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!

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