my-speck

i'm pregnant and it's going to be a rollercoaster

Hiccups. Again. Its one of the strangest feelings I've ever felt. And Antenatal Classes Mark #5. May 1, 2009

Hello Little Spectacle,

How are things going with you?  All well with me.   You’re awake and down there hiccupping again.  It must be that time of day. Its one of the strangest things I’ve ever felt.  Apparently it could be you practicing breathing by exercising your diaphragm.   You started it last week.  And have continued almost daily since then.  There is a sort of popping kinda feeling down in my uterus.  It almost feels as though there is a membrane in there somewhere going in and out.  A bit like the silver top from an old-fashioned bottle of milk coming off.  Repeatedly.  Inside me.   So, yeah, a bit weird and freaky.   But also, now that I’m used to it, comforting in some strange way.

Antenatal classes continued last night.  Your dad wasn’t keen to go, pramway construction having reached an impasse for the day – a few little niggly mistakes in the pramway causing a bit of back-tracking had put him in a particularly foul mood.   However your craving for potato-gems for dinner (all you, not me at all) I think helped lift his spirits, as did the fact that his planned dentist visit wasn’t as bad as he thought it was going to be.   Thus, belly-full of fried, baked and rolled-in-sour-cream oily potato goodness (with some coleslaw thrown in for good measure), we trundled off to the hospital to meet with our friends the midwife and other pregnoid couples.   Its a bit strange but I’m going to miss it a bit when it finishes, six weeks of jokes and disbelief and panic with other couples really does bring you together slightly.   Its been really odd observing them too, and seeing how they interact as couples, what they are looking forward to, scared of, all those things.  There are a mix of people of different ages and backgrounds, but all are excited and keen and its lovely to see that too.

Last night was Caesarean Sections and Breastfeeding.  Relatively depressing really.  It was all very serious.   Your dad went green watching the Caesarean Section video, while I coped apart from the part when they showed the epidural going in.  The cutting through the stomach tissue & then the breaking of the uterine sack was actually pretty cool.   The uterine sack thing was really white and of course all the waters started just squirting out everywhere when they put the scalpel through it slightly.   Watching a white and purple head emerge from a big cut was a bit surreal.  That really freaked your dad out while I thought that bit was kinda cool.   The little baby they pulled out was very purple but quickly started to breathe and got some colour.   And cried.  It wasn’t very happy!

I don’t really want a caesarean, I guess no-one really does want any surgery if they don’t have to have it.  I think I’d find it really weird being awake through it – and it takes so long and there are so many people in the room.   I think to some extent I’d rather be able to see it than just see a big blue sheet with lots of doctors and nurses and midwives moving around behind it.  Another thing that you really don’t know how you’d cope with until it happens.

Breastfeeding is a bit the same.  Yep, they are pretty pro-breastfeeding at the hospital, which is good, but really, how much can you learn in an antenatal class???  I found it a bit ho-hum, as I’ve read a bit about it before and generally think its one of those things that is going to be hard to take in until you try it yourself.   Chatting with your dad on the way home though, he said he found it really informative and useful.  So we got something out of it.  Oh, I guess the bit I got was that if you do use bottles / express or whatever, there is no need for any sterilisation palava as long as you wash it.   Your milk, your baby, your bottles and knick-knacks, no sterilisation required.  Awesome.  That helps.

Today I took a lunch break and went down to West End and had a massage.  My back has been pretty sore and sitting at my desk all day tap-tap-tapping doesn’t help.   It was lovely.   I lay there for 15 minutes afterwards and relaxed, then gave you a massage of your own, as you’d woken up.   You seemed to enjoy your massage too and went back to sleep.   Its my way of getting you used to my touch before you come out.

Pramway - Our front yard before commencement of construction

Pramway - Our front yard before commencement of construction

Your dad is still out the front pramway-building.  I’m going to finish off in here and then head off to yoga.

Pramway is underway.   Nearly ready for the decking!

Pramway is underway. Nearly ready for the decking!

love you.

mum

under construction - getting those joists in was a lot of work.  Hopefully it will hold the weight of people walking up and down it for years.

under construction - getting those joists in was a lot of work. Hopefully it will hold the weight of people walking up and down it for years.

 

Antenatal Classes Mark #4. And you uncle is staying with us. April 25, 2009

Hello Little Spectacular,

how are you today?  Going well down there?  All is well out here.   I was feeling a little off yesterday and had a few doctor’s appointments, so took the day off work.  Subsequently today, a Saturday, feels like Sunday and I’m already all relaxed and happy.  I like three day weekends.   I’ve been out to the markets and bought some fresh strawberries, limes for coconut and lime ice cream, beetroot and lots of other goodies.

This week has been busy.  Your uncle has been staying, so our house has been busier / noisier than normal, in a good way.  Its strange getting used to someone different being in the house with your dad and I.  We are really very set in our ways.  I think its a good preparation for you coming – we’ve had to be more flexible and not do things exactly the same way.   I know you’ll create much more havoc than him, but getting used to it has been a start.  At least I think so.

Antenatal classes this week were about your birth and how to manage pain during it.  Basically talking through comfort measures, gas, pethidine and epidurals.    Again, a broad mix of people in the room makes for an interesting class.   Some women sound like they want the epidural straight away – “why even bother with trying and going through the pain for hours when you know you will want to end up with an epidural anyway?” was a legitimate question (fyi: answer from midwife was along the lines of apart from any personal sense of achievement / desire to labour naturally, doing it upright and moving about will potentially reduce the time of the labour and make it less likely for further intervention).   I find it a bit weird, I guess I know the pain relief options, so didn’t learn too much from that, but putting it in context of the labour and when most people use them etc was good.   Sounds like the ethos of the birthing centre at the Royal Women’s hospital would have been more our kinda ‘thing’, but I’m sure we’ll be ok at the Mater Private too.   I like our obstetrician and I think he’ll respect our choices.   I think your dad and I will write a simple birth plan that will be a guide if all goes 100% to plan, with the idea that we’ll just have to chuck it out and do whatever works best (naturally or medically) at the time.  Who knows.  Maybe you’ll be well behaved and your neural pathways will just guide you to be a perfect little descending head, facing the right way, getting your cord out of the way, and not getting too stressed about the whole thing.  On the other hand, maybe you’ll freak out, or my body will freak out, and we just have to get you pulled out as quick as can be.   Whatever way, your dad and I are looking forward to meeting you more and more every day.

The other weird part of the class was seeing the little suction-cap that they can use to assist pulling you out.   My goodness, its quite small, the suction cup about half the size of the palm of my hand.  But very strong suction.  You could use it as a pretty good drunk & sleeping trick on someone & give them a hickie-like bruise in a perfect 6cm diameter.  Party trick.   No wonder babies get even more misshapen little heads when they get pulled out that way.   Ow.

The class finished with a lovely video about babies and ‘dad time’.  It was about gazing and how important this will be for you to develop your neural connections, and how your dad can start to bond with you from day one by helping you practice.   And that your dad can settle you too – its not all about the boob.    A mushy, gooey video that made me and your dad feel excited and look forward to you coming.    It was interesting that in the video it talked about babies recognising their dad’s voices almost immediately, even in the hour after you are born.  Apparently your dad’s voice may be able to cut through all the background noise, whatever is happening, and you’ll focus on it.  I already think I’ve told you that I think you react to your dad’s voice even now – kicking and moving around and playing when we are talking, or he is talking to you.   So I hope you’ll recognise him straight away when you come out too.

Yesterday was another obstetrician visit.  Our doctor was away – apparently he’d had a busy week – so his fill-in was there.  He is a funny, old man who is very friendly and relaxed.  His comment when he saw me was that I’d “got bigger than last time I saw you”.   Funny that.  Anyway, all is good with you, as we knew, you’re head down, bum up, with your legs and arms coming over to the left hand side of my body, which is why I feel you kicking and moving around there.   He made your dad feel your head through my stomach – which was funny as your dad didn’t really want to, having done so already before going to the doctors, but with some encouragement (ie insistence on the doctor’s part) he did.   We were talking about it on the way home and decided that maybe some people don’t push on their tummies to work out where their babies are – and even less-so the man doing this to the woman.  We do it all the time.  But then recalled a conversation I had with other women at the antenatal classes, about where the baby was sitting, and apart from the ones whose obstetricians had told them, most didn’t know.  Which I thought was a bit weird, as I know where you are.  But maybe they don’t push around and feel with their hands?  I do.  I give you massages every day, and generally have a talk to you while I do it.  I wait until you’re awake and having a play mostly.   Other news from the obstetrician – I’ve remained the same weight since my last visit (see, some women do put on a lot at the beginning and then flatten out over time), my blood pressure is the same and good, and your heart is still beating away.   All A-ok.   Good growing.

Going to run and eat cheese, bread and figs for lunch.  To nourish you, of course.

love you

fig and cheese for lunch

fig and cheese for lunch

mum

 

week 30! omg 10 weeks to go. And Antenatal classes Mark #3. April 17, 2009

Hello Speck,

Its finally stopped raining for two days straight! Things inside the house are starting to feel like they are slowing drying out, but things like blankets still need an airing after the previous two weeks of torrential downpour. Apparently it is going to be the wettest April in 20 years. Twenty years ago I had just started high school and was alternately catching the train to school and trying to avoid puddles, and being taken down to the park before school by your Grandad M to fill big white buckets with as many Graceville Green Frog eggs as we could before the water levels of the flooded park went down again and they all died as little tadpoles.

So. You are due in 10 weeks. Well, 9 weeks and six days now, to be precise, or 69 days. Your dad and I walked up to the hospital last night for our third antenatal class. This one was with the physio again, and was about pain management and pain cycles, and birthing positions. We got to practice some and best of all we gave each other reciprocal massages. It was pretty good. Interestingly, we went around the room at one point and some of the men and some of the women had to say what they were most worried about. The men were all worried about knowing what to do on the day, what to do if something went wrong, and how to be the best support. The women unanimously said that they had been consciously putting-off thinking about or dealing with the birth itself too much. Which is exactly what I have been doing. Good-oh. Spot-on average. I do think though that the pregnancy hormones have something to do with this – its impossible to get too worried about anything for any length of time, the hormones kick in and I just feel like it will all work out somehow.

You were very quiet through the whole thing, but then on the walk home I was in quite a bit of pain again, I think it was those Braxton Hicks contractions again – my stomach just gets really really tight all over and a bit of back pain, and discomfort. It comes and goes. It abated after about 20 minutes. When we then went to bed you were the most active you’ve been in days. Lots of kicking, moving and pushing again.

Know that your dad and I are both thinking about you and feeling you down there.

love mum.

 

Antenatal classes Mark 2#. And these iron tablets do really make me farty. April 10, 2009

Hi Speck,

Its Easter friday!  Yay for holidays.  I’m baking almond and chocolate friands to take to your Grandma K’s for an easter get together.  Your dad is doing his usual interfering and telling me my oven is too hot (despite the fact I’ve never seen him cook any cake except cheesecake in his life).  He’s just a know-all.

almond chocolate friands

almond chocolate friands

So.  Last night was antenatal classes Mark 2.  This time with a midwife instead of with a physio.  Actually learnt a lot.  Which was good – the time went quickly rather than slowly.  The class was about introducing us to the three stages of labour, and talking about when we should think about phoning the birthing ward to come to hospital.  We had a tour of a birthing suite and watched a few videos of babies being born.  Lots of things to think about. I cried watching the videos.  I’m still really emotional and I got a bit scared and excited and happy all at the same time.  Luckily I was at the back of the room so it was only your dad, the couple beside me and the midwife who noticed tears streaming down my cheeks.  Its strange to not have any real idea what is going to happen to you and how you will cope, and not have much control over it all.  It could all go smoothly and then we get to choose some things, or it could all go a bit not as expected in which case we relinquish control to a bunch of health-care professionals.  I could just lose it and go crazy in the middle of it all.  Who knows.  Maybe I’ll get to transition stage and just be adamant that I’m going to pack up and go home and pretend there is no baby business happening at all.

Anyway, I’m glad I took a notebook, as everyone had lots of questions and the class was good in that it was relatively unstructured and the midwife was thorough in her answers.  I wrote down a bunch of things I wanted to find out more about; things to ask and talk to our obstetrician about (gee, who knew that some of them still want you to get up onto the bed and be prone when you’re actually pushing the baby out in the second stage – I thought things had moved on – maybe not – gee I hope ours lets us do it however feels best for me); things for your dad and I to decide (do you need a vitamin K injection and Hep B as soon as you’re born?); and just general stuff that I thought I’d forget.   We walked to the hospital again but it was raining on the way home so we taxied.  May have to rethink the walking to the hospital idea just ’cause your dad will be in charge of bringing all the stuff along.  But maybe we can still do it just with our birthing bag, and someone can bring the rest later?  Mmm..   Anyway, I think the most important things to remember from the class was the phone number of the birth suite and basically if you get any body fluids happening then phone them.  Got it.  Phone them.  Your dad put the number in his phone.  Hopefully he can find his phone when the time comes.  I might just write the number on the whiteboard too.

When we got home we had a chat about some of the things they talked about at the hospital.  I think both of us think that since we’re so close (literally 10 minutes walk) that we don’t have to worry about traffic or anything, so we should be ok to stay at home if everything is going well for quite a while.   Yes, the hospital is brand new and the rooms are big and spacious, and pretty nice, but its still a hospital with linoleum floors and unnatural lighting and lots of equipment and not much to look at.   I think if we are in first stage of labour for a long time it would be much nicer to be at home if we’re comfortable with that.  We can have whoever we like there, we have our own creature comforts, and there is more to do and look at.   But, who knows.  We may panic in the throws of pain and think its all happening much faster than it is, or be uncomfortable at home, and then just trip on in really early.

Yep, so of course I dreamed about you arriving again last night.  This time it was more focussed on your birth.  I was on all fours on the ground a lot, near a hand-wash basin for some reason, during a lot of the labour.  It was kinda painful but rhythmic.  I remember thinking oh, there it goes again and feeling it just going of its own accord.  Then I was squatting on the side of a chair and you came out, all slimey and red and with a lot of white vernix all over you.  You had blackish hair plastered to your head, but not too much, just some.    Your head was squished and a bit oblong.  And this time you were a boy and I definitely sighted your genitalia.   For some reason when you were born I actually forgot to see if you were a boy or a girl and I remember asking people a few minutes later and they were all surprised I hadn’t worked out or checked that you were a boy already.  I remember just being glad that you were out and you were healthy.

This dream went on and on and on.  I woke up and one point and I’m pretty sure I told your dad about it then went back to sleep and continued on with the same dream.  Until you woke me at 6:30 with some strong stomach pounding.

Going to get non-burnt friands from oven and go for morning tea.

Love you

mum

P.s. Oh yeah, side effect of these iron tablets seem to be even worse gas than I had previously.  I read a bit on the web and there are a bunch of women on forums who say this has happened to them too.  And some of them say the smell is really bad.  I haven’t noticed that yet thankfully, but it means I have to be very careful.  I was like a ticking time bomb during the antenatal classes.  I didn’t make it out of the room a few times and let loose big loud ones.  The tour of the hospital and where to park was a good diversion as we were outside and I could lag behind the group.  But sitting still and watching videos as I felt like I might float out of my chair was trying.  Your dad was peeing himself with laughter and kept telling me to go to the toilet (again, helpful if you know you need to fart but they come on very quickly and are very large and frequent.  So I would be like a yo-you back and forth.  My policy is hold them in and then do it all at once in the toilet).

 

glucose tests aren't fun and helpful advice from the local greek blood-testing community April 7, 2009

Hello Speck!

You’re bum-up this morning. Your dad says good morning or has a chat most days and he has a bit of a feel to see where you are, and it seems like your bum was right above my belly button, just to my right this morning. So a slightly different position to normal, as your head was to the left rather than the right. But you’re still sleeping as yet.

Feeling pretty good today. I had the dreaded glucose test yesterday, and it wasn’t pleasant, as expected. For some reason the endocrinologist wanted me to do the full two-hour test right off the bat, so it involves waking up in the morning, not eating and then traipsing off to the blood collection centre for two and a half hours. I went down to Annerley.

As there are a bunch of tests that you need to take when you’re fasting, it was peak-hour down there, and the local greek community was out in force. I caused a bit of a rucus as although I arrived fourth in queue, as I had an appointment, they slotted me in second. Between the old greek man who was really impatient and in a hurry, and his wife, who was quite happy to gossip and chat. There was a bit of confusion as the lady behind the counter had to explain what I was there for and why I was going first. So, all my medical history in the open, it was time for the opinions and advice to flow. Interrupted of course by short stints while everyone had their blood taken (including me), but carried on seamlessly between these interruptions. So, apparently: I look healthy; I am having a boy, because I’m all out in front, and other things that I’ve forgotten again; I’m lucky that I don’t have red swelling and pigmentation around my ankles, don’t you know that some of the women there had it and it just never went away (close inspection and umming and ahhing required at this point); its unusual that I don’t have the linea nigrea (or the black line of hair or whatever it is between my navel and pubis) – but I do have very white skin, so perhaps that’s ok (luckily no-one wanted to inspect my navel to verify my claims here); oh, and the book you have to buy is “women’s weekly food for kids” or something like that which tells you what to feed your baby up to the age of kindy, even including birthday cakes to age five (my son – presumably now a man in his forties – still loves his broccoli and everyone asks me how I did it – you just start at an early age); the general consensus is that glucose tests are stupid and make you feel very sick, apparently you can fake it by just drinking a coke and then having the test; and overall I just need good luck. Oh, and the last helpful piece of advice: now, when you are at home with your baby and your husband, everyone will have some advice for you, so make sure you don’t offend them, and listen, but you just do what you think is the best thing, won’t you now… :) This all in a combination of English with simultaneous translation and broadcast into Greek for two of the older women there whose English wasn’t up to the banter.

That was the highlight of the morning. After I actually gave the blood and drank the approx 500ml of glucose solution (which tasted much like five lemonades packed into a single can) I was fine for about half an hour. After which point the nausea kicked-in and I felt alternately like vomiting or pooing for the next hour and a half. And as the collection place was so small, there were only two collection ‘rooms’ and a bed only in one. And I was allowed one glass of water to sip for the whole time. I managed to get into the bed for a while after the waiting room cleared, but all in all sitting in a hard seat in a dingy little reception area while waiting for two hours to pass and feeling like death warmed up just really isn’t my idea of fun. All for you, baby. So now its just a wait for the results, which might take until tomorrow.

Hope its all good. As I said, today is great, no tests and I feel fine! I start antenatal active-birthing yoga tonight. Heard mixed reports about the place I’m going – sounds like it will be a little too chakra-centred for my usual preferred style, but looking forward meeting some women in the area who are due around the same time…

Love you
mum

 

Antenatal classes mark one April 3, 2009

Hello there speck,

Hope you’re sleeping well…. I certainly didn’t. My maternity pillow certainly helped, but all in all it was a horrible night. I tossed and turned (albeit not with the speed and ease I’m used to) all night, kept awake by a plethora of exciting things: back pain, the nightly possum migration from the neighbours to our house and visa versa via the window awning directly beside our bed, pubic symphysis pain, and a rowdy and recurring bat fight presumably in a fruit tree nearby. Yippee!

Your dad and I walked up to the first of six antenatal classes at the hospital last night. It was a manageable walk, we were both thinking that when the time comes it might be easier to walk to the hospital than drive. That said, I’m glad we have five more antenatal sessions to get to: your dad is directionally challenged at the best of times, and I can forsee him getting me to the oncology ward instead of the mother’s hospital unless he gets to practice how to get there at least a few more times…

The class itself was kinda funny.  It would be really hard to pitch a class like that to such a mixed audience – it was the “changes in your body” or something like that class, run by a phsyio.  Essentially we talked about some of the obvious changes that can happen to your body, and did some exercises to stretch our pelvises and relax and stuff like that.  All pretty straight-forward, and if you hadn’t worked it out by this point in the pregnancy you’d have to have had your head under a blanket pretending you weren’t pregnant.   There were about eight couples in the class, ranging from 25 to 31 weeks pregnant.    We practiced getting in and out of bed and picking a baby from the floor and putting it on a bed and picking it up again.  You were played by a big white hospital pillow.  Well acted.  While it was ok, I’m looking forward to the bit run by the midwives where we get to see the birthing suites and talk through more about baby stuff and less about pubis bones.  I think that will be more relevant to me.

Had another appointment at the obstetrician today.  I’ve hit a new milestone in the weight department.  Yippee again.  Still walking / cycling / yoga or something nearly everyday, but I guess I’m eating more than normal too.  Oh well.  Have a glucose test and a bunch more blood things scheduled for Monday, so hopefully that will prove that I’m all ok and just a bit fat (i.e. not diabetic or anything).   Not much to report from the obstetrician, all he did was ask if I was ok, at which point I burst into tears, and then he hustled me in to take blood pressure and hear your heartbeat.  My blood pressure is all good.  And your heartbeat was a bit irregular but we poked you and it went back to fast again.  Apparently its normal for your heartbeat to change speed a lot, often as I change position etc.  He also palpitated my uterus and your head is pointing down where it should be.  Which I knew already as your kicking my ribs on the bus on the way in indicated where you were quite clearly.

Otherwise. Starting to think more seriously about the fact that you’ll need a name.  Your dad and I have  a few options that we’ve come up with, and one or two we even like.  I guess though we need to ponder some more.  And see you.

Keep safe.

love mum

p.s. last night in between anxiety attacks and nightmares consisting of work and family-related melodramas, I dreamt that you were born, but that somehow there were four of you.  I was trying to leave the hospital and having difficulty working out how to get four babies home.  My dad (your grandad) and my mum (your grandma K) were both there.  I remember I just kept saying over and over to your grandad, “I don’t understand.  There was only ever one when they did the scans.  Where did the other ones come from?”.  He just shrugged and continued to try to help collect you all…