Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Good Size

Gestation: 34 weeks 5 days
Days to EDD: 37
Weight gain: 13kg
Number of chocolates eaten today: Three! All Quality Street. No Christmas cake yet though.

Update from obstetrician appointment:
It's all good. My aches and pains are "normal" (i.e. "don't bother me with the details, I'm on my Christmas holiday and want to go home asap"). The baby is "a good size. It won't be a small one." My response: gulp!

That's the second time he's mentioned the baby's decent size now and I'm getting nervous. I'm starting to hope it will arrive early and think perhaps I should try to get everything sorted for its arrival sooner rather than later. Yet at the same time I'm wary of getting my hopes up and spending the last 3-4 weeks of gestation panicking that Ajie is growing to be the size of a cow. I hope no one tries to convince me that Ajie's head won't fit through my pelvis. I hope Ajie's head will fit through my pelvis. Oh lordy. I'm trying to ask it to slow down a bit... I mean, sure keep growing 'cause we'll all worry if you don't, but perhaps just a bit slower. I can't help but wonder whether it's all my fault for giving in to the sugar cravings and that I will get all I deserve for being a pregnant pig.

Other news:

  • I'm still hot. It was quite a warm day today (31C in the house according to Toby's new weather station that he got for Christmas from my parents) and I'm sweating like a pig. A pregnant pig. There's a common theme here. I have resisted the urge to stick on the air-con because there is a lovely breeze outside and I'm managing to get a bit of it coming through the house.
  • Had a lengthy chat today with my old friend Paul at my old organic shop - haven't been there for ages - before he realised I was heavily pregnant. Score!
  • Yesterday we bought a new (used) car (Nissan X-Trail which we pick up tomorrow) and a new (new) 2 piece leather lounge suite (it was an expensive day) which will hopefully be delivered in 2-3 weeks, although the salesman was supposed to call me back today to confirm and he hasn't. I intended to call him before 5pm but I've spent the last 2 hours sorting out insurance for the car.
  • Went shopping for prams and cots today, well looking. I think I've decided which pram I want: the Steelcraft Strider Deluxe in Kingfisher (a lovely blue), possibly with a bassinet. I'm undecided on that point at the moment. 
  • Did I say that I'm hot?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Merry 34 weeks (and a Happy New 35 weeks)

34 weeks today. Oh yes, and it's Christmas Day - hurrah!!!

34 weeks
Days to EDD: 42
Weight gain: 13kg
Number of chocolates eaten today: None. Yet. I'm still in bed so there's plenty of time. Really looking forward to coffee and Christmas cake later.

Writing this on Toby's teeny tiny little Eee PC and the cursor keeps jumping around all over the place. It's driving me nuts so I'm going to get up and see if Santa has been and try again later on my humungous laptop.

Later: Okay, scrap all that. It is days later now. I don't know where the time has gone.

Gestation: 34 weeks 3 days
Days to EDD: 39
Weight gain: 13kg
Number of chocolates eaten today: Two! Quality Street (toffee deluxe, and the pink fudge one; real English chocolate from the English chocolate shop - a birthday present from Toby) but I also had two slices of Kielana's birthday cake and a sliver of Jeff's birthday muffin.

Current ailments: 
  • I'm still getting that strange pain in my abdomen, at the front, to the right, near my rib cage. Sometimes it seems to be related to baby movements and that seems to be increasing so I think part of the bub is rubbing against me inside and causing irritation.
  • Possibly linked is a muscular pain in my lower ribs to the back. I have incredible knots there and have to get Toby to rub my back. Sometimes it seems to be caused by the baby but it's definitely irritated by sitting in one position for too long and pushing my shoulders forward (when typing or holding a book) doesn't help. The drives to and from Toby's parents' place didn't help either so no more long car journeys for me.
  • On Boxing Day I woke up with a sore left wrist. It seemed to be related to a tendon or ligament and was ever so slightly swollen. Perhaps I lay on it in the night. It was weak and useless all day but the next day it felt a bit better and gradually eased its way out.
  • The sore wrist was closely followed by a sore tendon in my left foot which was also slightly swollen. I think perhaps bub was lying on a nerve or something.
  • I'm hot.
Strange observations:
  • Thanks to the heat I am currently unable to wear my rings most days as my fingers are a bit swollen.
  • My belly button is starting to pop out. It looks a bit odd. And it feels rather odd having skin exposed that is normally on the inside.
  • The baby seems to be sitting a bit high up today and I feel like my heavy boobs and belly are bashing together a bit. I'm sick of my boobs actually.
  • My 34 week belly seems MUCH bigger than my 32 week belly. Can't believe there's another 6 weeks of growing to do.
Other news:
  • The nursery is coming along nicely. I have finished painting the chest of drawers and some shelves and I stuck some underwater stickers on the shelves and the change table. Toby has painted the walls, doors and skirting boards. Now we just need to arrange the furniture and get sticking!
  • We have finished our ante-natal classes. Following our two birth classes was one on breastfeeding, then active birth and finally tips for looking after a newborn, to be continued during our hospital stay.
  • The midwife during our final class confused the hell out of us with regards to our cot and SIDS (cot death). There are lots of bizarre rules but one of them is that you shouldn't line your cot with fabric. Ours is. If I remove the liner I'm worried that the baby could catch its fingers between the wire of the frame. I don't think it would pass current safety standards but they obviously didn't worry about this stuff 90 years ago. So do we take the risk with the fabric, remove it, or buy a cot? Who knows!
  • There may more news but I'm tired and can't remember ... I have my next appointment with the obstetrician tomorrow so I might pop back in and update on the size of the bub (measuring 1-2 weeks bigger than dates at the last check) and perhaps I'll remember more news then.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Perhaps I'll burst

Some days I feel like I'm going to burst. Not with excitement. Literally.

Gestation: 32 weeks and 5 days
Days to EDD: 50
Weight gain: 11-12 kg
Number of chocolates eaten today: None, but I did have a hot chocolate to try to eradicate the hunger pangs.

32 week belly shot - excuse the tired look and heavy no-bra boobs. It was bedtime.

Tonight, when preparing to shower after the gym, I noticed dry flakey skin on my nipples! On My Nipples!!! I swear I have never before had dry skin On My Nipples. I have certainly never noticed dry skin on my nipples before. Is this normal? Another bizarre symptom of pregnancy? I'm going to have to look it up. Rubbed some nipple stuff on them (Palmer's Nursing Cream, part of my toiletry pack from the ladies at work). The tube mentioned pre-natal use indicating this could be normal.

Friday, December 12, 2008

32 weeks and growing

Well, I guess the countdown has started. We are well and truly into single figures in terms of weeks left before the squirmer is due. Even if Dr Stokes lets me go 14 days overdue we will have our little bundle of joy in less than 10 weeks. I can't quite believe it.

The baby is getting quite big. In fact Dr Stokes says it's measuring one or two weeks bigger than my dates. He said that's good because it means bub is healthy and growing. I am resisting the temptation to wonder if that means it might be early, or on time and big. I think there's a good chance it could even out over the next few weeks. As Gran said the other night though, I am now well and truly aware that there's another little human inside me. It moves around a lot now, with much shorter periods of rest, although most of the time its actual movements are smaller as there is less room. That said, the other night it had me cracking up watching it try to change position. My whole belly was undulating like something out of aliens. I don't know whether it gave up in the end because it's pretty much in the same position it's been in for the last couple of weeks, although I woke up later that night to find it lying right up in between my ribs and over to the right hand side (its favoured side) leaving the lower left portion of my belly practically empty. I rolled onto my back and it straightened itself out a bit.

There is a heel constantly over to my right-hand side and when Ajie squirms the heel comes pushing out. Even Lucie could feel it the other night and sometimes it's so prominent it feels uncomfortable so I push it back in. Ajie pushes it back out again. I push it back in again. This can sometimes go for quite a while and I wonder if it's the start of a battle of the wits that we'll continue throughout life. Ajie certainly likes digging its heels in. It seems to be quite a mellow baby. For all of its squirming there isn't much in the way of violent or sudden kicks. I think Ajie is more of a yoga baby, or maybe a surfer than a footie player. There is the occasional short bout of hiccups though that can be quite violent.

After six months of thinking Ajie will be a boy I have had some strong girl feelings and dreams this week. Now I don't know what to expect but I think I'll be less shocked if it is a girl. I need to prepare Toby though as he would love a boy and is worried he'll be disappointed if it's a girl. I don't think he will be but perhaps my conviction that it is a boy all this time hasn't helped him prepare mentally.

We started ante-natal classes last week and have done two now. They're really good, very informative and it's nice to know that the hospital in general has a policy of letting you birth as naturally as you like and as they believe is safe. The first week was all about a natural and normal active birth. I was a bit annoyed to discover that Dr Stokes doesn't do water-births. Apparently you have to get out for delivery or they pull the plug. Toby and I are devising methods to prevent them from doing that, such as sitting on the plug. I'm not hung up on a water birth at all but I have done a bit of research and it seems like a good thing, plus I'm just irritated that the choice is taken away from me. I'll have to find out what he has against them.

Last night was a bit more full on as it covered all the things that you don't want to think about, such as use of forceps or emergency cesareans. It was good to know in what circumstances these things might occur and to start preparing for the possibility that it could happen to us. I was shocked to hear that one in three births end in cesarean! That seems like a lot to me. We also went through the different methods of induction, something I'm still hoping to avoid but at least I'll know what to expect if it is unavoidable. I am slowly coming to terms with the fact that a medicalised birth might happen and isn't necessarily a bad thing.

The people in our group seem to be nice too and last night one of the girls from yoga was there. She's also English and is due 2 weeks after me but is having twins so will probably give birth before me or around the same time.

I am incredibly busy at the moment. Work is ramping up and I don't really have time to be writing this. I'm so tired. We had a great weekend away down at Byron. It was so relaxing and I took three days off work. But things have got crazy again this week. On Tuesday night we ended up test driving a car (so I've missed yoga and the gym this week and I'm feeling a bit unfit). We're currently looking at getting a Nissan X-Trail which is really nice to drive. We weren't too sure about the actual one we saw on Tuesday though and need to do a bit of shopping around. On Wednesday night we went round to Scott and Lucie's with Libbette and Lincoln for Christmas dinner. It was really nice and we all got each other little presents. Lucie even got a gift for Ajie - a very cool set of decorative lights with felt dolphins, crabs and boats to match our underwater theme. That night I was kept awake with a sore back and I've been tired ever since. My back is getting better but I missed pilates as a result. It's been a bad two weeks for exercise. Must get back into it.

That said, I had a lovely morning on Wednesday where I walked for a couple of kilometres near the beach and went out along the rock wall at The Spit. I saw loads of fish in the water and a turtle! Then I went for a swim in the ocean. It was a beautiful morning and I wish I hadn't been too tired to get out of bed and do it again every morning this week.

Work threw a baby shower for me on Wednesday too. We played a game where we had to guess whose baby photo was whose. Only 7 people brought photos in but it was still fun. People also guessed (or suggested) baby names and when the baby might arrive. The director read out a passage about children from The Prophet - one of Toby's and my favourites actually so I should stick it up here sometime to share. They also got me some fab gifts: a cute little almost designer romper suit and matching bib, although I confess I'm not sure how to get it onto the baby as it has no poppers on the legs. I have the receipt so I can always exchange it; a cloth book that you can tie to the cot with high contrast pictures on one side for newborns and a colourful frieze on the other; some creams and oils for me; and a gorgeous painted wood mobile of Noah's ark with lots of animals on it. What with that and Lucie's lights I can't wait to get the nursery done.

I read in the news today that Australia has the third worst childcare system in the developed world, which is somewhat concerning. Read more here.

And that's about that. It's pretty hot here but we got an air-conditioning unit installed the other day so hopefully I'll be able to cope a bit better. I will have to set the time on it and program it to come on and off at night I think... hopefully it will keep the house a bit cooler.

I finally have a new bump shot so I'll upload that in the next couple of days.

Monday, December 1, 2008


Tomorrow I will be 33 and my family will be saying goodbye to my Grandpa. My mother-in-law very kindly offered to help me out with any travel expenses if I wanted to go home for the funeral but aside from the hassle of getting clearance from my obstetrician and the airline, and having to rush back quickly before the airline get nervous about letting me back on board, and the fact that it's probably a bit much to organise in a few days, not to mention that I'd probably pay way above and beyond a fair fare, I figure sitting still for that long is probably impossible and unwise for someone who is 7 months pregnant.

My Dad made it quite clear that the family wouldn't be all that impressed if I attempted the trip. Gran said she'd worry. I was never really that serious about it. It would be a terribly selfish thing to do and I have to put my baby first now. Poor squirmer doesn't have a choice in the matter and I need to respect that.

Pregnancy is a wonderful journey of education into the strange symptoms and sensations the human body is capable of producing and enduring. Last night brought a new symptom. At around 2.30am I awoke feeling quite uncomfortable and a little bit sick in the stomach. I was fed up with sleeping on my left-hand side and wanted to sleep on my back or my right-hand side but whenever I did I could feel a tingling sensation, like pins and needles, in my right leg. Eventually I could feel it even when lying on my left-hand side. After a while I started to become more aware of the sensation and also quite hungry so I figured I'd get up and do some research. In the dark I grabbed a couple of pregnancy books and took them into the living room. I figured just getting up and walking around might help my circulation. I was pretty sure the baby was putting pressure on an artery. I grabbed some weet-a-bix (actually called weet-bix here but it was Uncle Toby's vitabrits or something... same difference) and read all about pins and needles in the hands and feet, which wasn't exactly what I had but is apparently caused by swelling due to excessive fluid or something.

When I went back to bed it had eased a bit, although was now present in my right arm too. I was feeling a little bit better sickness-wise having eaten, but now I had a ligament pain or something at the bottom of my uterus on the right-hand side. Thankfully I did get back off to sleep eventually although I'm quite tired today.

Today I've had tingly hands, both of them on and off. For a while it was mainly my right-hand which I'd been operating my mouse with. I read that carpal tunnel syndrome is common in pregnancy and it's caused by swelling in the wrists putting pressure on the nerves. My wrist did look a bit swollen. Hopefully it'll pass but at least I have a short week at work this week. I have Thursday and Friday off for our trip to Byron. Thursday is really just so I can chill, get stuff together, get my hair cut (if I remember to make an appointment) and resume my pilates. We start our ante-natal classes on Thursday night. Friday we go away and we'll probably return Sunday. Monday I'll re-coup and do the laundry then back to work on Tuesday.

The First Aid course was very useful on Saturday. I hope we remember it all. It was only $20 each and there were quite a lot of girls from yoga there with their partners. I knew some of it anyway from doing First Aid as part of my Fire Warden training at uni but it was good to have it reinforced and to have Toby there too and know that he will also know what to do in an emergency. The best bit was getting to try CPR on baby and child dummies. I've had to do it quite a lot (once a year) on an adult dummy but we don't usually get babies and children to try on . I hope I never have to use it though.

I baked the Christmas cake on Saturday night. It wasn't the best day to do it as it was disgustingly humid, but I just wanted it done and out the way.

Sunday was nice. We walked some dogs belonging to Toby's colleague to the beach and then had breakfast in the garden. Toby upset me by insisting I sit down the other end of the table from him - apparently he'd placed a chair there for me deliberately but I moved it closer to him - all because I slightly nudged his notebook (which he wasn't even looking at because he was reading the paper). He probably wouldn't have even noticed if I hadn't apologised and straightened it up. I wonder how he can possibly be so anal about stuff like that yet leave a pair of socks on the coffee table for days on end.

I wrapped up some Christmas presents for family back home, spoke to my parents and watched Toby attempt to make a Delia Smith Chocolate Beer cake without really reading the recipe. It was still yummy although the icing in the middle turned out a bit odd because he used caster sugar rather than icing sugar. I couldn't eat that bit. It was too sweet and crumbly. It was my birthday cake though so I was going to enjoy it. We shared it with Jeff and Larraine. I was going to bring the remainder of the cake to work to share with the team on my birthday but Jeff ate it. I even tried to stop him by mentioning my intention as he started cutting his second piece but he just replied "oh that'll be nice" and continued on. There's just under a third left but it's not enough to share with ten people so I'll just have to pick up a shop bought one on the way to work. I thought it would be nice to do something as it's a sad day, being Grandpa's funeral, and I think some people have my last week before maternity leave off work. All the more cake for me to eat at home anyway.

We didn't get our sofa. We pretty much ruled out all the ones we'd narrowed it down to and now have another couple to consider, neither of which are ideal. It's so exhausting.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Just a quickie - 30 weeks

Well, it seems like a milestone and I had lots I wanted to say but Grandpa died yesterday and that has been occupying my mind more than much else. It's pretty hard to be sad when you have a little life kicking away inside of you but I am definitely feeling reflective and a little homesick. I am spending a lot of time remembering Grandpa and thinking about, and communicating with, my family.

I'm experiencing a few aches and pains but nothing too bad, just a bit irritating really. My hips sometimes get sore and I'm feeling a bit large... bump shot on its way when I get the chance. My shoulder gets sore at work and I (as usual) have days where I just can't focus. I have also been experiencing unpleasant pains in my abdomen, mainly at the top of my uterus on the right-hand side just under my ribs. I think they are Braxton Hicks contractions. Usually they are what I would describe as sensations and they occur all over my abdomen but three nights ago I started experiencing them as pains in this one spot. As you'd expect with a muscle contraction, they would last a few moments then ease up. It wasn't a dull constant ache like I get with my shoulder. I put it down to one of two things: overdoing it and eating a spicy curry. After the contraction had eased, the area around it sort of felt bruised (woh!!! Major squirm just occurred that took my breath away) and my ribs were painful for a couple of days. The pains came again the following afternoon so I left work early and had a rest. That eased them up. Now I just get them very mildly at bedtime. It seems to be a sign that I should go to bed and that's how I'm taking it.

In other news, the heartburn and sleeplessness have been back again this week. I think that might get worse when I'm overtired. We had a crazy weekend shopping for lounge furniture and this one isn't looking much better. We're heading over to Andrei and Karen's to catch up with family tonight and give Zoe her birthday present. Tomorrow after yoga we're doing a First Aid for Babies and Children all afternoon with the yoga group. It will be full on but useful and fun. On Sunday we're baking my birthday cake and the Christmas cake and hopefully finishing our shopping and finally choosing a sofa. Toby's mum and dad are coming round so I'm going to show them my ideas for the nursery. I have written a MASSIVE to do list today. I don't know how we're going to fit it all in. We can but try.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Good news, bad news

Good news: I've just had the blood glucose test for gestational diabetes and it was normal so I'm GD free!!! Hurrah!!! No dieting over Christmas for moi! Also Ajie is in the correct head-down position so all that walking is paying off. Good baby. (Clever mammy.)

Bad news: Dad called this morning with the news that Grandpa isn't very well at all and is pretty much on his death bed so it seems that I won't get to see him or speak to him again. Very sad.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I have special needs

What do you know? Nothing from me for almost two weeks and then two posts in one day. Well, I just had to log on because I was amused to find out this morning that apparently I have "special needs".

I have been a Fire Warden for our floor for about three years or so now and I'm in the process of handing over to a colleague as I won't be here next year. We both attended a 1 hour training session this morning. I do these whenever I can because it's the kind of stuff that's easy to forget if you don't keep on top of it. Anyway, this morning we were discussing evacuation procedures and we were reminded that we should first attend to those with special needs, which includes women in their third trimester of pregnancy!

Well, this was news to me. Even better, once we were advised how to deal with these people with special needs we were told that we could then move on to the able-bodied. Excuse me? Exactly what is it about a woman in her third trimester of pregnancy that renders her dis-abled and incapable of removing herself from a burning building? Sure, some of us may be a bit slower than usual - we mightn't be nimbly fleeing down the stairs in a spritely manner but I'll wager that I'm a hell of a lot more able-bodied than the majority of the people in the lecture theatre at the time.

I resisted the temptation to stick up my hand and ask, "Excuse me, but what happens if the fire warden is in her third trimester of pregnancy?"

Hilarious... I can see me using the "special needs" tag at some opportune moments over the coming weeks and months, especially when it comes to packing the car for our weekend away: "Sorry, can't... I'm a bit special!"

Where did the week go? (Almost 29 weeks!)

Somehow I completely missed a post last week and yet I fully intended to drop in and give an update. I even took bump shots. Every time I take these I think I look smaller in the photos than I do in real life. These ones were taken a week ago so maybe I am bigger this time.

Bump at 27 weeks and 6 days

Not quite as obvious from the front.

Even my nieces are starting to notice my bump now. Last night they both (separately from one another) pointed to my bump and asked "Is that where your baby is?" and I replied, "Yes it's getting big, isn't it?" They agreed and I explained that it was going to get a lot bigger because it isn't coming out for another three months and it's spending that whole time just getting fat.

I think Zoe is quite excited about being a "big cousin". She was only two when Kielana was born so it will be lovely for her to be aware of, and remember, the baby. I hope they get to spend a lot of time together. I never had cousins when I was a kid but I always wished I did. I think it'll be really good for the baby to hang out with older children. I think it helps to socialise and educate them. And it might also help to prepare the bub for when it has to go to childcare.

I phoned up and left my name with one childcare place when I was off sick the other day. It was recommended to me by a lady who works at the University and it's really close to home. Probably not quite walking distance but not far at all. The lady I spoke to took my name and told me to call back in a year and find out where I was on the list. I will spend some time calling others when I go on maternity leave. It seems a bit early but friends have advised the earlier the better and since then the biggest childcare company in Australia, ABC Learning Centres, has found itself in serious financial strife. The company currently owes over $1.6 billion AUD to staff and creditors after over-committing itself to the purchase of smaller companies (or something). The government has already provided $22 million to keep the centres open until Christmas but this hasn't stopped parents freaking out and moving their children to other centres where they can. And who can blame them? Who wants to start the new year having to take unpaid leave because you can't find anyone to look after your children?

This morning I heard on the news that another childcare company, based in New South Wales, has collapsed. This is directly linked to the ABC collapse as the latter failed to complete a $8.5 million deal to purchase centres from the former. Being based in Queensland this shouldn't really affect us but it's not good news and it could make for tough competition in looking for childcare places. Thankfully I have a year to think about it and hopefully ABC will sort itself out in that time and ease the market a bit again.

I had a day off work on Monday, which was bliss and, after another busy weekend, much needed. Saturday wasn't too bad. I had the usual yoga class and this time Lucie was in the same session as me so we drove up together and called into a friend of Lucie's colleague on the way back to pick up some cheap second-hand baby stuff. Lucie got a Tigger jolly jumper (very cute) and I got a Mamas and Papas Lottie Ladybird playgym (complete with toothmarks on the rattle, which Mam thinks I should replace but we'll see) and a Valco BabyMinder bouncer. I also got a little hammock for the bath and a soft insert for the car restraint (which we don't have yet). After lunch I did a spot of shopping and bought some disposable nappies (Huggies) on special as well as a change table mat.

On Sunday we had a lazy morning consisting of coffee and croissants in the garden (yum!) before heading down to Brisbane with Betty and Lincoln for my first ever experience of yum cha (dim sum), which was great. It was an extremely hot and humid day but I almost don't notice the heat these days, I just notice that I feel a bit rubbish. We then headed to West End to meet some friends in a park for a leaving barbecue. As a storm was expected we found it a bit strange that they hadn't arranged a wet weather option. We bumped into one other couple there but the hosts and a range of other friends were nowhere to be seen. The dark clouds drew in and we continued to wait, unable to leave before Mark arrived as he was bringing our change table up from the Gold Coast. Eventually people started to arrive, and then so did the rain. We huddled under a pergola and Mark, Mindi and Guy arrived with the change table in their car. Within moments the rain, which had eased up, started again, this time with a vengeance and the most intense storm I have ever been in surrounded us. Gusts of almost 50kph blew the rain horizontally into our shelter so we got soaked. We all huddled together, wrapped in towels and blankets. The huge trees nearby looked like they might lob a branch in our direction at any time. Lightening hit all around us with thunder following almost immediately in some cases. We even saw a building on the other side of the river be struck and sparks flew off it.

I'm not sure how long this went on for but eventually it eased and we were able to get the change table out of Mark's car and onto the roof of Betty's and head home, albeit on a very wet and rainy road. To get out of the city we had to drive through a couple of black-out areas where power had been lost. It was a bit freaky driving through a city with no people, no pubs or restaurants open, no lights on inside buildings, no street lamps, no traffic lights - given that there were still cars on the road that was probably the freakiest bit. Watching the news the following day I learned that these were the worst storms in almost 15 years and that only a few km away from where we were tornadoes were ripping roofs off buildings, the wind blew down huge trees as though they were twigs and the roads were turned to rivers. I can't help but think we were REALLY lucky.

So, we now have a change table. In fact there is quite a pile of stuff in the nursery and other than a nappy bucket, baby bath and maybe a nursing cushion (My Brest Friend has been recommended) I think we have most things we need initially. Pumpkin Patch had 25% off everything on Monday so I bought the baby a t-shirt and a sunhat. I wasn't going to buy any clothes as I thought we might get some as gifts but this was too cute not to get and with the discount wasn't bad. Plus, I've saved so much money on other things I thought "why not?". I also got some t-shirts and bodysuits reduced in Target.

Toby's mum was on the phone the other day saying that she was frustrated because she'd seen lots of lovely things but couldn't buy any of them because she didn't know whether to buy for a girl or a boy. It's interesting, isn't it, that we now live in a world where people get frustrated not knowing the sex of a baby before its birth? At least we know the baby is healthy and the right size. What must people have done 50 years ago before you couldn't find out any of this stuff? Anyway,she must have seen some really nice things to get frustrated because Pumpkin Patch had some gorgeous unisex stuff. I think maybe we have different ideas of what is unisex though. For example, I saw some lovely blue clothes that I think would look great on a girl or a boy... it's just the right shade of blue to be not too boyish. If in doubt I've gone for more boyish colours as I think I'd rather dress a girl in boys clothes than vice versa, but I have seen some gorgeous girly things (mostly pink) that I would love to buy but daren't in case it's a boy. Mind, there'd always be someone I could give it to. Anyway, it just means all the more fun for us after the baby is born and we know what it is.

Toby has another theory. He thinks that his mum thinks that we actually do know the sex of the baby but that we're not telling. Well, to everyone reading: WE DO NOT KNOW THE SEX OF THE BABY!!! We think it could be a boy but there's every chance we're wrong. I think our doctor knows but he's not telling because we told him we didn't want to know. He might have forgotten by now. I'm not sure whether they make a note of it if you have said you don't want to know. Lucie found out what she's having on Friday (but I'm not telling because she wants to tell everyone herself) and that was very exciting. I told Larraine and she got a bit excited so I can tell that at least 50% of the clothes she's seen but couldn't buy might now end up going to the Bradley babe.

I have my test for gestational diabetes tomorrow. Have to drink a sugar drink, which sounds disgusting. I'm starting to find it difficult to sit all day at work. My back aches regularly. I'm also trying to walk a lot to get the baby in a good position. It feels like it's always in breech but I'm starting to wonder if I'm feeling it properly. I know I sit a lot for work but I try not to otherwise. If I'm at home I tend to sit or kneel on the floor in a yoga pose. AJ (now called Ajie 'cause it's cuter to say if a little difficult to read) is very active very regularly now. Yesterday at work it was kicking into god knows what and making me very uncomfortable. No more little flutters. My belly feels like it's been taken over by an army of partying mini aliens.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

27 weeks and OH MY GOD!!!

According to my baby forum signature there are 89 days left until my due date.

According to the calculations I did today only 40 of them are at work. Woohoo!! AND I'll have 12 days to take as recreation leave by the end of the year, 13 by the time I take maternity leave. So it'll actually be even less than 40 because I decided this week that I need to take regular rest and relaxation days to prevent overtiredness and overdoing it. And, a week before maternity leave it's the Christmas break so I'll have at least 7 days off then. Oh winding down... I can't wait.

And boy do I need it. I completely overdid it at the weekend. I spent Friday afternoon up in Noosa attending Sue and Rich's citizenship ceremony which was lots of fun and got me all excited about my own (not that I know when that is yet). I'll try and blog about it on Random Thoughts soon. I was exhausted by the time I got home, not helped by driving at night on a stretch of motorway with no road markings, just those silly flappy things which I couldn't see anyway because of the stream of traffic coming towards me from the opposite direction.

That was followed by baby markets with Lucie on Saturday morning where we both totally exhausted ourselves. We arrived as soon as the markets opened and there was a queue to get in. By the time we'd parked the car the one and only decent change table had been sold. I've since purchased one on eBay for $62 (well, I haven't paid for it yet because I haven't heard from the seller; obviously they don't log on often) but we have to go all the way to the Gold Coast to get it. It's a good excuse to drop in on our south coast buddies and visit Ikea though. At the markets I bought a heap of MCNs (modern cloth nappies) all made from organic hemp and bamboo. I got three cute-arse fitted nappies (including 2 gorgeous microfleece ones). They're quite small so should fit straight away. The others were flat bamboo ones that can be used as boosters when the baby grows out of them. We both bought breast pads from the same stall for any little emergencies. I had to laugh at the lady because she had a silky breast pad pinned to her top as a demo and she described it as the "sexy" pad. Lady, there ain't nothing sexy about leaking tits!

We also bought some little outfits. Lucie got a gorgeous shawl/blanket thing, which I threatened to buy if she didn't but of course, we already have my mother's beautiful 53 year-old shawl. I bought my first toy and that was about that really. We flopped into some chairs with take-away tea and biscuits and chatted to Kaz for a while. I showed Zoe my new toy and she said "is that for your baby?" I said "yes, do you think it'll like it?" to which she gave a definite yes. It's the first time we've talked about the baby actually and I'd like to talk to her about it more. I didn't really speak to Kie because she was being a whingy bugger and the only thing she was concerned with was the fact that her lollypop was the wrong colour. Life can be so cruel when you're almost three.

Then Lucie and I, slightly recovered, hightailed it up to yoga.

Neither of us got anything done for the rest of the day but then partied Halloween style up at Betty's place that night. What an awesome party!! Everyone was dressed up. My outfit was so last minute. I didn't even know what I was going to go as but I decided after two minutes of online research to go as a Day of the Dead Catrina. This involved flying around the garden in the dark collecting flowers and sticking them in a hat before putting dark eyeshadow all around my eyes and under my cheek bones to make me look sunken in and dead. It was great to catch up with everyone but I stayed up too late and ruined myself for three days.

It wasn't helped by the fact that Guy stayed over at our place. We hadn't seen him for months, not since I was about 6 weeks pregnant actually, so we sat up chatting til about 1am. Then Guy woke us up at 2am having remembered that he was allergic to cats. Unfortunately it was the inability to breathe that reminded him rather than his actual brain. Then Toby was up and about ridiculously early and by 7am I gave up and got out of bed. I had another nap after the boys had gone out but it wasn't enough. And that night the sleep-bad nights started, mostly thanks to the incredible humidity that had set in. I'd wake up needing the loo, and find myself all hot and sweaty. On getting back into bed I'd find it difficult to get comfortable and then my mind would kick in thinking of all sorts of stuff. What if the change table isn't suitable? What else do we need to buy? When will we get around to decorating the nursery? What are we going to do about the carpets? How will I get through a day at work tomorrow? I wonder how much leave I have - perhaps I could start taking days off. Then I'd start composing blog posts in my head. I woke up wide awake at 5am, got up and had breakfast, then went back to sleep. For two days I was completely out of synch, slightly head-fucked, and unable to work.

Apparently I'm in the third trimester now. It could partly explain my sleepless nights and slowing down. I'm thinking of packing in the gym in favour of the Preggie Bellies DVD that Kaz leant me. The gym is just so hot and stuffy and I'm not getting as much out of it anymore... but I'll give it a few more weeks.

I think I've been getting Braxton Hicks contractions but I'm really not sure. I read that they can be confused for baby movements but that it feels like the baby is pushing against your tummy, usually at the top, and it goes hard and tight. I've definitely felt this. I also get a feeling quite high up that is similar to the pain you get in your bladder when you desperately need a wee. Not sure what this is.

I think I had a lot more to say but this has been a very long post and I'm off to plan my days off now.... back soon with more belly shots!

Friday, October 31, 2008

More Clucklette photos

I just couldn't resist popping up all the photos from last week's scan. Some of them are a little difficult to make out and a bit blurry but they're all a bit different.

I can't stop watching the moving images, especially the one of AJ drinking and sticking out its tongue - it's so cute. S/he waves his arms around and snuggles into the womb wall. Dr Stokes showed us how to find the baby's head so we can get an idea of what position it's lying in. It was breech at the surgery but when I was lying in bed last night it seemed to have moved into a lower position.

We're a bit zoomed out here (see profile shot to the left). Little hand in front of face.

A bit closer in. The umbilical chord can be seen in front of bub's face.

The chord is really clear in this one.

Not at all sure what's going on here. Even the profile looks strange. What's going on with its nose and lips?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

26 Weeks Facial Scan

Just a quick update to show you some new bump photos and stills from our facial scan today. It was lovely to see our baby and luckily it was in a reasonable position for us to see its face and was awake and moving around. We saw it gulp down some amniotic fluid (yummy) and the umbilical cord was right up near its face. We have movies of the scan which are great as we can see it wave its arm around and open its mouth to swallow fluid. It's very exciting especially as it looked like an actual newborn and was much chubbier than we'd expected.

Bub snuggling into the uterus wall (head to the left, facing the right way up. I think that thing floating in front of it is the umbilical cord.) So what do you think? Boy or girl?

And the view from the outside.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Latest ailment

Just thought I'd pop in and tell you of my latest ailment. As well as a a general lack of enthusiasm and vague lethargy towards my work, emphasised I'm sure by my feelings of anxiety over the lack of organisation and abundence of mess within my home, increased tiredness and a prevailing feeling of wishing I was elsewhere (pool, bed, beach, gym, anywhere really), I am currently experiencing discomfort whilst sitting at my desk.

This is not a good situation for someone in a desk job. I appreciate that I am much better off than those poor unfortunate women who have to stand all day to earn money. Suzi, from my yoga class is a 35-week pregnant physiotherapist who is suffering from varicose veins. Sarah, who is 28 weeks pregnant also has a desk job and has been complaining of discomfort for a couple of weeks now. Basically, I feel uncomfortable sitting, and eventually my lower back, hips, legs and even my shoulder start to ache. These are not unfamiliar symptoms but I thought I'd worked through them over the last few years and got them out of my system. Clearly pregnancy has re-awoken them.

I have pretty much been feeling tired on and off since my last post so I suspect that is aggravating my ailments. Around lunchtime I get tired and then start wishing I could go home to bed. Somehow I push through it and don't nap but I suspect that just once I should give in and perhaps I will then feel better. I've hardly been taking it easy. At the weekend Toby and I unpacked boxes of books and arranged them in a library on the bookshelves Toby built. I also sorted out some boxes from the study so that we can turn that into our spare room. I had two things I really wanted to get done though. First, to finish pulling the painters tape from around the kitchen window, sand the bits where the paint has peeled and begin the touch-up job. This requires much preparation as the kitchen sink is under the window and constantly has dishes either waiting to be washed or sitting on the draining board. At least twice over the weekend I prepared the area by washing and/or putting dishes away but then didn't actually get to the task in hand before the dishes started piling up again (naughty dishes!). The second job I wanted to do was to continue wiping the cat hair off the patio chairs and preparing the patio for summer (hurrah!!!); the same three chairs that I cleaned one morning last week instead of getting ready for work (yeh, not really sure why) are still the only three that have been cleaned, only one of them is now dirty again as we had dinner out there with a friend on Saturday night and forgot to lean the chairs into the table and one of the cats sat on one of them. Needless to say I got neither of my two jobs done.

I did do all the laundry though, kind of essential given my limited wardrobe. And I've completed my tax return, which is due at the end of this week. I'm now just waiting for my spouse to complete his so I can submit it. I've also been nursing my sick cat who has been on antibiotics and eye drops since Friday for a cold, poor thing. He seems to be the mend now, thankfully.

And I spent a wonderful morning with Lucie on Sunday. We did my old favourite walk from her place, near where I used to live in Buddina, up to Point Cartwright, wandered round the headland, lazed on the beach, had a quick dip in the river and then enjoyed a coffee at the cafe there. Unfortunately my lovely morning, and the previous day's yoga session weren't quite enough to neutralise the stress I felt upon discovering case-making clothes moths munching away on our lounge room carpet. It's all but bald in one corner, with another heading the same way. And to top that off the vacuum cleaner broke whilst I was cleaning them up. I don't know whether to steam-clean it, treat it (not sure about having chemicals on the carpet what with the cats and that, but I suppose we can keep them on the patio for a few days), or replace it. There's already gaping hole revealing concrete from where we pulled the bar out, plus the rather random tiles that were behind the bar. So really, the whole thing could do with being replaced anyway, I just wasn't ready to do it just yet and it's such a large room it's going to cost us a fortune even if we choose a cheapie.

What with everything else we've got going on (final things for the baby, decorating the nursery, sorting out our spare room, finding a new car, not to mention boring maintenance I keep forgetting about, such as a termite barrier) I just don't want to have to think about it right now. But at the very least I'm probably going to have to research vacuum cleaners. Perhaps this is my chance to finally get the Dyson I've always wanted.

I put my maternity leave form in last week and I finish up at work on 9th January, which I think is only 10 and a bit weeks from now, plus I have at least a week off over Christmas. I actually think I need some time off before then, maybe even just a day this week or a long weekend sometime soon. I think that's why I'm so tired. I'm not sure whether to take a day's recreation leave or to take it as sick leave. I'm not sick but I could head that way if I don't rest up soon, and I have so many more sick hours accrued than recreation leave. Will have a think but I'll have to do it soon. I have a half day on Friday but to be honest I feel knackered thinking about it as I'm driving up to Noosa for Sue and Richard's citizenship ceremony. The following morning I am heading to a second-hand baby market with Lucie to look for bargains (specifically a change table for me) before yoga, and then we have a party at Libbette's place on Saturday night. I'm thinking I might need some downtime before then or there's no way I'll get through it all.

Oh, and I'm sure my belly expanded overnight again last night so I'll get another bump shot posted soon. And AJ is getting rather big and has started nudging my internal organs. I'm not entirely sure which ones (although I think the bowel got a bit caught up in it all) as I'm not accustomed to having my organs dunched, but suffice to say it's a bit unpleasant.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

25 weeks down and 15-ish to go

Wow! I am TIRED today.

I have just hit a bit of a brick wall and I'm seriously thinking of going home for a nap, despite the fact that I had great intentions of swimming this lunchtime. I haven't had a swim since last Monday, not including a quick ocean dip on Sunday.

I can only think it is due to the fact that I got up in the middle of the night to kick Monty out of the house after he spent about 15 minutes trying to open the laundry door. I'd left the cats on the patio because yesterday one of them was sick on the futon and I'd had to take the cover off and wash it. I'm sick of them vomiting on the carpet and furnishings but aside from that I didn't want them getting onto the coverless futon mattress, and I especially didn't want them being sick on it. So anyway, I put them out but locked the outside cat flap and left the back door open so they could still get into the laundry, but they couldn't get out into the garden. I woke up in the middle of the night to a load of banging and bashing and spotted Monty's paw protruding from underneath the sliding door to the laundry. I kicked them out and locked the back door but woke up a few hours later thinking, "oh, it's bin day. Must get up and put the bins out." And then of course there are the umpteen obligatory toilet visits I endure most nights.

I'm sure my belly has grown again. I took more photos this morning just to see.

On Monday lunchtime I went for a walk. My schedule was severely disrupted by someone giving me very little notice to get something done. I got hungry and had to have some lunch before I went and probably didn't leave it quite long enough between lunch and my walk, although it was about an hour.

Anyway, I got outside and thought, "am I walking funny? I feel like I'm walking funny."

And then I thought, "I can't get enough air into my lungs. It's like there's nowhere for them to expand to."

The next thought was, "crikey, my belly feels heavy today."

Followed by, "holy crap! Look at the size of it!" when I glanced down at myself.

I weighed myself when I got home and I'd put on about 1kg. I asked Toby if I looked bigger than the day before and he said yes and when I went to the gym on Tuesday Lucie thought I was bigger than Sunday.

That said, I'm not sure it really shows in the photos but perhaps I'm just used to it now. People still think I'm small for 25 weeks.

Anyway, whilst writing this my swimming buddy called so I've decided to give it a go and if, after a swim and some lunch, I'm still feeling tired then I'll go home and sleep. I'll be back later to chat about the stuff I didn't have time to chat about. Unless I'm sleeping, that is.

Monday, October 20, 2008

New bump photos

Hello, just thought I'd drop by and share some 24 week bump shots taken over the weekend. Excuse the pyjamas - I always seem to think of doing this at bed time for some reason. I tried to make up for it by taking more the next morning before yoga but I think the PJ one is quite nice so I'm including it anyway.

I discovered our baby likes Led Zeppelin at the weekend. Good baby.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Niceness (24 weeks)


People are exceptionally nice to you when you're pregnant. Always asking how you are, whether you're still feeling sick (even though you never told them you were in the first place), incredibly interested in the nursery furniture you may or may not have been spending your money on, making way for you in corridors, commenting upon how difficult it must be climbing four flights of stairs because the lift is out, whilst carrying another person.

Don't get me wrong. I truly believe that pregnant ladies should be given a bit of lee-way. Hormones are crazy things and it's best not to get on the wrong side of them. I should know; two nights ago I found myself miserable and close to tears for no reason other than Toby was making me go back to square one when it comes to buying a car (and there is way too much choice out there; how the hell am I supposed to know which kind I want?) and my dinner wasn't very appetising, despite the fact that I insisted we have fish because I had a feeling the baby needed it. I forced my salmon and veggies down, all the while thinking "I'm not doing this for me." A trip to Mooloolaba to watch a lightening storm whilst eating yummy ice cream soon sorted me out, even if we did flatten Mitsi's battery and get soaked phoning RACQ and trying to get someone to jump-start her. Personally, I think she might have heard the conversation we'd had earlier in the night and thought to herself, "hmmm, so they think they can just replace me with a Forester, do they? Well, not before I have a bit of fun."

So, yes, by all means I think people should go easy on me if I seem forgetful, or take a few hours off work for ante-natal appointments or sleep, or make a silly mistake. In short, they shouldn't be mean. But the level of niceness, and sudden interest in me and my wellbeing, that seems to have taken control of many of my colleagues (except for those I sit with and see every day, who have thankfully remained normal and still take the piss out of me when warranted) is actually beginning to creep me out. Perhaps it's because I know it's not actually me that they're interested in and concerned about.

Career versus motherhood

I love the fact that my baby comes everywhere with me. It feels so safe having it tucked away inside of me and knowing that I can trust my body to look after it and do all the right things. I can pretty much go anywhere and do anything and know that AJ is safe. S(he) is being fed the right foods, never needs changing, never cries, puts him/herself to sleep, amuses him/herself when s(he)'s awake. This is definitely the easiest part of motherhood.

That said, there are times when I look forward to not having to bring him to work with me every day. There is nothing so disconcerting when you're deeply engrossed in a programming problem, or putting forward an opinion in a meeting when all of a sudden you feel the squirmer wriggling around, forcing you to sit up, as though it's going "hey mam, I'm getting a bit squished here you know. Give me some room, will ya?".

It must trigger some mothering hormones or something because the maternal instincts suddenly kick in and you start wondering when you should start decorating the nursery and should you have bought that sling you've been thinking of getting for a while now from EBay, and thinking of which, oh darn-it you've let that auction for the Baby Love book end without getting a bid in. All professionalism goes out of the window. You glance at your belly, convinced that your co-workers can see it moving and think that some alien-like creature is going to burst out of it at any moment. You want to giggle and say to them "hahaha, did you see that? AJ is obviously incredibly enthused by this conversation. He's wriggling around all over the place."


Speaking of which, AJ was going nuts the other night. My uterus is now pretty much right up to my ribs so depending on where AJ is and which position I'm in I can see him squirming around making my belly do funny things that a belly-dancer would be proud of. S(he) had me in fits of giggles the other night. It doesn't just look funny but it feels really funny too. I asked the midwife yesterday if she could feel where the baby was lying but she said it's still too small and they move around a lot at this stage anyway. She said they could be in one position and within seconds have flipped over and be somewhere else entirely. Well, don't I know it. One minute I'll be feeling movements in the middle of my abdomen above my belly button and the next thing the bub has stretched right out and is kicking me above my right groin.


Speaking of groins, because I always like a nice segueway from one topic to another, I woke up on Saturday with an uncomfortable dull pain in my left groin and a similar pain in the corresponding region of my back. I wore my belly band for an hour then went to yoga and it wore off. It flared up again on Monday and Tuesday and I noticed that I could feel a ridge as though a muscle was all enflamed. Well, it turns out it's the ligament that connects to my uterus. It's just getting a little freaked out by all the extra weight it's carrying. I rested on Wednesday and Thursday and felt fine but obviously I can't stop exercising for the rest of my pregnancy so I saw my physio this morning and she gave me some stretches and some strengthening exercises. I have to stretch and strengthen my deep hip flexors and the strength exercises are weird because they're really subtle. We discussed how I can incorporate this into every day life and what things I should be aware of, which exercises are good and which ones I should be careful with. I'll probably talk to Sherry about it in yoga tomorrow too.

Yoga and cravings

Lucie has been unable to get into my yoga class which is a real shame but Sherry has so many pregnant ladies coming to her now that she's decided to put on an extra class so Lucie will join that one. Hopefully in a few weeks we'll be able to merge the classes but for now I'll be with other girls due the same time as me (there are about five of us due in the same fortnight) and the same should happen for Lucie too. I was most reassured last night at dinner when Lucie told me she has also been suffering from sweet cravings and went on to list all the goodies she'd had for morning tea that day. I thought "wow, that's a lot" but her list continued! I was feeling bad for having had 3 chocolate biscuits that morning (which made me feel sick) followed by the yummiest dessert of chocolate crispy ravioli last night but now I know I'm not the only one. Only Lucie's indulgences didn't make her feel sick; on the contrary she said, "I felt great!"

Monday, October 13, 2008

Gigantic lentil burger is just asking for heartburn

I have just consumed an incredibly messy gargantuan lentil burger with fries. I usually bring my own lunch as it's quite difficult (and expensive) choosing something to eat from the uni cafes, especially when last week's ante-natal class is still so fresh in my mind (no soft cheese, don't eat salad that's been sitting out, no sprouts, be wary of ham, no salami, no undercooked eggs or meat of any description, no cold shellfish... those nurses are damn spoilsports, the lot of them).

Anyway, I figured I'd be reasonably safe with a lentil burger but as AJ is getting bigger I am having to eat less, something the part of my brain that controls my hand to mouth mechanism has yet to come to terms with. Consequently I frequently suffer from heartburn. Apparently this is normal in pregnancy (due to progesterone making the esophagus lazy) and isn't of any concern. Oh well, that's alright then. My current remedy is a glass of milk and a teaspoon of bi-carb of soda dissolved in water. The milk doesn't really do anything; it soothes the burn on the way down and makes the bi-carb taste nicer. I don't have any bi-carb at work with me though. And the only milk in the fridge is full cream which I prefer not to drink by the glass. So I shall just have to suffer and it will serve me right for being such a gutso.

I scored at the pool today. There was another pregnant lady there and we ended up in the changing rooms together. I was eyeing up her one-piece enviously so I asked if it was a maternity swimsuit (which it kind of had to be given the size of her) and when she said it was I asked where she got it, to which she replied "the UK; I bought it when I was pregnant the first time. We moved here when I was 7 months pregnant."

"Oh!" I said. "I'm really missing the UK shops at the moment."

"Well, you can have it in 10 weeks. In fact you can have all my maternity clothes. I have loads. I have clothes from here and from the UK and I'm sick of the sight of all of them. I never want to wear them again. And I won't. I'm in a rush but here's my number."

Bo Nus!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Belly buttons

One thing the books don't tell you is that before your belly button turns itself inside out from all the skin stretching that's going on, it turns into a vacuous cavern, more like a pot-hole really, a long, deep tunnel that as far as I know goes right into your innards. I wouldn't know as I haven't felt like investigating it much. It's disturbing.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Pelvic Floor Exercises and Hiccups

The Early-Bird ante-natal class on Tuesday was good and worth taking the time to do. We chatted about a lot of stuff that would have been useful to know earlier but are still quite useful now. We discussed nutrition, in which I discovered that I have been eating things I shouldn't have been, which I kind of knew but thought would be okay if I was sensible about it but the pregnant midwife who was leading the class was all like "ooohhh no, well it's up to you but personally I wouldn't".

We also talked about exercise and a physiotherapist came in and laid us all down on the floor with pillows and got us doing pelvic floor exercises. "Squeeze and lift, and hold.... and hold ..... and hold .... and hold, keep breathing, don't clench the buttocks, and hold.... don't tense your abs.... and slowly lower." Jeez, she had us doing that for ages then we had to sit on fitballs and do it all again. Then she had us all back on the mats on all fours, fully relaxing our bellies whilst she came around and made sure you were tensing your trans-abdominals and only your trans-abdominals. I'm still not convinced I'm doing either of those exercises correctly.

Then she taught us all how to poo correctly.

Her advice was actually really good and I've been trying my very best to keep up with my pelvic floor exercises since then. I can already feel that pregnancy is having a bit of an affect on them and I don't even have much baby in there yet.

Back to the pregnant midwife and we discussed cigarettes and alcohol, the first being bad and the second being either bad or not so bad, depending on who you listen to. I have chosen to listen to the authority which says that a small amount is okay, although I forget who that actually was. And yes, it is an official health or pregnancy-related organisation and not a mate trying to get me out on the lash.

They also talked a little bit about who will be present at the birth. They assign a midwife to you on arrival and that nurse works with you one-on-one, which is nice to know. Of course, when her shift ends she buggers off home and is replaced by another one-on-one midwife, which could be a little disconcerting if that occurs during what is known as the transition period and all you want is a face you can trust to walk in and say "you can do it, you're doing really well" and instead some random stranger pops in and goes "right then, where are we up to?". The transition period, by the way, doesn't sound that nice. It's the bit in between the uterine contractions which move the baby into the birth canal (vagina for the rest of us) and dilate the cervix, and the cervical contractions where you feel the need to push the thing out. It's also where the endorphins that kill pain and send you off to la-la land during the first stage of labour start to be replaced by adrenalin to give you the energy to push during the second stage. It's a very confusing time and apparently is when a lot of ladies suddenly start to go "uh-oh... I don't think I can do this" but of course by then it's too late. No going back.

Anyway, so you get this midwife but you only get your obstetrician, the dude you've paid thousands of dollars to perform an ultrasound once a month, if something goes wrong or the baby is about to slip out. And even then, you mightn't get your own obstetrician because he only works one weekend in four. And of course, like most people he's entitled to sick leave and holiday (how rude). But I kind of knew this and I'm happy with it. I figure an obstetrician is kind of like insurance: you sort of hope you don't need it but it's best to have it just in case. Plus you're bound to see your midwife again at some point over your next few days in hospital so that follow up contact would be nice but you'll probably never see your obstetrician again until you turn up at his surgery with another three thousand dollars and a big fat positive two years later.

Did you know that women used to prime their nipples for breastfeeding with steel wool? I don't know how true that is but apparently it's not advised any more. Damn right. Yowch!

Speaking of which, I have been assured that breastfeeding doesn't have to hurt, which is good and relieves my mind immensely. So it might, but it might not. Still haven't quite come to terms with the whole induction thing though, but I'm working on it.

My sister sent me through a couple of baby books. One about cool baby names, and I was delighted to learn that most of the names on my list are cool, even if Toby has crossed most of them out. Incidentally, we have nicknamed the baby AJ. It is to do with some names we are considering but that's all I'll say and I'm sure it'll cause much speculation. The other book is damn hilarious and, surprisingly has some useful and interesting information in it. I learnt this morning that AJ hiccups. I have felt these rhythmical movements that are too subtle and regular to be kicks, but too strong to be my pulse (and usually in the wrong spot and then they stop anyway, which you'd hope my pulse wouldn't do). I've often wondered what it was, kind of assuming it was my pulse but knowing that didn't quite make sense. Well, now I know it's AJ's hiccups.

I just know you're all dying to know how to poo properly. This is important for all of us, especially as we get older, and especially us ladies. The first thing to remember is to eat a high fibre diet. We don't want any pushing and straining on the old loo; that's very bad for the pelvic floor. The second thing is to spend no longer than 90 seconds in total, including wiping and flushing. If you are then there's a problem somewhere. And the main thing is to get into a good position. A good pooing position is a squat (see, I knew those Asian toilets made sense). The knees should be higher than the hips and this gives the bowel a direct downward angle. Keep the pelvis tilted forward, not back, as this produces a kink in the bowel and your poo has to go up before it can come down so to speak. I have installed a little stool in our bathroom so that I can raise my feet and knees when I sit on the loo. And there you go. I honestly never thought I would be taught to poo properly and I'm horrified to learn I've been doing it wrong for thirty-two years.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Balloon belly

Last week my belly got big and I suddenly started to look pregnant. Lucie came round to do some yoga with me on Friday night and commented on it. It was only five days since I'd last seen her. Then when I got to yoga on Saturday morning the girls were all "ooh... look at your belly" so it's obviously just appeared in the last week. I actually woke up on Sunday morning feeling trimmer than I have in ages, which was a bit unexpected (especially after munching 5 home-baked ginger biscuits on Saturday). I put that down to the fact that I rode my bike to work on Friday and went for a swim, where I reintroduced breaststroke to my routine and added backstroke. Anyway, I took another belly photo so you could see the balloon. It doesn't seem as big to me now as it did on Saturday but that's probably because I'm getting used to it. It also doesn't look as big in the photograph:

I still haven't bought myself some summer shorts. I was going to go after yoga on Saturday but I was too hungry and went home for lunch instead. I then couldn't be arsed to go back out again and persuaded myself that it'd be best to do things around the house and go shopping in the air-con when it was hot on Sunday. Only thanks to a fresh north-wester, Sunday didn't turn out to be that hot after all yet I still didn't manage to shop for shorts or do any painting. Toby and I finished off some housework in the morning then went to the beach and for a coffee. We went and looked at lounge suites (settees to us northerners) and got home in time for lunch before heading up to a maternity ward tour at The Sunshine Coast Private Hospital. Yes, I kept forgetting about that appointment whilst making my mental plans.

The ward tour was pretty good and allayed many of my anxieties. I am still worried that I will go stir-crazy confined to the birth suite, and then to the small maternity room, but the midwives said to stay at home for as long as we were comfortable to do so and we timed the trip to the hospital which was only 6 minutes. So, at this stage my plan is to keep busy around the house, go for walks if it isn't too hot, and go to hospital with just enough time to spare to check-in (or whatever you do at hospitals) and unpack a few things. As for the confinement afterwards, well, we'll just have to play that by ear. I'm sure we'll have plenty to keep us occupied.

Toby asked to be shown forceps and suction caps and, whilst I'm still determined to do everything I can to avoid having to use them, I do feel a bit better after she talked us through it all. I also saw what a birth stool is after reading about it many times. It's a little stool that is horse-shoe shaped and you sit on it facing away from the shoe opening, sort of like a toilet seat with the back cut out. The idea is that the baby can be delivered through the middle of the stool and the midwife has access via the opening at the back (guided by a mirror, which she sticks on the floor underneath).

The couple of midwives we met seemed really nice and the facilities are pretty good: huge big spa bath, shower (with rails you can hang onto), beanbag, and they're happy for you to throw the mattress onto the floor. I can imagine wanting to spend a lot of time on the floor with pillows so I was disappointed the floor was hard and shiny. Understandable though, I suppose. They have a fitball too although I might take my own in case someone else is using it. The only things missing were ropes. In our yoga studio we have ropes hanging from the wall and we use them in all sorts of asanas (postures). During one preggie yoga class we were in a chair-like pose with our backs against the wall, knees bent at right angles, blocks between our knees. It's a pelvic floor posture and it was the first time I'd done it. My legs were burning and shaking and Sherry was telling us to work through it, that it was good practice for working through contractions. I held onto the ropes to ease the tension a bit and suddenly thought "wow, these'd be great in labour". I wasn't really expecting the hospital to have them though. My only other thought was that the hospital seemed really small but in a way that's a good thing as you'd get lots of care, and they don't mind how often you phone them with an update on your labour progress enquiring whether you should come in.

Tomorrow I'm going back for my early-bird ante-natal class. It's a bit late for me really because the last one, a month ago, was cancelled, but I don't really want to miss any information. Hopefully it won't be a waste of time. I was supposed to be meeting a friend for lunch and she was going to show me how to prevent mastitis by massaging the milk from the outside of the breast to the nipple. I'm not sure whether she was intending on using my breast to demonstrate or her own but I guess I'll have to wait until next week to find out now.

So anyway, my current worries (because it is customary for a pregnant lady to always have something to worry about; it helps to prepare her for motherhood because everyone knows that a mother always worries) are as follows:

  • Breastfeeding, or more specifically coping with cracked and sore nipples. My friend assures me it will hurt but that it will only do so for the first few weeks. What? WEEKS? Oh my god! Give me strength.
  • Induction. I am convinced that induction leads to many undesirable events and so I do not want to be induced. However, I am aware that my anxiety over this may delay the onset of labour, because a stressed out, nervous mother is less likely to deliver, thus leading to the very thing I don't want to happen. Therefore, I must spend the next few months preparing myself for the possibility that induction may happen and convincing myself that that's okay. Then maybe it won't happen, and if it does I won't mind.

By the way, for those of you who have no idea what 22 weeks means - and before I was pregnant, I was completely clueless; every time a pregnant friend told me how pregnant she was I'd have to ask "and what's that in months?" - it means I am 5½ months pregnant. In fact I am only a week and a bit off being 6 months pregnant. Scary biscuits.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

How did I get to 22 weeks so quickly?

I was just posting on a pregnancy forum and I noticed my online signature, which counts down to the due date said "22 weeks pregnant. Only 125 days to go" and I thought "f&@*k me! When did that happen?"

Well, actually it happened today and I knew it was coming but it sneaked up on me nevertheless. 18 weeks left. Well over the half-way mark. I'm even looking pregnant now. It's so exciting and crazy and nerve-wracking and a wee bit stressful all at the same time. We still have so much to do in the house. I'm getting so close with painting the living room and was hoping to plough through some more this Sunday but it's forecast to reach 32°C and I don't think that's good painting weather as the paint goes all gloopy and won't go on properly. This just got me freaking out a bit as we're only getting closer to summer, and therefore closer to the hot weather where it starts to get difficult to do practical things, and all the while I'm getting bigger and bigger.

The shops have got this season's maternity wear in now, plus a friend donated some clothes that I can squeeze into, so the clothing situation, whilst still thin, is not quite as dire. I have also made my first purchases for the baby: some muslin cloths, which I bought in unisex colours even though I liked the boy colours better - why is it we attribute gender to colours? And a second-hand Baby Bjorn baby carrier purchased on eBay. I can see eBay is going to be my friend over the next few months.

Did I mention that my maternity tankini broke on the second wear? They didn't have any left in the shop and I couldn't be bothered to go shopping for another one so I negotiated getting half my money back and stitched it up. I don't feel like such a dag wearing random bikini bottoms, an old sports top and a rapidly receding rashie now. (Dag is such a good Aussie word for scruff-pot, uncool person, don't ya think?) Feeling quite pleased with the outcome, I promptly spent the money on some el cheapo maternity t-shirts as I've been struggling with what to wear over the weekends lately. I just need some decent shorts now and I should be able to plough on for another few weeks.

I've been reading Winnie The Pooh stories to my bump. I love those stories and having kids is going to be a great opportunity to read them all again. When I started reading the other night, Zadie was sitting at the foot of the bed. Her ears pricked up and she came and sat right next to me, purring and seemingly listening intently. The second night I read one she was in the living room and when I started reading she ran down the corridor and sat near the bed looking up at me. She didn't stay for the duration of that story but it does seem she likes Winnie the Pooh. The baby seems to quite like it too as I get lots of kicks at the end. And I've noticed Toby chuckling away as well. It seems we're a family of Winnie the Pooh lovers. The kicks after the first Pooh story were so strong Toby was in no doubt that he could feel them and since then they've been really noticeable on the outside of my belly.

Mam and Dad have been looking at flights for them and Nana next Easter and I think they're pretty close to booking. I am so excited. I am enjoying being pregnant and it just being me and Toby and having time to do things but I can't wait to see what our baby is like. Well, I can wait actually but I'm looking forward to it a lot. 

I still get tired and hungry and whatnot. I had a tired day and a fuzzy headache on Monday and decided to stay home, relax, swim, buy stuff on eBay. Then two nights ago I awoke with a nasty pain in my back, like I seriously needed to pass wind. I had to get out of bed and do a few stretches: spinal twists and child-pose, thank god for yoga. I managed to sleep a while longer until 5am but then the pain woke me up again and I couldn't stay lying down. I ended up squatting on a low stool with my head resting on an upright bolster (I was so tired), did a few more stretches and felt well enough to walk with Toby to get some milk. The walk seemed to help too and after some breakfast I went back to bed for a couple of hours until 9am. 

It was okay most of yesterday and seems fine today. I got my physio to check me out as the pain (coincidentally or not) was right next to the muscle in my lower back that seizes up and throws my pelvis out; the one that had me crippled in the early days of my pregnancy. Anyway, she was satisfied that all was well there: my pelvis was stable and mobile and no muscles seemed to be spasming so it got me wondering if the baby was resting on my intestine and causing a blockage. I don't know if that's possible but it sort of felt like I was constipated even though I wasn't and I think with getting up and moving around possibly the baby moved into a more comfortable position for me, and eventually my intestine eased up. Seems plausible to me.

It's my Gran's birthday today and Lucy's first birthday tomorrow; a very sad time to be away from home. Then again, the weather here is bloody perfect.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Giant Jeans and Belly Shot

Guess what? My giant jeans fit. Hurrah!!! Yesterday I went to work dressed completely in normal clothes, if you can call my giant jeans normal.

I acquired these jeans about two and a half years ago after purchasing a pair of jeans I loved so much I decided to go and buy another pair. We were in a bit of a hurry but it didn't matter because I knew exactly what I wanted. I rushed into the shop, picked up the right style in the same size and bought them. A few days later, down in Sydney for Anna's 30th birthday, I wore them for the first time. About an hour later I found myself hitching them up and noticed they seemed a bit long. When I got back to Anna's place I discovered that although they were supposedly the same size as the original pair, they were actually about a size larger. For the next two years they drove me mad as I often picked them up and put them on by mistake and then felt uncomfortable in them. Eventually a few months back, reluctant to sell them in case they were useful during pregnancy and post-partum, I angrily threw them in the back of the wardrobe to get them out of the way. When I started to get fat I looked all over for them and couldn't find them anywhere. Then, Toby put our bed sheets away in the laundry cupboard instead of the bedroom cupboard so when I went to get more sheets from the bedroom what did I find instead? Giant jeans!!! And that's the story of how I came to own a pair of giant jeans.

They're still a bit long ('cause I have to wear them under the bump) and nowhere near as comfy as maternity jeans would be, but given that the weather is warming up I think they'll do for now.

When you see my latest bump shot, you mightn't be surprised that I'm still wearing normal clothes. I swear it's getting smaller.

Excuse the PJs - it was bed time. Actually, I tried these on a few days ago and ended up wearing a t-shirt instead of the top because it was a bit tight, yet last night I managed to sleep in it no bother. So there you go, shrinking bump. It's probably because I'm taking control of my sweet cravings. Trying to anyway. Yesterday a colleague bought me coffee and a yummy scrummy brownie to celebrate my 100% result in the Australian Citizenship test.

Had a total disaster at the pool yesterday - my new tankini broke! I've only worn it once and the fabric came away from the plastic fasteners at the back of the bust, thankfully (I think) before I got in the pool so I didn't even get to swim. It's fixable but I figure I should try and take it back first. So back to square one with swimwear. I have to go see if I can find a suitable bikini and rash-top combination (or squeeze into my regular suit; with my shrinking bump it could be possible) so that I can get back in the pool today and make up for having done no exercise for the past two days.

I also have a bag of clothes to go through which Janette very generously brought around last night thinking I might be able to squeeze into some of them but I don't think I'll get that done before work. Anyway, I'd better go. I'm putting our fridge for sale on eBay. I'm quite excited as it's the first time I've ever sold anything on eBay, plus it feels like a big step towards getting things sorted out in the house.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

20 weeks scan

It was tempting... but we didn't find out the baby's sex. Dr. Stokes knows, which is kind of weird. He'll probably tease us about it for the next 20 weeks but at least we can ask if we ever change our minds. 

The 20 weeks scan was very cool. Dr. Stokes measured all sorts of things, such as the thigh bone, arm, head and waist circumference and Clucklette was normal in all of those things. He does this because if some measurements aren't around the 50 percentile mark, or if they aren't consistent, it can be an indication that there is some problem. We saw the umbilical cord and the blood flowing in and out of it. Apparently some babies only have one blood vessel through the cord but we have two, which is good. Dr. Stokes pointed out the baby's bladder and kidneys. We saw the heart, and the four chambers, all looking normal. We saw the brain and its various components, again all the right size and in the right place. He even looked at the baby's lip to check for a cleft palate. So far there are no signs that this baby is anything other than healthy and normal, well as normal as you can be with a Buckle and a Clewett as parents. Toby asked Dr. Stokes to measure the baby and he was 15cm from crown to rump.

The baby's head was down in my pelvis and his bum up towards my ribs. Its back was to my left-hand side, facing backwards, and its feet over towards my right, near my hip. However, Dr. Stokes said they move around all the time so it probably won't stay in that position for long.

Once the important medical stuff was over with, Dr. Stokes had a bit of a play with the 3D imaging. This is such a cool tool. You basically take a 2D scan of the section you want to view in 3D, then you slice through the images in 3D until you see the bit you want to see. Baby was all curled up with his hands over his face but we were able to slice through the arm and get a nice picture of his head and face:

Can you see it? The spine is to the bottom of the image and the head is to the top. I think it's fairly easy to make out. The 2D images are quite obscure. Now that babby is a bit bigger you can't see all of him on one image so Paul (Dr. Stokes) just looked at the relevant sections to check the things he needed to check. Most of the time it was very difficult to see what was going on. Seeing this picture here made me very excited at the thought of meeting our baby and seeing what s(he) really looks like. We don't have long to wait I suppose; tomorrow I'm officially half way through, if Clucklette decides to arrive on time. That means that the length of time since I went to England is the same length of time until the baby joins us. That doesn't seem like long at all.

Meanwhile, I'm a lot happier now that I have some clothes that fit me. And I found my giant jeans, finally, although I haven't tried them on so I'm not sure if they fit. I have a definite bump now, although it's still very small. I've noticed that some people who don't know me that well have started flashing their eyes towards my bump as though they're not quite sure. 

Toby felt the baby move the other night, which was cool although the movements are still very subtle for him. I have had a few kicks which are different to the usual fluttery movements I get. It can be quite uncomfortable and always takes me by surprise.

I have now put on 5kg.

Nana sent another parcel which included loads of bibs, a nice soft blanket and a few toys. The baby now has two shelves of goodies in the spare room. My parcel from Mam still hasn't arrived. I'm beginning to think it never will which is very disappointing. Mam is obviously upset about it too. She said it had some really nice clothes in it. I don't understand how it can just disappear like that - it has to be somewhere.

I think it is probably okay to mention now that Lucie is 11 weeks pregnant. It's very exciting going through it together and it'll be great next year when we have little bubs that can play with one another and we can babysit for each other. -->I caught up with Nirvana the other day and found out how she has been getting on with her bub, Bodhi who was born early March. Amongst other things we discussed nappies. Toby and I intend to use cloth nappies primarily (although not solely) and Nirvana had the same intention but gave up. She has offered to sell her nappies onto us but I need to do a bit more research first. I'm a bit put off because she said Bodhi felt wet and didn't like them but she has a friend who uses them and loves them. I guess it's horses for courses and you don't know what's going to work until you try. With that in mind I will buy both cloth and disposables over the next few months but won't try and get a full quota of cloth until I'm sure that's what I want to use. I'll only buy the disposables when they're on special too.