Of Burping and Fish Guts
by Karla ° Thursday, August 31, 2006
Because I am the self proclaimed pickiest vegetarian in the whole wide world, I have to be particularly diligent about cramming my body with all the right vitamins and minerals and sustenance and stuff that makes for a healthy baby. And some of the things I do kind of make me gag and gross me out, but I do it because when the day comes that little bubs starts gyrating in circles on my last nerve because he can’t have an ice cream cone covered in chocolate sprinkles, I’ll be able to tell him about a time when I would have preferred ice cream over vile fish guts burps.

I don’t eat fish. Never have, never will. But because it is such rich supply of Alpha-Linolic Acid (ALA). Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA), better known as Omega 3 - the stuff that makes us smart, I take supplements (along with omega 6 and 9). And I gag each and every time I swallow the disgustingly huge horse pills filled with oils of fish.


I can’t help but wonder how one obtains said oil. Are the fish squeezed in some sort of vice like device, like an orange, expelling their brain building guts into little capsules? Or are they mashed and squished and squashed until there is nothing left of them but cranium enhancing spunk? And if I was brave enough to slice open a capsule for further inspection - would it stink as bad as my burps taste? These are the issues that wrack my brain while I plug my nose and force down my child’s free ride to discerning geniusville.

Then again, maybe all this gagging and choking down gray matter enhancing tablets is a nothing but gibbering yackety-yakiness. You would think with all the fish chum cruising around in my body I would be able to think of something more intelligent than festering over how scandalous a fish oil burp tastes.

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Big Bad Belly Shots - 21 Weeks
by Karla ° Sunday, August 27, 2006
With 147 days of pregnanthood behind me and 117 more days until delivery, this pregnancy if flying by so fast, yet so slow all the same time.


I feel like a bloated blowfish that just devoured an entire school of floundering fish followed by a picnic of swallowing a whole pumpkin. The squirminess in my tummy consists of kicking, jabbing, rolling and show-offy little boy summersaults. I swear I felt this uterine trampoline hopping cadet’s bladder crushing nose dives at 12 weeks, but most sources indicate that is impossible. In any case, at least Mark’s carefully placed hands have also been enjoying little bubs calisthenical vigor for the past three weeks.

My gestating capsule is growing and expanding so much faster than I imagined it could. I already look larger than I did at 26 weeks with my first pregnancy, yet my weight gain is exactly the same. At this rate, those stomach stretch marks I so blissfully avoided the first time around are sure to make an appearance soon.

To compare, the picture of me on the left is five weeks away from 26 weeks, which is how far along I was in the photo on the right when pregnant with Ava.

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Lessons in Neglect
by Karla ° Thursday, August 24, 2006
Last Friday was supposed to be all about me. Mark had valiantly volunteered unending massages and foot rubs - and with a sly wink, some hanky panky if I was to be so lucky.

Anticipating some serious pampering, I squeezed my butt into the sexiest unmentionables I could find. Although my well stocked lingerie collection doesn’t exactly fit anymore now that my hips and ass are wider after giving birth and I am now five months pregnant again, I’ve convinced my husband the extra ass cheek flesh that dangles precariously on either side of the constricted fabric is a purposeful attempt to put the booty on display.

While loving the lavishing attention I was receiving, the dog rang his potty bell. He never rings his potty bell. He’ll stand there like a tree trunk at the door and if no one lets him out, unleash Lake Samson all over the floor. Considering his love of snorkling in the toilet bowl, his urinary lake building capabilities are quite impressive – as long as he's outside when the damn breaks. Teaching him to tell us when he’s ready to burst however, is a whole other story. In short, there’s a potty bell by the door that I have been trying to teach him to ring.

The problem with the potty bell is that he just doesn’t seem to get it. His eyes cross and he stares at me like an impaired ferret with a side swept tongue dangling out of his goofy chops when I twist his head from side to side forcing him to ring the bell with his nuzzle. To show me how subnormal his understanding and intellect is, he responds to my attempt at jingle inducing head wiggles by burying his furry noggin’ in my crotch. Needless to say, I have become lazy and somewhat given up on the potty bell.

Anyhow, there we were, just my Mark and me, and I was getting all the attention in the world that I could want. I was in a blissful place where foot and scalp massages reigned on princess me and the last thing I wanted to do was come back to reality and let the dog out to potty.

But then the bell rang again, and we ignored him. Finally, by the third ring, the sinking feeling of what we may find at the bottom of the stairs set in, and my brave and heroic husband went to investigate the damage.

Oh and was there ever damage. The pooch let the waters of Lake Samson spew forth like a violent Niagara on my kitchen floor, which was followed by an explosive trail of violent ass diarrhea.

I suppose my lessons here are three fold. For starters, the penetrative ability for intelligence to enter my dogs brain is like fort knocks, but there is a flicker of hope for him yet.


Secondly, from this point forward I should relinquish the thought that anything will ever be all about selfish little me anymore – especially with a baby on the way.

And thirdly, the fact that my husband shared in the cleaning duties of my dogs back door trots while still finding me mopping up pee in underthings tight enough to give my ass cheeks their own set of distended cleavage worthy enough to warrant a whistle, makes him the most outstanding man on the planet.

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Gravity and Love
by Karla ° Monday, August 21, 2006

I find it amazing how the photo below of my my two babies, lying equally peaceful in the gestating capsule that is my uterus, shows how equally distinct and unique they are.


Ava (on the right), had my chubby round face and little pug nose. She had Mark’s sweet soft lips and his cute-as-a bug little ear lobes. It looks like bubalubs (on the left) has a strong and thoughtful brow like his father, and perhaps a button nose like his mom.

It’s mind boggling to think how our DNA is split and divided and assembled into little miniature versions of ourselves.

Even more mind boggling is trying to figure out how to measure how much my heart can hold. I’m firmly convinced the expansive depths of the love and bond I feel for this baby completely defy the logics of mathematical probabilities and stretch beyond the unbounded infinity of space and time.

I’m also firmly convinced that the rapid growth of my mountainous matronliness has begun to defy the laws of physics as my breasts and stomach develop their own gravitational pull to compensate for my rapid growth, as proven by the recent development of stretch marks on my right breast.

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Panic
by Karla ° Friday, August 18, 2006

I’m a total Type A personality, so I really shouldn’t feel so shocked that the symptoms I have been feeling lately were diagnosed as panic attacks, but I am. For the first time in my life I feel like I am spinning out of control over something I have so little control over.

I never would have guessed I was having panic attacks. It didn't even occur to me and since I've never experienced anything like that before, didn't even know what it would feel like. I honestly thought that feeling faint, dizzy and shaky and like my heart is about to rip out of my chest while a lead weight crushed my lungs was my body’s way of telling me to eat eat eat, because it sort of does feel like intense hunger after a four day fast. If it wasn’t that, I thought maybe my iron levels were a tad low or that my already low blood pressure had dipped even lower than my regular 95/55 range. I never would have guessed that I might be experiencing anxiety in levels high enough to impact my body physically - I’m just so used to the emotional impact of this pregnancy. I guess my brain has decided to escalate things enough to let me know that I am more afraid that I am letting myself believe. Maybe I'm not doing a very good job communicating how I'm feeling.

I’ve been trying hard to keep my emotions in check, partly for my own peace of mind, but mostly for this darling little baby I’m carrying. It probably doesn’t help that the insane levels of hormones coursing through my body right now are probably the main culprit in my inability to settle my raging thoughts and feelings. It’s mind boggling to think that the amount of estrogen a pregnant woman’s body creates in one single a day is equivalent to that generated by a non-pregnant woman’s ovaries in three years. I can’t put all the blame on the hormones though. This pregnancy is making me face a lot of emotional baggage still lingering from Ava’s delivery and passing. Truth be told though, it’s so all-encompassing and intense and it’s hard to think about it without feeling the waves of panic taking over. I feel stuck between a rock and hard place. If I think about it, I'm fucked, and if I don't think about it, I'm fucked.

To cope, I read. But I have such a short attention span these days that I can’t even make it though an entire book. I have 19 items checked out of the library, and I barely make it past a few pages in a book before I catch my brain wandering and pondering the life in my stomach and hoping beyond all hope he survives.

I also cope by eating giant helpings of Rice Krispie squares while super-glueing my ass to the sofa so I can mindlessly entertain my brain while watching Big Brother All Stars and Rock Star Supernova because the pop tarts on Canadian Idol bore the crap out me.

At least thinking about how much I hate pop music distracts me long enough to forget that my placenta is covering my cervix and my perinatologist recommended a hot and heavy routine of no-sex because even though my placenta will probably migrate northwards and there is no need for concern right now, I *could* experience bleeding from it’s current position and I think if I did, I might just become delusional enough to appreciate what the big deal is with American and Canadian Idol.

And that makes me panic even more.

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Acorn
by Karla ° Tuesday, August 15, 2006
All of my appointments went swimmingly swell yesterday and despite having to endure that god-awful vagina cam at the end of it to verify the degree of which my placenta is covering my cervix, all is “normal”.

The fetal echo revealed all is “normal” as well.

I have put on 11 pounds and my uterus has pushed my intestines and stomach into obscene locations. I can hear stomach gurgles about 2 inches from my left nipple and my heart is caught somewhere in my throat as I savor the good news of “normal” results, yet proceed with reserved happiness and caution. Part of me wants to feel slaphappy and giddy, but I just can’t fully bring those emotions out in the open yet - not until I’m holding my baby boy snug and tight in my arms.

A baby boy! I am going to be a mother to a little baby boy. I can’t even begin to describe the joy that brings me.

Mark is beaming from ear to ear knowing a pint-sized testosterone fueled version of himself will be taking up residency on this planet. I must remember to never tell him that his son’s “huge and manly rod of power” reminded me of an acorn.

Mark’s brother and sister-in-law are also expecting a baby boy in September. I can already feel the sibling rivalry between them heat up as they exchange gushy machoisms and heroic tales of their son’s hulking baby penises.

19 week ultrasound


12 week ultrasound

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Big Bad Belly Shots - 19 Weeks
by Karla ° Sunday, August 13, 2006

Note to self: Trying to take your own photo makes you look cross-eyed and perhaps like you are suffering from a brain obstruction. Enlist the help of others to capture your whimsical pregnancy nostalgia.


Note to self: Whimsical pregnancy nostalagia (even when help has been enlisted to photograph it) kinda looks like the land of sleepwalking zombies the day the world turned yellow. Open eyes next time.


Even the pooch can't resist high-fiving and rubbing my tummy.

Note to self: One of the best things about pregnancy is that my boobs make an appearance. If I squished them together real tight, I might even be able to create a crevasse of cleavage.

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Half way
by Karla ° Friday, August 11, 2006
Monday will officially mark the halfway point in this pregnancy. I will be 19 weeks. My scheduled c-section will be at 37 weeks and five days (from last menstrual period), or 38 weeks according to my dating ultrasound, which makes sense; the two days difference account for the fact that I don’t ovulate on day 14 of my day 28 cycle, but day 12 or 13.

Why is that important you might be wondering? Even though anywhere from 37 – 42 weeks is considered a full term, there have been cases where babies born at 37 weeks had not reached full lung maturity. It’s a tricky balance here. The goal is to avoid labour at all costs, but deliver as close to my due date as possible. Problem is that I went into labour at 38 weeks and 3 days with Ava and it progressed like a motherfucker with contractions happening right on top of each other with plenty of grape kool aid vomitus projectile matter mixed stomach acid hurls in between.

This halfway point is a milestone of sorts. I am halfway to the end, but nowhere near breathing any sighs of relief. The halfway point also marks an important day of anxious testing and gender forecasting (I think it’s a girl).

I’ll be having a Level II Ultrasound, followed by a fetal echocardiogram at the hospital for Sick Kids. I remember the circumstances under which Ava had her echo done (if you want to read about it, the incredibly long post can be found here).
I found myself at the hospital after decreased fetal movement only to end up admitted when ultrasound detected an irregular heart beat. It was a flutter of activity from that point and I had to spend the night in the hospital until they could schedule me in for a fetal echo the next day. And you know what? After everything was said and done, I was assured everything was fine. PAC’s (Premature Atrial Contractions) are completely normal in pregnancy and was told not to worry.

So I’m trying not to make two plus two equal ten here, but I was told everything was fine last time, and then my baby died! I was also unhopefully told the issue with her heart was something that no ultrasound or echo could ever detect. I feel mixed because a positive test result should be taken as a good sign, a successful milestone and give us a little peace of mind. Knowing it’s not a guarantee or a fix-all, make remaining optimistic difficult. My husband made a good point last night as I wept. For us, having a baby has only meant strained marital relationships during the trying to conceive phase, and then death and dying after we became pregnant and delivered our baby, and then more strained marital relations trying to come together on the same page about having kids again, and then more death and dying after having a miscarriage. That’s our only experience with pregnancy and trying to start a family – death and tears mixed with a fierce love and commitment that is the glue that holds our marriage together.

I guess what I am trying to say is that no test will put me at ease until a live, breathing baby is snuggled sweetly in my arms, lulled by the sound of my voice and warmth of my skin.

Winning the divisiveness my husband and I share on the name game might help a smidge too. I still have yet to convince Mark that naming a little girl in his honour with a name like “Markette” will forever condemn this kid to a life of bullying, black eyes and stolen lunches.



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Naughty Pregnant Woman
by Karla ° Thursday, August 10, 2006
Some days it feels like I am living in my own solitary confinement while I gestate this baby to term. My body is no longer my own and, truth be told, I miss sitting outside in the summer pounding back stella’s. I’m only human.

There are about a billion pregnancy No-No’s out there, and with each and every no-no you can find a source that say’s it ok, and a source that say’s it’s not. It’s all so confusing, but still, I would never paint. Hell, I wouldn’t even be around fumes after I ovulated. I still use my microwave, but practically run out of the way once I hit the start button. I don’t pump my own gas, I won’t visit my parents if they smoke in the house, kitty litter duty has been officially relinquished to my husband, under no circumstances do I garden or even weed my gardens, I wear gloves when cleaning the bathroom. I even refuse to take Tylenol. And despite my hate for swallowing vitamins, I have been on prenatals since 2003 when we started trying for kids because neural tube defects happen in the first precious few weeks of life and folic acid is a B vitamin complex that requires constant replenishing.

Even after all that, I’ve come to realize that I am not a total martyr, and probably the biggest hypocrite when it comes to portraying the Disney book rendition of pregnancy perfection. Come your third pregnancy (with no living children to show for it), you start to realize that so much is out of your control and small slips of gestating perfection are not the end of the world.

In any case, to cleanse my dirty dirty deeds, I have decided to confess.

Bless me oh omnipotent pregnancy police, for I have been a naughty naughty knocked up woman.

* Sometimes I sleep on my back
* I lift our monster of a vacuum
* I don’t eat meat
* I drink half a mug of coffee a day
* I take warm baths
* I use the eating for two excuse when my food consumption becomes embarrassing
* I don’t feel guilty about being a lazy ass
* I’ve eaten feta cheese, three times
* When I want a treat I pull out my pregnancy card and whine until my husband runs to the store to get it for me
* I make my husband lay on the dogs couch (and the dog on the floor – gasp!) claiming I need to keep my legs elevated to avoid tree trunk ankle swelling
* I have consumed diet drinks with aspartame.
* I’ve sat in the sun (but trust me, my folic acid is not depleted. Practically everything I eat is oozing folic acid)
* After a lengthy discussion with my OB about my concerns
she actually came out and told me it’s ok to dye my hair, even though I hadn’t even mentioned it (yes at 26 my gray’s are THAT bad and THAT obvious). - I dyed my hair. The shampoo had aloe in it. Shock! Gasp! I know!
* Vegetables are making me gag
* I think Kraft Dinner tastes heavenly.
* I beg my husband for back rubs 7 out of the 7 days in a week.
* I hate milk, but force down yogurt
* Even though I’m pregnant, I still hate the idea of gaining weight.
There!

I feel so much better now that I have come clean. I deserve a spanking and a cookie.

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Belly Confessions
by Karla ° Friday, August 4, 2006
There is this absolutely amazing site called The Shape of a Mother, which chronicles women of every shape and size and their struggles/acceptance of their changed shape after bearing children.

I read this site captivated by the different struggles woman have with their changed shape but often find myself rather angry with those who bitch and moan about their lumps and bumps when they actually have their baby to hold and love. What I wouldn’t give for a huge pile of stretch marks to be holding Ava right now.

It’s really got me thinking about my own journey of bodily change. As much as finding it petty and irrelevant that anyone would complain about their body when their child was actually born healthy into this world bothers me, I do realize that I’m also a total hypocrite. I’m vain too, and I’m struggling with the same body issues. I guess deep down vanity isn’t an easy obstacle to overcome.

Most days I’m seething mad that my body went through everything it did only to be left childless in the end. My shape has never been the same. I’m thicker everywhere and much of my old wardrobe has been collecting dust waiting for my original waist and 34 inch hips to make a miraculous comeback. The worst of it is the gnarly c-section scar that will forever be a reminder of the emergency surgery I underwent. The last thing I remember before being cut open is being held down on the operating table by three people while I screamed through a contraction pleading for them to save my baby before the knock out gas was placed on my face. I wish I could see the gentle grace of Ava in my scar, but all I see is fear and pain.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. The grief of losing Ava is bearable. I can accept it. The trauma of that day still brings me to my knees and I can’t seem to move past it.

Sometimes it’s hard to remember that babies are actually conceived and born into this world with a fighting chance. I’m trying to focus on the positives of pregnancy, and not dwell on what I can’t change. In keeping with the theme of positivity, I might have a new body after carrying a child for nine months, but I’m one lucky bitch when it comes to pregnancy – at least when it comes to symptoms of the physical nature.

With my first pregnancy:

I didn’t get constipated and my ass was spared the grief of hemorrhoids.

I have no stretch marks, and never ended up with that freaky streaky linea nigra down my belly.

My gams, although subjected to normal swelling, survived pregnancy with naught a hint of varicose veins or an evil web of spider veins

To this day I don’t think I even know what heartburn would feel like, and certainly was spared the horrors of indigestion.

I had no weird cravings, (unless Rice Krispie squares and dill pickle Crispi Mini’s (not together) are weird.

I had no slimly oozy trail of discharge and no vaginal infections. In fact, I couldn’t even tell you what a yeast infection feels like because the gods above baking those vagina loaves have spared me from ever knowing that monstrosity.

My mammary glands did not subject my nipples to leaky yellow colostrum dribbles and my back aches were, in hindsight, mild.

I didn’t get carpel tunnel or the “mask of pregnancy” and I gained a perfect 27 lbs, which even though was plenty for me, was on the low side of the 25 – 35 recommended pounds considering my starting weight.

In all seriousness, the worst I had was acne, fat ankles, sleepiness and tender gums interspersed with bouts of oafish clumsiness and popcorn-head forgetfulness. My hair became lustrously thick and gorgeous, I barely had to shave my legs (!?!), and I only had two hormonal meltdowns which was probably due to the fact that my days were 11 or 12 hours long with my commute, and I still managed to do all the chores and work out every freaking day!

Oh, and I only one headache that made me want to dismantle and rip my head off for relief.

I suppose once I hit the seven month mark the remainder of my pregnancy was switched to high risk/high concern, but as far as physical symptoms, I was spared the worst and blessed with a rather lucky pregnancy. Particularly since the entire mass of baby weight and then some came off afterwards. This was a saving grace because when it comes to the shape of a mother, it’s really hard to look at my war wounds and new body only to have no baby to make it all feel worthwhile.

So now that I’ve come forward with my pregnancy confessional, anyone who has journeyed through pregnanthood now has my permission to hate me from the bottom of my hooves to the top of my pitchfork.

I’ve probably jinxed myself into looking like a blown out tuba by the time this baby is ready to be delivered, but so far the cottage cheese situation (not happening) on my ass looks promising.

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Mr. Body
by Karla ° Thursday, August 3, 2006
It has happened.

I just couldn’t hold back any longer.

Memories of my old love affair began twirling in my mind and I just couldn’t resist opening the floodgates and inviting him back into my life once again.

This isn’t just some cheap old love affair like the hot and steamy
hanky-panky I share with my blow dryer when straightening the curly ringlets that germinate from my tortured scalp, this is a full blown tryst with the most huggable bed buddy in the world. He’s so soft that even my husband doesn’t seem to mind sharing the bed for a little three way spooning.

He’s very accepting of my ballooning girth, and offers the most comforting support. He even lays there all night while I smoother him between my legs. He brings a total sense of relief and I enjoy the most enchantedly deep sleeps when we share the bed together. I know the sense of camaraderie that we share is limited to those intimate moments in my life when I’m harvesting a pumpkin where my appendix and stomach used to me, but his short stay is a huge welcome under the girth of my commodiously expanding midsection.

Mr. Body Pillow is like a little piece of heaven, and even though I think my husband gets slightly jealous that I prefer snuggling with my puffy pillow over him, his acceptance and understanding of my wants and needs (like sleep) is endearing.

Although, part of me wonders if he is secretly harboring a tab bit of resentment for Mr. Body Pillow. Last night he came home from work and told me he sold all of his stocks and mutual funds and bought a bean farm. Either he wants to gas Mr. Pillow out of my life or he's looking for some serious attention.

I just don’t know if I can tear myself away from Mr. Body’s perfectly adequate five feet of pure substantial bliss.

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