Five ring circus

We are FULL TERM today. FULL FREAKIN TERM. So stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Dr North Korea. This is NOT going to be a pre term Gumby. I swear this calls for breakfast champagne. 37 weeks today.

Just like the Olympics, this five ring circus of a pregnancy has departed somewhat from its original purposes…the corporatisation of noble pursuits (hello parallel with ivf, though we sadly didn’t get major sponsors), the professionalisation of what used to be an amateur pastime (ahem)…The use of drugs to do what used to be done naturally, extensive testing, coaching, dieticians and tightly controlled food. And as a spectator, long parades of places you’ve never heard of, late sleepless nights of weird half excitement half boredom, and drama. Always the drama.

And our tele just weirdly, creepily , mysteriously turned itself on at 5:30 am Saturday Aussie time to the 2012 Olympic opening ceremony. The flashing blue light of the tele in the lounge woke us. We have no idea how this happened. We didn’t know the tele had a timer. But we’re up now. It was nice of London to hold an opening ceremony for us. The five ring circus bringing us to parenthood.

By the time the closing ceremony is held, we will, most likely, be holding Gumby in our actual arms. THAT is just plain weird.

Maybe we should name him Boris, after the hilarious mayor of London.

The pregnancy Olympics would include such events as the 200m waddle, the Greco roman wrestle on your jeans and shoes, the weightlifting (ie hub in boots helping me get off the couch), nesting (like fencing, but with less pointy things), the shit put (where I drop stuff on the floor all over the house & hub in boots picks it up), the individual medley (varies nightly but consists of my laying on the couch asking hub in boots for chocolate, tea, antacids and mineral water). Then there’s Gumby’s events: the internal boxing, gymnastics, and the triple jump. Ouch.

Happy full term Gumby, you freaking little trooper.

Yay for us, hub in boots. We rock.

Five ring circus it may be, but we’re nearly there, and we’ve not succumbed to what the odds and stats predicted. Through love, through good management, through support, through sheer dumb luck, through prayers, through no good reason at all. The Olympic motto: Citius, Altius, Fortius.

Faster, Higher, Stronger.

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Don’t blame it on sunshine

36 weeks! Woot!

We had another busy weekend, another fancy dress (can you believe it? That’s FOUR, Gumby!), another brother hitting a big milestone (my bro Paul is SIXTY!).

The fancy dress was sixties kitsch so I rolled out a recycled Eurovision outfit and rocked on up to the bowlo in Balmain. I even had a dance, and I have to say “blame it on the boogie” is a little challenging in high heeled boots on a packed dance floor at 36 weeks.

I had a weird experience seeing a “ghost from Christmas past” at the party… Someone I went out with a few times after my 4 years with friend & ex partner Nath, and before Stew. It turns out he has worked with & is a mate of my bro’s girlfriend, which is why he was at her 50th. I thought about rumbling up and saying hi, after all this is the guy that got me onto two great bands : Arcade Fire, and The Postal Service. He had great taste in music. But it was that stage in the night when everyone was half cut, and having an eight month pregnant woman wander up and go “hey! I know you! We dated!” could really wig a guy out! Funny, but not nice. ūüôā

Hub-in-boots et al loaded up on drinks so it was a loud drunken carload I took home, mentally picturing the absolute chaos that would occur at the hospital if I went into labour right here right now: 4 adults, dressed in 60’s gear, 3 of them sizzled, one in labour. Ugly! I had fun out, but it is an odd experience being the stone cold sober one.

Sunday was big bro’s birthday lunch, and 10 of us went out to the Austrian schnitzelhaus up the road. Gumby was in eatin mode, so I ate LOADS. A schnitty as big as my head. And followed it up with home made schnitty and veg for tea! And STILL my blood sugar behaves!

Yesterday we went to the ob. Gumby has been hurting me off and on, so I knew he’d had a significant position shift. He is still head down, but now is once again really low and fully engaged. So much so, his little head is squished on one side; you can SEE IT on the ultrasound screen! So the measurements of 3.1kg or 6lb14 are likely to be a bit understated, as his head can’t be measured now. His heart rate is good, blood flow is good, there isn’t too much fluid (which can happen if the diabetes affects him).

The plan now is induce me at 39 weeks, assuming his position is still good at 38, and assuming my cervix has started to ‘blame it on the boogie’ and thin out. I’ve only got a 1:10 chance of spontaneous labour with a first bub prior to 40 weeks, and the ob reckons only 50% have gone by 40+3.

However the risk of stillbirth goes up at full term at my age, so we won’t be overcooking this bun, as much as I’d prefer Gumby to decide on the timing. I also know I only have a 50% chance of natural labour at my age, and induction lowers that & increases likelihood of further interventions. All a bummer, but as I’ve explained to the doctors before, I’m a person, not a statistic. I’m not an average! I’m an individual! Stats don’t describe the individual experience. So I’m hoping we at least get the chance to have a go at labour, and I’ll just wear whatever comes after that with good grace.

So the 38 week visit is the big decision making one, however we see the doctor weekly now. Gumby was kicking up a storm last night, I’ve been awake since 3am making listd and listening to tunes, so granted myself a sleep in after hub-in-boots left for work.

Hub-in-boots is looking a little nervous these days… He’d much prefer a known date because he doesn’t want that little shake awake saying “stew… I think….”. Maybe because the last time we did that I was bleeding to death & it was the car trip from hell? I’ve tried to explain to him it’s hardly likely to be a rush rush rush panic situation.

I seem to be over my horrible flat anxious hyper vigilant patch… Sure I’ve had some low energy days but I don’t feel as thoroughly crappy as I did at 33-34 weeks. I had a change in strategy last week, and just completely lowered my expectations of what i could achieve each day. This really seemed to kick it, and gave me the downtime to bounce back. I am back to hour long hilly walks 4-5 times a week, I’ve got through a few jobs on the list, I’m back to cooking, and feeling pretty good. My blood sugar has dropped significantly, so the tight control on diet isn’t quite as dictatorial, I do crazy stuff like having yoghurt and fruit STRAIGHT AFTER tea, instead of waiting two hours sometimes. We really do madness well around here.

I checked in with a specialist (i’ve met with once before) yesterday to be sure, and he’s totally comfortable with me just touching base regularly after gumby’s arrival to monitor my mood, given my prior history with depression. He thought a bit of a delayed reaction to what we’ve been through, and a bit of pre birth anxiety was pretty damn reasonable, as reactions go. We talked a little about the loss of identity that goes with this turf, especially for women these days… But that’s something I’m still slowly mulling over. It’s quite a different thing having two semesters off work WITH a baby to having three or four semesters off, almost half pre baby. It makes me feel more disconnected now, already, and was totally not in the game plan!

The ob and i have also established, since I’ve ignored my doctor and gone back to the glory that is having long hot baths (after 6 months I’m sick of taking dumb orders.. I’m having a bath!!!), that I have an amazing degree of abdominal separation. I really don’t know what this is ( I can guess ), but by jingo by crikey I can demonstrate it! When I go to sit up, I go from making my own archipelago in the bath ( its quite disappointing how much water WON’T FIT with me and my bump), there is this amazing mountain range that rises up from my belly; like a statisticians wet dream I can make an instant visual of a 3d bell curve! With my stomach! Apparently, this new party trick is not to be celebrated, and Dr North Korea has told me, instead, to roll onto my side or risk worsening the separation. Which is a shame, because it was hilarious, and hub in boots would clap his hands and cry “Again! Again!” whilst tears of laughter ran down his cheeks. Mind you, he finds me getting out of a chair or car hilarious, and loves to recreate “what did Jojo do today” by following the trail of dropped and or broken objects around the house. He finds my awkwardness very entertaining.

So now we wait! We’re in 21 days and under territory, I’m weirdly ready for labour but not ready to meet (& deal with) gumby! I’ll be putting more work into the labour ward playlist this week, as I’m pretty sure tunes will help. Suggestions welcome.. I figure we need the calming inward focused breathing one, and the have a laugh relieve the tension one, which surely needs to be kicked off with salt n pepa’s “push it” and a bit of rage against the machine….

After ivf and this pregnancy, we sure can’t hold the sunshine or the moonlight to account, and I doubt the “good times” are responsible…but I’m quite happy to blame it on the boogie….

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crunch n punch

Well we’re here at 35 weeks 4 days today… And we never thought we’d see this kind of gestational age.

I’m feeling a little better this week, with good sleep at least half the nights and although gumby is sometimes hurting when it feels like he’s burrowing in ( into my hip right now as I type, into the back of my navel, into my pelvis) and now regularly gets the hiccups (just started) for long periods of time, we’re getting on ok. His sleep wake cycles are so regular you could set your watch by it… Every 40 minutes. Nothing like the two to three daily periods of activity he had about 8 weeks ago. It’s amazing how things change. All activity just about can be seen from outside: my abdomen moves in crazy waves, has jolts, you can see the hiccups from across the room, things stick out that might be a knee, bottom, or elbow. My belly warps in funny directions, flat in one spot and a huge bulge on one side.

If gumby was born now, they wouldn’t need to give me steroids for lung maturity. If he was born now he’d probably crack 3 kg, as he was an estimated 2.76kg (6lb 1) 10 days ago. These things are comforting. He’s head down, at last check not engaged, though a bump drop yesterday (and new difficulty bending and having an easier time getting out of a chair) tells me otherwise. I’m putting on weight now… 2.5kg this pregnancy. One good outcome in a sea of hard yards!

In myself, I feel a little better, with not as many flat days and flat spots not lasting as long.

My blood glucose is still good despite ridiculous new developments in chocolate cravings that occasionally beat me down into submission. The weeks of roasted chickpeas and walnut snacks and control control¬†control are making me crack! My HB1AC (average glucose reading of sorts) is still only 5.3 though. Still eating loads of veg. Still on a red meat bender, with much improved iron levels. We’re doing good.

I’ve had my first encounter with criticism in real life of what I blog about, which surprised me. I figured just don’t read it if you don’t like it…?? It stopped me blogging for a while. I’ve seen this happen to other bloggers, and I always thought how odd it was. If a reader doesn’t like a book they don’t tend to send aggressive emails to the writer. They just put it down. Or write a bad review. And don’t buy the next book. It’s like ignoring a dumb status update on facebook. We all see them. It’s not hard. There is so much more I could say here, but really, it isn’t worth my emotional effort. Let’s just say that apart from slamming Dr north Korea (who deserved it), no one cops it on here that I haven’t personally spoken to about a given issue in real life.

The one thing i¬†will defend is criticism of hub in boots on here. Infertility and pregnancy puts a big strain on relationships, as those out there in blogland¬†know all too well. It is important to reflect on this, and if reflecting on my OWN overreactions & irrationalities in relation to him in a public place helps others in a similar situation, that’s excellent. If blog readers comments and feedback on similar issues helps complete that picture, even better. Hub in boots and i¬†have talked, resolved, and continue to love each other very dearly, and a bit of online “oh my god, men!!!” will not affect my very funny thick skinned¬†optimistic man one bit. If it did, i’d whip it off in a flash. If i didnt know him as well as i do, I’d never mention him on here. He reads my blog, he reads it regularly, he proudly promotes it, and we usually chat about posts before, during and after. He comes up with funny titles. He suggests topics.

And i think the slow honesty of a piece of writing in this long hard haul has, mostly, opened up many many conversations and much emotional closeness between hub-in-boots and i. Sometimes the blog has comforted him: months ago when he walked in and i was teary after an all day hemorrhage, but had posted that day about knitting and the twenty bonuses of bed rest, well at least he knew there was a little bit of humour and life still in his wifey somewhere, and could even draw on that to lighten the mood.

Sometimes there were things that took a long time to write about & think about, and frankly the burden of those conversations on our evenings would be too much, too onerous, if hub-in-boots had to be the luggage handler of every bit of my infertility / pregnancy baggage that came up. Instead, this way, I dump and deal, and together, with my reflections laid bare, we pick over the important bits and we talk about a few small high/ lowlights, or his perspective on parts of the picture i’d missed. Importantly, we talk after¬†we’ve both had time to reflect. Sometimes he emails me after reading a post. It gives our face to face interactions more quality, more insightfulness, and I think it’s really helped us to weather this storm. Together, in the middle of the crap, he’d crack a joke as a 10inch needle was about to be jabbed into my abdomen, and we’d joke about how we could write about this in the blog. In the worst moments, thinking of a funny tagline took us out of the shitty experience and made us laugh. It was a reframing technique. It still is. It’s a collaborative effort. We have never been stronger or more united.

On the dealing with pregnancy front, I have likened where we are now to a break between sets in a boxing class, maybe a set of “crunch n punch”. The worst thing about crunch n punch (sit ups with hitting the training pads) is not doing it, or even trying to avoid farting (yes, hub-in-boots, here’s looking at you, kid) it’s the break between sets. It’s when you stop that it hurts.

When you’re going, you can lose yourself in action. When you’re going, the movement takes your mind off the effort. It’s when you stop that it’s hard. It’s hard because you have to mentally process the effort it takes. It’s hard because after that, you have a very short time to get ready to go again, at a time when muscle fatigue makes the next set harder, and hurt more.

35 weeks 4 days for us is a break between sets. The dramas are behind us. There is another set of pregnancy weeks ahead of us, then¬†we will move on, to a new (and apparently pretty challenging) exercise: parenthood! This place in between is not always as easy as it seems it should be. I feel like I should be relieved and grateful and elated. But I don’t always¬†feel that way. I actually feel a bit out of breath, and tired, and spent and put through the ringer. A bit resentful¬†of all the time spent waiting, which is mad, because it got us here. And bloody hell I’m grateful that we are here. Grateful that this boy is kicking the bejesus out of me day and night. And annoyed at myself, that after weeks of being relatively¬†zen on bedrest,¬†now that I can move, I’m impatient.

The effort it has taken to get here is largely invisible, the adrenalin and momentum of that hypervigilant¬†state of¬†hanging on kept us moving forward, the effort lost in the movement of the weeks.¬† Now, at times,¬†I am feeling it catch up with me. It is hard to turn¬†a hypervigilance off when it is switched on for such a long time. It becomes like a stuck light switch.¬†I have anxieties about the birth, about Gumby arriving safely, anxieties founded in the real life recent¬†losses of others. Some days, the “what ifs” begin their¬†whispering game, and what a waste of time and energy they are.

I think now that I’ve sat down and thought, “ok, everything is going fine now but you’re feeling worse, and¬†that’s ok”,¬† my stuck switch¬†is ceasing to be a problem. I’m back to sleeping ok and I’ve got better energy. ¬†I’ve still¬†gone with¬†the precaution of a visit to a professional next week¬†to ensure I’m in a good headspace for what’s coming, and to ensure there’s someone who knows what they are doing to catch me if I’m not. After all, there’s another set to do! We pause, regroup, and get ready to go again.

Oh, and if you’re giving me the “Oh my GOD but you have NO IDEA how hard it is to be a PARENT” line, or even “birth horror stories 101”, this is me sticking my fingers in my ears and giving you the big “La la LAAAAAAA¬†I CAN’T HEAR YOU.” I’m not interested in your war stories. We just fought our own war, and we have (she says, crossing everything) just about won.¬†So bugger off. Please, nicely.

Or, as hub-in-boots says, “I’m getting myself a big glass of shut-the-fuck-up. Would you like one?”. His other helpful¬†suggestion is “Ladies and gentleman, apologies, but the Captain has illuminated the sit the fuck down and shut the fuck up light.”

If this 35 weeks¬†IS a break between crunch & punch sets, I’m quite looking forward to the bacon sandwich and strong coffee we get after class….

In other news, Gumby attended his THIRD fancy dress occasion, this one at 35 weeks. Look at these photos!!!

That has to be a pregnancy record. The boxing crew had a fancy dress bowling night. I’m crap at bowling on an ordinary night, on an 8 month¬†pregnant night dressed as a pirate, I suck balls. (Note: The best thing about a strike is not having to get up & play a second frame!!!)

Oh and bump update. Yay 35 weeks. Over and out.

34 weeks: pregnant pit crew racing for the finish line

As happy as fozzy bear to be 35 weeks