Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Preggo Waddle

I always wondered why pregnant women developed that distinctive waddle and now I have a theory as to why...

My newest pregnancy symptom has been a dull ache in my pelvis - I can just imagine LT pushing his head downwards into my pelvis. I first noticed it when we were buying baby stuff at the mall on Sunday. I asked my doctor today and she said it's normal and I expect it will continue as LT continues to lower himself into position for birth. It doesn't hurt that much but it definitely hurts the most when I walk. Waddling, I imagine, would lessen the pain. However, so far I have refused to waddle so I can't confirm my theory.

Maybe I'll look it up online? Or maybe I'll try waddling sometime when no one is looking?

Friday, November 19, 2010

1 Month from Today...Or So

November 19th! It seems I've been waiting so long to get to this day when my due date would be only a month away! I learned at our prenatal classes that about 55% of first time mom's deliver late, so I supposed I shouldn't get too excited about LT being born a month from today. However, it will be within the next 6 weeks for sure. So exciting!

Last week when we saw the doctor, she said that she can feel that the baby is getting himself into position. I have noticed some changes in my body as it prepares to give birth...

- My hips have definitely widened and it feels as if my legs are growing apart! Now I understand why pregnant women often look like they are waddling.

- I've noticed my ligaments loosening too, especially in my groin. Sometimes it seems as if my legs are loose and about to detach because I start to feel a little weak or numb in the groin.

- There is a much larger space in between my ribs than usual. Darren noticed it when he was massaging me, he can fit his fingers in between my ribs now!

- As of today, I wear 2 bra extenders hooked together! Not sure I'm looking forward to bra shopping when the milk comes in...

The more I learn about pregnancy and labour, the more I am astounded at how God designed our bodies to know exactly what to do. It's amazing!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

New Motivation For The Gym

One thing I will miss when LT is born is al the friendly smiles I get at the gym while working out! More than anywhere else, I get many smiles and compliments from strangers at the gym. What a great motivator to continue exercising!

I have met more people in the past few months at the gym than in the previous year and a half I'd been going there. Gym ladies that I recognize from workout classes have suddenly taken much more of an interest in me and telling me about their experiences with pregnancy and childbirth. The lady I stand beside in kickboxing every Tuesday always has a few questions for me about how I'm doing. Several of the volunteers at the check-in desk are counting down with me till LT's birth. Today I ran into a lady who I hadn't seen since April and she was super excited to find out I was pregnant and touch my belly!

Meeting new people and being able to connect with other women has been one of the most rewarding experiences of pregnancy. I'm looking forward to seeing how having a baby will continue to change my interactions and relationships with others.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Baby Lung Party

Last night was a great reminder to me of the fact that we're blessed with pretty amazing friends here in Calgary! Our friend, Karen, hosted a baby shower for us. It was fun to celebrate LT's upcoming arrival with so many friends that we have made since we've been in Calgary: friends we made on campus, at church and even at Starbucks.

We are thankful to have received so many thoughtful gifts: books, clothes, CD's, blankets and even baby Adidas shoes. The most unique gift we received was two pieces of originals art that our friend Karen designed for us. Can't wait to hang them in LT's room!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Let The Nesting Begin

For the past three weeks at least, I have wanted to clean up our office but hadn't found the time. Wednesday afternoon I had some time to get started and thankfully I was in a purging mood. In a few hours I had completely filled our recycling box with old papers and made a big pile of materials to bring back to campus. It felt amazing! I continued organizing and cleaning after our prenatal class but didn't quite finish before bed. Oh, the motivation for getting up the next morning was great, I got up and got to work! Before I knew it, the office was looking way more organized and ready for LT.

It is so nice to have our office stuff organized and put away to make room for LT's stuff. We have been so blessed, he already has so much and it takes up a lot of space!

I was so tempted to take all of his stuff out of the boxes, especially the bassinet, but I restrained myself (mostly because Darren said it would be much neater if everything stayed in the boxes for now...guess he's right). Soon he will be jeer and I will get to open everything then.

Wonder what my next little project will be?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Birth & Babies

Tonight we had the first of our 10 session Birth & Babies classes. When I signed us up for this class back in July, it seemed like it would be FOREVER until November 10th & even LONGER than FOREVER until Dec 19th. It does seem that July was so long ago but Nov 10th is here, we're getting closer!!! But of course, Dec 19th is just a guestimate anyways... (the teacher reminded us that our due date is more like a 5 week window of time, 3 weeks before & 2 weeks after the due date are fair game for baby to arrive).

The class was both informative and entertaining, I think we're going to enjoy the next 10 weeks! The highlight for me was watching the expressions on Darren's face as the teacher acted out what a woman in labour would be like! I was also curious to see how he would handle the birthing video that she showed but wasn't graphic enough to make him gag.

I'm looking forward to getting to know the 9 other couples in the class. It seems like the people are from a really wide range of backgrounds and even age groups. The couples sitting near us tonight all looked a bit older but there are a few couples that look around our age and we're going to try to sit by them next time. 

Friday, October 29, 2010

Slowing Down

I am now getting to a stage in pregnancy that reminds me of the first trimester because I am SO tired! Perhaps it is carrying around all this extra weight or hormones going wild but whatever it is, I sure have slept a lot this week...I took naps almost every afternoon and today we had an early start to our work day so I came home at lunch to take a nap.

My lack of energy and need for so many naps makes it hard to accomplish as much as I would like but I am working on changing my expectations so that I can be OK with taking it a bit easier. A wise mentor reminded me this week that I need to extend grace to myself and make sure to rest and prepare as much as possible before LT is born.

Monday, October 25, 2010

LT Is In Position & Hopefully Staying There

This morning we had our last opportunity to see LT before he's born at my 32 week ultrasound. Yes, I wrote "he"... today we received a fourth separate confirmation that LT is a boy!!! At this point it would be pretty surprising if for some reason all the radiologists & techs turned out to be wrong and he was a girl.

It was amazing to see how much he's grown since our last ultrasound in August! He's beginning to get cramped in there as he continues to grow bigger and bigger.

As I saw how he is positioned, I understood exactly how his position is related to the kicks and movements that I am feeling. He is head down with his head slightly to the left, his spine curved across my abdomen with his feet upwards towards my right side.

- I notice the majority of his movements by where his feet are, on the right side of my stomach.

- It often feels like he is pushing on my bladder. The ultrasound confirmed that his head is right next to my bladder so he is pushing on it! Today his hands were also up by his head, he probably punches my bladder from time to time as he moves his little hands around.

Having had the opportunity to see LT so many times already has been awesome and I'm so excited to meet him in person in a few weeks. I still wonder what he'll look like...will he have lots of hair, will his skin be dark or light, will he look more like Darren or like me? These are questions that ultrasounds can't answer.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Great End to Week 31!

We spent last Wednesday to Saturday in Victoria, visiting friends and doing ministry together with them at UVic. Thankfully I had enough energy to really enjoy the trip.

On Saturday we spent the afternoon checking out some of the sights in Victoria.

The picture on the right was taken at Mount Douglas, a beautiful outlook over the city of Victoria.

We also had a great time walking around the city! Being in the third trimester during the fall has been awesome, I have been keeping warm without getting super bundled up for winter! It's been quite the change to almost never experience cold feet and to often feel warmer than Darren.

This picture was taken in a series of narrow alleyways connecting several of the businesses in Chinatown. Really cool spot!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

LT Loves Flying!

We're hoping this means that LT is going to be a happy traveler...Darren & I have flown four times in the past number of weeks and on each flight, LT has kicked excitedly throughout most of the flights.

His kicks have been especially reassuring after my early complications and South Asian doctors concerns about me flying during pregnancy. My OB here in Calgary reassured me that flying would not cause harm to LT and since we were only flying within Canada, if there were any issues, the pilots would just land the plane. With her blessing, Darren and I have enjoyed two excellent trips, one to each of the coasts of Canada.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Waiting for Baby

Over the past two weeks, some of my preggo friends have had their babies. It's been exciting to follow their labour chronicles since I will be there in a few weeks. It has also made me begin to wait a bit more anxiously for LT's birth. I know that eight weeks will pass before I know it but sometimes I find myself wishing that I could fast forward the calendar to December...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Reserved for Expectant Mothers & Mothers With Small Children

I experienced another pregnancy milestone this past weekend. On Sunday evening after small group we went grocery shopping and parked for the first time in one of the spots that is reserved for expectant mothers & mothers with small children.

I really appreciate the person who thought up the idea of having designed parking spots for preggos! It is awesome to be able to park super close to the door, especially when you've been wearing heels all day. And I hope to be able to take advantage of parking in those spots throughout the rest of my pregnancy.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

We have a doula!!!

Today we met with a potential doula. After our last, very disappointing, meeting with a potential doula we were unsure of what to expect this time. We thought/hoped this meeting would be a positive experience because she had been recommended by some friends from church and she goes to our church. We had met her a few times before and she seemed nice.

It turned out to be a great meeting! In contrast to the other doula we had met, Meghan was really confident and friendly. As we talked and got to know her better, she really seemed like the kind of person I would like to have around during LTs birth. As soon as we said goodbye to her, I told Darren that I would like to hire her. The other bonus is that she is in training to become certified as a doula and is charging a really reduced rate (thanks Vaness for the suggestion!).

I was so happy that I almost skipped home from our favourite coffee shop down the street where we had met her. As soon as we got home, I messaged her to say that we would like to have her as our doula. She responded within a few minutes to say that she would LOVE to be our doula.

I'm so thankful that we will have someone there to support us as I hope to have a natural birth!

31 weeks...almost!!!

As LT's due date approaches, time seems to be slowing down. Seems like the 30th week is taking about two or three weeks to go by. With only 10 weeks to go, the end is definitely in sight but in some ways it seems a long way off... still more than 2 months away.

I realized the other day that I have been pregnant for more than half a year! It has been over half a year of anticipation and preparation. Now that we have gotten to the point where many of the preparations have been made (office furniture sold, baby stuff borrowed and received, etc...), I feel like I'm just waiting around for LT to be born.

Not that I am not liking being pregnant, I'm just getting more excited about LT's birth.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Celebrating 30 Weeks!

Sunday marked 30 weeks of pregnancy so we went shooting on Monday to capture this milestone week on film.

We have been waiting to take pictures with colorful balloons for several weeks now. I love how they turned out!

I enjoy looking pregnant  except when I get strange looks from students on campus.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Family Reunion

I got behind on updating our blog since Darren & I went back to PEI for my younger sister, Paulette's wedding last weekend.

We had worked hard getting ready for the wedding but had a fantastic time catching up with everyone. Thought I'd post a few of my favourite pictures from the weekend.

We went to get bull rushes for Paulette's wedding. Darren & Matthew did all the hard work while I hung out with my nephew, Camdyn & my little sister, Anna. They're very photogenic!

My younger brother caught Darren relaxing in the hammock on my parents back deck.

We were hanging out in the barn where Paulette got married before the wedding ceremony began. Here I was comparing belly sizes with my Dad. Mine is bigger!!!

Me with the lovely bride, Paulette. Congrats little sis!

Monday, September 27, 2010

I Can’t See My Toes

Last night I made one of the craziest discoveries as I was getting into bed, I can no longer see my toes when I look down. I can’t see past the tip of my winking belly button that may soon be an outie. I look down and I see all baby belly!

I have noticed that my belly is getting bigger, especially out walking around in Inglewood with Darren and his parents yesterday afternoon. A few shop keepers asked me when I was due. This is a new thing and I like it a lot. I've heard it said that people are more friendly towards pregnant women. I agree, strangers have seemed to be quite friendly with me lately.

Inglewood is one of our favourite neighborhoods in Calgary! A few new shops have opened recently including DaDe Art & Design Lab where they had these really cool horses made of driftwood on display outside.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Enjoying the Perks of Pregnancy

One of the things I really enjoy about pregnancy is super strong fingernails! I've been loving growing my fingernails long and having not having them break easily at all. I really like long fingernails, they look so feminine!

Another thing I've been loving is stronger, shinier, healthier looking hair. Today I got my hair cut and took advantage by keeping it a bit longer than usual. I'm really happy with the results and hope that somehow my hair will remain this way after LT is born.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

My Jackets Don't Close and Other Pregnancy Symptoms

Over the past few weeks I've really started to feel pregnant...

My clothes fit funny. My pants stopped fitting a few weeks ago and now none of my fall jackets will close.

Thanks to my boosted pregnancy circulation, I stick my toes out of the blankets at night, while Darren uses an extra blanket and complains about being so cold.

My appetite is huge! I can eat almost the same amount as Darren and always eat a snack right before bed. However, I still wake up and get a snack in the middle of the night because I'm so hungry.

My belly is gets in the way when I bend over. It's beginning to feel uncomfortable. I often wake up feeling stiff and every now and then with my arms or shoulders feeling numb.

There are many amazing things about this stage of pregnancy...

LT is becoming much more active and his kicks are getting really strong!

Also, there's no mistaking my pregnancy for excess weight around the midsection (except for on campus). As a result, I enjoy going out in public a lot more.

I'm beginning to feel quite excited about LT's birth. It's getting closer! Soon when we go out it will be as a family of three.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sleepless Nights & Working Days

Since entering the third trimester, I have noticed another dramatic shift in what my body and LT are up to. Pregnancy sure does keep you on your toes! For the past 3 weeks or so I have had difficulty sleeping through the night most nights. Here is how things tyically play out:

I usually wake up between 3am and 6am to go pee...

When trying to fall back to sleep I realize that I am hungry so I get up again to eat something...

I come back to bed for the second time but by that time LT is wide awake and having a party in my belly with his little legs that are becoming increasingly powerful at giving my full belly shaking kicks (I wonder if he has calves like tree trunks, just like his Daddy?)...

I lie in bed trying to will myself to go back to sleep. I try not to think about how tired I will be on campus the next day or about all the things I have to get done! I pray that God would help my mind to calm down and go back to sleep. Sometimes I fall back asleep quickly, other times (like this morning), I get up and do something because it seems that falling back to sleep isn't much of an alternative...

Another friend who is pregnant mentioned that it is amazing how God prepares us for the birth of our babies and I have to agree. Three to four hours of sleep in a row is potentially more than I'll be getting after LT is born. Although the upside there is that I'll be on mat leave and able to nap more easily throughout the day! Trying to balance taking care of my body and LT with work is becoming tricky. When I don't sleep properly, I feel quite tired by lunchtime and I often find myself asking God to help me have the energy to work through the rest of the day with joy. Yes, God has been giving me ample opportunities to trust him during this pregnancy!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Belly Touching

Since LT's recent growth spurt, I've experienced a lot more belly touching! In fact, since returning to work on campus I've almost had at least one daily occurance of belly touching!

Yesterday, a student gave my belly a gentle poke and enthusiastically asked several questions about the baby's gender and name (which I revealed to her but asked her to keep it on the down low).

Today an international student friend touched my belly and told me that after having seen pictures on Facebook, she expected my belly to look much bigger than it looks in real life.
I thought I might be annoyed with people touching my belly but thus far my reaction has been to smile and say that the baby is doing well, growing and kicking lots. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that so far only people I know have touched my belly but I really haven't been bothered by it.

I'm still not sure how I will feel if a stranger touches my belly, though. We'll see if it happens to me within the next 3 months or so...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

99 days to go! (by Darren)

I just looked at the counter on the right hand side and my heart skipped a beat.

99 days to go. 

99 days until ...
- we stop having full night sleeps
- until our family "officially" grows from 2 to 3 (although on questionnaires that ask for number of children, I honestly don't know what to put yet).
- until our lives change forever, irrevocably

Something I was reflecting on: "How precious to me are your thoughts, O God. How vast is the sum of them!" (Psalm 139:17).

LT consumes much of my thoughts on a daily basis already:

I often wonder what his personality will be like. Will he be happy? determined? stubborn? winsome?

I wonder if he'll have Tara's nose? My skin colour? Tara's eyes? My hair? Will he know how much he is loved by God and by us?

What will his favourite subjects in school be? math? science? gym? art? 

What will he end up doing with his life? Will he change the world? Will he be a risk taker? Will he love culture and people from all places? 


And to think that the number of God's toward us is infinitely more vast. I already feel such affinity to LT, and we've still to meet face to face! Hard to fathom how our Father's love for us is so much infinitely more vast and deep. But He does.
99 more days.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

I Survived Frosh Week 2010!

I think I should get a t-shirt or some other tacky piece of memorabilia to commemorate this momentous occasion, I SURVIVED FROSH WEEK 2010!

Every year I work at the university, Frosh week gets a bit more challenging because I feel older and the students seem younger and younger. However, in addition to the fact that I am at least 10 years older than most of the Frosh, this year I am also pregnant. I didn't know how people would respond to a pregnant chick on campus and was a little nervous about my energy levels holding up for the week.

In the end, Frosh week turned out to be a great experience overall and an exciting kickoff to my last semester on campus for awhile. I was thankful for many connections with students and enough energy to participate fully in the activities that we were organizing. There were a few long afternoons and evenings of data entry and by Friday morning I was very thankful that Saturday would be a day off but it was an excellent week.

And believe it or not, not one person seemed to notice that I was pregnant...

Monday, September 6, 2010

Preggo On Campus

With the beginning of Frosh week approaching, I had been wondering what it would be like on campus as a preggo chick and today was the day to find out how it would go.

This morning we got up early and headed to campus to help out with residence move-in. When we arrived at 7am at the dining center there was already a huge crowd of volunteers and students waiting to check in. We grabbed a quick plate of complimentary breakfast then they began assigning jobs to volunteers. Most of the volunteers went to help carry boxes and suitcases as students moved in but they also needed volunteers to help with greeting and checking students in. I ended up being asked to help greet and direct traffic flow down a set of stairs at registration.

And guess what, no one even noticed that I was pregnant! Well, I don't know for sure that no one noticed but no one said anything about it, not even the girl I was partnered with for 4 hours as we greeted new students. Guess I don't look THAT pregnant yet...

Saturday, September 4, 2010

I have concluded that I do not like MacDonald's juice

I think I liked MacDonald's juice as a kid but turns out I definitely don't like it anymore! Today I went for a gestational diabetes test where they had me drink a very large glass of juice that tasted like MacDonald's juice then wait for an hour until they could do a blood test. As I swallows, I willed myself not to throw up and thankfully I didn't.

When I wrote about it on Facebook, so many women responded with interesting stories of their experiences with that test. One person said she liked the juice, while someone else hated it, one said she thought it tasted like flat Orange Crush, another person said it gave her a brain freeze and another unfortunate woman threw up both times that she'd done it.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Leg Cramps

Until yesterday, the greatest annoyance I had with sleep during pregnancy was waking up to go to the bathroom. Then I woke up with painful leg cramps both yesterday and this morning...

I read something awhile back about leg cramps during pregnancy but I hadn't experienced any until this week. I looked it up again and read that leg cramps can be the result of tired muscles or a growing uterus that puts pressure on nerve endings in your legs.

The article suggested stretching your calf muscles before going to bed, which I will try to start doing. Especially since the other recommendation was to avoid crossing your legs and let's be honest, sitting with my legs crossed is a deeply ingrained habit, even if it is bad for my circulation.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wishing All Women's Bottoms Had Elastic Waistbands!

Today I wore pregnancy jeans for the first time and WOW, was I impressed! Those pants are incredibly comfortable, especially compared to normal jeans.

Yesterday I wore skinny jeans with a "bella band" that dug into me and left big indents on my hips by the end of the day. Last night I pulled out my pregnancy jeans with eager anticipation for a more comfortable day tomorrow. I wasn't disappointed.

Darren took a picture of me in my new preggo jeans...

Monday, August 30, 2010

Innie Becoming An Outie!?!

I've heard that many pregnant women experience itchy stomachs during pregnancy. I haven't felt any itching but I have noticed a strange thing starting to happen over the past 2 or so weeks...the skin of my stomach is stretching and beginning to make my innie into what appears to be an outie! It hasn't fully popped out yet but it is starting to look a bit strange.

Here's what it looks like now:

(Unfortunately I don't have a picture of my "regular" belly button but it really is different.) I'm curious to see how it will continue to change.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Sound of Music (by Darren)

It's almost week 24, and LT's hearing has developed to the point now where he can hear what's going on in the outside world and respond.

We've been playing music for LT for some time now and thus far he has responded most to:

1. Chopin, Nocturnes.
2. Dynamite by Taio Cruz (um, from the radio).
3. Arcade Fire, Funeral

It's funny to picture the little guy dancing in there!

I bet he looks like this when he listens to music ... smiling away ...

Friday, August 27, 2010

When Are You Due?

Sometimes I attempt to look more pregnant than I am when I go out in public. I try to achieve this by wearing dresses that gather at the waist or tighter clothes or standing in a way that makes my belly stick out. Since I was wearing more of a tummy minimizing skirt today, I was  surprised that I got my first "when are you due?" from a complete stranger!

I am quite excited to be at the point of being visibly pregnant instead of just looking like I had a big lunch or hadn't been to the gym in a long time. I wonder if I will start to get a lot more attention from strangers as my belly continues to grow?

I suppose the next big milestone is having strangers touch my belly!? For that one, I can wait!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

What's in a Name? (by Darren)

So I'm really excited that we're having a little boy.

I love feeling LT's kicks, and especially enjoy it when he just goes nuts inside Tara and there are a bunch of kicks thisclose in a row.

One of the parts I've enjoyed the most in this process has been choosing the name. Name choosing truly is a process, filled with lots of conversations that go something like this:

"How about _________"
"Uh, no."
"Ok ... how about ________"
"um ... nope."
"OH, here's one you'll like. How about __________"
"Do you want our child to be therapy one day?!"

Tara and I have pretty different tastes when it comes to the names we like (especially when it comes to boys names).

In general, I think really value being a little bit original. I don't want LT to have the same name as 3 or 4 other kids on the block. I don't necessarily mind if LT has a name of someone I know who is from around my generation, but I just don't want to name him something TOO popular amongst his generation. For example, I really liked the name Hunter ... but then I found out that it was in the top 20 names for boys, and then I didn't like it as much any more.

Tara, on the other hand, really likes very classic boys names. Well, actually she doesn't really like boy's names that much. BUT if she had to pick (which, in this case she does), she would choose a name that would probably rank quite up there in terms of popularity.

OR she would name him something Spanish.

Like Alejandro.

Probably not going to happen. But, from Tara's perspective, Alejandro is better than any one of the names from my top BOYs names list:

1. Maverick
2. Tanner
3. Grayson
4. Asher
5. Raiden

Except for Grayson and Raiden, I know someone with those names. Raiden I really like (and Tara was actually ok with), but it is also the name of the Japanese god of thunder and lightening (as well as a Mortal Kombat character), so there was a very slim chance for that one. I really like the sound, imagery, and meaning of MAVERICK but Tara HATES that name, as do most of the people of the female gender I think.

Despite our differences of opinion, Tara and I HAVE settled on a name. And actually, it is a name I like a lot, and would include on my top 5 (I just haven't here, because we haven't decided if we will do a general reveal before LT is born).

Now, to reveal? Or not to reveal?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

"This is going to be fun!"

 Yesterday we had our first OB appointment!

As soon as I arrived, the receptionist sent me down the hall to pee into a cup for a urine sample. When I re-entered the office with the cup and asked where to put it the receptionist said, "Just keep it with you and bring it with you when you get called in." Ha ha, slightly embarrassing way of doing things,  I wished I had known I was going to have to hold it with me so I could have wrapped toilet paper around it like I noticed the other pregnant women had done. Too late for that, I sat in the waiting room with my little bottle of pee beside my foot until I was called in, about 45 minutes later!

Once they called my name the nurse weighed me, I've gained 5kgs so far, then a med student came in to do a history. We had a good laugh when she asked if we had done genetic testing and Darren asked "Are you asking us if we got tested to see if we are related?" She went out of the room to get something and she said that the doctor had heard us laughing and she wondered how we were having so much fun in there. Dr. Ekwalanga arrived shortly after and we were surprised to discover that she was a Caucasian woman, her name sounds so African!

She asked a few questions, checked LT's heartbeat with the doppler (a little tricky with him moving around like crazy in there!) and then gave me lots of important information. She decided that we will stick to the December 19th due date instead of the ultrasound due date of December 23rd because I was sure that March 13th was the first day of my last period. She explained that she works on a team of 12 doctors so I have a 1/12 chance of having her deliver the baby. She said that I have concerns about the baby's health I should go right away to the Labour & Delivery Dept. at Peter Lougheed to get checked out.

I asked her about flying to Paulette's wedding and she said that she thought I should go. She said that there is nothing written in fact that makes flying something to be concerned about and that the biggest risk associated with flying is the risk of the mother getting a blood clot. She said that it is important to walk around at least once every hour during the flight and she reassured me that if there are any big issues that happen during the flight, the pilot could make an emergency landing at another Canadian city. Sweet, I can go to Paulette's wedding!!!

At the end of the day I had no reason to worry, it was a really positive first meeting. The doctor shook hands with us on the way out, saying it was nice to meet us and that "this is going to be fun!" Darren and I both left her office saying "I really like her! Hope she is there to deliver LT!"

Monday, August 16, 2010

Getting ready for baby

Yesrerday our last piece of office furniture was picked up so we were excited to begin preparing the nursery for baby. While Darren continued to work on painting our new rocking chair, I got a start on the nursery. I took down pitures, filled all the holes in the walls, emptied our large Ikea bookshelf, moved it to a different wall and then re-organized the bookshelf. I'm happy with the progress, next step, re-hang the pictures from the office.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Great Weekend!

What a fantastic few days, we have been enjoying the Calgary summer to the fullest!

Thursday we were at home for most of the day but after dinner we went shooting in Kensington. To clarify, Darren did the shooting and I did the posing. When I got tired of posing, we went to a cafe to read for awhile. It was a lovely evening!

Friday we went out past Cochrane to a retreat center for a day of quiet reflection. I don't know what it is about getting away from my familiar surroundings but I feel so free to spend time with God in that type of setting. So nice!

Saturday we had a pretty varied dinner menu as we checked out two happenings downtown, the Chinatown Street Festival and Taste of Calgary. We watched a lady defend herself from a purse snatcher and guys break 1 inch boards during a martial arts showcase then ate some pretty good sui mai, BBQ pork buns & pot stickers. We were a little disappointed that there weren't more food vendors so we decided to walk over to the Taste of Calgary Festival, where we could get small bites of food from various local restaurants. We tried some Kenyan curry, El Salvadorian chicken tortillas and chocolate mud pie for dessert. A lovely summer evening!

Today we headed out to Innisfall for Customer Appreciation Days at five farms that are part of a farming cooperative called Innisfall Growers. We only had time to visit three of the farms but we really enjoyed learning about each of the farms and sampling fresh produce. At Beck's we got a great complimentary goodie bay including a bag of sweet carrots, some cheddar cauliflower and kohl rabi (I've never cooked with it before but I'm excited to try!). Upper Green Farms gave us a free bag of baby potatoes (I'm looking forward to tasting those too). The Jungle Farm was our last stop and our favourite farm to visit. They let us each pick a box of raspberries then we had a delicious beef on a bun before taking a hay ride out to the fields. The tour was really informative and we stayed awhile after to ask even more questions. We forgot to bring our camera but we did take pictures of our dinner: the homemade dumplings and raspberry scones.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Possible Doula In Training?!

I'm sooo excited! This afternoon I was inspired to contact all of the doulas I could find on Google who live in Calgary. A friend had suggested trying to find a doula in training or doula school but I couldn't find any so I went ahead and emailed every doula to ask about their fees.

When I checked my email this evening I had already received several responses. Amazingly, one of the people I emailed is still working towards her certification so she is only charging $350 instead of the regular $1000 fee!!!

Her email was several paragraphs long and it detailed her services, which sounded amazing! She offered to meet for a free "meet the doula" coffee date. I responded right away to see if we can get together sometime next week. I'm ecstatic about the possibility of getting a doula for only $350! Praying that our meeting goes well.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

What about a doula?

I really wanted to have a midwife deliver our baby but it became apparent very early on that it wasn't going to be an option. Although midwives are covered by the provincial health care lab here, there is a massive shortage. When I contacted all 4 clinics in the area at 7 weeks I was told I was wait listed but likely wouldn't get in. Sad times!

I thought that doula might be the next best option but didn't look into it much when I found out that they weren't covered by the province. However, since the prenatal massage class on Monday that was taught by a doula with 15 years experience, I've been reconsidering.

The Calgary Association of Doulas lists some pretty compelling stats in favor of having a doula including:

- Reduction in length of labour by 25%
- Reduction in caesarian birth rates by 45%
- Reduction in oxytocin use by 50%
- Reduction in epidural requests by 10-60%

I find these stats so compelling because it seems like a doula would help me stick to my plan of having a natural birth. I don't want to be one of those people who gives up and takes the epidural. And I do not want to be talked into unnecessary medical procedures by the doctors or nurses.

I wonder if all that is worth $750?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Prenatal Massage, YES PLEASE!!!

The Calgary Health Region offers prenatal massage classes for couples and Darren suggested we take one. Best $40 I've spent in awhile!

The teacher was fantastic, both funny and informative. She knew her stuff!She's had 20 years experience as a massage therapist and 15 years experience as a doula. I loved that she got right down to business as soon as the class began. She had the husbands sit backwards on their chairs and the wives begin about a half hour massage of our husbands backs, necks and heads. She explained technique and massage therapy ground rules as we went.

Some of the things we learned:

- once you begin a massage, continue maintaining contact at all times

- if you are only using one hand to massage, rest the other hand on the persons body, more touch is more relaxing

- never massage bone on bone

- the muscle junctures need lots of work

- always massage in a circular motion

- never dig in hard right away when you find a tender spot, massage it slowly for a few minutes then move on and come back later to massage it a bit more deeply

We hope we'll remember these tips for when I go into labour. The teacher recommended practicing one to two times every week in order to improve and get more comfortable with the techniques. Hubs, I could get used to this!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Slowly Growing Belly

Darren found a really cool iPad application that lets you see the exact size of your baby each week. Yesterday LT turned 22 weeks and as we held the iPad up to my stomach, we couldn't believe how big the baby boy has grown because on the outside my belly has not expanded much yet!

LT is about 7.6 inches long (almost 19.5 cm) so he almost takes up the full screen on the 9.5 x 7.5 inch iPad!

This picture was taken at 20 weeks (last weekend), standing on the windy hill at Mission Hill Winery in Kelowna. This is one of the outfits that makes me look the most pregnant so I love to wear it when we go out.

When I wear most of my clothes, the bump is not very noticeable. Only my skinny jeans are too tight but all of my other clothes still fit me, although tighter shirts are getting quite tight.

Overall, I'm glad that my belly hasn't expanded too quickly because I really like my summer clothes and I think having a smaller belly is a lot more comfortable.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Stroller Success!

Today we skipped church to go to a stroller sale. We had a GREAT time too! An online baby store based out of Calgary (babybot.com) was hosting a stroller test drive event at a park so we thought we should take advantage of an opportunity to try a few strollers and potentially get a great deal.

We were greeted by some friendly volunteers who gave us event guest passes and a free Starbucks gift card since we had rsvp'd. Off to a great start! While we waited for our time slot to test drive strollers, two friendly volunteers helped us try several carriers on Darren. We didn't buy today but we really like the Becco Gemeni and are considering getting it.

For the stroller test drive they had about 10 models to demo. We went on a walk in the park with various strollers and then spent over an hour with the moms and volunteers asking questions and trying out folding, unfolding and lifting each of the strollers that we liked. It was an interesting way to learn about the various features. We finally decided to go with the Quinny Buzz 3 because it was a great stroller and an amazing deal! It retails for about $500 but we got it for $450 including a bassinet ($175 value), car seat adapters, rain cover and bug cover for free! The one downside is that it is a bit on the heavy side (26 lbs) but overall, we love it.

We took it home in two boxes. Darren thought we should check to make sure all the parts were there but before we knew it, we couldn't help ourselves and we had put it together! Our friend, Karen came over and we could barely contain our excitement as we showed off our new purchase. Thankfully for us, she is a very gracious friend and she was happy to share in our excitement.

Can't wait to use our new stroller for LT! Hope he likes it. Darren just discovered that the seat is made with memory foam...wonder if babies can feel the difference? Oh well, our baby will be stylin' in this stroller.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

"I know what you're having"

Yesterday I went for my 20 week ultrasound. It seemed like we had been waiting so long for this appointment and then before I knew it, the day was upon us and the tech was squirting warm gel on my tummy. Shortly after she began the exam, the tech exclaimed, "I know what you're having!"

At 9 weeks our doctor in South Asia said the baby looked like a boy then at 13 weeks our radiologist showed Darren the "weenie" so we had suspected it was a boy. We weren't 100% sure if they were just trying to be polite since it is very favorable to have a boy in their culture but it seems as if they were right. We have now had three medical professionals confirm that LT is a boy. The tech showed me the "weenie" at least twice yesterday.

Darren was excited to call our parents then announce the news to the world via Facebook. Next step, finalize the name...

I wore a blue dress yard sale shopping in honor of our baby boy on the way. This is also one of the dresses that makes me look the most pregnant. I wanted people to notice that I was pregnant as I was scoping out baby stuff. It worked!

And So It's Begun ... (by Darren)

And so it's begun: shopping for LT (who, btw, we confirmed was a Mr. yesterday), and LT related things.

I find it a little difficult to shop for a little person you've never even fully met before.

What will he like? What won't he like? What will be a good investment? What will be a waste of money?

There are so many different brands, that it becomes a little daunting at times. What really IS the difference between one play mat and the other? What about the Ergo vs. Sling? Bugaboo vs. CitySelect? All this stuff is PRICEY and the amount of time you can use this stuff for is MINIMAL (sometimes just for a couple of months!)

Today, we went yard saling for the first time and found some great "gently used" items that cost us a fraction of the price as it would brand new. For me, finances is a pretty big part of the pregnancy equation, so it felt good to get a good deal ...

Jolly Jumper: $10
Metal Organizer: $15
Change pad: $3
Play mat (with the tent-y dangly things): $5 
WOODEN ROCKING CHAIR: $10 (Tara almost started crying with joy when she saw this item, as it's one of the things she's been saying she's wanted since the beginning .... you knew she was excited she started speaking quicker and in hushed tones: "wow, i can't believe this is so cheap ... can we get this? please? wow, so cheap ...").
We're going to a stroller demo tomorrow where they'll have Bugaboos, Phil & Teds, and Quinny strollers on sale. I think the Quinny Zapp may be the best fit for us and our lifestyles currently. I'm looking forward to checking it out.

We'll check it out ... but still holding out hope that we'll get one we really like for super cheap!

First post in a while ... I promised Tara I would do more.


Monday, August 2, 2010

New Friends

To add to what I wrote recently about the great things about being in the second trimester, one of the greatest things about being pregnant in general is the instant connection to pregnant women and mothers!

I really enjoyed opportunities to connect with the six pregnant co-workers I saw at our annual staff conference this year. Although I do not know these girls very well, I think that there was an instant bond that developed as soon as we found out we were all due at around the same time. I also really appreciated hanging out with my co-workers who are moms! It is a great thing to be pregnant in our organization right now!

I am beginning to realize that becoming a mom will thrust me into a brand new peer group. How exciting to have opportunities to meet so many new people simply because I'm going to be a mom.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Second Trimester is the Best

I had heard it said that the second trimester was great and now I know what they were talking about. Here are a few reasons why:

1. I have now more than regained my appetite! Eating & cooking is enjoyable again. (I have tried a few new recipes this summer including homemade flat bread). Mmm!

 2. The bump is growing so I am finally starting to look pregnant.

3. I am feeling little kicks from LT more and more every day. It's a cool feeling that also makes me more aware that I am pregnant but it's in a good way, unlike the nausea.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Baby Kicks?

I THINK that I started feeling tiny baby kicks from Little Tarren this week. My Mom said that it feels like someone poking you with their toe but mine feel quite light...a little fluttery feeling, like something lightly brushing against the inside of my belly. I have noticed it while lying in bed at night or sitting on the couch in the evening.

I suppose there is no way to confirm whether these sensations are indeed kicks from Little Tarren or my imagination getting the better of me but I'll stick to my story...they ARE Little Tarren saying hello.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

South Asia Adventure - Part 2: What We Learned

As promised, here is some more info about our adventures in South Asia. Darren recently put together our update newsletter and he did a great job of succinctly sharing about what we learned. He wrote,

"We really learned how sovereign God is during our time in South Asia and were reminded that Little Tarren's life in in God's hands, not ours. While this wasn't the plan that we had for ourselves this summer, this was the plan that God had for us. He taught us that all life is His, that He is a God that cares for us, and that Little Tarren is His."

These were really challenging lessons for me to learn. I think I have always enjoyed having control or at least the illusion of control over different situations in my life. This summer, I felt like I had very limited control as I lay in the hospital, praying anxiously that Little Tarren would be alright. Other than pray and trust in Dr. Nita's wisdom, there wasn't anything I could do to ensure that Little Tarren was alright.  I was also forced to grapple with my lack of control as I had to depend on others for almost everything. I wasn't allowed to leave my hospital room for two weeks and during the first week I couldn't even bathe until the nurse arrived to help me!

I struggled to not dwell on the worst case scenario and to trust that God's plan was best no matter what happened. I had horrific visions of miscarriage and wondered how I would get through emotionally if the baby died. I was so thankful to have Darren there to challenge me to pray and read the Bible and to dwell on what the Bible said. It really did help to go to God's word but it wasn't my default at first. However, the more I focused on God, the less sorry I felt for myself and the more I could trust in God's plan.

Since returning home, I have continued to grapple with these lessons. I still forget that God had the best plan for me and Little Tarren, even if that means a different plan than I had envisioned. I still get anxious focusing on potential negative outcomes instead of focusing on God. I am still learning but I am thankful that God has started to teach me these lessons now, before Little Tarren is born.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Classical Music to Make Baby Smarter?

Darren heard that having babies listen to classical music in the womb will make them smarter so two nights ago he began a special bedtime ritual. He chooses two or three songs from his classical playlist and then puts his iPod headphones up to my stomach so that baby can listen to the music.

This morning I decided to do some research and I found out that if a mother listens to soothing music before the baby is born she can play that music to calm the baby after he/she is born. The article said that there isn't much scientific data to suggest that having the baby listen to music would make them smarter, though. Oh well, either way getting LT accustomed to classical music can't be a bad thing.

Darren also reads one story from the Jesus Storybook Bible as part of our bedtime ritual. I figure that it's more important for Darren to read stories to LT since s/he hears me talking all the time as I am carrying him/her around all the time. I am sure that this is an excellent habit to get into before our baby is born.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Prenatal Exercise with Attitude

I was curious about the kinds of exercises that are safe for pregnant women but I was having difficulty finding detailed information online. I found out about some prenatal exercise classes in the city and went to check out a complimentary class.

The exercise portion of the class was great, low impact but intense enough to get your heart pumping and muscles working. However, the class environment was horrendous!  The teacher was totally unprofessional in the way that she conducted the class because she allowed and even initiated such negative topics of conversation. Here are a few examples of the conversation over the course of the evening:

#1 - I arrived first and was chatting with the instructor about my pregnancy. I mentioned that I had some early complications while overseas and had to return home early. The instructor replied, "Well that just gives you reason to resent the baby even more, eh?" I was taken aback and appalled that she would make such a comment. The conversation only got worse as the other people in the class arrived!

# 2 - The first woman to arrive spent 10 minutes before the class complaining about her recent vacation with her boyfriend. She hated the resort they stayed at because she doesn't like golf and the rest of the activities were off-limits for pregnant women (water sports and horseback riding).

# 3 - While we worked our abs, the instructor brought up Stampede and wondered if anyone was going. Almost all of the ladies agreed that the Stampede sucks when you are pregnant because you can't go to bars or get drunk. Too bad for them!

Overall, I was really disappointed in the poison environment of the class, especially because it was a great workout. Too bad because I was really looking forward to the class but exercise classes should promote healthy attitudes and healthy lifestyles at the same time!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Experienced Mom's to the Rescue

Last night I was reflecting on just how blessed I am to be connected to so many experienced mom's who are so generous to give advice to a first time preggo like me. The more I talk to other mom's, the more I feel equipped with the skills and information I need to thrive as a mom. It has amazed me and helped me not feel alone as I enter this new stage in life.

- Yesterday in church, a mom came up to me and offered her maternity clothes to me! She said that she has a whole bin sitting there and she would love it if they went to good use. Wow, maternity clothes are not all that cheap and it is hard to find cool ones. This lady has great taste so I'm looking forward to wearing what she is lending to me!

- Last night I had a long chat with a friend and mom of three beautiful kids. I learned a lot but one of the most interesting tidbits I learned is that pregnant women get shortness of breath. She actually said that she could hear my pregnancy shortness of breath over the phone as we talked. I thought that I was short of breath as least several times over the past few days but I dismissed it, thinking that it was probably just in my head because my chest is not congested and I don't have a cold. It is reassuring to know that I'm not inventing new physical ailments!

- When I was in South Asia, I received countless emails and a few phone calls from mom's who had experienced complications during their pregnancies. I was reassured that many people I knew, although they had bleeding during pregnancy, made it through to deliver healthy babies.

- I said something on my Facebook status last week about being overwhelmed by the choices for strollers out there and 5 or 6 moms responded to let me know their favourite strollers and why. Narrowing down the search to strollers that were recommended by friends made things so much less overwhelming and after a half hour trip to a baby store, Darren and I now know exactly which stoller we want to get!

Thank you experienced mom's for all your advice and encouragement, I truly am blessed by it!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Feeling "Normal" Again

I am pleased to report that I am now sleeping through the night!

Over the past few days, I have been able to get back to the gym, cook a few meals, clean our place and even window shopping for baby strollers (so much to learn!). On Canada Day, we drove up to Edmonton to visit some friends and had a great visit! I had been a bit nervous about being too tired when I was there but thankfully they have kids who take naps in the afternoon so I could nap too!

I am looking forward to this coming week because I should enough energy for all the things we have planned. Some of the things I am most looking forward to are checking out a prenatal exercise class,  a prenatal checkup with the doctor and dinner plans with friends from church. 

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

South Asia Adventure - Part 1: What Happened?

* Caution to guys and anyone who is queasy about blood or girly details, I will try not to be too graphic but consider yourself warned that this post may contain disturbing content.*

Our time in South Asia was  different than anything we could have ever expected but we did have quite an adventure! Now that we're at home and I'm back online, I wanted to share a bit about our experiences.

Darren & I had planned to take a few days vacation in South Asia, before beginning a work project. Two days after our arrival, I began to have very heavy bleeding (way more bleeding than the heaviest day of your period), which I knew was a really bad sign for a pregnant chick. I was worried that I was having a miscarriage so we rushed to the hospital. I was seen almost immediately by a doctor and then admitted to the hospital for tests, meds and strict bed rest.

The first two days in the hospital were the hardest because I could not leave my bed or even sit up. I had to use the bathroom in a bed pan (that was pretty gross!) and was hooked up to an IV that soon punctured the vein in my hand and got infected. I wasn't in much physical pain but I was in a lot of emotional pain as I battled with the fear of potentially losing the baby. I mostly stared at the wall or at the TV, not having the energy to do much else.

Meanwhile, Darren ran around, graciously dealing with the aftermath of my hospitalization: hospital paperwork, making endless numbers of calls to our insurance provider, emailing and calling Canada to let people know what was going on, returning to our hotel to check out and bringing our luggage to the hospital, etc...

 We ended up staying at the hospital two weeks. Although I still had challenging moments, I started to feel better after the first few days. We were so blessed to be at that particular hospital for so many reasons! To name a few...

- They moved me to a sweet private room equipped with AC, a TV, wardrobe & an extra bed so that Darren could stay in the room with me.

- They provided special meals for both Darren &  I. The doctor called me every day to see what I wanted to eat!  One evening they even ordered Pizza Hut for us.

- The nurses were awesome! They patted me on the arm and said, "How are you my darling?" and told me not to worry because God was looking after us. They often dropped by to chat, teaching us about the culture and local language.

- I had ultrasounds every 2-3 days so we were blessed to watch Little Tarren grow bigger and stronger before our eyes.

- My doctor was a specialist in maternal health and had many years of experience dealing with complicated pregnancies. More than her extensive medical knowledge, I was thankful for her tremendous concern for me! The day before we left the hospital, she confessed that when she saw me for the first time, she was very worried that I was going to miscarry right there in front of her. She was pleased that my health and the baby's health had improved and asked me to stay in touch after leaving the hospital. I have even spoken to her since returning to Canada and she asked me to call her regularly to update her on how things are progressing!

After leaving the hospital, we went to stay with a friend's family in a nearby city. Although we had never met, they were tremendously hospitable and generous towards us! We were well taken care of during our three-week sojourn with them. Here are some of the highlights:

- Our hosts were so sweet to us. We spent most days relaxing and chatting about life. In the evenings when it was cooler outside (35 instead of 45 degrees Celsius!), they took us out to watch movies or go shopping.

- The maid, Shanti, brought us tea every morning, served us delicious meals and taught us how to cook our favourite dishes. She brought  garlands of jasmine flowers for my hair (picked from the neighbors garden).

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Dealing with Sleep Deprivation

Lying awake in bed at 5am, I read a Newsweek article sleep deprivation. It said that adults need between 7-9 hours of sleep every night to feel fully rested and function at their best. Agreed! However, over the past few days I have been beginning to grapple with the idea that 7-9 hours is a nice but elusive goal for a preggo chick who wakes up hungry & having to pee every night and an impossible dream for a mom of young children.

I  recently read a blog written by a young mom who felt like they was going crazy as a result of sleep deprivation. 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep probably sounds like heaven to a young mom but I am already starting to feel like a bit of a zombie. I feel tired almost all day long and as a result, I am an emotional wreck with crying fits and moodiness. I hate feeling this way. JET LAG GO AWAY!!!

I know this is practice for when the baby comes but I didn't want to practice just yet...I have a whole 6 months to go. I have no idea how people do this for years! I'm going to start asking around. Mom's, please advise!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Jet Lag & Pregnancy Don't Mix

The only thing worse than jet lag is jet lag during pregnancy! Darren & I arrived home from South Asia on Friday evening (it was quite the adventure, details to follow!) and since then I have been trying to adjust to the 12.5 hour time difference between here and there. Jet lag is never fun but I have never experienced anything like jet lag during pregnancy...

The first trimester icky feeling returns with a vengeance! Yes, I remember that weird feelings of being hungry but having no appetite, being able to eat only tiny bites of food at a time, willing each of them to stay down as you chew and swallow.

Saturday evening I threw up all of my dinner into the kitchen sink as I tried to swallow my prenatal vitamins. I felt so discouraged to watch all the food I had worked so hard to stomach come up into the kitchen sink. (Bless my gracious husband for cleaning that up!!!).

However, the worst part of having jet lag while pregnant is the inability to fall asleep easily, which likely contributes to this queasy feeling. Every day since arriving at home, I have woken up at 3 or 4am to go to the bathroom and have been unable to fall back to sleep.

I'll be praying again tonight that I'll be able to fall asleep after getting up to go to the bathroom. AND I'll be trying not to take any naps at all today. We'll see how that goes...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Leaving for South Asia (By Tara)

We have been trying to leave for South Asia since Sunday evening but the volcanic ash blowing over the UK forced our flight to be canceled. We were "re-booked" on a flight yesterday that went through Frankfurt and I was quite excited about it because it meant only 1 overnight on the plane instead of the 2 overnights that were planned.

However, we weren't able to get on that plane yesterday and today we're back to our original flight pattern that has 2 overnight flights in a row in order to get to South Asia. I'm praying that I'll sleep well on the plane and that I won't get too sick or tried while we're traveling. We brought a lot of snacks since I'm starting to realize that eating every few hours is pretty key to staying well.

Sadly, I won't have much internet access in South Asia but I'll try to update when I can.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wine & Cheese for Preggies?! (By Tara)

Today our small group from church hosted a wine & cheese party. I wasn't sure how such a party would go over as a preggo chick but it was great! We had eaten dinner about an hour before going so I wasn't too hungry. There were quite a few raw cheeses so I mostly stayed away from the cheese and of course I stayed away from the wine but I did find a few things to snack on that were quite tasty...

There was a triple creme cheese that was paired with fig crackers. Those crackers were delicious! I wasn't sure if the cheese was safe or not so I just had a tiny bit & very much enjoyed the cracker. I had a few wheat crackers, tastes of some of the desserts & sparkling water in a wine glass.

More than anything, it was lots of fun to hang out with our small group. We always have interesting conversations & lots of laughs too. I'm so thankful for our small group and how quickly we're bonded since starting to meet in January!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Ultrasound & Two Due Dates (By Tara)

This afternoon I held my pee for two hours until I felt like my bladder was about to explode so the ultrasound tech would get a good view of Baby Tarren. She explained that the reason you have to have a full bladder for the ultrasound is because the water acts like a window into the uterus where the baby is growing.

It was amazing to watch the tech get pictures at different angles then find the heartbeat of Baby Tarren. She said that the heart rate was 156 bpm, right in the middle of the average range for babies which should fall between 120 bpm & 180 bpm. Baby Tarren was so tiny, about the size of a lima bean!

After she had taken all the pictures she needed she called Darren in to show him the pictures. She also said that the ultrasound showed that I was 7 weeks & 4 days pregnant, making my due date Dec 24th, 2010. Then she said I could go pee, FINALLY! It felt really good.

Directly after the ultrasound I went to see the doctor again and after waiting about 2 hours, I found out that she couldn't give me the note that I was supposed to get for work. It wasn't a waste of time because I needed to have a physical done in order to get a referral for an OBGYN.

I had my first pap test ever (which did not hurt at all!), got weighed (I haven't really gained weight yet, I am still 54.9kgs), had my blood pressure taken (it was on the low end of the normal spectrum), peed in another cup and was given yet another due date (Dec 19th, 2010).

We'll see who gets the due date right! Let's begin the polling on Facebook...

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day To Me (By Tara)

Today I was caught off guard when people started saying "Happy Mother's Day" to me at church. Friends from our small group were sitting in front of us and when the Pastor told everyone to shake hand and hug their mothers, our friends hugged Darren & I and said "Happy Mother's Day!"

It didn't stop there, after the service at least 4 others said it too. Many others came up to say congrats. Almost makes me wonder if there was an announcement made just before we arrived (about 3 minutes late)?! I think word just gets around fast in our church!

It's kind of exciting to be celebrating Mother's Day for the first time. It makes the day seem so much more significant and at the same time makes me appreciate my mom even more.

It is a bit strange because most of the time it seems that nothing has changed. However, I am especially aware of the change when I have gone more than a few hours since eating and I suddenly become so ravenous that I feel like passing out if I don't eat right away. Tomorrow I have an ultrasound so that will help me grapple with the reality of this when I see a picture of a little baby inside of me. I'm quite excited except for the part about how I have to drink six cups of water two hours before the appointment and then not going to pee until it is all over. Ouch!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Throwing Up Before Dinner (By Tara)

This evening Darren & I went to dinner with some new friends from church. I was standing in the kitchen chatting with one of the girls when I started to feel a bit ill. You know that feeling when you're about to pass out?

I started to feel sweaty and my vision was starting to blur. I decided it would not be a good idea to pass out in this girls kitchen so I quickly grabbed a glass of water and sat down at the table. Unfortunately, drinking the water only made me feel worse...

I went to grab my purse from the other room to try a Preggie Pop. This was also NOT a good idea as I started to feel even worse! I quickly asked to use the washroom and as soon as I locked the door, I took the candy out of my mouth and leaned over the toilet.

You can imagine what happened next....I threw up!

The amazing thing was that I felt much better with an emptied stomach. A few minutes later I was back in the kitchen laughing & joking then they served the pizza and I ate a rather large slice and then went back for seconds and even thirds. I also ate some salad and a very small piece of brownie with ice cream.

It was a strange but important lesson, throwing up can make a pregnant lady feel much better. Although I really hope this will not become a regular occurrence!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Still So Sleepy (By Tara)

I have found that one of the biggest changes in my life since finding out I was pregnant is the amount of sleep that I now need.

 I go to bed earlier in the evening and take a nap every day after lunch. I find I feel most "pregnancy sickness" in the afternoons so taking a nap seems to help a lot.

Perhaps the reason I am so tired is because Baby Lung is growing at a rate of 100 cells per hour! I can hardly fathom the baby is growing so fast. Our friend, Karen drew us a second picture for Baby Lung. This week the baby with grow to the size of a raspberry.

I was looking at pictures of a friend on Facebook and already at 9 weeks she was starting to show. So many thoughts come to mind...

I wonder when my belly will start growing outwards?

I wonder when my "innie" will turn in to an "outie"?

I wonder when total strangers will ask me when I'm due?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Stretch Marks (By Tara)

I learned some interesting tidbits about stretch marks this morning! We went to get our oil changed and had almost 2 hours to kill at the mall so we dropped by a store that sells maternity clothes.

I really wondered if there is a rule that you have to be pregnant to work at those type of stores. Both women who were working there today were visibly pregnant.

The first saleswoman I saw offered her help and she looked really friendly so I decided to ask her a little bit about their selection of stretch mark creams. She testified that she is pregnant with her third child and doesn't have any stretch marks! She explained that in order to avoid stretch marks I should start using stretch mark cream in the mornings & oil in the evenings.

I had no idea! I'm glad that I found that out so I can bring that cream & oil with me and hopefully avoid those awful stretch marks altogether.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Pregnancy Sickness (By Tara)

I'm not sure why they call that awful feeling during pregnancy "morning sickness" because it comes and go throughout the day. My experience over the past week since it came about it has not revolved around mornings. That weird feeling in my stomach lasts pretty much all the time. I don't really feel like eating although I get really hungry every two hours. I think a more appropriate name for this phenomenon would be "pregnancy sickness."

Today Darren & I were volunteering in the nursery at church and we got to talk to a few moms who were hanging out in there. They were explaining that their "pregnancy sickness" progressively got worse until sometime in the 2nd or 3rd trimester,  at which point it began to subside. NOT encouraging news!!! I was secretly hoping that the opposite would happen.

This weekend I did learn some helpful advice for pregnant women from women with experience:

# 1 - Pregnancy clothes are really expensive and you don't need to buy very many since many girls clothes these days are quite loose. (Another reason I won't have to buy many pregnancy clothes is that my friend Karissa lent me some jeans and a"bella band." Thanks Karissa!)

# 2 - ERGO is the best & most versatile baby carrier from what I've hear. Several women at church agree! Sandi says she can carry 9 month Levi around all day in her Ergo and not feel sore.

# 3 - A swaddling blanket works wonders to help a newborn sleep well. I read this on Facebook (I believe it was Jen who wrote this) and then Karissa mentioned this too.

I write these down because someone also warned me about "preggo brain", this terrible phenomenon that apparently never goes away, even after you have your baby.

I'm pretty blessed to have so many women who are currently pregnant or have been pregnant in the recent past to be around me. Just found out about another one today...welcome to the club, Sarah!

Lives Already Changing ... (By Darren)

It's amazing how much life has already changed for us. It hasn't been dramatic or anything but just little things can alter how you live your day to day lives.

Being in the first tri, Tara seems to get pretty tired easily, and hungry more readily. A growing baby can take a lot out of you I guess!! So Tara naps more, is ready to go to bed earlier, and snacks more often.

Now I know what it's like LIVING WITH ME. hahaha. (Minus the long naps).

It'll be interesting to see how our trip to South Asia goes. We'll be kind of backpacking around for the first 2 weeks to places that are more "remote". We were encouraged though, by reading What to Expect When you're Expecting, which recommended South Asian cuisine as a healthy option since it's often made with yogurt, and is full of nutrient rich protein (chicken, fish, lentils, beans, etc).

If anything, Tara being pregnant will slow us down a bit, to savour our time before the project begins and not go around like mad people trying to do everything possible like we probably normally would do!!

In other news, we were helping out in the nursery today at church, and I think it was good "practice" for me.

Um, not doing any practicing on the diapers until I have to though.

But just holding the babies, and wiping their noses, and trying to comfort them when they cry was good for me. I think I've always preferred kids who could walk and play already -- not such much baby-babies. But I'm looking forward to raising our child together: teaching them how to walk, throw a ball, how to read, appreciate music, appreciate life, appreciate other cultures, etc.

Above all, we pray Little Tarren will love the Lord and play a big part in redeeming culture and leading others to do the same.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Baby Lung Growing?! (By Tara)

Baby Lung must have been growing a lot today because I certainly was tired & hungry! The weird thing is that I'm not all that hungry at meal time but about an hour after eating, I feel famished again.

This afternoon we went out with friends for coffee and I got so hungry by the time we got home that I felt a little dizzy so I ate then had to take a nap.

After dinner we went to an amazingly cheap book sale where we picked up 10 books for $31...Well Darren picked out most of the books. It was quite warm & stuffy in there so after picking two or three books, all I wanted to do was go sit down for awhile. So I stuffed a Preggie Pop in my mouth then went to sit down. Mmmm, I did like that Preggie Pop!!!

I bought a book called "The  Birth House" by Ami McKay, which is a Canadian book about a midwife's apprentice named Dora. I'll admit it, I was drawn to the book because it has a pretty illustration of a pregnant woman holding her belly on it! I also picked out an Isabel Allende book called "Daughter of Fortune." I have read a few of her books in Spanish and they are really well written. Hope the English translations are as good.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thoughtful Gifts (By Tara)

I have 2 friends named Karen in Calgary and both of them are very generous. Today both of them gave me some super thoughtful pregnancy gifts!

Gift # 1 -This morning we received an email from her with an attached illustration of Baby Lung at 7 weeks. Darren posted it below.  Soo cute! I fully intend to print it, frame it and hang it on the wall in Baby Lung's new room.

Gift # 2 - I received a text this afternoon from Karen saying she had a gift to drop off. I was like, "Wow, two gifts in one day, Karen's generosity never ceases to amaze me!" I let her know that we were going out for dinner so she responded that she would hide the gift somewhere in our yard. We came home to find two moleskin-type journals that she had picked up in Hong Kong and PREGGIE POPS!!!!
I was soooo excited. On Wednesday morning when I was at home dry heaving, I read about Preggie Pops online. I REALLY wanted some and was seriously considering ordering them. But the morning sickness past and I decided to try to taste them first before ordering a huge supply online.

Maybe I will kick myself for saying this but I can't wait till I'm feeling just a bit of morning sickness again so I can give these Preggie Pops a taste.

Gift # 3 - My other friend Karen called this evening to say that she had picked up some books for me: the classic "What to Expect When You're Expecting" and a few others. I was touched at her thoughtfulness and so excited to get my hands on those books and start reading!

Thank you to both Karen's for the amazing surprise gifts!

How Our Friends and Co-workers Welcomed the News (By Darren)

So we decided that we wanted to tell our staff team in person about Little Tarren's imminent arrival. The last chance we would have everyone together was this past Tuesday. So we decided to get everyone together and get some group shots. 

Darren: "Everyone say CHEESE!"
Everyone: "CHEESE" 
Darren: "Good shot. OK, now let's a do a funny one." 

Darren: "OK, now everyone say ... "TARA'S PREGNANT!!!!!!!" 

Everyone: "Tara's ..... whaaaaaa!??!??!"

General looks of confusion, shock, and open-mouthed surprise. Then congratulations all around. It was a pretty funny moment. 

I had to say it 3 or 4 times before people people really believed me. That's what I get for telling too many jokes I guess.

This picture is so funny though, and I'm glad we got it on film :)


By Our Friend Karen Ho

Little Tarren will be the size of a Blueberry by the end of week 7. S/he is growing at a rate of 100 cells an HOUR. Amazing.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Great News About Malaria Risks (By: Tara)

Yesterday evening I was feeling pretty stressed about getting malaria while we are in South Asia. I had been researching online and found out that pregnant women are more susceptible to malaria. The doctor had prescribed mefloquine over the phone but several online sources I had read said that it is not recommended for the 1st trimester of pregnancy.

We inquired at the pharmacy and the pharmacist said that I should take the medication because getting malaria would be worse than the effects of the medicine on the baby. I wasn't sure if I agreed so we decided to see the travel doctor again, in person this time. After much persistence to get more information and see a more detailed map outlining malaria risks in the region we are traveling to, we realized some really important information!

The risks of contracting malaria is low in most larger cities in the region including all of the cities that we are planning to visit! WHAT A RELIEF!!!

I won't go to rural areas AND I won't take anti-malaria meds. Feeling much better about this trip!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Dry Heaves & Lots of Excited Screams (By Tara)

Today I experienced my first bout of morning sickness. I got up, drank one sip of water and proceeded to the bathroom where dry heaves ensued. I decided to take the morning to rest, catch up with old friends & pass on the news.
It was lots of fun to call people to catch up & tell them about Little Tarren. Some people screamed in excitement. Our staff team, could hardly believe it at first...I think that was because Darren told them in a joking way and they are pretty used to him pulling their legs about things. Christina said she had a feeling that I was pregnant when I called her.

I think I'll post a link to our blog on my Facebook status tonight or tomorrow...time to tell the world. Preparing myself for the onslaught of messages, etc...

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Cost of Mission (By Tara)

Today I had prenatal testing. This means that that I hung out in the waiting room of a lab for 45 minutes before I got called in to give 4 vials of blood and to pee in a cup (again!).

Darren came with me and promptly fell asleep once we sat down in the waiting room. I amused myself by people watching for a good half hour then got bored with that and started listening to a Tim Keller sermon on my iPod. It was really appropriate in light of what I'd been worrying about yesterday.

Through the sermon I was reminded that throughout the Bible there are countless examples of people meeting God and then being sent out of their comfort zones. You can't be a blessing unless you are willing to lose things. Going on mission will cost you comfort of home, peace of mind, etc...

For me I guess that means that I'm not going to spend the end of my first and most of my second trimester in a developing country instead of in Canada. I won't be able to control exactly what I eat and how much I exercise, I won't be able to go to regular ultrasound appointments, and I am going to an area with a risk of malaria without being able to take the medications.

But despite all of that, I need to remember to trust God, to believe that he has called Darren & I to mission this summer and that in order for us to a blessing, there is going to be a cost.

God help me remember that!

LT Right on Time (By Darren)

It's amazing how perfect God's timing is.

Being pregnant at this time is the PERFECT time. Originally we had wanted to get pregnant while we were overseas. In retrospect, this would not have been a good plan. If we had gone with our plan, Tara would have been taking malaria medications that would have been toxic to Little Tarren. If we had gotten pregnant earlier, travel would have been much more difficult while overseas.

This is perfect timing for several reasons:
a) We actually have the time and space right now to deal with all of the prenatal appointments since the school year has wound down
b) We have enough time to research and prepare for being pregnant overseas (nutrition, medications, health, etc)
c) Tara will be entering her 2nd Trimester right as the students are getting to Gateway.
d) 2nd Trimester is apparently the easiest of the 3 trimesters.

God is good!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Please Pray for Little Tarren (By Tara)

Yesterday when I went to pick up a prescription, I asked the pharmacist about the anti-malaria pills that the travel doctor had prescribed for our trip (before I knew that I was pregnant). She said that now that I'm pregnant, I shouldn't take the anti-malaria pills that I had been prescribed.

Knowing that we are going to be in Asia during monsoon season when there will be lots of mosquitoes is a bit nerve wracking. I just learned on wikipedia that:

- Each year, there are approximately 350–500 million cases of malaria, killing between one and three million people, the majority of whom are young children.

- PREGNANT WOMEN & young children are especially susceptible.

Please pray that God protects me from getting mosquito bites while I am overseas.

We decided to go ahead and announce that we are expecting now so that people can be praying about this throughout the time that we are away.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Celebrating Little Tarren at FARM (By Tara)

Tonight we celebrated the news about Little Tarren at a great restaurant called FARM. I would have to say that it was one of the best dinners we've ever had in Calgary! They use fine, local ingredients, have a great atmosphere and reasonable prices.

We started out with a cheese and charcuterie platter, the chef's selection of 2 cheeses that were safe for a pregnant woman. For our main courses, Darren had duck confit and I had hogget (teenage lamb) stew. Both were well seasoned and very well presented.

It was a lovely evening and a great way to finish off a busy day of learning about prenatal health.

PS: If you live in Calgary, I really recommend checking out FARM. We will definitely be hitting up that place again.

Yesterday I was reading about cheeses to avoid and meant to print it to bring with us but I forgot. Thankfully, our waiter's girlfriend was pregnant so he understood to ask the chef to choose two cheeses that would be safe for a preggo lady. My favourite was the one at the top, it was creamy & delicious. It was paired with dried cherries. Mmmm!

We had to wait a while before we could get in (Darren: "We had RESERVATIONS!!!"). Here is Darren waiting not so patiently.

And here I am waiting oh so patiently for a fabulous celebration dinner :)