Saturday, 21 March 2015

39 weeks. Or, how to not have a baby.

I think my job now is to go into labour and not have babies. I am getting quite good at it. Vis:

All tests turn out fine. We ask whether this still means being induced, and the midwife says to come in on Friday anyway and have all the tests again, and make the decision then, if need be. Good plan. After the stretch and sweep, come home and go into early labour. Nothing too serious, but enough to make me start tracking the contractions on the app. Have J collect the kid from childcare and go for a sleepover, just in case. Go to bed. Things peter out at about 11.30pm. No baby. (Please note that FJ gave birth a couple of hours after we left the hospital, and an hour after we had been texting. Just like that. Super quick.)

Nothing much happens during the day. The kid comes home. After he goes to bed, The Boy and I try the ol' 'get it out the same way it got in' method. And I express colostrum into a 3mm syringe in case the babe is as tiny as they're saying he is. (God bless midwife friends who know that these things might be required and have the equipment lying around at home.) It is laborious! And I squirt half of the hard-won .5ml out over the pillow when I accidentally push the plunger a bit too hard! Spilt milk worth crying over! Either the lovin' or the nipple stimulation do the job, though. Within an hour, things are happening. Then they happen a bit quicker. With FJ's experience in mind, we call L from down the street to come and sit in the living room and wait for my mum to turn up, and we head into the hospital. Through to the assessment centre and things started to slow down. Everyone assumes it is the lights and the sterile hospital environment that have scared the contractions off, and they send me out for a walk, and... nothing. All over, red rover. They do another stretch and sweep (3 cm this time) and load me up with some codeine so that I can sleep a bit before things might get going again and by 1.30 am I am back home in bed. No baby.

The kid is delighted to find Nan on the couch in the morning, and we all get up and walk to the cafe and then childcare, and then The Boy and I came home and repeat the day before's efforts. Again, things start off well. I have good contractions for about four hours and just as they feel like they are slowing down, gush. Maybe that's my waters? I tested positive for GBS a couple of weeks ago, so broken waters = straight to hospital. Call J to collect the kid from childcare for another sleepover. In we go again. A few good contractions in the car, and then, again, as soon as we walk into the assessment centre, nothing. (Hello, familiar midwives, from all my previous visits!) Another check, a test for amniotic fluid (negative), another CTG, another false alarm. Home we go. No baby. The Boy and I eat pizza and almond magnums and watch Plebs in bed and generally enjoy what we think might be the last child-free night in a while. I get angry about the induction plan. (Reasoning goes: pre-labour x 3 + no baby = baby is fine just where he is. Breaking waters on hospital clock + same reaction = syntocinon = fucking hardcore labour = potential distress, epidural, caesar. Not ideal. Particularly if not actually required.)

Induction. Alarm goes off at the god-awful hour of 5.30am. I am still shitty. Faff around, wash my hair, don't hurry at all because fuck them, they can wait, I'll be on their clock all day. Arrive at the hospital a bit before 7. Check in and they send us straight up to the birth centre. Hello again, familiar midwives. We walk into our room and they start to set up like it's all a foregone conclusion. Wait! We're here to talk, and test amniotic fluid levels and so on, and then maybe be induced if necessary! We have to wait for morning shift doctors to start if there's going to be any discussion, so onto the CTG in the meantime, as those results will be required whatever happens. Doctors come and are weirded out that we're not ready. They talk about small babies again. We still are not given any clear reasons for why they are better out than in. They agree to do the AFI test again. We agree to them breaking my waters if it looks like he's in worse shape than Tuesday. He's not. Doctors say fine, go home. But also do another stretch and sweep and talk wistfully about how lovely my cervix looks and how great those waters would be to break. Suddenly I feel like now the pressure's off we should maybe just get it over with and do it. But we don't. We go home for Round 3 of DIY induction. Which again, works for a few hours, then doesn't anymore. I cry a lot, and feel like a failure because first I almost can't keep him in and now I can't get him out, and what if the small baby talk really is a good reason to give him a nudge and we've made the wrong decision and things go horribly wrong and it's all my fault. No baby.

NO BABY. FAAAAARK! We have another AFI test booked in for Monday morning. I am almost tempted to have The Boy boil up a crochet hook and break my waters himself. Pretty sure if this kid hasn't arrived by the time we're in the day clinic on Monday, I'm going to give them the green light to do whatever they need to do. This shit is bananas.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Think I might be having a baby?


Had my appointment this morning, and the obstetrician is still worried about the babe's size. We agreed to disagree about that - my argument is that someone has to be small, right? That's how averages work! And so many of those growth scan measurements were re-done by different people who came up with wildly different measurements... I just don't trust that there's necessarily an issue. Anyway. She gave me a stretch and sweep, and sent me off to the day clinic for a CTG and another look at the blood flow and amniotic fluid, and booked me in for an induction on Friday. Which I am not crazy about.

All those test results were fine, the babe's head is engaged and I'm 2 cm dilated. And after four hours of sitting in various chairs, I'm home, and have lost my mucous plug and am feeling either quite frequent Braxton Hicks contractions, or actual labour pains. Either way, there's a whole lot more action going on than there has been so far. I'm not sure I'll have to have the fight on Friday about being induced.

We bumped into FJ & B in the day clinic, who were there because she's 40+3 and maybe having labour pains... I think we might have twins. See you on the post-natal ward, lady!

Wish me luck...

Saturday, 14 March 2015

30 billion weeks.

That's how pregnant I feel. Thirty billion weeks. Today I can't walk! Hooray! My pelvis is one thousand kinds of tender, and I woke up this morning with crippling sciatica. As in, I am an actual cripple. Cannot put any weight whatsoever on my left leg. Hopefully it will go as mysteriously as it came. It has happened before. Never quite this bad, though... It will be so wonderful to be able to sleep some other way than on my sides. My hips are really not up to the task anymore.

The Braxton Hicks contractions are coming and going, but when they come, they're getting kind of serious. They've woken me up in the night a couple of times, although, to be fair, I don't feel like I'm doing too much in the way of very deep sleeping. (Kind of the same as last time?)

The kid has two more birthday parties to go to this weekend.

The hospital bag is kind of packed. All the baby stuff is in there. And the pads and wipes and so on. Have to put some clothes for me in, but my limited wardrobe is still in high rotation, so I think I'll just end up chucking in whatever might be cleanish as we run out the door.

Another hospital check-up on Tuesday. I guess if they start talking about induction, I'll organise an acupuncture appointment.

So much cleaning. Not enough name-choosing. Quite a lot of chocolate eating. Very little coherent thought. Out you come, sweet babe. Mama's ready for you.

Monday, 9 March 2015

37 degrees of separation

37. Made it to full-ish term. Last time, I was just finishing up work. (Which reminds me, I need to formally organise the maternity leave... Still on sick leave at the moment, but only for another three weeks.)

Have I written about this? I don't think so... They've been worried at the hospital, since Christmas, that this babe is a little on the small side. He measured in the 40th percentile then, and a couple of weeks later the 20th, then the 15th... The scan I had on Thursday was the one to decide whether he could stay in there for the duration or whether he was too little and had to come out early. He squeaked into the 22nd percentile, so is allowed to stay put and I don't imagine there will be another scan now. I still don't really understand why they would take him out early - surely he's better off on the inside for as long as possible? There has never been anything wrong with the umbilical blood flow or the amount of amniotic fluid, and those body part measurements are so subjective (and apparently come with a 500 g margin of error, which is a stupidly huge amount, given that we're only talking about a couple of kilos in total)... They were going to have a fight on their hands had they tried to set up a caesar this week, but thankfully it didn't come to that. Must have been the bodybuilder's diet I've been on since the last scan. (Do bodybuilders eat two serves of cinnamon ice cream after a dumpling feast?) So he's little. That's ok. Sadly, he has a bang-on average head circumference, so he's not going to save me any grief there.

I have a cold, which sucks balls. I did at last sleep ok last night, mostly due to exhaustion, I think, but the two nights before that - between the sciatica and the groin pain and the blocked nose and the general inability to be comfortable due to the small human being growing inside me - were not very restful. Thank the lord for childcare and grandparents, is all I can say. (Although, going out to my parents' on Wednesday was completely depressing. I did fall asleep on the couch for a bit, but I also spent a fair bit of time awake, witnessing their dysfunctionality. Oy. A story for another time, perhaps.)

I appear to be nesting. I washed all the nappies today. I re-organised all the 0000 and 000 baby clothes so that they're folded in neat piles in drawers that make sense. I vacuumed places that have clearly not been vacuumed in some time. I also dozed on the couch and blew about a litre and a half of snot out my nose. I started making the kid a set of sushi because he was completely obsessed with the ones that went to little A. I thought about learning German again. (S sent me a link of him on some German chat show, of all things, and it was frustrating to have to put so much vocab that was just out of reach into google translate before I could fully grasp what was going on.) I have braxton hicks contractions out the wazoo, and occasionally hope that they're the real thing, because the anticipation is making me crazy. We still don't have a car seat for the babe.

Not at all related to anything else... all this weird stuff is going down... stuff that probably is best not talked about here, given that the internet plays for keeps. But it's making me feel like a) when your spidey sense tells you something is not quite right about someone, you should listen, and b)... I'm not sure what b is yet. Things are not always what they seem. Which everybody knows, of course, but it's weird to have it pointed out so thoroughly, and so publicly. Less cryptic thoughts to come. Maybe...

Friday, 27 February 2015

36 weeks, 36 degrees

In the last couple of disappearing weeks, I have come to realise that I actually quite like being pregnant. Everything is soft and round and it is a crazy incredible thing to grow a human inside your belly. Also it is quite nice that I am not working. And then I hit the TIRED. Oh my god, so very tired. Like, going to bed at 7.30 tired. (Followed by waking up starving at 3 am, as per usual, and then tossing and turning, very awkwardly and slowly, while the babe does circus tricks.) SO tired. (Turns out this is how it goes.) Last night I got bonus sciatica as well, which had sort of been niggling all day, but pushed me to the point of weeping on the side of the bed at my utter inability to be in a position that didn't hurt, let alone find comfortable. A couple of paracetemol, a hot pack and The Boy's elbow kneading my butt sorting it out enough to get some sleep, but it was Not Fun. Still, I woke up fine the next day, and it dawned on me that I will not be pregnant forever. Very soon my belly will be squishy and empty and there will be a tiny baby in my life again. It's blowing my mind, even though we've been here before. So I'm consciously trying to enjoy these last few weeks waddling about. This is the end of the line for us (never say never!) and it is a sweet, sweet ride. 

I actually thought the end of the line was happening for real on Tuesday. I was in a cafe with my mum, eating lunch, and suddenly the Braxton Hicks contractions I've been having for weeks got PAINFUL, in a kind of continuous way that didn't seem like it was stopping. We wolfed down our lunch and hurried home, but all that seemed to happen was that I did a giant poo and then they stopped. Food baby rather than baby baby. Nothing at all has gone on since, and I'm totally happy to be proven wrong, but it did make me think that this babe may yet make an earlier than expected arrival...

It was the kid's birthday on Chinese New Year, which he was most excited about. The fellas at the cafe sent his babycino out with TWO marshmallows (usual order = 0) and a candle for him to blow out. He wanted to take gingerbread crocodiles (and stars and flowers) to childcare to share for afternoon tea instead of a cake, so we made them the night before and when I arrived to pick him up they had just finished singing happy birthday and were passing them around to a room full of delighted four-year-olds. The grandparents came over in the evening and we went to Red Door for dinner (of course), where the kid ordered for everyone. Lucky he got his taste in dumplings from us. There was a lot of lego involved.

We had planned a little last-minute party in the park (thank god that's all he said he wanted - I looked into options like the Children's Farm and the Traffic School a few weeks beforehand and other parents are waaaaay more organised than we are. No free slots for months and months). But having packed party bags and bought a fridge-load of fruit and made cakes in the couple of days prior, the kid woke up on Saturday morning and puked. And then went back to sleep. And then puked again. So at 7.30 we pulled the pin. He dozed a bit and sweated a lot and then by 10.30 was right as rain and filled his belly full of birthday berries and sushi, which was really the only casualty of the day. (Who am I kidding, we were totally happy to eat sushi for lunch and dinner, instead of cooking in the 36 degrees heat.) So. Take 2 tomorrow. Shopping for fruit again today. Sushi tray is re-ordered. Cakes can come out of the freezer and be carved into the Batman symbol and slathered in black icing tomorrow morning. It's still going to be 34, so not a whole lot cooler, but what can you do. At least it's not supposed to rain until the afternoon.

Four. I can hardly believe it. He's so grown-up, and still yet still so little, lying on his bedroom floor with his pants off playing lego. Apart from park parties and sunshine, it's kind of an annoying time to have a birthday, if you're a first-born boy. He's in four-year-old kinder at childcare this year, and can read, so in theory can go to primary school next year. Except that just about everyone I speak to says that it's best to hold kids back until they are 6, particularly first-born boys. A lot of kids in the childcare room are in the same boat, and I know some have stayed back in the three-year-old room to head this issue off early, but the kid was absolutely ready to go up. The thing is, what to do with him next year if he's not ready for school? We will have used up the government kinder funding, so he can't repeat that year. There's an early learning centre attached to a private school around the corner who do take five-year-olds, but their waiting list is long, and their fees are high. We're going on a tour next week for the primary school a few minutes' walk away and will put him on the list there afterwards, but the advice on their website leans towards starting a year later, too. What will we do with this child for a whole extra year? In my day, we all just went when we were four (which, in hindsight, didn't always work out that well), but I don't want him to be the only tiny kid a whole year younger than everyone else, particularly as he's kind of a weirdo already. An adorable weirdo, don't get me wrong, but a different sort of kid to lots of the other boys his age that we know. It's not just now, either. It's when they're in Year 9 and everyone else is turning into men... it's at the end of school when everyone else is turning 18 and voting and getting their drivers' licenses and he'll still be 17... I guess we just see how he goes this year. If he's ready, he's ready. If he's not, we'll think of something. (Stupidly, we've done exactly the same thing with the babe. Due in March. Why did we not think of this and organise a September birthday?)

Still haven't really packed a hospital bag or sorted out newborn nappies or read that book by the lady with the funny name about birth skills. Should probably get onto those things. I did order a TENS machine, though. And I have sent a batch of knitted sushi off to a sweet babe on the other side of the world.
Lunch time!
Happy birthday, little a
And bought presents for the five thousand other children we know with February birthdays. And organised a whole lot of annoying bits of paper for the new car. (New car! So shiny! Thank you, wealthy mother-in-law! When you going to buy us a house?) So it's not all West Wing and afternoon naps. In fact, hardly any of it is that. I'm at the hospital every week for hours at a time. My to-do list doesn't seem to be getting any shorter. The kid is home with me three days a week, which is mostly ok, sometimes really really lovely and occasionally fucking impossible. It's a good thing I'm not working at the moment, because I don't at all know how I would fit that in to life. Things will slow down once the babe arrives, right? Right?

Tuesday, 10 February 2015


I started writing this at 33 weeks, but that was a few days ago now. Closing in on 34. Can you believe it! Nice work on staying put in there, sweet babe.

The Boy is well and truly back at work, and I hadn't realised just what that would mean for the leisurely sleep-ins I had been enjoying so frequently. Basically, he walks out the door at 7.30 and the kid climbs in to bed with me. Sleep time over. I know, 7.30, it's hardly the bad old days of 5 am, but dammit, mama needs her beauty sleep. There are upsides, though. He is the sweetest thing in the world to wake up to. Gently strokes my cheek and says, 'You're so lovely, mum. I love you soooo much'. Also, just the once, he has been ensconced in his bedroom listening to music, and happily stayed there for nearly an hour after I heard the front door close as The Boy left. More of that, please! Another upside is our walks to childcare. The Boy used to take care of the drop-offs, because although only two streets away, the centre is on his way to work, and I would have to walk past the train station to get there. But now that I'm at home, drop-offs are my territory. Which is lovely. Sometimes the kid rides his bike. Sometimes we stop at the cafe for a babycino and a hot chocolate. Sometimes we walk through the park and hold hands all the way and talk about whatever it is that he wants to talk about. And the days that are not childcare days, we take our time getting out the door, and do things like go to the gallery, again, with I and D and M, this time...

I think we're up to four DIY Romance Was Born beards now...
Still working on 'brave'

Or Werribee Zoo. (With the other two school friends who are 2 - 7 weeks more pregnant than I am, so not exactly taking the place by storm.) I have no photographic evidence of this visit.

I do have photographic evidence of the finished blanket, however. It's been pretty much done since I got home from hospital, but still had ends hanging out all over the place. Now they're all woven in and the babe can arrive whenever he feels like it. (Not really. A few more weeks, if you please.)

I had a crazy busy weekend of catching up with the Bali women, and seeing Bowditch do her thing and although I was feeling a little more energised early on in the week, by last night, I was completely useless. When I'm tired, everything goes downhill. Everyone annoys me and all I want is to be left alone and not be the one who always has to know where the spare bathers are or whether there's a cabbage in the fridge or what Batman does for a job. I'll be better once I've slept. I'll be better once I've had a few hours to myself. The slightly terrifying thing is that I know pretty soon I'm not going to be able to have any hours to myself. At all. Help! Even the plan of having The Boy home from work for a term suddenly fills me with dread. I just want to crawl under the doona for a few hours and talk to nobody... And then this morning I ran into L from down the road at childcare drop-off, and went and had breakfast with her and it turns out all I needed was eggs on toast with a person that I like. All sorted.

I'm going to lie here and catch up on emails and listen to lovely tunes and wait for my boys to come home before we head to the beach for a pre-dinner dip, because it is a billion degrees out there. Summer, you kill me and I love you.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

32. Still pregnant. Still lying down.

32 tomorrow. I don't know if it's lack of match fitness from all this bed rest, or my advanced maternal age (three months off being considered 'geriatric'!), but I am so, so tired these days. I walked the kid up to childcare this morning, and then waddled a bit further down Chapel St for milk and vegetables and progesterone pessaries, and I had to catch the tram the three stops home because I couldn't face the walk. I've been in bed for the hour and a half since I got back and am only just feeling human again. God help me if I have to be in labour for more than 20 minutes. God help me when I have a newborn who wakes up 75 times in the night! I guess today's exhaustion can in some part be attributed to a late night out with D and H yesterday, and The Boy's alarm going off for the first day of school this morning. (I swear to god, if I could have moved my limbs, I would have punched him in the face for hitting snooze so many times. Get the fuck out of bed and stop waking me up every 8 minutes for no reason!)

Physically, I am knackered, but mentally, things are pretty good. I discovered last week, for the first time, that I love this baby. I'm not sure what made it happen... I was sitting in the shade at the side of The Boy's mum's pool, feeling all blissful and refreshed from my swim, while she and the kid splashed about, and it occurred to me that I was in love with the baby. Just like that. I don't know if this was the case with the kid. (Didn't help me much, if it did, because it took bloody ages to feel like I loved him once he was on the outside.) It's a good thing, though. I also realised, a little while before that moment, that a very big part of my 'second boys are trouble' trouble is the narrative that I have been hearing for YEARS from both my mum and The Boy's. They both love their sons, I know, and they both do their best with difficult personalities and situations, but also, they both have, over time, bitched a fair bit about how shit their second-born sons are. And, crucially, about how in both cases, either they or their husbands didn't actually want a second child/wanted a girl. So. I don't know why the significance of these attitudes took so long to make sense to me, but I've realised that I am not them, and this baby is not my brother, nor The Boy's, and that he has every chance of being just as freaking magical as the kid is. (The kid, who last night, when The Boy called him for dinner, said 'Yes guys? What can I do for you?') This is some kind of spectacular breakthrough for me. As in, I had a psychologist appointment last week, and I DID NOT CRY! Visit #2 and no tears! It took me months to get to this point last time. Admittedly, I had let things get a whole lot more dire then, but still. I applaud myself for my progress.

I did cry a tiny bit on Monday, when we stopped at The Boy's mum's again on the way back from the farm, to say goodbye to her sweet dog, who for years has been our part-time farm mascot. It's particularly hard, because she really was The Boy's dad's dog, and has been a little link to him since he died eight years ago. So now she's gone and it's like saying goodbye to him all over again. The kid was very cute, though. Gave her a kiss on the nose and told her she was a sweet puppy. We read a Charlie & Lola story a few weeks ago in which Charlie's mouse dies, so he's all over the idea of taking her to the farm and burying her under a tree there and singing her a little goodbye song.

She'll be happy there.

Last time I was this pregnant, things were much the same, without the working. Turns out my nan did have the Alzheimers. And D & S never did get their shit together...

Two more weeks until this babe can arrive without everybody panicking. Potentially 10 more weeks of lazing around if he really drags his heels. There's going to be a whole lot more knitted sushi, if it comes to that...

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Nearly 30 and all is well

I'm not sure how time continues to get away from me, even though I'm basically doing nothing all day. Somehow it does, though. With The Boy on school holidays, and the kid only back at childcare last week, the days all blend into a blur of summertime rain and trips to ikea.

I was in the hospital for a week last time, and absolutely nothing of note happened while I was there. I had scans and tests and more scans and more tests, and they found the source of the bleed but were not alarmed, and I did not have a baby (although people all around me did) and it was mostly fine and quite boring. I crocheted a really fucking huge blanket. Many people came to visit, and brought tiny baby clothes belonging to their sisters' children, and USB sticks full of The West Wing, and flowers and trashy mags. The kid was most entertained by the buttons that made the bed move, and by reading my menu sheet and telling me what I should choose for the next day's breakfast. They let me out for a few hours on Christmas Day for lunch, which was nice of them. I ate all of the prawns.

By the time all that excitement was over, it was almost New Year's. We went to the old housemates' house in Williamstown with some of the usual suspects and a couple of Sydney ring-ins from the old days and generally had a lovely and quite grown-up evening. I drank an Aperol Spritz and I'm not sorry. We ate an enormous trout and a million kickass salads and the kid stayed up until 1 am and was a total peach the whole time. I did have a slightly weird moment just as the year ticked over... Everyone had tumbled out to watch the fireworks from the pier across the road and I somehow got left behind when I went to pee, so found myself at the stroke of midnight wandering through a merry crowd in a park looking for my family and friends. Seemed kind of symbolic for a year in which I have spent more time on my own than in decades, both literally and in my head. I found A and D on the pier eventually and everyone was in the house when we ambled home, but it was odd. And then I spent the next three hours puking and trying to decide whether the pains in my belly were baby-related or my guts trying to turn themselves inside out. It was the latter. Gross. No one else was sick, and once it was all out I managed to get some sleep, but it was unpleasant and draining. I think I felt more hungover than the actual hungover people in the house the next day. The kid, can you believe it, woke up at 7.30, and was excellent company for the next 12 hours, before we finally packed up and went home the next night. What a little trooper.

Since then, we have have taken to his room with a determination only present in those with pressing PhD deadlines. We have finally turned the space into an actual bedroom, rather than a library/store room with a cot shoved in the corner. It's amazing! Only four years late! And just in time for him to enjoy it for three months before we jam another kid in there! So much crap has been bagged up for the op shop or just plain binned, and it feels amazing. (Don't worry, mostly I've been supervising, or sorting stuff while lying down, or browsing the ikea catalogue. The Boy has done all the actual work.)

We saw the Turing movie (meh. It was ok. It was historically inaccurate. Kiera Knightly's face was slightly less irritating than normal), and it turns out that I am bothered a whole lot more than I thought by what's happening with my dad. Within about 30 seconds of the preview for 'Still Alice' starting, I was quietly sobbing in the cinema. Guess we won't be seeing that one. And good thing I had set up a meeting with the psychologist who helped me deal with the baby shit last time. (A good while after the fact, but still.) She is as lovely as ever, and I did my usual thing of telling her how dumb I knew all my issues were and how I could see my way out of them intellectually, but that didn't change the fact that talking about them makes me cry and cry and cry. And then I cried and cried and cried. But we're going to work on all the 'holy shit, this second baby is a boy' stuff, and the dad stuff and a bit of the general life stuff, and it will all be ok.

30 weeks tomorrow. The aim of the game is to get to 34. I feel like that's going to happen. (Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if, just to be contrary, I get to 42 and have to be induced.) The hospital have given me the world's biggest medical certificate, and said I need to be on sick leave from last week until the end of March, when this babe is technically due. I went in today to hand that sucker in, and for a brief moment felt bad about all the stuff that I could get done in two months, given my new powers, but then I spent a couple of hours surrounded by all the old bullshit and was SO glad to saunter out with April 2016 as my expected date of return. We'll see if anything changes while I'm gone. We'll see if I figure out what else I might like to do instead... (On that note, perhaps I should be doing something more productive with my three hours' forced bed rest a day. It's real easy to achieve sweet fuck all.)

My mum bought the kid and his cousin tickets to the Charlie & Lola show for Christmas, so that's what we did this morning. A fun adventure into the city to a proper theatre and then Japanese from Chinatown afterwards and a tram ride home. (The kid is OBSESSED with Batman. Robin, AKA The Boy, made him a cape and mask. He has not taken them off for days.)

On the lookout for baddies
Around now last time I was lamenting my fat back. This time I just don't give a fuck. Either I haven't put as much weight on or I'm too old for that body image bullshit. (Remind me of this when I feel the need to moan about my post-baby body.) Actually, ha! What with skipping a few weeks this time around, this is actually what was happening last time. Funny.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Not quite 27. Not quite according to plan.

Well. That was short-lived. I was out of hospital after a few days last time, and didn't go back to work, but did have another Monday appointment during which everything looked about as fine as it has lately, and they sent me on my merry way.

The last days of childcare happened and we all pottered around at home and I really don't remember much of what went on, apart from eating my body weight in mangoes and cherries. And making gingerbread for the childcare teachers, and chocolate meringues to turn into a fucking wicked Eton Mess for A's birthday. The Boy and the kid went up to Sydney on Friday to hang out with Z&V&O&E, but alas, my cervix grounded me. Good thing too, as it turns out. The first few days without them were uneventful. I went to dinners and bbqs that I would have otherwise missed and did a whole lot of lying down around those events. 

And then on Monday I headed back in for another check-up, during which the fetal fibronectin test they did came back negative, but not convincingly so. (118 this time, compared to 16 when I was admitted a couple of weeks ago. Measures the levels of a protein released only when labour is imminent. Under 150 is considered negative, but the results I had still come with a 7% risk of delivery within one week.) Still, nothing else was happening, so the advice was to keep up the three hours' bedrest until I make it to 34 weeks, or delivery, whichever comes first. I caught the tram back towards the city and decided to stop in at the Gallery on the way home, so as to see some things that 3-year-olds have no interest in.

Lying on the floor of the Great Hall looking at the ceiling counts as bedrest, right?
It was all very laid back, and then I jumped on a tram homewards. A quick detour via the (closed!) bakery for panettone and some lunch and eventually I made it through the door. Only to find, erm, a situation requiring urgent medical attention in my knickers. I didn't even call this time, just chucked my toothbrush and some spare undies in my bag, zip-locked up the bloody evidence and drove straight back in to the hospital. Where I find myself still. I'll be here until Monday, at least, with a stint out for good behaviour at lunchtime tomorrow. (Hooray! Spared the hospital turkey and allowed to feast on prawns and crayfish instead!) Nothing much has happened since I've been here. They found a patch of bleeding on my uterine wall during a scan yesterday, which is I assume where the trouble started, but waters and baby and even ol' shorty the cervix all look ok. But given everything that has happened so far, they're not keen to let me go. I've had lots of visits from pre-natal pediatric doctors and obstetricians and midwives. Everyone is lovely, with the exception of the officious nurse who woke me and my roommate up unceremoniously at 4am this morning for a seemingly random blood pressure/temperature/heart rate check. WTF, lady. Come back in a couple of hours. 

I am passing the time well enough, with visits from The Boy and the kid, and phone calls and texts and emails - god bless the iPhone - and reading and crocheting, which it turns out is a piece of piss.

Look at those ripples rocketing off my hook. 
I'm doing all this on my phone, which although a lifesaver, is still kind of tiny and annoying, so, enough. 

Fingers crossed we make it to 34 weeks. A bit over 7 to go. Wish us luck!

Friday, 12 December 2014

24 weeks is a bit too soon to be having a baby

It has been a pretty intense few weeks. The contract stuff has been dragging and dragging and dragging. The cervix has required many hours in hospital waiting rooms. My dad is going downhill rapidly. Christmas drinks and end-of-year lunches and parties and dinners are everywhere. And this latest missive comes to you from the Royal Women's Hospital, where I am sharing the view with a lovely woman with much greater troubles than mine, who, alas, snores like a fucking freight train.

Hi there, crappy wheel! Keep not spinning!
Here's the view from the inside.
The cervix measured shorter again at Monday's appointment, and I was ordered to lie down for three hours every day to try and take the pressure off a bit. All fine until Wednesday night when I thought I felt niggling little pains that turned into low-level period-pain style contractions on Thursday morning. A quick phone call to the hospital had me on my way in here, and no mucking around, as soon as I arrived it was straight upstairs to the birth centre for tests and scans and steroid injections in the bum. Pretty soon after that I found myself on the ward, resident for who knows how long, complete with terrible food and a very fetching pair of compression socks. Nothing very dramatic has happened since, but no one seems in any great rush to send me home so I guess I'll just soak up my free public health service until they're sick of me.

It's all been quite good timing. The Boy has finished school, so there's not too much juggling going on domestically, and I really only have a few days left of work for the year. It was kind of funny to have to go in on Tuesday and say a) I'm pregnant, b) it's due kind of soon and c) I need to leave at lunch every day between now and Christmas to go and lie down. (Also, just quietly, d) I may or may not be back for those eight weeks next year.) And by the way, thanks for that promotion contract that you've just now emailed through. Everyone took the news surprisingly well. A couple of the girls had guessed the situation (because HELLO! I am 24 weeks' pregnant!), but the bossman was completely in the dark, because he is clueless in the mysterious ways of the lady folk, and of the world in general, and about work, too, actually. Which is kind of why two of the women who used to work under him now work almost beside him. (That's me and P. High fives!) So. Not sure what will happen work-wise between now and March, but if I need to, I can take all that time as sick leave and still not make a dent in my allowance, so I'm not too worried. And when I do go eventually go back, it will be as a person who controls her own workflow and manages staff and is not bound to well-meaning dimwits with procrastination issues to make things happen. It is very good.

S and I made up for 18 years of lost time while he was here, mostly with the kid on Monday Mumdays. Playing in the park and sushi lunches and ice cream and tram rides in the pouring rain and hours on beautiful beaches and trips to the gallery. He was on a little concert tour, without his family, and I think having a surrogate child to play Lego with and chase around made his time away from them a bit more bearable... I was more than happy to have him keep us company. All those unselfconscious words exchanged over all those years (always by post, with the attendant delays and handwriting and none of the access to photos and Facebook that this kind of friendship between 15-year-olds would entail now) has set up something so magical. We just love each other, in this non-threatening, deeply happy-making kind of way. The kid thinks he is the bees knees, and since we took him to one of S's performances, he has become quite the little opera buff. He often requests S as our breakfast music, and the other morning said, a few tracks in, 'How does that amazing voice come out of him?'... S and I are plotting to make the kid and his daughter into childhood pen pals. (Too bad if they have other plans. You will write to this child you have never met on the other side of the world, and you will love it!) He's back in London now, but will be here again in another year or two, and in the meantime, it is enough to know that a couple of decades on separate continents doesn't make a lick of difference to a halfway decent friendship.

The Boy and I have done very little to make space for this new baby - the secret-keeping was definitely a bit of a mental roadblock on that front - but turns out we were pretty much at a similar stage of denial around this stage last time. Best get that sorted, I guess. (Also, I used to write a whole lot more often.) I am dozy from lying in bed all day (and not sleeping so well through last night's snoring) so will call it quits. More updates from 5 South as they happen!

Saturday, 29 November 2014

This is everything I need

Friday, 7 November 2014

20 weeks, 20 years...

Friends are the greatest, amiright? I am right. My wonderful misfit friends have hauled me out of the depths of despair not once but twice this week.

On Monday, we had the 20-week scan. Which showed that this babe is not a Lola, as the kid (and, let's face it, every single other person we know) had been hoping for, but an Astroboy. I was fine when the doctor told us in the ultrasound room. The kid was there, and sleepy, and The Boy was busy keeping up a running commentary to entertain him, and then the doc decided she wanted to go dildo-cam to check the placenta and my cervix, so they left the room. Turns out my cervix may be a touch short, which meant calls to the GP and letters to the hospital and a bit of time hanging around in the waiting room before we could leave. All of which were good distractions. And then we got home and the kid launched himself into lego world and The Boy started heating up leftovers for dinner and I went into the bedroom and quietly sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. I'm still trying to figure out exactly why. Possible reasons are as follows:
  • I had allowed myself after that first scan to fantasise about a baby girl and now have to grieve for that little life.
  • I had convinced myself that a girl would mean a definite clean slate - no sense of deja vu about the newborn period. Different baby = less crazy mama.
  • A second boy seriously messes with my head (see here), due to the natures of our younger brothers. 
I know these things are irrational. But like The Boy said on Monday night, 'Is there any point in me talking through the rational reasons why this is going to be ok, or do you just need to cry it out at the moment?' Irrational responses do not respond so well to rational reasoning. I just needed to cry and cry and cry. And then cry some more.

I woke up on Tuesday morning with sandpaper eyelids and resentment at every little nudge the babe gave me. We were due at the boys' house for a Cup Day bbq with the usual suspects at 11.30, and I managed to get through the morning cobbling together dips and crackers and D's birthday cake but I didn't want to go. I wanted to crawl back into bed and sleep some more. But of all the people, those guys are the people I can see when I feel like total shit. I lived with boy A for 7 years, in all those different houses and he has seen me at my utter worst. (And I, him.) Girl A and I have been friends since we were 10. This crew would not accept my misery as a reason not to come, so I knew I had to go. I went outside just before we had to leave and asked The Boy, who was hanging out the washing, whether maybe we could just tell people that we weren't telling people, because I wasn't sure I could not burst into tears, let alone muster up the appropriate enthusiasm for this new son. And then, it was wonderful. We arrived at 11.30 and didn't leave for 9 hours. A and D and A and I and T and D and little M, none of us wanted the day to end. We ate and drank and strolled to the park (where the kid put on a show that attracted other families and even people who had no kids to watch him singing the Astroboy theme song and Space Oddity and a couple of his own compositions, all the while stage-directing M and eventually getting hot enough to take off his clothes). I snapped the perfect shot. Someone said to me when they saw it, 'When did he become a rock star?' The answer is then. Then and there, he found his inner rock star, and he somehow knew that it was entirely appropriate to get undressed and give a dual salute on the edge of a bandstand in a bayside park on a public holiday devoted to drinking and gambling and racing horses until they fall down dead.

I was cured.

And then Wednesday at work was tedious. I had a little cry before I left. And a bigger cry before I fell asleep.

Thursday started out no better. Except that I knew on Thursday night that S was coming over for dinner. S, S, S. The childhood friend of A, who happened to be at her house one evening in 1996, and who came with her to a birthday party we were both invited to at the other end of her street. The boy I spent not a second alone with, and no more than 24 hours in total in the company of over the course of three days. The boy I wrote to, devotedly, often, when he went back home to London. The boy who sent tapes of himself talking to me in his bedroom on the other side of the world. The boy my heart grew up in front of, on paper. The boy I spent my last three hours in Europe with in April, who I hadn't seen in 18 years, whose baby daughter smelled like sweet newborn and who still, like a magnet, sticks to my soul with the inexplicable glue of happiness. I tried explaining the visit - the smallest part of that epic solo adventure - to a couple of people when I got home, but it sounds like something out of a YA novel. I love this human in a pure and childlike and delightful way, and seeing him twice in one year when it has been so very, very long... it's like a goddamn fountain of wellbeing has sprung up inside me. The kid adored him. The Boy found him excellent company. S asked if I had any of his letters, and after some rummaging, I found them. They made him cry! A came over later too, and while The Boy was out at aikido and the kid was at last in bed, the three of us marvelled at this friendship we have - at our stupid luck at finding each other, and knowing that we are all equally dazzled by our collective good fortune.

S rang this morning, just as I was texting him to tell him that he was the first thing the kid talked about when he woke up. 'Good morning, my dear!', I said. And I was so glad that I wasn't reserved about that greeting. That he knew from the outset that I was thrilled to hear from him. He called to say how wonderful the evening was, and to ask for our postcode. He had written another letter. (Even though he is here for another two weeks and we have already made plans to see each other three more times.) He called to say that he couldn't sleep for the happiness that coming home to us had given him. I lay awake glowing, too. It sounds like this is bordering on dangerous territory. It isn't. We both have our partners, our children, and there is no feeling that the lives we have now are the consolation prize. It's not necessarily the man that I love, in any case. It is the human being. It is the kindred spirit. The soulmate. He knows me. And I am grateful beyond measure that he is in the universe, and that he loves me too.

The kid is sleeping over at J's tonight, and The Boy and I plan to eat at Mr Miyagi and watch some Orange is the New Black and perhaps make sweet, sweet, oxytocin-is-good-for-the-baby love. Which the internet does not need to know about. 

Apart from existential angst/situational depression, which does seem to have passed, I also have heartburn. And am managing to still conceal the bump at work. Meeting with the Sydney boss on Wednesday next week. And fuck it, new job or no new job, I am out of there in a few short months. Things will be completely different by the time I come back, whatever happens. In the meantime, I am in a bubble of happiness. Lucky and I know it.

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


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.