Tuesday, 29 March 2011

I really love...

...my new peshtemal from TurkishBath because it is the only bath towel that still covers my entire body including my big belly!

Peshtemals are large hand wooven towels used in Hamam. They are soft, light and dry quickly. Plus, they look very nice in my bathroom. I got one for Dan as a gift but, because a jealous wife is not a happy wife, I also got one for myself!

Sunday, 27 March 2011

week 39

Sugar shack season is one of my favorite times of the year. I have been telling Alice, for the past few weeks, that she was not allowed to come out today because I had to get my yearly fix of fat and sugar. And I did...I think that I gained an extra 5 lbs in one meal!!!

For the occasion, our "group" had to wear checkered shirts. Dan suggested that I take one of his and pimp it up a bit. Let me tell you that the staff was pretty impressed with my big belly!

This weekend, I also learned that Dan had a childhood! When we moved in together, he didn't have any objects from when he was a kid. So I got very excited when, while visiting us, his mother gave him back his baby quilt (that she made by hand) and his stuffed bear.

The quilt will be installed, as art, on a wall in the nursery. As for the bear, that we named Bobo after Mr. Burns childhood teddy bear in The Simpsons, it now lives on Dan's bedside table!

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Ignorant Claudia - weekly question

I really don't understand! Dan really doesn't understand! So before we bring this baby home, can somebody please explain us what is wrong with our society!!!

I consider that Dan and I are responsible people. I also believe that, at 31 years old, we can easily find our inner kid. We took our time before we decided to make a baby (you might not know it but Dan and I are high school sweethearts and we have been together for almost 14 years) and we can't wait to spend lots of time with our little baby girl...and when she will be a toddler, a kid, a teenager and an adult.

So how come the result of this online survey (total respondents: 20,042) done by UrbanBaby indicates that 60% of parents really don't enjoy spending time with their kids at all, and wish they could spend less time with them???


fruits and vegetables toys...I totally see myself playing with those!!!

Friday, 25 March 2011

Oh, the possibilities

I did it again! I just watched a few episodes of "get it out now or I will kill you all" aka A Baby Story. On the show, most women are in labor wearing the less empowering piece of clothing ever. I told my husband that no hospital gown (even "designer hospital gown") would come near me and that I want to be half naked or completely naked most of the time!

Anyway, this post is not about childbirth fashion but childbirth positions. For a first baby, the average childbirth time is about 18 hours. Unless you are planning a home birth, you will probably be doing a good part of your labor at home before going to the hospital...until you have 60 seconds contractions, every 5 minutes for 2 hours (according to my doctor and my doula).

Of all the reading material that I got during my prenatal classes, this retro looking page is my favorite. Those positions can help you deal with the pain (for people who are planning a more natural childbirth but also for people who are waiting for their epidural), find some comfort between contractions and in most cases accelerate labor. After all, gravity really does wonders!

Did you have a favorite position while in labor? If you are going to give birth soon, are you planning to try different positions or to have a more "classic" approach?

Reproduce like bunnies

Having a maternity blog is wonderful! Most of the time, when I'm not complaining about the fascinating side effects of pregnancy (did I tell you about the dozens of freckles that appeared on my torso), I get to share unique birth stories, little crafts, never ending lists (!) and pretty things that I see on Internet.

I always loved Shannah's minimalist yet vibrant softies. As soon as I saw her new collection (...at 3am, in the dark, while eating white chocolate and cherry cookies), I had to write a little something about it.

Alice is a spring baby. Sadly, she probably won't be welcomed with crocus and daffodils. We got fresh snow yesterday! When I looked at Shannah's spring rabbits, I had a vision! I was outside with Dan, we were taking our first stroller walk with the baby. We looked so tired but, oh, so happy! It was warm, there was no more snow, we were not wearing !@#$%^& winter boots! It was glorious!!!

For Shannah, the rabbits metaphor recalls intuition, regeneration, and redemption. Isn't it perfect under the circumstance!

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

I want to be a cat


Yesterday, I wrote that I was more than ready to welcome that baby into the world. When I think about it, I don't even fear childbirth (please, don't burst my bubble)!

However, I am only at 38 weeks and Alice could decide to come out at, I don't know, 41 weeks and 6 days. While having intense gastric reflux last night, I was wondering what I should do until the big day. Now, tell me if there is something wrong with me. Would it be nice, just for the remaining time, to act like if I was not pregnant? The problem is, at that point, it is almost impossible for people (and how could I blame them) to dissociate "pregnant Claudia" from "regular" Claudia.

It is probably part of the "game" but, even if you don't want to, your pregnancy become the "center of the universe" and people start to ask you non-sense questions like "so, how is Alice today"? And when you try to talk about something else like the situation in Japan or in Lybian, you don't even have time to realize it and you get another "did I tell you about my friend's hair stylist that gave birth 10 years ago"?

To conclude this pregnant lady rant (blame the gastric reflux), I realized that cats are super smart creatures! Yes, cats! Right before they are about to give birth, they find a nice safe place (no, I won't give birth in my closet!), they quietly isolate themselves from people (um, cats) who ask them "so, how are the kittens today" and let nature do its things. Well, today, I truly want to be a cat ;)


Kids modern wall art, C is for cat by Wee Doodle

week 38

My lovely friends,

It is now wise for me to let the control freak go and simply focus on the present. I closed all my maternity books, read one last time my notes from prenatal classes, put my completed baby to-do list in the recycle bin...and voilà!

While trying some pre-maternity clothes (like my navy XS polka dots shirt), I realized how time flies when you are pregnant. I feel like it was yesterday that I wanted to vomit all over the country house that we rented back in September!

Each pregnancy is unique. Mine officially started with post traumatic stress after a hold up. It is not an ideal situation but this is another proof that you can't control everything. You just have to be strong, adapt and move on!

My way of moving on was to create this blog. Some people might not understand the impact it had on my pregnancy, my way of looking at childbirth and my ability to become (in a near future) a mother!

Maybe it was the hormones but your comments, advices and kind words of encouragement brought me to tears on many occasions. So thank you! Thank you for taking the time, thank you for not judging me and thank you for sharing your personal experiences.

You gave me the privilege to learn from wonderful women!


Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Just one? ... and a nursery tour!

Why do we make babies? I know that it probably sounds like a strange question but I don't really have a clear answer. Many decades ago, in my part of the world, religion was the reason why couples had kids...a lot of kids. However, today, things are completely different. So why do people "judge" us when we tell them that we only want to have one kid? What is the problem with having an only child? Will our kid automatically turn into a spoiled and selfish monster?

While stitching a simple play mat for Alice, my future bratty only child (!!!), I started to make a mental list of things that I would like to teach her. Doing this exercise was actually very interesting. After 38 weeks, I researched pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, safety measures....but nothing on "so, what do you want to teach that kid".

After a few hours of quilting, this is my top five list:
trust people but don't be naive;
enjoy simple pleasures that will brighten your day;
try new things, make mistakes and learn from them;
feel beautiful and accept that we are all unique;
respect other while respecting yourself.


Update (21/03/11)
a 75% cervical effacement
a 1 cm cervical dilatation
a 0 head position in my pelvis (the doctor touched Alice's head!!!)

Monday, 21 March 2011

Bigfoot likes hand printed toys

I'm a bigfoot! Not the hairy creature also known as sasquatch but the pregnant woman with an enormous left foot. I know, I should not complain, it is just one body part. And, on the bright side, looking at (or forcing Dan to look at) my new freaky foot is fairly entertaining.

This morning, while my foot rested on a pile of pillows, I discovered a few lovely hand printed toys (or small cushions) that would fit perfectly in a nursery...or in a grownup living room.

Scandinavian cat by Jane Foster Designs
Red fox by Sass & Peril
Sleepy dog by Robin & Mould

Sunday, 20 March 2011

The Happiest Baby on the Block

Over the past few months, probably because they detected my lack of experience with babies, many people told me to read or take a look at the DVD The Happiest Baby of the Block.

Harvey Karp, an American pediatrician, is pretty much the Dog Whisperer of babies! His technique, called the Five Ss, are so simple that I can see myself doing them while being excessively sleep deprave with a newborn in the middle of the night!

Five Ss :
Side position (holding baby on the right side slightly face down)*
Shushing (loud white noise)
Swinging and jiggling

We really enjoyed the DVD and will certainly try all the techniques suggested. However, this little video made me think (yeah, I have a tendency to over think stuff). Isn't it fascinating, yet pathetic, that on this beautiful Sunday afternoon, sitting on our IKEA sofa, in our "fancy" condo with all the advances of modern civilization...we need a DVD to remind us of techniques that are done naturally in more simple cultures because they have been past on from generation to generation! Oh well...

And yes, we did the first four S with our cat! I was laughing so much that I almost had a little pregnant lady accident ;)

* when the baby is awake only

Friday, 18 March 2011

When I was a kid...

...crayons were not that adorable! How can you not fall in love with a set of kitty egg crayons from Kitty Baby Love?

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Dealing with the pain (week 37)

So giving birth can be a bit (a lot) scary. When I did my prenatal classes, I got a list of simple things that I can do, alone, with my husband or with my doula that could help ease the pain (by producing endorphins), lower my stress level and consequently make this experience more enjoyable for everybody (especially for me, ah).

I decided to share my personnal little list with you as it helped me figure out what I might like to do during those intense hours.

Connecting with your partner
Breathing slowly with an emphasis on breathing out
Massaging the lower back area
Doing hip movements (get that blue exercise ball)
Avoiding bright lights
Making your "nest" by understand your environement
Creating intimacy by only having few people with you
Having a contact with water: warm bath tub, cold facecloth, etc.
Resting between contractions (2 minutes can make a difference)
Drinking and eating light snacks
Not anticipating the next contraction...it will happen eventually!
Accepting the pain, "letting go" and trusting your body
Relaxing your jaw
Listening to your "childbirth soundtrack" (music)
Laughing...I know, easier said than done

And if nothing works, there is always the epidural!

I'm curious! What helped you the most while you were in labour?

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Not too soon please!

Baby bunny (well, not that adorable soft toy bunny made by the very talented lady at Tiny Warbler!!!) and I are making good progress!

Yesterday, the doctor told us that I had a 70% cervical effacement, a 1 cm (0.4 in) cervical dilatation and that Alice's head is already at a -1 position in my pelvis. This should be pretty exciting news but since I just started a cold I would like to put a little hold on that progress...just for a few days. PLEASE!!!

How bad would it be to go in labor while you have a stuffy nose and a sore throat?!?

Monday, 14 March 2011

Even the dog... (last day of week 36)

Even if my first trimester made me believe that I was not created to ever be pregnant, the second and the third were pretty good to me. Four weeks before my due date, I still managed to play one hour of "Just Dance" on the wii at a friend's house, shop at Ikea on a Saturday afternoon (I can't even do that when I'm not pregnant) or re-arrange the entire kitchen (plastic containers are so pretty when classified by size).

However, recently, there is one thing that made me think "ok, this baby has to come out soon". I started to snore! Not a cute little bunny snore. No! More like a cow snore that stops my poor husband from having a good night sleep.

He told me that at one point last night, it was so bad, that Brian (our dog) looked at him, left our bedroom, and went to sleep on our shaggy carpet in the living room.

I'm telling you, when I woke up this morning with a major sore throat, Brian gave me the evil eye!!!


Yesterday, my "hyperactive" friend and I (not hyperactive at all) made a fabric letter A. Another project from Lotta Jansdotter's Simple Sewing for Baby.

Friday, 11 March 2011

How are you today?

Maybe it's just me but most of the time, when someone asks me how I feel, I will say that I'm doing great even if it's not really the case. I just don't like to impose my negative "energy" on people. We all have our bad days but I find easier to move on when I focus on good things!

For a strange reason, when you are a 9 months pregnant woman, some people really want you to whine about how miserable you are! You can almost see the disappointing look on their face when you tell them that in fact you are fine, that your nursery is done and that you just can't wait to see your baby.

But because I like to make people happy, I might slip in the conversation a little " but don't make me laugh, I might pee on myself"! This, my friend, is a crowd pleaser!!!


If you asked me a question (Q: Is your mother on Ravelry? A: She doesn't really speak English so that would be a little difficult for her) and I don't answer, it's probably because Blogger doesn't give me access to your e-mail address/web site/blog. So feel free to contact me via my e-mail: clo_wn{at}hotmail{dot}com


Yesterday, I made a giraffe rattle from Lotta Jansdotter's Simple Sewing for Baby.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Snack time!

Until recently, I believed that women in labor were only able to "survive" on intravenous hydration and ice chips. I just didn't understand how it was possible to run the equivalent of a marathon with nothing decent in your stomach. Luckily for most pregnant ladies, times have changed!

If research indicates that eliminating liquid and solid food during labor is not beneficial, what snacks should I get? So far, this is my little list:

Solid food
Sliced melon and mango
Apple sauce

Sorbet or frozen fruits (much better than ice chips)
Dried fruits
Instant oatmeal

Water (obviously)
Fruit juice without pulp
Miso broth
Coconut water

note 1: My husband and I are not living in the dark anymore. We just got cable TV (for the first time in a decade). I must confess that I watched a few episodes of A Baby Story (or as they call it on their web page "a voyeuristic peek at the drama of labor"). Of all the episodes that I watched (what? it is addictive!), none of the women had anything to drink or to eat during labor. Strange!

note 2: My mom is intense. You might tell her a million time that knitting a fancy cardigan for a newborn doesn't make much sense, well, she does it anyway. Dan and I were totally amazed by the craftsmanship that went into that tiny piece of clothing. Alice is one lucky baby!

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Right this second I want to get...

...something that I can't have because it is USA shipping only.

Oh well, we have great maternity leave in Canada but we can't order adorable prints from Heather Ross. Life is unfair!!!

A new friend

I know, this is not a cute and fuzzy baby product but it might just be part of my favorite nursery items.

Montreal winters inevitably bring congestion, coughs, sinus irritation and nosebleeds. We can't wait to use a baby nose blow (sarcasm) on Alice but since we don't want to abuse of this delightful device (you probably figured out that the baby nose blow freaks me out), we went on a quest for the perfect humidifier...with a no filter cool mist ultrasonic technology (yeah, impressive)!

I won't judge you if you are into elephant, pig, lion or even Hello Kitty humidifiers but we were happy to find a more "modern and simple" design. So my new friend (currently used in my bedroom) is the Crane Drop Humidifier.

Yes, I have a blog post on a humidifier! Don't worry, I won't ever write about my microwave or my toaster...but maybe about my quest for an eventual breast pump!!!

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Mommy talks with Juliette

The birth story of Juliette, crafter extraordinaire, married, with one son and two cats, will be the last "Mommy Talks" before I give birth. Even if she answered my questions a while ago, I wanted to wait until the end of my pregnancy to publish them. Juliette had a very interesting point in her text and it made me wonder during my entire pregnancy: do I feel pressure by my own birth and go the “natural way”?

Today, I have to complete my birth plan
. I will keep Juliette's answers in mind while I write it down...while I try to stay true to myself! Tomorrow, I will tell you how it went!!!

What was your birth plan?
Secretly, all I ever wanted is to be asleep while I had a c-section. Having grown up in France, that was definitely an option. My mother, on the other hand, went to a special “no violence” clinic to give birth. It wasn’t even in the city she lived in! Let’s just say that I felt pressured by my own birth as well as the American women around me to try and go the “natural way”.

Of course I should mention that I had many abdominal surgeries, that it was a miracle I got pregnant and kept the baby in the first place. In the end, the scar tissues inside my abdomen started tearing and I had a scheduled c-section when the baby reached term.

My body never went into labor, I don’t know to this day what a contraction feels like. It turned out that Finn was bigger than expected and my OB thinks that had we waited longer a c-section was unavoidable as my body doesn’t seem to know how to go into labor.

Finn birth ended up being my version of nonviolent. I was never in pain and recovered very quickly. I am just perfectly content about the way it all came about and never think of it as a failure on my part. After all, I was not even supposed to be able to conceive.

How did you prepare physically and mentally for childbirth?
I tried yoga for a while but my body just got bigger and bigger. I think I gained a pound a week. I always thought I would be one of those skinny pregnant women but that is not what happened. I suffered all the nausea, water retention, insomnia and sciatica anyone might hear about pregnancy. To make time go quickly I started my blog and read the entire Harry Potter series. It was great fun! My friends would point out that I also spent an inordinate amount of time eating peanut m&m’s and clementines.

Who was with you during labour and birth?
I really never wanted anyone with me in the labour room. I think my husband was grateful for it. I walked with him to the operation room and he just waited on a chair in the hallway. We are just pretty low key that way.

Did everything go according to your birth plan?
Everything and nothing!

What is your best childbirth advice?
Be yourself. If you want a home birth, do it. If you want a c-section, be your own advocate. Don’t feel bad. There is no reward given out for the mother that suffered the most without an epidural.

Thank you so much Juliette

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Ignorant Claudia - weekly question (week 35)

Dan said that I have cold feet. I guess that when I told him that we should have adopted another dog instead of getting pregnant would do it. I just truly realized that soon I will have to take care of a newborn. Even if I did get the babysitting course from the Canadian Red Cross, in 6th grade, I would honestly have never left a baby under my supervision!

So Ignorant Claudia would like to know if these "facts" (from books and web sites) are, according to your experience, accurate or if you would call Child Protective Services and ask them to come to my home.

If you also have other tips, please, let me know since it is a little too late for another dog!!!

Babies sleep on their back
Nothing (pillow, blanket, etc.) should be in the crib
The baby's room should be at 68ºF (20ºC)
Do not swaddle a newborn in a receiving blanket (take muslin wraps)
A one-piece and baby sleeping bag are sufficient (after 4-5 weeks)
Remove a layer of clothing if the back and/or belly are sweaty
Change sleeping side in the crib to avoid flat head syndrome
Baby should sleep in the parents' room the first 6 months ***

NURSING (breastfeeding in my case)
Support your breast throughout the entire feeding
Nipple points to the baby’s upper lip ("tickling" baby's lips)
Make contact while mouth still wide open
Nipple points to the roof of the mouth
Babies are breast-feeding and not nipple-feeding!
Use one breast completely before you start with the other one
A burb in the middle and at the end of each meal
Give vitamin D supplement (winter or spring babies)
A newborn should be nursing 8-12 times per day
See specialist (breastfeeding godmother) if discomfort

Don't give a bath until the umbilical cord falls
Gently wash and dry umbilical cord with cotton swabs
Simply wash baby with a soapy facecloth
After the umbilical cord falls, give a "real" bath every 2-3 days
Don't use baby powder (respiratory problems)
Use diaper ointment every few days
Don't use wipes if there is a rash or irritated skin
Don't cut fingernails right away since they are "glued" to the skin

*** We don't feel comfortable doing co-sleeping and we wanted to have Alice in her crib right away since her bedroom is very close to our bedroom...but now we are a bit confused!!!

Friday, 4 March 2011


If things go according to plan, in exactly four weeks (April 5th), Dan and I will fall in love with our baby girl! Am I freaking out? Of course! However, I have so much faith in Dan and I, as a couple, that I know that together we can deal with dirty diapers, breastfeeding adjustment (our doula is a "breastfeeding godmother" so it should not be a major problem), sleepless nights, etc!

So yesterday was what I like to call the beginning of the end: our first doctor appointment that included a pelvic dilatation exam. So far, Alice is resting in a head down position but there is no contraction or dilatation.

Perfect since I still have some things to do like a snuggler swaddle (pattern from Lotta Jansdotter), a kidlet (pattern from JCasa) and a simple quilted playmat (pattern from Purl Bee). Oh, and some cooking. We want a freezer full of yummy food!

Week 6 (3.6mm / 0.15")
Week 8 (1.26cm / 0.5")

Week 13

Week 19 Week 32

note: most people (people that have a normal gynecologist) don't get that many pictures!!!

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Right this second I want to get...

...um, well, not much actually. I'm happy to report that our little nursery is now complete!!!

However, since I have to keep myself entertained until I give birth, I will tackle some simple baby crafts. This week, I made a few (8) contoured burp cloths from one of Cloud 9 Fabric's beautiful tutorials (they also have wonderful fabric). The facing is made with girlie fabric scraps that I was keeping in case we would have a "mini-Claudia". For the backing, I used cotton diaper fabric.

Also, for your information, they officially "kicked me out" of the office. They made it clear that it was time for me to let go and enjoy those last few weeks of calm. They were also a bit annoyed that I was begging for their snacks all the time ;)