Thursday, 4 April 2019

Life, etc. 6 months.

Oooh Hai! It me!

Our little man has just gone 6 months.

I am going to used that hackneyed phrase "it's gone by in such a flash", because it is true. I enjoy looking back at photos of him from when he was a tiny thing, remembering the feels.

Life has been busy. Not in the frantic way, in a rich and rewarding way (hackneyed, I know). We have moved back into our old hood, into our new rebuilt house. It is much more enjoyable being closer to everything, the high street, the cafes, the boutiques. Seeing mums from the mother's group out and about. Lots of calm pleasant banality to fill days with a little baby and pick up some vitamin D. Our days together involve going out for a coffee together, doing some housework, me trying to slip in personal hygiene without him squawking too much (I put him in his bouncer outside the bathroom, door open, we do what we can).

My favourite thing is to take an afternoon nap with him. He lies beside me on my bed, we face each other, I hold his chubby little hand and we fall alsleep for a bit. I have a bottle on the bedside table ready for when he wakes up, and I deftly slip it into his gob as he starts crying. This buys an extra hour of nap for him and a bit of untethered pottering time for me. We had him sleeping through the night for a month or so, through till 5:30-6:30 am, but growth spurts and lurgies have put an end to this for the time being.

He has just started some child care, we found a nice place for him with vacancies so we took it up. He seems to have adapted well and they are very loving towards him. I do appreciate being able to do things like shower uninterrupted, but I miss him terribly. I am almost looking forward to getting back to work, so I will be distracted from missing him. Also we need the cash. House knockdowns don't pay for themselves, alas.

We have also started solids, I started out with grand plans for chopping and steaming and whizzing all my own food but then saw the light. Squeezy packs for the win (no added sugar or salt, naturally). It is a good way to get the green veg into him. They mix it with some apple puree to make it palatable. He also quite likes gumming a crust of sourdough. Chip off the old block.

It can be a real bubble, the mum at home thing. For better or worse (perhaps more the latter), social media has been my link to the outside world. Indeed, I have made some friends and had helpful discussions. However, there is exposure to too much misery and annoyance. Having the baby home only for a limited time per week (as opposed to full time) forces me into the here and now, which is good.

I am getting my head slowly back into the work game. I go back mid-next month, part time. I try not  to worry that I have lost my work edge, lost my skills. It comes flooding back.

On the feminist/work train of thought, I saw a leadership type job that fits my skill set. Apparently there are quite senior applicants and my chances of getting the role are slim. However, I have been encouraged to apply by a few people nonetheless, if only to signal my interest in a more senior role. I chucked a bit of an internal tanty about the "bromotions" that often occur, and  I need to go forth like there are no other applicants, and do the best job I am capable of. I am well aware that women are less likely to put themselves forward for senior roles, and, though scared, and "what about my baby?", I march on. Too many women lose their confidence when they have a baby, though one thing we are definitely good at when the baby is off our hands is getting stuff done, so at least I bring that to the table.

Along with all the feels of having a little baby and stepping back into the workforce, there have been other things. Things with my mum have not been going smoothly. My sister is no longer talking to her. Having the baby has made me more bold with setting boundaries, my time is my currency, and time will be withdrawn without notice if fuckery occurs. This seems to have been understood, for the moment. I really swing between love, guilt, frustration and anger with her, when I try to keep it shallow and pleasant.

One of my friends that I have known URL for years, and gone IRL in the last couple, is very ill with an aggressive cancer of the liver. She has battled poor health for years and this is an almighty thwack of awful luck. She has weeks to live, and she is throwing an early birthday party while she is still reasonably well. I will be going. It is a hard thing to get my head around, that this will definitely be the last time I see her. Her instagram feed is like a retrospective on the good times she has had with family and friends.

I get a bit "ragey" with one thing or another, as I always have. Having a good hard look of bubs while he is sleeping or playing fixes that. I still go to crossfit, and am nearly back to pre-pregnancy strength; the cardio will take a bit longer I fear! Life is good. I am mindful and grateful. Every day.

Friday, 4 January 2019

Three months! Impending festival of forty.

And happy new year to you all!

Today, our wee man turned three months! A very auspicious time, marking the end of the 4th trimester, then end of the neonatal period. I am told it gets easier from here on in. I think each era comes with its delights and challenges!

He is growing fast, every time I look at him, he seems to have changed. I try to take note.

The first day of the year is 2 months out from a birthday. This year I am turning 40. The zero birthday is a good nudge to take stock of our life, our health. I know a number of people who struggle with serious illness, and I do not take my health for granted at all. I am fortunate to have an exercise that I love. I have accepted that I will always be fitter than I am thin, and probably stronger than I am fast.

I also accept that the 10kg of pooch is going nowhere fast. I know myself to know that eating a little less and moving a little more is going to do bugger all. I am noticing the extra weight in my knees, my feet and my chub rub.

People might say "be kind to yourself, you've just had a baby". This is true. I am kinder to myself - when I see a photo of myself with my baby, it is more of "jeez I look happy" rather than "jeez I look fat". Doing things to make myself look and feel better, even though uncomfortable at times, is not necessarily and act of unkindness. It's a fraught and complex issue.

I have booked us in for a trip to Phuket and Singapore in March (avoiding Bali - it is a bit too seismically active at the moment). That will be a good time limiting marker with which to get the rig in better order.

I have also sprung for some good skin care, and I will book in with the dermatologist. I might need a bit of ironing out - botox no, laser possibly.

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

2 and a bit months. 2018.

I've been really slack on the blogging front. Because, baby. Also I lost the charging cord to my laptop.

My wee man is 10 and a bit weeks old. If you follow me on insty, you will have been well and truly spammed by photos of him, and will see that he is very cute. We are besotted. We are working him out. Well, mainly me, as my partner has gone back to work.

We man started smiling at 6 weeks and 2 days, after an early morning feed. His preferred time to be smiley and cute is in the middle of the night/early morning. He has started laughing and cooing. I know the difference between his tired cries, his hungry cries and his generally annoyed / fractious cries. We have had our first vaccinations; he cried but I managed not to.

Feeding wise, we were going well and weaning the formula after help from a lactation consultant, but wee man went through a growth spurt and got hungrier. He resents the boob when he is hungry and the milk won't flow freely. Hence, he is happier and I am happier if he is fed, and to do that, we give formula to fill him up after a boob. A bit of both. Why is there not more education about mixed feeding, I wonder?

Sleeping wise, he is doing some good chunks, we had a chunk of 7 hours after a particularly epic evening Witching hour.

We took bubs to New Zealand last week, to meet my fella's extended family. They were suitably enamoured and got some nice smiles and cuddles. Wee man met his 88 year old great great auntie. Getting the passport photo was not a simple undertaking, but we got there in the end. We stayed near a shopping centre, there was a Santa photo stall without a queue so we carpe'd the diem.

I have physically recovered well after my c-section, and I have gotten right back into crossfit. Wee man sits in his capsule in the corner and mostly sleeps. He is much more settled out and about than at home. The more hubbub, the better.

I am carrying 10 extra kilos from the pregnancy. I tried a weight loss program, but it was too hard at this stage. It will take a lot more than general healthy eating and exercise to shift the pooch - I hold onto body fat like a sloth and I would be the last to die in a famine. After I finish breastfeeding, I can give the weight a good nudge. I am embracing elasticated waists, flat shoes and no makeup.

I am enjoying the cuddles and the being still and drinking him in. It's precious time. It's long awaited. We are looking forward to our first Christmas as a family of three.

It's a time to reflect on the year. I looked back at my posts from 2017, a year ago. That was a hard, lonely, frustrating and sad year. After a lot of anger and "why me", I finished it with a desire to make the best of whatever eventuated. I was tired of longing.

As remiss as I am to write off or laud whole years, I can say that 2018 has been wonderful. My son. An engagement. Our new house has been built and we can move in next month. I got a new role at work. I get emotional thinking about the challenges past, and feel incredibly, utterly grateful for all that this year has brought. A part of me is terrified that something will be ripped away from me, but I try and keep that part at bay.

I hope you all have a lovely Christmas and a wonderful 2019. I hope you are happy and safe.

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


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.


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.