Maternity Leave

I am officially on maternity leave! It is so exciting to know that I don't have to go back to work while I am feeling like this. I have also stated that it couldn't have happened a moment too soon and I rather think that I am right, because I believe the baby dropped last night. This morning when I work there was a greater slope to my belly although it was most obvious from looking down on it.

Emmanuel disagrees that the baby has dropped but I believe that may be because he is feeling unprepared for the imminent arrival of our little prince.

I've spent the day feeling like the kid is banging on my cervix (although that is not a new feeling) and he's been very, very active. So who knows? Maybe before the week is out I'll be a mother. Wow - writing that was surreal.

Am I ready to be a mother? I really have no idea. I hope so, I've wanted this since I was 16 (no, I didn't start trying for it at 16) but now that he's almost here I am feeling very insecure in my motherly prowess. Oddly enough I have no doubts about how great Emmanuel is going to be - only about myself.

Babies, babies, falling from the sky.

We went to the OB this morning and I let her know about my pains. She reassured me that as long as my water had no broken, there was no blood and the baby kept moving that it was more than likely just the movement of my bowel or gas. Good times.

I also got a swab that I am to use to check for Group B Strep the morning before my next appointment (two weeks from now) - I am a little shocked that they don't swab me themselves, but whatever, I am sure that we can do it between the two of us.

This pregnancy has been so ridiculously easy for me, where my worst pain is a little lower back pain at the end of the day and a general inability to bend in half. Emmanuel is constantly telling me how amazed that he is that I am still so agile at 35 weeks. He compares me to his sister and sister-in-law, who, according to him, could not do much of anything by this time in the pregnancy. Myself, there's not much that I can't do now, that I could do before.

Some interesting changes, other than the weight gain, is that I have become EXTREMELY clumsy which is a rather frightening announcement when once considers how clumsy I was before I got pregnant. The brain loss seems to have slowed significantly, my vocabulary seems to have become better. So I am happy...either that or I am starting to forget my pre-pregnancy self...

I did take today and tomorrow off of work because I don't have a whole lot left to do and frankly I have been so exhausted this week. I just have to get through next week and then that is the end of work until my baby boy is a year old. I am very excited!

And to make my excitement to have my baby in my arms even worse, there have been several births in my life recently.

Jennifer had Alex on Halloween 2011, a colleague at work had his son this past Sunday, and finally Emmanuel's cousin, Tina, had her fourth (another boy!!!!) yesterday.

The countdown to my little prince's entrance to the world is on, and I can't wait. A little nervous but just looking forward to having my body back.

I am 35 weeks today, I have gained exactly 30lbs so far, and my belly measures in at 39 inches (and my ass 42, WTF?) The OB has told me that I have had the textbook pregnancy so far, so I am just chilling and waiting for the big day.

First IPS Ultrasound

Emmanuel and I went for the first ultrasound last night. It is part of the integrated prenatal screening wherein they ultrasound the baby twice, take bloodwork twice and then tell you if there is a possibility of something being wrong with the baby. I haven't spoken to my doctor yet (and won't until Monday) but it seems as though everything is ok for now!

We arrived a half an hour before the appointment as they requested, me with an especially full bladder, again as requested and waited for our appointment. The pain in my bladder was excruciating, I really think the full bladder thing is just to torture expectant mothers. I got called in right on time, and Emmanuel got up to go with me (because What the Hell? Of course, he wants to see/hear the baby!) but the technician refused him entry until some nebulous later time. I still don't know why they did this. The technician led me into a room, had me lay down and smeared my lower abdomen with cold jelly and started laying into me with the ultrasound wand. I had to ask her to watch the pressure because I was about to make a huge mess. She sighs, hands me a styrofoam cup and tells me to release one cup of urine...ok, fun. Let's go play with urine.

Just so you know, one cup of urine does shit all for your bladder-is-bursting feeling.

I get back to the room and wait a few minutes for her to remember that she still has a patient to do.

She moves me to a new room because the computer in the first wasn't working, and proceeds to continue pressing into my belly. Only she seems to be having problems, with what, I don't have any idea because she is answering all of my questions with, "wait, just wait." Ok...I am starting to freak out when she hands me yet another cup and tells me to go and release two more cups of urine. Fuck.

Ok done and back and we finally get on with it. Except, once again, she's not answering anything and she's not showing me the screen. And for some reason she keeps digging the ultrasound wand into my belly and shaking it like a dog with a rat to "wake the baby". I am not sure if she realized that the belly was still attached to a human being - with a full bladder! Finally, she gets up, asks me my "partner's" name (after I have said husband about five times now) and walks away. I presume to get him. I was right, but a little communication could have gone a long way.

Once he's in, she finally turns the screen so we can both see, zips through a bunch of pictures showing us the prodigy's head, arms, face etc. (Sidenote - SQUEEEEE my baby is forming as per normal and looks like a human fetus! Very emotional stuff that had both Emmanuel and I tearing up!) turns on the speakers to max so that we can hear an electronic whine and the baby's heartbeat (which is both fast and strong and so wonderful to hear) for a few seconds before hitting print on two side profiles of the baby-to-be and sending us on our way.

She has clearly been in this job for far too long. Yes she knows what she is doing but she has obviously lost all empathy (or for all I know, never had any) and treats the patients like numbers.

This was a very special moment for us, because I was waiting to really celebrate this pregnancy, or even get attached to this baby (failed at that one!) until I knew for sure that it was viable, and a little bit of empathy and caring from the technician (or at the very least time!!) would have gone a very, very long way.

Anyways, I am happy to know that our little prodigy is alive and kicking, and I plan to begin buying things for him/her! I am so excited to feel this child move, and to hold them in my arms.

Europe - France

Well three weeks has passed in the blink of an eye, and now we are getting ready to go back to work tomorrow.

It was the most amazing trip ever, though. France was my favourite country because of the food and the fact that I can speak enough french to make myself understood. Spain was next and Italy was dead last because of the people. The Italians are scammers! Even at restuarants and the like where you wouldn't believe people would be running cons, they were!

I'll start with France because I am all about chronological order and if I went through all three countries today, I might spend the rest of my day writing!

The plane ride over lasted all night and due to the difference in time zones (Europe was 6 hours ahead) we lost a night's worth of sleep. That didn't stop us though, we checked into the hotel Aston, and headed out to see the Eiffel tower and after that, took a cruise along the Seine to see the sights. The hotel was amazing, a small little place that was very friendly. The room was small but charming and I would definitely stay there again.
We were in Paris for 4 days, one of which we used to head over to Versailles to the see the castle. We quickly got used to sleeping in late, going out late and having a nap in the afternoons. Just as well because the french don't believe in eating much for breakfast, so we'd often times sit down to Crepes for our breakfast which was nearing lunch time by then.

They also used crepes as a snack with street vendors selling them with any variety of sweet or savoury toppings. One of those crepes could do Emmanuel and I for a small meal. It was amazing. We also frequented the patisseries and boulangeries to buy pastries and sandwiches for our picnic lunches (along with a bottle of wine, which was cheaper than water there!)

We spent a day walking and shopping down the champs elysee, saw the city from the Arc de Triomphe. Another day at the Louvre.

We were centrally located but a lot of sights were spread out so we purchased a three day metro pass, which was by far the best thing that we could have done. We were able to explore everywhere and still save money. One night we went back to the Eiffel tower to see it lit up, and they indulged us with a sparkling show. It was awe-inspiring. Despite spending the longest amount of time there, I would still go back and spend a few weeks. Paris truly captured my heart.

After Paris was Nice, which I will admit did not compare favourably to Paris at first, but definitely grew on us by the end. All of our hotels were amazingly located although in Nice it was a Best Western which seemed rather soul-less in comparison to the hotel in Paris. We spent a lot of time walking the old part of the city, seeing a few touristic monuments, and having a drink on the pebbled beach. Which I am not entirely sure that you can call a beach if there is no sand and only foot-destroying rocks! All in all, it was amazing.

We took a day to go to Monoco, which was a charming little sovereign country. We saw the changing of the guards and had a picnic in the palace gardens.

I bought a little book to keep track of what we did each day, and one day I might sit down and transcribe them but for now, I'll end this by saying that I would love to go back to France.

The devil you know and fear.

he differences between Satan and a normal human being are many and varied. But a perfect example to illustrate this difference is in the following anecdote.

I was hired to work on a project concerning the neutralization of Staphylococcus aureus enterotoxin B (SEB). Briefly, SEB is partially responsible for the symptoms of food poisoning which can occur after exposure to improperly prepared food. Specifically, I was to accomplish this through the use of an antibody library currently in existence to pan for antibody sequences which bind to one of several epitopes in the SEB antigen and neutralize it toxicity.

To say that I have not accomplished this goal as of yet would be a massive understatement in detailing the frustration and anxiety that I have suffered through attempting to find something, anything, that might be promising. All this hysteria came to an abrupt end approximately a month ago when to my absolute joy, I realized that I had not one, but two possibilities. I could not have been more ecstatic (and over-worked) than when I told my direct supervisor of their existence. More to the point, he was over-joyed! And as well know, a happy boss, a continued job!

However, after a month's work in characterizing these antibodies, I have come to realize that a severe problem had occurred. At best? I mislabeled a tube. At worst? Contamination. The former means the work just needs to be redone but on the correct clone. The latter means total world annihilation and destruction. I lost the clone, never to be regained. I haven't been able to discern which option had occurred yet, but I am on my way there.

I also had to tell my boss. The whipped grad student in me didn't sleep last night and was cowering in fear and whimpering as I told my boss. His reaction? Oh well, send them out for sequencing, see where we stand and carry on from there. ...
My mind is still boggled. There were no threats of violence, no personal insults on my intelligence and importance in this world...nothing but understanding and a bit of resignation...

I don't understand. I can not comprehend what just happened there. That whipped grad wants to know if this reaction is because he expects no better of me. The rest of me is damn glad not to have the apocalypse heaped upon my head.

See the difference there?


Today was quite the day. My week's worth of hard work nearly came to a crashing halt, giving me a heart attack at the same time.

Stupid contamination problems. Had to repeat the titer today in the hopes that it is the small possibility and not the Oh-Dear-Lord, kill me now, possibility.

But on the much better side, Emmanuel went for his third interview with a company in Brampton today. And the interviewer told him that he would recommend that he be hired! Yay!!!

This will be so awesome to having working again. If only we could get this house sold now. One visitor since January! This is bullshit!

New Year's Resolution

Decided to go easy on myself this year and make a resolution that I could actually/would want to keep, which would make me feel better about my self and expand my literary horizons.

I resolved to read one book a month which was outside of three genres that I usually select books from. They three are Sci-fi, Romance and Mystery.

So I am book 3 which puts me somewhere in March for my quota.

I decided to review the books here to remind myself that sometimes it is better to go outside of my comfort zone.

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I am currently reading the English Patient.

(no subject)

Emmanuel and I spent the day getting the house ready for a showing tomorrow. I am amazed by all that we're doing and yet it feels like the list of what needs to be done is not decreasing at all.

I spent seven hours give the house a really deep clean from baseboards to ceiling, doing laundry and cooking our meals. Now I am so freaking exhausted that walking feels like pure torture.

Emmanuel has spent the same amount of time fixing things in the house. The house was in really good repair before, so honest to God, I have no idea what is taking so damn long!

I am praying that this fellow who comes tomorrow is going to take one look at the house and tell us that he wants to buy it.

I am so tired of cleaning and not spending my weekends doing fun things! Waa, waa, waaa.

One step back...

After a perfectly lovely day yesterday wherein there was Maria and sushi, I was asked to cancel the house hunting expedition by Emmanuel.

Why you ask? Because that scum-sucking, imbecilic company for which he's wasted three years trying to make as rich as possible, has decided to lay him off.

Of course, Emmanuel is depressed and dejected about it because this is all a direct result of poor management and blame-shifting by the leaders. Simply put, there was literally no way that he could have changed this outcome.

I spent my evening trying to be as supportive and positive as I could be because I can imagine how terrible he feels.

Really though, I didn't have to pretend to be positive. After I recovered from the initial shock I realized that this is the best possible thing to happen to us.

We will continue selling our house, but rather than stressing ourselves about another house, we will simply rent an apartment in Mississauga.

Once Emmanuel has passed the probation on his new job, which will be in the GTA, we will buy another house just as planned. This works in our favour because we can take the time to save towards a larger downpayment, and to find the perfect house instead of rushing to take the best available in a short time frame.

We've already paid for the European vacation in full, so no matter what, we will go and have the best time ever.

We may wait a few more months before trying to conceive but as we weren't planning to start trying until June 2011 anyways, we might not have to delay any longer.

I know my husband and he has a lot of strong qualities that make him very attractive as an employee. I am positive that he will find employment quickly.

This is just a bump in the road and I am thankful for it. Circumstances like these make me stop and truly appreciate how blessed I am and they really strengthen the bond between Emmanuel and I.

So while in the short term we may have to tighten our belts, this was nothing more than a violent shove in the right direction.

It also greatly helps to have such a wonderful and supportive mother who would have us back to live with her in a heartbeat.

I love you, Emmanuel. You are the best thing that ever happened to me and we'll roll right over this and continue on with our plans.