The amazing female body

I weighed myself this morning, after breakfast instead of first thing (which is when I would normally do it). I’m not worried about losing the baby weight one iota. It took 8 months to get on, so it will be about that before I will be back to full fitness again. However, I am 1.5kg off my pre-pregnancy weight. I stepped off then back on the scales again to double-check.

I have no idea where it’s gone. My shape is completely different to what it was before, my waist is still thicker, from every angle, my ribs are still separated too. But I love that this body made and carried a child with no input, apart from food from me. It knew what to do, it knows how to repair itself too. Despite the surgery, I can now move around freely, I can sit up in bed without having to think about it first. I’m not doing too much, Hubs is doing the majority of the housework and will be until the beginning of August. I can’t drive, again until the beginning of August, I’m going to send a list of appointments I’ve got to a colleague and hope that she can organise lifts for me, taking people up on their kind offers of help.

Taking help for me is hard. I am so bloody independent, so stubborn, so bloody-minded about things. A case in point? The pile of ironing we’ve got to do. There is no point anyone else doing it, I’ll be wincing, so I need to work out how I can do it sitting down and just work my way through it. Indeed asking for anything I want is hard for me. So many times I’ve been asked to say what I want, for it to be ignored and rejected out of hand, I struggle to get the words out. I keep apologising to Hubs saying ‘Sorry, can you please get me x or y?’ or ‘I’m sorry, I’ve left z in the other room.’ Why I need to preface everything with an apology, I’ve no idea.

This pregnancy and postpartum journey will be good for me, I know it will. I’m already infinitely more patient. I’m already amazed at how little sleep I can function on. I’ve been in awe of this body I’m in and how it’s carried me through since I fell pregnant in October/November, but there are somethings I won’t miss about being pregnant:

  • Heartburn – nuff said.
  • Morning sickness – I know that was long gone, but I just hate feeling sick.
  • Not being able to sleep on my tummy, although I’ve not tried that just yet, curling up in a ball with the quilt wrapped around me is bliss at night.
  • Being kicked in my ribs, va-jay-jay, stomach or whatever else organ was in Peanut’s way. 12 days in though, I still keep waiting to feel him move inside me. It feels odd that he’s not there. Even though he’s now here.
  • The lumbering waddle I developed towards the end. I am loving walking smoothly and quickly again. Continue reading “The amazing female body”

What’s in a name?

Our son Archie Ewan Matthew was born at 8:03 (EST) on 29 June. I’ll write up the full birth story next week when I’m home and can type it easier, but this little man has a pretty impressive monicker, here are our reasons for choosing his name.
Archie – This has been at the top of the list of names for a boy since before we left the UK. While we waited until lunchtime to see what he looked like before announcing his name; unless he looked nothing like an Archie, he was always going to be our little Archibald. We won’t call him anything other than the shortened version, but wanted him to have the full version on his birth certificate should he need it later in life on the pro-golf/tennis tour. Hubs remained firm on this name from the day we found out Peanut was a boy, his favourite cricketer is Archie Jackson, so we were prepared to have had some lengthy conversations around what else to call him. He’d prepared the ‘official’ text while I was still in recovery, convinced his son’s name was perfect.
Ewan – this was my name that I wasn’t backing down on. Only open for negotiation if Peanut didn’t suit Archie, as they flowed well together. This is one of my favourite names, full stop (others to follow), but I’ve named our son for Ewan McGregor.
Matthew – this was a no brainer. Matthew is the Don; the God Father to this boy. Always to be on his side, Matthew is to teach Archie about cricket, football (not soccer), and tell him what his Dad was like ‘When he knew him when…’

My other preferred names that we couldn’t use; Oscar, Felix and Milo. The first 2 are out because I know 2 people with them, the last is out because while in the UK it would be fine, in Australia it wouldn’t. The UK equivalent? Nesquick…

Other names on the list in case Archie didn’t fit; Louis, Joseph, Jacob, Elijah, Oliver, Alfie, William and Edward (shortened to Teddy).

C-section at 7:30am

To give the OB his dues, he didn’t beat about the bush, as soon as I walked in with our stand-in labour lady, he sat us down and talked us through what they’d found on the scan I had last week.

Despite originally being given the all clear, on closer inspection they found a blood vessel from the placenta which was very close to my cervix, which makes a natural birth impossible. Had too much pressure been put on it as Peanut made his entry into the world, it would be dangerous for both him and myself.

I’m over the shock now, still bitterly disappointed, but have stopped crying. I moved into coping mode about an hour after he told me. We’ve told everyone who needs to be told, we’ve checked the bag, packed some more stuff into it, I dropped off the projects that I hadn’t been able to complete at work and now we’re working out what to do tonight. I want a photo of my bump, which we were going to do on Saturday, but Hubs will now take tonight, he’s asking me what I want for dinner. I’m not hungry, I do feel like getting drunk, but that’s probably not a good idea… However tempting.

The painters who’ve completed the ceiling in our living room aren’t going to forget this job in a hurry, they were here when the call came from the OB’s office, so witnessed a minor meltdown, then were given a key to finish the job as we’re going to be otherwise engaged tomorrow morning!

We’ve got to be there between 6-6:30, operation starts at 7:30, we’ll be parents by 8:00. That is fifteen hours away.

I’m not sure how often, if at all, we’ll be able to blog while we’re in the hospital. But watch this space, or keep an eye on Twitter @MamaGranty and @DonMambo we’ll do our best to update them.

Keep your fingers crossed

You know when your phone rings, you see who the caller is and you really don’t think you should take the call? Our OB’s office called about half an hour ago. Haider needs to see me, today. This can’t wait till my scheduled appointment tomorrow.

He must have reviewed the scan results and seen something he needs to tell me, as that is the only recent test I’ve had. When I was there, I was told everything was fine. What does he need to see me so urgently about? I’ve called Hubs, and told him, but he can’t get to the appointment. I’ve called our stand-by labour person and left a message for her, and texted her as I know she’s not at work today. I hope she can meet me there. I hope I’m not going to hear the words ‘I’m sorry’ quickly followed by ‘We need to do the c-section’ because that will mean Peanut will be here on Thursday.

The house is ready, but I’m not. I’m all over the place worrying about what I may or may not hear in a couple of hours. I’ve also got a couple of things left to do for work…

Oh fuckityfuck.

37 weeks and Up & Downs

I can remember peeing too early on a stick, the test coming back so faint Hubs said that I wasn’t pregnant. Two days later then having to go buy another test, and while on my OH&S course testing again at morning tea. That time the line fairly shouted at me, pregnant! Now I am 37 weeks and fully term. How did that happen? Where did the time go?

I’ve not been at work for a week, I’ve completed one thing that I needed to do during that time, what with me getting a virus, and my lap top getting a virus, it’s not been the productive week that I’d hoped for, dotting ‘i’s and crossing ‘t’s. But I’ve had a sleep every afternoon, (except Friday) and have enjoyed having dinner ready for Hubs when he comes home. He’s also liked coming home to someone in the house too, as does anyone after a long day at work, to be greeted by a cheery grin and a kiss.

Here are our Ups & Downs for this past couple of weeks:

Downs:

  • Feeling ill, I’m not a good patient, and this cold/ viral thing has gone on for nearly 3 weeks. But I’ve also felt very snuffly for about the past 6 weeks due to the amount of fluid I’ve got in my body. Some days are worse than others, so it is like one of those colds where you wish it would either bugger off completely, or just come out in full force and be done with it. I’ve had 3 days this week when it hit me with full force. Speaking to a pharmacist yesterday, she gave me a decongestant nasal spray I can use for no more than three days, which has already helped.
  • Weepiness (or as Hubs said ‘Your leakage’), in the past week I’ve cried at: Oprah shows; the news; TV adverts; thanking my Chiropractor for looking after me; not being physically next to a friend when she needs some support; getting into a clean car; the kind words and support in the pregnancy forum that have been written this week; my twitter feed as people struggle with miscarriages and grief; books. You name it, I’m crying over it. Sometimes my response is funny, I literally can’t stop the tears from falling, even though I don’t feel particularly sad. Other times, my body is racked with sobs, and I just can’t stop.
  • Waddling, my hips and hip flexors are very tight. If I sit down too long, I sway from side-to-side when I start walking. Once I’m up and moving I’m fine, I walk like a normal person. If I walk too long, I start waddling again. I feel pretty unstable, combine this with my usual clumsiness, and I am worried I will trip or fall over. I’m being extra careful, I promise!

Ups:

  • Being given the final all clear on pushing Peanut out. It is a weight off my mind, and I’ve been listening to visualisations and meditations on being relaxed and open, opening like a flower does to the sun. One of my labour totems is a picture of roses and peonies, for precisely this reason. I’m also working on reinforcing the image I ‘saw’ ages ago when I first read Ina May Gaskin ‘Guide to Childbirth’ of contractions being called rushes or waves. Growing up by the sea, one of my favourite things was to float in the water, watching the clouds go by. I could spend hours in water, I love the support it gives my body and how free I feel. Using the word contraction implies restriction, when I read ‘waves’ I could see me lying back breathing gently and rising up with the water, and floating back down. It was the single most powerful image of me giving birth I had, before I even knew I was pregnant, before I’d finished reading the book, and popped into my head complete.
  • That this little man is officially ready to come into the world. That in itself is amazing, I looked at the scan pictures we’d put into his album already. From the morpheous blob at 6 weeks, to the fully formed, albeit tiny-wee person at 12 weeks, through pictures of him getting bigger and stronger, to finally seeing him on the screen on Wednesday practicing his breathing movements, I can’t believe that in a month, our son will be here.
  • Coupledom, we are both consciously trying to enjoy our last few days/weeks as Team LG. Us two against the world, until it becomes us three against the world. We recognise that these days are precious and will stand us in good stead as we journey through labour and birth together. We also recognise that when he gets here, nothing will ever be the same again, and also we’ll not know how our life was when he wasn’t here.

I want him to choose his own delivery day, to make his way into the world with minimum fuss and intervention. As I feel him wiggle under my left arm as I type this, I hope we can advocate enough to allow him to do his own thing, to let him make his grand entrance the way we all are supposed to, naturally.

Not at my most elegant

We had fifth and (hopefully) final ultrasound scan today, three more than normal what with one thing and another. I whizzed off to Mulgrave on my own, Hubs has tomorrow off to come with me to the OB appointment in the morning in case of mild hysteria. The traffic wasn’t as bad as I thought, so I sat in the car park listening to the tail end of a podcast for 10 minutes.

Even though I got there early, I was late going in and she’d just gooped me up when the DVD drive doofee in the computer they record to for their records decided to shut itself off, so we had to wait for it to reboot and sort itself out. Consequently we over-ran by nearly 15 minutes, not a good start to their day. I warned her that my pelvis was sore, so if she was going to look at my cervix again, could she be gentle please?

Here are some stats for you:

  • Waistline 30.58cm
  • Weight 2.9kg or 6lb 3oz, (already!)
  • Placenta, mostly round the front now, but 4cm clear to cervix
  • Cervix, long and most definitely closed shut – he’s planning on being in there a while!

The scan went well, but she kept going over the same things, like umbilical chord flow, placenta flow and heartbeat until I asked her ‘Is everything ok, you keep running the same test?’ she said she liked getting a nice clear trace, but everything was fine. Be that as it may, your OCD on getting a neat and tidy trace worries the person on the table who just sees you looking at the same thing over and over again! Continue reading “Not at my most elegant”

Finishing work at 36 weeks

When everything else in my life fell apart, I kept working. When everything I knew and trusted had gone, and I was deep down in a black pit of despair, I could still remember my alphabet and move paper around a desk efficiently. Eckhart Tolle tries to reinforce that we shouldn’t be identified by what we do, but who we are as people, saying ‘I am’ is simply enough when you get asked what do you do. But when my first marriage failed, while I didn’t know who I was, I was able to keep paper-shuffling and by focussing on organising a diary, through looking after some body else’s life; I found my own.

I found that I like my own company, there was nothing to be scared of by being on my own. I learnt to control my thoughts, I learnt that my thoughts are just that, they are not me. Some days when I am tired, frazzled, hormonal; I have to struggle to remember that is all they are, that voice can be loud and clear inside my head. But it is inside my head, it is not the truth of me.

I found that I would rather walk anywhere; I found I like watching the sea roll in and roll out on a tide; I found I would rather have a glass of red wine and a conversation over dinner than go clubbing; I found that I am quite happy going to the cinema on my own, or indeed the theatre too; I found that I like exploring new cities; I found that I can read a book once and if it resonates with me, I will remember passages of that book for years; I found that the girl who gets excited when she sees the Red Arrows, is still there. People have told me that I have a passion for life, that I light up a room, the party can start when I arrive. I don’t know that, I can only go by what I see looking out. But I also found that the past 7 years of my life have been the making of me. I am finally comfortable in my own skin. I’m not the girl who looks like a boy, I am a grown woman who’s husband says she is beautiful, and when she looks in a mirror, can sometimes believe it. I’m not the swimmer that almost made it, I am just someone who loves being in water, but prefers the gym or a hike to keep fit. I’m not the girl who flunked out at school, I am the girl who would prefer to learn a different way. Continue reading “Finishing work at 36 weeks”