Next Week Our Baby Grows Arms And Legs Which Will Come In Handy When She Has To Mow Our Lawn

copyright banner salted photo header

If everything goes according to plan my baby will be borne in the same hospital where I was hospitalized for a month twenty years ago for being suicidal.

How weird a circle is that?

My girlfriend and I had our first appointment with the high-risk pregnancy group at the Ottawa General Hospital on Tuesday. Compared to the service and general competency of the rural hospitals we’ve been hanging around in so far, the OGH was covered floor to ceiling in crushed velvet and diabetic-friendly chocolate was pouring from the fountains.

The location of the birth is one of quickly growing list of things I haven’t planned for yet. My girlfriend’s three-year old son was meant to borne in the same hospital, but things happened too fast and now his birth certificate has the name of a town I grew up making fun of… our high school used to beat their high school in everything.

Once the idea hit me that where our child would be borne was a potential option I started thinking of ways we could get ourselves into a Montreal hospital. But I think we’re too late.

Listening to the nurses and doctor at the OGH explain my girlfriend’s condition, and what they were going to do to help us as the pregnancy develops, was like listening to the person who wrote the book compared to a student’s memorization. It was reassuring to me, but more importantly to my girlfriend.

And, according to the people at the OGH, our baby is healthy, and exactly where she should be at this point in the pregnancy. The technician working the ultrasound wouldn’t let me take photos of the screen, but did give me some screenshots.

My kid even still has an egg yolk. How messed up is that?

There’s still no indication of sex — I don’t really want to know, but I think I’ll change my mind later. My girlfriend wants to know right away. Apparently the kid doesn’t even have arms or legs yet. She gets those next week… how freaking cool is that? Next week my baby grows arms and legs.

We did see her tiny heart pounding away… at 175bpm. Which is exactly what I expected, what with her being superhuman and all. According to my girlfriend, her son topped out at 155bpm. I’m pretty sure that means ours is genetically superior.

After we were done at the OGH my girlfriend was having a craving so we stopped at her favourite restaurant so she could have shrimp and bowtie pasta in a creamy white sauce with about a pound of shredded cheese on top. She has started eating meat again, and dairy products as well. Even this past weekend the thought of milk or red meat made her gag.

I had a Chicken Caesar salad with no dressing and some water. I can’t stand her favourite restaurant, even the iced tea has more than 1200 calories.

While we were there we actually got into a discussion about my past, about how hard it is for me to set boundaries and schedules. I’ve told her bits and pieces before, but never all at once and in context. I think she was way more shocked about stuff than she let on, but she listened and asked questions. And told me it explained a lot…

I think it all started with her asking me what the Metformin did for my diabetes. She also told me she thought the baby was going to mean big changes in my life… but the way she said it made it sound like the first Big Change. Or, at least one that would be more difficult than the Others. So that’s when I started trying to put my recovery into context for her.

The kid will be a massive event, no doubt. I’m coming to understand that, but I was suicidal for eighteen years and I survived that. I think it’s the relentlessness of a child that’s the biggest change. The kid is always going to be there.

And at the moment I can’t even take her son for more than a dozen hours a week. Which is up significantly from when I started dating his mom. But I am learning his rhythms, and how to calm him down. And also what interests him… on Monday we took him to a small waterpark, which isn’t open yet but they have a playground and he had it all to himself.

We also took a drive along the Quebec side of the Ottawa River until we found a ferry back to Ontario. He loves boats. So, while his mom waited in the car because she has a ‘thing’ about open water, he and I stood on the deck, hand in hand, listening to the big diesel engines and watching the river.




About Gabriel...

...diagnosed with manic depression when I was nineteen, for the next 14-years I lived without treatment or a recovery plan. I've been homeless, one time I graduated college, I've won awards for reporting on Internet privacy issues, and a weekly humour column. In 2002 I finally hit bottom and found help. It's now 2022, and I have an 8-year old son, and a 12-year old son... I’m usually about six feet tall, and I'm pretty sure I screwed up my book deal. I mostly blog at
This entry was posted in Bipolar, Bipolar Disease, Bipolar Disorder, crazy people with no pants, Health, Living With Depression, Living With Manic Depression, Manic Depression, Pregnancy. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Next Week Our Baby Grows Arms And Legs Which Will Come In Handy When She Has To Mow Our Lawn

  1. Yo is Me says:

    wait… how do you have a caesar salad with no dressing? isn’t that what makes it ceasar? caesar? wait… ae or ea?

    yay for ARMS AND LEGS!!

  2. Gabriel... says:

    Arms and legs are TOTALLY COOL… we go back in a couple of weeks and I’m REALLY looking forward to seeing how they turn out.

    A long time ago I asked a waiter for a Caesar (ae) salad with a different dressing. My family were mortified, and the waiter was deeply, deeply troubled. I still don’t see what the big deal is… I wanted the contents of a Caesar salad with a different dressing. My brother still teases me about it… this time I did actually have the dressing, but on the side, so what I really had was roasted chicken, romaine lettuce and some bacon bits. I think the next time I’m going to ask for a vinaigrette as a side order.

  3. Mahendra says:

    I’m happy to share your joy and excitement!

    Q. How weird a circle is that?
    A. The Circle of Life! 🙂

  4. Curried Jane says:

    This is such a beautiful piece of writing, I love it!

  5. ames says:

    I was just as perplexed as Yo is Me about the Caesar salad issue… however, reading your explanation it now makes total sense. You’d get a salad without all those weird, bitter dandelion bits. Plus, you get the bacon.

    Early ultrasounds are kinda like rorschach tests… I see a smiley kitten.

  6. Soire says:

    The General is one of the best hospitals in the area for birthing. The QCH is the worst. Highest intervention rates, blahblah.

    It’s very exciting 😀

  7. Gabriel... says:

    Thanks to all four of you… by this weekend I think she should have stubby little arm and leg buds, so she should be composing her first manifesto anytime now. Don’t worry World, the healing begins soon.

    I’m still a little freaked out she has an egg yolk.

  8. thordora says:

    Do I need to send you “A Child is Born?” 😛

    Pregnancy is so awesome, but it’s amusing that you have the picky habits with the food and not the one carrying the child. 😛

  9. Gabriel... says:

    I remember that book… wasn’t it semi-controversial? We’re having the 3D/4D images taken of the kid the next time we’re at the OGH, I’m pretty sure I read these types of scans are banned in some provinces because it’s illegal to know the sex of the kid before it’s born. Or something… dammit, I should have bookmarked the story.

    Right now the problem is kind of a pre-partum depression. My girlfriend has been getting progressively more depressed over the past ten days or so. She’s almost at the point where getting out of her apartment is a major chore.

    I’m only picky about certain restaurants. I freaking HATE East Side Mario’s and that level of restaurant. I find the food bland and the sauces far too heavy. And every plate is over 2200 calories.

    My girlfriend had a craving the other day so I had to go to a local chipstand and grab a handful of relish packets… because relish out of a plastic packet has a more desirable texture and taste than from the jar. I have good taste in salads. She’s insane.

  10. SwirlyAura says:

    Soooo, you had the BP conversation, or just touched on the periphery of it? Just curious, couldn’t get the gist of it from the post.

    Is it seriously illegal to know the sex of the child in some provinces?

  11. Gabriel... says:

    Hi Swirly… I’ve told her I have been chronically depressed for eighteen years, that what I have is a disease and I’ve been in recovery — including medication and psychiatric therapy — for four or five. I also told her about being homeless for a (combined) couple of years, and I’ve explained some of, but not nearly all, of my upbringing.

    I haven’t used the words “manic depression” or “political collective based on a cult of personality surrounding my father” because I don’t think it adds anything right now. I’m probably not giving her enough credit, but I’m not sure if the captions would mean much to her beyond what I’ve already told her. But I’ll use the words eventually.

    From what I remember of the story, the province of New Brunswick, at least until very recently, forbid parents from knowing the sex of their baby in case they were to use that knowledge as a reason to abort the foetus. So parents were travelling to the US to have the 3D/4D imaging service done.

    I do not believe the parents getting the procedure done in the US were having it done to decide on abortion, they were just naturally curious as to the sex of the foetus. It’s just a bizarre provincial law made up in reaction to the completely ludicrous lack of abortion laws this country has.

  12. thordora says:

    Yup. When I was pregnant, I was not allowed to be told the sex. Which was funny, because during my last pregnancy, they had to do profiles since my pregnancy wasn’t adhering to their timelines. And she tried to find the sex then. It varies, it really does. We have a 3D/4D clinic now, but I’m unsure about gender disclosure…

    I found A Child is Born at the thrift store, and I love it. But it is very graphic, so not all adults can deal with it I imagine. I’ve found it helpful for the ladies.

    If she’s having trouble with her moods, feel free to pass on my email. Been there, got the t-shirt. 😀

    Otherwise, well?

  13. MoDLin says:

    Glad to hear all is progressing well. Cool!

  14. Bromac says:

    Interestingly enough, I recently read an article about this becoming a trend in the US among families of Asian descent. I don’t have the statistics but can look it up.

    I look forward to checking out the article. I thought “the other site” was a photography site.

  15. Gabriel... says:

    Hi Thor… otherwise I’m moving forward with panache and grace.

    Hi bromac… technically I have two “other” sites.

    But my brain hasn’t been able to properly update them in a long, long time. Which is a shame because it really is totally mega awesome.

    I honestly think the next phase of my recovery will involve updating the other blog on a regular basis. The photo blog is (slowly) helping me get there.

  16. Kitty says:

    Aww, Gabriel, congrats.

    Having a child is the most wonderful event in one’s life. Trust me on that.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s