Tirty tree

Thirty three weeks today . Woo hoo! Can i just say 32 weeks was my ultimate goal and 33 seems unbelievable?

Gumby’s happy hour shower tomorrow. We asked the folks coming to hold back on the pressies, but said if people insisted they could help start his library with their favourite childhood book. He’s looking well read already with the mail arrival this week of a mr men box set, the house at pooh corner, The gruffalo, where is binky boo,for boys only and the Little Prince.

Gumby continues to move in a ridiculous fashion every 40 minutes or so. We have the wriggling in phase (extensive turning last night which actually hurt … Don’t go breech little guy!), the see saw phase where he makes both sides of my big belly jump at once (learning star jumps? Very popular during mum’s relaxation/ meditation), the tigger phase ( possibly short bursts of hiccups), and the let’s do something unspeakable to mum’s hip/rib/belly button phase, which I’m pretty sure involves getting fingers & toes wrapped right round somewhere they should not be & them practising like an Olympic athlete on the parallel bars. My left hip is available for interviews on this topic, as is hub in boots, who was worn a track in the carpet to the microwave with the heat pack.

All in all, though, my busy little companion hasn’t changed a great deal with the third trimester. Of course, anything I drop is just left on the floor, so there’s a clear trail or what I’ve been doing around the place, but apart from this the toe nail painting / shoe putting on stakes are not too bad. I refuse to clean the shower, as it would look like an elephant in a phone box trying to pick up a peanut. Otherwise, duties are not too restricted.

The braxton hicks continue to provide entertainment quite regularly, at times balling up to such an extent that I’m pretty sure I’ll be giving birth in about 20 minutes time. The real thing should be a total party if these babies are the practice version. Kind of like you may simultaneously crap yourself, have some vital organs drop out, and have a Sigourney in aliens / Bella in twilight moment where he bursts forth tearing flesh out of his way. Yep, sounds awesome. Not phased though. It’s only pain. ( she writes, naively, while sage women all over the world nod to each other and go she’s fucked).

I am having trouble adjusting to the idea that my little companion will be moving out soon. Can pregnant women get empty nester symptoms? It seems weird to have him everywhere with me and be so used to his presence, then suddenly he won’t be. And my head understands there’s going to be a baby in da house, but I can’t connect the baby with the little dude that’s been hanging out in my downstairs. It’s weird. It’s weird to say, but I’ll miss him! Mostly. What he’s doing right now to my left hip, I won’t miss at all.

Speaking of little dudes in the house, I ran into the girl from the unit above us. We hate these people, quite a lot. They are drug fucked idiots who somehow hold down good jobs but specialise in all night drug fuelled parties (and when I say all night I mean 2am-11am), vomiting deliberately into our balcony ( no I kid you not) and arguments. they are the most inconsiderate neighbours you could possibly have.

Actually we love the arguments. At first, I took her side and stew took his, but now we both realise Patrick’s a total asshole. We actually mute the tele so we can hear the latest instalment. Sunday night arguments are de rigour, oh but there’s others. He never does any housework. He never wants sex. She is lazy. If she doesn’t stop crying he’s gonna throw himself out the window ( I had to physically grab stew & stop him shouting so do it!!! during this one. Plus it’s not high enough to do sufficient damage.). Before they got married, they fought about the effectiveness of the priest doing the deed, the in laws, the wedding plans. They were married within three months of us. After they got married, the arguments have got really good.

And yesterday, after suspicions for sometime whilst on bedrest, she spoke to me, and I find they are indeed expecting, due two weeks after us apparently. So hub-in-boots’ plan of standing under their window and making gumby howl to wake them every night? Ruined. That’s three women expecting in a block of NINE units! Weird. God help us if they end up in the same hospital at the same time. Hub-in-boots will take cocaine snorting bong building Patrick OUT.

Right. I’ve eaten my porridge & gumby has done his usual kick the hell outta mum the second she starts eating routine (his father’s son where food’s concerned). Off to markets.

Here’s week 32 and 33. Baby happy hour pics to follow.

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Cracker

Quick update: gumby doing well at the ob visit today. He’s cracked 5lb 5oz (2.3kg)… A big boy for 32 weeks but growing evenly & steadily. He’s still head down in my pelvis and booting me mainly on the right side, hips and ribs. Apparently the madly rapid fluttering is probably hiccups. Weird kid. He’s been busy in there. I still think he’s building something.

All ok with me too…blood pressure ok, the repeated braxton hicks contractions are nothing to worry about (just fatigue, dehydration and stage of pregnancy related), and he expects it’s just been the low iron whooping my tired ass. Since I’ve upped the iron tablets on the midwife’s suggestion on friday, I feel much better. Wed to friday were such hard yards… The weekend we continued the mad decluttering and luckily my energy came back to help. A car boot FULL of books and other gear to Vinnies.

My walk today was ok, just getting a bit slower.

It was the first visit I’ve been to on my own, and the doc was actually very nice. It was a quiet day in the practice, and he spent a bit longer with me. He said at any stage there is no problem with heading to the hospital if the contractions get me worried, but now that I understand what they are they don’t make me as nervous.

Had a fun wander in the shops after the doc, and it was the best kind of shopping: that with other people’s money!! I had gift vouchers from my birthday in October to use, and got new comfy pj’s x 2 and a fossil watch! Even hub-in-boots scored, with some Peter Alexander robot pj pants. Now he has the appropriate outfit for dancing to 80’s music on Rage. ūüôā

The mental nesting continues as I washed everything on the bed today before heading to the doc, including the blankets & mattress protector. Thank goodness my nesting has corresponded with good washing weather!

Bambi cops it

Bambi has copped it in the neck again. I’m loading up on the venison and vitamin c veg for tea. Hub-in-boots is at footy til very late (he’s the video ref again), and I’m racking up the girly DVDs, pulling up my nana blanket, curling up & kicking back.

I’ve hit the third trimester wall. After a doing day on Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday (hour long walks, hovering around murder investigations, baby washing marathons, vacuuming, freaky nesting weirdness) Wednesday arvo I hit the wall. And I can’t get back.

At about 11:30am every day, I get so tired I am not sure if I can make it back to the car, or to the couch. I feel like i may pass out, like I’m not getting any food. It’s not sticking. I seem to sleep ok ( mostly), but during each afternoon all I can think about is bed or couch.

I haven’t been for a walk for several days. I just don’t have any energy. The weirdness that I think is a braxton hicks contraction can come very regularly, I think I’ve had six in the past 90 minutes. My whole belly tightens and sticks out more, like a basketball. It starts in the middle and spreads outwards. It is a low hollow tight feeling, It makes me feel slightly nauseous. I explained it to hub-in-boots as the feeling five minutes after someone punches you with all their might in the stomach, like the aftermath of being winded. When it ends, the feeling gradually releases, til my stomach just feels soft and normal again. Truth be known, now I have finally realised this feeling is a contraction, they make me a bit nervous.

I rang the midwife at my ob this afternoon, simply because I feel wrong. It is really hard to describe what’s wrong, but it’s kind of like being in a car, pushing down on the accelerator pedal, but it goes flat to the floor and nothing happens. How I feel seems quite out of my control, and unpredictable. Like a body of muscle & fat without a skeleton. Gumby is moving fine, as far as I can tell. The midwife thinks the energy is related to my low iron levels, & a possible baby growth spurt. To be sure, they’ve moved my appointment from next Friday to this coming Monday, & will give me a thorough going over.

I think I had started to expect a bit much of my body, doing a bit too much, and I need to revise my expectations a bit. Being out both days last weekend, then getting housework busy in the week, just wiped me out.

We’re 32 weeks tomorrow, the point at which I can actually give birth at the Mater hospital. A big milestone for us, and for gumby I believe, in terms of lung development etc. One part of my head is crystal clear that this is all happening, and soon; the other part of my head still doesn’t even believe we’re reliably pregnant, or expect any outcome at all.

Next weekend is Gumby’s happy hour shower. It should be fun. I hope nothing happens before then.

Today I booked in to the hospital’s breast feeding class that patients can attend prior to the birth. I’m doing it in three weeks.

There’s a lot of other shit in our lives at present, things I need to get sorted prior to gumby’s arrival, and I have no brain space or focus for anything. I just don’t care. I cannot hold any other non baby related tasks or thoughts in my head for more than a few minutes. It’s like I don’t even have a brain. I am just this ball of forward momentum, and my head will only pay heed to things that move me to that date/event. I’m totally blinkered, and god help you if you get in my way. I have had a short temper a couple of times this week, and poor hub-in-boots has been on the receiving end of veins-in-neck-popping-up shouty madness. Not at all like me really. Odd.

I’ve decided if anything much changes in the next 24-48 hours I’ll ring the hospital & chat to them. There’s nothing exactly wrong, but something I can’t quite put my finger on has changed in the pregnancy, and it’s unsettling. I expect we’ve just moved on, stepped up in hormone levels, stepped down in iron, and maybe in a few days I’ll find a new, slightly bulgier equilibrium, before we hit the pregnancy home strait.

I’m dairy scary

Gumby’s been getting hungrier & hungrier. It’s a tricky thing to balance the small regular meals & snacks required for gestational diabetes with a Gumby driven appetite, the new requirements of low low iron, heartburn, and general pregnancy eating rules. Sometimes it is like standing on a see saw.

And now? I’m dairy scary.

I’ve had this before quite a bit during pregnancy, but I seriously cannot get enough milk, yoghurt, cheese, and, weirdly, peanut butter.

Today I kicked off with a giant berry skim milk smoothie. After my walk and coffee I’ve downed some low fat Greek yoghurt, Parmesan cheese, and a slab of seeded sourdough with peanut butter. And half a nana. And I have a feeling there’s more dairy in my immediate future.

Luckily with my absolutely mental levels of nesting / cleaning / washing baby things / rearranging cupboards brought on by the current burst of Sydney winter sunshine, the higher levels of movement are keeping my blood sugar way way down. Often on the low side. Yesterday I nearly worked myself into a coma. Today I’d still like to vacuum, re-sort the pantry, and fix up all the messy bookshelves… But I am trying to convince myself to just sit for a few hours, maybe go mad and watch a DVD. I can’t seem to stop!

Gumby was freaky this morning. There was this giant distorted lump next to my belly button (which at 31 weeks is still in…just), which felt like a leg or foot or knee. He moved 10 times in a minute. There was no WAY he was letting me get more sleep.

This lack of sleep was aided by low flying helicopters. There was a death in our street on Friday. I was home. It was less than 100 m away. I thought it was simply a sad case of an older lady with health issues, but actually the police presence three doors down has got bigger and bigger as the days progressed. Giant white Forensic vans, six black public order and riot squad vans. Police interviewing relatives on camera. Street cordoned off with police tape.

Today, news helicopters, tv crews, evidence bags, police divers looking for murder weapons. The police have finally left tonight. Apparently it was a murder of a 65 year old indian lady. Her husband is a surgeon. We met them at Christmas at our street party.

I caught up with my previous partner & friend for coffee yesterday, who grew up here and actually lived by their house. He knows their son, and even had sleepovers there as a young kid. . In one if the smallest quietest suburbs in sydney ( or, as the reporter said, this exclusive harbourside enclave! Ha!), we were the lead story on the six o’clock news on two channels, and the helicopters filmed as I hung out baby blankets in the sun. I waved.

Normally the biggest thing that happens around here is someone forgetting to put the bins out. It is very strange, though i don’t feel nervous or unsafe. I will keep you posted as it develops. Link to story here.

But enough murder and intrigue, back to me and my quiet little calcium obsession. I STILL haven’t put on any weight. For a couple of weeks I go up, then I walk more and drop a lot, always ending up hovering around or just under my pre pregnancy weight. And Gumby, the heifer, is already 2.1kg (4lb 10 oz). He’s a big boy, but he’s in proportion. ( A disproportionate abdomen can spell trouble if mum has gestational diabetes).

Dr North Korea was great again last Thursday (for him!). He took the amazing levels of heartburn really seriously, and what he suggested (xantac & slippery elm powder) has been like a miracle ever since. Gumby was still fully engaged, deep in my pelvis (hence the all night pee-a-thons, the pressing out on my navel, the hip spasms and low down horrid head butts).

And in the meantime, this hungry hungry hippo hasn’t had much of an expansion in the bump stakes, because Gumby is hanging upside down, down low like a bat (seriously, how do you hang out for weeks at a time with blood rushing to your head?).

30 weeks
bump shot while hub in boots makes the bed!
31 weeks

I’m quite happy for him to stay there… If he could just cease and desist from the head butting thing.

I have followed up the cow product morning with a chicken baby spinach avo sandwich, an orange, and this evening thanks to big bro’s market visit a big hunk of Bambi. Poor Bambi…apparently venison is high in iron. This was accompanied by pasta, kale, carrots, capsicum, zucchini and my pesto. Yum.

Excuse me, I think I hear a giant piece of cheese and a glass of milk calling me.

Oh and the cops.

Hallmark holidays? The PAIL monthly theme post

The monthly theme post for those of us in the new improved PAIL blog roll is “fathers’ day, then and now”. In Australia, fathers’ day is in September, and by then , hub-in-boots will actually be a Dad.

Fathers’ Day has always been a non event in our relationship. Firstly, it’s been a long time since there’s been any grandfathers on the scene, and secondly, my Dad died 22 years ago, after a long battle with emphysema, and hub-in-boots’ dad died¬†a couple of years before we met,¬†after a long battle with prostate cancer.

My dad was a traditional dad in some ways; not a huge one for showing emotion in some ways, but in other ways a bit of a softie for his generation. I guess it comes with older parents. As the surprise youngest child after a big gap, I always felt very loved. He read me stories as a kid, he probably gave me my love of music, and I can remember years of making him come and pat me to sleep in the cold bedroom away from the open fire. Some of my fondest memories of him are watching him sit & listen to a piece of music, madly conducting in his lounge chair, or sitting listening to me play piano.

He didn’t believe in “Hallmark holidays”. He had a real and often vocal¬†objection to mothers’ day, fathers’ day and Valentine’s day. We always bought him a gift (often aftershave gift sets in such classic fragrances as Old Spice, or a Darrel Lea dad’s bag of lollies¬†& chocolate). But he never expected it. He wasn’t a kick a ball around sort of dad, but he faithfully trudged along to my brother’s brass band competitions, my singing eisteddfods, or other music exams. He never came to netball, though I can remember him taking us to see the sharks play at endeavour field, often. And he came to see me sing in the messiah. Dad liked to be at home mostly. He worked hard in a chemistry lab a long way from home, and so when weekends hit he liked to be at home. He was interested, and interesting. He was the soft one. He understood when we clashed with mum, he always made me feel someone was on my side. He was a good dad. Caring, loving, not really the stern hands off character that seemed to loom large over the families of my peers. He also gave me his warped sense of humour, his Mel Brooks / Monty python / Goon show humour. But He didn’t tell dad jokes! He died when I was 18, so in some ways the grown up me didn’t get to know him in that adult to adult way. I saw him with his other 5 ¬†grandkids though.

Hub-in-boots relationship with his father, on the otherhand, was complicated, to say the least. He remembers him as a pretty hard authority figure, prone to violent outbursts after an accident that injured his frontal lobe and his own hard childhood. He sounded interesting and quirky as a person, but as a parent pretty demanding & challenging, in a way that could be conceived as damaging to a small child. It left a no go zone in hub-in-boots that he quickly shuts down when it is mentioned. Slowly over the years we’ve been together, we have been able to talk about small aspects of this, and we agreed prior to trying for a family that he’d see a counsellor about this history. I think during his father’s illness they went some way to repairing this, but there is plenty left to discuss, sort through, and re-examine. I am glad for his and our sake he has decided to keep his promise. As a remote observer who never met the man, I think there are some things hub-in-boots admired or respected his father for. A long involvement in sports / umpiring is something that his dad did, and hub-in-boots has made this a big part of his life.¬†His history with his father has made him very reflective and conscious about the kind of dad he wants to be, and having a son will make this process just a little bit harder than a daughter, as the echoes of his own childhood will be louder.

Hub-in-boots will be a wonderful dad. Like my own dad, I suspect I’ll be the rule maker, and he’ll be the mad fun one, but I hope we can share each role & not be pigeon holed. He abhors violence, and will never hit his child, but he will also be pretty demanding in terms of ethics, morality, table manners, politeness and general social behaviour. He’ll be activity dad: there will be parks, footy games, car racing, but there will also be art exhibitions, operas, books. He will share his multiple enthusiasms and I think create a very well rounded¬†son; someone who can be a total bloke but, like him, openly cry in movies or concerts, acknowledge emotions, show great respect to women, and be able to cook, clean (well at least man clean, its not¬†quite the same) vacuum & iron. He makes me laugh when he’s disgusted by some of the men’s attitudes in our pre natal class. They are whining about having to come, talking about how they’ll never change nappies, and he’s in the front row asking questions and taking notes & shaking his head at their mysoginistic outlook.

Everything that makes him a good person, who is fun to be around, will also make him a great Dad. Apart from his love of bad dad jokes, lame ass jokes involving sad puns he seems to assume are his birthright as a man. We’ve had to place a weekly quota on them, and i can already picture a cringing teenager going “oh Dad” with great disgust as hub in boots cracks himself up. I guess it’s his right.

Dads’ roles have changed so much in a general sense, the remote bread winner¬†now is more unusual. Dads of yesterday were as much a victim of the detached generational attitudes and their own upbringing as they were personally limited in their emotional range. Today’s dads seem conscious of the detachment of their own male role models, and to understand the importance of their own roles in creating a well rounded, resilient person. Their rougher style of physical play has been shown, in research, to be vital to kids. They’ve grown up in an era where there is more expected of them, emotionally.

In a way, perhaps men are now the ones caught in the ‘you can have it all’ myth. It is hard to be the full time¬†bread winner¬†if your wife earns more, hard to be wonder dad if the hours & responsibilities of work & other commitments don’t quite gel with the relatively intense hours of feeds, nappies, bath time and play time. We hope that hub-in-boots will navigate this, for example by taking an earlier shift at work to be home earlier, or using long service leave to get a day off a week, perhaps even later on taking a turn at being mister mum. I think men can be more involved in their new family life than they used to be, but just like women they have realised you can have it all, just not necessarily all at the same time. It is hard to be incredibly involved, and still get up & function at work.

One thing the period of extensive bed rest in this pregnancy has taught us is how to slow down our lives, how to let go of the things that can’t get done, and how much adjustment might be needed, early on, in terms of housework, cooking and shopping with a baby on board. Me being totally out of action was, in a way, a good trial run for the early weeks of “baby makes three”. As an exercise in blame free patience, tolerance and empathy I think it taught us both a lot, and demonstrated to us both the importance of approaching life as a team, of making time and space to nourish our relationship in the face of incredible restrictions, and creating space for each other to still be individuals in the amazing claustrophobia that is bed rest.

Instead of a baby screaming constantly, the third person in the room at the time was the loss of pregnancy, a big boogie monster of a presence that stalked our every step and stood over us, and pretty much forced us to get our shit together. It taught us sometimes one person has to carry the lot, and getting resentful or blaming each other achieves nothing.

I don’t know what hub-in-boots will want to do for his first father’s day. I’m not sure his one month-6 week old son will be up for much in the present shopping / wrapping stakes, and I really can’t imagine what gumby’s choice of restaurant will be. Actually I can, but let’s not go there.

It will be nice, though, that instead of the “move along, nothing to see here” father’s day that normally happens around here, there might be a nasty hallmark card, and a Dad’s bag of Darrell Lea lollies. Maybe a six pack¬†“beers of the world”? As someone who has got me through this period of bedrest, hub-in-boots has already well and truly earned his stripes as a Dad. His enthusiasm for feeling Gumby’s kicks and rolls and punches is¬†funny, (Gumby is likely to recognise his Dad’s voice shouting¬†WOAH!)¬†and he has a¬†perfect¬†attendance record at pre natal visits and every single IVF appointment.¬†When¬†Dad’s day hits¬†we might pass on the Old Spice gift pack though. My taste in fragrance has moved on since I was 8.

You’re going to be a great Dad, hub-in-boots. I know you agreed to this wild crazy ride to fatherhood because you had no doubts about your dad-ability, and i¬†know you’ll enjoy it. Just try not to hog the lego and the train set and the star¬†wars stuff, and¬†spare us all & tone down the dad jokes whenever you can….

That’s the thing about grenades

We caught up with friends P & L last night. Even though I was a bit trepidatious about ordering take away, with the pregnancy rules & gestational diabetes (not to mention the fact that we tend to knock off a couple of bottles of wine in a normal night with this pair of people). I sucked up the food anxiety & decided a 30 week celebration was in order.

So L ordered a vego¬†pizza, well cooked, with little cheese, for me. And made a huge salad with radicchio, fennel (finocchio ), lettuce and balsamic. And rolled out the sparkling mineral water. Meaty meat lovers meaty meat feasts for everyone else with several bottles of wine. I decided two small¬†bits of pizza was reasonable… despite being starving. Ate a huge mound of salad. Somehow I later ate another two slices with another huge mound of salad. Knew I’d probably blow the blood sugar.

And then the night got weird. We haven’t had dinner together for months and months, owing to my extended bed rest with the BASTARD blood clot, diabetes and all round pain in the ass pregnancy (which is now a lot better). It used to be a near weekly event to eat out together,¬†up until we hit 10 weeks pregnant in Jan and our world turned to shit. It was awkward for a while, as in some way these two¬†are some of a small minority of people in our lives who¬†weren’t that interested or helpful when things turned to shit…they went the stand off and wait method, not the hands on¬† here’s a casserole and “we’re here for you”.¬†Some people aren’t that great in a crisis. So it was nice to do something normal with them. Or was it?

P, L’s hubby, was in a funny mood & kept picking fights. It started with his son knocking over a full glass of nice red all over him. Then turned into a non stop rant about him being a spoiled lazy 13 year old boy & for some reason it was all his mum’s fault. Huh?

Then there was an extended discussion about how having guitar lessons at $30 a pop was an unnecessary luxury because after 10 lessons, he was clearly hopeless¬†( yeah sorry dude, we’re not with you there. Don’t tell a kid he’s hopeless. Hub-in-boots is a coach, into positive reinforcement. I’m a hard taskmaster, but my uni students are empowered, not belittled. Hub-in-boots learnt clarinet. I learnt piano, guitar, and singing. Our Gumby will learn music. Non negotiable and def essential…and interestingly neurological research supports the role of learning music being associated with higher emotional intelligence and empathy! Plus, our Gumby was probably christened Gumby because we are both total klutzes so he may well be. I was always the kid that knocked over drinks at dinner. I know how awful it feels to get that kind of attention).

The rant continued, ranging into other subjects. A lot of which seemed to be a bit like¬†bullying towards my friend L and a 13 year old boy. I hate public arguments. I’m not big in arguments full stop.¬†¬†Neither is hub-in-boots. I really wanted to leave.¬†It probably started as 30 years of marriage niggling, egged on by red wine. But it¬†continued on well past its use by date, started¬†to get nasty, perhaps more noticeable for me, with everyone else buoyed along by the wine numbness. And I think we’ve done a lot of thinking lately about how we want to parent our gumby , and our relationship is so solid after what we’ve been through. Better than ever. This was like the what not to do diagram, and it went for hours.

And the thing with a hand grenade is, you can’t put the pin back in.

And before I knew it, or before I could shepherd a shit stirring I’ve had three glasses of red hub-in-boots back to the relative safety and sobriety of home, I lost it.

Now P is a BIG. Sicilian. Man. not someone you take on lightly. Very few people would ever¬†tell him off in his life. Most of the time a lovable teddy bear, but very occasionally embracing every stereotype in his cultural kitbag. And in his own house, I shouted at him. Like really shouted. A small part of my brain was sitting in the back seat saying “umm, excuse me? You’re shouting at a Sicilian man in his own house?”. But i¬†hit override. A very well reasoned¬†but clear attack, telling him to “shutthefuckup and pull his head in, stop being an arrogant bully, and thank his wife for all her hard work on their business instead of criticising her”. I didn’t stop for about a minute. A minute is quite a lot of shouting.

You could have heard a pin drop. Three open mouths faced me.

In a room with two Italians and two loud Aussies, deathly deathly silence.

And I was the only one that was stone. Cold. Sober.

Ouch.

I just about gathered up my bags & husband to leave immediately. I really surprised myself with my absolute ferocity. Hub-in-boots was nonplussed. He knows I’m a pretty non confrontational person, but he also knows if you cross the line with me you’d want to run for cover. It doesn’t happen very often at all… Maybe 2-3 times a year? I’ll say nothing, and nothing, and nothing, but then you’ll get it with both barrels and an AK-47 and a rocket launcher with ammo to spare.

The silence sat heavy for a while. The clock ticked. Hub in boots called an imaginary waiter to the table to order a change of subject.

And then the laughter started. P had no idea this is part of who I am, just as much as the relatively easygoing do-er.

P said to hub-in-boots “shit mate! I had no idea. You’re a tough man, to deal with this. I would be terrified. She’s bloody scary! Is this a pregnancy thing?”

No it’s not, hub-in-boots informed him, it is part of non pregnant me, but the ferocity took my breath away. So it’s me, but it’s me plus hormones. All night I was getting more and more uncomfortable with what I felt were attacks on another woman and child, and some really feisty mother thing, combined with months of not knowing if we’d have a baby or not, and a bit¬†of lingering resentment¬†about¬†their lack of support when things were at their worst, and¬†I pulled the pin. I erupted.

We had more laughs. More drinks. P worked hard to back pedal and clear the wreckage, to his credit, resuming the role of a gracious host. I had 1/2 a glass of bubbly to celebrate the miraculous 30 weeks. I think we’re all still friends… I hope we are. But I think P might be a little wary of me for a while? Hell, I’m wary of me.

So here is the ferocious one at 29 and 30 weeks, respectively. With a well managed post dinner blood sugar of 6.9. Just don’t back her into a corner. It went kind of primal.

You wanna watch those ones with the big bellies mate. They got TEETH.

29 weeks and doesn’t look that ferocious
30 weeks what a relief. at one stage barely hoped we’d make this

As a quiet aside, at 30 weeks, ¬†I’m feeling well. I put on weight, but I’ve lost it again, so I’m back below my pre pregnancy weight. I just keep going back to the same weight. I’m not sure why, as I am eating lots. And lots.¬† I sleep a lot, long nights. I have to pee more.

Gumby puts intense pressure on my belly button sometimes, and intense low pressure other times which can get kind of weird and make me feel nauseous. But last time we saw the ob he was right down in my pelvis, so this is to be expected. My left hip aches constantly, from hip to knee, as I think he leans on that side. The heat pack helps.¬†I don’t care. I walk most days, often with hills and up to an hour. I love being able to move again. He kicks to a mental degree, kicks that you can easily see from the other side of the room. And he¬†flutters. And elbows. And¬†I think perhaps I can feel the tightenings¬†of braxton hicks contractions now, but I’m not sure what’s baby and what’s those. We won’t discuss my nipples or their surprising developments since 28 weeks…hello colustrum, you freaky shit.¬†I think I understand what heartburn¬†is now, and I’d say we’re going to become constant companions in the next¬†few weeks.¬†I am starting to roll off the couch or out of bed, and I can’t seem to bend over properly! I leave a trail of dropped objects all over the house like a dog. But I’d say after all of our dramas that I feel so well and able now that this trimester is my good one. I’m only just getting my head around the there really will be a baby now¬†idea.¬†And I’m loving it.

 I still have residual worries, and will be relieved when he makes it home safely. 

Stocktake

Gumby is geared up. Gumby has a better wardrobe than mum or dad. Gumby has absolutely no chance of getting through all of those outfits (written like a classic beginner mum that is about to give birth to an all time champion chucker upperer that will go through 17 outfits a day).

Quite a few weeks ago now, on the 25th of April, after reading someone else’s blog post about buying stuff second hand, I went onto Gumtree which has free classifieds of all sorts of things in every category imaginable. Just that day, a lovely lady called Faye¬†had put up a few bundles of baby clothes for not very much money. At that stage, I couldn’t manage extended shopping trips for essentials. So I emailed her, found she lived just a few blocks from my mum’s house, and I sent mum down for a visit.

After agreeing to buy the winter oooo-ooo bundle for $60, Faye let me know about her summer bundle of clothes in¬†oo’s for $30. And later that evening hub-in-boots realised she was also selling a Baby Bjorn carrier for $30 and jumped up and down in excitement.

Mum was duly dispatched the next day. And nearly wet herself with excitement.

The clothes were beautifully kept, practically brand new, laundered and pressed and bagged. It was like a giant lucky dip. Despite the fact she was already heading over for a birthday lunch quite soon, Mum could not wait to get over here and show me, and madly drove across Sydney to bring them, and my mother-in-law.

First, we began unpacking one bag in the bedroom. When the queen sized bed was completely covered in clothes, we moved to the lounge. When we moved to the second bag, we covered the dining room table and all the chairs in outfits, accompanied by squeals of delight and running from room to room to find matching hats or pants and complete perfect little outfits. With the third bag of summer clothes, there was no space in the house left to lay them out. So we held them up one by one.

It took hours. It was¬†such fun. So much better than shopping, because of the serendipity, and the¬†feeling that in having someone else’s baby stuff, you hadn’t contributed to ridiculous over consumption that occurs in our world¬†in quite the same way (she says, assembling photos of the ridiculous quantities of baby stuff. Sigh). And because of the limitations on my situation, at the time, picking out outfit by outfit, spending money, being out, these were all things I could not really manage at the time. And¬†again, that feeling that the clothes had already had a life, and now would have a new life, with a new baby. A real baby, that all of a sudden has a wardrobe.

Now those clothes are mostly unpacked, into a lovely chest of drawers given to us last week by a school friend. They sit in little neat folded rows, stacked up, so many outfits but so small they hardly take up any room. Of course, Grandma and others have gone shopping too. And these slide shows do not include the larger sizes like oo’s that are happily packed away and waiting for a big fat six month old Gumby. Yes, there is a whole other¬†crate of gifts and Gumtree gear just waiting.

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Gumby has a beautfiul¬†pram, a bath and a stand, a cot, a mattress, one waterproof, a bassinet¬†(with no mattress or linen yet), a change table, a chest of drawers, a high chair, a bouncer, a rocker, some washers, some¬†singlets, a room temp thingy, an el cheapo audio monitor, a microwave steriliser.¬† Of these, we bought the mattress and waterproof. That’s it.¬†Thank you to all of¬†our generous donors. ¬†We haven’t done stuff like baby towels, nappies, or many toys. ..some categories of stuff we haven’t even touched. But we’ll get there. There’s no rush. (ha!)

We’ve asked anyone that wants to bring a gift to the Gumby happy hour shower¬†(think pre emptive joint sexes wetting of baby’s head) to bring their favourite childhood book to start his library. The gift that will keep on giving as we read it, and re read it, and finally curse¬†their name for imposing this inane story on our nightly routine. The years of buying noisy musical toys for other people’s children are about to return, and bite me on the ass.¬†I look forward to rediscovering our childhood favourites, and to finding new favourites to enjoy with Gumby.

I’ve packed my hospital bag, ish. I did this at 23-24 weeks when we were warned of high risks of preterm¬†labour, and hub-in-boots started to get really jittery about what might happen. So I did it early, and¬†it just sits there, a calm bastion of preparation, on the spare bed, quietly reminding us of what lies ahead. Of course, there will be a million other things to throw in it at the last minute, but the essentials are¬†there. Hideous giant packs of maternity pads, nursing pads, undies, bed socks, slippers stolen from a day spa, pj’s, basic toiletries, a toothbrush and little toothpaste. The time since then has gone so fast, that I barely get used to saying “28 weeks” and I’m saying “29 weeks”. I’ve said 29 weeks a couple of times, and I’m about to say my dream date. 30 weeks. I think this calls for a glass of champagne. The date that barely dared to speak its name, months ago. It sounds so real, so solid. We are in no way home and hosed, I know that, but geez, compared to the frozen fear of pre term warnings and 22 weeks with quiet abject terror, what a change in odds. What a different world. I walk, I cook, I shop, I clean (a bit), I get ready.

My blood tests this week were good. Good vitamin D, no Strep B bacteria, and my 3 month average Blood glucose, called a HbA1C¬†was 5.0 (supposed to be under 6.0 during pregnancy. What a legend). I was delighted my glucose control is working. Delighted. The midwife (at North Korea)¬†rang me and said my iron is low, so I’m on a supplement now and made chilli con carne with quinoa for tea…quinoa = iron. Kidney beans and tomato = iron and vitamin c for iron absorption. Lean mince = iron. Spinach = iron. What a good little vegemite.

We met another fresh one at pre natal class this week. Owen? He was in a deep sleep. Very very cute. Opened his eyes, briefly, and went, yeah this is too much effort, and, held mid air by the midwife educator, gripped by his chin and bum, ¬†nodded back off to sleep. He was 48 hours old. His mum, again, looked great…waters broken on the day she was¬†going to her ob to discuss a possible caesarean, a bit of labour, and ended up in surgery.

  • We¬†“gave birth” using a balloon and a ping¬†pong ball (and no, not like a Bangkok prostitute party trick, though it would be unreal for your pelvic floor, no¬†just using our¬†hands to make pretend balloon contractions and¬†push the ball out the purple latex “cervix”).
  • We practiced distraction / relaxation techniques whilst holding a fistful of ice for one minute, to find what worked on the pain of contractions, and for the blokes to realise how long a minute really is and how important their role is in management
  • We categorised stacks of cards of labour scenarios as “stay home be cool”, “probably stay home call the hospital”, and “call the hospital and head on in”.
  • We toured the labour suites, with all the relaxed smiling midwives, saw the monitoring equipment, looked in the cupboards, heard about all the options. The staff, again, were amazingly nice. They had a wonderful vibe.

Weird. Weird to picture yourselves in that serene room, dealing with contractions, your own little quiet universe (ummm, or noisy sweary one), bringing a child into the world. In freaking WEEKS. Woah. Hub-in-boots looked a teensy bit deer in the headlights. So did I, I suspect.  But, just like standing in the door of the nursery and opening the little drawers, it was a dream moment, reassuringly real.

Shout outs to Michelle at Miracle in the Works. At 32 weeks last night 3am Seattle time, she thought perhaps her waters broke. She’s in hospital , waiting, now. We had that card in our stack on Wednesday night. Call the hospital, and head straight in. Sending some prayers and good wishes¬†your way.