An ending, coming

On Monday night, I was lying in bed nursing P. with my phone in one hand, waiting for my mother to call with what I knew would be bad news. P. was thirty-seven days old. She is so new, so fresh. She is at the beginning of it all.

My stepfather is dying.

A month ago my Mum was with me, helping while Q. was overseas. My stepfather was doing so well she said she almost felt she could have left him alone. My youngest sister, who went to stay with him, said he was the best she’d seen him in years.

With hindsight, this appears to have been the final rally that some patients get before they start that last downward spiral.

He is in hospital and is being made comfortable. They are looking into the options to see if he can be brought home and receive hospice care.

We don’t know exactly how long he has, but it is not long. We were originally told days. It is probably more like weeks, but things can change very quickly as we have learned.

All five of his children (one son, one daughter, three stepdaughters) will be here as of this afternoon. We will all get our chance to say goodbye, but we will all probably have to leave again before the end and leave him and my mother, which breaks my heart.

He was well enough yesterday to come out of the hospital to meet P. (as she is too young to be vaccinated and I cannot risk bringing her in to the hospital itself). We were able to get some pictures of him with his four grandchildren. He will probably not get to meet the one currently occupying labmonkey’s uterus.

My stepsister and stepbrother lost their mother nine years ago. Now they will have lost both parents. They are 36 and (almost) 38. That is too young, My stepsister and her husband are here with their two kids (7 and 4) on a prearranged two week vacation. She wants to be with her Dad, but her kids need her too. I am hoping to hand P. off to someone this afternoon so Q. and I can go in to see him, even if just for an hour.

It’s not enough time.

There will never be enough time.

We knew the cancer was going to come back. We knew it would kill him eventually.

We never thought it would be this soon.

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Filed under Family, Grief, Loss

Random musings at five weeks

Some thoughts from life chez Turia, in bullet points again:

  • I think I got one of those mythical sleeping babies. In the last four nights P. has done stretches of 1. 7 hours; 2. 7 hours; 3. 5 hours (but she spent almost the entire day sleeping); and 4. 8 1/2 hours (!!!!!). How ridiculously amazing is that??!!
  • I am glad I bought a pump at the start of this week, as I have been pumping after her long stretch to make sure my supply does not diminish. I was hand expressing before this, but the pump is definitely faster and more effective. I am building up a little freezer stash. I guess eventually we will do something with it.
  • P. is a total nightmare in the evenings until we get her down for the night. Much much worse than E. was. But then she sleeps and sleeps and sleeps. I will take it.
  • P. mostly naps in carriers during the day. I can get her down in the bassinet after the first feed because I think she views that as still part of her night sleep (I suspect she’s on a 10 p.m. to 10 a.m. nighttime schedule). This works well as it gives me time to pump and get E. breakfast and get me breakfast and clean up the kitchen. Sometimes she only naps for 45 minutes in there. This morning it was 2.5 hours (after that huge nighttime sleep) and I got so much done. If we home, she naps in the K’Tan. If we are out, she’s in the Beco Gemini. At some point I am going to want her to nap more in the bassinet, but this works for now (I am typing this standing up at the kitchen counter with her in the K’Tan).
  • I survived my first week home solo with both kids. We have a routine going where we try to get out of the house in the morning before it gets too insanely hot, and then we stay in over lunch and the early afternoon. We sometimes go back out in the later afternoon- E. had activities at the library two days this week he wanted to check out. I feel like I pretty much rocked this week and the double parenting gig, if one leaves out the fact that I get no housework done other than cleaning up after breakfast and Q. is still cooking all dinners.
  • I alternate between feeling guilty about how much we are using the car and being so damn grateful we bought the car. It has been stupidly hot here for days and days and the car means that we get out quickly and we can drive to the parks with the best shade in the city that have sand/water tap combinations (which is all E. needs to be happy for hours). I am getting less nervous about going out with both of them and driving. It’s just not an option to stay home all day- E. would go crazy (and drive me crazy in the process).
  • But I do feel guilty, especially since E. has a reputation in the neighbourhood as The Boy Who Walks. I keep telling myself we will do more walking again, but I’m hardly going to take P. out for lengthy strolls when it’s 33 degrees, and I’m not going to drag them both on public transit (especially with an unvaccinated baby) for 45 minutes or an hour to get to a park that we can drive to in 12 minutes that will give us enough shade we can play all morning without worrying about where the sun is.
  • P’s propensity for carrier naps and fussy evenings is making getting anything done for my course a real challenge. My essays come in on Friday. I’m really not sure how I’m going to get them marked right now. Possibly by getting up at 5 a.m. when she and E. are both sleeping. I can moderate the discussion forum and write discussions questions, etc. while she’s in the carrier but 2,000 word essays require a higher level of concentration and she won’t just fall asleep adorably on my chest any more.
  • Nursing is quite different when you have two. I have nursed through more meals than I can count (almost every dinner for the last three weeks it feels like), nursed while supervising a bath, nursed while assembling a model dinosaur, nursed while playing Playmobil vet clinic, nursed while reading bedtime stories, nursed while telling E. his daily Winnie the Pooh stories (which feature far more trains than I think A.A. Milne would have envisioned), nursed while putting together afternoon snack, etc. I am also now a master at nursing at the park with a muslin blanket draped over one shoulder, sometimes while walking around the playground supervising E. with the straps of my carrier hanging around my feet. I was doing this on Monday when a mum went past and said, “I remember that stage! It’s an impossible situation!” Except it isn’t, because my older one is five, and most of the time I can just sit happily on a bench nursing P. and trust that he is a) playing nicely; b) not doing anything silly or dangerous; and c) not about to leave the playground without telling me.
  • I remember with E. my favourite time to nurse was right before bed- we’d lie down on my bed and he’d make these happy little noises and close his eyes and get so relaxed. I’m there with P. too and it is lovely. They always look so serious with their little furrowed brows when nursing awake, which I also love, but there is something so special about that sleepy feed.
  • I feel stressed much of the time about everything I have not had time to do- email photos of P. to family; Skype with family; reconcile our finances; add P. to the RESP, but I have had to just realize that the course takes every spare moment for now and all the things that I feel I need to do to be a) on top of things and b) a good member of my family have to wait until I am clear of it. Except maybe the thank you notes for P.’s presents, because even though she is a second child they are starting to pile up and I really need to get some of them sent out. I think I can write them while she naps in a carrier. We’ll see. I finally ordered some cards from a giant online retailer last week when I realized I did not have time to go get some in person, so that is a start.
  • My family continues to fall apart in an absolutely spectacular way with my stepmother’s health now not all that good (she needs a hip replacement although she is only in her mid-fifties) and my stepfather very seriously ill with kidney issues requiring a stent and a hospital stay this past week right after he got back out of the hospital for an intestinal blockage. There are also probably more tumors. My mother is so drained emotionally and physically from the wild ride they’re on. And my father is having surgery on Monday- should be a straightforward surgery but it is a big deal as if it works he will eventually be able to get off the ventilator. And here I am, barely keeping my head above water with two kids and the online course. I have absolutely nothing extra to give right now, and I cannot be there in person to help (my youngest sister is holding the fort for us at the moment). I am not supposed to be in the sandwich generation at 36.
  • I keep telling myself I am doing the best I can.

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Filed under Butter scraped over too much bread (a.k.a. modern motherhood), E.- the sixth year, Family, Nursing, P.- the first year

The first month

Dear P.,

Today, you are one month old. It’s hard to believe you’ve only been here for that long, because in many ways it feels like you’ve always been here. E. asked me once, earlier in the month, how old you were. When I said you were twelve days old, he told me that he was “already quite used” to you. That about sums it up for all of us, I think. We’re all already quite used to you.

You’re thus far a rather adaptable baby. The lactation consultant who came to the house (during a what turned out to be an unfounded panic about my supply) could not get over how calm you are. I don’t think I’d describe you as calm during the hours of 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. (which you seem to have scheduled for cluster feeding and fussing on a nightly basis), but generally you seem pretty happy and easy going. The obvious exception is tummy time, which clearly you regard as baby torture time. You will occasionally throw your head up (you have a very strong neck when we’re holding you) but you spend most of the time frantically pushing with your legs with your head flat on the ground, screaming in frustration. Once you managed to turn¬† yourself 90 degrees. We suspect you aren’t going to wait until you’re eight and a half months to crawl like your brother did.

Your hair is already longer than it was a month ago. Your eyes are darker- we’ve never had any doubt that they will be anything other than brown. Your skin is spottier (baby acne has started to appear in the last couple of days). Your legs are longer (especially since you’ve started stretching them out). Most of your newborn clothing no longer fits well, even when you’re not in a cloth diaper. You’re probably close to two pounds over your birth weight, so we know you’re thriving.

You are, without a doubt, the noisiest baby we’ve ever met. We actually videoed the ridiculous cacophony that you produce in the bassinet and asked our midwife to look at it because we were worried there might be something wrong. There wasn’t- you are in perfect health. You’re just very, very noisy. Sometimes you sound like a creaking door, sometimes a rooster, sometimes a pod of whales. Often you sound like what I imagine a dinosaur sounded like. The funny thing is I sleep perfectly well with you right beside me in the bassinet, and with E. (who was much quieter) I had to wear earplugs because I couldn’t sleep.

You surprised us by smiling early- you were twenty days old the first day I could say with confidence that you were producing real smiles (although I do still wonder about some of the other ones). You love to smile at me on the change table- unless I have my camera there to capture it. Then you stick to your puzzled, furrowed, Winston Churchill impression. You started cooing at around the same time and you’re becoming adept at giving a quiet coo if I’m holding you but my focus is elsewhere. You also coo at your big brother during dinner during the (increasingly rare) occasions when you’re in the bouncy seat and not in my lap nursing.

Your best party trick to date is your sleep. You’ve been sleeping a five or six hour stretch in the first part of the night since your second week. I thought I was going to have to start artificially waking you up earlier when we weren’t sure about your weight gain, but luckily that’s no longer a concern. We’ve completely ignored any semblance of bedtime to this point (you spend almost every evening cluster feeding on my lap and then passing out on the nursing pillow while I mark or moderate my discussion forum), so when we go to bed around 10 p.m. I try to make sure I wake you up so you nurse, and you’ll then sleep through until 3:00 or (if I’m really lucky) 4:00 a.m. Your second feed is almost always three hours after the first, so on the off night when you wake up at 1:00 or 2:00, I know I’ll be seeing you again before 6:00 (which is when I mentally feel the morning starts). You seem to like being tightly swaddled (arms in) and you’re happy enough in the bassinet at night and (usually) for the first nap of the morning, so it’s hard to complain when you want to spend the rest of the day snuggling. You’re still so little, and I’m inclined to soak up your infancy a bit more than I did with your brother. (Getting a decent amount of sleep every night makes everything you do so much more enjoyable.)

I’m sorry that you’re the second child. I’m sorry that you’re already learning that quiet, polite noises of displeasure don’t lead to the situation being rectified, like they almost always did for your brother, and that you’re ever more quickly advancing straight to panic stations screaming when something is not to your liking. I’m sorry you get put down so often, even though you absolutely loathe being put down. I’m sorry you’re going to spend so much more time in the car than your brother ever did, although maybe you won’t always hate it as much as you do right now. I’m sorry you will be continually dragged around according to his needs and his schedule. At some point you and I will have to sort out good sleep habits but I’ve already shelved that until he’s back at school in September.

And I’m not sorry that you’re the second child. You have a spot on your head that is almost always smeared with cherry juice, or maple syrup, or yoghurt, from your big brother’s constant requests at the table to “please be excused so I can give P. a kiss”. When he’s talking, you turn your head to find him. Most of your biggest and best smiles have been directed at him. He cuddles you, reads to you, sings to you, and provides P. reports when we’re driving somewhere and I can’t see what you’re doing. At some point he’s going to step on you or fall on you when he’s clambering around on the couches while I’m nursing, but his heart is in the right place. He adores you, and it makes my heart glow to see it.

You have a more distracted, less available Mummy, but a much more relaxed one. Just like your brother, you’re showing clear signs of only wanting to nap in carriers, preferably in motion. I agonized over this with E. for weeks. With you, I’m not bothered. We’ll sort it out eventually and in the meantime it’s a lot easier to keep up with E. if you’re happy to be tucked up on my chest.

The days pass more quickly with you, it seems. I’m sure part of it is because I’m chasing around after E. and teaching. I don’t have any spare time in which to sit and watch the hours. But part of it is because you’ve settled into our family so nicely. You have filled the gap that we thought would always be there.

We’re so glad you’re here.

love always,
Mummy

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Filed under Letters to P., P.- the first year

Transitions again

Hello readers (if you are out there). So life with two while still teaching is, um, different. I am keeping my head above water but the whole “I’ll just finish the course before going on maternity leave” decision makes a lot less sense this side of things than it did before P. was born. I know it is still the right decision, but oh man I am SO GRATEFUL she stayed in as long as she did because if she’d been born any earlier I would have been screwed. As it stands I wish I’d somehow found time to write all the lectures, because P. is over two weeks old now and I have written exactly one. Only three left, but writing them in snatches of fifteen minutes here and there is really hard.

Some thoughts on the first couple of weeks (in bullet form and written over several days because that’s now how I roll):

  • How to know you’re a second-time parent: I was in the shower, with P. in the bouncy seat in the bathroom. I heard a sound that made me think she was spitting up. Looked out- sure enough, milk everywhere. How I assessed the situation: 1. Is she choking? (No.) 2. Is she upset about being covered in milky vomit? (No.). I finished my shower!
  • I had my first round of solo bedtime at the weekend because Grannie was out picking up Q. at the airport. It included sitting on the toilet nursing P. while E. was having his bath; lying down on the bed nursing P. while having “snuggle” time with E. as he read books and leapt around the bed occasionally pausing to bestow kisses on P’s head; and then trying to moderate my discussion forum while also keeping P. from screaming (she was not having a great evening) while E. kicked the walls of his room and sang at the top of his lungs that he liked to eat yoghurt and bananas.
  • That particular evening aside, P. is already showing signs of being far more laid back than her brother was. Whether this is due to her personality or due to my second-time approach to parenting (read: it’s ok if the baby is not immediately on a predictable routine) is yet to be determined. But it’s a nice change regardless of what’s caused it.
  • E. still having school for eight days after P. was born was the best thing ever. Then we had Grannie here while Q. was overseas, and Q. is taking this week off and then next week E. is in day camp. So I will only have two weeks left in the course when I have both of them home with me full-time and hopefully we will survive and it will be a bit easier to leave the house.
  • Packing to leave the house for any length of time now feels like setting out for the base camp at Everest. Gone are the days of “Got a hat? We’re good!”. I knew this would happen but it has still been a big shock.
  • E. thus far has been great. He asked me the other day how old P. was. When I said she was twelve days, he said, “I’m already getting quite attached to her.” He is starting to notice how unavailable I am and was getting tired of Grannie as a substitute. But he loves getting books that I can read when I’m nursing, and he loves giving P. kisses on her little head.
  • Nursing was really hard in the first week (poor latch when milk came in and I got engorged led to a lot of pain) but things are much better now and have been for a while. P. gained a whopping 7 oz between Day 3 and Day 5 (and was 3.5 oz over her birth weight by Day 5) but then only gained 5 oz in the next week. This is above the minimum but only just, so I’m going to take her back in this week for a weight check just for peace of mind. The midwives are not worried, but of course I am.
  • P. is sleeping really well at night. I feed her around 10 p.m. and then swaddle her and put her in the bassinet and she’s been known to go fairly regularly through until 3:30 or 4 a.m., and will then go three hours before waking again, which gets us past 6 a.m., which I then consider morning as far as I’m concerned. So I am getting a reasonable amount of sleep. I still feel like my head will float off my shoulders around 4 p.m. though.
  • I survived driving P. down to the midwives for her two week appointment (at 12 days). All of my anxiety about parenting this time around seems focused on the car, because we never had one before and Q. has done most of the driving in our big city. P. was happy on the way there (fell asleep) and then screamed like mad on the way home, only calming down when I sang an invented “We’re ok, P.” song (she loathed my efforts with the Wheels on the Bus).
  • We took P. and E. out to see labmonkey and Pea on the weekend, but Grannie did the driving that day. P. was again really good on the way there but did a lot of screaming on the way home. She was superb while out though- happy to just fall asleep in the carrier when we went out to a park. E. was great and would give us P. reports: “Her eyes are open! Oh, they’re closed again!”
  • I need to buy one of those mirrors to mount on the seat so I can actually see her when we’re driving as if I don’t have E. to give me reports I find it extremely stressful.
  • P. is the NOISIEST baby ever. The only way to describe it is she breathes over her vocal cords, so there is this near-constant hum of noise when eating or sleeping. It is a testament to how much less anxious I am this time around that I am able to sleep right next to her with that racket whereas with E. I was still sleeping in the basement at this stage (and then using earplugs for the rest of time he was in our room).
  • Physically I had a much easier recovery, although I’m still having trouble with bleeding because I don’t spend enough time resting (curse of the second-time parent). My midwives spent a lot of time in the hospital making the point that my body had worked very hard even if I didn’t think it had. Emotionally and mentally it’s been much easier too. I’m just in a much better place than I was at this point with E. I’m prepared for all the newborn madness and I’m genuinely enjoying the snuggles. I’m already finding it hard to balance the needs of my two children, but I knew this would be the hardest part for me.
  • I am happy. So very, very happy. She is safe, and she is here, and my family has the piece that has been missing.

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Filed under E.- the sixth year, Joy, Me? Pregnant?!, Midwives, My addled brain, Nursing, P.- the first year, Siblings

An introduction

I have a daughter.

She was born on Saturday, 18 June, at 5:07 p.m. at 39+6.

She was 7 lb, 12.5 oz at birth and 21 inches long, with a head circumference of 34.5 cm. She was nearly identical to her big brother’s stats at birth (7 lb, 15 oz; 20.5 inches; 36 cm).

Her first name is the same as this author.

And her middle name, which is a family name on both sides, is the same as this first name.

Her labour was nearly identical to E’s. I was unable to sleep on Friday night because I had contractions that were long enough and frequent enough (every ten minutes or so) to keep me awake. When I got up on Saturday morning, ate breakfast, and had a shower, they dropped right off again and were sometimes forty minutes or longer apart. By lunchtime they were back to being ten minutes apart, but they were long enough (a minute) and strong enough (I couldn’t ignore them) that we thought we should make sure labmonkey and Pea were on their way in (although I told labmonkey I thought she had time to go to her appointment with the bank first).

Around 2:30 p.m. my midwife called to check in as I had spoken with the student midwife that morning. I told her what the contractions were doing and she said to page back either when they intensified or got closer together.

Around 3 p.m. I decided to have a shower to see if that made a difference, since the one that morning had stalled them considerably.

While in the shower they started coming every 2 minutes apart. By the time I was dressed again they were shorter but still very close together and intensifying.

I paged the student midwife and told her in no uncertain terms I wanted to go to the hospital RIGHT AWAY. This was a difficult phone call as I had a contraction in the middle of it and E. was freaking out that suddenly we were leaving, so he was trying to hold on to my legs and crying while I was on my hands and knees on the bed coping with the contraction.

labmonkey and Bean arrived and we basically threw E. at them and went out the door. (E. was fine as soon as we left and had a wonderful time with them).

Despite having a birth plan with only one item- DO NOT have the baby in the car- there was a point in the twenty-minute drive where I thought we’d left it too late. I was starting to get a lot of pressure. The contractions were still two minutes apart and very intense. Q. did a fantastic job getting us there (he said afterwards, “I’m so glad I bought the German car with the powerful engine”).

I had a contraction as we parked and got out of the car and was then determined to get into the hospital and into the elevators before the next one came. Q. said I made quite an impact on everyone milling around outside the main doors. I can vaguely remember hearing someone say, “Ooh that woman is having a baby today!” as I willed myself to keep walking.

I had another contraction in the elevator and two more before we could get into a room. As we were walking down to the room my midwife said to the student, “We’d better page the backup midwife right now”.

We got into the room and the student midwife offered to check my dilation. I was happy to do this because there was a part of me that was worried I was still going to be at 5 cm and the contractions were becoming really hard to cope with.

I was at 9 cm. This explains why the car ride was so horrible- I was in transition.

We decided I had just enough time to get into the tub, so my midwife filled it. I got in, they managed to do the admissions bloods in between contractions, and probably within eight minutes or so my body started trying to push. I didn’t want to give birth in the tub so I had to get out again and I had one horrific contraction while standing before we could get me back to the bed.

By this time the backup midwife and her student had arrived, so I had four midwives plus Q. to support me. They were checking P’s heart rate regularly and reassuring me that she was doing well and that everything was normal.

I think I pushed for around twenty minutes- this was more intense than it was with E. and I found it really hard to control what my body was doing.¬† When she was born there was this pop and explosion of liquid and I was terrified that it was blood and I’d torn badly, but it turned out that P. was born in the caul and that explosion was the sack breaking open at her birth. Q. said afterwards it was a bit like a horror movie because she was flailing like mad as soon as she was born to try to get out. The midwives were very excited and said it just made her that much more special.

I ended up with one tiny cosmetic tear, much like with E., that my midwife stitched just because otherwise it wouldn’t join back up. After the birth I was incredibly cold and they kept bringing hot blankets (I remembered these with E.- they are the best possible thing at that time). The placenta delivered without difficulty and was intact. P. came up onto my chest straight away and we delayed cord clamping. We said yes to the Vitamin K shot, no to the eye drops, and yes to oxytocin to help the placenta detach.

E. at birth squawked a bit and then had a long period of “quiet alertness” where he took everything in. P. came out MAD and she stayed mad until we were finally able to establish a decent latch. She wanted to get nursing straight away and became increasingly frustrated when she didn’t immediately demonstrate mastery of this skill.

“Fiesty!” said one of the midwives.

Two other comments: “She doesn’t really look like a newborn at all!” and “She’s so alert!” were identical to what they said with E.

P., like E., has a lovely round head because she didn’t have time to get squished during delivery. Her Apgars were 9 and 10. The critical issue of whether or not the kidney is functioning was resolved that first night with proof of a wet diaper. The rest of her newborn exam went well.

We opted for early discharge, like with E., so we were back home by 8:15 p.m., early enough that we told labmonkey to keep E. up so he could meet his little sister. E. was wildly excited (there were many kisses on P.’s little head) but did manage to go to sleep that night when we finally packed him off to bed just after 9:00 p.m.

Q. and I were all set to learn from our mistake with E. about not sleeping on the first night when the baby is tired, but P. apparently missed that memo and went straight to “cluster feed every hour for the entire night”. She did this again last night before finally falling asleep at 3:30 a.m. and sleeping until 6 a.m., which was the first chance I’d had to get some sleep since Thursday night. All that effort has meant my milk is in already and I’m hoping for some more settled nights at some point in the near future.

It’s been an emotional couple of days. We went through so much to get here, as you all know. And now she’s here, she’s safe, and she’s real.

Our daughter.

(Feel free to email me at rescogitataeATgmailDOTcom if you’d like to see pictures.)

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Filed under Anxiety Overload, Joy, Me? Pregnant?!, Midwives, Second Thoughts

So, this is new (with a belly pic)

I am 39+4 today.

E. was born at 39+3.

And, since this has been a pregnancy filled with stress and anxiety and that can often lead to earlier babies, I think I have been assuming all along that this baby was going to come before E. did. Especially since I’m teaching this online course- the earlier the baby, the more chaos that would ensue with my teaching.

I swore up and down that we HAD to get to the 13th (39+1), no exceptions. I had more than one person laugh at me, because I am obviously not in control here, but I willed that baby to stay in.

And s/he did.

And now here I am on the 16th, with all the prep work that was on my to-do list finished. I still have things I can do, of course. I don’t have every lecture written. I don’t have all of them recorded. I’m missing PowerPoints for the ones that I have written. But I am three full weeks ahead, and the mad panic that I have felt for the last couple of weeks has evaporated.

I make a to-do list each morning now rather than making one for the week. They are shorter. I could have written a lecture this morning but I opted to sort out some house administration and write here instead. I am reading a book for fun again. Each day is a bonus.

Any day now is a good day to have a baby.

The baby gets until the due date (which is Sunday) before we’re going to shift into the mental space of, “Ok, baby, you need to come out NOW”, largely because Q. is supposed to go overseas to give this keynote at a conference eight days after the due date. Which, when we were convinced we were going to go a bit early (or quite a bit early) seemed ages away. But I suspect if I wake up still pregnant on the 20th it’s going to feel a whole lot closer.

I have done nothing to try to evict this baby, and I will continue to do nothing to try to evict this baby until Saturday afternoon, at which point, if it is a nice day, I might go for a very very long walk and do some gardening and maybe buy pineapple and eat curry and do all the things that may or may not make a difference in encouraging an exodus.

I’m greedy. The idea of getting both a Mother’s Day baby and a Father’s Day baby is almost just too delightful to contemplate.

“It would be a beautiful story,” as E. says. “But it is unlikely,” as E. also says.

I had a midwife appointment yesterday. Fundal height was 39 cm, but I think that’s probably an overestimate because it was the student who measured and she was too far down on my pubic bone. I assumed my midwife would measure as well, but she didn’t. So I’m probably 38 or so. Still bigger than I was with E., because this baby continues to dip in and out of the pelvis and hasn’t dropped. S/he did drop Sunday night- I woke up on Monday with a bowling ball in my pelvis and was convinced I might have the baby that day, but then s/he changed his/her mind and floated back up. The back is still shifting from one side to the other- my midwife said this baby probably has a bit more room than E. did so has more opportunities to move even at this late stage. BP was 110/64. P.’s heart rate was a rollicking 152. E. came with me to the appointment and asked to help with the exam again so he got to push the button to turn on the heartbeat. He was again deeply pleased.

The new thing for the last couple of days is I’m having actual contractions, usually in the evening and into the night. They are not very painful and they are extraordinarily inconsistent, but they are strong enough to disrupt my sleep (which makes it even more annoying when they promptly go away in the morning after I shower). Last night’s contractions were stronger and more frequent than the first round on Tuesday night, and I’ve had a few this morning as well. So I know that things are happening and I would be surprised if I make it to my next midwife appointment on the 21st. My primary midwife thinks it is not all that likely either, but one never knows. If I do get to that appointment (which will be 40+2), I’ll opt for a cervical check to see what’s happening. My midwife said she could do one yesterday if I wanted, but she and I both felt I was getting enough signs on my own that things were percolating, and I didn’t see the need to investigate any further.

I still feel well. Were it not for the conference, I would be happy to still be pregnant at 41 weeks. I will never be pregnant again. These wiggles and kicks and pokes and hiccups and squirms are the last I will ever feel. I know what’s coming, and I’m still not in a rush to meet this baby.

It’s a waiting game now. Every mother I know at school checks to make sure I am there each morning at drop off and then still there in the afternoon. Q. and I were talking about it this morning, and we must have gone through this limbo period with E. because I had contractions and cramps for a solid week leading up to his birth and I lost my mucous plug five days before he was born. But we can’t remember any of it.

It is surreal. One of these days I am going to have a baby.

The baby knows when, but P. isn’t telling.

I took a bump pic yesterday, at 39+3, the gestational date at which E. came into the world. It’s hard to take these by yourself (with no smartphone I have utterly failed to master the selfie), but I really wanted a photo to mark the day.

39+3 web

And here is what happened within thirty minutes of setting up the bassinet in our room a couple of weeks ago:

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And this is the sum total of the space we have made for the baby (complete with a pile of E’s artwork on the very top and the filing cabinet with assorted stray books still sitting right next to it):

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The rest of the study is still clearly a study (and a messy one at that):

IMGP0449

What can I say. Second-time parents.

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Filed under Belly Pics, Me? Pregnant?!

Don’t want to be that (late) guy

Microblog_MondaysThere’s this dad who lives around the corner from me (literally around the corner- I can see his house from our living room window).

He takes his daughter to school every morning, just like I take E.

He is late, if not every morning, at minimum four days out of five.

And not just “quick-the-door-is-closing-run-for-it” late.

Twenty minutes late. At minimum.

I usually see him walking to school, with a resigned expression on his face and his daughter in a wagon, at the laneway, which is about halfway between our houses and the school, and is where a friend of mine lives, so we usually end up standing around and chatting for a few minutes. The key here is we have already dropped off our kids and nattered to other parents at school and walked halfway back and stood around nattering and THEN he appears.

The other day another two mums were there and he trundled past. So we all talked about him afterwards, because it turns out ALL of us have noticed him and we’re all equally befuddled by it.

Does he not care?

Does he wake up every morning determined to do better and things go pear-shaped?

Does his daughter refuse to cooperate?

What does his wife think?

It’s the consistency that gets to us. If he took whatever their morning routine was and pushed everything twenty minutes earlier, they wouldn’t be late.

“One day they wanted to go to the book fair before school started,” said another mum, who lives two houses down from him. “That day they got to school on time.”

I think I’m both fascinated and appalled by his lateness because it’s the sort of thing I just would NOT be able to do. If parenting is about picking your battles and what matters to you, being late is one of my bugbears. I cannot stand being late, for anything. If our routine made us late, I would change it after one day.

I’m sure that dad probably has aspects of his parenting that wouldn’t be a big deal for me but are a huge deal for him. We all have our priorities. But I probably won’t get to find out what they are because, let’s be honest here, I wouldn’t be able to cope being friends with him. His approach to time management is just too different from mine.

What are your parenting bugbears that you know wouldn’t necessarily be a big deal to someone else?

This post is part of #MicroblogMondays. To read the inaugural post and find out how you can participate, click here.

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Filed under Brave New (School) World, JK, Microblog Mondays