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.