The History
In mid-July 2002, something miraculous happened. Soul sisters Janine and Annick both ovulated and were impreginated within 2 days of each other. While they vacationed in Canada, their eggs busily implanted into the lining of their uteri. Nana Gillot knew before either sister that her daughters would be successful this month, for while driving through the Ontario woods, she saw a cloud formation that looked like an angel-teddy bear. Was this a sign from the lord above?! Obviously, the only answer is Yes!
Below photo-quality images of fetuses were found online. They're not of my baby!

Week 20
November 18

The Moment of Truth
On November 22, I went in for my "big" ultrasound to see who was causing that pesky kicking from inside my womb. The baby's body parts and organs were well-formed and correctly-sized, and it appears to be a girl. At first she wasn't too active, but after being poked with the ultrasound wand for 20 minutes, her heart rate went up to 146 and she was wiggling all around.

As for momma and daddy, we are very pleased with the good results and will start bonding with the fetus toute suite. Nels now believes that there is something in there and that I have an excuse for that bulge I'm developing. As for the eating thing, it's going very well now that food aversions have been gone for about a month. I don't have any particular cravings except for sweet foods in general. But that isn't really a new development...

Week 22
December 2

The Honeymoon Period
The baby, from now on known as "Gisele", weighs almost a pound and is about 11 inches long. Her inner ears are developed and she can now hear the outside world, which means mommy should give those power tools a rest. The eyebrows and eyelids are now fully developed and the fingernails reach the ends of her fingers. She's very active after I eat something; especially around lunchtime. You can easily feel and see the movement from the outside now. Nels has felt her once (he's not very patient), and was quite surprised.

My tummy is growing by leaps and bounds, and my belly button is noticeably more shallow than before. At some point it will pop out. Ewwww. No particular food cravings to report. I've been very good about staying away from junk food, and green vegetables are back on my desireable list. I'm in the middle of the second trimester, known as the "honeymoon" time of pregnancy. I'm not tired anymore, and don't have any weird aches and pains yet.

But the real question is, how is Nana Gillot handling the fact that both her daughters are preggo with what appears to be healthy girls? Is she calling every day to see how her daughters are faring? Yes! Is she falling into a pink downward spiral of frenzied dress-buying? Dear lord, yes! Will she pull through the experience with sanity and savings intact? We hope so!

Week 25
December 23

The Holidays
Tis the holiday season and Gisele seems to have gotten into the spirit by becoming more active. It could be all the extra sugar that seems to go along with Christmas, though. She should be about 1.5 pounds and about 12.5" long. Her hands are becoming more sensitive and dexterous, and she can feel her surroundings. Her optic nerve is more developed, and if a light is shined onto my tummy she'll turn her head towards it.

On the whole, I'm feeling pretty normal these days. I am beginning to feel a bit like a house, though, and I'm not enjoying the extra weight in my face. But I can still bend down just fine. A couple of days ago when I was pressed up against the back of Nels in bed (for warmth!), he felt Gisele kicking him in his rump. It was more endearing than it sounds.

Week 28
January 13

Happy New Year!
The start of the new year has brought me into the third trimester. By my calculation, as of today, I have 12 weeks until Gisele's April 7th due date. But even if she were born now, she would have a very good chance of surviving. This week, the baby should be about 2.5 pounds and about 14.5" long. Some experts believe that this is the time when babies start dreaming. They also begin to get the hiccups, which feels like a regular pulse in my tummy. She moves around a lot, but since it's so cramped in there she does a lot of turning and repositioning, which is very visible from the outside of my belly and makes me feel a little nauseated.

The above picture is of the stroller my parents bought for us. It's in it's carriage position now, but the handle reverses and the seat moves upright for later on. I added the row of pom poms on the canopy. Isn't it precious!? Nels said that it's a good thing the baby's a girl, but I think it would work for a boy, too. The picture of Annick was taken at about the same stage as mine was. George likes to talk to her tummy and feel the baby move. He's much more patient than Mike, belive it or not. Annick and I are both experiencing lots of tummy growth nowadays. I'm just waiting for the "special" treatment owed to pregnant ladies. I parked in an expectant mother parking space the other day (apparently pregnancy is akin to a handicap). An acquaintence affectionately called me "fatty" recently. I'm not sure I'm looking forward to this special treatment, come to think of it.

Week 30
January 27

Never Shake a Baby
In January, Nels and I started our first baby-related class. It was entitled, "Getting Ready for Baby" and went over basic stuff like how to bathe a baby and how to take their shirts off. The second part of the class was taught by a pediatrition who giggled whenever he talked about taking babies' temperatures rectally. He said that in the U.S. parents like to take temperatures under the arms or in the ears, but that in Europe "everything happens at the other end of the baby". Nels dozed off for part of the class, but remained alert for the breastfeeding video. We also learned to never shake a baby, no matter how tempted you may be.

The baby should be nearing 3 pounds and is about 10" crown to rump, 17" from head to toe. She can open and close her eyes and could cry if she were outside of the womb. She's still wiggling around a lot; especially if I'm cranking out adrenelin while playing Everquest on the computer. My tummy is becoming a force of nature. I've included a rarely-seen close-up of my bare tummy. Because I don't wear bikinis, it's a special treat to see this view. I have a noticeable dark line called a linea negra bisecting my belly. It is even trying to overtake my belly button. But it will fade after the birth. The last picture is of two of our three mice. The spotted one is "Greta", and the white one is "Mousey".

Week 32
February 10

At the 8 month mark, the baby should be about 3.75 pounds. Her main job now is to grow a bit and put on a nice layer of fat. Amazingly, I didn't gain too much weight at my last check-up; only 3 pounds. The goal is 4 pounds per month, but being the overachiever that I am, I usually pack on 5 or more. My uterus is measuring a week and a half ahead, so I hope that doesn't mean a big baby. My blood-pressure was good, and so were my iron levels (which should reassure those of you who think I'm abusing the baby by denying her steak). The baby is still active, but will start slowing down her movements soon due to lack of space. She still gets excited whenever I eat something, and she seems to perk up when I'm lying down. I tried to get Nels to watch my tummy one day as it roiled in waves, but he got kind of grossed out and had to look away. Another trick I've got, which Nels doesn't seem to find cute, is losing food among my newfound folds. The other day while eating trail mix on the couch, I thought I noticed a chocolate chip fall from my over-loaded fingers. I didn't see where it fell, so I forgot about it. But when I stood up I noticed that it had melted in one of my creases.

We recently completed 10 hours of childbirth classes. I was surprised at how much Nels had retained. At the end of the last class, we played a jeopardy-type game and Nels had his chance to shine. He knew which phase of labor a woman is in by how much she has dilated (information I can't keep in my head) and he knew that when the nurse anounces that a woman is 10 cm dilated, she shouldn't automatically push; the doctor is the one who tells her to do so. He was also attentive in helping me with breathing exercises. All in all, he's shaping up to be a super labor coach!

Week 35
March 3

Sausage Foot
The baby nows weighs about 5 lbs and she's working on putting on a nice layer of fat (mommy's trying to help her out with that). Her hearing is almost fully developed and my baby books are encouraging me to talk to her now, no matter how silly it feels. My uterus is about 1000 times it's original size! Although it's very cramped in there, I still feel movement often (a few squirmy sessions an hour). I had a cold last week, and every time I coughed, the baby shifted. Poor thing.

A week ago, my family, Nicole, and Mrs. Phillips threw me a baby shower at good ol' 5811 Blacksmith. I was quite the extravaganza, with a spread that included almond cake, pasta salad, sopas and beans, fruit salad, chocolate cake, and 2 kinds of punch! There were games, of course, and present-opening. Gisele will be a very well-dressed baby with lots of stuffed animal friends. The picture above is of Stimpy surrounded by baby clothes that I've washed.

My ankles have been swollen for a while now, but this weekend I noticed that my feet have become huge, too. As some of you may know, my feet have been my pride and joy since I was a little girl. They were well-shaped and cute, when I was not, so it's sort of symbolic that they've given in to the pregnancy monster at last. But my larva-like body will be worth it in the end, of course.

Week 37
March 17

Full Term!
The baby is putting on lots of weight these days, as is her mommy. The scale is creeping dangerously close to 180, putting me at a weight gain of about 40 pounds so far. The doctor says that much of the recent weight is the water I'm retaining. My feet have huge humps of water on their tops that are just begging to be pricked with a needle. I wonder what would happen... Gisele may weigh somewhere between 5-7 pounds now, but she could weigh more. Annick's doctor is estimating her baby to be about 8 pounds. Let's hope she goes within the week!

The above left picture is of the diaper changing area we've set up in the corner of the bathroom (Click to enlarge the photo). It will be handy to have it in there when it comes time to rinse the poopy diapers in the toilet. Speaking of diapers, I've been a busy mommy-to-be lately, sewing homemade diapers! Pictured above are 3 that I've made. They are velour on the outside and inside lining, but the soaker pad inside is made of 3 layers of hemp fleece. I have plenty of "normal" cloth diapers, too. All in all, we're pretty set up for the baby now. We still need to pack our hospital bag, though, and my mom tells me to do it every day. For some reason, that's her biggest concern right now. Well, that and the U.S. suffering retaliation by terrorists for Bush's war.

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