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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 

Thursday, 18 September 2014

I am growing a giant.

All of a sudden it has occurred to me that I am... HUGE. I do a pregnancy pilates classs and another lady there has the same due date as me. She is really short, but her stomach is way smaller than mine. And why this is, I don't understand. At my first scan my baby was measuring a whole week ahead so it may be that I am cooking a giant baby in there.

It also occurred to me that no one is monitoring my weight at all. My back-up OB-gyn did weigh me both times I saw him at the 12 and 20 week scans, but I don't see him again until the end. The midwives have not weighed me. I thought that this was awesome because all that weight gain was likely to be depressing but then I remembered that rapid weight gain is a sign of pre-eclampsia and it would actually be worth keeping track so I don't miss something like that.

So I weighed myself. The torture. It's crazy to think that the baby does not even weigh 1 kg yet. Where does all the weight come from? Well, I know it is the extra blood and the placenta and the amniotic fluid etc, but even then I doubt it explains everything. I do feel scared as my weight is about to enter new territory, I am currently at my highest ever weight from years ago. I am tempted to not get on a scale again! But I think it is worth keeping track in case something weird happens. Another lady in my pilates class had sudden onset pre-eclampsia at 30 weeks and had to give birth to her little one immediately. I would like to avoid that if possible!

Still can't figure out why I am comparatively so huge though. All I know is that the pilates must be working. I have not had any sciatica so far or any unusual pains other than the usual back issue that I have had for years, despite my baby being the size of a (very large) lettuce.

Also I am giving up coffee again, that one cup a day was making me too guilty. I am finding it harder than when I originally gave it up. I think because I need to be awake to write my thesis. But I have also been getting headaches. Ugh. I think it is worth it though, for my peace of mind if nothing else.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Milestones

I passed the 24 week mark this week. The Americans on my Babycenter birth board seem to consider this a big milestone - the baby is now viable. But as far as I can tell, this is not the case in South Africa and 28 weeks is considered the viability landmark. Although I have heard of stories of babies born at 24 weeks surviving here in SA too, the survival rate anywhere in the world for such premature babies is only 50% anyway, with very high rates of lifelong health issues, so lets hope my little one decides to stay in MUCH longer, thank you very much.

It's hard to consider any date a landmark when you know that loss can occur at any time. At least 4 people I know via the internet or real life have had late losses, and I cannot begin to imagine how devastating that must be. So my milestone is birth, really.

I am really struggling with the whole diet thing. Eating healthily. I had the best intentions for this pregnancy but 9 months is a long time when eating healthily is not easy at the best of times. And I started drinking coffee again. Nescafe, once a day. Well within the limits but I feel bad about it. I am just not sure I will make it through my thesis write up without any caffeine. All nighters are already off the table for me and I doubt this has anything to do with pregnancy. My brain shuts off by about 9.30pm these days and refuses to work any more. I think if I drank coffee I could keep going but I am not breaking my one a day barrier. Unfortunately I was using decaf as a very effective substitute but it triggered morning sickness twice and now I have a mental block against the stuff.

Protein, vegetables. I am not eating enough of these. I am so off food and cooking right now really. I think it is the fact that the baby is squishing my tummy and makes me feel full quickly. I mean, I am getting quantity fine, but quality is the issue. Oh the guilt. I just hope my average to subpar diet and caffeine intake don't do something bad to this kiddo.

I have 4 months to go. Perhaps you can tell, I am finding that time moves like an exhausted snail right now. Except when I calculate how much time I have left to do my thesis. Then it flashes past like a really flashy thing.

Also I FINALLY told my fellow students in the department that I am pregnant. I was just too damn shy but I managed to blurt it out yesterday. I am a good 10 years older than most of them, and some of them are considering their own kids in the near future. It is kind of fun answering their questions, even if I am extremely late to this baby party and they all probably know more about babies than me. Maybe they can babysit?? 

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

To C or not to C.

I have gone to a huge amount of effort (and money) to TRY and avoid a C-section in South Africa, and I certainly never dreamed it would be so hard. I am wondering now if I should even have bothered, considering that if the baby is breach or there is another issue, I will have to have one anyway, which would actually save me a lot of money. Maybe I should have surrendered to the C all along.

In the UK the NHS (being free) keeps C-sections to minimum - emergencies and complications only. The care is midwife led. I remember thinking back when I lived there that natural birth seemed terrifying and that I should aim to come back to SA for having kids so that I could have a C-section.

Then I came back to SA and started to actually research what giving birth is like. I remember sitting in my tiny room in Johannesburg coming close to a panic attack as I read about natural birth. Then I remember reading about C-sections - and I realised that as terrified as I was of natural, I was more terrified of C-sections. I have had a very minor operation before, and it was terrible. I hated recovery, I was miserable for weeks. C-sections are not minor. I don't really want to have major surgery and then have to look after a baby. I am sure most women are not such wusses about operations, but I AM! I hate them. Let's not mention the weird reactions I had to the anaesthetic.

So I decided to go the natural route. Little did I know in SA and in Cape Town in particular, this is almost impossible in the private sector. I knew that SA private hospitals have a high rate of C-sections, actually it must be one of the highest in the world, because it is much higher than the US. What I did not know is that most doctors here actively discourage natural birth. Apparently in Cape Town many doctors refuse to do natural birth at all. Or they pretend they will allow it, but then tell you that you need a C-section for various reasons. Basically they lie to you and tell you your baby is too big or your baby will die. Now in some cases, obviously those things are true. My midwife told me their C-section rate is 20% - so they deem 20% of women need a C-section for those reasons.

My hospital up the road has a 90% C-section rate. Apparently 90% of women interviewed for a survey at that hospital hoped for a natural birth. But 90% of women who go there get a C-section (I can't find the link to these stats. I may be remembering them incorrectly. I know it involved two 90%s). Which means a whole lot of people are being told they need a C-section when they don't. I kept reading miserable stories of  women being told their babies are too big, having a C-section and the baby weighs a perfectly normal amount. The reasons are payment (doctors get paid a lot more for C-sections), safety (some doctors think C-sections are safer, although the statistics do not back this up!), convenience (the day can be scheduled, and it can take an hour, whereas labour can be days), and these days, just inexperience.

I have no issue with elective C-sections, if a woman wants one. But if a woman wants a natural birth and is being forced into a C-section, then yes I have a problem with that.

According to the interwebs my only hope of having a natural birth in Cape Town was ditching the doctors and hiring a private midwife. So that is what I have done. They have back up doctors that cover them in emergencies. There is only one hospital in Cape Town that allows them to practice. This hospital is not only my list of hospitals for the medical aid coverage that I chose. And they do not cover both the doctor and the midwife. So I am going to have to pay extra for the midwife and extra for the hospital. This baby is going to cost a LOT of money. If I had stayed in the UK, the whole thing would have been free, and the natural birth would have been default. At least I know with the midwife that if I am told I need a C-section that I am not being lied to and I can trust their advice.

All I can say after all this effort, I better not need a damn C-section after all! Funny, what an effort it took for the privilege of squeezing a baby out of a vagina. Which is still the (second) most terrifying thought to me. Let's just block that thought out for now.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Pregnancy milestone - rogue bellybutton.

I can tell that my bellybutton wants to pop out. It is on the verge. I am dreading it. Outies freak me out. I have always thought they look hideous (sorry previous pregnant ladies). And you can't hide them. They stick out for miles. I am just going to have to not look down for the next 5 months because they give me a bad feeling inside.

Considering what is going to happen to my waistline and apparently my lady apparatus in the next few months, not looking down is probably the safest policy.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Reality kicks.

I've started feeling real kicks now, the kind where I don't even have to press my hands on my stomach, and it is freaking me out. I was at university today, typing away at my thesis, when these kind of ticklish, uncomfortable kicks started up.

I had a real moment of panic and disorientation. There is a human INSIDE of me (trying to get out?). It was some kind of Alien moment. This human is inside of ME. And anything could happen. I am supposed to look after it inside of me, but anything could happen.

I have always been a nervous (maybe more like terrified) and reluctant driver. I really struggle with driving. I learned so late in life. I still feel the need to practice driving somewhere before I go for the first time on my own. Now that I have a permanent passenger inside of me, I am terrified again. I am so crap, what if I crash? I mean, it will be much worse now if I crash! I am so out of it sometimes when I drive, anything could happen!!

Oh dear. This all became so real. I think it did not really dawn on me before just how real this all was. The groblet was tiny and I couldn't feel him. It seemed like a story I had told myself rather than something real.

It's so real and I have to look after this human for the rest of my life and keep it alive and I am totally freaked out.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Major diet-related guilt.

I know going on and on about pregnancy related stuff can be somewhat tiresome, but it does tend to take over your whole life, for obvious reasons.

I did not get morning sickness, no vomming for me, hooray for that. I did get nausea though and an enthusiastic gag reflex. I also got a strong aversion to vegetables. They don't make me nauseous, but my stomach just says NO. I do try though. When I make something healthy it can take me an hour to eat it because I really have to force it down. Which makes me naturally want to avoid all vegetable dishes because they are such an effort to eat.

Meat is not enticing at all either. I can eat it but it will not digest and it just makes me feel blegh. So there is a lot of force-feeding going on at the moment.

However, carbs are my best friend! Potatoes, oh yeah. And chips - The Simba kind, especially corn chips make me feel so good! There is a definite salt craving going on.

I have to admit I have eaten a few full bags of nik naks and ghost pop so far. And a few people have pointed out that they are filled with MSG and preservatives and a whole crap load of e-numbers and lots of salt and that I should NOT be eating whole bags of them. Eating donuts and sweet things does not cause so much panic but my chip consumption is apparently a whole other level of bad.

Now I am panicking somewhat. Will my poor kiddo have some kind of nasty issues due to salt overload or horrible e-number overdose? Ugh. The thing is, it is so hard. All other food is making me miserable. All I crave is salt and carbs and it is the only thing that makes my tummy feel ok, And I am trying. I forced down a steak today and yesterday I force-fed myself a homemade soup with at least 4 types of veggies. But egh. Eating is such an effort. And my nik nak addiction has probably already done the damage if there is any.

I am going to try like crazy to avoid all chip-related binges from now on. How, I do not know. Try telling my stomach how delicious butternut really is and please send it the message that gagging is no fun.

Monday, 30 June 2014

Coffee or no?

Ugh. I quit coffee just as I got pregnant, and it was surprisingly easy. I had tried to quit before and had terrible withdrawal that included depression, headaches and just general misery. This time I did not have any of that, which surprises me, because while I was working on my Masters in Joburg I was living off coffee and very little else.

Recently I have been suffering mild headaches, and I am blaming pregnancy. They are not very bad, and I should not really complain, but it does get a bit draining when they occur every day. I read that caffeine seems to help. So today I made myself some Nescafe, the caffeinated kind. It is ok to have a bit of coffee in pregnancy.

Now I am feeling not so good! All shaky and weak and anxiety has sprung from nowhere. I am not usually an anxious person. Blegh. My mild headache is gone though. Can't win in this game - headaches or anxiety? Maybe I will alternate.