Thursday, June 27, 2013

Becoming a dad




They say when you become a parent you grow up really quickly the second your child is born. You see things from a different perspective. The intense love you feel for another little person. The realisation that you are the one who created them. You are the one responsible for them. The overwhelming need to protect them from anything bad in the world. In whole a massive outpouring of emotions, most of which you wont be prepared for. At least this is what people tell me.

I think this "growing up" as such and bonding happens at the birth a lot more for the dads than the mums. In the sense that I have felt a bond with her since I found out I was pregnant. It intensified once I could feel her movements. And obviously it will increase tenfold once I finally get to meet her in person. I think for most dads though they feel as though they are bystanders for the pregnancy. They helped to start it, but until the end they are not really 100% experiencing the process (they only get to deal with it vicariously through us). We as women get to experience everything directly. We grow bigger, we feel sick, our tastes change, our senses intensify, we feel the movements (from the inside) and in the end we are the ones who have to get the baby out (if only we could somehow share that experience). In some ways I think its harder for men to connect with the baby as emotionally as we do from the very beginning.

Men are very visual and unfortunately you cant see the baby when its inside - except of course at ultrasounds. T said that it didn't really start feeling real for him until our 12 week ultrasound when he could see her on the screen and she looked like a baby (of course we didn't know she was a she yet). He got more excited when he could feel her moving from the outside, but was somewhat jealous that it took a lot longer for him to feel her from the outside after I could feel her from the inside. He also said he wishes he could experience what it feels like from the inside - at least once for curiosity's sake. After I explained about having feet in your ribs and elbows poking out your side he decided once would be enough instead of feeling it constantly like I do.

I have noticed in the past few weeks that T has starting "growing up" a lot more. Hes always been excited to be a dad, but I think he is really relishing the responsibility of it all now that I'm on maternity leave. He likes being responsible for me and its starting to really dawn on him that he is going to be responsible for another little person really soon. A light bulb has been switched on. We recently got our pram and he took great pride in putting it together and showing me how it works. He was so proud of himself once he finished (and he only put one part on backwards - who needs instructions anyway). This coming from a man who left most of the baby shopping to me because he had no idea and now he is showing me how a pram works.


So proud of himself

I have to say it has been really amazing watching him slowly transform from my fiance to my baby daddy. There is this ever so subtle shift happening. Hes started helping around the house more. He makes sure I'm not overdoing it. He pays more attention to my belly and stops and rubs it randomly. I love that hes making a conscious effort to connect with her more. I love that hes getting excited and that he cant help but smile ridiculously at my belly whenever I am in the room.

It seriously does make a man more attractive once you start to see them as the father of your child. Not that we needed any help in being attracted to each other, but now its like another layer of attraction. I know its just going to go to another level once we meet her next month (eek its so close). I cant wait for that moment when we first meet her. When everything changes. When we become a family. When he becomes a dad and I will finally be a mum.

Toni xx




Photobucket
Click to read more »

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Does feeling vulnerable make me weak?




I am so used to being in control of everything. Its what I'm used to and its how I like it. Maybe I crave it more because I was so controlled in my marriage and now I don't want to be held back. Wanting to be in charge goes hand in hand with my independent streak. Lately though I've been feeling the control slip away.

I am now feeling inherently vulnerable. The only other time I've really felt vulnerable was when my house was broken into quite a few years ago. Right now though I feel vulnerable in a number of ways. I'm feeling vulnerable physically and emotionally. Its an odd feeling. I really don't like it.

As a result of all of my psd issues with this pregnancy I have now been told that I am no longer allowed to drive. At all. This doesn't sit well with my independent streak. I don't like having to ask for help if I need to go somewhere. Combine that with the fact that I cant move well and I've been banned from most domestic duties I am now having to rely on others a lot. Its weird. I am used to taking care of everyone else. It feels odd that I am capable enough to grow a whole human inside of me and yet I need to sit down to put on my pants because I cant even bend my legs properly. I spend most of my days rolling on or off the couch or bed. Apparently its quite amusing.

For the first time the thought of being attacked physically scares me. Normally I would be the first to grab something and fight back if someone threatened me, but now that I have a tiny person to protect I am very aware of the need to protect my body. If I had to chose between fight or flight at the moment I would definitely chose flight. Which makes me feel very weak.

I feel vulnerable when I'm alone, not only because I feel so incapable of defending myself but also because I could go into labour at any point. I don't particularly like the idea of going into labour when I'm by myself. It will more than likely happen though. I know help is only a phone call away so in reality its not a big deal.

Is feeling vulnerable in these ways normal for pregnant women? Does everyone get this way at the end? I feel like I should feel empowered and in control at this point, yet I am feeling the complete opposite. I think I'm just paranoid that I worked so hard to get to this point I'm scared someone will take it away from me.  Maybe its just because this is my first baby. Please tell me I'm not the only one to ever feel this way.

Toni xx

Click to read more »

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Finding my niche






They say that people usually make about 4 major career changes in their lifetime. I remember being told this as I was at uni and thinking great I'm spending all this time and money to get qualified for an industry I will probably work in for a maximum of 5-10 years. Seemed like a weird thing to be telling new students at a university, but apparently its a common thing. Technology changes, qualifications become outdated, people get bored, companies make people redundant etc so it is to be expected that a career change at some point is inevitable. And then there is always the mid life crisis where people totally change their priorities (or so I'm told - I still have that to look forward to).

I have worked in the same industry for 13 years (completely unrelated to my degree, go figure) so I've never really had to deal with a career change. In fact to be quite honest I would be a bit scared of it. Stepping out of your comfort zone is really hard, at least for me. I have noticed however that as my friends and I have gotten older we have all reached the point of nearly 30 and then some kind of shift has taken place. We all seemed to realise at this point that we wanted something more out of our work life and wanted to do something that we love instead of just going to work day in and day out in order to make money. A lot of my friends started to pursue other interests outside of work that would eventually lead to a career in the future. One of my friends got qualified as a yoga teacher, another started her photography business and another has recently started selling handmade items online (you can find her items here). I felt a little left out because I knew I wanted to do something else, but I didn't know what. Everyone else seemed to have some kind of talent to be able to make things or knowledge to teach others. I just knew I wanted a change and something more meaningful.

I started to think and the only thing I have wanted my whole life is to be a mum, so this must be my thing? Its not a career as such, but it is the lifestyle change that I was looking for. Of course most of my other friends are already mums so their interests are above and beyond this. I still felt a little lost because of this. Then I realised that my thing is writing. I have always been interested in it. Infact I found an old report we did in primary school the other day where I wrote "I think writing is one of my strong points as I enjoy writing and the teacher enjoys reading my stories." Apparently I was aware of my talent in grade 2 and then forgot about it as I got older. Finally I remembered.

Apart from being a mum, my blog is my thing. My niche, my desire, my passion. It will be my little piece of "me time" once the baby comes (at least that's the plan). I hope that I continue to keep up with it once the baby comes. I'm pretty sure I will. Its usually my way of staying sane and releasing all the thoughts in my head. I've heard you go a bit mental in the first few weeks of looking after a newborn; so, while I may be busy and it might take me away from here for a bit, rest assured it will also give me ample material for future posts.

I have finally found my niche. I have something I love to do, that feels meaningful to me. Although its not a career yet, maybe one day I can turn it into one?

Have you found your niche?


Toni xx
Click to read more »

Monday, June 17, 2013

My bags are finally packed




According to a lot of the lists I have read you should have your hospital bag packed around week 28/29 if you are to be truly prepared for birth. Well I officially failed there. It seemed way too early for me, however in hindsight I would have been a lot more mobile back then than I am now so packing it probably would've happened a lot quicker with less procrastination.

I finally started thinking about packing it after my little emergency hospital dash back at 32 weeks. That was the first time it crossed my mind that I might actually go into labour sometime soon. I went home that night determined to get my bag packed just incase. And yet I still put it off. Im pretty sure the main reason is that I felt like once I was all packed and truly prepared she would have no reason to stay inside and she will come out. I figured if I wasn't prepared yet she wouldn't come yet. You know because she is totally going to plan her arrival based around what is convenient to me.... not. Seemed logical in my head though.

This week I thought you know what I really should get around to packing. My niece was born at 33+4 and once that day came and passed I was like ok you really should get your ass into gear just incase. I was born around 34 and a half weeks and that's where I am at now so there's a very real possibility that she could come soon. Shes been sitting very low for the last two weeks so I think shes getting ready to make her appearance. So finally I got around to packing my bags.

I cant believe how much you need to pack for one, maybe two days. It took me three days to pack the bags, which is longer than I will probably actually be in hospital for. Kind of ironic, but totally necessary. I spent one day finalising my list of everything to pack and spent an hour on the phone to my friend to try and get over the anxiety of the fact that its actually going to happen soon. The next day was spent washing all her clothes, my clothes, washers, towels, wraps etc. I cant believe one little baby and me required 4 loads of washing for two days! And finally today I finished actually packing the bags. I also packed a back up bag of bigger sized clothes, spare nappies and wraps incase she happens to be a big bub (although I hope shes not).

I feel like I've now gone from being really unprepared to maybe being over prepared? Knowing my luck she will now stay comfy until past her due date.

When did you have your hospital bag packed? And what did you have packed?


Toni xx



Click to read more »

Friday, June 14, 2013

Labour anxiety part 2





So after my little episode last week signalled my previously non existent labour anxiety I started freaking out about not being prepared. This mainly stems from the fact that I was born five and a half weeks early and my niece was born six and a half weeks early and being 33 weeks pregnant having had the complications that I've had recently it started me thinking that this might actually happen sometime soon. Obviously I'm hoping that she bakes a while longer, but I don't really want to be caught out.

Unfortunately when I was sent to the hospital the other night it meant that I missed half of the labour class. Which I was slightly panicked about. What if that hour contained all the important information I needed to know? What if I don't get a chance to ask all my questions before I go into labour? Am I going to be doing this blind? I had no idea what to expect still, except that at some point she will be coming out of me. The next day at my regular GP appointment I expressed these concerns to which my doctor told me that no matter how much you prepare it all goes to shit once the pain starts (seriously her words). So basically don't worry. She also said that its the most natural experience you can have, but it doesn't feel that way at the time. Yay thanks. She kind of calmed my anxiety about not being prepared because apparently I wont be anyway, but at the same time heightened my anxiety about the actual experience.

So off I went ignoring my own advice about searching the internet and decided to you tube a bunch of birth videos to see what its like. You know like One Born Every Minute. I love that show, but yes it does have a different effect on me watching it when I'm pregnant. Mainly I cry a lot more and get scared for the women and then happy for them and then cry more when the baby comes out. I found an awesome show called Don't just stand there I'm having your baby which is all about preparing fathers for the birth of their baby. Promptly shared those videos with T. They were actually really cool because you got to see completely unprepared men change and be really good birth partners in the end. It gives me great confidence that T will be ok and wont make the mistake of saying stupid stuff to me when I'm in immense pain. At least if he does he will only do it once!

The only problem with the videos was that two of them showed women who wanted to have natural births and then had complications and were told they needed c-sections. This really scared me because its like my worst nightmare. I really want to have a natural birth and I would be really disappointed in my body if I need to have a caesarean. I mean if its the only option at the time for her safe arrival then obviously I will have to deal with it, but I would really like to experience bringing my child into the world unassisted. One of the ladies ended up having an assisted delivery and the one had to have the caesar. I felt so bad for her. She was so disappointed and sad and I could feel her pain. I cried for ages. Then I started thinking what if that happens to me. At that point I decided to stop watching videos. I don't need to stress myself out about all the things that could go wrong. Its good to have it there far in the back of my mind so its not a huge surprise if it does happen, but I don't want to be thinking about it every second of every day. I prefer to remain positive that everything will be fine.

This week we had the labour physio class and that has made me feel much better about labour. They showed us all the positions which we can use in labour to relieve pain and also help to keep labour moving. It was basically all the things I thought I missed from the last class, which apparently I didn't miss at all. They also showed the guys how to massage us to provide pain relief. Score! Now T has no excuses.

Now I feel much more comfortable with the idea of labour and a lot less anxious about it. I'm pretty much taking the stance I had before about not worrying because it will happen and it will end. Now I just cant wait to meet her. I'm happy to say that we have made it to 34 weeks today. I would really like to make it to 37 weeks at least. Now all I'm worried about is when will it happen?

Toni xx
Click to read more »

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Labour anxiety part 1




I always thought that once I got pregnant I would straight away freak out about the fact that I had to somehow get the baby out. I'm really small so the thought of pushing a watermelon out a pin hole should be scary, if not terrifying. For some reason I've been completely ok with it. Until this past week.

My approach to labour has always been simple - why worry about something you cant avoid? And also I  remind myself that at some point it will be over. Even if I'm in labour for 12hrs or more (god I hope not), there will be an end point. It will stop. The pain will not continue forever and I'm not going to die. Oh and I get my baby at the end of it which is a nice bonus. This attitude has served me well so far. Well like I said until this past week.

Last week we had our labour antenatal class. To be honest I was actually looking forward to it because I've never done this before and I was really keen to learn about all the stages etc. Id deliberately avoided reading the labour part of any baby books until now. Didn't want to tempt fate and have a preemptive meltdown (I will save that for the big day). I also stopped watching birth shows on YouTube once I got pregnant. They were always interesting before, but seeing them from my current perspective might change that. So, in the labour class - we watched a video. Straight away I felt a bit woozy and anxious. Not really because of the contents just because the reality finally hit me 'oh my god I will have to do that soon'. Weird how you can know something for months but the reality still doesn't hit you until much later.

I got through the video part then a bit later my stomach started to really hurt. Like seriously hurt. I had joked on the way to the class about how funny it would be if I went into labour at the labour class (oh the irony). Then when I started feeling pain it kinda wasn't as funny as I thought it would be. I spoke to the midwife in the break about my pain. I didn't actually think I was in labour but I knew it wasn't normal. She touched my belly and said 'your tummy is very tight I think you should head up to the hospital. Call labour and delivery and see what they think'. To have a trained midwife tell you that you need to go to labour and delivery is quite concerning. So that's what we did.

I was kind of panicking on the inside and also trying to tell myself it wasn't really happening. I quite confidently declared to T in the car that I would be going home with my baby still in my belly. Theres no way I was giving birth at 32 and a half weeks. Even if I had to clamp my legs shut to avoid it. When I got checked out by the first midwife she told me I was measuring 37 weeks, the head was engaged and I was having contractions.  At that point I had a holy shit I might actually be in labour moment. Followed by shit I haven't even packed a hospital bag let alone brought it with me. Soon followed by nah shes only a student midwife she must be wrong I'm not actually in labour, am I?. Thankfully I was right. I was not in labour. The senior midwife confirmed I only measured 32 and a half weeks, her head is very low but not engaged and I was having some braxton hicks. The other contractions the machine was picking up were just the baby trying to kick the monitors off my belly. Thankgod for that.


My belly all hooked up being monitored


So after two hours I was sent home. Baby still safely tucked up in my belly like I said she would be. They concluded the pain is my ligaments being under too much strain from the weight of my uterus. A lovely side effect of my psd. Not exactly what I want to deal with on top of an already separating pelvis, but its worth it if I get to feel my baby kicking inside me for a few more weeks.

After all this my labour anxiety has definitely kicked in.


Toni xx

Click to read more »

Friday, June 7, 2013

Pregnancy survival guide

Now obviously there are a million books you can buy that will supposedly tell you every little thing about pregnancy. I know, I have a few of them. I also know that as much as you intend on reading them, you will more than likely never get around to it or at least never finish them once you start. I have books beside my bed and the last part I remember reading was week 19 and I'm now 33 weeks. It seems kind of pointless to go back now and read about all the weeks in between when I've already experienced them. And to be honest, I'm kind of scared to read ahead about what's coming. I've managed to avoid having a labour freak out so far and don't want to give myself a huge number of reasons to have one now. I've kind of taken a go with the flow attitude for this pregnancy (which is not what I thought I would do).

I tried the pregnancy books, numerous magazines (I have heaps and after a while they all seem to say the same things), online forums, google, midwife advice, advice from strangers and advice from friends. Given all of this input I decided to ignore at least 50% of it and Ive kind of winged the rest of it. I know I'm no expert at being pregnant (so maybe take this with a grain of salt), but I have come up with my own top 10 pregnancy survival tips based on my experience.

10 tips to survive pregnancy.

My pregnancy survival tips

1. Don't google!


Seriously do not do it! At the start of my pregnancy all I wanted to do was google everything and trust me its a very big mistake. The majority of information you will find on google is bad - complications, reasons for miscarriage, problems the baby can have etc. All it did was make me think about everything that could go wrong. I got a huge complex that everything that could go wrong would happen to me. I didnt enjoy the first few weeks of my pregnancy because I was so stressed out. If you have any concerns talk to your doctor first and foremost, not Dr Google.

2. Graze like a cow


Sounds a bit degrading and at the time I received this advice from my Dr I was a bit offended that he was referring to me as a cow, but it is definitely good advice. He meant eat smaller meals more often. It was the only thing that got me through my morning sickness (which was actually all day sickness). I survived that by hiding a box of biscuits in my work cabinet and sneaking two or three every half hour when there were no customers around. I got busted a few times, but I didn't care. Now that Im at the end of the pregnancy this advice is becoming relevant again. Heartburn has become a major issue for me. Everything gives me heartburn and the only way to minimise it is to eat smaller meals (and if that fails continuously chew on antacids like lollies).

3. Trust your instincts


No matter how much information you are told by others, the person who has the best connection with your baby is you. Always trust your own instincts, even if you have never been pregnant before. You will instinctively know when something is wrong. If you are worried about something seek help. You will also know when things are right. Its amazing how much your instincts kick in and your body knows what to do and think even though you have never been through it all before. When my baby sat on my sciatic nerve I knew all I had to do was lay down and get her to move, even though the first aid people at work were all freaking out and telling me they needed to call an ambulance. Your maternal instincts naturally take over.

4. Find a support network


Like Ive said there are many avenues that will lead you to the wrong advice. As much as you should avoid these, you will also need a support network. I originally tried to find this in online forums on baby websites, but like google this just lead me to becoming paranoid about everything that could go wrong. Early on T imposed a ban on google, online forums and youtube - pretty much everything on the net that was about babies. It was kind of a good thing. I pretty much stuck to it, but I've found my best source of support has been a facebook group of women who are all now pregnant after infertility. I knew some of them from my infertility journey over the last few years and for me it has been amazing being able to share advice, opinions, fears and milestones with people who understand the journey I have been through. There is no judgement which is awesome (because sometimes you feel like everyone is judging every decision you make when pregnant). Your support network may come in the form of family members, colleagues or close friends. It doesn't matter as long as you have somewhere you can go to when you need reassurance.

5. Buy a pregnancy pillow


I got mine pretty early on and I'm glad I did. They are pretty expensive, but well worth it as you will be using them for some time. Trust me sleep gets quite uncomfortable, especially when you are forced to sleep on your side. Having something to cuddle into and rest on really helps. I guarantee you will end up snuggling with your pillow way more than you do with your partner. T likes it so much that he steals my pillow when I get up and go to the toilet. If you don't get a proper pregnancy pillow at least get a pillow for between your legs as it will help with leg cramps and fluid retention.

6. Sleep when you can


I worked fulltime up until my body broke down at 30 weeks so I didn't really get to sleep whenever I wanted to. However, on days off I had the overwhelming need to have nanna naps. OMG Nanna naps are the best thing ever. I advise you to have them whenever and wherever you can. Now that Im on maternity leave even though Im doing less my need for naps has increased, probably because I'm a lot bigger and carrying around this weight is a lot more exhausting. Also sleep at night will soon become a thing of the past as pregnancy insomnia kicks in. I have it bad. Sleeping through the day when you get a chance will at least allow your body to get some rest.

7. Do your exercises


Yes nobody likes to talk about pelvic floor exercises, but seriously do them. I used to think oh yea it will be easy to remember, but I have still forgotten 80% of the time. Now that I have PSD it is even more crucial for me to do them as my pelvis is already out of alignment and my muscles are already stretching too much. Maybe if I did them more often earlier I wouldn't be in this situation, or at least it wouldn't be as severe.

8. Make lists


Lists have saved my life. After I had a breakdown at a baby shop the only thing that made me realise I could cope was to write out a list of what I needed. Trying to keep everything swirling around in my brain is just too confusing and leads to emotional outbursts when I cant remember everything at the same time. In the first week of my maternity leave I wrote a list of all the organising I want to get done before the baby comes (its 4 pages long) and even though I havent been able to do it all yet, it has broken it down into smaller tasks and seems a lot more achievable now. Yes I am still a planner, can you tell?

9. Take belly photos


I thought I would go crazy with this and do a photo each week just to make sure my belly was growing. I havent been quite that crazy, I take a new one about every three weeks. I feel a bit guilty for not over documenting my pregnancy so far, given that it took me so long to get here. But, I am glad that I will have photos to look back on later. If you get a chance I would seriously recommend a professional maternity photoshoot.

10. Connect with your belly


Take the time to connect with your belly. Right now it is a special bond that only you get to experience with your baby. Talk to your baby (I sometimes do this at random moments when shes kicking or rolling and I get weird looks, but people are used to it now). Touch and rub your belly. I find the best time to do this is when I am rubbing cream into my belly morning and night. Take some quiet time to sit and really concentrate on your baby's movements. I usually put my hand in between my belly and my pillow at night and feel her movements and kicks - sometimes I feel her hand or foot stretch out and push into me. Its amazing like being able to hold her before shes here.

Hopefully some of this advice has been helpful and hasn't been filtered to your ignore it box.

Do you have any other advice you would add?

Toni x
Click to read more »

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Dear dad




Those of you who have been following my blog already know that my dad died when I was only ten. If you didn't know and want to read the story you can find it here. After dad died my brother and I kind of made it a habit to write letters to him. We have always thought if we wrote down what we wanted to tell him then even though he wasn't here any more, somehow the message would get to him. My brother used to write letters and then burn them and I used to write letters to him in my diary and later on my website. It was a nice way to feel like we could still communicate with him and maintain a connection.

Today marks the 18th anniversary of his death so I thought it would be appropriate to again write a letter to him.


*****


Dear Dad,

I miss you so much. I feel bad that I haven't written for so long, but I think about you everyday. Even more-so now that I am older and on the verge of becoming a parent myself.

I wish that you could see how happy I am right now. I wish that you got to meet T and see how good he treats me. Maybe you can see it from up there? I still strongly believe that you had a hand in sending him to me. I think its more than a coincidence that he has your name as his middle name, shares your birthday and drove the same car as you. I really hope it was your way of sending me signs that he was right for me. He makes me happy Dad, happier than I have ever been. I never thought I would ever be this happy. All of the other stuff I've been through has been worth it in order to get to this place. I cant believe how lucky I am. He takes care of me so you don't have to worry. I am going to be ok. I often wonder if you were here whether you would have tried to run him off with a riffle in order to protect me or whether you would have got along. I think you would have got along.

I really wish you were here to see me pregnant. It finally happened. After years of being depressed about my infertility I am finally here. Some days I am still in disbelief. I still catch my reflection in shop windows when I'm walking and don't believe that I am the pregnant woman staring back at me. Its so surreal. I cant believe in a few weeks I will have a baby.

I wish you were here to meet your granddaughter. I am a little sad that she wont have a real granddad, but its ok she wont know any different so it probably wont affect her. I never really knew any different as a teenager without a father, I just learnt to adapt. She will have lots of people who love her so I'm sure she will be just fine. It would have been nice to see you two interact together though. I loved my relationship with Pa and I wish she could have something like that too. At least she will have a father to look after her. I am a tiny bit jealous that she will have such a loving father in her life when I didn't get to experience that for myself. I am so glad that I have been able to create that for her as it has been my life long dream. I am not angry at you for leaving, I understand your reasons at the time. I hope you are at peace now. I just wish you never had to leave us to find that peace.

I haven't seen you in my dreams for a long time now. I really wish you would come back and visit me. It feels very real when we have conversations in my dreams. If you are able to could you please visit me again. I have lots of questions I want to ask you. I like to think that you are still able to check in on me every now and then to see how I'm going, and that you look over me somehow. It gives me great comfort believing this.

I really miss you and as always I wish you were here. I cant believe its already been 18 years. Know that I will never forget you or stop loving you even though you've already been gone from my life longer than you were in it. In a way you have shaped everything about the life I lead and the person I am today. I hope you are proud of the woman I have become.

Love you.


Toni x


*****

RIP - M.A.S.
09.07.55 - 05.06.95


Click to read more »