Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Into week 23...

A tricky week this one.

The whole seven days were shrouded in an unfortunate stinky blanket courtesy of some terrible news from T’s family – news too personal for me to go into here.

It sort of set the mood for the week, and trust me, it wasn’t a good one.

We were both beyond exhausted and at that horrible point where you are too tired to sleep properly. Of course, it’s the weight of crap on your mind keeping your eyes open at 2, 3 and 4am but surely the very bone-weary state of your body should be enough to tip you into unconsciousness for a few precious hours?

If it wasn’t the crap on my mind, it was my bladder keeping me up at night.

I have now reached the point where I feel like I am about to burst if I do not get to a toilet, oh, about every two hours. When I get to the toilet, an amount measuring less than a teaspoon comes out.

It is truly the wee who cried wolf that has me pondering which idiot designed the female body?

I have also begun to feel incredible tightness and weight in my belly.

It is now just uncomfortable for some periods during the day. And I know I am not the first pregnant woman in history to complain about being uncomfortable, but this was the first time I had felt it enough to notice it as being, well, rather annoying.

A trip to the midwife this morning went some way to explaining the tautness in the abdominal region.

My placenta is sitting at the back of my uterus, about two-thirds up. That is completely fine and normal, but it means I have no buffer (in the shape and size of a liver, apparently) between my belly skin and the baby’s bumps.

Which would explain why it felt like I had either Rocky Balboa or Jackie Chan doing some quickfire boxing and/or sidekick training last night.

It is lovely to feel the movement though...and she better keep going. I need peace of mind.

The whole awful business we dealt with last week also got me thinking about being a mum. Well, another kind of mum. A mum to a child I will give birth to.

I wondered if that was any different to the mum I am now. Part of me thinks, of course it is – there is a genetic and physiological bond there, let alone a potentially deeper connection given the fact she started life in my belly.

But then part of me asks why it should be any different. I cannot imagine loving anyone more than Jay...but will I with our little girl?

I am also thinking a lot about how our family dynamic will change when she is born. I am worried about my relationship with J and scared it might be diluted as a result.

I can already picture his hurt little eyes when I am forced to feed, bathe or change our new baby first instead of playing monster trucks with him immediately.

I don’t want to hurt him!

Will he understand how vulnerable and dependent a new baby is and how that means he will have to do more either by himself or with T instead of me.

T had a great idea about me having special things or time with him – like a Jay date – regularly. Whether it’s Thursday afternoon dominoes or painting or Sunday morning bike rides or garbage truck games, I promise to do that.

Otherwise all well in our world. And I already feel better this week.

Also at the midwife, incidentally, was news that I will need an anti-D injection at 28, 34 and birth so my own body does not reject the baby. Again, who the hell designed the female body??

I still don’t understand A) how it can even happen that you can create something inside you that you are pre-programmed to biologically destroy and B) how the baby could have survived this far without being attacked by my own system already.

Weird. I also got a yoga video, that’s right – video, for pregnant mums. Hopefully that will help a bit with my back pain. But that has eased a bit since I started sleeping with a pillow between my knees.

Plus the weather is turning and I reckon we will be swimming in the pool within the next week, so laps, here I come. Cannot wait. I need to investigate massage also, but I might save that up for the last six or so weeks.

Monday, October 17, 2011

On top of the world, and bottoms

This past week I have felt incredibly well.

I am probably the healthiest – and funnily enough, the heaviest – I have been in my entire life.

I managed to have an entire week of stunningly wholesome lunches. There were kidney beans, nuts, tuna, herbs, bran, grains, a mountain of salad and vegetables and very little dodgy snack food.

In fact I think we went an entire 10 days straight without having cake in the office...clearly the petty cash reserves for sweet treats are dwindling. If that isn’t proof that the GFC is well and truly still with us, I don’t know what is.

The cake sits right next to my desk. Like, RIGHT NEXT TO IT. I do not have to move anything but my right arm if I wish to partake in a slice of something containing more sugar and preservatives than a hot dog in a Coke factory.

So thankfully, no temptations this week.

I felt like I was buzzing with vitality and it was noticeable. I remember driving home one day actually saying that to myself, “I feel fantastic”.

I must also get my paperwork in order for my maternity leave stuff at work.

According to an email I got from my manager, this is what I have to provide: 10 weeks notice in writing of my intention to take maternity leave (seems a little extreme), four weeks notice in writing stating when I wish to start the leave (um, how will I know that?? when the baby is born, d’uh, hopefully a week before), a medical certificate stating I am pregnant (and not doing a Beyonce) and giving the expected due date, if my spouse is taking paternity leave and a stat dec if they are taking more than one week (so we don’t double dip on the system) plus any accrued leave entitlements.

You want to know why I have put this off for so long? READ ALL OF THE ABOVE.

I hate paperwork. I am allergic to it. I detest trying to put my hands on membership numbers and passwords and credit limits and usernames. I know my birthday and my tax file number by heart, but ask me for any other personal information and this is the soundtrack in my mind: “beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep”. I am the person who has my own mobile phone number listed in my own mobile phone under “Me”. I am the person who always has to check what the bloody name of our bank account is.

I don’t even know what my salary is, let alone my damn leave entitlements. You’re the pay office, you find out!

Anyway. My favourite is the certificate stating I am in fact pregnant. Just take a look at me, take a picture, I am expanding before your eyes! No woman would ever fake this! Beyonce, respect. (I think that’s total crap, by the way, of course she is pregnant. See girlfriend waddle?? Hello!)

This past weekend was the first time I actually felt uncomfortable about my girth, physically. Australians all, let us rejoice, for I am girt by me. There is me, then there is this whole other layer of me, bellium rapido expandius.

Also, I have experienced heartburn and indigestion for the first, quite revolting, time. Stomach acids rising in my throat are trying to send me a clear message: six small meals a day, rather than three big ones, just like the books say.

But I don’t listen.

Exhibit A. Lunch, Sunday: chicken, hommus and salad grain roll, quarter packet leftover sweet chilli chips, handful peanut M&Ms, two bowls cereal.
Afternoon, Sunday: overfed stupor-induced nap for 1.45 hours.

It’s weird. I eat perfectly good meals and then feel quite hungry seconds later.

I am incredibly conscious of being active to balance all this, so I walk most days or ride my bike. Plus we went kayaking yesterday and I pulled J around on the body board in the lake shallows for a while.

This second trimester I am discovering is all about extremes. Extremes of mood, eating, sleeping, feeling fabulous, then feeling like shit when you don’t sleep for various reasons.

Oh, and extreme back pain. What’s with that? I have never ever had back problems at all. Good lord, I now pity all of you who have.

Extreme emotions too, but that’s a given. We moved all our bedroom furniture out over the weekend to get the carpets cleaned. Stacked under a tallboy was all the scan images, paperwork and condolence cards from the time we lost the baby last year.

We only had a 3D scan done for this pregnancy three weeks ago and I picked up one folder that looked like it, only to flip it open and suddenly see a 3D image of our baby boy.

I snapped it shut straight away, confronted. Bloody hell, he was gorgeous.
That hurt, that really hurt.

But it’s in the past and happier memories are forming protectively around it, fairy floss enveloping a dark jagged rock.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Pants Gazette

A week filled with music, family, the beach, laughs and cake.

Oh, and a three-dimensional movie of our baby currently growing inside my belly.

We got a few discs from the doctor when we had our 18-week scan but we hadn’t watched them until my mum visited for her birthday over the weekend.

Doesn’t that sound terrible? We hadn’t watched them.

The reason? 99% because life just takes over and we had seen our baby girl wiggling around on screen before our eyes anyway while the scan was happening, and 1% because I think I am still a teeny bit afraid of bonding.

I know this is a boring, tired old theme – and I am sick of it myself – but I cannot deny what I am feeling. And that is still an element of anxiety.

Anyway, 1% or .000001%, let’s accept it is just there.

The baby is moving quite a bit, although I rue the day I read on the hospital admission forms that I could call the midwives at any time if I had certain concerns, among them reduced movement from my baby (less than 10 – 12 movements per day).

It actually said that, in brackets, in black and white. 10 – 12 movements. Per day.

Why did they write a number? Don’t give me a number! Don’t set me medical parameters that cause me to either relax if I comply or freak out if I don’t!

Now I am bloody counting all day! If I wasn’t so busy at work, and mostly sane for the majority of my waking hours, I would keep a running tally sheet every time I felt a flutter and then either collapse in a heap or rejoice in happiness at the end of the day once I had revised that day’s count.

But mostly it’s all good. The sun has started shining with a bit more intensity, the damn bugs and spiders are coming out and we are forced yet again to utter our Spring refrain “when is the bloody pest control man due again?”: a sure sign summer is on its way.

I am suddenly asking myself seriously what type of attire I shall be able to wear when swimming at the beach and pondering whether I can be brave enough to just let my bare belly see the sun’s rays, unburdened by the ubiquitous rashie I have felt compelled to wear since my late 20s when beer and fine food of the brown, chocolatey variety conspired to gift me a generous spare tyre.

T and I went to the local music festival on the weekend and spent a glorious eight full hours together without our three-year-old.

How strange it was to sit and read the paper in the shade while we waited for bands to set up. How unusually peaceful it was to place a lazy body on the grass and stare at the cloudless sky until even lazier eyes dozed shut for a few precious minutes.

How bizarre to not have to endlessly ask each other if one of us needed to go to the toilet, if we had brushed our teeth or, over dinner, if we could please eat two more spoons of rice before we could have any sweets.

The festival was awesome. We saw The Baby Animals, Missy Higgins, Paris Wells, Watussi, Diesel and Little Red. Bloody brilliant. Although tough to do sober!

Speaking of pregnancy wardrobe, and I know this has emerged as a common theme, but let me leave you with some more news on pants.

The festival marked the second time in a fortnight I had ventured to a public event with my pants undone.

Not just a fly open, or a button missing its loopy mate by mistake. Pants completely and utterly open.

See, I have jeans that fit well, leg-wise and length-wise. But from the bottom of the zipper to the top, there is no way on this earth those two flaps of material will ever meet across my belly.


Where they should be the letter I, they are doggedly the letter V, with __ leanings.

But luckily, or not, the good lord of genetics has afforded me with quite a sizeable inner thigh circumference, such expanse of skin that acts as quite a handy magnet to most pants at that point of fabric join. Pants are at their most taut at that stage of my leg, let’s put it that way. Like most humans I guess. Um.

And thankfully, the good lord of fashion has brought back enormously long shirt lengths, hopefully thereby banishing for good those atrocious midriff tops we all wore in the 80s when we had waists and zero belly flab.

Put on one of those 80s length shirts now, after the inevitable middle-age torso spread has woven its wretched magic, and people think you are wearing a scarf with sleeves.

So, I am fortunate for the moment to be able to couple my undone jeans with an almost knee-length top, add a few more layers and whether monster trucks or music festivals, no one knows the difference!


Until the wind blows...

Monday, October 3, 2011

Movement At The Station

There was movement at the station, for the word had passed around
The Marshall baby girl had got away
She had joined the wild in utero babies – she was worth more than any treasure found
So all the expert doctors gathered at the fray.
All the confusing and noted feelings in the belly these past few weeks
Had fluttered authentically at last overnight
For the hopeful mum loves to feel the tiny form inside her tweak
As she finally and happily realises possibility with delight.

Thank you for the inspiration, Banjo Patterson. His original first verse below. I decided against reworking the remaining 12 verses – you’re welcome.

There was movement at the station, for the word had passed around
That the colt from old Regret had got away,
And had joined the wild bush horses - he was worth a thousand pound,
So all the cracks had gathered to the fray.
All the tried and noted riders from the stations near and far
Had mustered at the homestead overnight,
For the bushmen love hard riding where the wild bush horses are,
And the stock-horse snuffs the battle with delight.

In case you didn’t already gather, I am finally feeling movement for the first time.

There have been flutters and weird lumpy shifts in my lower belly these past few weeks, but in the most recent four days, there have been full-blown liquidy bumps. Obviously baby.

And even T felt one for the first time last night. I can't wait for J to feel it too.

At this point, they are most common mid-way through the day and late at night, just before I go to sleep. She almost always moves when I am on my back, a position I do not hold for long as I feel like I am stretching my belly skin like a centimetre of glad wrap over an elephant, frankly.

Today also marks the half-way point, weee. 20 weeks. Last night I filled out my hospital pre-admission forms – and briefly contemplated establishing a business consulting with others that require people to fill in forms, to overhaul their form templates to ensure people can, gasp, actually understand and complete them easily – and sent them off today. Whether the condition is bullshit or not, you are dealing with people who are in the peak phase of baby brain, do not ask them what their private health cover excess is (who ever knows that?), when exactly any previous surgeries were, what their freaking GP’s fax number is and if they had ever been to a SARS country. Yes I have, but it was four years ago, do I really need to “immediately inform the Infectious Diseases Co-Ordinator”?

And another thing, is it really necessary to use that daggy old shiny paper? It has the type of texture that any pen you use instantly smudges if you so much as look at the words the wrong way. God help you if you, like I do, leave some sections blank to return to later after you have filled out the remainder.

You’d better leave the form in a hermetically-sealed drying room for up to five days unless you want to smear every word and number you’ve ever written across the great expanse of white shininess.

Sigh. I considered attaching a note to the form to eliminate the possiblity that the nurse reading my form and trying to enter my blotchy details onto a computer might temporarily fear I had been assaulted as I filled it in and was dragged, clutching vainly at the paper, across pages two through six.

Anyway. Weeee. It’s all becoming a bit real. A reality I wouldn’t have dared to contemplate even a fortnight ago.

This is pretty cool.