The Kick

This morning, I felt you kicking at Leah’s belly. Leah, who pined and pined that you weren’t doing anything, is already bored with you moving inside her. Well, not so much bored, as disturbed, because well, suddenly her body is doing things not caused by her, but rather this creature inside of her, or you.

For me, on the other hand, it was magical! Partially because since that damned ER episode where Dr. Carter’s baby was stillborn, that’s my biggest fear – that something awful will happen to you, and we won’t know. So you kicking, that’s good. You kicking, that means that you’re alive, and well, kicking, if you’ll excuse the cliché. And that’s so, so cool. Because I can’t wait to meet you. I can’t wait to hold you in my arms and look at you, and smell you and feel you against my skin. I can’t believe I’ve got to wait another four whole months for that to happen. I want that now!

Week 19

Leah, 19 weeksSo it’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve written to you – it’s been a little busy around work & home, and I didn’t have the camera to take a picture of your mum’s belly.

And so a lot has happened in the interim. That’s your mum’s belly at left, with you now creating a definite bump. Last Thursday, we went in for an ultrasound, and we got to take a look at you! Despite still looking somewhat alien-like, you’re really cute. We checked out your head, heart, major organs, spine & other features – good news!: you’re in tip-top shape. You’re also just adorable, and showed us your little hands and feet, pictures of which were immediately taken by the tech there. I’ve now got little printouts, which I’ll probably put up at work. Had I a digital copy, I’d post them here too. I’m still hopeful I can get a digital copy – I’ll ask our Doctor at our next visit.

So of course, we were both hoping that we’d be able to find out what your gender is, but, being a good child of mine, your cooperation with those making demands of you was minimal. You’d turn when asked, but not to the position we wanted, and when it came time to look at your parts (you’ll learn soon that ‘your parts’ are your mum and I’s favourite terms for one’s genetalia), you were quite bashful, alternately placing hands, feet and then umbilical cord in the way of the ultrasound imager, so your gender will remain a mystery until the day your born, presumably. Which actually, is A-OK by me, as it gives us something else to look forward to – finding out ‘what’ you are, as well as who you are.

We’re currently in Oslo, visiting my mother (your paternal grandmother – just what you’ll call her has yet to be worked out), so if it suddenly got colder in there, or your food went wacky, you’ll know why. I’ll write more about Oslo next week.

Crazy Dream

So last night I had this really, really disturbing dream that your mum had a window surgically implanted in her belly so that we could actually watch you develop – you know, like those cows at agricultural science labs/farms have?

So this was part of some fly-by-night operation, who paid your mum to “help further the cause of science”, or something like that – vocabulary is never clear in my dreams, and then she did this operation, and went around to schools and so on and so forth and talked about what was happening insider her, using a laser-pointer to point out various highlights of how you were developing. Both in my dream, and when I woke up, I felt fairly disgusted by this. More, I think, by the sell-out aspect of this than the too-much-information aspect, but regardless, I was strangely mad at Leah upon waking. Dreams can have that effect. Of course, it’s only a dream, so I put the anger aside. Let this be a lesson, if you will – what happens in your head should not impact your external relations, as well, people outside of your head shouldn’t be held responsible for your thoughts or dreams.

Week 16

Leah's Belly @ 16 weeks Your mum’s belly is definitely getting bigger now. It’s starting to round out in a way that looks much more like baby-bump, less like, well, food-bump. Which makes sense, because you’re now about the size of an avocado, apparently. Which, while not that big, is still actually something I can picture. And starting now, you’ll double your size in about 3 weeks. Also, you’re growing toenails and I’ve been told that your eyes & ears are getting closer to being in the right places. So of course, right now, you’re a stereotypical B-movie alien in appearance, on a very small scale, is my impression.

Your mum seems to be doing much better, although I think your making her body reshape itself is not nearly as comfortable as she might have hoped, as she’s getting weird stretching pains in her belly. Nothing serious, so don’t feel bad or anything, but there you go.

Outside of the womb, is Christmas time in the world. Which is a time of year I’m not a huge fan of. I’m not christian, in that I don’t follow the christian faith, and all the buying & gift-giving doesn’t interest me that much (although I admit, I do like receiving gifts, so there we go). Of course, I also feel guilty for not really liking the whole thing, and I spend this holiday conflicted about my desire to please people and make them happy by ‘getting into the spirit’ as it were, and my own desire to simply ignore the thing. One thing I do like is the excuse for a little bit of time off from work to spend with your mum. In years to come, I’ll probably really appreciate the chance to spend a few days with you too, as well as the rest of my family, when opportunity presents itself.

Oh! We went to the doctor the other day, and I got to use the Doppler to find you (well, your hearbeat). And just like the last time, it was so awesome, although it was better because this time, I was the one that found you, not the doctor!

Week 15

Leah, at 15 weeksSo now we’ve been putting up with you for a whole 15 weeks inside your mum. After a few weeks of difficulty, things seem to be getting better: your mum’s not nearly so cranky and better yet, her nausea seems to have subsided. On the downside, it appears that you’re beginning to compress her bladder now, as she has to pee all the time! (and I suppose now is nothing compared to what it’ll be like in a few months).

This past weekend we were away with some of our friends at a party in Victoria, where I, and everyone else, got to drink and be merry, but Leah was a little excluded because, well, we’d like you to show up healthy, and her not drinking, or eating deli meats, or unpasteurized cheeses are some of those sacrifices we need to make. It also brought up the issue of isolation once you’re around.

See, we neither of us see friends that much. I think I see more people than Leah, but I do this at clubs, seeing bands, and the like. And I imagine that I won’t be able to do that for a while once you’re born – that whole having to be 19 to get in thing – I’m good, but I don’t think I can make you a fake ID quite yet (remind me that I said that when you’re, oh, 16 or so, and I’ll deny it!). And Leah, well, Leah doesn’t really see a lot of people at all. Our friends Guy & Jess, sure, but apart from that, not so much. And so I think she’s keenly aware that she may well be quite isolated once you’re around, as, well, who’ll she see? And I don’t know the answer to that. Hopefully, your mum will meet some nice people in her prenatal exercise classes, or we’ll meet some nice folks when taking birthing classes, or whatever it is we’ll be taking in the new year.

Much of me hopes that our friends will actually want to see us, with baby, and we’ll be able to go an hang out at their place for a few hours, or have them over, or whatnot. We discovered that one couple we know, a really fabulous couple whom I’ve never got to know nearly so well as I’d liked, are trying to get pregnant themselves. If they manage to do that in the next few months, you and their kid will be of a similar age, and thus at (presumably) similar development levels, and we’ll be able to share, commiserate, etc together. But that’s maybe a pipe-dream.

Financially, things are starting to look up for me. I could well be looking at my best year yet, at Pencilneck, given how much we have out in quotes at the moment. Combined with an ever-shrinking load of monthly payments, and I’m starting to believe that I can afford you, and will even be able to spoil you from time to time, or at least put away money for your future.

Mum, 14 weeks

Leah, at 14 weeksThat’s your mum at 14 weeks. Not really a noticeable difference in bump from last week. Pretty much all of my friends now know about you. And I’m pretty stoked about your pending arrival too. I’ve been waffling from frightened, feeling not ready, feeling unsure about whether I really wanted to be a dad, to being really excited. Now, all those other feelings have gone, and I’m just excited for you to exist.

I’m also starting to think about how to afford you. Hopefully, in a week or so, I’ll have cleared off my credit-card debt with the help of my company and some sort of curious tax-exemption that the Canadian Government has cooked up involving owner dividends – it’s all greek to me. But that should allow me to then set up an RESP, or Registered Education Savings Plan. See, sending you to university is going to cost an arm and leg by the time you’re of that age, given current inflation. So I might as well start now. The plan is a $100/month, from about March (3 months before your born) until, well, until you’re in university, or some other type thing that requires us to pay tuition for you.

I’ve also been pricing toys & accessories for you on the web, like a baby bjorn, and a bouncer, and a changeing table, and strollers, and car seats – and even a car, which we just got rid of, but I suspect we’ll want again when you’re around. Maybe not right away, but in, say, a year? All that costs a lot of money. Not to mention the things I want, like a really good digital camera to take thousands and thousands of photos of you with, and a new computer so we can hide all our CDs from your grubby little fingers, and a new PVR, so that we can record all the shows we can’t watch when we’re looking after you, etc. I think between you and me, littl’un, we’re going to make some stores very happy.

Mum, 13 weeks

Leah, at 13 weeksThat’s your mum’s belly, at 13 weeks. She now weighs 147 lbs, which is a full pound heavier than last week. Which means we’ve still got a boatload of weeks until you arrive. But it does mean that we’re through the first trimester, and thus things are a lot safer for you. We’ve heard your heartbeat, told our friends and family about you, and even picked out a first name for you, regardless of what gender you will eventually appear as. Should you be a boy, you’re probably going to be named “Liam” and if you’re a girl, you’ll likely have to learn how to spell “Siobhan” (I think that’s how you spell it. See? Even I don’t know how to spell that crazy name that we like!).

I’m going to keep putting up these weekly photos, mostly for my own benefit, but hopefully you’ll get a kick out of this someday too. Or be embarrassed, or think I’m a kook, or whatnot.

In terms of you, you should now be essentially fully formed, and from this point on, it’s all about the getting bigger and bigger.

First check-up

You had, in essence, your first medical check-up today. Your 11 weeks along now, nearing 12. And so this was the first time where we could have a listen to you. And we heard you! We heard your tiny little heart beating, and my own heat skipped a beat, I was so excited! Going in, the doctor (Dr. Hall, who you’ll presumably meet on the day your born) told us she might not be able to find the heart, because it’s still so early on, but nearly as soon as she put the Doppler (the device used to listen for your heart) on Leah’s belly, we heard your heart, beating away at 120 beats per minute. I didn’t think that such a minor little thing could have made me so happy, but hearing that heartbeat certainly did. I’m sure that this feat will be matched or surpassed many times in the next few years, but that moments stands as one of the best in my entire life to this point.

And so apparently, you’re busy down there growing eyelashes, teeth, finger nails and more internal organs. Which is pretty impressive, really. And I believe you’re all of about 1 inch or so in size, although that could be way off – I don’t really know.

So also exciting is that your passing your first medical means that it’s safe for us to tell our friends that you’re on your way. Which is nice, because I’ve had to lie a few times about you to this point, which I don’t like doing so much. But now I can tell everyone who asks! I’m torn, of course, between telling everyone as I see them and only telling people who ask, or if there’s some conversational reason to tell people. I suspect it’ll be the former, because, really, I’m so happy, and I’m not too good at keeping those sorts of secrets (my own). But I’m not going to put your existence on my site just yet. Maybe post ultra-sound, at which point, I’ll hopefully be able to put up your ultra-sound picture as well, so that everyone in the world can see how you look as a foetus. Which, when you’re 18 or so, I’m sure you’ll hate me for, but hey, who cares!?!

The Planning

The other day there was a news piece on the CBC about how some parents, particularly in Vancouver, are getting there not-yet-conceived children onto early childcare waitlists. I then proceeded to have a minor freakout. Childcare! How the hell do I know what to look for in childcare? And how could I possibly know what kind of childcare I’ll need in 2 years? And how can I possibly afford it? Childcare can run $10-100 a day! And most are in the $20-40 range, apparently. Which is insane! I don’t make that much money!.

And of course, when I talked to your mum, she reminded me that she would most likely be back at UBC, studying nursing, and UBC has pretty decent childcare, apparently. Which is excellent.

But it has started me thinking about all the numerous ways that you are going to radically change my life: planning. I’m a notoriously poor planner. I don’t like to plan, having a long-term plan stresses me out and makes me feel trapped. But I’m going to have to get over that, because I need to plan for you and most importantly, for your future.

Prepping the Nest

So for the last while, we’ve been living in (pretty nice) 1-bedroom apartment in Kitsilano (don’t worry, there’s not a test on this later). But with the Impending You, we realized that we’re going to want a 2-bedroom at the very least. Sadly, given our current financial situation, and the Vancouver housing market, we were going to be hard pressed to find somewhere both nice and affordable to raise you in. I’d been beginning to resign myself to living in the suburbs, or some run-down east-side home temporarily, or perhaps worse, staying where we are.

Ideally, of course, I’d like to buy a nice little house somewhere and raise you in that. But we’re not quite there yet. We (your mum and I) are, however, doing a pretty good job of paring down our expenses right now. Partially to save for you (things like clothes, food, and an education fund) and partially to eventually buy our first home.

But so today, we found out we’ve been accepted to a co-op. Which is great. A co-op is like a built-in community. Rents tend to be cheaper, and they foster closer community ties amongst the residents. For instance, there are numerous kids where we’re going to be moving, which you might get to play with, or at the very least, we could ask to babysit you for us once in a while.

So we’re moving in December. The family thtat’s leaving had a kid, and so there’s already a room painted in kid-style, with clouds and sky, etc. And more cupboard space. And 2 balconies! In somes ways, it’ll be smaller, but in other ways, hopefully more important ways, it’ll be super-fantastic!

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