Saturday, 20 October 2018

The Newbie

Hello. It's been a while, and things have changed.

My little boy was born on 4/10. He was due to be whipped out on 5/10, but he had other ideas. My waters broke with meconium stained liquor on the 4/10, hence we were whisked to the operating theatre for an emergency c section.

We had 5 nights in the private hospital, my fella stayed the whole time, and it was the most wonderful little bubble. Our little family.

It seems like he has always been here, but I can't quite believe he is here. It has been a joyful 2 and a bit weeks, getting to know him, getting to know our new selves and navigating our relationship as a family of three.

The days go by in a blur of cuddles, nappy changes, baths and feeds.

I now see people not as adults, but as daughters and sons of mothers and fathers. I am different.

I have put pics on instagram, @c_j_hay, you will need to request to follow.

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Deep into Mat Leave - 37+0

Well Hi!

I pulled the plug on work at 34+3
I have been booked in for my elective c section on 5/10.
This means that, at the end of next week, barring going into labour before, or getting bumped till after, we will be parents to our Smoosh.

Smoosh is what I have started calling the little one. It seems appropriate, since he is smooshed in my belly. His name is also sometimes Wiggles, but he has less room to roll around in there.

For those of you who don't play along on instagram, what was to be my last day of work, we had a bit of a fright.

I felt really dizzy, reminiscent of the time a few years ago when I had my miscarriage. Also Wiggles was being very still. Although I was faintly aware of the fact that there was a 99.5% chance it would all be fine, I burst into tears and rang up the obstetrician's rooms. They got me to come in for a CTG. He was indeed not moving very much, but he woke up and did the normal thing with the movements and the good variability in heart rate. The midwife on was just lovely

The last two weeks, I have been keeping very busy, mainly tying up work projects and doing adulty life administrations tasks. I have submitted/near submitted 2 journal articles. I've been getting in naps where I can and where I need, soaking up the sleep. Making the necessary purchases - nappies, breast pads, nipple cream, thermometer. The odd controversial purchase (a tin of formula just in case, dummies). Trying, and largely succeeding, in resisting unnecessary purchases - baby has more clothing than I can fit in the drawers.

I have been curating my maternity leave lewk - having made some purchases of cheap and cheerful clothing for myself, with elasticated waists, easy boob access and washability essential. I've also borne in mind that tracky daks day in and day out can be a bit depressing - nothing lifts the mood like comfy but stylish clothes. Nevertheless, one of my favourite things about maternity leave is the "soft" clothing - soft pants, soft bras, soft shoes. So much more comfortable than workwear, even if it is maternity-friendly. Seriously, one of the least comfortable things about being pregnant and working is the maternity wear - I found that even the non-cheap items fell down and fit poorly. My feet have grown 1-2 euro sizes, hence I was not able to fit into many of my work shoes.

I have been doing some "baby swotting" - reading some books. I have read the book "The discontented little baby book" by Dr. Pamela Douglas. She has a very nice tone, is encouraging and focuses on the evidence and neurobiology of babies (they are little animals with immature nervous systems, essentially). It is quite informative, and not that instructive, which I like. I have also read bits and pieces of the book "Baby Love" by Robin Barker, this one is fairly universally recommended by midwives and is practical and middle of the road. Some people swear by "Save our Sleep", but it does not sound like something that I will be into - too hard wired on the rigid routines, as nice as sleep sounds.

Perhaps the most informative thing, though, has been talking to mums, different mums with different babies. We all have an idea of how we want to be as parents, and a fair number of us have this thrown out the window when baby comes, because he/she won't fit what we want or what the textbook says. Yet all come out of it ok, because they love and care for their babies.

I have prided myself on being in control of things at work, and thought I would have to let go of this. I was mentally preparing to do just this. However another aspect of the way I go about things, especially at work, is to be a person who just gets things done, without worrying necessarily about how. I am quite a flexible person in my work. I can only really use work as that has taken up much of my waking hours in adulthood!

This is an aspect that I will likely need to hold onto, to get through the hard days with a very little baby. Baby wants to cuddle - let him. I need a rest from cuddling - somebody else might have to settle him and I will need to tolerate crying. Boob feeding not going well? I will hire a hospital grade pump. I have the number of a private lactation consultant. If we need formula, we need formula. I need to remember that in the end, it doesn't make a great deal of difference, the important thing is that we get through the period as pleasantly as possible. The fact that they aren't that little for that long is a double-edged sword. Sleep will be easier to come by, but boy is that little baby period, by all accounts, sweet. I am trying not to get too anxious ahead of time, mainly because it won't change a thing.

The thing I am thinking about most is stroking the downy hair on bubs' head. The ultrasound suggested that he has hair. My partner (sorry fiancee) is most looking forward to having the baby grasp his finger.

Thursday, 30 August 2018

#PreggoAF

I am now 33+3 pregnant.

I was told 2nd trimester was king, that third trimester was tough. I was told that I would get tired and work would become difficult and to consider taking time off earlier.

Guess what?

I am tired, work is difficult, and I am pulling the plug on work a week earlier, next week, at 34+3. My gosh I am looking forward to it. Getting my head into the baby game. Setting up the nursery. Reading some books, hopefully.

Nowadays my timetable is roughly: Wake up, do a thing, rest/nap, do another thing, rest/nap, do another thing, sleep. I have learned that I need to take rest, there is no way around it, there is no need to feel bad about it.

I am fascinated by my belly. It is getting proper big. I look at it in the mirror often. I can often be found on the couch with my shirt pulled up, staring at it, looking for a wiggle from underneath. I do not tire of looking at it, nor feeling the movements. We have called the fetus Sir Wigglesworth.

My feet have puffed up, to the point where I only have a few pairs of shoes that actually fit. Hauling on pregnancy opaques to wear to work (this is the most comfortable option and less falling down than pants) makes me want to go right back to bed. My fingers have puffed to the point where I can barely shimmy my engagement ring on....

Yes. A few weeks ago, my partner and I got engaged.

For Christmas last year, my partner bought us a voucher to Vue De Monde. We took it as a Sunday lunch, to celebrate our being together 6 years.

In the uber on the way to the restaurant, we were running a little late. I could not get onto the restaurant to tell them this. My partner hates being late, and he was getting irritated with the uber driver as the driver was going a different route. I said "leave him alone, he knows where he's going". That resulted in us sitting in tense silence for the rest of the trip. When we exited the uber, we fired up again, him  "don't tell me off in front of the uber driver", me "don't get so uptight" (then blubbing, because pregnant). Then we had a cuddle and made up.

We had our first course (delicious) then I went to the loo (becaue pregnant). When I came back, there was a little box on the table. I opened it, and there was a ring inside. I put it on my right hand. He said "no, put it on your left hand" and I looked at him questioningly. He said "do you wanna get married to me".

I said yes, and we both blubbed. We already had a glass of champers in our hand (Dom Perignon, thanks very much). It was perfect. It was us.

Anyway, yes. We will get married sometime when we have some money and after we have got the baby out and kept him alive for a little while and got the hang of things. House knockdown rebuild is in full swing. We are up for a few more $ than we thought, as there is rock that we needed to excavate to get the slab put down.

It's all happening here. For a long time, nothing much was happening. Now it's on like Donkey Kong.

Many thanks to you all for your kind comments on my last post. I want to keep a relationship with my mum, as she has a good heart underneath it all. I just need to find a way to keep boundaries on things. Right now, I am tying up the loose ends at work, trying to get through, and looking forward to what I hope will be a restful few weeks off.

Saturday, 21 July 2018

Phatty McWaddlebum. Significant relationships.

I am now 27 weeks and 4 days pregnant (not like I am counting or anything).

I have just copped my third cold of this pregnancy. I used to go 18 months without getting a cold. Now I get whatever is going around. I am now expert in the good/bad/ugly of cold symptom modification. Read the US baby/mothering websites and they will tell you that pretty much nothing is safe to use in pregnancy, so suffer in your jocks, ladies.

I am a bit of a ninja with google scholar, and a keen reader of the medical literature.
FOR ME (ie this is not medical advice) I can summarise things as such: Nasal vasoconstrictor sprays, nasal steroids,  Inhaled corticosteroids, older antihistamines, codiene to suppress cough - all fine especially beyond first trimester and not too late in pregnancy, and with no more than a few days use at a time. My gp echoes these recommendations.

Read the internet mothering websites, especially those from the US, and the information regarding pregnancy can be summarised as:
Look, ladies, living is potentially harmful to your growing baby, hence it's probably safest to sit inside your home and do and eat and drink nothing, because you wouldn't want to hurt your baby now, would you?

Generally, and on balance, I am feeling good. I am continuing to do crossfit. I feel (perhaps for the first time in my adult life) beautiful. I am working hard and have reasonable amounts of energy. I am not that hungry at the moment as my uterus expands to abut my stomach.

We've just moved house, like 2 weeks ago, awaiting the knockdown and rebuild on our property. The house was in a fairly substandard state, and things ticked off on the condition report as working and fine were not indeed working and fine. Hence the property manager found himself torn a new bum-hole by an exhausted pregnant lady. Things are getting fixed, but we are still without an oven. My partner is liaising with the property manager, which is probably best for the property manager.

So I am nice and busy and enjoying life. Generally. Apart from a few things. Because nothing is ever perfect, right.

Sigh.

I have alluded to it on this blog a few times but not spelled it out.
To summarise, my childhood was shitty, and I have clawed my way out of it, via hard work, >$10000 worth of therapy, and being brave.

How was it shit?
Without going into too much detail - my father was a horrible, wife beating alcoholic who passed away (in traumatic circumstances) when I was 14. I miss having a dad, but I am relieved he is gone.
My mum and him split up when I was 10. Very bravely, I must say, because nobody gave a shit about family violence in those days. Thereafter was punctuated with long periods of her being badly depressed and confined to bed (nobody gave a shit about that either), mostly enough money to keep a roof over our heads and keep us fed (but substantial money worry invading my consciousness from an early age) but none for anything nice. I was good at school and had some friends, but many other kids bullied me (nobody gave a shit about bullying either). I didn't think at first that it worried me, but deep down, it did.

Hence I got into uni, got together with the first guy who showed an interest (we all know how that turned out), moved out as soon as I was able. Things went fine for a few years until they didn't. Things, very understandably, caught up with me, and I continue to have to face up to the consequences. It's not my fault, but it is my life, my responsibility. I have the brains and the means and I consider myself lucky to be able to manage things as I do, and live my best life.

These childhood issues have played out interestingly (!) in pregnancy. Pregnancy has a way of bringing back past traumas. I'm dealing with it.

The other thing is the relationship with my mum.

I have not had any significant emotional or material support from her in 20 years or so. My younger brother and sister had more difficult adolescent periods than I, and this took up a lot of my mum's energy, so I asked her for nothing, expected nothing. Years later, they left home, and, rather than my mum spreading her wings and living the life she deserves without having to worry how she will raise children, she has become rudderless and self-sabotaging. There have again been long periods of depression. My brother has not been able to hold down a proper job in, like, forever, and he sponges off her, but she won't stand up to it. She never has any money despite working full time in a reasonable job, and abuses her health by smoking, not exercising, not eating properly and staying up all night watching youtube.

At times I have felt responsible for her, and there has been quite a bit of reverse-parenting.

I've gotten a bit jack of that, to be honest.

I have become a fiercely independent woman, yet I still yearn for some occasional nurturing. I try to get it where I can, and I have many friends. I have long stopped expecting any of it from mum. She offers to help sometimes but I generally decline.

She sees the birth of grandchildren as redemptive for her. She is much more "my grandchild" than "the child of my children". I saw lots of unpleasantries go down between her and my sister when my niece was born. Mum decompensated in a big way when her first grandchild was born. I think it bought back lots of sad memories for her, which she has not yet reconciled.

Mum says she wants to look after the baby when I work, which is nice, but I have my doubts about how this will play out.

I suppose things crystallised last weekend. She came to my place, reeking of cigarette smoke. I had lunch for her, made her cups of tea, listened to her talking. I don't really say much about myself, because her hearing is poor, and she interrupts often.

After a solid week at work, and a house move, this was the first time I had sat down all week. I hit a wall very quickly. I just wanted to go to bed. Rather than "poor thing, you must be exhausted" she commented on a grey hair I had sprouting out, and said that she would take as long as she wanted to drink her cup of tea "just to piss you off".

That night, I went to my friends place for dinner. His mum, who I have met a few times, was visiting from Singapore. She was cooking up a storm. She had found out that I liked a particular Asian dish, and made it just for me. She bought me food and took my plates and gave me a hug and rubbed my belly. It was nice. I was tired and bade farewells not too long after. The contrast was stark.

I think some boundaries need to be set. I am working with my very talented therapist who have been seeing on and off for the past 7 years. She will help me. I will be accused by my mum of "using the baby as a weapon against her" (or some such, she levelled similar at my sister when my sister attempted to set the same) but I am a bit beyond caring. I have unfortunately gotten to a point where it is neither here nor there if I don't see or speak to her in a month or more. That is saying something.

Anyway, that is probably the most "real" I have been for a while, congrats on getting this far.



Sunday, 17 June 2018

22+5 - Kicks

Melbourne has well and truly descended into winter. Today the rain fell down in sheets and the mercury struggled to get past 12 degrees. Meanwhile, my tummy has popped out and I am looking proper pregnant, as opposed to "has she been getting into the donuts?". After we came back with a good-looking ultrasound a week or so ago, I have finally capitulated and bought some maternity wear online. It is comfy, I can tell you that.

In the last couple of weeks, I've also been getting more and more movements from the little lad. I enjoy lying quietly awake in bed in the morning or night, feeling him move. He also seems very active when I sit down around dinner time. It's a lovely lovely feeling.

I have heard it said that it is very common for new/impending parents to plan house renovations. The reality of our upcoming move and house knock-down is looming larger. We have found a house to rent, a little bit further away from town than what we are currently, but it will be a nice comfy domicile to which we can bring our new baby. They also accepted our dog, which is good.

There is a streak in me that, when I am busy or things are challenging, I have to make them more so. I have been picking up extra sessions at work, we could always use the extra $. Also being busy makes one sharp, or so I think. I have had only one  episode of preggo-brain...that I can recall.

I work with a fair few women in some of my workplaces, and talk has turned to modes of birthing and feeding.

I am of the firm "whatever works for the individual mum and baby" school. Also, to my relief, I don't attach any particular self-esteem to having a baby out the exhaust pipe (as opposed to the sunroof). I hope to be able to breastfeed, but I have no opposition to topping up with formula where required. What I am very staunchly opposed to is people, even professional midwifes, making mothers feel guilty if they can't or don't want to breast feed, and making some go to extraordinary lengths to breast-feed, through low supply, exhaustion and bouts of mastitis. It is true that women put a lot of pressure on themselves to be "natural". I am wont to do that, but I am gearing towards the "get through the day with everyone alive and well and fed" school of living. Also, nothing about the conception was natural, no need to start now. I also pity the person who tries to guilt me into anything, I am a keen reader of the medical literature, and I am very swift to rebut people who I think are wrong or out of line.

We say all these things; I wonder how I will actually feel when the time comes?


Monday, 28 May 2018

19+6 weeks - Changes.

I've just gotten back from a lovely week in Palm Cove with my fella. It's been a while since we've just chilled out and spent time together, seeing each other at our best. We snorkelled, saw fish, cruised down the Daintree river and saw some little crocodiles, walked through the Daintree Rainforest and marvelled at the trees and enjoyed the forest sounds. We slept in, basked in the warmth (where we could), ate good food.

It was right back into work today. The weariness crept back quickly. It is almost anticipatory in nature - we have a big month coming up. Soon the demolition on our house will begin to make way for the new one. I made sure to speak to our neighbour, who grew up in this house, before we proceeded, just so she was prepared. There was a bit of tearfulness but she was ok.

As to the pregnancy, there have been a few changes. I am getting a definite bump. My proper pants officially do not fit, or they need a belly belt to hold them up. I am trying to respond to the bodily changes with a mix of calm, wonder and bemusement, rather than alarm. I am trying not to worry too much about weight gain. In any case, I don't seem to be gaining alarming amounts.

Preggo hormones relax all the smooth muscle in the body - the muscles in the blood vessels, the gut, the urethra (wee hole). Hence I am dizzy when I get up too quickly, I have some good going reflux, and a sudden cough or sneeze makes me sweat or dash to the loo. Yes I am doing my pelvic floor exercises. Funnily enough, there is an app for them, it is amusingly called "squeezy".

My predilection for salt and vinegar chips continues unabated. Samboy SnV chips are king. They give me a mild sweat, which could be the strong vinegar taste or could be the MSG. I am not sure. Fehlberg pickled onions are also king. They give rise to the delightful symptom of preggo farts.

I can manage all my daily tasks, however they wear me out a lot more. I need to be more diligent about hitting the sack early.

I am still doing crossfit, though my strength as well as my aerobic conditioning have decremented. I need to concentrate on enjoying what I can continue to do. I jumped rope this morning, even slipped in some double-unders.

I am wont to have tears sting my eyes much more easily now than before. It does not take me much to feel emotional. I am told that this is a permanent thing. I feel quite vulnerable at times, and very attached to my loved ones. I am looking at little babies (particularly little boy babies) with interest, striking up conversations with the mums about prams and carriers and whatnot.

I am seeing my obstetrician for the 20 week visit on Wednesday, and having the ultrasound next Friday. I think I will feel a bit more relaxed after that. The anxiety from the last scan has not quite gone away.

It's gonna be a busy couple of months. It's really been all about work and the pregnancy. I need to make time, after the move, to catch up with friends, see some movies. I've retreated into books and phone scrabble for recreation.

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Regrouping - 16 + 5.

I've not had a great deal of time to contemplate the pregnancy. I've been working super hard, covering extra sessions, earning extra dollars. I've also had a nasty lurgy and needed a day off sick in amongst all of this. It's ok having a cold when you can take all the drugs. Now I can take very few of the drugs and it takes the discomfort up a number of notches. I even had to miss crossfit for a week!

Somebody asked me a week or so ago "have you bought a pram yet?"

That day, a friend offered me her Silver Cross pram. She was going to sell it on ebay, and offered to sell it to me a bit cheaper than she was intending to sell it on the net. I snapped it up. A cursory google search showed that the Silver Cross is the Range Rover of prams, and they go for about $1000 a pop at least. My friend, a mumma to a 3 year old boy who will be stopping at 1 child, gave me a big bunch of stuff including a cot and a change table and baby clothes. I've been told not to buy too much, I will get given a bunch of things for the baby.

I've bought elasticated waist pants and jeggings (jeggings FTW), but have not yet been able to bring myself to buy maternity gear, or buy baby stuff myself.

I went to the Myer baby clothes section yesterday, and wound up crying soon after. I tried again today, same deal.

I am starting to get excited about the pregnancy, but a large part of me does not want to engage too fully, lest I lose the pregnancy. My trigger is going to buy baby things. I am scared of jinxing the situation.

I think it will get better once I have had the 20 week scan. Once I see a proper bump. I still don't really look pregnant, just a bit "thicc". Reassuringly, my jeans waist is getting tighter by the week. I've bought a "belly band" online to keep my jeans in action for a few more weeks.

I am hoping this lurgy gets better this week!