Archive for May 2008

23. mummy’s superhero

superherotomum.JPG
Mummy’s superhero. The cape and the tights aren’t as obvious as they should be in this picture.

I was late with this post Duncan, and I’m sorry. In fact I’m sorry for a lot these days, as the last weeks of pregnancy get in the way with all the things I want to do with you. I have trouble getting up and down off the floor, I don’t have the energy I should, and we’ve missed the special window your Daddy and I had planned to spend time as a family of four before your grandparents start arriving. I’m sorry that my body’s just not able to do it, that labour turned off on Tuesday, which would have been the perfect time for you for your sibling to arrive (because of nursery, and your best friend still being in town to play with you while we were at the hospital).

But whenever I’m down and spend time with you, I start to feel better. You give me cuddles, spread cocoa butter all over my belly, jump all over my bed, and generally force me to enjoy the moment. You try to boss me around and often it’s probably for my own good. I’m still in charge of bedtimes and mealtimes, but more and more you’re telling me what we need to do for the in-betweens – how to play or when to snuggle. You’re my perfect wee man!

This is the last of the monthly posts too – as next month you turn two and we start to mark your age in larger segments of time, so maybe I’m allowed to be all sappy in this one and say how in these last few weeks of pregnancy, I’m so so so glad I have you. I can’t even imagine this new baby that’s coming, I haven’t been able to bond with it at all, but every time I look at you, my heart swells up and I feel like the luckiest woman in the world. I love being your mummy, all the time, and you are my superhero these days.


immobile

carride.JPG Hanging out at the park. I’ve way better pictures of D with his friends but since we don’t post pictures of other people’s kids, you’ll just have to imagine him with a cute girl on each side, all snuggled in enjoying the ride.

My ongoing saga of mat leave took another twist Monday night when I went into what felt like early labour around 5. We went to bed as normal though and I woke up at midnight with crazy pain radiating down my legs from the contractions. Something about lying down made it very sore, even though the contractions themselves were only 4 times an hour. So I spent a couple hours surfing the web and honestly believing that things would continue and we’d be parents by now…

In the morning though nothing had escalated so we sent D to nursery and went into town. About 750m from the car, I had another contraction that must have pushed this new baby into another position, because I all of a sudden lost all control of my left leg and had shooting pains down it. Fortunately Cory was with me and I managed to hobble around the shop and then get back home. The contractions increased in frequency to 5 minutes apart but never in intensity before dying off at 1pm. We had our regular midwife appt. at 2, and she confirmed that whatever was happening had made zero progress with dilation (boo!).

Fortunately as the contractions left, the intense hip pain followed, and I’m left with extremely sore muscles that feel tired and bruised, but let me sleep last night. I woke up at midnight to my normal, run of the mill, braxton-hicks tightening, no leg pain at all, and went back to sleep until, well, basically now, mid-morning (aside from getting D ready for nursery). So at least I’m better rested… but of course frustrated and disappointed. I’m also very nervous about leaving the house on my own, as I don’t want to have that kind of pain in my hips without Cory to hold on to. We see a consultant (yeah! no more midwives!) tomorrow and I’ll see what they think is happening and how much longer they think my body will try to go into labour on it’s own.


cough cough

sleepy.JPG

No need now to go into work to fill my days – I’ve a coughing, but otherwise happy, little monkey staying home with me today. We’re not sure if it’s a cold (like a friend of his) or allergies (like both his parents), but there’s no time to worry and get down about other things when my poor wee man needs some quiet playtime with mum. And yes, it’s definitely going to be bad for my pelvis – but some things are more important.


missing work?

newhat.JPG

I think there’s something wrong with me. Actually I know exactly what’s wrong with me – I’m sitting at home feeling like crap (pelvic pain etc.) waiting to repeat an event that was one of the most traumatic in my life. Not that getting Duncan wasn’t the best part of my life, but everything up to it, and the insomnia after it, make my whole feelings about birth a bit on the negative side. So sitting at home waiting to go into labour, wanting desparately to get it over with, is pretty horrible. Add in the fact that everyone expects me to go early, and I’m feeling really down about the prospect of the next two weeks (please let me not go overdue, if I have to wait for that for three more weeks, I’ll be a blubbering mess. oh wait – I already am).

Yes there’s lots of things I can do about it, I could call the health visitors and talk to them about preventing PND (but since I’m not going on anti-depressants, I’m not sure that’s productive) or I could clean my house and pretend I’m nesting to make myself feel better. What I can’t do, which is what would really cheer me up, is pull Duncan out of nursery and spend the days hanging out with him. Physically my pelvis and lower back aren’t up to it, and some nights I can hardly move from the cramping in my joints. So there’s not much choice is there? I can’t bear to stay home and ‘rest’ alone, I’m not up physically to playing with my toddler, it looks like back to work I go for another week or so. Goodness knows I have enough to do, I’m good at it, it’s mentally absorbing (no time to obsess), and sitting in an office chair is reasonably sane. Monday. I just have to hang on until Monday.

I must be the only person in the world that hates pre-birth maternity leave…


personal space

duncanandfriend.JPG
An attempt to save a very over-exposed but adorable picture…

I’m looking out over my back garden tonight and smiling at our new fence between the properties. Finally we have an enclosed space where Duncan can play without escaping around the neighbours’ side to the road, and a clear boundary between the properties. I’m so excited for summer, which probably means it’ll be cold and rainy all the time just like last year…

Originally when we bought this house it had a shared area of garden out back that was traditionally used as a drying green. We had the most awesome neighbours in the world though, who’d lived in the house for 50 years, and sharing the garden wasn’t a problem. When our new neighbour moved in, things were also great, but we mutually agreed to divide the garden and started a very long legal process to draw a straight line down the property plans. He moved in with his partner a few months back and rented out the house. We like the people that are renting it, they’re nice and relatively quiet, they have kids, they go to bed early and don’t play loud music. But there’s 11 of them, 7 adults. Three families with kids and one single guy living in a two-bedroom home with one bathroom and a small kitchen. If it was only one of the families, any one, we’d be thrilled, but 11 people cannot live in a house without a bit more noise and inconvienence for the neighbours. With that many people in the house, the minute it was nice out, there was always people in the garden too, which made us feel a bit like we were also living in a hostel, so having our own space became even more important. Finally it’s done though. We’re just awaiting the final legal documents and the fence is put up, so I’ll have my summer of mat leave in my own garden with my own family – and I’m happy to wave at the neighbours across the way.

(How can the owner let that many people live in his property? Yes, multiple occupancy rules make it illegal but tenant laws also mean his hands are tied until the lease finishes. Our new neighbours are all recent immigrants to the country and speak very little english which means they are probably unaware of all the options for affordable social housing (at 1/3 of the rent meaning they could all move out and get their own places). The owner is currently trying to get them help to apply for social housing – but due to the language barrier, we’re not sure how well that’s going.)


preparing for birth

journey.JPG
(I love the local scenery, the things that beckon just around the bend of the road).

I’ve been thinking about this post a lot in the past weeks, wondering if I should say anything, wondering how I could not say something. As this next birth creeps up on me, all the things that I repressed after Duncan’s birth start to emerge. I never really said much about Duncan’s birth because once we were home, with a healthy baby, it really didn’t matter. It’s just now, as I realize that I’ll be going through it again in 2-5 weeks that it’s starting to sink in and I’m far more scared this time than I was before.

I’d bought in to the NCT-brand of natural birth as the way to do it: forget epidurals and medical intervention, I was a strong woman. At the same time, I was aware that things don’t always go that well. My Nana had eclampsia with my Mom and we knew that the hospital was there for a reason. But aside from complications, I thought I’d fine on my own. I wasn’t fine. For me, the pain went on and on until I lost the plot, lost the ability to be human. By the time Duncan was born, I’d had an epidural which helped a bit, but mostly I was too destroyed to celebrate his birth in the way that I’d expected. I thought I’d be thrilled and desparate to hold him, and ready to be his mother. But my hands and body were shaking so much from exhaustion that my overriding feeling was relief that Cory could hold him, that we were a team, and that I could rest and he could take over.

That worked really well until they sent him home from the hospital for the night and put D and I in a room with three other mothers and babies. Those three nights in the hospital I didn’t sleep, I’ve never felt so alone and scared. I’m convinced those sleepless nights led to 7 months of insomnia, and that was the worst part of being a new mum.

After Duncan’s birth I didn’t feel bad about the epidural, or less of a woman, than those who had found birth a more manageable experience. But I was constantly surprised about the way our society fetes the mother who manages without pain relief or intervention. When did the desire for women to have more control over birth turn into the cult of the sacrificing mother? When did we forget that we’re all different and every healthy birth where the mother was treated with respect is perfectly successful? Eventually you can start to feel like these celebratory birth stories are little personal digs at those of us who didn’t find it empowering – and you have to stop and whisper to yourself “I am so lucky that both of us were healthy”.

Now facing my next birth I’ve been terrified of repeating the process. So we’ve been talking and planning, finding out all of our options, and what’s not available to us (like early discharge, I’m GBS +ve so we’ll have to stay in for a few days and be monitored). Mostly though I’m resetting my goals for this birth – come home with a healthy baby, stand up for ourselves in labour, and not buy in to anyone else’s vision of what birth should be. Because as much as I’m hoping for an easier time this time, if we come home with another healthy baby and healthy me, the birth really will be irrelevant.


8 months and massive – both Duncan and I!

8months.JPG
35.5 weeks, 8 months. (Comparison with last time: 35 weeks, 2006)

Duncan’s holding the sleeper he came home from the hospital in. It now seems so teeny, but when he was wearing it, we had to roll the sleeves up so he didn’t drown in fabric. As big as my belly feels these days, our future baby will make our wee man look like a giant.

I also realized why I feel like my belly is so much smaller than everyone elses – posture. To prevent a sore back (which I’ve had on and off), I’ve been working really hard at standing and sitting straight up. Today in front of the mirror I slouched – and watched my belly stick out another 3 inches. I was very tempted to do the same for these pictures, but Cory was tough on me and made me stand reasonably straight, so what you’re seeing should be how I look in person.

Eight months has marked a change in how I’ve felt through this pregnancy. This week we’ve crossed the line into super pregnant (note there’s still imminently pregnant to go). The baby’s head is popping in and out of my pelvis throughout the day so that sometimes when I walk I feel great, and other times I feel like there’s a baby’s head stuck there and my pace slows down to a gentle waddle. Combined with holding a friend’s newborn a few days ago and cleaning out the closet and washing all the newborn clothes, the fact that we’re almost there is sinking in.