Friday, 10 October 2014

Four secret months

We headed out to the farm on Saturday, collecting the kid and J on the way, and meeting my parents up there, for the ceremonial placenta-and-apple-tree planting. The Boy and my dad built the kid a cubby while he slept in the car. It is completely awesome.

This was before it gained a door and curtains and a flower box.
The kid has decided it's a police station. 
The combined family sleepover went off without a hitch (although, jeez, I get the feeling sometimes that my mum isn't that far behind my dad in the brainpower stakes). The tree went in, and will hopefully still be alive when we get back there this weekend. I will spare you the photo of the bloody organ dumped in the bottom of a hole in the ground. A touch unsavoury for public viewing, methinks.

We got back just in time to have A and I and K over for impromptu curry on Sunday night, which was exactly what I hoped it would be. Hooray for cosy low-key dinner fun! Also, the daylight saving bonus hour meant we could happily stroll up to Chaps for dessert afterwards to stretch our legs.

I had my first hospital appointment, which did not take 3 hours as warned in the letter, but which did occur in the middle of a workday afternoon. Having primed myself to make the announcement at the production meeting that morning, I found out the meeting was cancelled. And then it turns out that I was sick enough with this everloving goddamn cold I still have to be sent home before needing to declare my need to leave work early anyway. Still dodging that bullet, then.

It was The Boy's birthday yesterday, so we went to Red Door for dinner, of course, with P & L & L. The kid and little L stopped for a dance on the platform in the park outside the station on the way home, and had the good fortune to witness a fire truck setting off, a helicopter flying overhead and a train pulling in to the station from both directions at the same time. Greatest night of those small boys' lives.
At 16 weeks last time I was flying to Sydney for a book launch. Times have changed in the book world since then, let me tell you. Although. I woke up this morning, at 5 am, with the opening chords of 'One Little River' coursing through my veins and I knew, I KNEW, everything was going to be ok. I will find my way, some day, and all I need to do to I get there is be open to the possibilities. And then I got to work and P whispered into my cubicle that she's been offered a promotion. And she wants to take me with her. The job title she has been offered is highly unlikely to involve just her. (She would be the only project director in the entire company without someone to direct.) We would be a dynamite team. We already are. We make shit happen. We make good shit happen. But she doesn't know about the babe. And the circumstances of her move are all still up in the air. I am stuck. Should I tell her? Moral quandary! Will she be pissed if she schemes a way up and out for me, only to have me turn around and say kthanxbai? If I do tell her, do I trust her 100% to continue with the plan as before? She is the INTJ to my ESFP, and has a ruthless streak... She has a phone meeting with the Sydney boss next week, to sort out the finer details. I do not trust him as far as I can kick him, so he will be the last to know. (Also, he's in Sydney, therefore utterly unaware of the waistlines of his staff.) The boss on the level between us will weep when he finds out P is moving, and that I am going too, either way. I meant that metaphorically, but the more I think about it, the more I think he may actually cry. We prop him up something fierce. P's professional development meeting is in two weeks, so common sense would indicate that all will be out in the open re: her position by then. My PD meeting will be some time in the week after that. Regardless of what I tell P, should I tell my crybaby boss? If the men bosses did know, and they didn't offer me the better job, I would have a pretty fair shot at getting that overturned on discrimination grounds... Hard to argue that point if I don't tell them. But maybe there is no great plan for me, baby or no baby, so telling them won't make any difference? Maybe I'm better off telling them so that they can plan right now to lose me for good, and happily send me off with P? The one friend at work who does know about the babe doesn't yet know about the P development, and I can't very well seek her opinion without breaking P's confidence. She would most likely tell me that I don't have to tell anybody shit anyway. Which is true. But all of this ignores the fact that in a week or two, I won't be able to hide it anymore. Gah. Longwinded ramblings. I still don't know what to do...

The kid knows what to do regarding shit(ty situations). While we were driving to work this morning, he said, 'Yeah. Try and squeeze one out every day, Mum'. Good advice, kiddo.



Friday, 3 October 2014

15 things at 15 weeks

After the brain dump of last week, I decided that the only way to make anything happen is to do something. Even if it seems like maybe nothing. So. In the spirit of lists on the internet equalling accountability and self-improvement, here are some things.
  1. Do the yoga. I'm back to feeling like death warmed up in the mornings, so haven't been very good at getting up and moving on my own, but the term starts again next week and I'm enrolled to go to two classes. This I very much want to maintain. 
  2. Walk. The easiest time to do this is at lunch. Twice a week! Do it! Especially now that the running seems like it's over.
  3. Eat better. I don't feel like I eat terribly. I don't eat junk food at all, really, but the vegetable intake could probably be higher. (Heard this before somewhere, I have.) Probably should get back on the green smoothies. Probably.
  4. Eat from the goddamn freezer. For realz. Lord knows what is in there. It's got to come out. 
  5. Clear the decks. Writing just to get stuff out, not thinking about the purpose, or even really necessarily ever reading it again. I've got out of that habit, and I think it's a good one for me to get back into. (This might mean substituting some train reading for train writing. I love my train reading time, but it is a very passive, time-wasting kind of reading. Won't hurt to do something a bit more proactive for some of that time instead.)
  6. Teach myself to crochet. Which I did this week! Dug out a book I had that one of the retreat leaders wrote and followed along with her little diagrams (and got frustrated and then asked YouTube for help), but I can do it! 

I might make a few more granny squares to practise, and then get started on the babe's blanket. Which I was originally thinking I would do as granny squares, but maybe now am leaning towards a zig-zag one? Progress, anyway.
  1. Knit me a tunic. This one's a long-term goal. The babe's blanket comes first. Mostly because I won't actually be able to wear this any time soon, what with the growing bump and impending summer and then the breastfeeding. But I do love it. And it seems totally doable. Have to figure out colours and such, but it's a definite.
  2. Stay off Facebook. There was a total technology blackout in place for the week in Bali and oh my lord, it was perfect. I do not need to spend the time I do on the internet, but Facebook is a particularly sticky gateway drug for me. No more. A once-a-week check-in with the Bali people is quite sufficient. And if they weren't there, I'd be completely off it again, cold turkey. (Which is, in some ways, easier to manage than a small dose...)
  3. Use CTFAR when things get shit. Something else I learned in Bali. Briefly, the acronym means that even when I can't change the Circumstances that are making me feel shit, I can change my Thoughts, and therefore my Feelings and therefore my Actions and therefore the Results. A little bit of self-help goes a long way. 
  4. Maybe join a choir? Scary! I used to sing at school, and loved it. I don't have a soloist's voice, at all, but I can hold a tune. Bali reminded me of the real, pure joy I feel when singing with other people. Thank you, Clare Bowditch and random retreat participant who just happened to run a women's choir. If only you ran that choir in Melbourne...
  5. Draw with the kid. He may be able to construct magnetic poetry on the fridge, but he can't colour in for shit. More craft with him, in general. Less iPad. Which I don't actually feel like he has too much of (15 or 20 minutes maybe two or three days a week). But he could be spending one of those afternoons making things. I feel like Made by joel will help us here.
  6. De-clutter. I have already done a bit of this. There are two op-shop bags in the hall ready to go.  Everything in my chest of drawers is in wearable condition and folded neatly. And I have been quite good at not just draping my clothes over the laundry basket at the end of each day, but actually hanging up the stuff that can be worn again and putting the stuff that needs washing inside the basket. I know, I'm like a real live grown-up.
  7. See my friends. This already happens, but I don't instigate a lot of it. And because there are so many of the Usual Suspects, it sometimes feels like a bit of a palaver to get things happening. But I want to just throw a couple of curries on the stove and have company in the living room. Totes low-key and spontaneous and involving whoever happens to be free. 
  8. Do something nice with my mum. C was suggesting taking her out for dinner. I'm still keen on the high tea we didn't have when we went to Les Mis. She's carrying the weight of the world right now and it's about time I made that load feel a little lighter.
  9. Do something with my dad. I don't know exactly what this is. I'm aware that at some stage, possibly quite soon, he's not going to be him anymore. Should I record him telling his stories? (Or because they're older memories, are they the things that he'll retain?) Make him something? Needs more thought... 
Those are my things, for now.

I don't remember much of what went on this week, but I do know that this afternoon my love met me at the station and we zoomed our way through the tree-lined streets of our beautiful springtime city to the Nova to see an early film with S & S. The kid is sleeping over at J's, so we went to Tiamo's for dinner afterwards and man, I will always love that place. Tortellini in brodo, piles of bread, vino in tumblers. The old Italian dude who just speaks Italian to you, regardless of the fact that all you can say in response is 'grazie mille'. I was pretty flipping happy sitting there in that warmth, with those people, in this good life. Pretty flipping happy indeed.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Fourteen

This week has been a weird one. A bit of a thud back to earth after the otherworldliness of last week. Which I still feel like I can't articulate in any meaningful way. Except that my confidence that it was 'life changing' is maybe misplaced? There's a Facebook group set up for all the women that attended the retreat, and it's imposter syndrome all over again to me. All of these clever, talented people are energised and inspired, writing songs and making things and taking big (or little) steps towards their dreams. And I'm still here. Still don't know what my dream is. Back at my job that I am not interested in. Back at home surrounded by my own suffocating clutter.

I believed in myself for a few days there. I thought I was going to come home from that week and the universe would show me my path and I would be on my merry way to save the world. But it's just life. Life with all of the beautiful things in it that I am not at all taking for granted, but still aimless. Still lost. Still not satisfied.

Quite a few people at work this week have come up to me and said, unprompted, how impressive it is that I got in to the Bali thing and how great it is that I went and how full of good ideas I am in meetings and so on. I did tell one woman at work (who I know that I can trust) about the babe and she said, 'I hope it's a girl. We need more women like you in the world.' And I am just baffled by all of this. Don't they know that a) I don't really give much of a shit about a lot of what goes on at work and b) that I'm just me? I'm just me. 

None of this is helped by the fact that I picked up a revolting cold on the plane home and am still snotty and coughing and hacking up phlegm. In hindsight, I probably should have had a day or two off work, just to get back to reality a bit more gradually... I have been eating well. Getting up to do a tiny bit of yoga early in the morning. Thinking about teaching myself to crochet in order to make a granny-square blanket for the babe. These things are not nothing, I guess.

I think my biggest impediment is that I haven't really ever been a very proactive person. I have kind of stumbled into every situation that has led anywhere in my life, and I do like to leave things to fate/the universe/chance a bit - but really, that's mostly because I feel paralysed about making decisions of any kind. I didn't stumble into Bali, though. I'm taking credit for that one. I saw the opportunity and I put in a shit-hot application, and they chose me. That's a step in the right direction right there. I'm just not sure where the next one is.

We did a lot of writing on the retreat. First thing each day, especially, was time for clearing the decks. I feel like I got back in touch a tiny bit with the part of me that is helped by pouring out self-indulgent shit like this. More than just pregnancy updates, but some of the guff that feels better out than in. I am kind of tempted not to do it here, but there is only so much time in the day and when the mood strikes, it's got to go somewhere...

Speaking of pregnancy updates, I'm still in hiding at work. I no longer fit into one pair of pants, but misjudged the length of the top I chose to wear with them, so spent Tuesday tugging my shirt down and hunching so as to keep my open button and half-undone zip from prying eyes. Glad there was one cold day in there so I could go back to my standard winter Fool uniform, which hides a multitude of sins. I'm not sure why I'm still keeping it to myself. A little of the motivation is self-protection in case of sudden workplace restructure. I don't want to be left behind because of the size of my womb. But given that I am kind of resolved to find something else to do pretty soon, that seems like a moot point. Maybe I just like keeping secrets. Symptoms mostly consist of fatigue. And constipation. Hooray. (And hello, pear juice and skin-on kiwi fruit.) I've felt a few more flutters, though. There's someone in there.

And did I tell you? We told the kid! He is thrilled! He's hoping for a little sister, and yesterday decided that we should call her 'Astroboy'. (Also, that kid. I love his hands. And his skinny little legs sticking out of shorts. I love his face and his guts and his beating heart.)

I still feel weird. Maybe a bit like being 14 years old, rather than 14 weeks pregnant. Last time I was happy. Like I said, though, the weirdness is better out than in.


Sunday, 21 September 2014

Lucky Week 13

In which, Bali.

Frogs and fireflies. Swimming. Food baby or baby-baby?

Hard stuff and fun stuff and stuff that I can't quite put into words. Some pictures, instead.




The week that changed everything. The friends that I will keep forever. The deep and true and slightly terrifying knowledge that my one precious life is mine to live.

Friday, 12 September 2014

12. The most beautiful number there is.

We spent Saturday night at the farm this weekend and it cleansed my very soul. I was beside myself with exhaustion on Saturday (see three nights out) but by Sunday morning, the cold air and the sunlight had worked their magic and I was good as gold.

And Sunday was Father's Day. Childcare came through with the goods, and sent the kid home with a framed handprint under the text of the classic dad-joke, 'Best dad, hands down', all wrapped up in paper he'd painted. Gold. The Boy loved it. And then they went and floated little leaf-boats down the tiny creek on the edge of the property. (Lordy, I wish that thing ran in summer. A cool place to dangle one's feet would be just the ticket. At least it gets hot enough to push it past the stinking mosquito pit it might be - nothing but dry brown earth by January.)




Here's another thing that happened on Sunday. I think I felt this tiny baby! It's early, I know, but all the bulk I've been packing on is way above my womb - there's virtually nothing between skin and organs there. It might have been a weird digestive thing that I have never felt before, or it might have been the flitter of tiny feet. Eeep!

The kid and I had a dreamy Monday Mumday, wandering up to the end of the street for a hot chocolate and a babycino, the kid going up to the counter to give M the money, making very sure that I was staying back around the corner so that he could do it himself.  Rolls from the bakery, ham from the IGA, then back home to make our lunchboxes. Then, the zoo!

He's so big these days. Taller, but also so not a baby. He pegged all his wet socks and undies up on the washing line on Monday. And brought them all in again when they were dry. He can put his porridge on in the microwave in the mornings. He cracks a mean egg. He cannot yet flip a pancake, as evidenced by the doughy massacre on the stovetop last weekend, but he's trying, standing up there on a chair next to me. My grown-up boy. He also has the strength of character to tell The Boy and Italian R, who were 'discussing' philosophy in a very, let's say, energetic, conversation the other night, that they needed to pull their heads in. True story! This little kid, piping up and saying to loudly gesticulating men of European descent, 'Dad, R, this conversation is getting a bit rough. Just remember to be kind to each other. Yeah. Just be kind.' Kid is brave. The Boy just about burst into tears of shame at his behaviour and pride in the kid's.

I don't know if he's picked anything up from the grandmothers, perhaps, or if he's deciphered any of the not-very-cryptic things The Boy and I have been talking about, but he's totally on the baby wavelength. He's utterly devoted to Lola the puffin, and told me they were having Monday Brotherday, and that Lola's parents were going to Sydney and Bali for 10 weeks, but it's ok because he's her brother and he'll take good care of her while they're away. (I'm sorry, kiddo! Away mama flies again!)

To Bali on Sunday! I am quietly shitting myself. Not packed or organised, not in the right headspace for it, but I'll get there. It'll be great. Right?

In the meantime, what if there's no heartbeat tomorrow? What if there's something else terribly wrong? What if we have to wait to miscarry or have a D&C or some other horrific scenario? What if I don't get to go to Bali and I don't get to have a baby and I have to spend the rest of my life doing this unfulfilling desk job? What if I'm a panic merchant? I feel better now that's out...

UPDATE
There's a baby in there! It brings tears to my eyes! It is alive and kicking and growing in all the right ways. The Boy is the cutest man alive. He was so excited! So was I. So great to know that this is not an abstraction any more. We might actually make it! The Dr said she was 60% confident it was a girl, but I don't think we're putting too much stock in that particular prediction, seeing as we got to 50% odds all on our own. Funny how things change. I didn't want any part of knowing last time. This time I cannot. Freaking. Wait. to find out.

UPDATED AGAIN
Test results are all clear. What took days and agonising days last time took all of half an hour this go round. All handled in a very nonchalant manner. Which, you know, I'm glad that nothing was wrong and it was no big deal, but I felt a bit like there should have been trumpets and streamers ready for the announcement, you know? Or at least a 'congratulations'. Don't they know that my precious baby is, like, the greatest tiny human ever built? No? Oh well.

Friday, 5 September 2014

11

This week we had a family meeting with Dad and his psychiatrist at the clinic where he's staying at the moment. I am the sanest of the lot of us, and considering my sometimes tenuous grip on sanity, that's saying something. Christ on a bike, it was not a fun situation. Everyone had calmed down by the end of it, and we did seem to get somewhere, but I would rather have spent my lunchbreak buying bananas and reading crap on the internet. Also, the 'somewhere' we got to is not where my mum had hoped we'd end up. Basically, there's no getting back what he's lost. I've never seen my mum look so crestfallen as when I left to go back to work and she realised that while things might get 'better', they're not actually going to get better.

Speaking of that whole situation, I need to get a motherfucking hobby. They still haven't quite figured out the full story with Dad's brain re: stroke damage verses a brain disease of some kind verses psychological issues, but listening to him in there yesterday it is clear that part of the problem is that he has nothing to do. He doesn't see it that way - he's quite happy wandering along the creek for hours with the dog, but it made me realise that the reason I have trouble buying him Father's Day/birthday/Christmas presents is that he doesn't have any interests. He reads a whole lot, thank god, so mostly he just gets books, but I'm not sure you can while away 15 years of retirement reading spy novels. Perhaps I'm underestimating him. I know I am. But I think about The Boy, who has aikido and music and philosophy, and I know that those interests will evolve and grow and keep him happy and occupied for the rest of his life. His dad was the same, with the planes and the building shit. But I have always felt a little unattached from things like that. I like to read. I quite like to knit, but I don't seem to ever make anything other than baby hats. (And really, no one appreciates a knitted jumper enough to make it worthwhile. I keep meaning to check out Ravelry to see if I can find something I might actually want to wear, but mostly I would rather stick pins in my eyes than make any of the hideous patterns that are out there. Sadly, it's a hobby that ain't going to bring a whole lot of satisfaction.) I like running, but my body is not going to be on board with that forever. I do like the yoga. It has occurred to me that I should take it a bit more seriously, but there is always a reason why that can't happen in any kind of meaningful way. I love food. I like travelling. Pffft. I'm fine. I have things I like. What I need is a bit more perseverance/motivation/direction. Not a new discovery. Ugh, the navel-gazing. Moving on...


I ate out an awful lot this week. Red Door on Sunday with the usual suspects, and then again on Wednesday night, even though Italian R couldn't make it. (I think I'd be pretty happy if my last meal was chicken patties, duck bean curd wraps, lobster prawn and crab dumplings and spicy green tea noodles.) Brilliant cheap-ass laksa with S & FJ on Monday night, all of us getting through a whole gigantic bowl each, our bellies a touch rounder going out than they were on the way in. (Pretty sure I'm winning that race, despite being 7 weeks behind titchy S. Somewhat alarming.) And then cheap-ass Vietnamese take-away from the place next door to the bar I met the core mamas in on Friday night. (Must write in more detail some time about when to send the kid to school. Turns out the other three are holding back...)

I have been working on some copywriting for the school friend who cuts my hair, which is a sweet win-win situation. She's over the moon with my web text and I get a few free haircuts in return. I was all geared up to power through it when the worst of the queasy exhaustion hit, so it's taken way longer than I had hoped, but she wasn't in any hurry, and it's done now. Relief! At least until the next round of corrections.

The business with the scan worked out ok, I hope. The clinic I do like called the clinic I don't like and found a spot for me and told them I won't be getting undressed and everyone seems fine with that. So back to bang-on 12 weeks for the scan, on Friday morning. Which will require missing work, but whatever. I go to Bali for a week straight afterwards, and frankly the place is in such a state that I am kind of mentally checking out already.

I haven't felt too spewy this week. Mostly just hungry and tired, with the occasional queasy moment just to keep me on my toes. I went for a run on Friday at lunch time and no part of it felt good. I never found my groove, just slogged along like a hippo for 25 minutes and then nearly had to have a lie down when I got back. Unpleasant. Looks like I'm going to have to make yoga a twice-a-week thing next term to keep up the activity levels. (I think about swimming. I like the idea. I just can't be arsed with the hair-washing, mostly.)

I did feel the beginnings of the girdle pain one night. Have since ordered some very attractive pregnancy compression shorts in a rather retching shade of nude to try and head that shit off at the pass. Scouring Gumtree and eBay for the SRC recovery shorts too. Bastards be expensive from the physio, but in hindsight I should have got them last time. No point paying full price now, though, seeing as this is the end of the baby-making line...

Same as last time, I got in touch with the Women's. Things have changed in the last few years, and now I'm not likely to be seen until somewhere around 18 - 20 weeks, mostly because the team that looks after our area is under the pump. We're just inside the zone for the main campus so won't be sent up to Sandringham. I don't think I would have minded either way - the kid was born in the city, so that's all familiar and comfortable, but Sandringham is a smaller hospital and has just been renovated. They don't do caseload there, but seems like the demand in the city is going to be so high that we're unlikely to get into the caseload program anyway. Much of a muchness, I guess. I'd be feeling a little stressed about it all if this was our first go round, but meh. We'll be fine. And even if we miss out on the slightly expanded version of caseload that the city also offers (eight midwives on the team instead of four), I feel like we'll be ok. We got this.

To the farm this weekend. I'm having bright green hill withdrawal symptoms.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Gimme 10

The return of the Monday Mumday is the best thing I've done in ages. I think we've had three days together so far, and it has been completely fab. We go to the supermarket early in the morning (which is actually great, because the kid can read the shopping list and count the carrots and fill me in on the orange juice situation because I have forgotten to check before we left the house). And then we go to the library for storytime, or do something else, like meet a friend for lunch and a play in the park. (It turns out that I have a great many friends who do not work on Mondays. Like I and L and FJ and S and K and K and T and H and C... We can pretty much fill the rest of the year with lunches and playtimes without even trying.) This week we went to the NGV and spent over an hour in the Pastello exhibition...
where the kid drew on the walls with a crayon-studded helmet.

And where pretty much every surface held crayons to rub your paper circles on.

And then we got back on a tram and headed down to the State Library to meet A for lunch. It's a pretty cool place to work, and I love how the kid knows his way around there already, climbing the stairs to see the stereoscope pictures and asking A if he can swipe her security pass to go to her desk. A did eventually have to do some actual work, so we headed back down to the children's section, where I lounged in a beanbag and the kid cut and coloured and glued to his heart's content.

A train ride home (plus a piggyback down our street, ugh, those days are numbered) then we walked in the door to drop off our bag and walked straight out again to L's house. Actually, the kid ran there. He played with little L and J and I sat at the kitchen bench at ate everything Mother L gave to me and she fed the kids and despite having just raved about Monday Mumdays, it was such a relief to not be the sole source of entertainment for the kid. I reckon next week I'm going to hand him over to her and sprint the six houses back home for a mid-afternoon power-nap.

Also this week - the sun came out.

Praise be to the sun

10-week bloods today. There's a clinic about two minutes' walk from my office so I can sneak in there at lunchtime and not have to do any alarm-raising 'leaving early for an appointment' bizzo. A little more annoying is the situation with the 12-week scan. I wanted to go to the same place where I had the kid's 20-week scan, but they're all booked out, so I was booted on to their sister clinic. I have been there once before during the cyst-monitoring phase and I Do Not Like It. Perhaps things will be different for a routine baby scan, but last time I was there they made me get totally undressed and sit in a hospital gown in a weird limbo waiting room before I was called in. (Was it because there was a dildo-cam involved? I don't remember.) I will not stand for that dehumanising shit this time. There is no need for anyone ever to get undressed for this sort of thing, and it has never happened in any other clinic I have attended in my vast lady-parts-investigating history. I shall wait in the normal waiting room with the magazines and the people until my name is called, and then I'll lie down on the bed and tug down the top of my jeans like a woman growing a baby instead of a patient gestating a foetus.

Also, their receptionists are effing rude. The clinic called to shift my 12-week scan because one of their doctors is away. So now it's at 11w3d, right on the edge of the window, which is only ok if my dates are accurate. Which I'm not 100% certain they are. Plus now it's on a Monday, so I'll have the kid. We still haven't told him, and it might be a cool way for him to find out, but not if things are not ok...

In other medical news, my dad's MRI results revealed not dementia, as everyone had been suggesting, but a bunch of scar tissue caused by a series of tiny strokes. Which is 100% better than dementia because it can actually be treated. He's still an in-patient, but can go out for lunch and things, so we've got a picnic on the river planned for the weekend.

Physically, I feel like things have settled down a bit. Some of that is worrying, because lack of symptoms = still pregnant? but as it turns out this is exactly how it went down last time. (I do feel like this weekly diary entry bizzo is kind of contrived and a bit of a drag, but I'm glad I have the experiences of being pregnant with the kid to look back on. It's highly unlikely I'm going to want to compare these experiences to a third pregnancy, assuming this one goes to plan, but still. Here I am. Dutifully recording minutiae.) I've gone to bed early every night this week, which I think has helped with the exhaustion. That and the fact that I've been exhausted for the past four years anyway, so it ain't nothing new.

I did have a moment last night when I felt that rising, flapping panic in my chest and it was all I could do not to run screaming from the building, but I kept a lid on it and got the kid into bed, and felt like a grown-up who can recognise the symptoms of crazy and not react to them. Confirms for me the hormones are part of the problem. I haven't felt that particular breed of nutso since I was at home alone with a newborn. Something to be aware of. Probably something to seek preemptive professional help with. Put it on the list.

10 down. Feeling good. On we go.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Love potion #9


The light shifted this week. We had one day of glorious sunshine. It is not dark at 5.30 anymore, and it is already bright when we leave home in the morning. There's a sniff of spring in the air and it is good. Still no leaves on trees, but I have seen actual blossom, so there's no turning back now.

9 weeks last time I was running 10ks. (Not very easily, as it turned out, but still.) That is not happening this time. Although I did go for one run during the week, and it did make me feel better, so that's something.

I am maybe not quite as sick, although I don't seem to be able to say that with any reliability. There are still terribly queasy days. I am eating too, too much, but most of it is good food and it really is the only thing that seems to help - never having an empty stomach. The burgeoning food baby is going to give the game away pretty soon, though. Luckily up until now it's been cold enough to legitimately wear scarves and coats in the office, but not for much longer ... 

I am suddenly TIRED - much more so than previous weeks. My sleep has turned all to shit, which is part of the problem. I stumble in to bed at 8.30 or 9, and then wake up to pee, or not, at 2 or 3 and then I toss and turn and don't go back to sleep. Boo. I think the extra weight I've put on is beginning to hurt my back, which does not bode well. (The bathroom scales met with a water-related incident, so I have no idea what's going on kilo-wise, but the jeans don't lie.)

And I've had The Fear. Waking up in the night with cramps that feel exactly like the day before my period when my womb is readying itself to the expel its contents. So far none of this has come to anything at all, but it is disconcerting, and painful. The days when I don't feel sick, I worry that things have stalled. I worry about being so mysteriously and debilitatingly unwell right around the time this baby was conceived and what that might mean. (I still have no idea how conception actually happened. Pretty good chance I'm carrying the next coming of the messiah.) I worry about all the booze. At least I was taking the vitamins. And at least I'm consistent - seems like The Fear was featuring a fair bit about now last time around as well.

Bali is getting closer and I don't feel much better about it. Spidey sense about impending disaster of some kind? Hesitation at the emotional challenges ahead? Neither option - superstition nor self-sabotage - is a great reason not to go, so I'm going. But sans bells.

All this sounds like life is a big ball of tears, but the kid stayed at The Boy's mum's place last night and we went out to see Boyhood and drink fancy (non-alcoholic) drinks and eat Russian food. Because what else would you do when you have time off from your son but watch a really long film about someone else's. It was good, in a slow and meandering way. Both the film and the evening.


Soon we'll pick the kid up and head to the farm for the night. I feel like it's been a while since I was there and I am so looking forward to daffodils and crisp air and green. And then on Sunday morning we're heading straight back into the city to the Collingwood Children's Farm, to play with some new friends of friends who have just moved here from Canberra. We've met up once before and the kid and their similar-aged kid get along famously. (Helped enormously by the fact their two names, when strung together sound quite a lot like Soren Lorenson, the imaginary friend character from Charlie & Lola.)

So yes. Still no house, still no clue what I want to be when I grow up, still no idea where the kid will go to school... Still in love with my boys and my kitty and most parts of my life. On balance, winning.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Eight days a week

This week, in snippets, because my job depresses me too much to work up the enthusiasm for narrative. (Admittedly, not a strong point around these parts lately anyway.)

The Boy took the kid to the farm to stay Saturday night, with R who is over from Italy, and C, who has come down from Sydney to see him. They fulfilled R's lifelong dream of driving a tractor, which I find amusing. The kangaroos showed up with joeys in tow, which was nice for the tourists.

Meanwhile. I went to K's hen's as designated people-mover driver, in theory because I'm old and motherly and have no interest in doing lines of gear after a day on the piss, but in practice because I'm pregnant (and old and motherly and have no interest in doing lines of gear after a day on the piss). Turns out I quite like driving a people-mover. Shame we've left it too late to have seven more children.

D's mum died, all of a sudden, while laughing with friends. Which is terribly tragic for I, who now has to re-live the hideousness of her own mother's death.

My dad is in the hospital, for three or four weeks. I'm not sure what will come of it. Something better, or my mum is likely to I don't know what exactly. Pull the pin? Kick him out? Probably not. But possibly...

I went to yoga. I didn't run. (Ugh. I feel too sick to even contemplate running. Which is dumb, because I know it would help. Womp, womp, wobble.)

I puked in the bathroom sink one morning, about ten minutes after drinking a glass of orange juice. Same as the pukiest day last time. Won't make that mistake again. (Funny, too, that I have just started on N's vitamin regime again.)

I have felt kind of spewy most days. Can't seem to ever eat quite the right thing to quell it for more than half an hour or so. But on Friday I trudged down to Dymocks on my lunch break, bought a copy of The Fault in our Stars, and sat reading in Grill'd while I shovelled in a Mustard & Pickled burger, and oh my god, I was like a new woman. For the whole rest of the afternoon and into the evening I felt brilliant. So maybe the nausea is an iron thing, for me? Or protein? Either way, I ordered the steak at K's hen's lunch and had precisely the same results. (To the point where even though we ate at around 1.30, I didn't really notice that I hadn't eaten again until I got eventually got home at 9ish.)

I do not seem to be as tired as last time. Maybe because I am used to functioning on not enough sleep. Maybe because I'm not doing one million kilometres of running training every week.

My boobs have acclimatised to their new-found heft, and are not quite as tender. Although they are definitely not up to being kneeled on by bony three-year-old knees, I discovered this morning.

The kid continues to charm the pants off me...
'Mama, your skin is so lovely and soft! What did you put on it to make it so soft?' (That would be pregnancy hormones, child.)

And this gem:
'Mum, I would like someone to play with. Can you please put another baby in your tummy? I think I would like a little sister.' (Mostly I'm putting this down to a recent Charlie & Lola obsession. He's going to be awfully disappointed when he realises that tiny babies do not actually do very much besides squawking and digesting and god help us, sleeping.)

That was the week that was 8. Back to effing maths tests.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Sixes and sevens

The Boy asked, a few days after we found out about the babe, if there was anything I wanted to do differently this time around. My immediate response was that this time, I don't want to be so crazy. I wasted so much time being so miserable with the kid. I don't want to do that again. I guess we'll see what role the hormones might play, but I feel like I'm starting from a better place (despite the lax exercise regime and the TOO MUCH WINE). I don't have anywhere near the levels of general anxiety that I remember coursing through my veins with the kid in my belly. The concept of 'baby' is not foreign. I am already a mother, so that particular identity crisis is a non-issue. There is the usual list of Things That Can Go Wrong, but from experience, I know that thinking about them does me no good. So I'm not. Hooray, mental health! Also, if things do get bad, I plan to get some help. A nice resolution to be at peace with, considering the terrible consequences of not properly dealing with the crazy that is probably partly hereditary... my dad is going in to the psych ward next week. It's a legacy I have no intention of passing on.

Some other things...

The kid is like a cross between a mountain goat and a tiger cub these days. Everything is climbing and running and jumping and growling and wrestling and The Boy assures me it will be like this until he hits 16. He is also organising his own social life. Woke up on Saturday morning and said 'I want to sleep at J's tonight.' So he found The Boy's phone, called her up and invited himself over. Rejected by our own child! Good thing we're building another one.

As seems to happen, The Boy and I spent our night together apart. G had a spare ticket to Glengarry Glen Ross, so The Boy went to the play and I stayed home and watched Grave of the Fireflies.


Which is the saddest film ever made. (The Boy showed it to his Year 11 Philosophy class who are doing a unit on Justice and had a room full of sobbing 16-year-olds.) We were talking about it in the morning when we woke up, and both of us ended up in tears again. It is excellent. You should watch it. (Even if you don't like anime. I'm not a huge fan.) You may need counselling to recover.

The cat brought three mice home yesterday. And caught another one this evening. From inside the house.

I am going to Bali. I am one part excited and two parts shitting myself. Excited because maybe I'll find some direction. Who knows what little sparks might come out of it, and what they might turn into. Scared because a Facebook group has been set up for the other people going and they are all properly CREATIVE and I'm like... eh... I work in educational publishing. (But the organisers must have thought I could walk the walk, or they never would have let me in, right?) I am scared #2 because maybe it will be the worst week of my life! Maybe everyone will be insufferable, and it will all be a bit kumbaya and I'll be stuck on an island contracting listeria and bali belly and dengue fever and having a miscarriage and ohmygod why did I say yes!? (I have been to Bali once before, maybe 12 years ago? With C. Who developed appendicitis about four days in to our stay. She knew what was happening. There was not a doctor on the island who would believe her. Her medical treatment was so poor - even at the fancy new clinic, even with a subsequent transfer to Denpasar to a specialist with an ultrasound machine - that her appendix burst not two hours after we landed back home, having festered for days and days. Thank god for the man staying at the same hotel as us who worked for a travel guide company. We had played with his kids in the pool and ran into them at dinner before C got sick and he happened to see us leaving in an ambulance in the middle of the night. He told us not to pay for anything but to make the insurance cover it. His wife took care of us back in the hotel when they sent us away. He insisted that the airline take me home early as well as C when they were being dicks about the tickets. Things would have been much more stressful without him. C made it back alive, but her guts were such a mess that she was in hospital for a month with an open wound. It was the scar tissue from that episode that caused her ectopic pregnancy, and filled her belly full of fistulas and cysts and other such things and restricted H's growth so much that she had to be emergency caesared out a month early. Longest bracket detour ever.) So, yeah. Mixed feelings about Bali.

The Boy is in Sydney this weekend for aikido. The kid and I are having a sleepover with the boys we used to live with on Saturday night. (Week 7 last time around we were going to fancy restaurants with them.) In general, things are physically fine. Mostly. With the exception of my boobs. Oh my lord, my boobs. They are fecking HUGE. And sore. And the nausea. And the 8 o'clock bedtimes. But no spotting scare. And mentally, all is ship-shape. I am pretty bloody determined to keep it that way.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

High fives

A week of forgetting and remembering and forgetting again. Mostly remembering.

Les Mis with A and T, after a quite good but somewhat overpriced dinner at Supernormal. (I do love those lobster rolls. They are excellent. But $16 excellent? I'm not so sure. Also, the miso eggplant salad was meh.) But the beans were spilled to those two because the first thing they wanted to order was oysters, which I had to decline. Immediately suspicious. So then we talked about babies a lot, and A was sad again because he feels like he doesn't help us out as much as he thinks he should and jeez, fella, I am like 'do you even know how amazing it is that you even have that thought?' We are likely to be the only breeders in our friendship group, for reasons of gayness and medical incapabilityness and inexplicable singleness and even though maybe things were heading this way because we're all getting old and boring anyway, I am in awe of how seamlessly this crew has rearranged their entire social lives around our child. We go out for dinner at 6! We go to each others houses for lunch, or for evenings that begin at 5 and end (for us at least) at 8.30. They have embraced the kid with so much love and I am enormously grateful that he will have this motley band of exceptional uncles and aunties around him as he grows. That A could feel guilty because they haven't managed to have the kid sleep over yet makes me incredulously grateful at how much he wants to help. The kid is only 3! (And just wait, once we're knee-deep in newborn again, we'll be farming the first one out all over the place.)

So all the usual suspects know, and are suitably thrilled. The Boy's mum was très excited. My parents seemed somewhat subdued. Both mothers did say that the kid needs a sibling. Glad I can help them out with that.

We had lunch at S&R's on the weekend, with FJ&B & baby A, and would you believe it? We're three for three. I was telling S in the kitchen just as FJ walked in because I cannot keep a secret, and so then everybody's cats were out of the bag. FJ is 7 weeks and S is 12. S&R have been trying for a year, and were on the brink of heading down the path of medical assistance, so I am particularly thrilled for them. And for all of us! High school reunion mothers' group 2015! Yeah!

Also, you know how I feel ambivalent about my job? But can't leave because of the astounding maternity leave provisions? That quandary is nicely boxed away for the time being, but a couple of days before I peed on that stick, I applied for this.
Creative Retreat
And, seriously, astoundingly great piece of news #263, I got in! Of course, I had to email them and say it would be me + .5, but they were totally down with that. I have until Friday to accept. I am hesitating because, hello, second solo overseas holiday this year. Indulgent, much? But The Boy seems unfazed. It could be just the thing to snap me out of the rut I'm in professionally... I would cross the magical 12-week line a day or two before it starts. Should I go?

Pregnant lady symptoms are as follows:

  • I feel like someone has given me world championship level nipple cripples and then punched me in the tits. I do not remember this from last time! 
  • I had to wear two bras when I went for a run yesterday, just to eliminate all possibility of bouncing. 
  • Alas, nothing could be done about my arse. How can it wobble so much so soon? 
  • I am beginning to think that it will become apparent to casual observers much more quickly than with the kid. Chances of still fitting into my jeans at 6 months seem very slim indeed.
  • I had a blood nose yesterday. 
  • I fell asleep on the floor at 8 o'clock last night. 
  • One piece of chocolate honeycomb on Saturday gave me the blood sugar shakes. See you in 35 weeks, sweet things! 
Last time I was worried about where to have the kid. Didn't give it a second thought this time. (Also didn't run anything like 7 km. I am sorry #2! You are not going to have the start in life your brother had!)

I wrote most of this yesterday, and now I have come down with a full-blown snotfest of a cold, bonus sore throat included. And I have been a cranky-ass bitch. So much for my earth mama aura of calm.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Everything's coming up Milhouse

Well. That was unexpected. And possibly some sort of medical miracle? It makes no biological sense, whatsoever, based on events of the past few months, but the stick don't lie. And so far, neither does the womb. I think some back story is in order... it has been a while.

I had a Day 21 blood test a couple of weeks ago, the results of which were to determine whether or not we should make the next cycle a Clomid one. Dinner with the core mamas the day after the test, and between us we drank an uncharacteristically lush three bottles of wine. (Let's not dwell on the effects of copious amounts of alcohol on developing embryos. At that point, I honestly thought it wasn't even a remote possibility.) I told them about the Clomid plan, and we joked about adding another set of twins to the group (although the set we have involved no drugs at all). We stayed until the kitchen closed and the waitstaff went home and finally tumbled out into the pouring rain at 12.30 once the messages from husbands inquiring about our safety started to pile up. And then I had to get up and do a giant spew at 3 in the morning. Which did seem a bit weird at the time. But not 'I might be pregnant' weird.

The test results came back a few days later and the general consensus was that actually I had ovulated this time, so maybe try again next month and then come back for the drugs, perhaps. All a bit vague. I don't know what the actual progesterone result was for that test, but it occurs to me that it should have been massively high if I was already pregnant, right? Nobody seemed to suggest this...

Another week passed... Then on Sunday afternoon, The Boy took the kid out to a goodbye party for one of his aikido friends who is going overseas for a year, and for the first time in one million hours, I had five seconds to myself. During which time, it occurred to me that I should probably go and look at my diary and figure out when exactly this next period was due, because it felt like maybe it should have already happened. 33 days was the count, which seemed pretty late, given that what has passed for normal recently is somewhere between 26 and 31. So why not pee on a stick at 5 o'clock on a chilly Sunday evening? Found one in a drawer, unexpired, and did so. And holy shit, that is two lines, right? Just like that. I FULLY expected to see only one.

So I proceeded to shake and grin and shake some more and tried to write up the childcare committee meeting minutes I'd been avoiding and could not concentrate at all and hurry up and come home husband, before I instagram this shit. I did not instagram that shit. I did leave the stick on the bookshelf near the door where The Boy would see it when he put his keys down. My little family came home, eventually, the kid bleary on the The Boy's shoulders, and as The Boy peered at the shelf in the dim hallway light, he said, 'What's that? Is that a yes, or a no?' That's a yes. Cue delight.

The core mamas were beside themselves.


Those girls have been through this whole drama with me, so they got a picture text as soon as the kid was in bed. And they promptly organised hot chocolates for the next evening once all the babies were asleep. That's what we did on Monday night. Sat in a cafe for a couple of hours drinking chocolate and cackling like fiends at our incredible good fortune.

Here are some ducks that it turns out are nicely corralled for this development.
  • The Boy and I had a proper, difficult, successful conversation about the ongoing baby #2 plans when we were at the farm a few weeks ago. After the Clomid discussion with the gynaecologist, before the blood test. Resolved that yes, we did want another baby, but that no, we wouldn't go so far as IVF. Resolved a lot of other things besides. He is a good man. We are good together. 
  • I arranged, a month ago, to take every Monday off for the rest of the year, in order to get my annual leave down to acceptable levels. The kid has two more Mondays in childcare, and then we're the Monday Mumday crew again. I have felt bad about him being in childcare three days a week this year, but he's totally happy to go there so that's not really an issue. But now we get to spend a whole lot of quality time together before his universe (who am I kidding, the universe in general) turns upside down. Also, we get to not spend quite so much money on childcare.
  • We did not buy a two-bedroom upstairs apartment two weeks ago. Phew. Cos while we were thinking it could be doable with a three-and-a-half-year-old who is only getting older, it would not have been fun to be back to square one in babiesville there.
  • I have a five-year contract locked in at work. In an ideal world, I would manouvre myself into a better-paid position within the company before the end of the year, but even if that doesn't happen, I have excellent maternity leave provisions and a job to come back to.
Here are some other nice things.
  • It was very pleasant to leave the doctor's rooms on Monday with a fistful of referrals that were not aimed at solving mysterious symptoms, but were for routine baby checks. 10-week blood test. 12-week scan. 20-week scan. Hospital referral. I think the doc was almost as pleased as I was.
  • N, who I have known since I was 4 and who delivered the kid, is moving back to Melbourne in September, and so will potentially be around to help deliver a March baby as well.
  • I am instantly a better mother. The kid is the most delightful creature, and even when he is not, I have limitless compassion and energy to talk him around. I am reminded of the outstanding privilege it is to create another human being, and of the responsibility involved in raising a brave and good and happy one. Watch this space for updates on my waning patience and waxing belly... For the time being, we're in a good place.
(Also, he draws cats now.)
  • The most gratifying? rewarding? relieving? thing about this situation? When that second pink line started to appear, the instant and overwhelming emotion - other than shock - was happiness. I have had a lot of doubts along the way about whether another child was the right decision for us (mostly tied to whether I would cope), and while I'm not delusional - I know it's not all going to be sunshine and kittens - I am genuinely pleased that this has happened. I trust my gut, and my gut says yes. (I trust my actual guts a bit more now, too.)
We haven't told our parents yet. Haven't told the kid yet, either. We kind of thought maybe we could break the news at the farm, when we inter the placenta that has been lurking at the bottom of my parents' deep freeze for three years. You know, a 'Thanks for taking care of that for us. Save a spot for the next one' kind of thing.

Good lordy god almighty. I am starving all the time and have major bullet nipples all the time and feel pleasantly surprised all the time when I go to the toilet and I don't see red. I am maybe a bit crampy. Definitely cultivating a little crop of pimples... Here's what was happening last time around. (This may well turn out to be a cringe-worthy exercise.)

Although it might sound like it, I am not taking any of this for granted. I know how easily things can come unstuck. But I am also aware of how little help it is to worry. This experience will be what it will be, whether it lasts 40 weeks or 14. Zen-like calm is the only way...

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Eggs. We're having eggs for dinner.

Again with the long time between drinks. 

I was recovering ok from the surgery. Gradually getting back on my feet, slowly not having to hold my belly with every step. A week afterwards, I went in to have the stitches out, and all seemed well. A few days after that, I started bleeding. My cycle is still up shit creek, so I just put it down to an earlyish period and went on my crampy, bloody way. A few days after that and I'm sitting at my desk wondering how I'm going to tell my male boss that I need to leave because I'm scared I'm going to tie-dye both my trousers and my office chair a fetching shade of red. He took one look at me and said, 'Are you ok?' I told him I really didn't think I was and he sent me straight home. Didn't have to tell me twice. I went via the gynaecologist's, who decided I had an infection and put me on antibiotics and progesterone to stop the bleeding. Holy moses, I felt like shit for a couple of days there. And then suddenly I didn't. God bless modern medicine... Except...

I kind of feel like modern medicine got me in that situation in the first place. I didn't really write about it much here, but I was feeling a bit reluctant about the surgery before it happened. It all felt like a bit too much. A bit too 'Baby Battle Stations!' Yes, maybe the cyst was interfering with ovulation, but also, maybe not. And it looked kind of bad, but also, opinion was divided on that. (And turns out it was just your average run-of-the-mill quite large but harmless cyst.) Exhale. I have a lot of FEELINGS about the state of my reproductive system. Like, maybe this suddenly erratic hormonal situation - which started pretty much exactly 18 months ago when we decided to try for another baby - isn't actually hormonal craziness at all. Maybe it's psychosomatic? Or, not exactly psychosomatic, but stress-related? Maybe, deep, deep down, I'm so scared about the prospect of having another baby that my body has neatly sidestepped the whole process and taken care of the decision for me? Is that crazy?

I am actually quite crazy, on and off. When I'm not, I can see clearly that my behaviour is completely bonkers. But when I'm deep in that black fog, it seems utterly real to me. All those problems, all those issues, they are overwhelming in a way that makes me want to walk out on my life and disappear. I am not suicidal, and I do always go home/turn up where and when I'm meant to be. But I am unreachable. I am closed off to The Boy and the kid, and humanity in general. I do the bare minimum to keep up appearances, but I cry in the shower and use the self-checkouts and basically wish I didn't exist because then I could just shut my eyes and sleep and let everything slide. And then, a day or three later, the sun rises and hello! Here I am again. Nothing has changed. Still the same job, house, life. But it's fine. I can laugh. I can talk. I'm back and I'm happy. And I can see that I was possessed by something wrong for 48 hours. Hormones are the obvious answer, but I forget to track things, and the whole system is so erratic, it's a total crapshoot as to which hormones might be causing things on which days. And also, when it's fine, it's GREAT! I kind of even forget I was at all unhappy. It doesn't occur to me to investigate things more deeply until after the next bout of misery...

Anyway. I have lost track of days and weeks. I don't know how long ago the last bleak blip was. Three weeks, maybe? Somewhere in there I went back to work for a week or so and got the plague. Honestly. So, so sick. I am rounding out two weeks in bed now, and I am only just beginning to feel like I could maybe be a functioning member of society again. There is no official diagnosis. Lots of blood was taken, to no avail. Some weird thing was going on with one of my pupils. They scanned my brain. Antibiotics didn't work. Painkillers didn't work. I was sick. To the point where my GP got in the habit of calling me at home to check on me, and has given me her mobile number. (Yes! Side-stepping the receptionists, oh yeah.) Whatever it was seems to have almost run its course. So, back to work next week. Back to the real world. (They gave me another contract. Five years, this time. Yay? I guess. That's a whole other post.)

These last couple of days as I've begun to feel a bit better, I've baked a bit. Buns and such. Roasted a chicken (which I never do, because I am scared of meat/oven situations). Saved all the bones and bits and made stock yesterday. Strained it all out and left it on the stove to cool a little. Was patting myself on the back for my frugal, thrifty homemaker ways and the healing broth we were going to have for dinner tonight. Except while I was reading bedtime stories to the kid, The Boy washed the dishes and poured my healing broth down the drain.


Thursday, 22 May 2014

And then my grandmother died.

While my mum was picking me up from hospital. Washing our dishes. Changing the kid's sheets. Making me a hot pack.

All her life she's taken care of other people. Now she's all that's left. Her brother, father, mother dead. My poor mum. Alone.