Monthly Archives: July 2009

31 weeks – In a bad mood

I find myself in a strange place today.

I am moody, irritable, annoyed. I’m annoyed at other people’s never ending problems, and annoyed that I have to hear them over and over again. I’m annoyed at having no plans for the evening, and no energy to make plans. I’m annoyed that the dishes haven’t been done, and that I’ve not done them. I feel generally scratchy and that irritates me. I don’t like feeling like this. I’m even annoyed that my baby seems to know when I raise a camera and try to record his/her kicks. Without fail, the only way to stop the baby kicking is to hit record on the camera. How can a child of mine be camera shy? You’ll have to get over that very quickly, Mommy’s baby!

I feel like time has stood still. On the one hand it’s almost hard to believe that we’re on the cusp of the 8th month of the year, and that I am 31 weeks and that this pregnancy is almost over, and on the other hand the last few weeks seem to have blurred in to one long, never ending day. I have 25 more work days left, working right up till almost 37 weeks, for financial reasons. I find the days very very long and find keeping motivated and enthusiastic, or even interested, very hard. By three in the afternoon I can barely keep my eyes open and making it to four or four-thirty is every day’s mission impossible.

I can’t wait to be on maternity leave, just so I can start focusing on the ‘other things’ that right now I can’t seem to focus on. Even Martin seems to more in to ‘nesting’ right now than I am. He even bought wood and tools today to finally sort out a bit of a cupboard for the baby’s room and has taken tomorrow off to sort out the remains of the study and complete the transformation to nursery! At the same time, I’m half terrified of my maternity leave for two reasons. Firstly I have unpaid maternity leave and I have no idea where we are going to find the money to ‘live off’ – two salaries to one salary is quite a fall. Secondly, I don’t know what’s happening. My mom, dad and/or gran are meant to be here for the time around the birth, but at the moment there’s no certainty due to their personal circumstances, so I’m not sure who’ll be here for the birth/after the birth/a blessing ceremony. I feel totally frustrated by the inability to plan anything or to prepare myself for what’s coming, because I don’t know who’s going to be around and how much of myself I have to give to others during this time. I realise that sounds whiney, but there you have it.

Well it’s late and I’m tired, perhaps that’s why I am so cranky.

Tomorrow should be a better day – it’s Friday … that gives it a pretty good head start.

Still week 29 – Change

I’ve been thinking a lot this week about change.

Change is something that is happening to us all, all the time. We just don’t normally notice it, because we grow with it, and so, in our constant state of change, or growth, it’s only when we find ourselves outside of our ‘normal’ environment that we notice the change, the growth.

I’ve been noticing this in strange ways over the last few days. Six months ago, I don’t think I knew what colostrum was. I didn’t know anything about childbirth other than what you see in movies (which I now know isn’t quite how it works!) In fact, there is an entire vocabulary that didn’t exist for me just a few months ago, an entire subculture with breathing, and skin to skin contact, and lotions and potions. Not to mention everything that actually comes after birth!

I realise now that I have been under the mistaken impression that I will become a mother the day my child is born, that Martin will become a father the day that new life breathes its first independent breath and that I’ve hoped that I would be ‘ready’.  I realise now that as my child is growing and developing, so too, I am growing and developing in to a new form. I am already a Mother, waiting to be born with my child. My hopes and dreams for my child are already in place, my concern, care and love for my child already override most other things.

I read a blog today belonging to another ‘mommy to be’ Ali, and I think she phrased it so well in her blog when she said “I am already a new person, a burgeoning mother on the cusp of her own birth into the world. I guess more than a baby is being born, a mother and a father too, as well as a family”.  (Hope you don’t mind me stealing your words Ali, should you read this!)

Change is such a strange thing, in that you don’t see it coming, you just live through it and then experience it as an afterthought.  I realised this last night when I went out with some girl friends to celebrate the pending wedding of my friend Gloria.  We went to a cabaret show, and after the show, the venue turned in to a night club to which we had ‘free entry’ with our cabaret tickets.  During the show I found myself very concerned with the volume of the music and the effect the amplification of sound through the amniotic fluid would have on the baby. I borrowed a scarf from my friend Laura and held it bunched up over my stomach to try to muffle some of the sound as the thought of my child in discomfort was quite distressing in itself. It was a strange sort of feeling, a deep concern for a child I’ve never even held, and I could only wonder how much deeper that concern and that love would grow.

After the show we all stood around waiting for the ‘club’ to start when we realised that really all of us would rather return to the hotel bar where we could sit and talk and have a (soft) drink and again I realised the changes that have happened in each of us over the years, and I was fascinated because I don’t recall seeing it happen, and yet I am peaceful and content in the fact that it has.

I find myself growing ‘older’ and I find myself eager to embrace that growth, to move in to the future that lies ahead of me. I find myself looking forward to looking back over becoming a ‘thirty-something’, a different person, wife, friend and eventually, and finally, mother.

Week 29 – Things you didn't (want to) know about pregnancy!

Hello Mommy’s Baby,

Mommy is just stopping by today to tell you how very well you are doing.  I haven’t seen you in a while now, but I can feel you growing inside me.  The ‘smart’ people say that this week your brain is developing and you are putting on loads of weight so that your fat can keep you warm when you come out.  Although we can’t see your brain developing, we can definitely tell that you’re getting bigger in there, by how much bigger I’m getting out here. I think I’ve grown about as much in the last week as I did in the 27 before that.

You have developed some very interesting habits that Daddy says you get from me!  The first is that you seem to be very aware of my bladder.  When things get a bit tight in there for you, you start kicking or hitting on my bladder, because you must have figured out by now that when you do that, I go and empty it, making a bit more room for a little while.  Then you go back to sleep, and it slowly fills up again, so you wake up and start kicking again and so we continue.  Daddy said he can just see you hammering your fists into it saying “No” in sharp little fits, which he says I do for other things!  You have also taken to stretching one of your ligaments in such a way that it feels as if you are trying to force a hand or a foot in between my ribs and my skin, kind of like when someone stuffs a chicken. That is so painful, on Sunday I was sitting on the couch with tears streaming down my face from the pain, but I couldn’t stop laughing from the sheer ridiculousness of the situation!

It’s also been quite amazing watching you, especially at night, when I think you like to turn around and I can see a bulge of bottom or head or something move from the left of my stomach to the right in a weird contortion of movements that make it look like something’s trying to climb out of me! I keep trying to catch it on video, but you seem to be camera shy because no sooner have I finally found the settings or got the lighting right or figured out the angle on Daddy’s camera and you stop moving! I’ll catch you one day though! I’ll keep trying till I do!

I have had to buy a support belt, because you put quite a lot of pressure on my pubic bone, which is very painful when I stand up or walk around, but the belt seems to be helping a lot. I am quite small, even though I’m over 6 months pregnant now, and it can be so uncomfortable sometimes. I feel really sorry for those mommy’s who have really big tummies! I was speaking to my Granny, your great Granny, the other day and she says that when she was pregnant with my mom, her first child, she was very small too. She told me a story about how she went to the dairy and asked if they would mind delivering milk for a month so that she did not have to worry about that during labour/the first few days and the woman at the dairy wouldn’t believe that she was just about to have a baby! Fortunately people are starting to believe that I’m pregnant now, but even this week someone told me she wasn’t sure whether to say anything or not, because she wasn’t sure!  I guess that explains why for the most part I am still wearing the clothes I wore last summer!

I had my anti-d shot last week, which means that should our blood meet, you will be just fine. I hope you appreciate it too, cause that injection really hurt! While I was at the hospital, I asked them to check my urine to make sure there were no proteins, glucose or urobilinogens floating about as those can be indicative of pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes and liver failure, the biggest killers in pregnancy, apparently, but fortunately there were none of any, and we’re both perfectly healthy. My iron count is a little low, which might explain why I am so tired all the time, but it’s not so low that they’re worried about it.  I should probably just hold my nose and down some spinach and solve that problem.

I thought that, as we start waning down in to single figure weeks it might be worth me recording some of the things I’m likely to forget once you arrive. Now, I must warn you that contrary to public perception (certainly mine, before pregnancy!) pregnancy isn’t all about healthy glows, throws of energy and pumping libidos, so if you’d rather not know yet, you might want to skip this part!!

The first thing those who’ve been there started telling me about when I told them I was pregnant, was to look out for the haemorrhoids, that they were sore, and they were coming and I’d better get a few good books, because I’d be spending hours on the toilet whenever I needed to go!  This did not sound like something I was particularly looking forward to, so I tried to see what options were available, and mostly they involved laxatives, or eating a lot of roughage or lots of green vegetables.  I wasn’t keen on the laxative idea, and since the start of the pregnancy I’ve really not liked the looks of most green veggies. One of my favourites is spinach and even that kind of turns my stomach now days, so that was going to be very hard to digest (no pun intended!)  As it happens, the first four months I hardly ate, and threw up everything that I managed to eat, so constipation was never a problem for me… I simply had nothing to expel.  It was only in the fifth month that I started understanding what my dear friends had spoken of and very quickly decided I wouldn’t be struggling like that for months on end!  I bought a tub full of different dried fruits and making sure I have a handful a day, (just enough to not be known as that smelly woman who’s pregnant!) you will be happy to know, constipation and haemorrhoids have not been my constant companions, and I can tell you, I’ve not missed them either!

The other thing that every pregnant woman seems to complain about is heartburn. Again, for the first four months not eating anything meant I didn’t suffer, but as you’ve been growing, and since you’re lying quite high up, (and low down – you are quite large after all!) I’ve recently been guzzling Tums like they were candy! No more than the allowed seven per day of course, but still! I have discovered that Gaviscon makes me feel sick and Eno’s has a much longer lasting soothing effect, but since I only have a very small amount left and South Africa is a long way away, I only use it on the worst cases!

Milk has become my best friend. It helps with the heartburn but is also probably the only thing I’ve desired more than anything else during the pregnancy.  I wonder if you’ll be born with a dairy intolerance due to the litres and litres of milk I drink every week?  I do hope not! At least you should have strong, healthy bones and any help this family can get on the teeth front is welcomed!

One of the things I did find rather strange was when one day I discovered dried ‘liquid’ (called Colostrum) on the inside of my bra.  For some reason I had not expected that till much later, but it seemed my body was just checking that everything works in that department as I’ve not had to worry about it again. I am very keen on feeding you breast milk of course, to strengthen your immune system, our bond and all the other things its meant to do, but I will tell you, I am still finding the idea of feeding someone from my breasts a little odd to get used to!  I don’t think anyone but a pregnant woman really realises how many changes you go through in this journey, and although 9 months at times seems an interminably long time, I think it’s probably just the right amount for your head to get used to all the changes in your body.

Since I’ve not grown particularly huge, I have been lucky in that my feet haven’t swollen as much as some people’s do, but I’ve also been blessed by the weather we’ve been having. We’ve had such a heat wave, and even when it’s not hot it’s been quite humid, so I’ve been able to wear my FitFlops everywhere, which has made such a difference. I’d have hated this in winter boots and coats!

Oh! Here’s a little shared fact about pregnancy, during pregnancy your sinuses become quite annoying! You can have a stuffy nose or a runny nose, like when you have a cold, all the way through pregnancy! It even has a name: rhinitis of pregnancy. Well, it’s most annoying and short of steam, humidifier and saline nose drops, there’s nothing much you can do about it, because you don’t actually have a cold!

There’s a thing called ‘the mask of pregnancy’ which is basically skin pigmentation on the face. For most people it happens around the cheeks, but I have weird – looks like old sunburn- type marks on my forehead! Fortunately that’ll go away after the birth!

Regardless of the weather, I am really hot too – babies apparently radiate body heat, which makes the mother feel very warm, so for the first time ever, Daddy sleeps under the duvet at night, while I’m under a sheet…. which is just as well as it disturbs him less when I have to go to the toilet for one of my many many many many trips there per day!

Another real discomfort is having something the size of a rugby ball shoving your organs completely out of the way. I have to kind of roll myself off the bed in the mornings, or swing myself off the sofa – and I’ve only got a small bump!  And don’t even think about shaving your legs! I have to stand in the bathroom with one leg at a time hoisted up in to the basin whilst balancing myself against the wall with my hip so as not to fall over! Painting my toe nails is a similar “funniest home videos” scenario! At least I can still do it, but wow… what an exertion!

I think for me personally though, since the end of my hyperemesis gravidarum episode, the hardest thing about pregnancy has been the tiredness. It is the hardest thing in the world, dragging myself to work every day, being enthusiastic and efficient and managerial, to then go home and have a social life and do … well… anything. Unfortunately I’ve had no choice about working, so it’s really been the social life and the ‘anything’ that’s suffered.  By 15:00 in the afternoon my biggest goal for the final hour and a half of my work day is keeping my eyes open. If I can NOT fall asleep at my desk, I have been successful. Going home then normally involves an enormous effort which is concluded by willing myself up the stairs, dropping my handbag en route and crashing on the couch, where I stay put till sheer will power makes me get up to do anything else!!

Well, on that note it is now well past my bed time. I am going to make myself a nice cup of Red Raspberry Leaf tea (The tea is a uterine tonic used by Native Americans for thousands of years. It tones your uterus by helping to “focus” your Braxton Hicks contractions. Think of its job as helping the uterus do more effective exercising while you are pregnant. It does not “cause” contractions and can be safely used throughout pregnancy. It is contraindicated for those having complications “just in case”, however, by most doctors who do not understand its use. Many women safely use it from the moment they learn they are pregnant at six weeks until months after delivery. (It helps to tone the uterus after delivery as well, shrinking it back to size more quickly and reducing bleeding.)) and then I am going to sleep, which I know will be when you start squirming again!

Love you my baby – just so you know, knowing you’re in there, feeling you, makes all those uncomfortable, unpleasant, uneasy things totally worth it.

Mommy

Someone else’s baby at 29 weeks: Look at those fingers!!

Someone else's baby at 29 weeks - look at those fingers!

Week 29 – Things you didn’t (want to) know about pregnancy!

Hello Mommy’s Baby,

Mommy is just stopping by today to tell you how very well you are doing.  I haven’t seen you in a while now, but I can feel you growing inside me.  The ‘smart’ people say that this week your brain is developing and you are putting on loads of weight so that your fat can keep you warm when you come out.  Although we can’t see your brain developing, we can definitely tell that you’re getting bigger in there, by how much bigger I’m getting out here. I think I’ve grown about as much in the last week as I did in the 27 before that.

You have developed some very interesting habits that Daddy says you get from me!  The first is that you seem to be very aware of my bladder.  When things get a bit tight in there for you, you start kicking or hitting on my bladder, because you must have figured out by now that when you do that, I go and empty it, making a bit more room for a little while.  Then you go back to sleep, and it slowly fills up again, so you wake up and start kicking again and so we continue.  Daddy said he can just see you hammering your fists into it saying “No” in sharp little fits, which he says I do for other things!  You have also taken to stretching one of your ligaments in such a way that it feels as if you are trying to force a hand or a foot in between my ribs and my skin, kind of like when someone stuffs a chicken. That is so painful, on Sunday I was sitting on the couch with tears streaming down my face from the pain, but I couldn’t stop laughing from the sheer ridiculousness of the situation!

It’s also been quite amazing watching you, especially at night, when I think you like to turn around and I can see a bulge of bottom or head or something move from the left of my stomach to the right in a weird contortion of movements that make it look like something’s trying to climb out of me! I keep trying to catch it on video, but you seem to be camera shy because no sooner have I finally found the settings or got the lighting right or figured out the angle on Daddy’s camera and you stop moving! I’ll catch you one day though! I’ll keep trying till I do!

I have had to buy a support belt, because you put quite a lot of pressure on my pubic bone, which is very painful when I stand up or walk around, but the belt seems to be helping a lot. I am quite small, even though I’m over 6 months pregnant now, and it can be so uncomfortable sometimes. I feel really sorry for those mommy’s who have really big tummies! I was speaking to my Granny, your great Granny, the other day and she says that when she was pregnant with my mom, her first child, she was very small too. She told me a story about how she went to the dairy and asked if they would mind delivering milk for a month so that she did not have to worry about that during labour/the first few days and the woman at the dairy wouldn’t believe that she was just about to have a baby! Fortunately people are starting to believe that I’m pregnant now, but even this week someone told me she wasn’t sure whether to say anything or not, because she wasn’t sure!  I guess that explains why for the most part I am still wearing the clothes I wore last summer!

I had my anti-d shot last week, which means that should our blood meet, you will be just fine. I hope you appreciate it too, cause that injection really hurt! While I was at the hospital, I asked them to check my urine to make sure there were no proteins, glucose or urobilinogens floating about as those can be indicative of pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes and liver failure, the biggest killers in pregnancy, apparently, but fortunately there were none of any, and we’re both perfectly healthy. My iron count is a little low, which might explain why I am so tired all the time, but it’s not so low that they’re worried about it.  I should probably just hold my nose and down some spinach and solve that problem.

I thought that, as we start waning down in to single figure weeks it might be worth me recording some of the things I’m likely to forget once you arrive. Now, I must warn you that contrary to public perception (certainly mine, before pregnancy!) pregnancy isn’t all about healthy glows, throws of energy and pumping libidos, so if you’d rather not know yet, you might want to skip this part!!

The first thing those who’ve been there started telling me about when I told them I was pregnant, was to look out for the haemorrhoids, that they were sore, and they were coming and I’d better get a few good books, because I’d be spending hours on the toilet whenever I needed to go!  This did not sound like something I was particularly looking forward to, so I tried to see what options were available, and mostly they involved laxatives, or eating a lot of roughage or lots of green vegetables.  I wasn’t keen on the laxative idea, and since the start of the pregnancy I’ve really not liked the looks of most green veggies. One of my favourites is spinach and even that kind of turns my stomach now days, so that was going to be very hard to digest (no pun intended!)  As it happens, the first four months I hardly ate, and threw up everything that I managed to eat, so constipation was never a problem for me… I simply had nothing to expel.  It was only in the fifth month that I started understanding what my dear friends had spoken of and very quickly decided I wouldn’t be struggling like that for months on end!  I bought a tub full of different dried fruits and making sure I have a handful a day, (just enough to not be known as that smelly woman who’s pregnant!) you will be happy to know, constipation and haemorrhoids have not been my constant companions, and I can tell you, I’ve not missed them either!

The other thing that every pregnant woman seems to complain about is heartburn. Again, for the first four months not eating anything meant I didn’t suffer, but as you’ve been growing, and since you’re lying quite high up, (and low down – you are quite large after all!) I’ve recently been guzzling Tums like they were candy! No more than the allowed seven per day of course, but still! I have discovered that Gaviscon makes me feel sick and Eno’s has a much longer lasting soothing effect, but since I only have a very small amount left and South Africa is a long way away, I only use it on the worst cases!

Milk has become my best friend. It helps with the heartburn but is also probably the only thing I’ve desired more than anything else during the pregnancy.  I wonder if you’ll be born with a dairy intolerance due to the litres and litres of milk I drink every week?  I do hope not! At least you should have strong, healthy bones and any help this family can get on the teeth front is welcomed!

One of the things I did find rather strange was when one day I discovered dried ‘liquid’ (called Colostrum) on the inside of my bra.  For some reason I had not expected that till much later, but it seemed my body was just checking that everything works in that department as I’ve not had to worry about it again. I am very keen on feeding you breast milk of course, to strengthen your immune system, our bond and all the other things its meant to do, but I will tell you, I am still finding the idea of feeding someone from my breasts a little odd to get used to!  I don’t think anyone but a pregnant woman really realises how many changes you go through in this journey, and although 9 months at times seems an interminably long time, I think it’s probably just the right amount for your head to get used to all the changes in your body.

Since I’ve not grown particularly huge, I have been lucky in that my feet haven’t swollen as much as some people’s do, but I’ve also been blessed by the weather we’ve been having. We’ve had such a heat wave, and even when it’s not hot it’s been quite humid, so I’ve been able to wear my FitFlops everywhere, which has made such a difference. I’d have hated this in winter boots and coats!

Oh! Here’s a little shared fact about pregnancy, during pregnancy your sinuses become quite annoying! You can have a stuffy nose or a runny nose, like when you have a cold, all the way through pregnancy! It even has a name: rhinitis of pregnancy. Well, it’s most annoying and short of steam, humidifier and saline nose drops, there’s nothing much you can do about it, because you don’t actually have a cold!

There’s a thing called ‘the mask of pregnancy’ which is basically skin pigmentation on the face. For most people it happens around the cheeks, but I have weird – looks like old sunburn- type marks on my forehead! Fortunately that’ll go away after the birth!

Regardless of the weather, I am really hot too – babies apparently radiate body heat, which makes the mother feel very warm, so for the first time ever, Daddy sleeps under the duvet at night, while I’m under a sheet…. which is just as well as it disturbs him less when I have to go to the toilet for one of my many many many many trips there per day!

Another real discomfort is having something the size of a rugby ball shoving your organs completely out of the way. I have to kind of roll myself off the bed in the mornings, or swing myself off the sofa – and I’ve only got a small bump!  And don’t even think about shaving your legs! I have to stand in the bathroom with one leg at a time hoisted up in to the basin whilst balancing myself against the wall with my hip so as not to fall over! Painting my toe nails is a similar “funniest home videos” scenario! At least I can still do it, but wow… what an exertion!

I think for me personally though, since the end of my hyperemesis gravidarum episode, the hardest thing about pregnancy has been the tiredness. It is the hardest thing in the world, dragging myself to work every day, being enthusiastic and efficient and managerial, to then go home and have a social life and do … well… anything. Unfortunately I’ve had no choice about working, so it’s really been the social life and the ‘anything’ that’s suffered.  By 15:00 in the afternoon my biggest goal for the final hour and a half of my work day is keeping my eyes open. If I can NOT fall asleep at my desk, I have been successful. Going home then normally involves an enormous effort which is concluded by willing myself up the stairs, dropping my handbag en route and crashing on the couch, where I stay put till sheer will power makes me get up to do anything else!!

Well, on that note it is now well past my bed time. I am going to make myself a nice cup of Red Raspberry Leaf tea (The tea is a uterine tonic used by Native Americans for thousands of years. It tones your uterus by helping to “focus” your Braxton Hicks contractions. Think of its job as helping the uterus do more effective exercising while you are pregnant. It does not “cause” contractions and can be safely used throughout pregnancy. It is contraindicated for those having complications “just in case”, however, by most doctors who do not understand its use. Many women safely use it from the moment they learn they are pregnant at six weeks until months after delivery. (It helps to tone the uterus after delivery as well, shrinking it back to size more quickly and reducing bleeding.)) and then I am going to sleep, which I know will be when you start squirming again!

Love you my baby – just so you know, knowing you’re in there, feeling you, makes all those uncomfortable, unpleasant, uneasy things totally worth it.

Mommy

Someone else’s baby at 29 weeks: Look at those fingers!!

Someone else's baby at 29 weeks - look at those fingers!

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