Thursday, July 30, 2009

Four years

Dear E,

It is four years today since the picture above was taken. It seems incredible that here we are, four years on, waiting for the arrival of the fourth member of our family - and that the exact time between the due dates for the two of you is four years and four days. Makes me shake my head a little every time I think of it.

How things changed on this day in 2005. I could never have expected just how you would transform me and enrich my life - and your father's - in a way that words fail to describe.

Every year your birthday has (so far) been on a sunny day, despite the fact it falls in the depths of winter. I think this is no accident: it's the universe mirroring your own beautiful sunny nature.

This morning you woke to find a pile of presents waiting on the coffee table and your eyes bulged and you clung to your daddy's leg as if to say: "Could these really all be for me?" They were all for you, and you deserve every one of them for your (mostly!) lovely behaviour and for all the gifts you give us simply by being here and being ours.

The Luckiest Mum in the World

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Labouring the point

I had a deep and meaningful chat with the obstetrician I saw on Tuesday. "Look," I said, "am I being naive to even wish for a VBAC, given the blood pressure issues and everything?"

His answer differed to the last obstetrician I spoke to about this matter: "No," he said, "you're not."

This pleased me a lot. We talked about risk factors, particularly the spectre of uterine rupture (at which point I got a bit upset - that's terrifying stuff).

In a nutshell, he said that (blood pressure conditions permitting) if I had the confidence to try for a natural birth then he had the confidence that there was the appropriate medical support at the hospital. Which is confidence boosting in itself.

He enquired: "How much do you want this?"

That's a good question. Here's what I know: I know I am a bit scared of what could go wrong with a VBAC; I know I am a bit scared of what could go wrong with a caesarean.

Truthfully? I am more scared of having another caesarean. (For both the post-surgical risks and the devastating recovery.) But, saying that, I am also accepting of the fact it's a very real possibility. This baby comes first. I would never do anything to risk its (and my) health by stubbornly insisting on labouring when it was dangerous.

I also know I am very curious to understand what birth is. I would like to experience it, to give my body an opportunity to do what it is designed to do. And if - if - I can achieve this I think I would feel immensely proud of myself. Is this naive? Possibly.

In the meantime, I am reading (devouring) JuJu Sundin's Birth Skills book like there's no tomorrow. It is a truly confidence building book and it's removed so much of the fear I initially had about the birth process.

It's really made me want to give a go. Here's hoping I can.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Golden Days

Thirty five and a half weeks now. While the waiting game continues I have made a conscious decision to really savour and enjoy my little boy (who, by the way, becomes a 'big' 4yo on Thursday) before I get swept away to babyland.

So far this little bit of effort, more a slight mental shift than anything, has paid surprisingly huge dividends (my kinder ways with him have been rewarded with kinder behaviour from him). I've essentially been indulging him just that little bit more than normal: you want some blue playdough? Sure, let's make it now. You want me to read seven Mr Men books? OK, let's do it.

It's also helped that the weather has been lovely and sunny and this has meant picnic lunches (well, a sandwich shoved in Tupperware and a banana thrown in the bag) in the park, bike rides (for him, not me!) etc.

He's been a delight to spend this time with and I think a little tiny part of me is sad that it won't be all about him very soon...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Hospital Bag

Today I have a "free" day. That is, E is at daycare and I am at home. On. My. Own. Bliss! I know, I know, I should make the most of it - for another tiny, noisy, needy person will be here soon enough.

Top of my list today was to buy E some birthday presents. He turns 4 next week and we've done nothing and bought nothing for him ... I hate the thought of us getting caught up in baby stuff and him missing out. So I headed to Kmart and bought a few small things for him to open - some Lego, some cowboy dress-up stuff (latest obsession), new books etc. Tick. One job done.

The next, after I have lunch (most important matters first!) is to pack a hospital bag. Wow, are we there already?! Possibly. I had a check-up yesterday and the blood pressure Dr doubled my medications to 6 tablets a day. Plus tomorrow I have to be admitted for day stay - so monitoring over 8 or so hours.

All this probably sounds more serious than it is. The antihypertensives I am on are only of a low dose, so plenty of room to move there, the blood tests I had done are showing no sign of kidney or liver problems yet ... and I feel OK(ish - I'd feel a heck of a lot better if I could just get a decent sleep).

But at 35 weeks, I know it's not going to be long before the little one is here. Which is freaking me out. WE HAVE NO NAME - none. Not one for a girl, not one for a boy. Oh well, at least I know one thing I will be packing in that hospital bag: the baby name book!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The end of the work as we know it

On Friday I finished up work. Everyone kept saying to me, "Oh, you must be so excited". But I wasn't really - mainly sad. I've been so lucky to have worked in a brilliant job, the kind that is as rare as hen's teeth to find, especially at 3 days a week. So to walk away from it is sad (I was casually employed so there's no maternity leave obligation).

BUT ... on the other hand it's great to be finished up. The sheer effort of walking to the train station (usually takes 8 minutes - I've been allowing 15-20 in the past few weeks), handling work, a preschooler, housework etc has left me so tired.

Then, of course, there is swine flu. The less time I spend on grotty CityRail trains with people sniffling and coughing, the better I will feel. All the stuff in the media last week about swine flu and its impact on pregnant women had me quite concerned. I called my GP to ask about what to do and she suggested in come in and see her.

I had an appointment at 11.45 yesterday. We spoke about swine flu and she reassured me she has a stock of Tamiflu and at any sign of fever she'd see me immediately. Then she gave me a flu shot for the seasonal flu, which she pointed out was one less thing to worry about at the very least.

Then, before I left, I asked her if she'd just do a quick check of my blood pressure. I was feeling fine - no headache, no nothing. Just a standard check. It read 160/100 then a couple of 140s ... and so off to the labour ward again for me.

When I arrived there my BP was still reading in the 160s, but I pointed out to the midwives that I was actually due to take my lunchtime medication. Once I did it settled down. But they ran a check on the baby's movements (excellent!) and took a full suite of blood tests. Which I then had to hang about for.

So there was a nice sunny Saturday, spent stuck in labour ward. Never mind, I know how important it is to monitor this stuff.

And with all that time to think I came to the conclusion that perhaps it was indeed a good time to finish up work after all.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Party time...

The past few weeks have been busy ones. There's been a lot going on as I try to finish up things at work, but also my sister, brother and I pulled off quite a coup: a surprise 60th birthday party for my mother.

Now, my mum is someone that nothing gets past. She doesn't miss a trick. So organising a huge party for her without her knowing was always going to be tricky. And made especially tricky by a couple of factors: we'd planned to hold it in my brother's shearing shed ... which is great except for the fact that it would be mid-winter (brrrrrr!); the shed was full of stuff; my brother only has a small oven so how on earth were we going to feed the hordes?

So began a rather massively logistical exercise. First, my brother spent his weekends moving things out of his shed. Next, my sister and I basically kept Telstra in business as we figured out the big things (should we cook or get it catered?) and the little things (what colour napkins?).

In May my mum came to stay with me, so while she was having a shower one evening I rang my dad and he grabbed her address book. I scribbled down the names and addresses of all her friends - some of them old, old friends she rarely sees - and some of the local people she's good friends with too.

Then Fiona made up an invitation, complete with map (so no-one accidentally turned up at my parents' place) and we sent it out to 47 people.

Amazingly - well, not really amazing because my mum is a lovely person and lots of people know this - 34 came. That's a very high acceptance rate!

Fiona and I had agreed that any number over about 25 would be too hard to cook for ourselves in my brother's little kitchen, so we looked for a caterer. Except the one I remembered in my parents' small town had gone out of business. One of Mum's fiends suggested a lady who might be able to help us.

I called her and, yes, she was free - yes, she could cook whatever we liked. This was a huge relief, because the thought of cooking up a three-course meal for 34 people in my brother's kitchen (at 8 months pregnant) was quite simply ... daunting.

So then my sister and I bought 12m of bright yellow fabric for the tablecloths, I picked up some $2-a-metre spotted fabric in Marrickville that Fiona zipped up into beautiful, festive bunting (she's very, very handy with a sewing machine - unlike me). I sought out the perfect spotted napkins to go on the tables (not easy - eventually fluked it at an online party store).

I'd seen a table setting where old jars were wrapped in tissue paper and then had a tealight placed inside, so we set about collecting as many old jars as possible (in the end we amassed 30-35). The tissue paper was bought, the fishbowl-shaped vases found at a $2 shop, the cases of wine and bubbly ordered, the plates, bowls, wineglasses etc hired from Dubbo ... sheesh!

We sorted the menu with the caterer - all hearty winter fare. Then, at her suggestion, we tried to find someone with a bain marie. Eventually we arranged to borrow - free of cost - a bain marie from one of the local cafes.

On the day, we set all the tables, seating everyone so they knew at least someone next to them. We pinned up fairy lights. We worked out how we could get Mum there without her knowing too much. It actually all went relatively smoothly. Except for the bain marie, which turned out to be quite a bain...

We hadn't realised quite how much power it was drawing and while it was warmish it wasn't exactly heating the food (outside it was below zero, that didn't help). So it was 9.15 before our main courses were warm enough - just - to eat. Bummer.

Anyway, the main thing was that my mum got the surprise of her life - and she DID! She knew we were up to something but had no idea just what. When the lights went on in that darkened shed and we all yelled 'surprise' she was pretty shell shocked. It took her a couple of minutes to scan the room and when she saw friends she'd not seen for YEARS she got a bit teary...

I think she was pretty delighted about the whole thing - I just hope she's not going to expect that kind of effort every birthday from now on...!!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Six weeks to go

Since Melody posted a bump pic over on her blog, I reckoned I probably ought to too. So this is how I am faring at almost 34 weeks.

I feel ENORMOUS. Everything is getting pretty hard now. I truly take my hat off to the women of the Third World who have to work out in, say, the rice paddies or whatever, probably with a heap of kids at home and a baby in a sling on their back. My lot is nowhere near as strenuous as that. I just have to stand up on a crowded Sydney peak-hour train (do you think anyone has offered me a seat? Nope) then sit in front of a computer, make calls etc. Even this hurts! Last week I got a stitch (at least I hope that's what it was) from walking (waddling?) from my desk to the office kitchen to make a cuppa.

I have decided to finish up work this week. So far my blood pressure is holding steady. The medication has gone up, but only slightly. For me, this is a pretty huge and exciting thing. As was the news from my obstetrician last week that my low-lying placenta is "outside the 2cm cut-off" - which means if I go into labour any time from now, there is a possibility I may be able to try to give birth naturally (this is on the proviso that my BP behaves). YAAAAAAAAAAY. Fingers SO crossed. I will do anything to avoid another caesarean.

If, however, the baby needs to be born early for any reason I have already been told caesarean is the only card on the table. We shall just see...

So, here I am all hot and heavy! It's brilliant to feel so toasty and warm with all the extra heat of the baby. Shaun keeps complaining it's cold in the house and I'm like, "nah, it's not". Makes me pity my poor sister who spent all summer in the third trimester. Ick. Don't think I'd fancy that one bit.

The weight of this thing (now about 2kg) is seriously impacting on my sleep now. My bed has become such a bittersweet place. On the one hand I stare at it longingly all day, wishing for even a 5-minute nanna nap ... but on the other, the minute I hop in I feel the ache in my hips and I KNOW it's not going to be comfortable. Sigh. Truly one of nature's most rotten tricks to do this to a person who in a matter of weeks is going to be massively sleep deprived.

To top it off, I have hit an insomnia patch too (had this with E too), where I pass out when my head hits the pillow but come 2am or 3am - CHING - wide awake, hungry even. It's awful.

Anyhow, minor whinges aside, I am doing OK. Slowly starting to move out of denial and into that "right, we need to get ready" phase.

Still no ideas on a name yet though. That one's in the too-hard basket, I'm afraid...