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.
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.