Thursday, 17 December 2009

Monthly post

One post a month? That is terribly slack of me I do apologise. I think my new years resolution for 2010 will have to be something to do with improving my connections. I've dropped off my blog as well as FB, I haven't been visiting people as much as I'd hoped. The only people I see regularly are the women from the council's weekly "mother's group" - and I doubt that will last much past January.

My friend said to me that other day that her son's first year was the loneliest of her life. I was a bit shocked at the time, but thinking about it I can imagine how that would be. Because I live out of the city people only tend to visit on weekends. My husband's business is expanding at a ridiculous rate and he is having to work huge hours. So I am reluctant to make weekend plans because I want to create space for Kayla and her dad to spend some precious time together. During the week I am racing around trying to get Christmas organised in hourly chunks between sleeps and feeds. Soon enough I will have time to see people and no-one will be interested. I will have time to blog again but will have no readers. Vicious circle.

Mother's groups are an interesting concept aren't they?! Lets get a group of women together who will probably have nothing in common besides the fact they've just had a baby, stick them in a room together and see if they get on! Seriously though, of the seven in my group, six seem really quite nice. But there is always one isn't there? A bit of a nutter, slightly weird, terribly needy person who nobody likes but who is totally oblivious to this fact. And even though everyone else seems to get on reasonably well, this one person will break the entire group apart.

Apart from the gorgeous Kayla, my most loyal companion lately has been 17yo step son Tiger. Having finished school for the year he comes to bludge on our couch for a while and eat all our food (for something so skinny he sure can pack it away!) Kayla squirms and beams at the sight of him as he tells her all the things he has planned for her when she's bigger. It is really quite cute. He played two golf tournaments in a row last week and told his dad that he missed her. I think he's surprised at how easily the connection with her has come. The other two haven't really bothered, they'd be more likely to wait for her to connect with them. Self-absorbed much? But, of course, that is the nature of adolecence I guess.

I am still hanging in there with breastfeeding. The morning feeds (4am and 8am) are mostly breast then maybe again in the afternoon. She has stopped refusing but most times will not feed longer than 5-10 minutes. I don't mind now. Sleeping is improving all the time. We had to stop swaddling because she was fighting it so much, even though she slept much better wrapped. After a few rough nights she now sleeps in a Grobag, from 7-8pm until 4 or 5am. At last measure she was 6kg and 60cm long. She smiles all the time but hasn't found her laugh yet. She's getting so big but is still so small. She faces outwards in the BabyBjorn and has just about outgrown her pram. After Christmas she will move out of our room and into her cot *sigh*

Merry christmas, happy holidays and happy new year!

Wednesday, 18 November 2009


Its ironic that I was so defiant when Kayla was born against the breastfeeding bullies, protesting that it would make no difference in the long term if she was bottle fed or breast fed. I felt that it was my choice and i would not be bullied into thinking there was only one way to go.

Now I am desperate at the thought of stopping breastfeeding. My milk came in late and my supply has never been great. The milk let down can be incredibly slow and has pretty much always frustrated bub but we have soldiered on and I've come to love the intimacy of feeding. The way she looks at me as she feeds and holds my fingers or strokes my skin.

The past few weeks here have been unseasonably hot here and she has been wanting to feed far more often, so when my supply couldn't keep up I gave her extra bottle feeds. This week she is refusing the breast during the day, but at this stage will still accept night feeds. It started with just the left one - a notoriously slow let downer- but this afternoon she refused the right as well. She turns her head and screams and cries real tears. This afternoon I joined her - and not for the first time.

I am finding it so hard to look at this logically. I can tell myself that she is just being lazy, she wants the instant flow of milk she get from the bottle. We live in an instant gratification driven society afterall - why should babies be immune? She is not rejecting me, she is rejecting the dodgy milk supply offered by my aging breasts. But I am taking it personally. I can't help but feel she is refusing me, rejecting the intimacy I am offering. And that hurts.

I should ring a lactation consultant and see if we can turn this around, but I can't talk about it without crying and that makes me feel like an idiot. It should not matter how my baby is fed as long as she is being fed and putting on weight. It surprises me that I feel so strongly about this.

Other than this issue, everything else is going pretty well. The pediatrician says her heart murmur is just a little flow murmur which may resolve itself with time. She wants to check it again in 6 months.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Cold War

Does this hat make my cheeks look big?!

We are slowly recovering from our first shared illness. Not sure who started it, but we've both had a crappy cold for about 2 weeks now. A sniffling, sneezing, coughing, head cold. Not too bad but not fun either.

I took Kayla to the Doctor just to make sure her chest was clear, which it was, but the Doc thought she could hear a heart murmur. Hopefully she is wrong, or it is just a temporary effect of the cold. I'm trying to be calm, I'm sure its nothing, but 3 weeks sure seems like a long wait for our appointment with the Pediatrician.

Monday, 5 October 2009

8 weeks

Wow I missed an entire month! Where did September go? It's now October and my little cherub is 9 weeks old tomorrow.

We have settled into as close to a routine as can be expected. Basically Kayla calls the shots and I respond. She has some quite unsettled periods during the day but thankfully sleeps quite well overnight. She has started to smile and coo which has us all falling under her spell. She is just so special and unique and lovely that I count my lucky stars every day and just drink her in.

The first couple of weeks were harder than I ever expected. My room at the hospital was opposite the staff amenities and the cleaners store room. It was incredibly noisy all hours of the day and night with staff walking past but I found it difficult to get any of them to actually come into the room. My anxiety levels were through the roof. Lack of sleep, pain, a screaming hungry baby and extremely high blood pressure really took their toll and I had a major anxiety attack on the last day. I couldn't believe they were sending me home with this tiny baby whose very life was in my hands when my milk hadn't come in and they hadn't even bothered to show me how to bath her (despite repeated requests).

Naively, I had expected breastfeeding would just happen and so was not prepared for anything else. Poor DH had to race down to the pharmacy to buy formula, bottles and a steriliser before I would leave the hospital. So much emphasis is put on breastfeeding and the world is full of experts on the subject. I did not expect it to be so difficult, but I put up with the screaming, and the disappointment and the bleeding nipples to prove to all the naysayers that feeding my starving baby formula until my milk came in was not the end of the breastfeeding world! My milk didn't come in until around day 10-12, and even now is still quite inconsistent. Thank the Lord for Blessed Thistle herbal capsules!

My parents came to stay for the first couple of weeks which was great because it allowed me to just focus on Kayla without having to worry about dinner or housework. But it was also lovely when they went home!

It has taken a long time for me to shed the feeling that all of this is temporary and one day will be gone. I've felt this since the beginning of the pregnancy and thought it would go once bub was born, but I think it just got worse. Once, around week 2 or 3, I was making a mess out of changing Kayla's nappy and she was starting to cry so I apologised to her and said "Aunty Lou is not very good at this". Ha! Seriously! DH thought it was very sad. Every day now I tell her that I am her mama, trying to make it real more for me I think than her. At times it is still surreal, but I'm trying to relax and just let it sink in that this is forever.

I. Am. A. Mother!

It finally worked! How amazing is that? This little creature who stares intently at me while I feed her, who smiles at me when I talk to her, and gets frustrated with me when I take too long getting her onto the breast. Who grunts and snuffles and farts all night long beside my bed, who stops crying when I hold her close. Who makes me laugh and makes me cry. This tiny creature is mine and I love her with all of my heart and soul.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Does anyone's birth plan ever actually go to plan?

Months ago I sat with my Obstetrician and wrote a birth plan. May I please have a mostly pain-free vaginal birth. But if the baby's life is even slightly at risk, please feel free to slice me open like a fish. Thank you.

When I saw the Ob on Monday August 3rd, two days past my due date, he said he doubted that I would go into labour on my own so booked me in for an induction on Sunday August 9th.

5am Tuesday August 4th I woke in our swanky inner city apartment and felt the need to pace. I had what felt like menstrual pains that came and went, but mostly I just felt "weird", sort of agitated and hyper. DH got up around 7am and got ready to go to work, but, being the smart guy he is, decided to hang around for a while. By 8.30 the pains were coming every 15 mins or so and I had started spotting so we rang the Obstetrician but he was in surgery. A hospital midwife said to call back if the pains got worse or were coming every 5 minutes.

We started timing the contractions at about 11am, sometimes they were 10 minutes apart, sometimes only 3 or 4 minutes. We rang the Ob again around 12.30pm and when I could not talk through a contraction he decided we should make our way to the hospital.

Time at the hospital has become a bit of a blur but it didn't seem long after we arrived in the labour suite that the contractions really intensified. The midwives changed shifts at 3pm so I think it was around 4 or 5pm that I asked for the gas. The Ob came in around this time and said I was about 3cm dilated. WTF! only 3cm! I was devastated. They predicted that I would labour all through the night. The Ob offered to break my waters but I said no (Don't ask me why - I have no idea).

I think it was about 8pm when the Ob came in again, this time I was 8cm dilated. During the examination my waters broke and an insane amount of fluid gushed all over the bed and the floor. I was becoming pretty distressed with the pain by now and the gas was not helping at all. I said to the Ob "May I please have an epidural now?". Strange what pain does to you - some women become psychotic during labour, I became Little Miss Polite.

What seemed like a VERY LONG time later, an anesthetist came to administer the epidural. The midwife said "in about 15 minutes you will be in love with this man". Many, many, long minutes and 2 top-ups later I HATED that man. The pain was unbearable and the epidural was not working. At some point another examination must have happened because they suddenly started talking about the baby having turned and being in the wrong position and I would have to have a c-section.

They let my mum in to see me but I couldn't talk, I couldn't even cry even though I was so scared. I didn't really understand what was wrong, but suddenly everyone was moving and talking much faster than before. The need to push was overwhelming and although they told me not to, I believe that I did push once or twice.

In theatre they discovered that the epidural catheter had dislodged. They inserted a spinal block and the pain finally stopped. The anesthetist was suddenly very apologetic and friendly, giving us a running commentary all through the procedure. As bub's head emerged he held a mirror up for us to see. All I saw was a fat little blue face sticking out of my belly, but poor hubby told me later he saw more than he'd bargained for. "I've seen your gizzards and I still love you" will go down in our history as one of the most romantic things he's ever said to me ;-)

It seemed a very long time before I heard Kayla cry. The pediatrician later told us it took her two minutes to get Kayla to breathe on her own. Her first APGAR score was a measly 2 points. When she was first shown to me she was absolutely covered in meconium so it was a good thing she didn't breathe any of it into her lungs. Hubby went with them as they took her away to be cleaned and weighed then he took her to see my mum and dad.

We were moved up to the maternity ward about midnight I think. DH was given a terrible fold-out bed to sleep on which somehow he did, but despite feeling totally exhausted I could not sleep. It didn't help that a midwife kept coming in to check my blood pressure every 30 minutes and that Kayla spent the night in the nursery being fed formula because her temperature was too low. I have a vague memory of Kayla being put to my breast at one point but that may have been the next morning. So many thoughts were loose in my head and I couldn't quite believe what had happened. I'd just had a baby! A real, live baby!

Friday, 14 August 2009

She's here!!

Kayla arrived via emergency c-section at 10.35pm on Tuesday August 4th, 3500gm (7lb 11) and 50cm (20in) long.

We are all home in our almost-finished house so I will try to update in the next day or so.

In the meantime, here's a picture of my little girl.......

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Legs crossed

I was going to start by saying that the lack of posts recently has been due to a lack of creativity but that makes the rather large assumption that I am normally creative and witty. But I'd probably rather you think I was dull (and possibly vain) than know the truth about the last few weeks. Suffice to say that the hormones have been raging, the renovations are continuing and middle stepson, 16 year old Tiger, has moved in with us. I am a bit (!) of a control freak, and have not been coping terribly well with the lack of control, lack of privacy and immense changes that these last few months have brought.

I am starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel this week however and I'm hoping that the worst has passed. I have had to let go of the notion that the house will be ready before the baby arrives. Next week they start knocking down walls and dismantling my kitchen. I've decided to move into an apartment in the city close to the hospital. I am hoping that bub will arrive a few days later than expected to allow the work to be finished, but I suspect that even if bub was 2 weeks late s/he would still beat the renovations. I don't care if bub and I have to spend the first week or two of his/her life in a hotel or at my mother's house, I need to look after number one. I won't be taking bub home until all the work is done, the dust has settled and the painting has finished. Hey, perhaps I can talk my family into getting me a cleaning team for a day before we get home rather than the usual newborn bibs and blankies! What an awesome idea!

Bub is continuing to rock and roll all day long. My blood pressure is still moderately high but seems to be holding. I'm having it tested every second day and seeing the Ob twice a week. The other night I had some very light, brown spotting and the following night some period-like pains so I feel like everything is ready to go, but apparently bub's head is not even engaged yet. I didn't think it possible but my belly appears to have popped even more and I'm finding it really difficult to feel comfortable in any position for long. But still I love it! I will have to post one last belly shot before the big day.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Still here...

Sorry for the silence. A few things are going on but everything is fine with bub.

I spent most of last week at my mother's house cashing in on some much needed pampering. It was great to escape from my noisy, busy house and catch up on some quality rest. I think bub appreciated it the most. Every night s/he would put on a show for our hosts by rolling from one side of my stomach to the other. My mother keeps telling me that although this will be her 5th grandchild it's special because she can be more involved with me than with her daughters-in-law. I hadn't really thought about what that meant until we were in the Ob's office and she said she'd never seen an ultrasound. The Ob was gorgeous with her pointing out all bub's features and printing out a pic for her to show off to her girlfriends.

My blood pressure was up a bit high which earned me another round of tests and a repeat visit last Saturday. I failed the Group B Strep test but passed the pre-eclampsia blood and urine tests which was important. We also got to experience the wonderfully named Pregnancy Day Care Centre while they recorded bub's movements over an hour. We had the bags packed for this appointment just in case... and I think DH was disappointed we were sent home. I have another appointment on Friday and a date with the chemist every other day to keep an eye on my blood pressure.

I have got the most hilarious waddle going on this week. I think bub must be pushing on a nerve somewhere because I am experiencing intense discomfort in my lower pelvis which is making moving around an interesting exercise. Otherwise all is going well. I have always had a feeling that bub would arrive early but at this stage it appears likely we will go full term. Not long now!

Friday, 19 June 2009

An emotional week

After bragging last week about how good I'm feeling physically, this week has been an odd one emotionally.

I think I've been in tears every day for some reason or another - well, mostly for no reason at all! Poor hubby is a fixer, so does not cope with me in tears - least of all when I'm unable to even articulate why. Maybe its just hormones. Maybe its just a stress relief.

The other day I went into a carpet store to choose carpet for bub's room but left almost in tears because I just felt so overwhelmed. I left an electrical store at the same time as a woman who must have been at least 80 years old, we did the "no you go first" thing but then she said "I've been there done that darling, I know how tired you must be feeling". I sat in my car and cried "Yes, I am tired. No-one understands how tired I am." But of course they do.

Everywhere I go lately women ask me when the baby is due, how long do I have to go. When I tell them 6 weeks, the majority of them say things like "oh I found that the worst part" or "I cried so much in the last 6 weeks, I was so over it". A lady said to me today "You'll be so happy when it's all over".

But you know, as much as I long to meet my baby, I wonder if I will miss feeling him/her flopping around in my belly. Trying to guess if that bulge is a head or a bum, a hand or a foot. Wondering what the hell is going on when the movements are so quick and fluttery. It's such an amazing, intimate connection. One I thought that I would never have the opportunity to experience, and that I will never be able to experience ever again. The kids make fun of me always rubbing my tummy, but I just love it. I never want it to end. I just want to savour it forever.

Friday, 12 June 2009

So far, so good

After years of feeling disappointed with my body, I can't believe how well it's coping with this pregnancy so far. The frequency and severity of my headaches have been reduced to almost nothing and my back is holding up really quite nicely. I don't think there would be a pregnant woman on the planet who didn't suffer some sort of back pain, but given my history I am surprised (and oh so very grateful!) it hasn't been anywhere near as bad as I thought it could be.

I am sure I will lament my stretch marks in the future but for the moment I just don't care, and I haven't gained as much weight as I thought I would - and probably should considering my infantile aversion to green vegetables and total lack of interest in cooking.

My mother has the most appalling varicose veins you will ever see. She's a master of guilt my mother, and will point to the ugly purple ropes entwined around her legs and remind my brothers and I who caused each particular one. When she was carrying me, for example, both feet from shin to toe turned completely purpley/black, while the boys caused the ropes and subsequent clots in the calves and thighs. She often likes to remind me they are hereditary. But so far, so good - neglected hair growth is the only ugliness going on with my legs at the moment.

Tiredness seems to be my main problem at the moment (and most likely will be for the next 5+ years!). DH ringing at 11am and asking "are you still in bed?", and the fact that our house is still crawling with noisy men of the building variety, are basically the only reasons I get out of bed at all some days.

But being me, I have been blessed with a small number of your more weird pregnancy afflictions. Mind you every time I raise a new one with my Ob, he just nods wisely and tells me "oh yes, that's quite common during pregnancy" then bursts out laughing once I've left the room (well, he might!). Then why can I not find any information in the books, or online? So I ask you dear internets what are/were your strangest symptoms/ailments during pregnancy that no-one talks about?

So far I have three:-
1.) Blood blisters on my lady parts
2.) Small brown spots on the skin of my breasts and belly (raised mole/freckle-type things, i think some people call them skin tags)
3.) Carpal Tunnel syndrome in my wrists (hands numb during the night and are sore/stiff for a few hours in the morning)

I am delighted and terrified in equal measure about hitting the 33 week mark (and the second-last frame in my ticker!). In childbirth classes they talked about "term" being between 37 and 42 weeks, which means bub could be here in as little as 4 weeks or as long as 9 weeks! At this week's Ob visit bub looked great, still splashing around with plenty of fluid, and measured 36 weeks. I have submitted my birth plan (OMG I have to give birth?!) which I hope goes more smoothly than my trying to conceive plan!

IRL this week, my brother and SIL's friends gave birth to healthy twin girls at 38 weeks gestation (3rd IVF), and a work colleague's daughter miscarried at 20 weeks. Lots of love to both families.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Be careful what you wish for...!

Last year our builder told us that work would begin on our fire repairs and house extension in January and take approx 6 months to complete. I think it was actually late Feb by the time anything really started and then only in dribs and drabs. We had very dry weather over Summer and Autumn, during which time I repeatedly said "I wish these damn builders would hurry up and get into it".

Today is the first day of Winter and the weather bureau is predicting cold and wet weather all week. Today is meant to be the first day of my maternity leave.

Coincidentally, today we have what sounds like a half-dozen men removing part of our roof.....

Thursday, 28 May 2009


I turned 40 yesterday!

Yep I am officially a middle-aged woman. If something newsworthy happened to me today I would no longer be reported as a young woman, nor a woman in her 30s, I would be a middle-aged woman! Or, as in the case of a woman who drove her car over an embankment last week and almost landed in the Yarra river, a heavily pregnant woman.

I had been planning a big party for this Saturday, a kind of last hurrah before bub arrives, but I've decided that I just don't have the stamina at the moment. By 10pm I'm exhausted, my skin is so itchy I can no longer stand to have any clothes on, and my legs are kicking up a storm. Hmmm, a cranky, naked, twitching middle-aged woman who can't drink or dance - not exactly a party animal!

Anyway, I had a great day yesterday. My friends took me out to lunch then DH and I had a beautiful romantic dinner for two.

We are down to 3 weeks between Ob visits now. Last week I had more blood tests and another Gestational Diabetes test (the non-fasting one) which I passed. Fundal height measured 31cm, so a week and a half to 2 weeks ahead, but the Ob said he's not yet ready to call it a big baby. Which is strange, because every man and his dog I meet in the street feels adequately qualified to tell me I'm either having a ten pound boy, or there is another, ultrasound-shy baby hiding in there too.

We attended 2 classes at the hospital last weekend - 'Labour & Childbirth' and 'Early Parenting'. Both of which we found pretty uninformative. The hospital is meant to be Melbourne's best private maternity facility, and each of the 15 couples paid $170 for the day, you'd think they could at least ensure their facilitators turn up on time and include a tour of the facilities. A decent cuppa would have been nice too while I'm complaining.

Friday, 15 May 2009


I had intended to write a post today about how fabulous I am feeling and how excited I am about being almost 30 weeks pregnant.

Unfortunately we've just found out that Batman's (eldest stepson's) best mate's sister died last night. She hung herself. She was just 16 years old.

All 3 kids knew her really well. They are all devastated. It's going to be a long, sad and confused weekend...

Friday, 1 May 2009


The belly shot as promised. This was taken while we were away last weekend. I am 26 weeks.

My baby is not even born yet and already s/he has been labelled. After seeing lots of movement on the ultrasound the Ob wrote in the file that s/he is a "livewire". Please don't think that's something you have to live up to bubby!

S/he does move around quite a bit at the moment I must admit. I can tell that she can hear things in the outside world now as everytime I tell someone she's moving and they want to feel it, s/he stops immediately. Also, while the builders were attaching the roof to our extension the other day they dropped a large piece of tin and s/he jumped in fright. Bad mummy laughed.

I have been feeling ok this week, not quite so exhausted as last week. We had a relaxing weekend away last week and I have been trying to take better care of myself. I scared myself badly last week with a few episodes of feeling faint and nauseous and teary, and then feeling Braxton Hicks contractions at the same time I almost lost the plot completely. The Ob thinks the faintness was probably low blood pressure but it measured fine at his office.

I have put on 8kgs in weight to this point so it will be interesting to see how I go in the third trimester. I haven't been doing much in terms of formal excercise, but certainly feel as though I am being very active everyday. My latest favourite passtime is shopping - I may be inside a shopping centre but I'm still walking, and carrying lots of bags could be considered lifting weights. It all counts doesn't it?!

Labour and birth discussions have begun. Hospital classes are booked in for late May and I have a questionnaire from the Ob to help us start thinking about a birth plan. Scary, scary stuff. Most women talk about how much more they enjoyed .s.e.x. during pregnancy, but my lady bits have clammed shut of their own accord since that first ultrasound, making intimacy extremely uncomfortable to the point where I am wondering how on earth this baby is going to get out! Please tell me this has happened to other people.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Finding my way out of the abyss

Whoops, sorry about that! The abyss was actually just school holidays, but dark and seemingly endless all the same. Now I remember why we started going away over Easter. I have spend the best part of the last two weeks driving kids around the state, working ridiculous hours and catching up with family as we lurch headlong into 'birthday season' for both our families. Unfortunately, my birthday is among those coming up, but maybe if I keep quiet they will forget.....

Good news is that I don't have GD, but just for fun I get to do the test again at 28 weeks.

I need to stop working. Its still only early I know, and soooo many women have told me that they worked full time right up until their due dates (as if it's a competition!) but I just don't care. I am so easily exhausted at the moment and I have to take care of number one. The more I work, the more my replacement is dependent on me being there. I find myself in tears on the freeway feeling just so tired and heavy that I can hardly move. DH keeps having to scold me "we have worked too hard to get here for you to start taking risks now". I hang my head in shame, then the next week start up again in a panic of all the things I want to get done before I leave.

I have worked in this business almost since the day DH bought it. Since it was just he and I, to the 9 employees we have now. I am a control freak at the best of times and I admit I'm having trouble letting go. No-one is irreplaceable, the company will go on perfectly well without me - intellectually I know this. DH and I are strange (in many, many ways! lol) because we love working together. Spending 24 hours a day together is normal for us. I think that's the thing I will miss the most.

PS: I think another belly shot is due... tune in next week to laugh and point at the fat woman in her ludicrously large underwear.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Almost 6 months!

I had my Gestati.onal Dia.betes test this morning. I had one of these a few years ago as part of my PCOS diagnosis and my result was borderline. At that time I was in the middle of a low GI diet, this time I am in the middle of a chocolate binge. I am not confident.

The lastest wave of hormones seem to have hit. The past few days I've been feeling more tired than usual, breasts are throbbing, and I often find myself on the verge of tears for absolutely no reason.

I have been experiencing some cramping feelings lately really low in my abdomen, could be bub using my cervix as a personal trampoline, could just be cramps. I wish I knew. Earlier in the piece I was bursting to buy every pregnancy book, but kept putting it off until after the next test. Now, I rearely even look at the one book I have. Very unlike me. I'm enjoying just soaking in the experience as I'm feeling it. It's also possible I have a few avoidance issues about the birth, but hey, plenty of time for that!

Wednesday, 1 April 2009


I caught up with a friend of a friend on the weekend who is pg with twins from IVF. She is a few years older than me and 27 weeks pg. It was hilarious to compare swollen feet and bloody nose stories with someone IRL. Everyone at the function said that my belly looked as big as hers but I'm sure it was just my dress.

She asked what brand cot and pram we have bought. I laughed. This poor baby has one toy, a kind of cute-because-it's-so-ugly hand knitted clown (bought with love by DH's parents), and a high chair my mother bought (with love I'm sure) from a garage sale for $20 which DH wants to throw out. We have bought nothing. We hadn't even thought about nursery furniture - mainly because the nursery is not built yet!* Anyhoo.... she tells me that most cots and nursery furniture have a 12 week delivery wait.

Needless to say I have spent the past few days scouring the internets for baby stuff. I can't believe I have been putting this off! Apart from wondering how I can guarantee a lottery win to pay for it all - this is exciting! This is what normal people expecting babies do! They go and buy stuff for them. You know, like actually make plans as if they are going to bring home a real live baby from the hospital that they have to feed, clothe, put to bed and transport about. I should probably do more of this! It seems quite healthy - not to mention fun!

I must say though, that it's a might bit confusing too. I have fallen in love with a cradle but I have no idea if I need a cradle!? If the house is not finished I will definately need one for a few weeks or months, but is it just a waste of money to buy a band new one? Should I try to borrow one or buy second-hand? As for prams, my god, how many prams/strollers are on the market? And how ridiculously expensive are they?

And speaking of ridiculously expensive... my ridiculously expensive 4 year old car is in need of ridiculously expensive repairs. It needs a whole new transmission at the hefty price of $8,500! Isn't it amazing that major expenses (and major projects) always seem to collude together to arrive right at the same time?! {{sigh}}

The Austral.ian government are currently giving women $5,000 when they have babies, do you think they'd let me have mine in advance?

* We had a house fire over 18 months ago which gutted a self-contained apartment, one of our bedrooms, and damaged our lounge room and hallway. Our 3rd (yes third) builder started in January and tells me "yeah it should be done by July, love". We cleverly thought we'd re-do our kitchen at the same time - a decision I am currently trying to talk DH out of....

Friday, 27 March 2009

News from the step-world

Being pregnant and hormonal and somewhat self-absorbed, I haven't spoken about the stepkids for ages. Being teenagers and hormonal and somewhat self-absorbed, their reactions to the baby news has been all about how they feel this will directly affect them. Tiger seems most excited and talks about it constantly when he's with us. He hopes it's a boy so her can teach him to play golf, if its a girl he doubts he'll have much to do with it. Batman seems a bit more ambivalent, but I think that is probably to be expected since he will be 19 when bub is born. His mother says he is upset and worried about it but he has recently started spending one night a week at our house because, in his words, he wants to spend more time with us.

Rosie is the one who concerns me the most. She started at a new school this year and found the initial adjustment very difficult. She was very anxious the first few weeks and not eating or sleeping well. The new school is a religious one, so during a pastoral class the students were asked how they were feeling about the new school year, at which point Rosie burst into tears. The school acted very quickly and she has been having regular sessions with the school counsellor ever since. After that first session she said to DH "I told them EVERYTHING Dad".

The counsellor rang DH a few weeks ago and told him about her discussions with Rosie. Apparently Rosie has spoken of her concern that the baby will take our attentions away from her, that she loves DH and I and would prefer to live with us but fears her mother's reaction. We knew all of this but the level of concern the counsellor had for Rose's safety at her mother's house was a bit of a shock. Rose talked alot about the level of violence in the house and her fear of her mother's boyfriend has them worried. DH asked the counsellor if they were concerned about sexual abuse, because that seemed to be what she was tip-toeing around, and she said that was a concern that the school was taking very seriously.

Obviously I am thankful that the school is aware there are issues at home, so they can keep a close eye on her, and she has an objective adult to talk to about any problems. But I am concerned though that they think there may be a sexual nature to her fear of Loser Boyfriend.

As a child victim myself and former child protection worker, I maintain that the child must always be believed so it would be totally different if Rosie accused Loser Boyfriend of anything sexual, which she has not. But still it goes against my grain to say what I am about to say.... Rosie is a drama queen, and, just like her mother, she likes people to think she has a hard life and to feel sorry for her. It has becoming increasingly difficult for us to sort the truth from the chaff in most conversations with her. She lies to us a lot and some of her bullshit is just so fanciful we have to laugh. I know her mother has the same issues. I defy anyone with a teenage girl to say her daughter doesn't lie to her. It's just the nature of the beast.

I think she is being honest that she is scared of Loser Boyfriend when he is drunk, but I think that perhaps she has exaggerated how bad things are at home. If it was that bad and she was that frightened, surely she would come live with us? DH and I have done everything in our power to make this a possibility for her.

I'm not so old that I don't remember life as a teenage girl. The raging hormones, the changing body, the belief that other girls are always looking at you and judging you. That insane need to be accepted, to conform, to be considered normal when in your mind you think you are anything but. Desperately wanting to be attractive to boys, to be loved, but terrified of what that means. I was shocked when I dropped Rosie at school last week that 4 out of 5 girls had the exact same haircut - dead straight, far side part, covering at least one eye. Rosie has gorgeous, naturally curly hair - no wonder it takes her over an hour to get ready - she has to hide each one of those pesky non-conformist curls! I wouldn't want to be a teenager again for anything in the world.

As much as I try to empathise with her, I must admit she is starting to piss me off. Everything about the baby is negative at the moment for Rosie (although it's always possible I am being overly sensitive?). We have conversations like;
R: "Mum says that the baby will affect me the most because I won't be the youngest anymore"
ME: "Excuse me if this sounds selfish at all, but I think that it might actually affect ME the most"
R: (laughing) "Oh yeah, I hadn't thought of that"

R: "I don't want my bedroom to be near the baby's, I don't want to hear it crying"
R: "Little kids really annoy me"
R: "Doesn't your stomach hurt? It looks REALLLY painful"

R: "Have you always wanted to have a child?"
ME: "Yes, but I have a problem with my ovaries and thought that I couldn't have children"
R: "So this baby is like, a miracle"
ME "YES! So treat it with the respect it deserves and stop being such a selfish little twat!"
(ok, so maybe I didn't actually say that last bit... but by god I wanted to!)

DH wants for things to remain the same as much as possible for the kids, and I understand where he's coming from... but, you know, a new baby is a huge change, I don't see how (or why) we can protect them from that. Isn't there a saying "The only constant in life is change"? I think the kids are just going to have to adapt. I can see a future where baby and I are the ones making all the concessions, tip-toeing around the older kids so we don't disturb them, even though we are the ones who actually live here. Frankly, it scares me and it's keeping me awake at night.

Friday, 13 March 2009

20 week scan

Look s'hes blowing bubbles!

The anatomy scan apparently went well yesterday. I say apparently because we had one of those sonographers who don't like to reveal too much. She did loads of measurements and said everything looked fine, and the doctor (who poked her head in for all of about 3 seconds) said the results looked great. We just have to take their word for it because it mostly made no sense to us. We were just smitten by our unborn baby's swimming prowess (note to self: find olympic coach immediately). Move over Thorpedo, here comes.... umm... unborn baby who doesn't have a name yet.

S'he was head down and bum up for most of the scan, arms flailing and little legs frog-kicking up a storm. DH asked me 'How can you not feel that?' Ahhh, but I wish I could.... We saw he'r mouth opening and closing, and blood pumping through the four chambers of the heart and the umbilical cord. It really is quite surreal.

We already know the sex of the baby (from the amnio) but this was one of the very few things the sonographer did point out to us. We also got to hear the heart beat for the first time which was absolutely fabulous. I hope that is on the dvd. A page of stats flashed briefly on the screen at the end of the scan, and I saw a couple of things were measuring at 16 weeks gestation but did not see what they were, the rest seemed to be around 18-19 weeks. Remind me to ask the OB to go through the entire results with me at our next appointment.

Speaking of the Ob, at 20 weeks we are expected to make a payment of $2,000, with another $1,000 due at 30 weeks, neither of which cover the cost of the actual birth. I guess that will teach me for going private instead of using the public system. Perhaps, instead of swimming, we should encourage bub into something more lucrative - like tennis or golf, or American Football (only if its a boy I promise). Maybe acting if its a girl, DH is a redhead and I am very pale, and red headed Australian actresses with porcelain skin do seem to do quite well......

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Belly shot

I have always been terribly un-photogenic, but this was an especially bad photo of me. I considered telling you that I cropped off my head for reasons of anonymity, but the truth is it was just vanity. And besides, I didn't upload this photo to show you my face anyway.

This was taken last weekend at 19 weeks. My 2 closest girlfriends and I went away for 5 days to celebrate our 40th birthdays (although mine is still not for another few months). We had a ball cruising around wineries, doing touristy things and just chilling together. Both friends have young kids so we were up early everyday and did loads of walking. On the plane home on Monday my feet had blown up to the size of footballs and I felt so exhausted I was close to tears when DH picked me up. I slept most of Tuesday and am home from work again today. Slacker. Who knew that growing a human being inside you would be so tiring?!

I adore my friends and they have tried to support me through the last few years of bullshit (only missing the mark a few times). They are so excited for me now and are suddenly a lot more inclusive. I was rarely invited to kids parties and they get together quite a bit without me, but now there's even talk of family weekends away. I'm not sure if I should be insulted or just pleased to finally "fit in" with them again. Actually, I choose to accept it and be happy because I promised DH I would not allow myself to become bitter about what infertility took from us for so long.

I have my 20 week anatomy scan tomorrow and can't wait. I am starting to feel some movements but due to the anterior placenta they are fairly few and far between so it will be great to check on bub tomorrow. I hope s'he has recovered from the weekend.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Silver Lining

We had an amnio done two weeks ago.

I have been quiet about it because I wasn't sure I would go through with it even as I arrived for the appointment. I know a lot of you advised me not to bother, but in the end I couldn't ignore the fact that IVF clinic recommended it, the doctor who did the NT testing recommended it and my OB recommended it as well.

The full results have come back this week as NORMAL.

The procedure was done at the same ultrasound clinic where the NT testing was done, and by the same doctor who guided us through that. She called us her difficult patients because she knew our IVF history and would have preferred not to do the amnio as well, but she assured us she had performed thousands of these procedures and the clinic's risk ratio for miscarriage was 1 in 250. The procedure itself felt just like a needle prick and nothing more. I had a few little cramps that night but nothing to get hysterical over.

DH and I did a fair amount of soul searching over what we would do with an abnormal result. DH spoke to a friend of his who has a son with Muscular Dystrophy and asked if he knew J had this before he was born would they have continued with the pregnancy, without hesitation he said yes. So again, you might ask, why go through with a risky procedure? I guess the answer lies in my response to the result. The doctor rang me in the morning at work, I was insanely busy that day but as I was preparing to go home I caught a glimpse of my bump in the bathroom mirror and grinned like a fool. I then went out to my husband and promptly burst into tears. "Our baby is okay. Everything is going to be okay." I guess I was holding on to more anxiety than I thought.

I am now 18 weeks. I am hugely, obviously pregnant and my first stretch marks have made their appearance. I could care less - seriously - bring 'em on! I am almost 40 but I am finally pregnant! We are almost half way and I think I can see the silver lining. I am yet to feel any movement, or at least anything that I recognise as movement. I have been told this may occur later for me because the placenta is at the front of the uterus.

Sorry to have gone awol for so long, for some reason I have lost control at work which has thrown everything totally off kilter. I have missed so many of your posts but will do my best to catch up.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Fire photo's

Firestorm. What hope did they have?
A volunteer fire fighter cares for a thirsty koala.
The town of Marysville is all but destroyed.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Fire season

It's bushfire season here and my state is on fire. Over 10 major fires are currently burning out of control, over 750 houses have been lost since Saturday afternoon, over 125 people are confirmed dead (and this is mostly just people who've been found on the roads, the task of checking each individual property has only just begun). Entire towns are burnt to the ground, people can't find their families and are not permitted to return to their homes to look for them. The fires are still burning, trees and power lines block the roads. The danger is not over yet.

I live in one of the most fire prone regions of the state. But we are safe. The temperature reached 46 degrees (115F) on Saturday, the wind was so hot and so strong. It was awful. One of the worst fires started less than an hour from here but took off in the opposite direction to us. Given the devastation that has followed, I can't say I'm glad but I guess I can say we are lucky. Today it's about 20 degrees (70F) but still very windy. Still awful. Still on high alert.

In this state you choose whether you want to stay and protect your property or evacuate. You attend community meetings, you write a 'bushfire plan' and lodge it with the local fire brigade, when fire comes you're meant to know what to do - you're meant to be prepared. So many people who stayed with their homes died, so many people who tried to flee died in their cars as the fire overtook them. How can you prepare against 10 years of drought, tinder dry bush, limited water supply, and arsonists with their own sick plans?

DH's mother rang late Saturday afternoon, there was a fire near them, his 75yo father was outside wetting down their timber house with the garden hose. DH and Tiger were ready to go and get them when the wind abated and the threat was gone.

My heart aches for all the people who have lost members of their family, their homes, their animals, their livelihoods, their sense of security and peace with the world.

Slightly off topic.... When the Screaming Banshee came to collect the kids last night, DH arranged with her to pick up Tiger the next day to see the chiro.practor about his sore back. The Banshee responded by saying that Tiger had better be nice to her, she's had a terrible weekend because she knows someone who knows someone who lost their home in the fires. She is the most infuriating person I have ever met! I don't know anyone else who could manage to turn a national disaster into a drama all about her!

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Out of the Closet

2nd Trimester - I puffy heart you!

Feeling good at last! The headaches have gone, I no longer feel that urgent need to eat every 10 minutes and I can stay up later than 8pm most nights. My skin is clearer than it has been for ages, my already thick hair is even thicker and my finger nails are growing much faster than usual. My friend tells me all these things mean I am having a boy. Her theory is that boys make you look radiant and beautiful while girls steal your beauty leaving you looking wasted. Hmmm interesting theory.... it's funny that everyone has an opinion or a theory don't they?

We have started telling people. I was hoping to wait until after my next scan at 16 weeks, but I'm too fat to disguise anymore. Even strangers are starting to look at my belly. One of the girls at work came straight out and asked me today, and I'm pretty sure the others have guessed. I had almost the whole office looking for my missing car keys yesterday only to find them next to my computer hidden under just one measly piece of paper. My brain seems to have left me, my memory has gone and I keep doing completely ridiculous things. I'm told this will only get worse. Good thing DH has found a replacement for me already.

DH told the kids this week too. Everyone's initial reaction was WHOA! The boys seemed pretty excited, which I kind of expected because they both love babies. Rosie was the one I was concerned about. She said to her dad "But I won't be your baby anymore", which tugged on the heartstrings a little. But she gave me a big hug and told me I'll make a great mum which was sweet of her. She told me later that she thinks she'll be really jealous of the baby because it will have a good mum while she's got a shit one. I said you never know I may end up exactly the same as her mum. She gave me that sideways look that only teenage girls can give and said I don't think so. (I need to do a whole post about Rosie soon. Poor thing, who'd want to be 14 these days?)

Speaking of the Screaming Banshee, we have not heard of any reaction from her so far. She didn't cope well with news of our wedding, so I'm not sure how this will go over. The bitch in me can't wait until she finds out the baby is due on her birthday!

Ha, this pregnancy may have robbed me of my intellect, but my inner bitch lives on!! I think I'll be okay after all... ;)

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Passed! (Updated)

I passed my physical exams yesterday with a High Distinction!

Bub was wriggling and giggling and even turned to face us during the scan which was just amazing. I am so, so relieved! Next appointment is in three weeks.

The breast exam went well also. Next appointment in 12 months. The surgeon asked me how long did I hope to breastfeed for as this would affect the appointment timing. I had not even thought about it!

I relayed the conversation to my mother as I thought it was so funny, and she said "well how did you think the baby would be fed dear?", "I haven't really allowed myself to think as far ahead as even having a baby yet mum" - long silence - "oh".

These loss anxieties and defence mechanisms are so normal to me, sometimes I forget that they may not make sense to other people. I still look at the ultrasound screen and think "oh wow, look at the little baby bouncing around on the screen, how cute" but it hasn't really sunk in yet that its my body and my baby.

In other news:
- My work computer at home has died (you know what that means - I can blog all day on the kids computer! - or I could go into the office....)
- The mercury is set to hit 43 degrees today (109f) and my backyard is full of men digging massive big holes ready to lay the concrete slab for our house extensions. I wonder how long they will last?


The temperature has managed to reach 44C/111F so far here today with only 10% humidity! You can feel your skin start to shrivel the moment the sun hits you - no wonder we have such high skin cancer rates. The minimum overnight last night was 29/84 and will be again tonight. My workmen lasted until 10am which was a pretty good effort. I hadn't expected them to turn up at all today, and they did a phenomenal amount of work in those 3 hours.

I have the world's noisiest (and ugliest) portable air-con in the dining room with me, which is keeping the room at a balmy 31/88 degrees. Bub and I are on our 4th litre of water for the day. Days like this bring out my Scottish roots.... Help me, I'm melting!!

Tuesday, 27 January 2009


I rang and left a message at the Ob's office this morning. Apparently it's his theatre day today but he rang back within a few hours.

Without saying whether or not I should be concerned about the weekend's events, he gave me a lecture about not ringing him on Saturday. He was working all weekend, and regardless would have seen me immediately to allay my fears. He was very gentle but used words like surprised and disappointed and hard-fought pregnancy, and duly made me feel severely reprimanded.

I am seeing him for a scan first thing tomorrow morning. Then its off to see the breast surgeon for a follow-up - so its a full physical exam for me tomorrow. I hope I pass with flying colours.

Monday, 26 January 2009


I went to bed Friday night feeling some strong cramping and woke Saturday morning to light, brown spotting. The cramps became worse on moving around so I spent most of the day in bed. The spotting remained for about 24 hours, but didn't get any heavier. The cramping continues but is less frequent and less painful.

Everyone says not to worry about brown spotting, but that's never really been my experience. The spotting and cramps together freaked me out. It was DH's birthday and I couldn't help but think it would be just our luck to miscarry on his birthday.

At the risk of being labelled an overly-anxious patient, I will be ringing the Ob on Tuesday (its a public holiday here today) and asking for another scan asap.

After this little scare, there is no way I am going to risk doing an amnio.

Thank you so much to everyone who responded to my last post. This is such a fabulously supportive and wise community, I love it.

Monday, 19 January 2009


We had a fabulous 12 week scan today, but a very confusing high risk for Downs Syndrome result.

Bub looked great and was dancing around, showing us he'r high kicks and juggling skills. Brain and heart development looked great; measuring on target for dates; hands and fingers, feet and toes in all the right places. We were told the nuchal fold measurement was within the normal range. Everything looked great!

The Doctor came in and we discussed our PGD results. She said she wasn't sure how that would effect the Downs risk result as the statistical approach doesn't allow for that to be taken into consideration. When she finally got back to me in the afternoon, I think she was as surprised as I was with the combined results of 1 in 38 chance of Downs.

Due to the combined risk of my age and IVF, my baseline risk was 1:70. Apparently the nuchal fold measurement was actually on the higher side of normal and the maternal serum blood test showed my hCG again normal but on the high side of the range, while the pregnancy protein marker (PAPP-A?) was on the lower side of normal. All these together doubled the risk.

My confusion comes from this: how can these figures be accurate if they do not take into account the following VITAL information?
1.) This embryo has already been tested for Downs (and several other chromosomal abnormalities) and was given a tick of approval considered to be >90% accurate
2.) The baby's nasal bone could be clearly seen on ultrasound (this is often absent in Downs babies)
3.) The long bones appeared normal on ultrasound (Downs babies often present with shortened femur and humerus bones)

We now have to decide whether or not to do a CVS or amnio. We are somewhat stuck on the point that we believe we have already tested the chromosomal makeup of this baby. We've taken so long to get to this point - why should we risk miscarriage to re-test something we have already tested? Are the tests in fact the same, or am I wrong? If we do opt for further testing should we go CVS and find out now, or wait another 3-4 weeks for an amnio?

I feel I'm in deep water here. Any advice and/or sharing of experiences would be greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009


I learnt a couple of things about myself whilst babysitting my 4mo nephew the other night.
1. I'm going to be a helicopter parent. I must have gone in every hour he was asleep just to make sure I could hear him breathing.
2. I actually felt quite confident and natural changing him and feeding him. Well it was only a few hours, he wasn't screaming and I wasn't sleep deprived. But they do have times like that don't they?
3. I love babies, always have, always will. Its when they get to 4 they become a bit annoying, and 10, and 15.
4. I'm a bit more excited about this than I have allowed myself to admit.

I started reading a babycare book my SIL had on the coffee table. In the introduction the author explained how she'd been mindful to include the experiences of same sex couples, but she obviously didn't mind excluding infertile couples. I suppose she didn't expect them to read her book. The rest of the intro was full of comments like; "when you have a baby you join the human race.... you become a member of an exclusive club..".

Although I can't technically call myself infertile anymore, I still find this sort of stuff so incredibly offensive. Childless people are not members of the human race? Are you kidding me? Sometimes I wonder how the hell I will ever fit into a fertile world that thinks this way. I can't imagine how I'll cope with things like "new mother's group". I'm far too old and prickly and cynical to be unleashed into the general populace.

I guess its my own fault, I shouldn't keep telling random strangers that I'm pregnant (well not really random as such, the lady at the pathology clinic, the lady at the dress shop, our financial manager at work), but still, if one more person tells me how much they loved being pregnant, to relax and enjoy it, to just go with the flow.... I will throttle them! Relax and enjoy? Are you serious? Do they not understand all the things that could go wrong? Bloody hell, I've never been so terrified in my life! Four weeks between scans is far, far too long, I'm feeling the need to pee on a stick.

DH on the other hand is relaxed about the baby but worried about me and my headaches. After years of nagging, I had promised if this past cycle failed that I would have them fully investigated. He read online this morning about an American woman who's baby was delivered by c-section 2 days after she suffered a fatal brain haemorrhage. Apparently having a baby without me would be like having a big TV and surround sound system, but no house. Gotta love those man metaphors.

He said that bub visited him in a dream. He said it was a boy with dark hair. He got the sense that he was very aware, very intelligent, and thought "this kid knows what's going on, I'll never have to worry about him". I had to laugh when he apologised for not asking his name.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

So much time, so little to say...

Earlier this week I spent 2 straight days in bed with a headache. Unable to take my usual medication, I discovered that icepacks and pan.adol are about as useful in fighting pain and swear words and tears. We had 2 kids with us so DH had to take time off work and look after the 3 of us. He was very sweet, putting wet face washers on my head and trying to tempt me to eat with my favourite choclate biscuits. I hope that bub was able to access my plentiful fat stores because I just could not eat, and what I did did not stay around long.

I was giving DH grief about something yesterday and he said "I missed you. I'm so glad you're back." Awww. He's a keeper that one. Last night he was rubbing my belly as we discussed baby names. He wanted to know how big s'he was. I said "if s'hes still there", "where else would s'he be?" was his confused reply. Why can't I think like that?!

Sunday night I am babysitting my niece and baby nephew while everyone else goes to watch the South.African.Cricket team kick our ass yet again. I'm sorry if I offend any Aussies, but I'm not terribly patriotic when it come to cricket as our team tends to become boringly arrogant on a winning streak so I like them to lose regularly.

Not much else is going on in my little world at present. I have piles and piles of work to do, but just cannot be fagged.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Welcome 2009

The new year has started off with the purchase of big girl panties and a real life maternity bra (only because it was the only soft cup bra I could find in my small town in my size - although having worn it for a day I do believe my size has changed!). My body is tender and so very tired, I have been having nanna naps almost every day. Oh, and DH says don't forget to mention the moods. Thankyou sweetheart - now go away.

I seem to have acquired an aversion to food. I went food shopping yesterday and came home with several varieties of flavoured mineral water, juice, mango sorbet, cherries and grapes, but virtually no real food to speak of. Just a few days ago it was all carbs, carbs, carbs but now bub's taste seems to have shifted to cold and fruity. My parents are coming to stay this weekend. I hope they're not hungry.

I have many hopes for 2009. Not the least of which are for our troops to come home safely from I.raq and Afga.nistan, peace in G.aza, and for the Australian media to get over Pa.risHil.ton and stop clogging our news bulletins (I could care less how much she was paid to attend one party, or spent in one Melbourne shop; lets talk about climate change and stabilising the world's economies). I hope this year is full of excitement and love for all my fellow pregnant bloggers (us Aussie girls are on a roll!) and that this is the year for others who are still waiting. I hope 2009 holds something fabulous for everyone!