20 Bunless Questions

So, life’s gotten in the way of blogging in a BIG way lately. I’m not going to go into it, but it’s been a crackingly busy, boring, delightful, frustrating, wondrous, tedious, brilliant, crazy Summer here in the Bunless household.

When I saw the 20 Questions post over at Pail I was so pleased: a nice way to get my blogging brain back into action, and indulge my rampant narcissism at the same time.

OK. Let’s do this thing.

1. What was the last thing you threw in the garbage/recycling?

Cardboard ‘stuffing’ from a newly-purchased vaporiser. Little Bun came down with a belter of a cold on Saturday morning. Fever, streaming nose, red eyes, barking cough – the works. My little trooper managed to continue to sleep through, albeit very noisily – which broke my heart! The worst of it seems to be gone, but we’re left with a nasty cough – hence, the vaporiser.

2. What’s the #1 most played song on your iPod?

Well, ignoring the lullaby tracks that I played religiously during LB’s months 5 – 8 (Brahms will forever remind me of long, napless days), number one is Lippy Kids, by Elbow. A stunningly beautiful, hauntingly nostalgic track that makes me feel happy and sad all at the same time. Seriously, have a listen.

Sigh – I love that song.

3. What is your favorite quote?

I’m not sure I can pick a favourite, but one that’s close to my heart – ‘Things that were hard to bear are sweet to remember’ (Seneca) … pretty much sums up my response to a lot of things. I am a terrible nostalgist.

4. What chore do you absolutely hate doing?

Ah. Hands down this would be cleaning the high chair. This has easily surpassed every other tedious chore in my life. As LB feeds herself now, the mess ranges from mild to HOW DID TUNA GET INTO MY SHOES? Avocado and mango are the worst. Crevices YOU DESTROY ME.

5. What is your favorite form of exercise?

OK. Um. I am a bad exerciser. LB’s dairy and soy allergy meant that from three months post-partum I had to alter my diet pretty drastically. This, combined with breastfeeding, meant that I dropped under my pre-IVF weight really quickly. While great, it’s also been an excuse to ignore exercise in a big way. So I’m properly wobbly and unfit and gross. Having said that, we walk walk walk all day every day. So right now, walking with my girl is top of my list.

6. What is your favorite time of day/day of the week/month of the year?

I’ve always been a sucker for balmy summer nights. So I’m loving evenings at the moment, out in our little courtyard. The smell of cooling, wet soil – freshly watered after a long, hot day. Mr Bun barbequing our dinner, the two of us catching up over a glass of something very cold, as the sky turns pink and purple overhead.

7. What is on your bedside table?

I’m embarrassed to say, no books. This is unusual, but since having LB my bookwormy ways have fallen by the wayside. Now she’s sleeping through, I’m going to pick this up again. But, I’m afraid that currently my bedside table holds my phone, a glass of water, the baby monitor and sometimes a bit of the weekend paper that I’m still catching up on come Thursday.

8. What is your favorite body part?

Probably my mouth – because of my enormous head (!) I managed to avoid braces as a kid. I think a big, happy smile can be the most attractive thing about a person. Unless you’re Daniel Craig as James Bond, and then it’s your sweet, sweet body.

(yes, I’ve recently seen Skyfall)

9. Would you use the power of invisibility for good or evil? Elaborate.

Oh, evil. I am a snoop – definitely. I used to love riding on the top of the double decker buses around London, only so I could peer into the window of first floor flats.

10. If you could choose to stay a certain age forever, what age would it be?

My twenties were a really fun decade, particularly years living overseas and working as hard as I played. Or was it the other way around? But how can you pick a year from the past, when you have a baby who is growing into the future? I’d love to be lucky enough to answer that question when I’m very, very old.

11. What is the first thing you would do if you won the lottery?

Oh wow, I could write a NOVEL about this stuff. Seriously, when I’m having my most anxious 4am moments, very detailed lottery-based fantasies can calm me down like nothing else. So, first thing? Open a seriously amazing bottle of Champagne and start looking for a beautiful home.

12. What is your biggest pet peeve?

I am an anally retentive, obsessive perfectionist. EVERYTHING is my pet peeve. No seriously. What you’re doing right now – stop it – it’s annoying me.

13. If you could know the answer to any question, what would it be?

That’s easy – what are those winning lottery numbers? Because money can’t buy happiness, but it can sure help along the way!

There are other questions – ones about life, and death, and all that’s in between. But I’m too superstitious to muck with that stuff. Even if I could find out, I don’t know if I’d want to.

14. At what age did you become an adult?

When I left home, and moved overseas to a foreign city with no friends, no job, and no clue. I was 21. It was the best thing I ever did.

15. Recommend a book, movie, or television show in three sentences or less.

Oh goddamn you. This is my favourite thing to do, and there’s no WAY I can stick to just one medium, let alone three sentences.

OK – a book – one of my favourites with my non-Aussie friends in mind. Dirt Music. A rolling, languid, sensual dip into my country. A truly magical read, with a corker of a love story holding it together. Let me know if you like it.

16. What did you do growing up that got you into trouble?

I’m not sure about trouble as such, but gee could I talk. Probably quite obnoxiously. Definitely precociously. All home movies have the unfortunate feature of having my face thrust into almost every frame. Not a shy little flower!

17. What was the first album you bought with your own money?

It was this. On cassette. I was entranced by her hat.

18. If someone wrote a book about you, what would be the title?

I think this is the hardest question here. I’ve come back to it a few times, but I’ve got nuthin’. How about ‘Anxious and Paranoid’ … ? I’m only half kidding. Those who love me, love my neuroses as well.

19. What story do you wish your family would stop telling about you?

Thankfully, I don’t get many stories told about me at family get togethers. We’re not big on reminiscing in my family – more about anecdotes of the day … But generally a joke or two about my large head makes its way into the patter.

20. True or false: The unicorn is the greatest mythical creature. State your case.

Oh, false false false. A unicorn’s got nothing against The Woman Who Can Be It All – Fantastic wife! Perfect mother! Stellar friend! Exemplary career woman! Spiritually aligned! Physically fit! Now THAT’S a creature worthy of myth and legend.

(can you tell I’m due back to work soon?)

– – –

Well, I hope that fit the bill – I can’t wait to read everyone else’s answers. And hopefully this has been the kickstart I need to pump a few more posts out into the ether. Thank you Pail for the great inspiration!

x

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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

Lists and Superstitions (34w3d)

I’ve just finished writing four lists:

  1. Things to buy for the baby (8 million babygros, singlets, wraps etc etc)
  2. Things to buy for me (padded-housebrick maternity pads, 20 supersize black knickers etc etc)
  3. Things to pack for labour (‘glucose treats’ – lollies? – ginormous nighties etc)
  4. Things to pack for the hospital stay (dressing gown, ‘non-slip bed socks’ … seriously!? etc)

I’ve tried to be brutal in making these, only including what my girlfriends, the eminently sensible prenatal class maternity nurse, and Kaz Cooke say is absolutely necessary. Yet I still have a selection that would make any practical person squirm. How do people keep this megaload to two bags!? Are any of you following a ‘master list’ online? Would you pre-purchase everything, or leave until after the baby is born?

Which brings me to the second half of my post’s title. The Huggies* update was once again right on the money with this week’s update:

“At 34 weeks pregnant, you could worry that there may be something wrong with your baby which hasn’t been detected yet. You may wonder how you and your partner will cope if there is a problem and how this will impact on your life. Many women become very superstitious at this stage of their pregnancy and see “signs” which they interpret as being proof there is something wrong. Dreams, seeing someone with a physical or intellectual impairment, hearing of other new parents who’ve had a baby with problems can all cause great concern.”

This is me to a tee.

As we get closer to the due date, I can’t put off doing some pretty significant baby things any longer. Mr Bun put the cot up today (WOW). I’ve got these aforementioned lists that are going to require some pretty heavy-duty time in the baby shopping department. And I just can’t help but think, ‘what if?’ Is this all tempting fate?

Basically, my superstition radar is going BERKO.

I had a good chat to Dr Spock a few weeks ago about my anxiety around this sort of thing, and her answer was perfectly balanced between the rational (giving me the facts and trying to appease me with odds and stats), and the emotional (gently explaining that this sort of anxiety is normal, and I just have to remove triggers like nasty/depressing/tragic mag articles, news stories etc etc from my life).

Of course, the ongoing movement of the little one is really the only thing that makes me feel calm. But all it takes is one shred of doubt, or one whisper of  story, or one quiet day from the baby, and I find myself panicking that something awful will happen.

In black and white this looks extreme. But I guess that’s one of the roles of this blog. To express how I feel, and in doing so, to lighten the load a little?

It’s also not the full story. The majority of the time I am excited, scared, in awe, uncomfortable and your all-round pretty average first-time-preggy-lady in her last few weeks. It’s just these black spots. I try not to dwell on them. I try to combat them with happy, shiny thoughts.

Here’s to a week ahead filled with those happy, shiny things – for all of us.

 

*While I’ve been subscribed to Baby Center throughout this pregnancy, consistently I’ve found the Huggies updates to be the best: detailed, accurate, helpful and interesting. I was skeptical initially because it was branded, but well done the Huggies marketing team for creating such good content!

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!

Dr Spock

We met our obstetrician this week, who I will call Dr Spock.

She. Is. Uh. Mazing.

Seriously, after a year + with our fertility specialist Dr D and her … interesting … approach to a bedside manner, I was apprehensive about a new Doc. But, she is wonderful. Warm, funny, lovely, considerate. You know when people are nice to you and it makes you want to burst into tears? We walked into her office, super nervous, and she took one look at the stack of IVF paperwork in my sweaty little hand.

‘Oh. You’ve really had a hard time getting here, haven’t you?’ An incongruous comment, but it was delivered with such kindness and empathy that I just welled up.

She chatted away about this and that, all the while my internal monologue was yelling , ‘SCAN ME! SCAN ME! This might all be a TOTAL waste of time!’ She took my pulse before the scan. ‘Wow’ she said, ‘you really are nervous!’ I grimaced.

I was all ready to spread ’em when she squirted the gel onto my tummy. That’s what got me first. You mean it’s big enough to not need an internal scan? What? And before I could continue to wonder about that, there it was – a typically shaped silhouette waving its limbs and somersaulting around. And for the first time in five scans, I cried.

We then went back and discussed genetic testing. The cystic fibrosis test is a mouth swab, and the Downs test a combination of blood, urine and a scan at twelve weeks. I’ve since done the swab, and blood/urine test. I’m booked in for the scan at the end of next week.

It’s such a personal decision as to how you approach tests – particularly for couples who’ve had the challenge of infertility. But this is how we’re managing it so far, and it’s what’s right for us.

I feel extremely lucky to be at this stage. If I look back to those first few weeks, what I wouldn’t have given to have arrived at this stage. And now, a few more hurdles next week. I’m wishing and hoping so HARD that we get some good news … I keep typing sentences and deleting them. This superstition is so severe.

Little steps, little steps.

Days Like Treacle

Every day is c-r-a-w-l-i-n-g along. I thought the original TWW was torture. Jeez Louise. A week ago today I saw a heartbeat, and in a week today I go in for another scan.

So. Halfway there and crapping myself.

You see, the evening-queasiness, smell-sensitivity and strong food aversions I was experiencing around 5 1/2 – 6 weeks completely disappeared last week, and haven’t returned. I’m also not dizzy at all anymore, and am feeling a little less tired. Basically, I’m 7 weeks and almost symptomless – a big change from a week ago.

I’ll be honest. It has me worried.

Any symptoms that were there, and now aren’t, do make me think … missed miscarriage? I haven’t had any actively bad symptoms (touch wood) like serious spotting or painful cramps. So, I just clutch onto the heartbeat we heard a week ago and pray that disappearing symptoms are a freak of early pregnancy and not … anything more sinister.

Mr Bun said if I’m really worried, I should call Dr D and see what she says. Yet she’s effectively ‘graduated’ us, and we haven’t yet met up with our obstetrician. So, I’m sorta in between doctors – and I don’t even know what they’d do. Crap. I’m rambling now.

In the meantime, I’m getting piles of letters already from the hospital, obstetrician, ultrasound, health insurer – all talking about tests and forms and decisions and – EEK! I just want to get another good scan and then maybe I can look at them. For now, they stay in a steadily increasing pile on the table.

Shit post. Sorry (distracted by the tedium of the Brownlow (!) … that’s for you Aussie ladies out there)

The Fear and the Ecstasy

Wow. Well, that’s been a big few weeks. Want to know what intensity is? Have your in-laws arrive after 18 months and 12,000 miles, on the day you have your entirely unexpected and very wanted pregnancy confirmed.

Then, go on a trip with them and your husband. One house. One bathroom. Four people. Spend the entire time spotting and cramping.

And, yeah – try and remain C.A.L.M.

Excuse my French – but, fuck me.

This week, two things happened: they headed home, and Mr Bun and I saw a heartbeat.

At six weeks and five days, a feathery, flickery heartbeat. I didn’t cry – I haven’t cried at all since this happened. I think I’m still in shock. I was happy, yes – but it feels like a measured, superstitious relief. It’s been so long, with so many months of so much bad news. I just can’t quite come to terms with it.

And that’s probably the theme of Me right now. While I have Dr D’s words of reassurance in my head, that a heartbeat at six weeks means the chance of miscarriage is much lower, I am still very frightened. My symptoms of mild queasiness and dizziness have disappeared over the past few days, and I find myself fretting that that’s a bad sign.

We have only told immediate family, and every happy announcement is followed by a sombre warning, ‘It is very early days … please don’t get too excited.’ It’s like I am compulsive in sharing my pessimism, hoping that to multiply it is to create a fortress around us that can defend from bad juju.

I feel a tad ridiculous now I’m writing this down. Especially when I know there are other women out there at this stage who are happily shouting the news from the proverbial rooftops, full of joy and baby catalogues. Why do I have to be so neurotic!?

My paranoia and hypochondria is balanced by Mr Bun’s quiet, steady optimism. He’s the rational one, and prefers to rely on the scan, heartbeat and Dr D’s pronouncements rather than my ‘feelings’ and ‘vibes’.

 

Smart bloke that one – lucky I married him.

I apologise if you’re having a tough IF time, and this sounds like the ungrateful bleatings of a woman who has what you want (I may be neurotic, but at least I’m self-aware). This blog has always been about honesty on the most self-centered of subjects: me. The support I have received (and hopefully will continue to receive) has been priceless and magical.

Whatever happens, I hope that remains, while I in turn can continue to provide it to others.

Breathe.

I did it. I asked for another beta.

I’ve doubled again.
My numbers aren’t crazy-high, but they’re in the safe zone. My progesterone is also increasing. Dr D is OK with my progress.
And so, today, I exhaled a little.

Tomorrow I head off for a week with Mr Bun and his parents. Of course, it will be tough. I don’t have any symptoms at all. I am still so early. So much could change.
Yet I received some great advice via Infertile Days – live in the moment. Each day, remind myself ‘Today, things are going well.’
There will either come a time in the coming weeks when that’s no longer true. Or there won’t.

And in the meantime – I will just try to keep breathing.