Baby No. 2

Something scary happened. I saw a newborn pic on Facebook and felt clucky. Broody. Warm and fuzzy, even.

Aren’t our brains clever little things?

I found the first six weeks three six months of motherhood really hard. Even with our struggles getting pregnant, and years of baby-free pain fresh in my mind, I just couldn’t comprehend trying to conceive when Little Bun was six months old. Because – YES – that’s what most of the baby-based medical fraternity suggested we do.

As Little Bun rapidly approaches her first birthday, the searing shock of those first few months is softening. While still bloody tough, motherhood now feels more like a beautiful new life that I’ve moved into – rather than an intensive experience I had to survive.

Harsh words? Probably. And I wasn’t that vocal about this socially unacceptable negativity … until I read this brilliantly written article via the PAIL girls.

It hit home SO HARD. It captured the visceral, raw shock that I felt at being a new mother. When LB was born, an old friend and mother of two (older) children, said to me ‘Enjoy this snuggly warm time.’ I read that line over and over. I didn’t feel warm, or snuggly. What was wrong with me? I felt cold with exhaustion. I loved my baby girl but in a primal, protective way. Things didn’t get snuggly and warm in my head for some time.

But now, nearly 12 months later, my life has hit a new rhythm of normal – and it is wonderful. With the head space that a full nights sleep (and other luxuries of an older-baby) gives you, the thought of another baby is once again a happy one. Maybe not something I’m yearning for just yet, but definitely one to look forward to.

We’re not trying for number two. I may regret these ‘wasted’ months one day. If years go by and Little Bun remains an only child, I’m sure I’ll look back on this time and wonder. I’ll ask myself if I should have leapt back onto the conception train as early as I possibly could have.

Hopefully there will be another Little Bun. A Littler Bun. But for the time being, the three of us are knitted tightly together – enjoying our ‘snuggly, warm time’.

 

It’s Baaaaa-aaaack

My period.

Awww, already?
I actually got it bang on Little Bun’s 15 week birthday – which seemed pretty darn early thank you very much. I put it down to post partum weirdness and, basically, forgot about it. Exactly 28 days later I felt those old familiar cramps and – because I clearly have the memory of a goldfish – spent the day wondering what they were.

‘They sorta seem familiar, but …’

Oh.

Cue me scrambling around in the back of cupboards for tampons and feeling relieved that I hadn’t just put on two kilos overnight without explanation.

So I guess this is it then? I was a little surprised for it to happen so soon, and so regularly, especially as I’m breastfeeding. Maybe it’s because she is doing 5-6 hour sleeps overnight? I need to pay more attention to my cycle (now I know I have one) as I’m interested to see if it affects my milk / her feeding. She’s definitely had more fussy feeding periods in the past month, but I just put it down to normal baby-ness.

The big question is birth control. I have HIDEOUS reactions to the pill. I just can’t take any form of it. Anything semi-permanent like an IUD is out of the question for obvious reasons. But I … and yes, I am hearing these words come out of my own mouth … really don’t want to get pregnant this soon.

That I could is basically laughable, as last time it took nigh on four years. And when we eventually did, no-one could tell us why or how it happened, and if it would ever happen again. Obviously we would dearly love the gift of another baby, and if I had to choose between Too Soon and Not At All, of COURSE it would be the former. But. I’m just starting to get myself back and in order to be the best Mummy I can be, I need a break.

‘Ha Ha!’ says the Universe, ‘first you want a baby, then you want another one – but you want to choose when that happens!? Ha ha hA HA HA HAAAA HAAA!

 
Sigh.

Overdue (40w4d)

If I hadn’t received a due date – if I was living in a wooden shack somewhere in the 17th century – then last night is when my body would have told me, ‘OK. You’re late.’ Up until then I was feeling alright. I was embarrassed to receive looks and texts of concern, feeling a little like an imposter.

But now, now I’m feeling it. The pressure of the baby is immense. The discomfort in my groin, hips and pelvis is ever-increasing. It’s now almost impossible to get off the couch or out of the car without help (Mr Bun is being called on more and more often … I crouched down to unload groceries this weekend and he had to help me up … gawd knows what I’d have done if I was alone).

I had a second fetal monitoring session this AM, and all is looking normal – bub, heartrate, fluid levels – all good. Then Dr Spock examined me, and stripped my membranes. I BELLOWED. It was fah-reaking painful. Seriously, as she rummaged around down there I almost levitated off the table. Any longer and she would have been stripping me off the ceiling.

I laughed nervously afterwards, ‘Um, s’pose I need to work on my pain management skills, hey?’ She gave me side-eye which didn’t make me feel any better.

She said I’m not dilated at all, but my cervix has softened. The little membrane ‘sweep’ (such a bullshit term) she did may, but is unlikely to, get labour started. If not, we stick with the more likely plan which has me getting a dose of Prost.aglandin gel on Wednesday night, heading home, then back on the Oxy.tocin drop on Thursday morning.

Sheeeeeeeze.

In the meantime, I sit tight, nervously witter my way towards Wednesday night, and wonder if I may actually go into labour ahead of then. Not very motherly of me, but – faaark!

x

Fully Baked (40w0d)

HALLO FORTY WEEKS!

I’m not sure what I envisioned for this day … to be honest, I didn’t really picture it at all. I’ve been so focused on taking it ‘one week at a time’, that 40 weeks is here and – well – it’s here! I never thought I’d go early, or on my due date. It’s just not my style. So today, bringing with it no signs of labour, is not about disappointment … more about excitement. Because a baby has to be here pretty soon – right!?

We had our last scheduled appointment with Dr Spock this week and after discussing options she went ahead and booked our induction in. This is another reason why I’m feeling so (relatively) calm today. I have a date to work towards. The ‘complete unknown’ has been somewhat removed.

I trust her. After our last appointment, I’m definitely a lot less blasé about inductions. As I mentioned last week, the research I’ve done has shown me that an induced birth is often one that leads to more interventions. On the other hand, I am not keen on going 10 or 14 days over … and we agreed that a week was a good compromise.

So, she’s penciled us in for an induction a week today (!!!), assuming nothing happens in the meantime. The plan is to head in for fetal monitoring tomorrow and again the beginning of next week (Dr Spock’s routine for full-term Mum’s). We’ll then catch up with Dr Spock after my second monitoring appointment and check in that everything’s OK, and next Thursday is still the right date to shoot for.

And in the meantime – wait.

There’s a little spanner in the works: Dr Spock is off call from tonight until Monday morning. Which means – ba ba baaaahm – Dr Bark will be managing her deliveries from now until Monday.

Look. This is the thing. I clearly have a LOT of love for Dr Spock. And it would be disappointing not to have her there. And Dr Bark and I haven’t exactly gotten off to a great start. But it’s not something I can control, and going into labour naturally in the next few days would clearly be a better outcome than being induced next week. As long as the baby (and I) are healthy, I’m fine.

Which brings me to my final point. The dark, horrid thoughts have returned with a vengeance. I am really struggling with fear about something happening to the baby. Every slowed or absent movement has me panicking. I think it’s because we’re so close – the idea of something happening now is almost impossible to contemplate. I am trying to manage the fear with a combination of practicality and reason – while also being ready to call L&D as soon as I really feel something needs to be checked. That I’m going in tomorrow for a check up is something for me to focus on. I’m sure this is purely anxiety about the whole situation manifesting itself in my greatest fear – it doesn’t make it any easier to deal with though.

Hope you’re all having a fabbo week. I’m waddling through mine with an ever increasing sense of excitement, fear, nervousness and wonder …

!!

x

Are we there yet? (39w1d)

Yes.

I know.

I’m not even full term yet.

But this pregnancy malarkey is getting ALL CONSUMING people. As I lie awake at 4am, 5am, 6am, 7am … I tell myself that this is nothing. That this so-called ‘sleep deprivation’ is a mere trickle compared to the tsunami of tiredness that is to be expected in a few weeks time. That – strangely – does little to a) get me back to sleep, or b) make me feel better. Maybe I need to get a better book.

The bum stuff hasn’t gone away, but the pain is nowhere near the apocalyptic levels of this time last week – which is clearly a good thing. Dr Spock checked my cervix a few days ago and there is NOTHING happening down there. Things are hard and high and not moving at all. So I’d say this baby is a faaair way off.

Interestingly, Dr Spock’s pretty keen for me to go into labour sooner rather than later (ya reckon!?) – but seriously, we were surprised to hear that. I figured, being my first, that they’d be letting me go to 41 or even 42 weeks. However she’s not too happy about the discomfort I’m in and has said the only way I can really begin to heal is to give birth.

However, she also raised concerns about inducing and how it often leads to a labour full of interventions – including, commonly, emergency c-sections.

Dr Spock basically put it to us like this: we’ll take it week-by-week, balancing how much pain I’m in with the negatives of inducing, and go from there. Since that conversation I’ve done a fair bit of research on induced labour, and it has me pretty nervous. As much as I’d like to have this baby soon, I think for the time being I’m happy to wait and hope that nature kicks in and does its thing soon.

… Symptom check anybody?

– Groin pain. In a hallucinatory late night spell I thought maybe I’d accidentally gone horseriding for 57 hours and then forgotten about it. Seriously, that’s just what it feels like: I’m very saddle sore, especially when I’ve been sitting or lying down for too long. Apparently it’s caused by that old fave, Relaxin … all I know is it makes me walk waddle like a bow-legged cowboy

– Sleep sleep, doesn’t happen, sore hips/pelvis/back/legs etc etc bla bla YAWN

– Fingers still stiff and swollen, particularly first thing in the morning

– Have I mentioned my lips look like they’ve been attacked by the Botox fairy?

– Much less hungry/thirsty, and really can’t eat that much without feeling full. Doesn’t stop me trying! Amirght? Amiright!? … sigh

– Bub is moving throughout the day, but much more slowly and quietly. This freaks me out about … oh, eleventy times a day … but it’s never quiet for long enough for me to call L&D. Which is a GOOD THING

– The bump is now big enough to attract HOLY SHIT SHE’S GOING TO BLOW stares if I dare venture out in public. I spent a good ten minutes in front the mirror last night having a serious stare. It’s really big. Like, in-the-name-of-Ridley-Scott-there’s-something-alien-in-there big

– Emotional and negative circular thoughts whipping around my head in the early hours. Lots of ‘what ifs’ and ‘how will we evers?’ This has to be nipped in the bud. I need a TV show I can watch … suggestions?

– Feeling puhreety excited. That’s a symptom, isn’t it?

x

Where I’m Admitted to Hospital (38w3d)

Pain’s a bastard, right? Because it normally goes hand-in-hand with exhaustion, which means it’s friends with helplessness, and comes with a small side dish of panic.

Dr Spock sent me off to hospital.

After visiting her for my normal weekly check up on Monday, and my last post on Tuesday, the ‘roids got worse and worse. So much worse in fact, that I was doubled over sobbing by Thursday – at which point Mr Bun gently asked, why didn’t I try Dr Spock again?

On hearing how I was going (badly, would be an understatement) she asked me to come in and bring my overnight bag. I don’t know what I expected, but it wasn’t that. What she explained was, if you’re in so much pain you can’t sleep, then you become exhausted and can’t heal … so you need to break the cycle by getting some proper pain medication.

So I ended up in the maternity ward for two nights, getting some rest and a little relief. It was pretty strange being there, surrounded by the cries of very-newborn babes. The midwives were all – mostly – lovely. Many asked ‘does this mean you’ll have a c-section then?’ When I raised this with Dr Spock she rolled her eyes. ‘Absolutely not’, she scoffed, ‘you should treat this as totally separate from your labour. This will get better – you’re just taking a little longer than most.’

I’m not sure if I believe her, but it made me feel a little better.

I really wanted out of there by the third day. Dr Spock wasn’t on call this weekend, so her backup Dr Bark came in to see me before I could be discharged. Well. She was a barrel of laughs. Basically told me the pain relief Dr Spock had prescribed me was ‘wrong’ because it would constipate me and make the problem worse. When I told her I was still in extreme amounts of pain she looked at me blankly. ‘Well – it’s your decision.’ How’s that for bedside manner? We can only hope she doesn’t end up overseeing our delivery …

So, I’m home, and still feeling pretty rotten. I am trying to stay away from the heavy-duty drugs, but the pain’s still bad enough at night to have me crying and feeling faint. I feel pretty hopeless. I’m weak, tired, very sore and certainly not exuding the rested, strong, at-peace, hippie-love pregnant vibe I was expecting at 38 weeks.

I trust my doctor. She says this will get better soon. My baby is moving around like a trooper and our house is ready for his or her arrival. Mr Bun is doing everything while I slide between bed and couch, and I have a cracking support team scattered around giving me lots of love. Need to focus on the positives and hope that this, too, shall pass.

The Delights of Late Pregnancy (37w5d)

Warning: this post includes chat about BOTTOMS.

– – –

Champagne and caviar. Diamonds and pearls. Hemorrhoids and thrush. Oh yeah baby, being heavily pregnant is non-stop fucking glamour.

First of all, the stuff that matters – my latest appointment with Dr Spock has me and the baby exactly where we should be. The little one is head down and wriggling around, and now it seems we’re just in the ‘wait and see’ stage for the next few weeks. So that’s good.

But discomfort? Welcome home! Up until this week I was feeling pretty well. A little too big, a little too uncomfortable – but you know, I was definitely handling the third trimester with astounding levels – for me – of maturity (and maybe a touch of smugness too). And then over the past few days, the universe decided I’d become a little too laissez faire for my own good, and handballed me the humiliating double-whammy of hemorrhoids and thrush.

I’ve got creams, pessaries and suppositories coming out my whazoo (literally), but none are working and I am IN PAIN people.

The thrush I can deal with, like most women I’m pretty familiar with the odd C.anesten ritual, and I know it will pass. But the ‘roids? Oh sweet lord. I’ve never had them before and they hurt. like. a. mother. I can’t sit. I can’t walk. I can’t bend over. I certainly can’t go to the loo (which is working well for my 12-times-a-day-wee-habit). I feel like my productivity levels have been slashed to 5%. The smallest task now seems unachievable, because really, movement = pain. That, coupled with the sleep deprivation and the hip and back discomfort, had me in serious sob-town last night … how can something so pedestrian be so extraordinarily shit!?

Dr Spock gently told me the meds were unlikely to work, and the whole shebang will probably get worse after labour … so I’m trying to suck it up and get on with things.

This is the plan: I send this bum-based whinge out into the ether and then I shut the hell up about it. ‘Cos things could be worse and I need to keep focused on the prize at the end. OK? OK.

Hello, Month Nine (36w0d)

Thirty six weeks today. Woahohhhhh.

Puh-retty surreal to be this pregnant. Certainly feel the next four weeks (plus?) are going to crawl by – none of this ‘it’s going by so fast!’ for me.

 

I’m getting into the swing of maternity leave, and have a nice little routine down.

I’m up and out in the morning running errands, catching up with people etc until early arvo; then I’m back home for a quick rest before I try and strike some things off the Home Chores list. For the past few days this has been about finishing the basics of the nursery. But I also have eminently fascinating things to tackle coming up – like updating the photo albums, and cleaning out the bathroom cupboards (ooh!).

It feels good to have most of the baby stuff bought, washed and the room sorted. There are bits and pieces still to do, but I definitely feel calmer knowing that if the bub came early we’ve got the majority of stuff ready to go. I still need to pack The Bag – but so much of it is stuff I need everyday … think I’ll pack everything I can and leave a big ol’ checklist on top for the stuff that needs to be added last minute.

(Just an FYI here … in case you thought I was sane or anything … it’s taking me one huge effort to write about all of this so matter-a-factly, like me going into labour to produce a healthy bub is determined. I know it’s likely. But I do still worry that it won’t happen. Of course I do. I wouldn’t be me if  didn’t).

I haven’t done a Symptom Check in a while:

– Discomfort, moving into Pain, around my lower back, hips and pelvis. This is mainly when I get up after sitting or lying for a while. I haven’t sprung, leapt or jumped anywhere for a loooong time now. It’s more rolled, groaned and grimaced. Sitting on the floor is basically impossible now. Bending down to pick things up from the floor? Gawd. I now negotiate with myself to see if I can just leave whatever it is there. This is not conducive to a tidy house

– Rib pain has moved from the localised spot just under my left boob, to a broader, burning sensation wrapping around my whole left ribcage. Driving or sitting for longer than 15 minutes sets it off, and it won’t quit until I lie down. Annoying, but definitely deal-able

– I. Wee. All. The. Time. Sometimes, baby will move and I need to go PRONTO. Other times, I’ll have two sips of water and need a pee again. I’m still trying to keep nighttime visits to 2-3 max … I think this will soon be a thing of the past

– I’m far less emotional than I was last trimester. I think this is probably because I’m not working and therefore a lot less tired. But the teariness has definitely abated

– A really weird one: the joints in my fingers hurt like a mofo. Seriously, they are so stiff when I wake up the morning I can barely grip anything. It gets better during the day, but still – any idea what this is?

– Baby is moving pretty consistently throughout the day. Lots of stretching and pushing. The weirdest feeling is when you can feel opposite-pushing from opposite sides of your tum – yup, that’d be a head down there, and feet all the way up there … eek!

– The scary-swelling of last month has gone down a lot, which is clearly due to finishing work. I still can’t wear any shoes except my thongs. Which makes for some pretty chilly toes in these mid-Autumn mornings. Luckily we’re in the middle of another stunning set of warm days. As April closes I know I’ll be living in bedsocks … but what to do outdoors? Oversized gumboots!?

OK. I need to try and tick off one more thing from the list before I switch into lazy preggy lady mode for the evening. Hope you’re all having sunshiney days, wherever you are x

No going back now … (35w2d)

I’m officially on maternity leave.

To go ‘early’ was a decision I made in the second trimester, after consulting some wise women (Dr Spock and other preggy colleagues). They all said that, if you can, definitely finish up earlier than 36 weeks. You see, I don’t work a 9-5 job … I’ve been taking it easy these past few weeks by doing 8.30-6; but any busy days have had me working ’til 7 at the office, or ’til 9 at home.

I also figured, this may be the only time I ever have maternity leave. That and the fact first-time-mummas are dropping early all around me (seriously, four women I know have gone 2-4 weeks pre-due-date, just in the past month!!) have me feeling happy with my decision to head off a little sooner than most.

It’s very odd not to be working. I feel like I’ve shelved an enormous part of my identity, and haven’t replaced it with anything. It’s a good exercise for me – I think – as someone who probably puts too much emphasis on work and the life it has me lead. I suppose I will get into the rhythm of not working over the next few weeks. But, yes … it’s a strange feeling indeed.

There’s SO MUCH to do (hence the lists). Our small renovations have been dragging on, and we only really have the baby room 70% finished. So, the next few weeks will be about buying, borrowing, cleaning, painting, prepping and … yes, I guess, nesting.

We have the cot built and I’ve now bought or been given the majority of the ‘first wardrobe’. As we don’t know the sex, the baby’s colour scheme is a little Addams Family … all greys and creams … it’s also showing up my unhealthy obsession with stripes.

Today I’ve been sanding and painting an old chest of drawers that was once my grandfather’s. That, the cot and a lounge chair are looking to be the only furniture we’ll have in the room. I’d like a change table but think it may look a little cluttered. Are / have any of you used the change-mat-on-top-of-the-drawers set-up? I think that’s what we’re going to have to do.

To do next is wash all of the clothes (can you believe almost all of the them say ‘Do not tumble dry’!? I mean, don’t mums of newborns have enough on their plate!!); buy the baby toiletries and some other things like a baby monitor, mattress protector etc; borrow a bassinet from my girlfriend; and tizz the room with a rug, blanket, paintings etc.

I read this week that I’m now at ’35/35′ … 35 weeks down, 35 days to go.

… Eeeeek!

A Peek at L&D (31w4d)

Mr Bun and I took a detour on this gloriously warm, sunshine-filled Labour Day … we finally saw the inside of our maternity ward … !

The baby had been very quiet yesterday, but by the time I went for my nightly wee (I’m still working on keeping it to once a night) I started getting really worried. Dinner, drinks, bedtime, middle-of-the-night toilet breaks – all of these are normally events that wake the little one up enough to give me a squirm and a stretch and a ‘Hello, I’m here!’ But – nothing for almost 24 hours.

I lay on the sofa at 3am drinking icy cold, super sweet cordial. Nothing. I went back to sleep and got up to a big plate of toast and juice. Nothing. I went for a walk in the mid-morning sun. Nothing.

At my fortnightly appointment with Dr Spock last week I’d mentioned my ongoing anxiety that something would happen to the baby in utero. There have been a proliferation of articles in the mags I get through work lately. All – terribly – containing desperately sad tales of babies dying at 38, 39, 40 weeks with no warning and no explanation.

I’ve stopped reading those magazines.

Dr Spock was wonderful, as usual, and talked me through the stats and likelihoods and all that rational stuff. But she also said that the only thing I can really do is be vigilant, keep a close eye on the baby’s movements, and speak up if I ever felt worried. So, I called the Maternity Ward and they told me to come straight in.

I was expecting a long wait and the need to re-explain my story to a few different nurses, but they were expecting us. We were taken straight into a small delivery room and hooked up to monitoring for 20 minutes. There wasn’t much fluctuation and they had me stay for another 20 minutes until they were happy enough to send me home (after faxing the results to Dr Spock to be triply sure). The baby had a few big movements while I was hooked up (typical!) but has been very quiet since. So – good news!?

I know as bub gets bigger the movements will become less and less, but I just can’t shake this fear. Is it the fact I’m a neurotic hypochondriac? Is it that we tried and tried for three years and only found failure and loss? Is it typical first-time jitters? Probably all of the above. What I do know is I’m skating so close to fear and panic all the time. Routines and superstitions and things I’ve come to rely on (like a very active baby) are keeping me on the right side of ‘normal’ – all it takes is a day like today to reveal just how frightened I am.

But, I pick myself up, focus on the thumping, whooshing heartbeat I listened to for 40 minutes today, and hope this little baby decides to get its bum back into gear tomorrow!