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30 of 30 - The Belly

30 of 30 - last belly shot 30 of 30 - last belly shot 2 

Well, there you have it! The Belly. I just measured it and it's at 49 inches. Two weeks before delivering Maximilien I was at 49 inches. So, perhaps BB will be a bit smaller than Max but still she's going to be a BIG girl. I'm packed and ready to go. I'm just sitting here busying myself until Julien and Max get home from the Creche. I'm going to spend a couple hours with Max and then have to go check into the maternité. I'm scheduled for a 7:45am operation. BB will be here before 8am Paris time Tuesday morning! 

The little elephant in the photo is Max's bébé elephant that he's been carrying around with for over a week now. We found him a big and little elephant that he's been calling Mommy elephant and bébé elephant. Lately, he has been into comparing everything as petit or gros. Especially Mommy's bidon (belly) and Max's bidon which is very svelthe and petit, he makes sure to point out to me every day. 

Max is about to become a Grand Frere to his Petite Soeur. Let the baby adventure begin....

24 of 30 - Routine

24 of 30 - Routine 

Not until I had Max did my life have so much routine in it. Sure, I had a job before I became a mother and the routine that came with that. Metro, Boulot, Dodo. It was pretty boring and I'm glad I don't do that anymore. My routine as a Mama is much more fun. No more alarm clocks I have a walking and talking one that comes and wakes me up almost at the same time everyday. And when he doesn't, it's a nice break because it's he who sets my routine for the day not some man behind a desk. 

The last couple months I've been having a very hard time getting up in the mornings. Julien has taken over morning routine of feeding Max breakfast, changing his diaper and clothes and getting out the door all by 9 am. In the hour that they are up and having breakfast I slowly wake up and get out of bed to kiss my boys goodbye and wait to see them off from our 6th floor kitchen window. If you could hear Max, you'd would hear him yelling at the top of his lungs, "Goooooodbye, Mommy! I love you!!!" as he waves to me. I watch them walk around the corner and thus starts my day.

One key thing I learned about being a mother to newborn Maximilien was that he needed routine.  He always wanted to nap at the same time and eat at the same time.  And in turn I craved this routine too. And I find myself in these final days of pregnancy thinking about the routine that I will start again with BB and as crazy as this will sound to you I`m really looking forward to it. 

23 of 30 - One more week....

I'm deviating away from my photo project for a moment. I'm not feel very motivated to pick up my camera. The battery is on charge and I'll just leave it like that for now. 

7 more days

Since last Weds, I've been pretty uncomfortable. Getting up and walking from the bathroom to my bedroom (13 meters) I can feel my uterus contract and I hunch over walking like quaisimodo at snails pace. The most comfortable positions for me are sitting down or laying on my side with pillows propped up around me. 

Listen to me. Aren't you tired of me complaining. I am tired of complaining. 

I can't believe that Tuesday of next week I'll have children. I remember talking with someone at the bakery right after Max was born and talking about "mon enfant" and how it sounded so weird to say that. Just as right after Julien and I had been married and me coming to work and talking about my husband. I was 25 and and talking about my husband to my colleagues. That kinda blew my mind back then...

I'm more surprised with the new terms that I have to start using then the action of executing these terms. When I became a Wife, nothing really changed except that I had a husband to come home to and make dinner for and spend time with. But getting used to be introduced as someone's Wife made me blush. When I became an Expat, I just had to learn to live in a new country and find my little piece of home. But saying that I was an Expat took getting used to.  When I became a Mother, I just followed my instincts and everything worked out fine. But saying that I was a Mother after Max was born made me feel like I should have wisdom before my years. When I became a Business Owner, I again followed my instincts and try my hardest to be as responsible as I could. But the stress of knowing that I was Business Owner is something that I am still getting used to.  And now becoming Mother x 2, I assume that nothing else is going to change from the first time around. If anything, I feel more relaxed and prepared. But saying outloud to a friend on the phone today that I will have children. Made me giggle and pause because wow, I'm going to have CHILDREN. 

When I first got pregnant with BB, I used to wonder if I could love BB as much as I loved Max. I love Max with every fiber of my being. I can feel it when we're laying together talking to each other, playing, eating dinner or just looking at each other. I can feel that he feels it too. But as I type this, inside my heart, I know that I will have this for BB. It's just there waiting to burst out of me like it does for Max. This is why I can't wait until she's here. Not because I am physically drained from this pregnancy. I feel like my life has been on hold for the last few months waiting for it start again. Waiting for us to become a family of 4. Waiting for me to become the Mother to my Children. 

One more week to go, little girl. Your brother is anxious for your arrival. He asks when you'll be here and where you are every morning when he looks into your crib. I think he thinks that when he wakes up in the morning that you'll magically be there.  When you do arrive, it will sort of seem like that for him because I will be gone for a week in the maternity when I go off to have you, BB. But I think you and your brother, Max, are going to be best friends. Yesterday, I caught him singing the theme song to Max and Ruby and instead of singing Ruby he sang your name instead. THIS is why I can't wait for your arrival. Mama is waiting for you....

22 of 30 - Preparations

22 of 30 - Preparations

8 days to go. I've started my to-do lists for this last week before BB arrives. Breaking it down day by day of the week so that I can be sure to get it al done. And yes, there is another trip to Ikea programmed this week. 

I've been experiencing pretty strong contractions all last week especially when I find myself on my feet for more than 5 minutes. Walking has become a chore so I've assigned myself to bed rest pretty much this last week. Sitting and laying down as much as I can. My feet are swollen. By 30 weeks with Maximilien, my feet were already swollen and uncomfortable so I am happy to only have to experience this in the last week of my pregnancy. I went to get a pedicure yesterday and the esthetician amused herself by pressing her finger into the top of my foot and watching it leave a dent. She let me have a salt soak for my feet free of charge which was nice. 

I miss being able to be fully mobile. I want to play with Max and keep up with him and I can't. The fact that I don't have full use of my body and that it's been impossible to sleep is very frustrating and makes the end of this pregnancy very uncomfortable. 8 more days to go. 8 more days to go. 

20 of 30 days - My little helper

20 of 30 - My little helper 

I can foresee that Max is going to be my big helper once BB arrives. Nearly every night for the last two weeks I've been baking in the last week or so he's shown interest in helping Mommy out. He pulls over his green Stokke chair and climbs up it like a ladder and asks what he can do "aide Mommy". His official job is to raise and lower the bowl to my mixer and he holds to it for dear life as it mixes and he alerts me when he thinks its done. I keep having these moments where I catch myself staring at Max and can't believe my eyes at how big he seems. His legs are so long. His face is looking less like a baby. How big his hands are. He articulates himself so well using new words everyday. It's impossible to grasp at all these moments but I'm trying my to do my best to get some of the good ones in photos in words.

17 of 30 - Waiting for BB

17 of 30 - Waiting for BB 

Things are starting to come together. Only 14 more days to go until she's here... The crib wasn't put together when Maximilien left for school today so we'll see what he thinks when he gets home.

*edit* - Max came home and we took him into the bedroom to show him the crib. Last night, he noticed that we had taken out our dresser and there was a big space in our bedroom. He was surprised and kept asking 2 year old style over and over again where the dresser went? Today, Julien built BB's crib and we set it up in our bedroom, we plan on sharing our room for the first year with BB and then transitioning her to Max's room. Tonight, when he went back to our room to see the crib he was immediately intrigued. He climbed up on the bottom railing to look inside and asked where the baby was? Then proceeded to go into his room and point out that Maximilien's bed was there and this new bed was for the baby. And that the baby that is in Mommy's belly will sleep in this bed. I don't know how else to prepare him for the arrival of his sister. Except to talk to him everyday and assure him that things won't change very much. I am worried about the time we'll have to spend apart when I go to have BB. Because of the N1H1 virus going around, there are no visitors under the age of 15 allowed in the maternity. I'm hoping there will be internet I can surf and maybe we can skype. I've never been away from Max more than 24 hours before. But we'll see... I'm grateful that Julien has a lot of time to dedicate to Max right now. I feel like we're doing a good job to prepare him. 

15 of 30 - Nesting

15 of 30 - Nesting

The nesting continues... all this knitting keeps my mind off the feeling that I'm going to pop any day now. I started the first sock over 2 years ago while visiting our friends in State College, PA. We were watching Ratatouille and making a nice evening of staying in and sipping wine and eating cheese. Just a pattern I made up as I went along. Top down, basic rib sock. Nothing too complicated. 

Last night while organizing my projects that need attention I found the first sock and decided to finish the second one. I am the worst at finishing the second sock but I did it while watching Grey's Anatomy last night and now BB will have nice warm toes. I suspect she'll be able to wear these for a while. Now to finish a pair of socks for myself to wear in the maternity...

9 of 30 - Self Portrait

9 of 30 - Self Portrait 

While setting up the camera for a self portrait I took this shot accidently triggering the shutter while trying to set up the timer. Out of all the photos I took this one was the most natural. Pregnancy has brought out the freckles on my face.   

I feel like age is starting to catch up with me. I am 32 years old. Still very young. But I often stare at my eyes and see a wealth of experience in the depths. Experience that I have inherited because I share the same eyes as my mother.

After becoming a mother I notice that I instinctively react and do things and after the fact I often wonder how I knew how to do that. I must have seen my mother do it. I don't have any other explanation. Unknowingly as I grew up I was shaped by my own mother to become the mother I am today. 

Omma has been gone for 5 years now and I still feel the pain of her absence. I take enormous comfort in the fact that when I feel down I can hug my son and know that the love I feel in this moment is what she felt when she'd hug me. 

5 of 30 - Everyday Julien

5 of 30 - Everyday Julien

You guys remember this guy, right? Here we are at Ikea. I think we've been to this place 4 times in one month. We're bad at making lists and always find that we need something else once we get home. There are several Ikeas that are not that far from our house so we can go pretty easily but it's not always easy for Julien and I to go together because Ikea stresses us out. I think it's the fact there's just too much stuff offered and we get overloaded. We used to fight all the time when we'd go but recently we've both decided it's not worth it and we go, get in and get out. And eat donuts and smoothies while we're there because they are mighty tasty. 

But looking at my husband in this photo fills my heart with love because this is my everyday husband. Not the one who gets up and shaves and puts on a suit to look like all the other business types in Paris. Sure, he looks hot when he does that but this is the Julien I prefer. Unshaven. Rough around the edges. My everyday man. 

I am hard on him and I know I haven't been a walk in the park this pregnancy because I haven't felt all that good but I look forward to moving forward once the baby is here and being a better wife. 

4 of 30 - The Fall before the baby

4 of 30 - The Fall before the baby

34 weeks in the only pair of shoes that fit me now. 

Walking home from the La Poste a lone tree in the Parc de Choisy caught my attention. It reminded me of home and how the trees between Olathe and Lawrence would turn yellow, red and orange and make the hillsides look like they were on fire from a distance. 

This is the last fall season before I have two children. I am still trying to get my head around that. We'll go from a family of three to a family of four. And this time next year, BB will be crawling and Max for sure will be jumping his way through the leaves on his way to school. 

1 of 30 - Slightly Obsessed

1/30 Slightly Obsessed

I love stripes. I dress myself in stripes. I dress my husband in stripes. I dress my children in stripes. I recommend stripes to my friends when we go shopping. 

I suppose you can say that I am slightly obsessed. 

This is just a small portion of BB's clothes I've bought in preparation of her arrival.  Stripes. Stripes. Stripes. I love it. 

I'm starting a new 30 day photos project to help occupy my mind this coming month before BB's arrival. My lists have lists of things to get done and why not throw a photo project in there as well. I know I need this to keep my mind sane and I will enjoy looking back at these photos after she's here. You may remember that I did a similar project when I was counting down the days to knowing if the tea house would be mine. Ever so often, I look back at those photos and am so grateful to have those memories. It was such a stressful time in my life but reminds me that I got through it and that I can do it again now. 

And for this occasion I've challenged myself to use only my 50mm lens. It's oldie but a goodie that I haven't used in ages. Will be good to exercise my brain on how to work outside it's fixed lens box. 

So, here's to counting down 30 days. Actually 31 days since she's scheduled to make her appearance on December 1st, 2009. But my slightly obsessional side needs me to start on the first of the month and not the second. 

He makes it all better

Still got a little baby curl 

As hard as it is to relive the minutes and hours after Maximilien's birth this little boy reminds me that it's all worth it.  I thought that if I didn't think about the experience it would just go away. And it did for a while I actually had forgotten but sitting in the doctor's office in the moment of dejavu finding out that BB was going to be a big girl all those emotions rushed back to me. But today for the first time in 2.5 years I actually feel okay about my birth experience. And I know I can type this and mean it because I am not  crying uncontrollably but instead I feel excitement for BB birth in 4 weeks time. 

I wonder in today's medical age of technology why it's so hard for us as women to get the birth that we want? There is a small part of me that wonders if I had decided to try to have Max naturally would it have gone alright? Would it have ended up in a cesarean anyways? I know women birth babies as big as Max naturally all the time. Heck, one of my readers did and I totally admire her for that! But I feel like when it was time to make the decision for Max I was slightly psyched out but all the technology and terms and medical jargon thrown at me that I was pretty much scared into choosing the cesarean. And now for BB, listening to the doctors explain to me the risks of induction with a baby so big and my uterus so stretched out and the scar and abnormally strong contractions and this and that... it makes my head spin and I just say, enough. Please, get me my baby and leave me the hell alone. 

Dozing in and out of consciousness this morning I wondered if I could change things with BB's birth. Part of me is like change doctors! get more opinions! But I like my doctor and I wouldn't change doctors for the world because I. trust. him. And then all of a sudden I feel tired. And in this moment as the fatigue washes over me, there is Max standing by my side of the bed waiting to give me my morning kiss and I am reminded that everything ends well. Here's my 2.5 year old who's in perfect health who is happy and excited about the imminent arrival of his petite soeur. And I realize that I have made my choice. And I am alright with it. 

Here we go again....

Yesterday I went to see my doctor for my monthly routine check up. I was anxious to go because I could tell that BB had grown a lot in the last month and I was worried.  Worried that I'd have to have another cesarean again. 

Well, it turns out that BB is big. Huge. Doctor measures her as of yesterday at 3.6 kilos. This is measuring her head, waist and length of her legs. She's actually measuring bigger than Maximilien. I am 33 weeks. We went back to his office and he used his computer to figure out the projections for a birth at full term which is 41 weeks and numbers were coming out to be 5.2kgs. That is 11.46lbs. Max was 4.945kgs at birth (10.9lbs). I need to carry this baby 4 more weeks. She still has a lot of developing to do. Cervix checked and it's closed and keepin' BB right where she needs to be. After talking to two doctors about this, I have resolved myself that I am going down the C-section route again. 

I am disappointed. I won't lie. I cried. I told my doctor my fears and why I didn't want the C-section again. He listened and told me that the baby isn't going to stop getting bigger between now and 4 weeks from now. She needs to stay in for another 4 weeks. In 4 weeks should could very well be bigger than Max and at that size and with my precedent cesarean scar the clinic will not induce. They will not induce because the medication they give causes stronger than normal contractions and with my previous scar from Max's birth it's too much of a risk. 

This doesn't really bother me much. I can actually understand this and agree that I don't want to take the risk of complications. What I am upset about is going through the recovery of a c-section again. I never wrote about it on my blog after Max's birth but I was pretty much a wreck after the c-section. And until today, so many things were kept from me as to why I was messed up. I got a nice phone call today from the anesthesiologist who will be administering the medication to me the day of BB's birth. Yesterday, we had a long and tearful conversation about how my first cesarean experience did not go well. I told him all the things that had happened to me right afterwards. He listened and jotted notes. He said he'd do his best that it didn't happen again. He presented me with three options for spinal block for cesarean which I had no idea existed. I chose the option that is most like an epidural where he will administer the medication to me in stages and up the dose as needed. For most cesareans you are administered one dose and usually numb from the mid chest down. With my cesarean with Max I was numb from my neck down, including my arms, which caused me to panic because I couldn't feel if I was breathing properly. To this day I am still traumatized by that feeling of dread and fear I felt. I felt like I was drowning and everyone was standing around watching me do it.  The anesthesiologist called me today to say that he pulled my file from my first birth to tell me that I was administered nearly TWO TIMES the normal dosage for a c-section! And that it made perfect sense to him why I was throwing up 24 hours after the operation, I had hives and itchiness that lasted 24 hours and that I was numb from the neck down. I wasn't able to hold Max for over an hour and half after he was born because I was a legume because of all the medication!  He said he usually administers less than the normal dosage and then adds more as he sees fit. He assured me that what I felt the first time around will not happen again.  

One of the main reasons why I had hoped for a natural birth with BB mainly because I didn't want to experience the hell I felt after Max's birth.  I wanted to be alert and able to hold my baby right away. I get tears in my eyes just thinking about how I was laying in bed completely numb and out of it looking at Max laying in the incubator next to me and all I wanted to do was hold him.

I feel confident in my OBGYN and I feel confident in this new anesthesiologist. I expressed how important it was for me to be aware of what was going on after BB's birth and both my doctors assure me that I will have this. 

So, the big day is December 1, 2009. 

Time to start working on my suitcase for the maternité....

31 weeks

31 weeks

31 weeks @ Ikea.

31 weeks. Finally. I felt like I was in the twenties for such a long time. The thirty something weeks are the home stretch. In France they calculate on a 41 weeks gestation period. Maximilien came at 38 weeks. I hope BB comes around the same time. 38 is good. Apparently I make a good home for my babies and when it was time for Max to come I wasn't anywhere near the stages of giving birth.  But this time around I am going to let nature take it's course and we'll see when BB decides to show her pretty face. I keep dreaming that she looks like Max just with a pink headband and a bow. Julien thinks she'll come out a brunette with dark eyes. I'm secretly hoping she's blond and blue eyes like her brother. 9 more weeks to go...

The state of our union

I start my maternity leave tomorrow. And I have to say that I need it. This pregnancy has been very exhausting. Even though my life circumstances are different now, I'm working full time and have a toddler to chase after, physically this pregnancy has been much harder on me. The all day sickness I suffered the first three months lasted more like five months and then while traveling to the US I developed a blood clot in my upper extremity. A lot to deal with and all the while juggling being a mama, a wife, an entrepreneur, and trying not to get lost in it all. I welcome maternity leave tomorrow. I need it. 


We had our third trimester scan on Monday and BB is scanning in as big as Max at this time. Based on the length of her leg bones and the circumference of her head she's weight in at 2.1kgs (4.6 lbs) already. I found out that I tested negative for gestational diabetes which was a huge relief since I had a sinking feeling I had it. But not because of the medication I have to take everyday until the end of the pregnancy I must go in every 10 days for blood work to monitor my platelets level. Want to know the best way to cure your fear for needles, well there you have it. One thing that I am glad for is I haven't gained much weight this pregnancy. I think I've gained 6lbs the entire pregnancy which is a record for me. It also makes me worry that something is wrong because I know my body and I just don't do this. 

Something new that has occurred lately is this unnerving sense of doom I feel all the time which turns to utter complete stress for me. I keep feeling like something is going to happen to my business while I'm not there. A fire or we'll be burgled. I keep telling my husband that we need to change the car seat in my MIL's car for Max because I don't feel like it's safe enough for him and i have these dreams that he's in a car accident and something terrible happens. I am sure these feeling of unease are due to the pregnancy and stress of running my own business but I don't know what to do to really deal with them. Therapy? Well, that's what I use my blog for...

On to more cheery subjects, Maximilien is doing great these days. We've transitioned him to a full size twin bed and he loves it. Where as in his make shift toddler bed he looked so big in the full size bed he looks so small. But he's not a baby anymore. He's talking in complete sentences in French and in English. He jumping and climbing higher than Mama would like. He's affectionate and as obedient as a two year old can be. And he's very excited about the baby in Mama's bidon. Everyday he says, bonjour to his sister and calls her by her name (yes, we've found the perfect name!!). And he pays close attention to Mama's bidon so that I won't get too many bobos on it. I medicine I must take for the blood clot is an injection that I administer to my love handles and often they leave bruises. This worries Max and he checks everyday to make sure there aren't any new bobos on Mama's bidon. 


I am preparing myself for the arrival of BB and I know that I won't believe I'm having another baby until she's here. Every night I go and check on Max before going to bed and so the same thing I've done since the day he was born. I stroke his head and tell him that I love him. Kiss his hands and cheeks and smell his baby scent. Soon, I will have two...

When things are out of your control...

Some of you may have been following what has been going on this week through Twitter and Flickr. I still can't understand what has happened so I have decided to write about it here in hopes that someone who reads my blog has experienced something similar.

It started early last Sunday morning, I woke up to a sharp pain in my upper arm. So intense that it made me jump up in tears. It felt like someone had stabbed me in the arm or what my brain thought it would feel like if someone stabbed me. I got up and shook my arm out a bit in hopes that it would go away. Max was sleeping in the bed with me and I didn't want to wake him. I layed down and tried to sleep but was unsuccessful. The day started and we got up to meet with family for morning play and lunch. I ignored the pain in hopes that it would go away. It did not. I endured the pain until the afternoon and I think sometime upon returning to my sister's apartment I passed out because of fatigue and pain. I woke up to the most intense pain I've ever felt. My arm was pretty much incapacitated and we decided to go to the ER. 

After waiting nearly 4 hours to be seen due to other cases that were more serious, I was finally sent for a sonogram of my upper extremity and there they found that I had two clots. One in my internal jugular and another in a secondary artery. Both that run from my heart through to my arm. After that diagnosis, I was wisked away into a room and give medication and told to lay down. I suddenly became a priority patient.  With in minutes, I was seen by a barrage of doctors and specialists and told that I was going to be admitted.  All the while, I only knew they found a clot and that I needed medical attention asap. 

Once I was admitted I was given a drug called Lovenox. Apparent this is THE DRUG to combat against blood clots. And the best one to take when you are pregnant. It does not affect the baby because the drug can't pass through the placenta. I was administered a shot in my belly and later learned that I would have to administer this shot myself twice a day until the end of the pregnancy and 6 week postpartum. And I learned that because of the proximity of the clot to my heart (it is located in my chest on the upper left side) they can not operate to remove it. The only thing that can be done is to take Lovenox to prevent the development of other clots and hope that the existing ones do not break off and go where they are not supposed to. Like to my lungs. 

The OB/GYN specialist who followed me explained that it's highly rare for there to be a DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) in the upper extremity like the one I have unless I've had an IV port recently or a blood transfusion.  Both of which I haven't had. The last time I had an IV was two years ago for the birth of Maximilien. I have blood drawn once a month to monitor for toxoplasmosis but that is usually in the other arm and the doctor doesn't believe that it came from that. And to my knowledge I know of no other member of my family that has had blood clots so the only other explanation is that pregnant women are higher risk for clotting due to the pregnancy itself. But the doctor didn't seem to really buy into that either because I would have mostly like developed a clot in my leg and not in my upper body. 

All this scares the shit out of me.

So, this is what I know now....

- BB is just fine. She is active and growing and the blood flow through my placenta to her is exactly as it should be. 

- I have to take two shots of Lovenox for the next 4 months and 6 weeks after birth. A shot that I have to administer myself in MY BELLY. I was scared of needles but not anymore... 

- I will probably have to take some sort of anti-coagulant every time I fly now. The reason being that once your body clots like this it has a tendency to keep doing it. Sounds weird but the doctor explained it to me as like Girls Gone Wild, once one clot shows up and decides to hang around others follow suit.  

- I am now considered a high risk pregnancy and probably won't have too much control on how BB will be born. But this is to be confirmed with my own OB/GYN in Paris. The American doctor told me that I would need to C-Section to birth this baby to make sure everything went alright. 

- And the thing that scares me the most is that this clot probably won't go away. And it's in my chest and near my heart. The doctor reassured me that it's much more dangerous to have one in your leg then your chest. Because the risk of pulmonary embolism is much higher but still. It freaks me out that it's right there in my chest. 

I did some quick research of giving birth while on Lovenox especially VBAC and found a thread on Baby Center that was interesting.  I have a lot of researching to do on my part and am anxious to get home and see my own doctor which will entail getting on an international flight again. I am scared. 

So, there you have it. Our vacation so far. Whoopee. 

Anyone who has an experience on DVTs, giving birth on anti-coagulants or any word of support is very welcome. The power of Twitter is amazing. Someone sent me this tweet the day I was released.  But for now I don't even know how to get my mind around all that has happened.  


20 weeks

I'm at 20 weeks in this pregnancy and finally things are starting to take a turn for the better. I've only thrown up once this week. That's pretty good. I'm starting to sleep better now that Maximilien has decided that sleeping in his own bed is cool. And summer pretty much passed us by here in Paris so that means I'm pretty comfortable physically with this pregnancy. BB is really moving around a lot especially right after I've eaten something. I just downed a huge glass of chocolate milk (haven't had a glass of this since I was like in 6th grade) and it was so good. Other than the urge to drink lots of milk and eat yogurt all the time I haven't had any other cravings. In all honesty, my appetite has been pretty non-existent so far. I pretty much tell myself to eat a little through out the day because I want to keep my energy up. Speaking of energy, mine is back. And that means I can actually work again. For a couple months there I'd drag myself to the tea house to do the morning preparations and back and by the time noon came around (starting around 9am) I was dead tired. But now I find myself working away the morning and still wanting to stick around the tea house and work with my employees. I've had to hire a full time people to replace me during the week because it was not possible for me to keep working 65 hours a week and get through my first trimester. 

Lately, I've been listening to a podcast called Pregtastic. And have found it very entertaining and informative. Today, I listened to an episode about VBAC after cesarean. I am hoping to go this route with this baby. My doctor supports me on this and honestly, I feel that this baby is going to be a different size than Maximilien. You remember that Max was 4.945 kgs (10.9lbs) at birth. And at all stages of my pregnancy with Max I was just HUGE. So, the decision to go with a cesarean was made. Of course my doctor presented me with my options (which did include a vaginal birth) but being inexperienced and sort of naive about having a baby I decided on the cesarean. I don't regret my decision because Max came out perfect and everything worked out fine but I do feel like I deprived myself of my womanly right to have a baby as nature intended me to and I really want to experience that. While on vacation in the US, I plan on stocking up on books to educate myself about VBAC and preparing myself for a different kind of birth for BB. 

I leave you with an interesting thing that happened to me recently. Shortly after getting pregnant again, I started to wear my maternity/nursing tank tops again. They are just so comfy and underwire bras are evil when your breasts are huge. I was wearing one in the presence of Max and the latch for the bra portion happened to unclip. It makes a distinct clicking sound. Upon hearing this sound, Maximilien looks at me and exclaims, "Lolo?!" Lolo was the code word I used while I nursed him for breast feeding. I'd ask him if he wanted to Lolo or if he wanted to drink from the Lolo. I didn't want to be heard in public saying "do you want the boob? or Do you want to drink breast feed?" It worked well for us. No one knew the better. Until a few months ago, I had assumed that Max had forgotten completely about the Lolos. But I was wrong. Upon hearing the sound of my nursing tank top clip open, he immediately knew what that sound meant. Makes you wonder how far back he remembers at his young age? 

And finally my latest belly shot:

BB: 20 Weeks

20 weeks where I feel like I am more at 28 weeks. As of two weeks ago I hadn't gained any weight in this pregnancy but I feel that has changed now with all the chocolate milk and yogurt I've been eating lately. We'll see on Monday at my big 2nd echographie and get another good shot of our girl. 

 Here, Max is trying to drive his tractor on the baby just an older brother would do, right? 

Pregnancy productivity

or I should say creativity. 

Something about being pregnant and working on a knit project just is a perfect match. The process of making something that I will wrap my baby in when she's born brings enormous comfort to me. I hope this blanket will do the same for her.  

I recently learned how to crochet. And I mean in the most basic form that I can make a chain and then do one technique over and over again. Thanks to a sweet gal who attends TricoThé every week she has taught me her wisdom of crochet and I have started this baby blanket for BB. Baby blanket detail
It's very similar to the granny squares that most of us know. I mean I'm sure each of our grandmothers had some version of a blanket like this draped over their couch. I decided to use some lovely Rowan hand knit cotton in an array of bright colors. Something soft and colorful for this our baby who will be born in the middle of winter. I've been averaging about two hexagons an evening before bed and hopefully over summer break I will make some progress on the blanket.

Anyone looking for an easy patch work style blanket to do I highly recommend making a crochet blanket. It's an easy project to keep as an ongoing project while working on other things as well, like baby sweaters.

I have to admit...

that I am not enjoying this pregnancy very much. Besides being riddled with hellacious nausea the first three months, I haven't been able to sleep very well lately and my body just feels completely taken over. I keep reading and hearing from friends that this is what a pregnancy with a girl baby does but I guess I just didn't really expect things to go the way they have. I mean I can't help but compare everything to my first pregnancy. I think its normal that we do this and pretty hard for us to avoid considering everyone asks me on a daily basis how this pregnancy is going compared to first. 

I saw a friend today who I haven't in about 4 months or so. She had no idea I was pregnant and she asked me if I were sick because I didn't look very good. Nope, just pregnant. She shook her head and remarked that's why I looked like I've gained weight. Thanks, friend, for so nicely telling me that I looked fat. Funny though, I haven't gained a kilo since I started this pregnancy. But putting on a skirt that I wore pretty frequently while pregnant with Maximilien I noticed that my butt looked bigger as I pulled my black maternity tank down over the top of my bum. 

And the heat... oh man, the heat. It's currently 29°C (84°F) in the apt right now. We own one fan and it's blowing into our room where Max has decided he'd rather sleep these days. The heat isn't helping things. I do find myself lingering in the yogurt and cheese aisles at the grocery store but besides that none of my daily haunts have la clim so I will have to go out of my way to find places to cool off. I thought about the pool today but walking home after doing morning prep at the tea house and seeing the line go around the building and down the street pretty much turned me off from that idea. And then I remembered going to the pool with Max and the craziness that the French public pools could be. 

In a positive light, Max is completely obsessed with my belly and babies. He tells me everyday there's a baby in there. The assistants at the creche know that I am pregnant now and talk with him about it. They were excited to get out their collection of books about becoming a sibling and new babies in Maman's belly. Today, I went to pick him up from the crèche and I saw Max pushing around a baby in a pousette. One of the assistants told me that he had been telling all the other kids that this was his baby. He would hold the baby and then put it back in the stroller and sing songs to it. Talk about total explosion of my heart.

  18 weeks 

But standing in the mirror tonight in my favorite striped skirt and black tank I looked and felt like I was starting to look pregnant. I am definitely carrying this baby differently. With Max, I carried him out in the front  and with BB it's more of a fat tire thing going on with my whole mid-section. I can feel her kick and sometimes kicking in my back? Anyone else feel that? Maybe my placenta is placed in the front this time. I'll have to ask my doctor about that. But those little love taps make me happy and I quickly forget about how uncomfortable I am this time around. But still... I find myself counting the weeks until the finish line. I'm 18 weeks this week, indigestion and all. 

This pregnancy has been completely different...

When I became pregnant with Max it was at a time in my life that I consider a huge turning point emotionally for me. I had just lost my mother to a heart attack a little over a year when Julien and I conceived Max and right before we conceived Max I suffered a miscarriage. The emotion roller coaster of loss for me was intense but I came out of it and soared into pregnancy and loved it. I was sick with Max but nothing I couldn't handle. In all honesty, a mother's brain does the mama good by forgetting things like being sick in the first months but thank goodness for blogs I can go back and re-read and compare. I was sick with Max but not nearly as sick as I am now with BB. 

I didn't work while I was pregnant with Max. I was in a transition period between jobs and had taken a small part time job tutoring a couple students in English to busy myself in the afternoons. As Julien puts it, I had time to pamper myself thus not noticing how sick I was. I don't remember it like that but I do agree that I had ample time to relax. So this time around I am now the owner of my own business working 65+ hours a week and I become pregnant. I did this for the first month of my pregnancy and then quickly learned that I had to stop. I hired someone to cut my hours in half and made myself slow down. Still working 35 hours a week is hard but I can do it and if I can't... well, I rest when I need to. 

One plus of working so much and running around on my feet all day is that now 4 months pregnant I haven't gained a pound! I can't hardly believe it! I had gained one kilo last month only to have lost this month. Thus I am hovering right at my pre-pregnancy weight. I can't tell you how stoked I am or how pleased my doctor was today when he announced my weight. I warned him it may not be the same when I get back from the US (with my plans to eat copious amounts of BBQ and Mexican) but he smiled and said that I could faites vous plaisir. But still... I am going to try to keep to this minimal weight gain this pregnancy and see what it gets me afterwards. I will soon have to return to my 65+ work weeks so I will need all the help I can get. 

So, difference so far...

- I've been way sicker!
- I've had zero weight gain (and I'm not complaining about this at all!)
- I've noticed that my stomach doesn't feel as substantial as it did when pregnant with Max.  Though it's popped out it feels different.  Example, I roll on my stomach and instead of feeling a mass in my lower belly, I feel a slight pressure but nothing that different. 
- I don't feel pretty. I know this may be vain of my but when I was pregnant with Max I felt like a million bucks. I felt like I actually glowed. I look back at photos of myself and I looked pretty great, I think. My hair was healthy. My skin was clear. This pregnancy I am constantly breaking out, my hair is oily and super dark and I look like hell warmed over

I did not want to get my hopes up that I could be having a girl because of all these signs. I mean every other person I know (2 friends and you know who you are, gals) had different pregnancies and I suspected pretty hard that they were having girls and it turned out they did. But this is me, the opposite always happens for me. I thought with my first pregnancy I was having a girl and I had a boy. I felt disappointed when I heard the news and I didn't want to feel like this again with this pregnancy. 

So, when my doctor asked me today if I wanted to find out the sex I couldn't resist and I said yes. He has his own personal sonogram machine in his office so we had a look. He checked the position of the baby and listened to the heart beat. And then the moment of truth... he threw up a shot of the baby right between the legs and even before he could say anything, I muttered "Le Choix du Roi"*. And he responded, "Exactement!"

I cried until Julien arrived and he then took all the credit like the proud papa he is. 

Bring on the pink. 

*Le Choix du Roi is an expression the French use to express that you have two children, one boy and one girl.


I sat and watched Maximilien built his train track and for the first time today he figured out how to make the track into a circle without asking Mama for help. I was so impressed to watch as he tried out different pieces, turning them so they would fit taking out long straight ones to replace them with curved ones so that his train could run its course. 

Train track that he built himself

I snapped this shot of him right after he big accomplishment and inadvertently I caught my belly in the shot! As you can see our family is growing. As sad as I am that Max is growing out of his babyish ways I will have a new one this winter to fulfill those tiny shoes again. I can't wait. 


But in a good way.

That's pretty much how my life has been for the last few weeks. Bouts of nausea that kept me pretty much laying down most of the day and then the excitement of old friends coming into town have occupied me the last couple weeks. Now we have an "empty nest" as our friends have left (we miss you guys!) and I am filling the void with lots and lots of administrative work that needs to get done. But during this busy time, I hardly had the chance to notices that the pregnancy nausea has disappeared. Where as just a few weeks ago I dreaded waking up for the last week, morning have have been better and my I feel my appetite and energy level coming back to normal again. 

Maximilien got to spend two full weeks with my friend's daughter, Rowan, who is practically the same age as Max. They spent the entire time sharing everything, exchanging languages, running up and down the hallway in our apt and hugging and kissing each other everyday. I only wish that my friends and I lived closer together but we look forward to our next big visit next year but this time in the US. Up until my friends arrived I had worried about Max's level of exposure to English. While I don't doubt at all his level of comprehension in English ( I only speak to him in English) I was a little worried about his English expression. He only speaks French at home (and at the Creche) with a few words in English peppered through out his 2-3 word sentences. But after spending two weeks with his American (girl)friend I can easily say that he's upped his vocabulary in English by 20-30 words. Just last night, he was telling me about going up and down the chair something he never really expressed before hanging out with Rowan, who said this to us at least 100 times a day. :) I look forward to our month long visit in the US and am excited to experience the new development in his English vocabulary.

The new baby who I am calling "BB" or BéBé is doing well. Last week, BB was measuring over 5cm so I suspect this week near 7cm. I can tell that some growth is going on in my belly as my pants don't really fit anymore and that at 14 weeks of pregnancy I am much bigger that I was with Maximilien. I am a bit disappointed in myself that I am starting out this pregnancy 10lbs heavier than I did with Max but I am happy to report that in the first 3 months of this pregnancy I haven't gained any weight. Oh, my doctor might be disappointed with me when I get back from the US with an extra 15lbs on me. Home always means eating foods that I miss... like baked beans, ribs and all the fixins. My father has been warned that I intend on eating BBQ at least once a week while I'm home.

Speaking of going home, we have booked out tickets for our big flight to St. Louis in August. This will be the first time in 6 years that I have been home to the midwest during the summer. I am afraid that I have forgotten how hot it will be but rest assured there will be good 'ole AC and I am betting that Julien, Max and I will come down with colds because we're not used to AC. But I think we'll survive.... I am looking forward to seeing family in Kansas and Nebraska and catching up with old friends, especially ones who may be having a baby very soon (Hi Lainey!).

There's a mini update on what's been going on around here... I have lots of photos to post and more things to write about. But for now I feel like going to pick up my boy early with a box of popsicles and going to the park to pick wild flowers.

The post that I wrote in less than 5 minutes and did not proof... but hopefully you'll understand...

I've been sitting here for a while watching an old episode of Star Trek, you know the one where they are stuck in that time loop and keep experiencing the same day over and over again which ironically reflects what I've been feeling day in and day out for the past two months. So I show you this:

Here we go again....

And just tonight I am pretty sure that I felt the baby move for the first time. I'm at 9 weeks, so it's possible.  I know it's a bit early to be announcing it to the whole Internet and all but I figure through the good and the bad it will be nice to be able to write about it openly.

Right now the bad? All day violent nausea. Where with Maximilien my daily barf average was around one or so... with this baby, I've had to tubs in each room and carry plastic bags with me in my handbag. Car trips have been put off completely. And laying down as much as I can a daily requirement.  Where as with Max greasy cheeseburgers from McDo were the trick. With this baby... nothing does the trick. So, for the past two months I've been continuously nauseous and hungry.

The good? We are over the moon to be going on this baby adventure again.

Differences do far? Working and being pregnant. I'll write more on this later... if you'll excuse me, I have a very pressing matter to attend to...