Snowtober, monkey #1’s first snowfall

Big Monkey and Monkey #1 enjoying the first snowfall of the season

Big Monkey and Monkey #1 enjoying the first snowfall of the season

Reports yesterday were that New York could be expecting up to 1 inch of snow. Meh. Even I who has been away from North American winter for well over 8 years did not blink an eye at this weather report. One inch of slushy snow was barely going to affect our day.

By around 11 this morning the snow started falling in big wet clumps. Still nothing much to report. But as the day goes on, it’s obvious this snow means business. It’s still falling and now looks a little something like this.

Snow accumulating in my piece of green in Manhattan

snow accumulating in my piece of green in Manhattan

wondering if I can breathe this baby out

side picture of me at 35 weeks

this is what a 5lbs 8oz baby looks like on my 5'11'' frame at 35 weeks. Intentionally obfuscated face :)

Throughout my pregnancy I’ve always looked at least a month earlier in my pregnancy than I am. Maybe its cause I’m tall and have a long back – who knows, but the baby always weighs and measure correct for her dates even though my tummy looks small, so I don’t worry even though the occasional stranger will gasp when I tell them how far along I am “you’re so small!”. Just today a shopkeeper asked if I was ‘sure’ when I said I was 35 weeks. The weight is definitely starting to pile on, and at 35 weeks our little girl is 5lbs 8oz. I can’t believe it, she weighs more than monkey #1 did when he came out at 36.5 weeks.

I had an ultrasound on Tuesday and all was fine. I must admit, it was a bit freaky to know that this little girl is already growing at a faster rate than Preston. Hmmm…the technician said as long as monkey #2 didn’t come early I would be back for another ultrasound in a couple of weeks. Really? I’m not sure if it’s because I missed out on those final weeks of pregnancy with Preston or because I am birthing in the US where everyone in the healthcare sector seems to double and triple check their work – but I only had 2 ultrasounds throughout my entire healthy pregnancy with Preston in New Zealand. The last one was at 26 weeks.

So I’m wondering, will I be able to breathe this baby out the way I did Preston? Imagine I go back in a couple of weeks and the ultrasound shows the baby is weighing 10 lbs and has a head the size of a cantaloupe. I’m not sure this kinda news wouldn’t cause me a bit of distress. No wonder women opt for c-sections before they even get in the delivery room. To each his own I say, but I don’t really want to know what I’m working with on the big day in terms of weight. Let’s just get through it and celebrate that I did it after.

I’m hoping to go as natural as possible with this birth. I’ve been reading up on Hypnobirthing and Big Monkey has been helping me with self-hypnosis, breathing and relaxation techniques. I’m hoping if I set my intention and be prepared as I can be, then that’s all that I can do.

With Preston, my midwife said I ‘breathed him out’. Apart from nitrous oxide, massage and support from Big Monkey and breathing techniques was how I managed pain. I’m hoping that minus the nitrous, I should still be able to get through the grunting and pushing. What do you think? Maybe I breathed Preston out cause he was just a squidge over 5lbs, or maybe it was because I’d been practicing Bikram Yoga up until about 3 weeks before I gave birth. In any case, the circumstances are different, and this baby is definitely going to be bigger.

I wish I’d had the opportunity to take a Hypnobirthing class, but hey why not teach myself self-hypnosis with the help of the ‘official’ book and Google…bigger goals and questions than this have been achieved and answered through Google, right?

You know you’re 35 weeks pregnant when you light yourself on fire

picture of the burnt jacket next to the stove element

Big Monkey made me put this painful picture up :(

It’s funny how the last couple of weeks of pregnancy resemble the first couple of weeks. Tiredness and nausea set back in with a vengeance, except this time around you also have to contend with a raging appetite, braxton hicks (fake pregnancy, or is that preterm labour?) and the excitement of waiting for your new baby to arrive.

Their are obvious physical indicators that I am in the home stretch of this pregnancy, such as achey hips, feet and back, night sweats, frequent trips to the loo during the night, as well as not being able to see my vajajay (sorry if this is too much info, but anyone who has been pregnant knows this to be true!). The other change that I have noticed in the last couple of weeks is the inability to put my shoes on, add lotion to my feet or generally attend to my tootsies in anyway without feeling like I am going to faint. I’ve found that if I wait at least an hour after a meal, I can sit and add lotion to my feet! Bliss.  You see if I sit on  the edge of the bed, put my ankle up on my opposite knee so that I can reach my feet, I risk  inadvertently giving myself the heimlich maneuver  with my leg across my tummy if my tummy is too full, which is often.

Knowing that this baby can arrive at anytime now also makes me want to be able to attend to my nether regions and feet. Hey, someone is going to be looking down there for at least a couple of hours, I can’t help but feel that all should be properly trimmed for them. But, then again it’s an irrational thought because as far as I know a nurse will come along on the day and mow the grass anyways.

As I mentioned before the final weight is starting to pile on and I’m like a teenager having a growth spurt unawares of how much bigger my body is. The other day I body slammed monkey #1 into the wall with my protruding tummy. Since then we tend to have little run-ins at least once a day, with his head at my tummy level just lightly bouncing off my belly. Thankfully he thinks its funny, me I can’t help but hear godzilla music in the background as the soundtrack to my life. I’m knocking over books at the library and just in general clumsy and spatially unaware of how my body fits in this world.

The other night I was making dinner, stirring a pot of bolognese sauce and adjusting a pot of boiling water when I smelt something that was not the yummy tomato sauce I had created. I looked down to see that the down winter vest I was wearing was on fire. Thankfully I only singed a small bit towards the bottom of the vest – in the area where I can no longer do up the buttons on account of my belly. Hormonal and somewhat shocked, this reduced me to tears. For me, pregnancy clothes have been a hassle this time around. Leaving New Zealand winter to arrive to New York at the end of a hot and sticky summer and now nearing the end of my pregnancy while another season starts – clothes shopping has been a nightmare! I never seem to have the right seasons clothes on hand. It’s going to be a whole new set of winter clothes this year, seeing as I haven’t lived a North American winter since 2002 so I’d prefer to wait til I have some semblance to a pre-pregnancy body before I go coat shopping. Anyways, I cried over dinner at the injustice of ruining one of my favorite pieces of gear, then took a deep breath and carried on.

prenatal massage and powernap in midtown Manhattan

I know what you’re thinking, paying for a nap is crazy. But if you know anything about my ongoing issues with upstairs crazy loud lady, you’ll understand that its not that weird. In fact from the reviews on Yelp, alot of New Yorkers are benefitting from their 20 minute powernaps in the heart of the city at Yelo Spa. Powernaps can be used as jetlag or hangover recovery or at the end of another of their treatments as I did.

Heads up, if you do use Yelp, they are are offering a free 20 minute nap if you book and pay for one of their treatments of at least 50 minutes. And of course you have to check-in on Yelp. So, I was able to add my free nap on to the end of a blissful prenatal massage.

I had 2 prenatal massages in Auckland and have had other types of massages in Montreal, Spain, Sydney and Christchurch and none have compared to the one Beth gave me this weekend. In a word, awesome! Prenatal or not her pressure was just right and she paid attention to the areas I complained about. My last 2 massages in Auckland, the therapists barely wanted to touch me. Heck, they knew I was coming for a prenatal massage but yet they didn’t actually feel confident to administer one.

They got everything right, the staff was friendly, I got to choose my own music and aromatherapy scent to be pumped into the room. How many times have you been enjoying a good massage but absolutely hated the music the therapist was playing, this won’t happen at Yelo Spa.

Below is a video of what the powernap is like.

Cool, eh? I don’t know if I will make it back before baby comes. Though the massage was still cheaper than any other prenatal massage I could find in Manhattan, it is still more than I have ever paid for a massage. Also, the pillow system for side massage was great – I’ve heard of some dodgy masseuse tables with a hole cut out to prop your belly in. Does not sound comfortable in the least.  I think I will definitely be back post baby for a little TLC.


a taste of the good kinda crack

Preston holding an empty Crack Pie carton and looking sad

Preston is beyond sad that the Crack Pie is all gone

We made it to Momofuku Milk Bar on the Upper West Side today. I’ve been wanting to try their legendary crack pie since I first heard about it, so decadently delicious and addictive the name has been trademarked, and others have tried to recreate the gooey goodness at home. I confess it was so good that at five dollars and change for a small slice I may just consider making it myself. It’s a basic brown sugar, cream and buttery slice that is so rich monkey #1 and I were able to share while washing it down with Momofuku’s very own Cereal Milk. Yep, you heard me right, cereal milk. As the girl behind the counter explained it, they steep cornflakes in milk so the end result is that sweet milk that you drink up at the end of a bowl of cereal. A bit full-on she mentioned, not for me though as that is often my favorite part of having a bowl of cornflakes. She was able to give us a taster of the Cereal Milk in a soft serve version – I was sold.

Though the Upper West Side location is smaller than the other locations (so I have heard on Yelp, I haven’t been to any others personally), it was still big enough for mothers with strollers and dads with groups of kids and ladies who lunch to pick up their coffees and felt big and airy with its ceiling to floor windows and high ceilings. If the intimate feel is not your thing, their are benches outside to sit and watch the world go by or to share your goodies with your pooch.

Thanks to friendly staff, and yummy sweet foods I’m sure we’ll be back to try the equally famous savory option that Momofuku Milk Bars are also known for – their pork and veggie buns.

do i need a carseat if i don’t have a car? and other things to bring to L&D

monkey #1 Preston ridiculously small in his capsule

monkey #1 Preston ridiculously small in his capsule heading home from hospital

Monkey #1 arrived early, and because he was healthy I always see this as a blessing. It meant that I did not go into full on nesting mode, stay-at-home boredom, uncomfortably huge pregnant stage, nor did I go overboard with unnecessary nursery items or have my hospital bag packed. Still unsure as to if I was actually in labor or not, we stopped at the servo (gas station) and got a spirulina drink that I later puked up just before labor started (imagine green slime pouring out of my mouth at an alarming rate). Thankfully the midwife had told me to throw pyjamas and a tooth brush in a back for a possible overnight stay for observation.

This time around I’d like to be more prepared, out of necessity more than anything. With Monkey #1 to take care of and no car to run around in, we don’t want to have to send Chris out to purchase monkey #2’s going home outfit as he did for Preston, I need him by my side.

Seeing as I am now 34 weeks (only 2 weeks out from when Preston came), now seems like the right time to start my packing.

The major item that we NEED to get over this weekend is a carseat. We’ve gone over this one a gazillion times and really there is no way around it – We need to buy a baby capsule that we will most likely only use a handful of times over its 6 month lifespan. We don’t own a car, and so far we are not big yellow cab users, preferring the subway and walking, but who knows that could all change once winter sets in. So off we go this weekend to pick out our travel system. A carseat/capsule has to be presented at the hospital for discharge, and I guess we will be taking a cab home, so….

What are some other items I should be thinking about packing for L&D? What’s on your list?

KiwiCanadian expat adventures with my husband and 2 kids from life in New Zealand to New York and back again. Adventures in inspired family living, travel, health & fitness.Read More »