my-speck

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

baby shower, shopping for growsuits, downward pressure and lots of washing May 26, 2009

Hello Big Speck!

Well, its been an eventful few days – all about you and you and you.

Baby shower number two was on Saturday – your wonderful honourary Aunt T & Aunt S (& uncle L) put on an amazing party for you.   Lots of games and fun and people being silly.  It was a mixed affair – so boys & girls and kids as well.  It was quite funny to look around the hall and see at one point everyone with their heads down, concentrating on writing, writing, writing.  Answers to games, and birthday cards for each of your birthdays up to 21.  Pretty cool.   Your dad was the surprise of the day – he managed to win not only the baby food guessing competition, but also the match-the-celebrity-to-their-children’s-names games.  Go figure.  I came last in that one.   Mmm.  However I did win the “how many pieces of toilet paper go around mum’s stomach” competition.   Everyone thought I was being overly optimistic in my estimate (i.e. read they all think I look HUGE and I don’t think I’m THAT big); however on checking my 9 and 3/4 pieces was a perfect fit.   See, I know how big we are.  Your smaller Uncle J managed to catch everyone out many times by getting them to say “baby” out aloud using all sorts of clever conversational tricks, and collected a lot of pegs in that peg-collecting game.   And generally there was lots of laughter and running around.   And eating of tasty dips and treats all prepared by your dad (great hommus, babaganoush, tzitizki, garlic nuts, anzac biscuits -that was me, pita crisps, some kinda meat things that of course I didn’t eat)…  Oh, and how could I forget the “spit the dummy” competition.   Not surprisingly, the men seemed to excel at this one.   It was hard to remember not to eat and spit the dummy at the same time.   :)

your dad practising baby handling with the baby bjorn

your dad practising baby handling with the baby bjorn

Yes, and we got a great shot of your dad practising baby pacification techniques with the new baby bjorn and an astro boy doll.   He walked around with a fake ‘you’ in the sling for hours.   Not sure I’m with the ‘wine for baby’ method of settling, but we’ll see.  Open to ideas at this stage.

After baby shower action I was totally tired tired tired.   I seem to be that way at the moment.  You are waking at odd hours during the night, I’m waking myself with very strong reflux, and generally its pretty hard to get comfortable with a watermelon attached to your torso.   And the dreams are full-on.  Stressful and all-engaging.  I can’t seem to wake myself from them enough to realise its not real so I lie there for hours not sleeping thinking weird things are going to happen for sure.  Like I’m going to have to have to have a cook-off competition – muffins against some crazy person –  in order to be able to make sure I get all your clothes washed in time for your arrival.   Obviously important issues that my brain is turning over, translating into perfectly logical scenarios in my dreams.  Not.   At least I’m not dreaming you’re an alien or whatever.

So, the ‘getting things in order’ aka ‘Nesting’ bug has set-in.    Its pervading my dreams and my subconsious.   I’ve made it clear to your dad that we need the baby room ready.  We went through all the clothes and things we already had on Saturday night, and made a shopping list.   By listing all the lovely things people had already given us (lots) and working out what we still needed.   Mostly it consisted of mini-grow-suits and nappy buckets and the like.   So we  went off to do that on Sunday.   Shop, shop, shop.   Now, I generally hate shopping centres and shopping, but if I say so myself we did it pretty well,  a few major stops and we stocked-up on size 0000 grow-suits, singlets, a few pairs of socks, nappies (only found flannel soft ones), nappy buckets, a soft thing to put on the change table for you to lie on, vitamins, leaky boob pads, a thermometer for your ear.

So for day one, you’ll have:

  • four (4) – 0000 growsuits with feet
  • 3 long-sleeved 0000 tops
  • 2 -0000 long-pants
  • some socks (not sure how many you need.  We’ll send your dad out for more where necessary)
  • singlets
  • some little short-sleeved suits.  Though its a bit cold for that
  • blankets to be swaddled in
  • two caps/hats for your head to be warm
  • lots of nappies

All necessary baby things.  You got mostly white stuff and some bits of blue and pink.  There really are limited choices.   I’m not sure why its so boring, but there you go.  Stifle them from a young age maybe?   You missed out on new cot sheets as I refuse to pay more for a set of sheets for a 1m baby cot than I would on sheets for our full-sized queen bed.   Thankfully your Aunt R bought some of your cousins old ones over yesterday, so now you have something to sleep on.

On the shopping front – still to go is a baby monitor, and perhaps a breast-pump.   I don’t know how you possibly make a decision about which one of these items to buy – there are lots to choose from, they’re expensive and do you really need polyphonic rhymes on your boobs??  We were looking at these items in a baby shop towards the end of my shopping-attention-span.   I’m obviously confused.  The polyphonic bits were on the baby monitors.   As was the ability to play a CD through them wirelessly.   That is better than our house stereo.   Sorry baby, but that sounds a bit over the top to me.     Anyway, we ended up buying neither of these items – I think I’ll send you dad out when you arrive if either of them prove to be dire necessities.

Your dad has also been doing lots of things to get your room ready.  The cot is now all re-finished and ready to go!

your finished cot

your finished cot

And you?  Well, you’ve been moving around down in there quite a lot.   You and I went to the friendly obstetricians yesterday for our now fortnightly check-up.   All is good.  I peed in the jar, I managed to miss my hand (wooh! that is a good achievement when its hard to see past your belly to what you are doing down there with a little bottle), I’ve got a bit fatter, your heartbeat is dead-on average, my blood pressure is same as always (low).   Best of all, just as your dad and I thought, you have been making your way slowly down down down.   Your head isn’t ‘engaged’ yet, but its certainly lower than it was two weeks ago.  Now I can feel your head bulge right above my pubis bone.  And you kick me less in the ribs than before as you’ve moved down slightly.   So the obstetrician said all of that was a good sign – the moving down and the lots of kicking and moving that you do.   After coming home from the obs office, you seemed to have taken what he said to heart.   Yesterday was actually quite painful as it seems you were trying to worm you way into my nether regions, but they just weren’t quite ready for you yet.  Think sharp twinges and me wondering if you were going to come early.   I went for a very short walk after work and I thought that if I broke into a run (nigh impossible) that you might come flying out.   I’m sure you wouldn’t have, I guess I’m just not quite used to the amount of downward pressure that you have started to exert.   My hips and pelvis got pretty stiff and I couldn’t sit in my chair for work either – I’ve gone to the backwards on chair position, and am alternating with the fit-ball.

washing the baby clothes

washing the baby clothes

And finally.  Its stopped raining (though its still a bit overcast).   And since we have a bunch of new clothes for you, and a bunch of recycled blankets, sheets and other assorted items (care of your Grandma K & Aunt R), its time for washing.  So wash wash wash.  I did three loads of nappies and a load of whites for you yesterday.  While they looked very cute they took an age to hang out – lots of pegs!   Hopefully they’ll all dry today and then we’ll be almost ready to pack a bag for hospital.   But before we do that your dad and I are going to lie in them for a bit, maybe when we sleep, so they smell like us.  Lucky you!  Smelly clothes from day one!  Hopefully then you can get used to us and our smell will be familiar and good.

the first line full of nappies - this will become a common sight at our house..

the first line full of nappies - this will become a common sight at our house..

So.  Today.  Work work work and some more blanket and sheet washing.   Only about 10 loads to go!

Hope you’re well.  Sorry about the indigestion last night – you seemed to suffer through it and wake all night too.   We’re not going to eat rich potato gratin anytime near bed again.   I don’t like vomiting at 2 in the morning any more than the next person.

erk.

love you

mum

 

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

 

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).

 

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…

 

windscreen washing the inside of my uterus March 11, 2009

Hello Little Round Ball (’cause there is no way you are a speck anymore, its a round ball down in there…  you’re still my Speck, but your house is shaped more like a ball),

how are you?  I’m tired again.  Exhausted in fact.  Yes, I know I’m commuting Sydney-Brisbane, and that is a bit tiring, but I’m disproportionally tired.  It started last week.  The weekend was good but I could barely keep my eyes open at night.  We went to G&Ks for a barbeque on Friday night and it was only 8:15pm when I had to leave and go home – I was going to fall asleep at the table.

You on the other hand have been moving around like you’re in an aerobics championship.   You’ve got some new moves too – they started on Saturday.  Lying in bed on Saturday morning I noticed something different.   You now do big sweeping movements with feet and or hands – right across my belly.  If you can think of someone washing the inside of a car windscreen with big round movements, that’s what it feels like you’re doing.  Lots of that and less of the one-off kicking.  It feels pretty freaky to be honest.  It just lasts so long.  I think the short sharp kicks were easier to deal with.  And you’re definitely growing at a rapid rate, as now when I feel you moving around – I feel as though I can tell where your head, legs and arms are pretty often.  And every time you’re wiggling about and doing tumble turns.  Which is frequently.

I couldn’t sleep last night.  After a while, you woke up too and started to do the calesthenics.  You kick really hard now – if I’m looking at my stomach I think I can almost see where your foot pokes the stomach out.  Anyway, I figured that I may as well practice ‘training you in acrobatics’ for fun, like the girl I work with is going to do with her baby.  I thought it was a bit of a joke, but pushed just where you had kicked, and then you thumped back even harder than the first time.  I moved my fingers a few cm along my stomach from where the original kick was and pushed again, and, surprise, you moved and kicked back in the new position.  Funny.  I did it a few times after which you settled down again.   I then gave you a massage, which you seemed to like.  I’m starting to feel now that you’re really a little person in there.  Before you were just a ‘baby’.  Some kind of growing blob.  Now you are starting to feel more and more real.   I had a chat to you last night while massaging and I was wondering what you were thinking.  ‘Cause I think you’re thinking now.  I wish you’re Dad could feel these changes in you too – I think its definitely part of the ‘mum’ gets used to baby coming along part of being pregnant for nine months.  Last night you felt like a boy to me.  A month ago while walking home one night I had a premonition that you were a girl.   So, I obviously don’t know.

We went and met your obstetrician in Brisbane last Friday.  He is very relaxed.  He told me to eat anything, just avoid bungee jumping and advised not to take up heroin at this point.   I think I can manage that.  Your dad and I were surprised when we looked at the chart to see how big you are now.  No wonder I can feel you – you’re much bigger than a coke can (which is where I thought you were at).  I guess you won’t know him, but be reassured he is a very amicable person who seems supportive of what we want to do in the birth.  He is apparently well-known for only intervening and doing a c-section if absolutely necessary – chatting to him about this made me feel like he would be the right person to help us along.  I still wish to some extent that the model of care offered in Australia was more flexible though – while I like him, I’d also like for us to be able to choose our own midwife to come along and be there before, during and after your birth.  That’s not an option with the way the hospitals and medical system works today.  Which I think is a travesty.   But, ce la vie.   I guess you take what you can get and make what you will with it.  Hopefully your Dad and I will cope regardless.  As the doctor emphasised, the birth is going to be the ‘easy’ bit in retrospect.  Yep, it will be hard, and stressful, and most likely hurt a lot, but it will be over pretty quickly.  Wheras you’ll be with us for a long time afterwards.  To worry about forever more.

kisses
mum.

 

The birthing suite experience – Fawlty Towers couldn't have done it better… February 16, 2009

Hi Speck,

So, your dad doesn’t want me to write about this, because he thinks that it might worry people (who read my letters to you) unnecessarily. I think though, on reflection, that it’s part of being pregnant and I want to tell you about it. And there were some funny moments.

We had planned to get to Dunedin yesterday and catch up with J & J for the afternoon, which, especially as we haven’t seen them at length in a coupla years, we were both looking forward to.   But it didn’t quite work out that way. We got an extended stay in one of the birthing suites at Dunedin’s hospital, St Mary’s, instead. I wanted to take photos at the time but your dad was pretty stressed out and didn’t want me to, so no pictures for you, just the story.

I had a little bit of bleeding which started on Saturday afternoon. It wasn’t a massive amount, so I wasn’t worried about it, as I’ve read that lots of women get bleeding sometimes during their pregnancies.  And I read a forum that people who are due in the same two weeks as me post on, and lots of them have had bleeding episodes, and so I know its pretty common and usually, once you’re past week 12 or so, works out fine.   Since you’re now 21 weeks closer to joining us than when you were first being prepared by my body as a little polyp waiting to burst forth into an egg, I wasn’t too concerned cause you’ve got yourself well settled and my last scan showed that my placenta was anterior and more importantly, high; also, my cervix was shown as fully closed.   Apparently the placenta being low and having bleeding is generally more of a worry.   But, you have a good spot, which is important, and I knew that so wasn’t too worried.

Went to bed on Saturday night and felt fine, so all good. But by Sunday afternoon, after flying from Christchurch to Dunedin and getting to our hotel, I was still bleeding a little and a little bit worried. I was feeling perfectly healthy and hadn’t had any cramping, sickness or other bad signs, but your dad and I just wanted to check, especially as we were planning on heading off on a cycling trip on Monday. We both thought that getting on bikes and heading into the NZ Central Otago region where there aren’t too many doctors was perhaps best done after we got some medical advice.

We thus tramped through Dunedin to the 24hr medical clinic, where we didn’t have to wait long before we were seen by an absolutely lovely and thorough female GP. She took a history and read the little pregnancy history card that I now carry with me everywhere. After a quick external feel of my uterus (which by the way she said was ‘a cute little shape – sticks right out and is very round like you swallowed a ball’), she got the little ultrasoundy/doppler machine going and checked your heartbeat. Which was, as expected, all normal and good.   Again, she explained this was a good sign as you weren’t distressed or worried about what was happening.  She then phoned the hospital and had a chat to the obs registrar, who suggested we should come in for a check. Which is how we ended up in a birthing suite at Dunedin’s hospital.

St Mary’s has a number of birthing suites, a few of which were occupied with women, who, from the sounds we could hear, were in various stages of labour.   We were put in one at the end of the ward.  A big room decorated in hospital green and more green.  With a shower and toilet, a single hospital bed and a couch.  The furniture was dwarfed by the size of the room.   Clean but old.   I had a bit of a cry at that point, as that’s when it became pretty real to me that something might be wrong.   I was ok before that, it just hit me for a few minutes.  After a quick cry I was feeling better again.   But hungry as we had missed lunch.   Your dad thankfully managed to get to the cafeteria and back before the midwife looking after us made it in. Thankfully because after asking us a few questions she immediately placed us under ‘quarantine’.   Apparently the South island of New Zealand and St Mary’s are the only places on Earth where the superbug MRSA (or something like that) hasn’t yet reached.  And as I’ve been admitted to hospital in Australia in the past six months, until proven that I don’t harbour the bug I need to be quarantined… So quarantining meant that the door was shut, no-one allowed to visit (small chance of that anyway), and any medical staff having to be gowned and gloved in disposable plastic stuff before they came in the room. A bit novel. I then had to swab a bunch of my orifices so they could test them for said superbug.   Your dad got quarantined with me.

Again, as there are no photos, you’ll have to picture it.  Me and your dad in a big green hospital room.  For hours.  Waiting for the doctors to be free.  Apparently there were some births with complications (twins and other stuff) happening.   We had our books and a yahtzee game, so we passed the time ok.    But the door was closed and we weren’t allowed out.   And there were some interesting noises coming from the other rooms.  I use ‘interesting’ in a broad sense.   More like very loud distressing screaming at regular intervals.  It kinda freaked me out but I was strangely calm at the same time.   Your dad listened intently, then remarked, “She’s doing it wrong.  According to the Janet Balaskas Active Birthing book you’re supposed to work WITH the pain.  Not against it.”  Ha.  On one hand I was pleased – he’s obviously read the book from cover to cover (which is good cause I asked him to and it might help when you come).   On the other hand, if he says anything like that to me when I’m trying to get you out I suspect I will try to deck him.

After a while a nurse came and took some blood to go and test to make sure your blood wasn’t in my blood, or something like that (protein testing); and some other things.  I forget.  She missed my vein and was really bad at it.  But nice in person.   I coped.   I would have passed out from that a few months ago, but the common taking blood thing is starting to make me slightly more used to it.  She went away.  After a few hours, the intern doctor on rotation came to take my medical history.   She was obviously new, and not an obstetrics person, ’cause she asked some funny things and didn’t know stuff like that you can tell which ovary the baby comes from if you get an early ultrasound (you came from the right).

When the doctor finally arrived, she was a lovely but slightly distracted-seeming woman who had obviously had a long day.  The intern was in-tow.   And what followed was what I’d write as a comedy skit about obstetricians if I were to write one.  Picture two doctors, both of whom are distracted and keep forgetting they are supposed to be in quarantine.   There were at least 9 changes of gloves for the main doctor as she starts to examine me, then changes to surgical gloves,  changes back to non-surgical gloves, thows them, forgets new ones, swears when she remembers, gets new gloves, throws gloves as she thinks she’s finished, then I remind her that she told me she was going to do ‘x’, she recalls, forgets gloves, swears, gets new gloves.  Repeat repeat repeat.   Add to the distraction a non-functioning or poorly functioning light.  Picture me on bed with legs up and two doctors crawling around on floor trying to peer up my fanny:   Main Doctor:  “well, this light is terrible. Can’t see a thing.  Can you see anything?”;  Intern:  “no, can’t see anything”. Etcetera.   I felt like I was in a Fawlty Towers episode:  “Visit to the doctor”.  Me trying to breathe cause it was a bit painful, but at the same time almost having an out of body experience when I can see how comical the situation is if it weren’t so serious.  Your dad alternately trying to comfort me and not be alarmed at the circus going on at the bottom of the bed.

After a lot of gloves, a lot of discussion and lots of feeling around, we determined that we had no idea where the blood was coming from but there didn’t seem to be too much.  We had a look at you on the ultrasound and you looked happy and good, and again your heartbeat was fine, as was my bloodpressure etc.  And my cervix was still sealed.   Did a little test which looked a bit like a litmus test on a long cottonbud which indicated that there was no amniotic fluid leaking out.  A good thing, cause the doctor explained that the hospital had a policy of non-intervention if you decided to come along early before the week 24 mark.   Which didn’t give you much of a chance if that was what was happening.  So amniotic fluid would have been bad.  But there wasn’t any.   And the blood was slowing.

Didn’t ever find out if I had the superbug as those tests didn’t come back before I was finally discharged.   Doctor said all was good, just probably a bit of random bleeding, which is pretty common.   She said that the bike riding wouldn’t affect it or worsen it at all, but of course if anything happened to come back into the hospital if needed.  And whatever they did seemed to make it stop.

So, your and my first birthing suite experience.  Hopefully no more until you actually join us.  Though we could make like a general tour of hospitals around Australia and NZ and do a comparative review….

love you.  we’re glad you’re ok.

mum

 

Topsy Turvy February 7, 2009

Hi Speck,

well, I don’t need to say good morning, as you have been kicking away down there like mad, so I know you’re awake, and you’ve already said hello. You’re moving around so much now that in an active period, when you put a hand on my stomach it just feels like there is something moving around, even if you’re not kicking directly. Your dad attempted to tap tap to get you to respond today. One of the women I work with has told me that they are going to teach their baby while it is still in-utero – apparently different training if its a boy or a girl – things like acrobatic skills and music and counting. I’m unclear how the counting was supposed to work. It sounded a little wacky to me – something about visualing the number and the same number of an object, and your baby understanding that. Maybe I misunderstood? But the acrobatics was a little clearer: as you get bigger and kick, we tap the outside of my belly and get you to respond. We then train you to move around the belly responding to the tapping. Still, a little far-fetched for me, but what the hell, we might give it a go. Could be fun.

And you’re moving around a lot, not just kicking, just like Kaz said you would. Loop the loops, topsy turvy. Sometimes you’re down there marching on my bladder, and lately you’ve been trying to kick me up in the stomach. And I think you are trying to make more room by pushing my uterus up past my belly button. Which, by the way, is apparently where it is at now, according to the obstetrician yesterday. All very normal. Soon its going to get higher than that and I suppose, eating bigs meals will end entirely and the yoga breathing I have been practising will really come into its own. Here’s hoping. I can now fill up different parts of my lungs a lot more independently on demand. So making space when my organs start to push up on my lungs a bit more. I’m still struggling with the using my diaphgram and breathing in by pushing it down while trying to pull in and tense my pelvic floor and hold at the same time. Too hard to concentrate on both. Must practice more.

Went for our last (hopefully) visit with the obstetrician in Sydney yesterday. A lot of money for a “hi, how are you feeling, lets take your blood pressure, weigh you and listen to the baby’s heartbeat for a few seconds”. But you’re well, the ultrasound technician didn’t lie on Monday when she told us that you were in the normal ranges for everything in your scan. I asked about the nose measurement. Apparently good bridge-of-the-nose development is an indicator against downs syndrome. So, yours is strong and long. My placenta is in a good spot (who knew that there were good and bad spots before they got pregnant?).. Its at the front but more importantly apparently, up-high. And my cervix is closed. Its 4cm big. So its the spot that somehow has to open and let you through when its time for you to come out. Bloody hell. How does 4cm get to 12cm (or however big it needs to get???).

Anyway, its very hot and I’m going to go and relax.

love you
mum

 

and its nearly only 200 days to go December 4, 2008

Hello Speck!

Your grandad (Australian) has helpfully pointed out that you are no longer a speck, but for the moment that’s what you remain to us, so speck it is. Well, its nearly only 200 days to go (203 today). It is a long time but close in the same breath.

Your Canadian grandma & grandpa arrived two days ago and our house is noisy, with lots of Canadian accents and yelling going on – all good fun – can you hear it? There is lots of cooking and noise and talking and drinking going on.

Meanwhile, your Dad and I are thinking about where you are going to be born and what to do. We have still got an obstetrician in Sydney, and one that we have yet to meet in Brisbane, but also thinking about other options. There are lots of them. Your Canadian grandma might have a fit if we try to have you at home (as she has already got her two cents in on!), but there are a spectrum of options from something like that to a planned c-section in a private hospital. How do you choose? We have both started reading some birth stories for all kinds of births, and some are nice, some are sad and some are scary. I guess it helps to have some idea of the range of things that can happen and what people choose and why. I’d like to have a midwife that we know and feel comfortable with all the way through the birth, rather than, or in addition to, an obstetrician who is only there for some of the bits. But is that necessary? I don’t know. I guess we just have to work out what we are comfortable with and what is best for you and us.

Anyway, we may be getting ahead of ourselves, though we both think its important we think and talk about it to get used to the idea, and have lots of questions for all the people we will no doubt see about your arrival in the coming weeks and months.

Hope you are happy and healthy down there.
love you
mum

 

Hi Again – oh my goodness we saw you moving around! November 28, 2008

Hello Little Speccie!

How are you doing today?? I’m pretty excited this morning because I feel like you’re even more real – yesterday we went to the obstetrician & he did an external ultrasound and we could see that you’ve got bigger. I couldn’t stop laughing so it was hard for him to take some pictures of you, because my tummy kept moving around. I think it was contagious, ’cause the next thing that happened was that you started to wriggle around. A lot. In fact if I didn’t know that your eyes were closed (and potentially not even working yet or really there) I would have said that you were trying to swing around to get a look at us. Oh my goodness – it looked funny and cute and crazy all at the same time. Very strange thing to be looking at a picture of inside your own body and see something parasitical-looking (yep, you truly look like you could just be an amoeba or something that got in my drinking water somehow then grew to giant proportions – again – don’t take it personally at the rate you’re growing you’ll look better in no time) move around of its own accord… I can’t feel you moving yet, I think that comes in at least a few more weeks, but possibly even more, but it was cool to see you. Your dad and I got really excited. Your heart is still beating away very quickly too.

but I think as you get a bit bigger its definitely going to become mighty squishy down in there for all my organs..

So, the pictures the doctor took of you – the first one is you in the middle with your head on the left hand side of the photo as you look at it.

Speck you are bigger!

Speck you are bigger!

Next is where he was trying to measure you.   So the measurements are written on it:

33.7 mm long!

33.7 mm long!

Apparently all else is going well, but I guess you can’t tell all that much at this stage.  Apparently my uterus is just starting to pop out over my pubis, so that is the start of the belly that will develop.

Anyway, we’re both excited cause you look bigger, and were moving about a lot.  And you’re now over 3cm big!  So fast!

So, hope you continue to laugh down in there. Your dad blew you a rather large rasberry this morning.  Did you feel it & have a chuckle?

love you

mum

 

Good-day November 8, 2008

Filed under: pregnancy — rakster @ 1:34 pm
Tags: , , ,

Howdy Dudy Speccie,

We have some good news for you – we’ve found someone to help bring you into the world when you choose to come on out, so it won’t be your dad in the kitchen with a carving knife (phew! that would have been messy).  Your poor dad was so freaked out when we rang about ten obstetricians on Wednesday and couldn’t find one as they were all full for June next year already – he went white and started to sweat a lot; masking his anger.  I kept trying to tell him to be happy, but it appears he is almost as much of a worry wart as I am.  Anyway, you have someone here in Sydney and someone in Brisbane, so whenever you choose to pop on out it should be ok.   That is, unless you choose to pull the plug before then cause you don’t like it, in which case we’ll both be really sad.  But it’s still a one in four possibility.   Please do hang on in there, we’re waiting for you out here with great excitement, promise we’ll do some fun stuff!  And you can’t leave without having tried stinky blue soft cheese, which you are NOT getting at the moment as it is off my eating list, so you simply HAVE to get big enough to try that ’cause it really is one of life’s best things.  In my opinion.

Also, there are now more people eargerly awaiting your coming.  Your grandparents now all know about you and seem very excited.  I bit of surprise, I think, but happy.

What else is happening?  Well, I came home last night and after eating two icy poles and some fake cheese promptly went straight to bed for a nap while your dad was at the pub with friends.  I awoke some hours later feeling just as grumpy as when I had gone to sleep earlier, but with more mussed-up hair.  Your dad came home and wanted a kiss and I felt like telling him to jump off the harbour bridge.  That’s how good it was yesterday.  I tried to explain that I was feeling a little testy, but I think it was reading Kaz Cooke week 7 that made us both feel better.   Apparently its common for me to feel like I would rather he not touch me unless with a 10 foot barge pole, and for me to just want to sleep all weekend.  Pity that isn’t an option.

Today is rainy but a kind of nice, stay in bed and rest day.  I had uni all morning and have just got home, think I need a cat-nap before I attempt to write an assignment which I have to finish by tonight.  Erk.  Not so fun.

I can’t believe that all women wait so long for babies to grow.  How do you keep a secret like this for so long & then how do you cope with a growing body for another six months after that?  By the way, if the growth in my boob size over the past week is any indication, I’m not going to be able to stand up due to the sheer weight of my bossoms when I’m more pregnant.  None of my bras fit.  Since the beginning of this week I have been daily washing a single bra that is made of stretchy material and even still cuts in a bit.  I hope they shrink again at some stage.  Its coming up to summer too – so I’m going to have to find a new swimming costume that actually covers enough skin – I suspect my old one is already going to be indecent.

So, going for a nap.  Hope you are well, thinking of you (in a non-panicked way today, yesterday was a panic, day before so-so)…

love you

mum