Tuesday, 28 September 2010

To be tagged and awarded - and then cheat!

I've always had a hard time following rules. I usually read chain letter emails and then promptly discard them without forwarding, putting myself at risk of missing out on eternal love, friendship, luck and what have you. Bloggy-awards are different, I feel honored and special whenever someone hands me one but then utter laziness hits me and I struggle to answer the questions that come with it and to forward said award to any of my many blogging heroines.
So I've decided to cheat!
I'll thank all the wonderful ladies that have given me awards, try to answer all the questions, and then simply create and forward my own special little award - with no strings attached other than to pass it on!

Here goes:
1. -Thank you irrationalexuberance at So much for simple and easy for tagging me in the "let's learn more about each other instead of about our periods and hormones" game :)
What's the best dish you can cook?
I make a mean artichoke and crab dip that has people licking the hot dish when they run out of chips.
Have you ever been mentioned in the newspaper? What for?
Yes, a few times actually, for reasons ranging from getting married, having parties that went out of control and receiving awards in my field of business.
What's the worst/most memorable job you have had?
Strawberry picking as a teen during a very wet season in Sweden. Every morning that summer I got up before five, rode my bike five miles in the rain and then spent all day on my knees in the mud picking berries. The smell of ripe, moist strawberries still makes my muscles ache and my stomach turn.
When you were a teenager, at what age did you envision getting married?
In my early teens I dreamt of a fairy tale wedding but never had a specific age in mind, as I grew older and turned feminist I decided that getting married was archaic and not for me. Until I met Diver Dude.
What's your most hated household chore? What's your favorite?
Most hated is cleaning toilets, emptying the cat's litter box (fortunately I'm relieved of both those duties right now) and picking up dog poo in the yard. My favorite is vacuuming with my ipod and ironing either outside on a sunny day or in front of a good classic movie.
What's your earliest memory?
I fell off the toilet when I was three and had to get stitches. Only I screamed bloody murder so my parents decided it was best the doc just taped me up instead. Still have a nice horizontal scar on my forehead.

2. -Thank you PunkRockMom for the awesome Cherry on Top Award
If you had the chance to go back and change one thing in your life, would you and what would it be?
I firmly believe that every event in my life - good, bad, beautiful and ugly - has led me to where I am today and changing it would turn me in to a different person in a different kind of life. So. I wouldn't change a thing.

3. -Thank you Journey Girl and HopeSprings for the Beautiful Blogger Award
Tell us 7 interesting things about you:
• I dream of writing and illustrating a children's book about different kinds of family building - It's still in the idea/sketch stage...
• I was born with a strawberry mark on my left shoulder - now it looks more like a pale raisin
• I've been accused of being "too nice" more times in my life than anything else - but I secretly wish I could be nicer and more honest - I know, yuck!
• I love the smell of raspberries - my grandpa used to grow them on his farm and one of the few memories I have of him is picking and eating berries off the bushes, his big warm hand holding mine
• I pick my nose. A lot. Even in front of Diver Dude. I know, it's disgusting
• I'm really scared of horses. They're too big to squish with a swatter when they show up in, or around your house...
• I used to drink double cream every day as a child because I thought my legs were too skinny. They still are, the rest of me, not so much

4. -Thank you to the lovely Mrs. Farmer for the Gorgeous Blogger Award
5 Things About Me: 
-I just listed seven above, that counts right?

5. -Thank you Sass for the Happy 101 Award - you make me smile :)
List 10 things that make you happy:
• When Diver Dude brings me flowers for no reason at all
• The way Kona grunts and sighs happily when he's all stretched out in the couch
• When Athena paws my hair in the morning while I'm half asleep on the toilet
• The tiny flicker of Bubba letting me know s/he's there
• Sunday mornings in bed with no immediate plans
• The sun warming my skin
• The warm ocean caressing my body
• Nephew yelling -Mama Sann! when he sees me and throws his little chubby arms around me
• My family. I love them to pieces. If you could choose your family, I so would've chosen mine
• Snow. It's white, and cold, and you can build stuff with it

6. -Thank you again Mrs. Farmer for the Valued Blogger Award :)
How did your journey into blogging begin?
When we were getting close to beginning our first performance in this circus a little over a year ago I needed a place to talk openly and honestly about my experiences and all the thoughts, hopes and fears that came with it. I had found Mel at Stirrup Queens and realized there was a whole community out here going through similar things and wanted to be part of that.

7. -I'm totally embarrased but I can't remember who gave me the Versatile Blogger Award, I need to be slapped!
List seven things about yourself:
- Again, I'll refer to the list above but adding to it:
• I have a really short memory and have to write down everything on little post-it notes. And when I can't remember where a specific note is, I'm fudged. I lost the sticky-note about this award.

8. -The fabulous Kakunaa at Spermination Station just reminded me that she tagged me in Blog Tag - thank you, with friends like that who needs sticky-notes?
What's your perfect date night?
Dinner and a movie - weather it be take-out-indian-food-curled-up-with-critters-on-the-couch-with-DVD or fancy-restaurant-three-meal-course-and-VIP-seats-at-the-movies-too-full-to-eat-popcorn style.
What was the last new food you tried?
Fried chicken feet - not a fan!
What hobby would you like to start but it seems to keep getting pushed to the back burner?
Playing the piano. And reading music.
Favorite vacation destination?
Hmmm, it's a toss-up between Maui, HI and Rome, Italy. Both awesome in different ways!
What are you most looking forward over the next month?
Bubba growing and feeling him/her move. The anatomy scan in week 21.
Which fall TV show are you most looking forward to?
Grey's Anatomy and Sons of Anarchy - so different and yet so similarly supreme!
Your favorite holiday tradition?
In Sweden Christmas is celebrated on Christmas Eve, with Santa coming to your house around six in the evening to deliver presents. Mamma would decorate our home the night before and to get to sleep in the morning of, she'd have us count all the little Santas around the house and open special morning presents. Just me and my sister tip-toeing around the house lit only by the lights of the Christmas tree, counting Santas, makes me all warm inside. I'm looking forward to reviving this Christmas tradition when Bubba is old enough.
Are you a morning or a night person?
I used to be a night owl, but then I married a morning star, and now it seems I'm just tired all the time :)
- And I answered all these questions before I read the questions at the end of the post that we were actually supposed to answer and now I'm pooped so screw it, I'll just stick with these. Please love me anyway Kakunaa?

And now, I present to you The Super Duper Special Award that comes with no other rules than this:
Give it to someone that is super duper special, tell them why, and ask them to pass it along!

You know you're all wonderful special women that rock my world on a daily basis but today I'd like to give this award to Robin at Looking for My Keys because she just found out that instead of her first IVF resulting in the first word of PUPO it's ended up being the last - Robin, you're a beautiful woman with an honestly positive outlook on life even through times that would knock most people on their butt. Your words never fail to move me in their simplicity when describing complex emotions. Kisses to you Robin!

Friday, 24 September 2010

My cervix is super!

How often do you get to say that? Average cervix length in pregnancy is 3.6 cm from what I understand and guess what my super duper cervix measured today? Over 5 cm long and nicely closed! Now that's a cervix to brag about!

In my anxious mind I've been going over all the things that could possibly make my cervix incompetent. All the biopsies over the years when I had constant cell changes of various degrees, the invasive cone biopsy of 1.3 cm when they discovered cervical cancer almost ten years ago, and the colposcopy last year when they removed a polyp from the top of my cervix. I've turned to Dr. Google too many times to look up symptoms and warning signs for incompetent cervix and actually stayed in bed almost all day Wednesday for fear of Bubba falling out. I know, I'm hysterical. Diver Dude had to give me a firm reality-check-pep-talk to snap me out of it when he came home.

Bubba looks good, he/she is a bigger gray blob now with fluttering arms and a completely visible spine. Legs were crossed most of the time though so we don't know what flavor he/she is. Heart rate has slowed down to 140 bmp which apparently is normal at 16 weeks. My weight is up a total of three pounds - four since last appointment - and I'm sporting a nice "beer gut".

While at the clinic, on doctors orders, I went down to get my flu shot. To think I used to pass out at the very sight of one of those. I believe IF has almost cured my fear of needles. That's an unexpected bonus.

I think I've been feeling Bubba for over a week now. It's that same small pop-pop-pop feeling I experienced at 10-ish weeks but now it's more intense, lasts longer and feels more like a nerve twitch - you know, like when your eye gets a twitch but it's down in babyville. I can't wait for it to be more frequent and unmistakable. I read somewhere that the first felt movements of the baby is called "the quickening" and I can't help but think that it sounds a little spooky. Kind of like the title of a horror flick. It's funny, because the feeling is as far from scary you can get, it's a beautiful, almost spiritual feeling of your baby letting you know it's there. The Quickening.

OK, I'm rambling. I'm just very relieved that everything seems to be going well. Hopefully this calm will stick around for at least a couple of days before I find something else to worry about. Anatomy scan is scheduled for October 28 at 21 weeks. How will I handle five weeks without seeing Bubba? I might just go a little crazy. Alright, a little crazier.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

The Big Reveal Dinner

Saturday, September 4th we had planned a traditional swedish crayfish party at my parents' cabin by the sea and invited my closest family. Our ulterior motive to eating lots of red shellfish, drinking a few schnapps and singing some obnoxious drinking songs, was of course to reveal our "little" secret.

As I struggled to decide what to wear Diver Dude kept laughing and pointing out how obvious my bump was becoming and that my family would know as soon as they saw me. After three or four changes I decided on an outfit including a big colorful scarf to distract and hide the bump and went inside to help Mamma with the finishing touches to the meal. She looked at me, smiled, rubbed my belly and said "good try Princess".

Around five they started arriving. Cousin Emil, his partner and their twin boys, cousin Ida with partner and two boys, my uncle Anton and his partner, and finally my Sister, Mr Sister and Nephew. The cabin was a warm chaos of hugs, happy voices and laughter. I was almost immediately cornered by Cousin Emil's partner who asked me with a wink if we were home for something other than just family time and before I had a chance to answer continued telling me a story about a friend of hers who switched fertility clinics and got pregnant with twins. I caught a few glances aimed at my mid-section but thankfully nobody dared to ask or comment about my mysterious one-point weight gain.

Everybody arrived hungry and we all sat down around the table before I had another chance to put a foot in my mouth. Diver Dude tapped his glass to get everyone's attention, cleared his voice and began saying the words we had rehearsed earlier: "First of all I'd like to say how happy we are that you all could make it here tonight, so I don't have to drink all the schnapps by myself. I think you all know the reason for us to come home this time was to do our second round of IVF. But when we talked to the doctor she told us that Circus Princess is not allowed to take the medication." Here he paused and we both looked around the room at the rows of raised eyebrows and open mouths before he continued: "And the reason for that is..." I stood up, lifted up my shirt to reveal the words Baby Bump embroidered on my maternity jeans, and said: "I'm already pregnant."

The noise on the porch drowned out the sound of the crashing waves. The symphony of laughter and words like what?, how? and when? made my heart so full of joy and gratitude I could hardly breathe. We were attacked with swarms of hugs as we tried to tell the story of our miracle, how we don't have any answers to how it happened, that we're still completely overwhelmed with happiness and that we just hope everything will turn out OK.

When everybody had settled and the noise died down a little my Sister quietly stood up and said: "Well, I might as well take this opportunity to tell you that we're expecting a baby too". This was followed by a second wave of loud congratulations and big hugs before we could finally dig in to our shellfish feast. And let me tell you, crayfish has never tasted so good.

Monday, 13 September 2010

While I write a post about The Big Reveal Dinner...

Here's all my belly shots so far - all but two taken on Saturday or Sunday before breakfast. The first one is taken only a few days before Week 5, and Week 13 is taken in Sweden after a giant breakfast and I'm obviously bloated and look about 6 months pregnant.

Promise to tell you all about The Dinner soon :)