Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The countdown begins (38 weeks)

Gestation: 38 weeks and 5 days
Days to EDD: 8
Weight gain: 14kg
Number of chocolates eaten today: One chocolate brownie.

I have just had my penultimate visit to the obstetrician, assuming of course that I don't go vastly over my due date and have to see him to discuss induction in two weeks. The good news is that all the hard work I have put into getting Ajie to turn anterior over the last week (spending time sitting upright, on my hands and knees, sleeping on my left hand side slightly on my tummy, walking, swimming breaststroke and avoiding the rocking chair to name but a few activities) has paid off. Ajie is now lying in the optimum position for birth, known as left occiput anterior, that is, bub is facing my spine with its spine to my left-hand side, its hands down the bottom and its big foot over on my right-hand side (as usual). According to Dr Stokes its head is way down low in my pelvis, which I'm hoping means fully engaged. It certainly feels that way. Since last night I have felt a lot of pressure down low in my pelvis, on my bladder and bowel. It feels quite strange and, at times, rather uncomfortable, so I'm hoping I don't have to put up with it for too long.

Which means, of course, that I should probably ramp up my preparations and get all my little jobs done.

The baby is being quite interactive lately. We seem to be able to play little games with it which is very cute. When we talk to it, or prod it, or pat my tummy, it responds by pushing its foot out. I rub its foot and it moves it around. Toby was having great fun playing with it the other night. I can't wait to see the big foot for real.

We have our list of names ready and just need to see what flavour Ajie comes out as and what it looks like. Oh, and of course hope that we agree on it.

Other than that there is little to report right now. The ladies in my internet forum have started having babies and a friend from yoga had twins last week, a boy and a girl. It's all very exciting and seems to be babies, babies, babies. I'm hoping that our pram will arrive soon and apparently the sofa will get here on Friday. And not a moment too soon. I'm so restless in the evenings and finding a comfortable position is difficult. My lower back is very tight but not sore, my mid-back, however, is aching by late afternoon. I have been spending some time most days at either the pool or the beach doing breaststroke and just floating around to relieve the pressure somewhat. And right now I'm popping out for a walk, although I'm a little nervous about leaving the air-con. It's been so hot and humid here lately. At least we're not having a 40C heatwave like some places down south. Ug! I would not be able to cope with that.

I have uploaded new photos to the Baby Clewett album but for some reason do not seem able to add that album as a slideshow on this blog. So here's the link: Baby Clewett and bump photos

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

37 weeks and on maternity leave!!

Gestation: 37 weeks and 5 days
Days to EDD: 16
Weight gain: 14kg
Number of chocolates eaten today: None. It's breakfast time. But yesterday! Well, I had a small chocolate fudge square, a slice of baked orange cheesecake and a couple of bits of chocolate. No wonder I've put on another kilo!

Well, as usual, I have been intending to write this post for quite some time now but got slack. I started maternity leave last week and ended up busier than I was at work. My last week at work was quite exhausting, handing over, training the new guy and sorting through 5 years of paperwork - most of which was earmarked for secure disposal. 

I spent the first day of my maternity leave running around. Firstly I got up early and had a great swim at the local pool. After breakfast and a bit of pottering around I went off to my obstetrician's appointment via the library to pick up some books on quilting. After my appointment I did a bit of shopping. Then home again for lunch before a visit to my physio about my ribs. A couple of them were slightly out so after a bit of adjustment they moved back into alignment but she suggested I might benefit from a massage to ease the muscles slightly.

The next day I had my first Tuesday yoga class. I'm going twice a week now and, apart from the drive which irritates my ribs, I'm feeling good for it. In fact, after starting this post this morning I headed there a bit early and did a bit of a photo shoot for an hour with my teacher for a book she's writing. It'll be cool to have such nice photos of me doing yoga with my big 37 week belly. In the afternoon (last week that is) I had my last pre-baby hair cut and then did a bit more shopping, including looking at cots. 

On Wednesday morning I went to my first ever mum's group with a colleague's wife and friends she met doing a series of workshops run by Queensland Health. It consisted of a few women with babies around about the same age hanging out in the park, eating cake and talking about babies. It was nice to meet them. I'm sure they can't talk about babies every week. It was probably just because I was getting to know them. 

After lunch I went over to Kaz's to talk about the quilt we're making for the baby. I bought a cot on the way and then went through some of her neutral baby clothes. There weren't many. I picked up a few more quilt making supplies from Spotlight on my way home. 

On Thursday a massage therapist came around and performed bowen therapy for my ribs. She seemed to think that would help more than a massage. They still hurt. I'm having another session with her this week so we'll see what that does but I'm beginning to suspect that the only thing that's going to help is having this baby. Whenever it pushes out with its big foot my ribs ache. Dr Stokes said the baby is slightly posterior so perhaps getting it to turn around will help. Hopefully it'll turn before or during labour anyway as a posterior labour can be slow and painful. Most of them do turn but I did hear that 1 in 20 births are posterior which seems a lot to me. Not as many as 1 in 3 being caesars though, I suppose. I mentioned it to Sherry in yoga this morning and interestingly, at the end of the class it seemed that Ajie had turned slightly. I could feel a hard round bit at the top which I think was its bum, and I couldn't feel the foot. I think I have felt the foot push out a bit since then but right now I'm finding it difficult to tell what position its in. I intend to spend 10 minutes every day in various hands and knees postures to encourage Ajie to twist around.

Anyway, by last Thursday, after all my activity at the start of the week I was knackered and given strict instructions from the therapist to take it easy. So I baked chocolate fudge squares in the afternoon and that was about it. Friday was similar. Still tired I met the new cleaner and told her what to do. She seems to talk too much so I think I shall have to go out next time she comes and see if she can get a bit more done. I also baked cheese scones for my party on Saturday.

I went to yoga on Saturday morning and then had my baby shower in the afternoon. It was so much fun. There were only a few of us, Karen (sister-in-law), Larraine (mother-in-law), Sasha (due 2 days after me and does yoga with me), Bec (who I met Sasha through and who has a 6 month old), Sherry (yoga teacher) and Lucie (pregnant pink bridesmaid). We each sewed a square for the quilt. Here we all are proudly displaying our creations:

We pigged out on afternoon tea, the kind we used to have whilst watching The Muppets as kids. We had sandwiches with tuna, egg and cress, and salmon and cucumber, crumpets, cheese scones, chocolate fudge squares, cranberry and macadamia (or was it white chocolate? Sasha made them and they were yum) shortbread, scones with jam and cream (thanks Kaz), and Lucie's scrummy blueberry muffins. And copious amounts of tea of course.

After we'd cleared the quilt-making things away we sat in the nursery and each of the girls gave me a bead, which they blessed with a message. They will go onto a bracelet that I'll wear during labour, the idea being that I can fiddle with it as a distraction and draw strength from the women that contributed. My mam is sending me a bead to put on it too. 

Sasha gave me a wooden bead to represent a natural birth. Bec gave me a beautiful glass bead to give me encouragement when I feel like I can't go on and to know that I can do it. Larraine gave me a pendant Bec gave her, to represent the gift of friendship that motherhood brings. Anna (who was absent) gave me a fairy cake charm to remind me of the Mr Greedy story I've been reading to the baby. I'll think about the fact that I will no longer have a Mr Greedy belly and that soon I'll be able to see the baby's response to the story. Lucie gave me a turquoise bead from a necklace her mother gave her because turquoise is my birthstone and one of my favourite colours and, in Lucie's words, it looks good on me.

Sherry gave me some Tibetan mountain coral from a necklace she bought in Nepal, which she had shortened. I like this because it was in Nepal that I truly discovered what I was capable of physically if I put my mind to it.  A few years beforehand I'd challenged myself by taking part in a 5km fun run - I'm really not a runner - and finishing in 30 minutes. But in Nepal I was trekking between 11 and 15km per day for 21 days with a 15kg backpack. My ankle ached, my shoulder and neck were tight and sore and my hips were swollen and irritated from my backpack. 

One day, trailing far behind my group I sat down on the side of the path in a beautiful forest and cried in despair. The forest was so peaceful and I was so much more comfortable just sitting there that I was tempted to stay. But I knew it would get cold, and that my friends would worry. They'd get to the teahouse and eventually one or two of them would be sent back to find me. They'd have to walk all the way back to me, then all the way back to the teahouse again. I couldn't do that to them. So I drank some water, munched on some trail mix and headed off again. That time out gave me the chance to recoup and persuade myself I could do it. And amazingly I did. I'll never forget that feeling. Not long later I caught up with one of the group - turns out I hadn't been that far behind them after all. I have also drawn a picture where labour is depicted as a path up a mountain. When I touch the mountain coral during labour I'll remember the story, the picture and Sherry's incredible strength and advice that she's given me throughout my pregnancy.

I think I should probably stop typing soon as a) this post is ridiculously long and b) blogger seems to be having trouble auto-saving and I'm becoming paranoid that I might lose the whole thing. I just have a couple more things I want to add.

Firstly, I'm finding it difficult to find time to write posts, despite not working. Being on the computer tends to irritate my ribs, plus I seem to have to spend so much more time resting and napping. I have so much to do with my time: pack my hospital bag, finish building the cot (half built after I had difficulty getting the drop side to actually drop yesterday), finish my square for the quilt, make my labour necklace, send various emails etc. etc. 

Secondly, I have experienced moments of sadness and nostalgia for the romantic carefree life I'm about to leave behind, just me and Toby. I am in no way suggesting any kind of regret, just a tinge of sadness behind the incredible excitement.

Thirdly, the night of my baby shower, just before I fell asleep I had a vision. I saw a face in my head as clear as anything, more like a memory than a dream. It was a young boy about 4 years old with straight blond hair and blue eyes. He looked like me, like I might have looked if I'd been a boy, and a little bit like Toby. I just knew he was our son. It was weird. It was like I was remembering someone I knew, only of course I couldn't know him, I don't know him. I've dreamt the baby was a blond boy before (only this wasn't a dream because I was awake). I couldn't see his face that time but he was about 18 months old, with curly hair, running away from me wearing only a nappy.

I think that's enough from me for now. Time for a nap!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Mr Greedy at 36 weeks

Gestation: 36 weeks
Days to EDD: 28
Weight gain: 13kg
Number of chocolates eaten today: None. The sweet cravings are finally dissapating somewhat. Hurrah! (Although I did have jam on toast, and banana and peanut butter on toast.)

I look like Mr Greedy. I really do.

Do you see the likeness?

The funny thing is I noticed this after a conversation with a friend in which I was explaining that I'd been regularly reading Mr Greedy to the baby and she decided it would be a good thing to put on a square of the quilt we're going to make at my baby shower.

Yes, I've decided to have one. I have only invited a small number of people to my Celebration of Impending Motherhood and I asked them not to bring gifts but instead to help me make a quilt for the baby. Karen and I had great fun in Spotlight last week picking out some bright unisex fabrics. The party is next Saturday and I'm going to provide a selection of goodies for a traditional English afternoon tea, just like we used to have whilst watching The Muppets when we were kids.

Current ailments:
  • Apart from looking like Mr Greedy despite the lack of sugar cravings and not putting on any weight, I am suffering from heartburn again. It's on and off but has happened most days this week. Very annoying.
  • My ribs still ache. They were really sore last night and I wanted to get the theracane into them only to discover that Toby had leant it to a colleague until tomorrow. I asked him if he could get into it for me and he did try but was suffering from a sore arm and shoulder and couldn't quite give it the effort I needed.
  • I'm getting tired again. Not that I ever wasn't really but I find standing and cooking at the end of a day's work a bit of a trial. I will see if it gets any better next week when I'm on leave. Will be nice to have a bit more spare time and be able to factor in some afternoon naps but to be totally honest I can't believe how quickly it has come around.

Other news:
  • Tomorrow is my last day of work before maternity leave. Having pretty much handed everything over (except for management of our support queue which is a right pain) I am now sitting amongst boxes (one for rubbish, one for recycling, one for home and one for storage here) and piles of crap as I try and sort my stuff out. Obviously I'm procrastinating severely by typing this. Oh, and I've just remembered I need to book a table for lunch at the tavern tomorrow.
  • As mentioned I am organising a baby shower for next weekend. I need to go to the library next week and get some books on quilt making because I really don't have a clue. I also need to buy cotton because Kaz and I bought fabric and then realised we had nothing to stitch it together with. Not the right colours anyway.
  • No progress has been made with the nursery other than deciding where the furniture is going to go. I'm hoping Toby will put up some shelves and stick some hooks in the ceiling this weekend. The next job will be to choose a carpet. Toby's mum has offered to make curtains so we'll hopefully get around to shopping for some fabric this weekend when she visits Andrei and Karen.
  • We've chosen a pram and as far as I'm aware my mam and dad are in the process of buying it for us online. Woohoo!!! After much deliberation and research and getting to the point where we just wanted to make a decision and not think about it anymore we chose a discounted (hurrah for January sales) Steelcraft Strider DLX in Kingfisher (a gorgeous blue-green, much like a Kingfisher really). Lucie opted for the same pram but thankfully in a slightly different colour. We're also getting a bassinet to go with it after discovering a thermometer in our bedroom reading over 30 degrees last week and deciding it would be uncool to cook the baby. For daytime sleeps we can put the bassinet in the room with the air-con on hot days.
  • We also have a good idea of which cot we'll get and Toby's mum has offered to get this for us so we're pretty close to getting that organised.
  • I still haven't booked my cleaner but I've had the number on my screen for days and just haven't got round to calling. Will do that now I think.
  • Izzy (the X-Trail) and I have been getting to know each other and we're getting along quite well. I still miss Mitsi but I like being able to go over the speed bumps at work in 2nd gear, and not bumping my head or my belly when trying to get in and out of the car, or get bags in and out of the back seat. I have hired a baby restraint (capsule) from Queensland Ambulance ($68 for 6 months) and I'm getting that fitted on 23rd January.
  • Baby is considered full term in one week. Woh!
  • I still need to pack my hospital bag. Definitely a job for next week.
  • I have been researching the third stage of labour. It seems strange but apparently the medical staff automatically intervene here regardless of the kind of birth you've had. They give you an injection to expel the placenta. I'm trying to find out if this is really necessary and if it's the more desirable option. I'm also looking into cord blood donation. Ideally I'd like to donate to Alzheimer's Research but it doesn't look that easy. I'm not even sure it's possible to donate the blood to the central bank at our hospital. I kind of figure if I'm not donating it then wouldn't I want the baby to get it rather than it just getting chucked away? It's a bit to consider but if I don't get around to making any decisions I'll just defer to the medical staff and go with their usual method.