don't talk to that office directly. You have to go over there and get it and bring it back to me"  (!)

Finally, she told me she would not make my dossier because I was missing this certificate. And then she exclaimed, "Point finale!!" Incredible.  She started to type the next person in line's number to call them over to her desk when  I looked at my stomach and then looked at her square in the eyes with a bit of psycho rage and said (rather loudly) "I am going to have my baby in 5 days, you expect me to go to this office get this form and then come back here and give it to you so that you can just make a copy of it for my file?" 

I felt my stomach contract. Hard. A trickle of sweat ran down my face.

The room became very, very quiet. The woman at the desk next to us peeked over the cubicle divide.  I had the lady's full attention. I asked her, "what is on this certificate that is so important!?"  She muttered something about dates, starting dates of work and ending dates, blah, blah, blah... I quickly flipped through my file folder and pulled out another document that had exactly what she wanted. It wasn't the exact certificate she was asking for but maybe it would work? It was a document for another administrative office, the one she said that her office doesn't talk to.  I pushed it across the desk to her. She peered at it over her glasses. Pursed her lips and then called her boss.  A minute later she hung up and said, "OK, c'est bon!"

She smiled at me and started typing away at her computer.  I sat back with a big sigh.  I did it.  I've done the one thing that other foreigners talk about happening but had never happened to me.  I got someone to break the rule, just a little bit, for me! Whoa...

Five minutes later, her tone had completely changed. Where earlier she was talking to me like I was this huge annoyance. Now, she was smiling. Asking me if I was having a boy or a girl. Wishing me a happy delivery and informing me that in 14 days I would receive my payment.  She was being genuinely nice to me.

Huh?

I come from a culture where you are nice to people and they are usually pretty nice back.  I would have never of raised my voice and lost my cool talking to someone like that in the US.   I called Julien and told him my triumphant story and he just said, "You see, you're understanding the French better".  I guess you have to raise your voice and lose your temper a little bit for them to take you seriously and respect you, just a little.  I wish I could have recorded myself talking to this woman, hearing myself in my head I amazed myself at how easily it came out.  Maybe I am becoming a little French...

So, I asked the question earlier how do you know what to do and when in France concerning administrative offices?  I asked this exact question to the woman before I left.  She just smiled at me and did the little French "pffffft", puffing her cheeks out and said "I don't know, you just know."

Ah, La France...


State of me

I want to remember the end of my pregnancy as being a wonderful time. That's going to be really hard since I'm clocking in less than 4 hours of sleep a night, my feet look like hairless hobbit feet (and they hurt from the excessive swelling) and I've been reduced down to wearing my husband's shoes if I want to leave the apt.  It feels like my belly button might rip open any second now.  And I've been feeling rather blue lately, the tears come and go about as often as I am running off to the toilet to take those phantom pees.  But all these discomforts magically disappear when I feel our little guy give me a nudge to say "hey, I'm here...".  I rub his little bottom, the shape of his little bum is unmistakable when he's pushing up with his legs. I rub his back and soothe away his frequent hiccups he's had this week.  I will miss feeling him grow inside of me. This feeling that is hard to put to words, what it feels like to have life growing from me. I suddenly feel not so alone in this world... not so aware of my mortality.

I sit here cradling my stomach and humming made up love songs to my son-to-be.  I want to remember moments like this in the years to come.  The moments before the arrival.  Who knows when I'll have time to actually update my blog, email or watch that list of movies I just posted.  Or even really sleep.  Does it all really matter considering what is about to happen?

Would I change anything if I could? No way.  My life is taking me in the direction it's supposed to go. I am ready to live it.  Six more days... This has been the longest week of my life.


Suggestions, please?

I'm stocking up on movies to watch after I get home from the clinic. I have a feeling I'll have a lot of time to watch movies and hang with the babe in my arms. 

Here's what I've got in the queue so far:

All the King's Men
Pan's Labyrinth
SherryBaby Meh. Too indie. Too much of Maggie G's super low boobage. 
The Aviator
The Queen
The Chronicles of Narnia
Casino Royale

Care to add to the list?  :)


Preparing myself

January 8, 2007
Wondering what it will be lke when he's looking up at me? Photo taken at 27 weeks.

In less than 9 days I will be a mother.  When I look at it that way, I think to myself how will I ever be ready for this? I've had this life growing inside me for nine months and in less than nine days I will finally get to meet him. 

Julien and I have been really enjoying ourselves lately, taking advantage of the fact that we can go out to dinner en amoureux, stay out late and sleep in the next day.  Just tonight, we were dining at a restaurant near Belleville, we both came to the realization that in just over a week we won't be able to do this again for a very, very long time.  I know I don't fully realize all the changes that will come with a new baby coming into our lives.  Julien and I have agreed to take it one day at a time.  Change like this is not something that's black and white and written down on paper for all to know.  We'll just see where it takes us...

We were also talking about the upcoming cesarean and Julien asked me if I will regret not having our baby naturally.  My first instinct is I want to do what's best for the baby. I have made my decision but thinking about it more tonight I feel a bit of sadness that I will not be able to birth out son as nature intended me to.  Early on in my pregnancy if you asked me how I wanted to have our son, I'd immediately say naturally, no drugs. I have a birth plan and I'm going to follow it!  I believe I'm feeling for the first  time the natural protection instict parents feel when it comes to their children.  Doing what is best for their kids at any cost. I will sacrifice myself for better of my son.  Someone wrote to me and asked me if it was the pain of labor and birth I was scared of and that's why I agreed to the cesarean section.   I agreed to the cesarean because I want my son to be perfect not because of the potential physical pain factor child birth entails.  I'm not scared of the pain at all. I think with the loss of my mother I've experience the most painful event one could ever experience in their life time. No physical pain can compare to the pain my heart feels.   

Don't get me wrong, I have worries.  I worry about being able to breastfeed after the cesarean operation.  I hope it won't be too difficult. I am also a little worried about my re-entry home after the operation. I will more than likely be alone with the baby for a while because Julien will have to work.  I won't lie to myself and say that I'll be able to do it all, I honestly don't know what to expect.  I really wish my mom were here to help me, to advise me or to just to tell me in her way that everything will be alright. 

So, here I am trying to prepare myself.  I'm trying to read as much as I can about cesarean operations. Meditating and taking time out to pamper myself.  Making last minute shopping runs to Ikea (a blog entry in the making) to fill the baby's room. Spending quality time with my husband. And just enjoying the last weeks of my pregnancy and my body's amazing shape. 

9 days to go...


 

Week 37, An Impressive Week.


Week 37, an impressive week., originally uploaded by PutYourFlareOn.

Versus 30 weeks.... check out the difference!!


What a week it's been so far...

The contractions I was experiencing earlier this week have disappeared only making themselves known if I've started walking too fast or have been on my feet too long.  My feet are still unrecognizable. We had an appointment with the doctor on Thursday to find out how big the baby has grown since our last visit over a month ago.  If you remember, he was weighing in around 3.3 kilos (7.2 lbs) already. Well, you won't believe it but now he's weighing between 4.4 kilos (9.7 lbs) and 4.6 kilos (10.1 lbs) and I've only gained 1.5 kilos this last month. The baby took all that weight. 

I was in shock. Good thing I was laying down because I might have passed out. Julien grabbed my hand and smiled. The doctor did three different measurements to make sure of the results.  He says that these measurements are nearly spot on with a margin of + or - 10%. Either way, he's a huge baby.

We discussed the options.  If I try to attempt to birth the baby naturally, it will be very, very hard for me. Being this is my first baby and considering the size of the baby, it would be very painful and could cause long term injury to my body. Then he explained what could happen to a baby of this size trying to pass through a birth canal that's never birthed a baby before.  Nerve damage from manipulating the baby's head, possible shoulder displacia or the possibility of breaking his clavicle bone so that he'll be able to pass through my pelvis.  I didn't need to hear anymore, I knew the cesarean was the way to go. There will be little to no stress on the baby and I'm willing to do what it takes to get our little big guy here.  I am nervous to have this operation.  I've never been operated on before. But I trust my doctor and have the support of Julien. I can do this. 

So, we scheduled a date.  March 20th.  Spring equinox. The baby will be a Pisces, like his daddy.

It's surreal to know the date your baby is coming.  The feeling of anxiousness I felt the morning before our doctor's visit has disappeared.  I feel like I can leave my apt and not fear going into labor on the bus or the metro.  The frenzy of preparing everything for his arrival has been taken down a notch because I know this weekend I'll have time to go to Ikea and where ever else to get the last minute things we need for his arrival.  The only slightly annoying this is when I want to go outside of the apt, I only have one pair of shoes that fit me right now and it's just a little too cold to wear them right now.  ha.

In one week and half, I'll be a mom. So, unreal!

Looks like we're going to have to do some shopping for clothes, most of what we have is for 0 years old. A while ago I knit a cute little baby sweater for him to wear home from the maternité, I doubt it will even fit him now! We'll see very soon...


5

Wedding Candid

Five years ago today we were married. What an adventure it's been... Looking back at the places we've been and things we've done. We've come a long way.   The first two years we had to learn how to live with each other. Little things we didn't notice while we were dating became big things to deal with.  We learned to communicate and understand.  Year three, was a good year. We learned to let go and give fully.  Year four was a the year we figured out how we could grow together.  One thing that's remained the same over the last five years of marrige is that we've always had fun.  No matter how difficult things were we have always found a way to make each other laugh.

Julien and Aimee at my a#18.jpg  Julien 2001.jpg

I've scanned a few pictures from the our beginning... had a good laugh looking back and remembering how young and silly we were.  Boy, did we have fun... and we still are...

Julien and Aimee Dec 2000.jpg
This is one of our first photos together,
newly dating in December 2000.

Happy 5, my love! I can't believe we've come this far. I can't wait to see where we'll go from here.


I can't believe it...

My ankles are gone. 

The Ankles are gone...

Overnight, my ankles and feet have swollen up and are unrecognizable.  Kanckles, whatever you call them I have them now. My shoes officially do not fit me anymore.  Except for my Birkenstock and I had to loosen the strap to the very last hole and they are still tight! Thank goodness the weather has taken a turn for the better lately...

After having lunch with a friend today, I headed to the clinic for my pre-natal course on relaxation and preparation for re-entry to the home after the my clinic stay.  Julien came with me as he had the day off today.  I could not focus to save my life. I felt hot. Hotter than normal and the baby was moving around like crazy. I could tell the sage femme noticed, she kept looking at me with wide eyes and asking me if I was okay. I wasn't ok. I felt so hot. Sweaty and my feet felt like they were pulsating from all the pressure.  She sent me upstairs to have my blood pressure checked and to put me on a monitor to check on the baby.  Rest assured my blood pressure was normal and the baby was just fine. And I found out that I was having contractions every 15 minutes! I looked at the sage femme with big eyes and told her I really wasn't feeling anything that felt like contractions.  I've just been feeling a slight pressure at the base of my belly. I thought contractions felt like menstrual cramps!   She then asked if it were my first baby. Well, yes... she smiled and said well the machine doesn't lie.

So,   I happened to see my doctor at the clinic and he had talked to the sage femme who was monitoring me and he said that the baby is probably on his way. Sent me home and said to put my feet up and wait for his appearance. But he did say he could come tomorrow or in two weeks. Nice time range there, doctor...

So, again I'm playing the wait game. :)  At least I'm making progress on the baby sweater and have good stuff like this to read...


The wait game

No baby yet. Still waiting...

I woke up this morning with a very, very heavy feeling in my belly. A little achy. Lots of baby movement.  Something is definitely going on...  Maybe he's going to make his appearance this week? I'm at 37 weeks. Full term, so they say.  If he came this week it would make for a very busy week for us. Julien starts a new job on Tuesday which is also our 5 year wedding anniversary (!) and Wednesday is Julien's 31st birthday.  When asked if it would be cool to share a birthday with his son, my husband responds, "Mais non, I don't want anyone to forget about me!!"  I can understand how a the birth of a baby could outshine one's birthday.  So, maybe the day after then? He was okay with that.  But I have a feeling the little guy will hang on another week or so.  He's just making his way down and it's really amazing to feel my body do what it is made to do. 

Thursday, I have an appointment with the doctor to check on how big the baby has grown and to see if he'll pass through my pelvis.  I'm not worried about what we'll find out.  All I know is when the time comes I'll be ready to do what it takes to get our little guy here. The crib is set up, laundry is done, I've started another baby sweater because I just felt like he needed another one. The kitchen sink is pristine clean. The floors have been vacuumed. Suitcase is packed. Just working on making the faire-part de naissance or birth announcements and quietly playing the wait game.

(looks at clock: 1:46am)

Now if I could sleep... that would be really good.