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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.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

The final countdown

My thesis is due in just over two weeks. This makes me want to sob, mostly with joy. Things are fairly well on track for me to make the hand-in date, barring some major objection from my supervisor or some terrible unforseen thing that I hope is not lurking around the corner. Oh how I dream for this all to be over.

Of course our uni threw an extra little bonus into the mix of a presentation that we need to do at the end of November, so I will have two weeks after handing in my thesis to prepare for that bundle of fun. This is the first time our department is making non-Honours students do this, which seriously bums me out. There is nothing that I hate more on this earth than speaking in public. The thought makes me want to sob, mostly with horror.

And then, oh sweet day, I will be finished (except for thesis corrections from the examiners) and can just, like, be pregnant for a few weeks before we get down to the business of having a baby. We are horribly under prepared as I am in a frenzy of thesis writing. The day creeps closer and closer and I am starting to panic a bit. A lot.

I got hold of a child mag for Cape Town at my antenatal class, and it nearly blew my mind. Mom and baby classes, child activity classes, child music classes, birthday party event planners and child therapy classes and I don't even know what else. I really don't think I can handle modern parenting. It was all so overwhelming I wanted to burst into tears. This could very well be hormones, I think. But still. When I was a kid my summer holidays involved reading a thousand books, playing in the garden and I think I did a Sunday school day camp for one day. There were no planned activities, classes or therapies and birthday parties happened at people's homes and did not cost a fortune. I am a quiet soul. Is it really necessary for kids to do all of these things? And for parents to somehow acquire money for all of these things? I understand that as most times both parents work these days, my type of childhood summers are probably not a reality any more. I just really hope our kid likes rock climbing, reading, chess, quiet time and self-entertainment, because that is what the BFG and I are good at. Otherwise I am going to need to find a good job ASAP to pay for all these classes and  activities that blow my mind. What am I getting myself into, I ask with quivering knees?

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Hospital tour

We went for a quick tour of the hospital today. At least we now know where to actually go if we pitch up with me in labour.

The labour ward was WAY smaller than I expected. I have clearly watched too many American movies and British birth stories from One Born Every Minute. There are three delivery rooms in the whole place. They are great rooms, huge, and two of them have big baths because my hospital allows labouring in the bath and even allows water births. This is apparently quite rare in South African hospitals. I am hoping I get a room with a bath!

However, the fact that there are only three is freaking me out a bit. What if more than three women are in labour on the night I pitch up? Please, where do the other ladies go? Do we share? Oh the awkwardness of that visual.

It occurs to me that this is probably rarely an issue, as women in private hospitals in South Africa are not labouring and pushing out their babies, but are having C-sections. I did not get to see where they do those, but I am guessing it must be in a theatre that looks different to the delivery rooms. So maybe my fears are truly unfounded. It is kind of weird to think that three is a sufficient number of rooms. I guess after watching all the UK hospital documentaries I am used to seeing loads of delivery rooms and separate labouring rooms so that they can shuffle all the ladies in and out, and even phoning other hospitals when things get too full. Three seems so few.

I have met a fair few women here in Cape Town who are all hoping for natural birth. Many of them are going through my hospital which means that they are more likely to be successful. My entire antenatal class is full of women who want natural birth only. But if they are not going to my hospital then they will have a big fight on their hands. One of the ladies said that her doctor said something to her along the lines of, "if you really insist on having a natural birth..." like it was a real annoyance on his part. So yeah, the idea that South African middle class ladies are too posh to push is not fully accurate at all. But some of the doctors are clearly to posh to catch?

I just hope all the ladies are not queuing up with me around Christmas time to take turns in those three delivery rooms!

On that note, I think my baby is still breech, so maybe I should have been checking out the operating theatres after all.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Anonymity

It seems like these days if you want to be taken seriously as a real blogger you have to blog under your real name. Blogging has changed so much since I started writing nonsense to entertain myself on the internet in 2008. Back then it was still ok to blog anonymously and not so many people were doing it to make money.

Now it is all about personal brands and honesty, a least if you want something public. I have never really wanted that, and have actually loved the fun of blogging anonymously. Not so that I can bitch about people with no consequence, but for some reason I feel more free to write what I want when I am an anonymous voice rather than someone people can put a face to. Must be the introvert thing but I am way more creative when I am anonymous.

Now I have found out that someone who I consider as kind of a stalker, is kind of stalking me again. It is probably not fair to call him a stalker as he has not made my life hell wth constant contact or made me feel like I am really unsafe or anything. I just don't want the guy to contact me and for some reason, even though we last "knew" each other in 2002, he still feels the need to track me down. I say "knew" in inverted commas because I barely know him. I considered him a friend of a friend back then. He had feelings for me though. The first time I met him I was single. The second time I met him a year later I was with the BFG. So all of his "feelings" for me come from one single meeting. He was clearly never in love with me but but with a fantasy of me.

We saw each other only a few times after that. One time he put his arm around me. As I said I was in a relationship. I did not handle the situation very well, I was slightly in shock that he would do such a thing, and other recent tragic family events had my attention. So I just ignored the situation rather than confronting it. Yup, that was a mistake.

After that he made every effort to be awful to me. And me being an idiot gave him chance after chance to redeem himself, and opened myself up to his nastiness again and again. Luckily, as I say I barely knew him and barely saw him.

Then in London many years later, G and I bumped into him at a train station. In such a humungous city, what are that chances?? Anyway we greeted each other, had a small chat and then went on our way.

A few years later he Facebook friended me and I was willing to let byegones be byegones so I allowed it. But it was clear that he was going through ALL of my old photographs, leaving snarky-nasty messages on all of them. That freaked me out. And he friended my sister who he did not know. That also freaked me out. And every time I wrote a status, again came the nastiness. Eventually due to some other reasons, including him asking if we could meet up with him and his new wife (why??? I don't even know you!!) I unfriended and blocked him. He clearly had no idea of personal boundaries.

Anyway, now he has found me again and is trying to force me to contact him via various channels.

What this comes down to, is that I will probably never feel comfortable blogging under my real name now. There is no way in hell I would want this guy to be able to read this and know all this about me. I love blogging even if I am my only reader, but I cannot risk him finding this. Yuck.

I hope the blogging world understands that a few of us choose to remain anonymous for good reasons. Not that I need to worry about the blogging world in any major way. But yikes, social media can be a risky thing that brings unwelcome attention sometimes.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

A time to be born...

This goes out to my unborn child, I hope you can take a hint. The little horror was still breach at today's appointment. 28 weeks.



Saturday, 4 October 2014

Pregnancy epidemic

It is crazy how many people I know are pregnant right now. It is like an epidemic. Obviously I go to a pregnancy pilates class so that ups the numbers a bit. But out of my original non-preggy class, all of us 6 except 1 lady are now in the pregnancy class, AND our instructor is pregnant too. Is it catching?!

Out of the ladies in my class from school (about 27 of us) at least 8 that I know of are pregnant or had a baby this year. This is easier to understand. We are turning 35 in the next year or two. That magic number makes people make babies in a fevered rush to be done before all the scary fertility stats kick in. I know it is what motivated me. My class was a nerdherd class so most people delayed having kids til their 30s. People are either trying to pop out their second and get reproducing done before they are 35, or if they are late starters like me, are trying to at least get it all started. Facebook is kind of mad with bumps and scans right now.

And then one of my older friends in her 40s got pregnant! I am SO happy for her. She has been trying for years. And it is finally happening for them.

Then, all the people I was friends with in the UK - yup 4 of us are pregnant/just had a baby. In the science world, people have babies even later than 35, so they tend to be even later starters, but yes, things are happening in that part of my world too.

It is so weird to me because I have lived in a babyless and pregnancyless world for most of my life (probably partly thanks to the lack of baby-friendliness in Science) and now it is just a baby explosion, or as I like to think, a future poop explosion. It is just a pity I don't actually live near most of these people, who are scattered all over the world. I still don't see many actual real life babies, and am still as much of a novice as ever when it comes to things like nappies, crying, feeding... well everything.

I live in such an alternate world to most people I really know and see. People who plan to have kids in their mid twenties and be done by 30. Us older ladies are my reality, but I know we are not the norm. I know many people are terrified to even try and have a baby once they hit 30. Well, I am here to say, it seems ok. There are loads of us doing it. It seems to work out. Let's see what happens at magic number age 35

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Aches and pains.

Oh wow, it's like the baby and my tummy exploded this week. Now I am really heavily pregnant. I am so uncomfortable all the time and my lower abdomen hurts. I think it is the muscles being all stretched out. I had quite tight tummy muscles and they are obviously being all separated and weakened and are not used to bearing  a weight that must be approaching 1kg of baby. It aches all the time and I feel like I could get a hernia down there? I'm sure I won't but organs and such don't feel all that well supported.

And sitting in an office chair is hell. I can't breathe. There is no manoeuverability in this belly, so it cuts off circulation when I sit. I spend all day at uni wriggling around, trying to find a comfortable position. And this is only going to get worse?

Someone on my birth board mentioned that changing sleep positions at night should be an Olympic event and I have to agree. Shifting this big belly is not easy with no muscles to help out. And when the baby settles on the other side it hurts! Again. And getting up out of bed requires special procedures now that my muscles are just accessories.

And sleeping. My feet overheat. I get too hot and then too cold and then... its morning.

Pregnancy is so much fun, haha. I think the next 12 weeks are going to be tough. But at least there are only 12 more of them. I plan to write the rest of my thesis from my bed in a reclining position. That way I can breathe and type at the same time.

I do like feeling his wiggles though. I will miss that. While I am driving he sometimes thwacks my bladder really hard. I won't miss that part, ouch! But the rest, and watching my tummy bouncing around, is fun. My baby seems to like the breech position though. It is still too early to worry about this being a permanent fixture, and today he appears to be lying sideways, but as I mentioned before, I did everything possible to be able to try for a natural birth, and I don't want no breech baby. I may have to start all the spinning exercises soon. Spin, baby, spin!

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Blood type sciency stuff.

I found out that my blood type is O negative a few months ago. The universal donor. Should I add that I have never donated blood (yet)?  I was always bordering on the accepted weight before, and then in England we could not donate because BFG was an  "African male" and I had slept with an "African male". I plan to start donating when I am not pregnant though, my blood is useful!

All this blood type stuff is not important to the majority of the population when you are pregnant, unless you have the "negative" part attached to your type. Then things get a bit complicated. Yippee.

People who are RH - do not produce the RH antigen, so if we are given RH+ blood with the RH antigen our blood forms antibodies against it and  kind of attacks it. So if you are a negative mom and you have a positive baby and your blood mixes at any point during or after pregnancy, mom's blood will then attack any future positive babies you might have if any mixing occurs again. Yikes.

This RH negative blood type is rare. Of course it is. Of course I am left handed, RH negative, and apparently have a personality type that is very rare for women. Only about 15% of white people have the negative type, and only about 5% of black people! I should just add that there are some VERY rare blood types and clotting issues and other mutations that it seems I do not have, so I am very lucky. This RH stuff is not a very big deal. Just an expensive deal. The injections they give you to block your response against RH positive blood cost R700 each time and they give you at least 3. More if you have any kind of injury or bleeding during pregnancy. And I do not have the kind of medical aid that covers that stuff so we would be paying it all.

Luckily for me I managed to hook another rare RH negative person in this RH plus sea. BFG is RH negative too! This means we have no chance of producing a positive child. And negative blood does not attack other negative blood. How awesome is that? And how slim the chances. No injections for me! Shew, this pregnancy was already costing more than it should have. I just feel a bit sorry for our kid. Being negative just seems to be more trouble than it is worth.

It seems the BFG really is perfect for me in every way :D