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Monday, 22 December 2014

Tick tock...

Tick tock. Had a midwife appointment today. Apparently my uterus is "irritable". Freaking understatement, my whole body is irritable right now! Please come soon baby. I think he dropped even further down today as my tummy has changed shape. And was planning to go an walk up and down UCT steps today in hope of some kind of labour induction but am not sure I actually can walk any more.

But irritable uterus sounds promising right?? It must mean something right?? I am grasping at straws here. Even though my due date is Sunday the midwife wants me to go to the hospital for monitoring on Friday because Squirmy is now so big and it seem like the fluid is getting low. I have to admit it makes me anxious and I may beg for some kind of induction by then. In midwife care, at least mine and I think in the UK they only tend to induce at 42 weeks, but I agree, this baby is running out of space and it just makes me nervous! Apparently sometimes a membrane stretch and sweep can induce so I may ask for that. I am sure no one who has not had one ever wants or needs to know what that is... so I will leave it to the imagination.

But I am having loads of Braxton Hicks so my uterus is both grumpy and practicing and this can only be good.

Still struggling with names, can you believe it. Have the original back up name and a new name that I love but G-man pointed out issues with his surname. Again. They seem minor issues to me but it is so freaking upsetting. I never would have guessed naming would have been such a nightmare for me.

On the babycenter naming board someone wanted to name their son Jamon. If you know any Spanish you will know why this is hilarious :D (Ok the spelling is missing an accent but still. Bwhaha).

Friday, 19 December 2014

Exit this way.

Oh man. 39 weeks today and still pregnant. Sob.

I had painful cramps all day today. Tried to do grocery shopping but it did not go well. I tend to always take the G-man shopping with me now and am so glad I did today. These cramps are not like contractions at all, because they don't go away. I could not think straight enough to select potatoes.

Google tells me that sometimes early labour starts this way, and other times you can have the cramps for weeks. Weeks! Please no. And my hips are tingling with weird nerve pain now and I don't think blood or lymph is necessarily reaching my legs - judging by their tingliness and the fact that they look like I have elephantiasis. My back, well it is sore but seeing as everything else is too it is not as prominent as usual.

Do I sound like I want this to be over? And Squirmy remains nameless - he shall probably remain that way forever as we just cannot find a name that we like that does not clash in some way with the surname.

In America everyone gets induced and in SA the babies get C-sectioned out of there. Am starting to see the appeal of these options over being slave to the readiness of a fickle and untrained uterus. My midwives follow a fairly British protocol of care and I am with the British ladies... waiting... and waiting... and going slowly mad.


Thursday, 18 December 2014

Friggin measles!

There is a measles outbreak in South Africa at the moment and it is making me feel uneasy. Bad enough that I am not immune to Rubella and it is not something that is on the free vaccination schedule in this country. I seem to have avoided that issue and the horrible things it can do to unborn babies, thankfully.

The last few days I have seen a few moms post that their babies have measles on Facebook. My immediate question is WHY? Measles vaccine IS on the free schedule because it can be a very serious illness, especially amongst immune compromised and malnourished people. I have seen very distressing photographs of the havoc measles can wreak on the eyes of children who have a vitamin A deficiency. In this country where many people have AIDS and others have a high likelihood of being malnourished you would think the measles vaccine would be taken VERY seriously. So why are these middle class babies getting it? Did they not get vaccinated or are they just not finished with the boosters yet? I also understand that in this country not everyone has easy access to good healthcare and many young ones are not getting vaccinated as they are not being reached and this leads to outbreaks of these illnesses. But these are middle class babies I am seeing on Facebook, with access to both free and private vaccinations.

It scares me because I am about to have a newborn and by default they are immune compromised. I don't want my tiny baby catching measles! I have had measles as a teenager. It was horrible and the worst fever ever and my eyes have been light-sensitive ever since. And I have a great immune system.

I wish people who refuse to vaccinate realised how much of a risk they put other people in by not getting their kids vaccinated. People with cancer, AIDS, other immune disorders and old people whose immunities to measles have worn off are particularly vulnerable, as are little babies. We vaccinate not only to protect ourselves but everyone in society too.

I feel very vulnerable right now. And saddened by the bad advice out there. My own midwife advised us to plan our own vaccination schedules if we wanted to rather than following the scientifically tested and validated schedules that are used. Awful, awful advice. If those ladies delay the measles vaccine then this outbreak could become even worse. Ugh. I can't believe she is advising a group of people with no scientific background to go over the heads of scientists in these situations. So dangerous.

I will just be hiding in my flat for the first few weeks of my baby's birth and just hoping I don't meet up with a measles baby at the clinic or anything. 

Monday, 8 December 2014

Moving office.

I'm feeling sad. This is a tiny thing, not a big deal at all, but G has been working from home since we moved back to SA. Since my own job hunt did not go so well and I became a postgrad student instead, I worked at least twice a week at home too. It is so nice having both of us home. Obviously I try not to bug him toooooooo much during the day, but if I need to ask him something or have a little chat then I can, and we can go for lunch time walks, and have quick cuddles, and we just generally have a very insular but harmonious vibe going on.

However, we only have two bedrooms in our flat and the baby needs his office so he is moving out to a shared office with some climbing friends. He is probably going to move at the end of the week. I know this sounds lame but I will feel so lost without him around. It is amazing what you get used to. Obviously in the UK we both worked all day away from home and just crashed in the evenings, but this house is going to feel so empty with him gone and me just mooning around (I actually am the shape of a moon) and then obviously looking after a baby soon.

Also we will have to majorly downgrade our home internet, haha. His boss was paying half the bill as it was for work so we had unlimited. We are probably going to have a cap, this unheard of thing that South Africans have to deal with. We are internet spoilt brats, coming from the UK where internet is dirt cheap and caps are more of a myth. Saying that, G did once get us capped internet in the UK just because he thought it was the best thing ever that it was only 5 pounds a month, but we (he, actually, he was watching Game of Thrones and stuff like that every day) speedily exceeded the cap every month and immediately paid more to increase it each time. Lame. Please note that it is not that we could not afford unlimited internet, which was dirt cheap, it was just the novel thrill of SUPER cheap internet that attracted him, and we ended up paying more than we would have for unlimited each month anyway.

Saga of the internet aside, I wish we lived in a big house with an office and he could work at home, but this could actually be good for him. He was used to working in a busy office with friends. Maybe these last two years have been too lonely for him. I think he will really enjoy an office vibe again. I will just miss him like crazy.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Winter melon

I am very happy and relieved to have made it to 37 weeks! Phew. Baby is the size of a winter melon, whatever that may be. I am sure it is big. It seems that doctors used to be gung ho about taking babies out at 37 weeks, but recently a full term baby has been redefined to 39 weeks, so that is how far I want to make it! Sometimes it seems unlikely now that I am so huge and I get this intense pressure down below... last night I thought perhaps he was going to bust out of my belly, he was squirming so much. That definitely caused me to panic because I do not feel even remotely ready for this all to actually happen. Which just shows me that I will never feel ready, I guess.

I did not have a baby shower, mostly because I don't have enough female friends to invite to one (I know, how sad). But seriously I could think of 4 ladies to invite and they don't know each other and that would be lame. There was G's family I could have invited but in the end I just didn't. Babycenter members are of the VERY strong opinion that it is absolutely wrong to host your own baby shower, which I had no idea about. I mean, what is the big deal? My cousin threw her own in the UK. She gave us food and drink, we gave her gifts, it seems a fairly normal transaction to me. We throw our own birthday parties after all?

Anyway. Despite the lack of baby shower, we have been given so many new and second hand clothes that I feel slightly overwhelmed. One friend's brother gave us two huge bags of clothes. Our unborn child has more clothes than either of us have ever owned in our lives.

It makes me feel a bit funny how these things work - cycles of privilege. While I don't consider myself to be rich amongst my peers, in South Africa as a whole I guess we are definitely on the rich list. We could afford to buy all the clothes we needed for the baby if we had to. We feel so grateful that we don't have to but we could. We are lucky to have other fortunate friends who pass on their clothing bounties. I am sure the poorest people who cannot afford to buy baby clothes do not have rich friends who can pass on tons of clothes to them. IT makes me want to go out an donate all of these clothes immediately. Or at least use them and then donate them. But here is the slight catch - I think it is expected of us to pass down these clothes to the next baby in the family/friend group.

I think I am going to try and donate as much as possible and save a few things to pass down. This seems the best way. I feel kind of embarrassed right now with our cupboards stuffed full of clothes for the next two years, but so so grateful too. This has definitely been the biggest-spending year of our entire lives as a couple. It has been CRAZY. So every little helps. I just want to pass this abundance on to someone else who really needs it, like really. Not like us. We are just spoilt.

Friday, 28 November 2014

BFG mini.

Eeek! So just to reiterate, I am growing a BIG baby! I had a doctor's appointment today, first one since 20 weeks. Because I see the midwives, I only see the doc 2 or 3 times in pregnancy. It is always nice to have a scan, although at this stage there is almost nothing to see as Squirmy is too big. Apparently the doc projects that he weighs 3.2kg. Already! This is not off the charts big but it is at the end of the spectrum for size. When the doc said the number, I assumed that he meant that Squirmy's projected weight would be 3.2, but no, that is what he is now. Obviously these scans are known to be very inaccurate regarding size predictions, but I can believe it, considering how everyone reacts when they see my belly.

I was less than 3kg when I was born. How is it that I have incubated such a giant? Is that what an aversion to vegetables and nik nak cravings does to a baby? Yikes. It is funny to think that if I were seeing many other doctor's in the city, I am pretty sure I would be recommended to have a C-section about now. I feel relieved that I chose the midwives and doctors that I did. My midwife explained to me that the size of the baby means nothing as to whether he will come out vaginally or not. The actual passage of my pelvis is the one key point, which no one can know the size of, and the other point is how loose my pelvis has become thanks to the relaxin hormone. If I am wide enough and loose enough, any baby can pass through, otherwise even a small baby could get stuck. Judging by how painful my pelvis is every morning I think my tendons are pretty loose. Another factor is the baby's head. His skull bones slide over each other during birth and how well the bones retract defines whether his head will fit or not.

My doc did say that he hopes for my sake that the baby comes in the next 2 weeks (no no no too soon!!!) otherwise I will be birthing a 4kg baby. Um, ouch. However, no, the next two weeks is too soon.

Also we found out that from January next year our hospital will be included on the Delta network for Discovery medical aid. This year it was not and we have the Delta plan, so we have to pay a R5000-something fee, which obviously sucks. But as this hospital is THE one to go to if you want to attempt a vaginal birth we decided to bite the bullet and pay the fee. Obviously it hurts. But from next year we would not have to pay the fee!! If Squirmy could just arrange to come a few days late (he is due on the 28th Dec) then our birth will essentially be fully covered. Ha, I wish. Unfortunately I have a feeling this one is coming earlier rather than later, just by sheer lack of room and inability for my body to house him any longer. He will just have to be an expensive baby.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Maternity leave

I'm on "maternity leave" if a student can call it that. Finally! It came not a minute too soon. I am taking some serious strain. The world in general is of the opinion that I am particularly large, and I concur. My belly is huge. I am not just saying this. The last few days it grew even bigger. It is so heavy now. G and I walked downstairs to hang up some washing and I felt like I ran a marathon. I am struggling now and all I want to do is sleep, but sleeping really hurts my hips. I wake up every morning in so much pain.

The baby has dropped and as a result I have to pee every few minutes. Which does not bother me that much actually. But today a new symptom happened. The sharp, agonising pains in my groin region that are continual and don't go away. I think G thought I was in labour, poor man, because I was squealing with the pain. Apparently this is quite common and is the baby resting on a nerve or stretching a tendon or something. Ugh. It was bad.

I was really looking forward to having some time off to get lots of shit done, but I get so tired all the time that I do wonder just how much I am going to get done in the next few weeks.

And I weighed myself today and I have gained 11 kg! I was really hoping to not go over 10. And I have 4 weeks to go. I do feel that it is almost all in the belly and to look at me you would agree, but I am sure that when the baby is out I will find out how much of that is not in my belly but in other areas... ugh. I did not really experience the increased appetite that some pregnant women get so I can't really say it felt like I ate all that much, but then exercise has been an unreachable goal for some time now so it could also be down to that.

I know I sound like a typical moany pregnant woman in the last stages of the third trimester. And that is what I am. Well technically I only have 4 weeks of this to go. That is crazy little. I am kind of terrified now based on the size of my belly that I have grown a real chunker (my midwife did say I grew Squirmy "very well") and squeezing him out is going to be a real battle. Shudder.

Better go try and get shit done before this baby arrives. We are so not ready.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Another one bites the dust.

A lady in our antenatal classes had her baby last week! She was 34 weeks. The day before she went into labour we had our class. We had similar due dates and were discussing how uncomfortable we were. She did mention that sitting was super uncomfortable for her and you could see she was pretty uncomfortable throughout the class. But wow, bam the next day she had her baby!  Another lady in my pilates class had hers at 31 weeks, but that is a little bit more serious as the baby is still pretty small at that stage. He was fine in the end but he needed quite a bit of TLC in the beginning.

Too soon, too soon. 34 weeks. I am so not ready for that. I want my baby to bake as long as possible. I am sure in a week or so when I start to get ridiculously uncomfortable I will be singing a different tune but I want to avoid the issues that prematurity can bring. Of course at 34 weeks the baby should be fine and probably only needs a little bit of time and assistance in NICU, but still. Prematurity has been linked to some physical and developmental issues in some cases.

And anyway. Soooo not ready to actually have this baby. Will I ever be ready? No name, no hospital bag packed, total denial. There is not actually going to be an actual baby at the end of this, right? That was totally just a  rumour.

Squirmy has been pressing down on my pelvis and the pressure (and pain) down there is increasing and I am just a lumbering sphere at this point. I feel like I could pop at any moment. But would appreciate the extra 5 weeks to do some preparation, thanks.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Well-engaged.

Another midwife appointment today and it was all good news, yay! I still have ridiculous fatigue that made me lie down all weekend while the BFG cleaned the whole house (ok I did the dishes) and painted a wall all on his own. I feel terrible. But I am so dead tired all the time. The midwives tested my haemoglobin and apparently it is at a really good level, higher than most people's at this stage of pregnancy, so the fatigue is not related to that. I guess it is just related to carting around a 2kg lump in my belly.

They asked if I was eating a super iron-rich diet. Um, no? My diet has been horrible the last few weeks. I seem averse to vegetables again and averse to cooking in general. I don't eat meat every day and my spinach intake has dropped considerably. Can I chalk it down to my Clicks prenatal vitamins? They are clearly good stuff.

But position-wise the baby is head down and engaged in the pelvis and anterior, and basically a great position for labour and vaginal birth, so he better not decided to shift because this is all great news. I do find it a bit disconcerting how much focus there has been on the labour and birth part - I've been going to classes and reading natural birth books and gearing up for all that - but I have not put much focus on how to actually be a good parent. You know, the stuff that happens after you just need to feed and clothe your baby - the part when you actually have to make good parenting decisions and stuff. I am so scared of all that but I have not read or prepared for it at all. Not sure how you would even do that. I mean, the labour part IS important. I want it to go well so that both the baby and I are healthy and it is also important that it is not a traumatising experience that could exacerbate post-partum depression. But the actual parenting vibe, that seems so much more important. I guess we all just wing it to some extent.

My general exhaustion and inability to clean our flat has prompted some people to suggest we hire some help around the place. That is a whole other issue for me. Something I am not very comfortable with at all, and wondering if I should somehow face up to my hang-ups over hiring someone to clean up after me or just do what I am most comfortable with, which is how things work in the UK - people clean up after themselves, if they are working they just allocate the weekend for cleaning. This is what I am used to. I think the issue of hiring help in South Africa is a whole other post's worth of confusion for me. I honestly cannot picture myself being anyone's boss, ever. But I do feel bad that G is having to clean and work full time right now. That is not cool. As soon as I am done with university I can at least focus on doing tiny bits of cleaning during the week and hopefully stay on top of it all. But when the baby comes, gosh who knows how things will work out.

I handed in my dissertation last week, hurrah. I just need to get through a presentation of my results next week and then I am freeeeeeeeee. Oh I cannot wait.  Just hope the baby does not decide to come any time soon. There are still major preparations to be done.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Pregnant ramblings

Still totally flummoxed on the naming debacle after people have been posting our "already named" child's name all over Facebook. This is not the first time, it started months ago. I managed to get over it the first time. Ugh. People are the worst. I thought up a new name that I like last night but the BFG nixed it - apparently a kid with that name bullied him and sat on him when he was little. Ouch. It's so tricky when you have an association with a name to avoid thinking about it. I have rejected many names because of people I know or knew with the name. Basically our child is going to be called Bob, which is our default name for everything, because we are so stumped on names.

On a positive note, I am loving our antenatal classes. The lady taking the class is a third generation midwife. She was born at home with her gran as midwife and has been attending births since she was little. I love how pragmatic she is. This is a class for people who want to attempt vaginal delivery and she is obviously giving us as much advice on the matter as possible, but she is not one of those militant natural birth advocates. Some people feel that we should not even be told about pain options or the fact that birth is even painful at all. Apparently even saying that it will be painful is causing it to be painful. If you say it is uncomfortable then the idea of the pain supposedly goes away... please, spare me this. I know I personally am going to feel some pain. And that is fine. I am guessing there are some women who do not feel pain during labour and that is wonderful. But I think that most of us are going to have to face the pain but accept it and not be scared, you know? So yes, our midwife explained all the pain management options to us and when they are likely to be appropriate or innapropriate depending on how labour is unfolding. There are some cases in which an epidural is very appropriate. I appreciate her honesty and I appreciate that she is removing the guilt some women will feel if they end up having one despite their best intentions.

I am hoping to avoid one for reasons pertaining to my messed up back. I have a scoliosis and apparently it is harder to insert one in a skew back, but I also have a damaged back and epidurals can cause permanent back pain in a few unlucky people. Also I react badly to anaesthetic and it scares me because of that. All that said though, if the time comes and I really feel I need one I am sure I will not hesitate! I am not trying to be a hero. Just so scared of operations. Ridiculously scared. Like when the baby was breech every time I tried to mentally prepare myself for a C-section or read up on how to recover from one I would panic and just shut the idea down. I know I should try to prepare myself in case Squirmy (this could be his name?) decides to flip again. But I just can't really bear to think about it. I am such a ninny. Please don't flip, Squirmy.

The midwife also showed us a birthing video. Again I am impressed by her pragmatism. I have watched tons of episodes of the UK version of One Born Every Minute so I though I was totally prepared for the whole birth thing, but the video she showed us made labour look HARD. The lady had no pain meds other than the laughing gas and she had a short active labour of about 4 hours before the baby was born, but she was suffering. She was in a lot of pain. They don't usually look so scared and sore in One Born Every Minute! I am wondering how much they edit out?? But again the midwife emphasised that this was an example of a good birth. She had no complications, and her pain and discomfort never got to the point that she needed anything more than the gas and air. So we should be accepting that that is how a good unmedicated birth looks like.

Eep.

P.S. will be 33 weeks tomorrow. Cannot believe how huge my belly is. It just feels like a giant bag. I could actually feel it growing! At the beginning of the week all of a sudden my skin got tighter and thinner around the belly and I knew I had grown. So weird. Now the skin is a bit looser again. Ugh. I am so scared to see how this stomach will look after birth and how the heck I will ever restore these stomach muscles. For vanity purposes of course, but also, my back needs tight stomach muscles, it cannot hold itself up without them.

Eeep.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Naming debacle

So how would you feel if your partner's friends and family decided on a name for your baby and started using it in public, and worse, on FACEBOOK, for the whole world to see, before you even gave birth and made any announcement about a name?

This has happened to me. It is making me so angry I just don't know what to do. Unfortunately when the BFG went over to the UK a while ago he told his family and friends some names that we liked. Knowing him, he is very unpredictable in what he says, his idea of our reality does not always translate to mine, he may have told them that we had made a decision. Which we definitely had not and still have not.

They as a group decided which name they liked and are now referring to my unborn child by that name on Facebook. This is blowing my mind. I am the most stubborn person you are ever going to meet. No way in hell is a group of people deciding my child's name for me. No way in hell do they get to use it on Facebook. Most people make a big effort to keep the name secret. I want the same rights! I want to keep my child's name a secret. Not have it splashed all over Facebook! This is ridiculous.

The name they are using was my number two choice and became my number one choice. To be honest in the last few weeks I had secretly decided that that one was probably the one. But now I don't want to use it. Because of the way they have appropriated it and not respected our privacy or even consulted me in any kind of manner. I don't have a number 3 name choice. I just generally don't like names for boys. And they have ruined one of the only two that I like!

ARGH and oh man. I just see red every time I see my child's "name" on Facebook. It makes me so mad. And I do like the name a lot. But I dislike what they are doing so much that I am willing to drop that name, and go back to my original favourite even though that one has many issues and many people told me not to use it. Screw that! Screw everyone.

Never make the mistake of discussing names with people. I have had some pretty awful experiences every time I mention a name to anyone. I won't even go into the flak I recieved for my number one choice. Just lie. Make up a lie name and tell everyone that name. Please learn from my mistakes. People are just awful and have no boundaries. Sigh.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Medical mystery

So it appears that I am a medical mystery, ha ha, not really. I had a midwife appointment today, it was a good one, the baby is head down today! This makes me happy but I know I should not get too excited because it is still early and the little rascal can flip again at any time. Stay down, baby, down!

I asked my midwife about a weird clicking sound that I hear up to 4 times a day, a sound like a knee clicking. I started hearing it at about 28 weeks. Just before I heard it the first time I was on the Babycenter forum and someone brought up that they had heard a clicking or cracking sound coming from their baby. Most people thought she was mad and teased her about giving birth to a dolphin. LOL. I thought she was probably just feeling hiccups. That was because I had not actually felt hiccups yet. Now I have felt both the hiccups and the clicking, and they are totally different. And everyone I mention the clicking to says it is probably just hiccups. It is not! The internet is full of women asking about their clicky babies, and there does not seem to be a proper answer to what it is. It could be clicky joints, or apparently it could be amniotic fluid bubbles bursting. It sounds more like a hard click than a pop of a bubble to me but who knows. The BFG has heard it too.

My midwife just stared at me as if I was crazy and said she had never heard of a baby clicking in her life. Then she phoned the senior midwife and she just laughed and called it Bic syndrome, and said she had never heard of it either. These are experienced ladies. Why has no one heard of this?? At least I know I am not alone, thank you internet for introducing me to other ladies who have heard it.

I do think that if I had not read about it before, I might not have noticed it. But sometimes it is very loud. I just hope it is not painful, poor little thing.

Less than 2 months until Dolphin baby is due.