Monday, October 26, 2009

Pregnant Leanne: Week 21 - Between a rock and a hard place

October 26, 2009: Week 21 of pregnancy

I’m struggling with this H1N1 vaccine. Until last week, I’d never heard the word ‘adjuvanted’ much less, ‘unadjuvanted’. The media is obsessed with H1N1 reports and insists on broadcasting extreme cases on both sides: one girl dying from respiratory complications from getting the flu and one paralyzed by the vaccine. How is one meant to make an informed choice? Being 21 weeks pregnant, I am right in the "pregnant, second-trimester, (and thus) high-risk category." I’ve never had a flu shot before but given that this H1N1 is striking those under 65 with increased force, I’m seriously considering the vaccine. However, with so much contradictory information out there, I decided to visit the Public Health Agency of Canada website. It didn’t help. Here's an excerpt:
“Pregnant women should receive one dose of the unadjuvanted vaccine, of which Canada has ordered 1.8 million doses. In cases where the unadjuvanted vaccine is unavailable and H1N1 flu rates are high or increasing in the community, women more than 20 weeks pregnant should be offered one dose of the adjuvanted vaccine.”
The same website goes on to say:
“Based on advice from the World Health Organization earlier this year, the Government of Canada ordered 1.8 millions doses of unadjuvanted vaccine to offer pregnant women, since adjuvanted vaccine has not been widely tested in this group. However, all data to date indicates that adjuvanted vaccine is as safe as unadjuvanted vaccine.”
Is this not the definition of perfectly contradictory information? I hate this feeling. It’s a perfect gamble, if I assume something is going to go wrong, which in my current pregnant,-responsible-for-something-other-than-myself state of mind, I naturally think:
  1. Either I’m going to die from respiratory complications from the flu or
  2. I’m going to have a severe reaction to the vaccine, or my baby will.
I’ve made an appointment to speak with my doctor this week and hopefully he can answer the questions I have. I'm hoping he'll see me as a scared mom-to-be (and not as a member of the herd Canada he is looking to inoculate), who wants to do what is right.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Halloween fun for babies, toddlers and preschoolers

Looking for Halloween fun as we approach Oct. 31? Check out our online calendar to find out what's happening around the Lower Mainland.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Win jewellery just for Mommy

Wouldn't you love to win a stylish silver pendant from Vancouver jewellery designer Odette Alfaro? I know you would. That's why urbanbaby & toddler is giving away 3 pendants to 3 lucky winners.

Prize 1: Mama Donut Pendant

Prize 2: Hope Rectangle Pendant

Prize 3: Single Letter Pendant (only one single-letter pendant will be given away)

Go to my website here, and enter away. One entry per email. Only open to BC residents. Contest closes Nov. 2, 2009.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A mommy looks forward to the healing of her boy

It's true that you don't know how much your own parents love you until you hold your own newborn babies in your arms. It was true for me. And my son's recent health challenges have only deepened that love. Here's an update on what's happening with him:

We finally have a surgery date for my son Benjamin. He is scheduled to have his tumour removed on Oct. 26. This surgery probably won't "cure" him, but it is a step in the right direction. There is still a long road ahead.

Thank you, everyone, for all your support. I'll report back after he has the surgery.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pregnant Leanne: Week 20 - Identify Theft

October 20, 2009: Week 20 of pregnancy

I’m the sort of girl who changes her hair with the seasons. Long, short, red, black, bangs, no bangs. I’ve also noticed I change my hair to mark meaningful major life transitions.

On Friday, I cut my hair to put an end to frumpy and hello to edgy. Well, edgier than my shoulder length natural colour I was sporting until Friday. I got a bob! Not a ‘starlet of the moment’ haircut, but an easy, won’t get trapped when I turn my head on the pillow kind of bob. A bob I could add funky blond bits too. A bob that makes me feel younger and prettier.

Feeling very fresh and clever, I went to work at the gym on Saturday. One of the regular patrons commented on my new hairdo and said his wife cut her hair when she was pregnant too. HUH? I thought I’d just change things up, something new for fall when, in actual fact, I’m just a clichéd pregnant lady who cuts her hair?

A girl at the front desk said she liked my new "Mom hair." WHAT? I guess now, I’m pregnant first and Leanne second. It didn’t enter my head that I was cutting my hair in anticipation of my baby. I will admit however that this haircut is easier. I can tuck it behind my ears, tie it back on top and it takes less time in the shower.

Is my biology making my decisions for me now?

Goodbye Leanne. Hello, Mom-to-be.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Pregnant Leanne: Week 19 - The source of the beats…

October 13, 2009: Week 19 of pregnancy

We’ll call this the “week of ultrasounds”. I had an abdominal scan to look at my liver on Wednesday and the baby ultrasound on Friday! I was a bit anxious before the baby one. Yes, we’ve heard the heartbeat but lots of things have heartbeats. What does our little alien look like? I’ve felt “IT” move this week for the first time and it was definitely not gas!

We were happy to see one head, beating heart, bladder, eyeballs and feet. Two of them. We’ve decided to not have a 4D scan. Feels a bit like spying and there’s that part of me that doesn’t want to completely know what the baby looks like, in case. I imagine this something-might-go-wrong anxiety won’t go away until I’m holding our baby, alive and well in my arms.

My fears are even infiltrating my dreams. I had a particularly vivid one the night following our ultrasound. In the dream, we were told specifically by our doctor that we should put the baby in the freezer; that this was the "done thing."

I’ve had a few dreams where I forget to feed it, forget what room I’ve left it in (why, even in dreamland, am I leaving babies in rooms?).

Now that I can picture our baby’s little scooped nose and crossed legs, this being pregnant thing is finally feeling more and more real.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Pregnant Leanne: Week 18 - Sorry?

October 5, 2009: Week 18 of pregnancy

I'm officially half-way. Four-and-a-half months pregnant and I'm barely showing.

In the morning, I often wake up forgetting for a second that I am indeed "with child." When teaching my Monday morning fitness class, I've found that something is definitely getting in the way and I've had to make some modifications to my moves.

As the day progresses, I tend to get puffier as I retain fluid and my abdominals relax but I don't look especially pregnant. I wasn't prepared for the comments from other women:
  • You're four months pregnant? (said with disdain in their voices)
  • You're hardly showing. Well, you are so skinny. (Am I?)
Instead of feeling flattered by their pronouncements, I'll admit I'm feeling worried. Is the baby growing ok? Why aren't I putting on more weight?

Plus, how should I respond to these statements? Certainly not with "thank you."

Should I be apologizing? Sorry, I’m fit, what can I say? Sorry, I’m not bigger. Sorry I didn’t pack on as much weight as you did. I’ve just been shrugging my shoulders and smiling.

What women need to realize and what I now know is that every pregnancy is very, very different. Some women gain weight at the start and some at the end. Our baby has a strong heartbeat and thanks to my ultrasound coming up this Friday, we'll know for sure that it is growing accordingly.

The reactions from men when they learn I'm pregnant? "Cool." No judgements. No jealousy. No worries.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

urbanbaby & toddler now also available as an online flipbook

I'm so excited. I've been wanting to do this forever, and now it's finally happened:

urbanbaby & toddler magazine is now available to read as an online flipbook -- complete with all the ads and editorial extras that are in the print version.

So if you're not a subscriber, you've misplaced your print copy, or you don't have time to pick one up, you can visit our website at, click on Current Issue and you'll see the link that will take you to the full online version.

From now on, every issue of urbanbaby & toddler will be fully available on the website as well as in print. Yay for us!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Congratulations to Ana, winner of The Wiggles family tix

Thanks to everyone for entering the contest for The Wiggles concert on Oct. 9 in Vancouver. And a very hearty congratulations to Ana, the lucky winner (who will, no doubt, be canonized by the children she treats to the show, forever -- or at least until naptime).