But he’s never gonna remember it!

Pic: My own Christmas tree. Which I decorated. Whoa.

So December 25th will be a special day. It’s all about the baby. And I’m not just talking about baby jeebus (although clearly He is the reason we all celebrate a day where we can eat until we’re in food comas and bitch about the crappy gifts we receive…”You don’t even know me at ALL!” even though none of that has anything to do with the original meaning of Christmas).

This will be the Little Mister’s first Christmas. Which is all very exciting. A new child in the family means new traditions. I’ve purchased the little guy a very generously sized Santa sack from Target and now I realise that each year this sack will have to be filled to the brim with thoughtful gifts until some evil, precocious kid with too many older siblings tells him that Santa is just your mum and dad sneaking around in the middle of the night (which of course is a lie – Santa’s totally real). Which, if anything like my childhood experience will raise questions about the tooth fairy and the easter bunny. That was one tough day.

I am determined to make this Christmas a special one. It will be the Christmas that will set down the traditions and family memories for perhaps the rest of my hubby’s and my lives. NO PRESSURE. I say this with tongue planted firmly in cheek, but the basis of it all rings true. Also, I am a little bit of a nutter…

This year I decorated the Christmas tree at the beginning of December. Not halfway through the month with unenthusiasm. I did this all while recovering from a C-section and tending to a 3 week old baby. Now if that doesn’t impress your socks off, then I don’t know what will. I even saved the special ornaments that were given to us for Little Mister, so that my Husband Man could be there with us when I put them on the tree. I am totally parenting that sh*t up! OK, that last sentence should have my parenting license revoked. Apologies.

The Little Mister will be 7 weeks old on Christmas day, so basically he won’t remember a thing. Which won’t stop me from wrapping his presents in festive paper (even though he can’t even unwrap them). I thought about not doing anything of the sort or just buying a big box of nappies for him (that sh*t’s expensive – literally) and chucking a bow on top, but then the crazy new mummy part of me decided that I have to buy him something! Even if there’s hardly anything good for a newborn on the shop shelves – turns out the fun doesn’t truly start until you’re three months old. Might have to get the kid a fake ID so he can play with all the good stuff.

And you know how albums of Christmas songs and carols can be frickin’ annoying? There’s the Mariahs and the Biebers and the Gleeks. There are the terrible kids’ albums full of cheesy keyboard music with creepy vocalists. Each year of my adulthood, these types of tunes have wafted through busy, bogan filled shopping centres driving me batty and making me a little Grinchy. But this year…this year is different. This year I have decided that the Little Mister needs to be exposed to all the Christmas songs I listened to when I was little. Sure, I’ve managed to find some bearable versions on iTunes but I have basically become my parents. Playing the songs while dancing like a dork in front of the Christmas tree. Singing them off key to my poor innocent babe who did nothing to deserve such punishment. Maybe it is a good thing he won’t remember this time…although I’m hoping that he too will want a hippopotamus for Christmas.
I’ve bought my little man a particularly embarrassing outfit for Christmas day. I got it for $9 and he’ll only get to wear it once, before it’s no good to him and will be placed in the bottom of a crate somewhere until it can be bestowed upon an unfortunate second child. It’s a jumpsuit made to look like a Santa outfit. It comes with a hat and everything. He’ll probably dribble milk all over it by lunchtime and poop through it by late afternoon. Fun times! I am going to take so many photos, that he’ll have to skip the country by the time he’s 21 because those pictures will be going on a big, embarrassing photo collage of his life at his 21st birthday party. Along with some obligatory naked bath photos – why does everyone have those? You know the ones. Usually it’s you and your very best childhood friend sharing the tub, while one of your mums washes your mullets/bowl cuts. Or you and your sibling squished together in a makeshift tub (more of a bucket) on that camping trip in the 80s. Don’t pretend there isn’t one of you out there.
And to think that I hoped to be a “cool” parent some day…
On Christmas day, my firstborn will be showered in gifts, fussed over and talked to as if he actually has the faintest idea of what’s actually going on. Which he doesn’t. He’ll probably wonder what all the fuss is about, before crying his little head off because his nappy is dirty! Which incidentally, smells suspiciously like ham that has been left out in the sun. Nothing says Christmas like a baby that smells like bad ham! 😛
Let’s face it. A baby’s first Christmas is really all for the adults. It’s just one big excuse for us to play with toys we’re too old for, to believe in Santa, to relive beloved family traditions (while creating some new ones) and to be a bit silly! I can’t wait! 🙂
How are you spending Christmas day? Do you have any traditions you love?

Christmas Shopping and Public Humiliation. But mostly humiliation.

Pic: “Oh damn, the baby peed on my clothes again!”

Last Wednesday was a very important day in a woman’s life. It was a milestone that every young girl dreams of (well this one anyway). It was a momentous occasion shared by four generations of a family.

Yes, that’s right. Yesterday, my gran, my mum and I introduced the Little Mister (5 and a half weeks old) to the wonders of SHOPPING. And not the boring grocery shopping either. We’re talking about hours of wandering about in a big, shiny shopping centre full of cool shops full of clothes, gifts, gadgets and places to eat! You’ve gotta train them early. Sure, he behaved like most adult males and slept through a lot of it and he was very cooperative until he got hungry and tired…

Now that I’ve finished being slightly sexist…

We were going to attempt half a day of Christmas shopping with the baby in tow. He was pretty calm from the car ride (and a feed before leaving home) and slept for half the day. When he wasn’t sleeping, he was just lying in the moving pram looking about and really taking in all the strange sounds of all the music and people.

The only real challenges were when he needed to be changed. That kid does some explosive number 1s and 2s, with the occasional number 3s if you catch my drift! He especially likes to wait until his dirty nappy is off before he lets loose again with a nice, projectile surprise!

So, I didn’t know this was possible before, but it turns out that babies have superpowers. While feeding the Little Mister, he used these impressive powers to pee MY pants. Somehow he broke through the absorbent forcefield offered by his nappy and peed straight through his outfit, penetrating my dress, so that it dribbled onto my legs.

This all happened at peak lunch hour with a crowded cafe with people looking on (everyone loves looking at new babies and their hapless first time mothers it turns out). I may have exclaimed, “This is awkward!!”

At one point, my mum and gran were looking at me (I think they were laughing a little lot while still trying to be helpful and sympathetic – they only just pulled it off) with a completely oblivious baby in my lap determined to finish his feed (must clarify that I was feeding him from a bottle – boobs were not out thank goodness), a freaked out look on my face and a cloth shoved in my neckline, much like a bib, in case (heaven forbid) he decided to spit up on me as well, and bright coloured hand towels hastily bought by my mum for $2 in the neighbouring store shoved in my lap to absorb the urine! Let’s just say that I’m working on a theory that the indignity of pregnancy and childbirth occurs to prepare us for the indignity of baby wrangling in public! You don’t have a chance to be truly embarrassed – you’re too busy!

I finally managed to grab a minute to gulp down half of my lunch (it’s this new diet where you eat 50% less everything – it’s called having a new baby), which was so not what I ordered (chicken and bacon together is not something I’m a fan of – I don’t like mixing my dead animals too much – I ordered chicken and avocado in my sandwich dammit!) and I wheeled the baby out of there at a rate of knots. As I left the cafe, clucky ladies kept telling me how beautiful my baby was – pretty funny moment to pick, really!

There was no parenting room close by, so I changed the Little Mister in the parent and child toilet while he was in his bassinet. I laid down stuff to protect the fitted sheet in the pram and I had the strap of the nappy bag around my neck like a dangling feed bag (yep – hope you’re having a good laugh at my expense). I could reach into it for everything I needed as there was no bench space! You sure learn how to improvise – fast!

I realised how vastly unprepared I was (awesomely unprepared in fact). I had packed a pretty good nappy bag, but it was missing extra quantities of a lot of things (I grossly underestimated the baby’s ability to decimate many items over a short amount of time) and a spare outfit for myself. I sure learnt that the hard way! Luckily I packed my sense of humour!!! There is sometimes nothing you can do but laugh and think of it as a funny story to tell 🙂

So, what did we achieve that day? Um…survival? Other than that, not much else. I think we bought NOTHING. Between the three of us adults. This is very out of character. Although, my mum did manage to buy members of our family some goats in third world villages and stuff like that. So I guess that’s something. And it’s for a good cause. So yeah.

While it is tempting to just sit at home and buy everyone’s gifts online next year, I know I will enjoy showing the Little Mister the Christmas decorations, traumatising him with a photo on Santa’s lap and teaching him the joy of giving! I’ll just pack our whole house with me when we head to the shops! Or wear disposable clothes and have everything made out of terry towelling…

How is your Christmas/holiday shopping going? What is your gift giving style?

I know this might shock you, but I’m not a Victoria’s Secret model…

Pic: “Wait, that’s not Kez! But they look so alike!”

Yep. I know that when you see me, you do a double take. But no, I am not the Asian Miranda Kerr. Thankyou anyway. I mean, she pushed out a baby 2 pounds heavier than mine (VAGINALLY!) and stays in shape doing pilates. So I can see how you would mix the two of us up. Especially after reading about my pre-natal pilates experiences and all…

Well, before I got pregnant I was on a health kick, so that kind of counts, right? It wasn’t intended as a specific let’s-get-pregnant overhaul. It was just for me. The rest just kind of fell into place later 😉

I was all about weighing myself daily, recording everything I ate and exercising all the time. I was excited about my lifestyle changes and admittedly, a lot of my focus was all about not wanting to hate my body anymore. I wanted to feel less stressed, stop yelling “DO I LOOK FAT IN THIS?! I LOOK TOTALLY FAT IN THIS!” at my husband, and I wanted to wear nice clothes without trying on half a store first and deciding I looked disgusting in EVERYTHING! Oh, and there was the fact that I wanted to feel less sluggish, more energetic, happy and relaxed…which I did and it felt AMAZING, but let’s not tell a lie here. Vanity played a large part.

How things have changed!

My Little Mister is four weeks and six days old today! I honestly feel like I’ve known him forever! I’m tired as hell, but we are lucky to have a good little sleeper by newborn standards (so far…) so I’m not really complaining! I might even be able to send the nanny home soon. Bahaha. Nanny. As if!

I’m starting to get out and about more as my body recovers from the birth and my confidence slowly builds (it was hard letting my husband do almost everything except breastfeed for the first couple of weeks – I felt a bit inadequate). Just little steps, like a trip to meet a friend for coffee, trips to our parents’ places and the dreaded supermarket run – those sorts of things. I thought I should take a break from the catwalk and my many obligations as an international beauty superstar – you know how it is. I’m probably pushing myself a tiny bit hard for someone who’s had a C-section (I have to lift the pram in and out of the car when I’m by myself and it’s awkward getting the little guy in and out of his car seat or bathing him), but I feel a lot stronger than I felt for months, as my pregnancy was pretty tough on my body!

I look in the mirror and today and I see stretch marks all around my middle. They’re a purply colour – quite dark, but sloooowwly fading. I probably could have minimised or prevented them if I’d not had my rash (which led to very sensitive skin and inability to use most good products for it), but then again maybe not. I was pretty far stretched due to a moderately sized baby, my small body frame and what was apparently a lot of amniotic fluid (which was exclaimed loudly by the obstetrician as he kindly broke my waters – the most painful part of labour I swear)! I see silvery/bluish (but luckily sparse) stretch marks creeping down my inner thighs (I was so swollen late in my pregnancy with fluid that it’s not surprising). I see pock mark like scars down my whole left leg and on the upper thigh of my right leg. They are dark and purplish against my naturally olive skin.

To add to the indignity, my chin is covered in adolescent like pimples (which are starting to scar). Must be the hormones from breastfeeding. They’re starting to spread a little down my neck (oh joy!). My chest has faded scarring all over it from the first pregnancy rash I had at 20 weeks pregnant, with some new zits to complete the look. While my skin feels better in that area (less lumpy and less blocked pores), it still stands out to me when I wear summer clothing and I daren’t wear anything that might show off my otherwise attractive cleavage (one benefit of breastfeeding for a normally smaller busted gal like myself)!

I find myself staring wistfully at all the “normal” people I see out and about, with their clear skin. Those lucky lucky people.

My belly has shrunk a lot but there’s a floppy fold under my belly button (might have to stop posing in bikinis for men’s magazines for a while *snort*). Under clothing it looks a bit pot-bellyish. The muscles in my belly need to be toned up again and I suppose my skin needs to try to shrink back after it was so stretched to accommodate the Little Mister.

My hair has a nice cut to it, but it’s losing that super awesome volume it had while I was pregnant. My fringe needs a trim and is a little hard to control. I suppose I’ll somehow fit in a hair appointment closer to Christmas – silly me, sending my imaginary personal beauty team on holidays!

I look at some of the cute summer dresses online or at the shops that would look amazing on me in my new (old) body, but often the hemline is a bit too short – don’t want those scarred legs with the stretch marks on show! It kind of takes the class out of a cute look that I could otherwise pull off quite well.

BUT…

You know what? Enough of my bad jokes (Miranda Kerr might be getting a little bit annoyed as she reads this whilst breastfeeding baby Flynn, doing a pilates workout, eating a gourmet healthy brunch and making out with Orlando Bloom at the same time). The flaws I’ve just described don’t bother me quite as much as I thought they might. Sure, they can make me scramble about in my wardrobe feeling a bit frustrated (no different to how I behaved before and during my pregnancy – just for different reasons), but when I look in the mirror I see the good things (without even having to try)! Some days I even forget about the marks all over my body! For the first time, my eyes are drawn to my better features instead of honing in on the bad stuff! I know! Miracles do happen!!

I see my small waist. It looks so trim and it’s fantastic in an empire line dress! I see a shrinking (if a little flawed) belly. I feel blessed that I am already at my pre-pregnancy weight and getting a tiny bit smaller each day – without dieting (it will catch up with me soon but I’m just savouring these moments before I am able to exercise the way I want)!

I see slim upper arms that look cute in sleeveless summer tops. I love that I get a built in work out for my arms from lifting the baby all the time.

My thighs and calves (although in need of toning) look slimmer than they have in a long time! I’m almost five weeks out from giving birth and I can’t believe my luck. So many new mothers would be grateful to get so close to their original shape this fast, with no ability to do proper exercise while pregnant (due to illness), as well as having a C-section, and I don’t say that smugly. I say it with the utmost gratitude and disbelief. When I look at my legs, I don’t just see the pock marks from scratching my pregnancy rash in my sleep (OK and sometimes when I was awake and couldn’t control myself). I choose to see the way the rash has disappeared between them. I see how clear those pockets of skin are. And I am grateful. I might have a battered, scarred body but all of that will fade over time. I’ve been through a hell of a lot and just to be able to move my body with ease, to have no pelvic pain and to get in and out of a bed without taking half an hour is just amazing. I love being able to get to my baby when he’s crying, without struggling and feeling bad about it (like I did for the first two weeks). My skin is rarely itchy (and when it is it’s only due to stress or because it’s healing) and I can eat what I like (provided my 6 week check up tells me my diabetes has officially gone – please for the love of Huey let it be gone).

I never dreamed that I would feel so good again and a few sh*tload of marks and battle wounds mean very little when I put things in perspective. They just mean that my body did something amazing. They remind me how strong I had to be.

I guess the point I’m making in this post is for us to just love our bodies for what they do for us. When you put everything in perspective, our cosmetic scars and superficial flaws are not really all that bad. They describe a journey we’ve been through and show us that we’ve survived.

Of course I’m more  human than supermodel (hello – have you met me?!) and there are moments I feel a bit disappointed that I can’t wear just any damn thing I like (seems unfair suddenly losing a bunch of weight but not being able to show off your new shape properly), but on the whole I see things really differently now. I’m no Miranda Kerr on the outside, but damn if I don’t feel just as good about myself on the inside!

What do you love about your body?

 

Disclaimer: I know I use Miranda Kerr as a supermodel stereotype in this post, but I actually do have a girl crush on her. She’s just so hot and down to earth at the same time. I’ve tried to hate her, but I just can’t. Damn MILF!

Parenthood is ridiculous.

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Look, let me just put it out there: Having a baby is ridiculous. Sometimes it even borders on ridonkulous. Some of the stuff that happens once you have your bundle of joy will just amaze and terrify you (or is it just me?).

Some examples?

I’ve started talking about myself in the third person.
To a baby. Who doesn’t exactly know what I’m on about, seeing as he’s not even three weeks old yet. I refer to myself as “mummy”. I don’t know when this happened to me but it started so naturally that I didn’t even notice the rot had set in until it was too late.
“Mummy is just going to change your nappy now.”
“Mummy is just going to get you ready for a feed.”

I’ve also started referring to my husband as “Daddy”. Which would be really weird if we didn’t have a kid, but I guess seeing as we got one recently it must be OK. But I won’t lie – it’s still frickin’ strange to me.

Everything is about BOOBS. 
I’m attempting to breastfeed (although thankfully I am not quite ridiculous enough to be a breastfeeding nazi) for a while. Every few hours my life revolves around my boobs. The Little Mister is also all about the breast-est-ests. Now all my thoughts are about my boobs.
“Gee, my boobs feel really full. When’s the next feed?”
“My baby makes the most hilarious faces when he’s on the boob.”
“Will my boobs make enough milk for the next feed if I express some milk right now?”
“Where are we going today and will I be required to use my boobs in public?”

It’s all very TMI and yet I feel compelled to tell people (if they ask) about my breast milk coming in and about how many times a day I feed the bub from my lubbly jubblies. It’s such a personal thing and yet it’s so very public. It’s very ridiculous.

There are so many funny moments that just seem so inappropriate for some every day conversations with other humans (the sane ones). I mean, who needs to know that my right boob gushes a lot and sometimes it’s all a little too much for my bub so he just rubs his face in it and makes an enormous mess? No-one needs to know…and somehow I just found a way to tell you all about it (my sincerest apologies to any family members or freaked out friends who are reading this right now).

Also, everyone seems to have an opinion on the matter. It’s enough to drive a sane person batty. At one point this week, I was tempted to write a one line blog post that simply said: “Breastfeeding. Discuss.”

There would most likely have been a sh*t storm and I would have exploded the internet. Fun times.

Everyone keeps telling us that our baby is so darn attractive.
Sure, we think he’s the most ridiculously adorable thing we’ve ever seen in our lives. We’re so sickeningly biased it’s not funny. I always thought that if I was to have an ugly baby I would know. I would just look at him, laugh at his unattractiveness and love him anyway. Turns out I have no idea. I mean, I think he’s good looking for a squishy, grubby looking newborn, but quite frankly I wouldn’t know because I’m so in love.

When people tell us our baby is SO CUTE and that we’ve CREATED A BEAUTIFUL BABY, I mostly get a big head. But then I wonder if people just feel like they should say that? And then I wonder if it’s just darn egotistical that two parents can create a child in their likeness and then be all about how very very good looking they are. Isn’t that just saying that you think you and your partner are very very goodlooking, hence risking sounding full of yourselves?

Sleep deprivation makes you crazy.
One of the first nights we were home from the hospital, I asked my sleepy husband to check the baby’s nappy. He picked up his pillow, being sure to support its neck and carefully carried it towards the change table…before realising halfway that it was not a baby, throwing it back onto the bed in shock. The next morning he begged me not to tell anyone, in case they should think he was nuts. I kept my word, but later he saw the funny side and the story was shared. Now you, dear internets, know the story too 😉

The amount of times I have started sentences, drifted off and then forgotten I had entire conversations is, well…ridiculous! I feel like I can get through a day without completely falling into a coma but obviously I’m in some sort of baby brain survival mode! I think it helps that I was sleepless half of my pregnancy – by this point I’m kind of used to it.

Trips to the supermarket are now very ridiculous.
“How old is he?”
“Oh, he’s so precious and tiny! Cherish every moment! Cherish it!”
“He won’t be like that for very long! Soon he’ll be 14 and answering back to you!”
“Is it a boy or a girl?”
“What did he weigh when he was born? My babies weighed *this* and *this*.”
“Oh, look at his full head of hair! What a beautiful baby!”

And that’s before you’ve even figured out how to put him in the baby seat on the trolley, so he won’t fall out or catch fifteen diseases.

It’s kind of fun(ny) and admittedly flattering, but it’s a whole new experience. Each aisle contains a new clucky person craning their neck to get a good view of the exhibit baby. The joy a new baby brings to strangers is incredible! It’s just all a little embarrassing when you look down at him and he’s squishing his face up mid-poo, just as someone gets closer for a good look at the CUTE BABEH. It’s tempting to just run away with the trolley yelling, “NOOOOOOOOO! Don’t smell hiiiiiiim!!!!”

My husband reckons he’s going to go back to the shops without me so he can see how many older ladies he can pull. RIDONKULOUS!

Some honest reflection one week out of hospital.

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Look, I am going to toot my own horn here (or whatever that expression is). I am going to risk sounding full of myself but I am damn proud of how I’ve handled my crazy pregnancy and labour experiences. I’ve learnt so much about what I am capable of both mentally and physically, which sounds funny because a lot of things didn’t go right. It doesn’t mean that there weren’t moments I felt like my body had let me or the Little Mister down, but there were a lot of things my body did right.

They say you should talk about your birth experience – especially if things went a little haywire – as it can ward off post natal depression and keep you positive and supported. I totally believe this now and it’s why I’ve been so brutally honest about everything I’ve experienced. Sharing my story and talking to my husband and my family about it without being afraid of a few tears has really helped.

I feel a bit bad like maybe I’ll scare some people who hope to have children some day, but look. I’m here and I have a beautiful, healthy baby to prove that despite the challenges everything can turn out well in the end. I think I did teeter dangerously close to depression at some low points of my pregnancy. I was tired of everything that got thrown at me from rashes to diabetes to the mysterious infectious end to the whole ordeal (which luckily resulted in a healthy mum and bub after a bit of TLC). I thought that if there was something that could go wrong, it would happen to me. Oh, that condition only affects 1% of pregnant people? For sure, I’ll get it! I admit to thinking negatively and worrying a lot. I didn’t think of myself as a strong person at all. I felt inadequate and helpless. Sometimes I felt like I was alone (which I know I wasn’t but when you’re down you think you’re the only one).

Everyone said to me that when Little Mister arrived, I would forget all of those troubles and everything I’ve been through would fade away. I didn’t believe them. I was trying to be realistic about it all. I knew that in my position I might not feel amazing right away and I refused to pressure myself to feel that new baby euphoria immediately. If it happened (which I prayed it did) then I would be so relieved and if it didn’t, I would be mentally prepared, know the signs and ask for help.

I can’t believe my luck. Everything really does seem worth it with my little guy around. I love him so much. In fact, maybe I love him and appreciate him even harder after all we’ve been through together. Sometimes I do get sad flashbacks to my labour experience or the trauma that certain events brought me in the lead up to his birth. I acknowledge and honour those feelings. I talk them out and I give them a little time (and a couple of tears) before moving forward. I have so many new things to learn and love.

I am recovering from an emergency C-section and it can be frustrating. I don’t know where I would be without the help of my husband and the support of family. It really is physically limiting and I try not to let it affect the way I bond with our bub, but there are admittedly times I can’t jump up out of bed (on account of being too sore) and lift him up into my arms when he cries. I need a lot of help and sometimes I just cannot do everything I want to. I try to make up for it wherever I can and I am not pressuring myself to do too much or to be a super mummy right away.

Something that affects me a little is the fact that my baby was taken away to another hospital for special care hours after birth. He was gone about three days and I only got to see him when he was placed on my chest right after the C-section. This is hard for any new mum, but I think that being an adoptee, I found it particularly tough when on day 3 the baby blues kicked in (only I had no baby with me yet). I realised that my biological mother had been through a similar (albeit permanent) trauma. I had now felt what it was like to go through a lot to have a baby and then have nothing to show for it. I felt so blessed that it was just a temporary situation (a few days really is going to seem like a flash in the pan as we clock up the quality time with our gorgeous bub), but it made me very sad. I was so jealous of my husband because he was able to visit Little Mister (but also so grateful he wouldn’t be alone). I felt empty and shellshocked and it still brings tears to my eyes sometimes when I talk about it. I had looked forward to seeing my beautiful baby for so long – he was the reward for all my hard work – and now he wasn’t there. I was hooked up to drips and stuck on an uncomfortable hospital bed, feeling as if I was still pregnant because I had nothing to prove otherwise (a swollen post-surgery paunch didn’t help the matter). Each day I feel a little better about how everything’s turned out, but I doubt I’ll ever forget those feelings.

I now respect those who go through harder situations than me so much more than ever before. My small taste of separation from my baby was more than enough for me to go through. My heart goes out to those who aren’t as fortunate as myself and my husband. My husband said that it was humbling visiting the neo-natal ward at the children’s hospital. Our baby looked so big and healthy compared to the tiny, struggling premature babies who were in the humidicribs. The parents of those other babies would look on in shock at how much our baby was thriving compared to their tiny, delicate infants. They must have wondered what he was doing there. Our Little Mister might have had an infection and needed oxygen and intravenous antibiotics but he was big and strong. I love him so much and he already makes me proud.

I see so many positives out of this situation. I have a healthy fighter of a baby. I now know what I’m made of. Even when trying for a natural labour I kept my composure and I did what was best for me and the baby (never letting myself get too distressed). I now know I can handle pain I’ve never experienced previously in my whole life and now I feel like I could get through anything. My rash has disappeared and I can eat what I like again. I am healthier because my diabetes taught me better dietary habits and I can look at the warm, inviting spring sunshine and not be afraid that it will make my skin unbearable to be in. The small pleasures in life are certainly not taken for granted anymore.

Itchy stretch marks on my belly and pock marked legs? Who bloody cares! Look what good things my body did! It knew to get the baby out before it was too late. It responded to the drugs I was given and it is healing fabulously considering what it’s been through. My faith in my body is returning, which is actually a really big deal for me.

I have so many good things to look forward to in life and I’m on the craziest learning curve ever. Love really does conquer all if we let it.

If I have any advice (unsolicited again – sorry) for other new mums, it would be to not expect yourself to feel 100% awesome and competent and crazy with baby love 100% of the time. It’s OK if sometimes you need a little cry or if something isn’t quite working perfectly. Just get some support if you need it and you’ll be able to move forwards onto all the good things in life. The baby blues are real and that’s OK.

In saying that, sometimes it’s more than just baby blues and you shouldn’t have to suffer alone and ashamed – here is a link if you’re struggling xo

The birth story: Better out than in!

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Now here’s a story about being Awesomely Unprepared…

So I was going a little crazy in late pregnancy. I was suffering from my various pregnancy ailments and after being strong during ridiculous amounts of blood tests and doctor/hospital appointments, I finally cried in front of my baby GP and this got me a date to be induced for labour (I wasn’t intending to use my feminine wiles to manipulate a good outcome but I was glad the waterworks were effective). I was to enter the maternity ward with my bags packed, feeling calm and prepared on Thursday the 10th of November. I was excited and relieved. I had been anxious that my baby boy was getting bigger and bigger. My rash was unbearable and untreatable. My diabetes was just playing havoc with me. I’d lost my appetite and I felt like I wasn’t getting the energy I needed from my heavily restricted diet. I was psychologically breaking and it was hard explaining my “big picture” story to every health professional I saw, who questioned why I was taking certain precautions etc when I wasn’t even considered full term yet (and there were many from midwives to pathology nurses to doctors and a dermatologist).

I had always planned on being a calm mother to be while in labour. I didn’t want to be in hysterics or do anything to distress the baby.

On Saturday the 5th November, I felt good. I went out for brunch with my family and I didn’t have any appointments lined up until the following Monday! Yes! Weekend off! I was also relieved at having an induction date, which relaxed me immensely.

As soon as I got home I went to have a long awaited nap on my couch while watching trashy TV, but I felt a bit off. Like when you first start to get a cold. I felt flushed in the face and it wasn’t relaxing at all. I figured I was just fighting something simple off. I told myself I would wake up the next day feeling good again.

This wasn’t the case. In fact, when I woke on Sunday the 6th of November, I felt worse. I called my parents and my dad came over and took my temperature and checked my blood pressure (gotta love having a health professional in the family). I had a mild temperature and the maternity nurse said not to worry unless it got a bit worse.

Later that afternoon…it got worse. I woke from a nap with some mild cramps and thought it was Braxton Hicks (fake practice contractions). I instinctively took my temperature and realised it was not good. I didn’t want to be a wuss (it didn’t feel like labour surely…which defies logic as I’d never experienced labour before) so I called my parents and asked them if I should get Husband Pants to leave work. I called the hospital and they said that if I couldn’t talk through my contractions anymore (or the pain got too scary) then I should go in. I was still not convinced I was in labour but eventually I was in agony! This sh*t was real – or it had better be because if it wasn’t, I didn’t want to go through that again on Thursday!!

My parents came over as soon as they could. It felt like they took forever and I was rocking about (standing up) like they teach you in ante-natal classes and was surprised that I wasn’t screaming. I had had a shower and it helped the tiniest bit, but I felt like there wasn’t even any gap between contractions anymore! My husband was notified and he sounded like he was in shock! He arranged to leave work an hour early and meet me at the maternity ward!

I got to hospital at 6:30pm (felt stupid being wheelchaired in by my dad but realised I could not have walked that long corridor by myself) and they monitored me for a bit. A doctor popped in just at the right moment (just happened to be a stupidly well regarded obstetrician who I am so grateful for) and told me I was 5cm already! I had been quietly going into labour and was already halfway! I never knew I was so stoic!!

I was moved quickly from the observation room into a birthing suite and the action continued. The midwife offered me gas at just the right moment (I thought I was tough but there was a point it all got hazy) and my husband was so good holding my hand and showing me he was proud of the way I was breathing well and taking it in my stride. All the ideas I had about my first labour being long and laborious (no pun intended) and perhaps even boring went right out the window. I didn’t have to worry about wanting music played on my ipod or eating light snacks to make it through. No-one had time to abuse any social networking opportunities (ie facebooking or tweeting anything inappropriate) and I didn’t even have a chance to try out various birthing positions or techniques!! I didn’t even have time to break any of my hubby’s fingers or ask him how guilty he felt (damn I had really wanted to use that line)!

The doctor kept telling me my labour could get dangerous for the baby and I on account of my fever. I understood what he was saying but his bedside manner was so good that I stayed calm despite the dangers and just kept doing what I was advised. I ended up having an epidural. The choice was taken out of my hands (which was a relief to be honest – that’s a lot of big decision making). I had to be prepped for surgery in case I would need it. I had no idea the magnitude of the situation. I was told to push really hard but I couldn’t feel much and I suppose that was disappointing because I was going to be wheeled off to theatre where they would attempt to get the baby out superfast with forceps (eek). I got to 9cm dilated but it became obvious very quickly that a birth by forceps (instrumental birth I think he said) wasn’t going to be good enough. Things were getting dangerous. So C-section it was.

Only three measly hours after I arrived at hospital, our Little Mister was delivered at 9:28pm. He weighed roughly 8 lb, 1 oz and was 50cm long. He was lifted above the curtainy-shield thingy and shown to us but he wasn’t moving or crying. I think they told me he was moving to make me feel OK but I was so tired and overwhelmed and drugged that I didn’t really have a chance to worry or feel traumatised. Luckily a couple of minutes later I heard him make some sound and my husband looked at me with a comforting smile and said, “Do you hear that?”

We had about five minutes of snuggle time (he was already cleaned and wrapped) and then he was gone again. I was told that I had an infection in my amniotic fluid and he had breathed it in and could get pneumonia or something equally nasty for a newborn.

I was in a daze and taken to recovery. I had been told he needed some special attention but to be honest I really didn’t understand just what a delicate situation he and I were in. We were both sick.

I was just relieved that I had delivered my baby. I didn’t know that I wouldn’t really see him for another three days, after he was sent to the paediatric hospital an hour’s drive away for special care and monitoring in their neo-natal ward (my amazing husband would have to divide his time between staying with me and visiting Little Mister so he wasn’t alone).

When I was back in my hospital room, I felt good. I was on pethidine and fluids (I had come to the hospital very dehydrated despite sipping on water all day every day for weeks leading up to the birth) and thought I was doing amazingly. My parents came into the room and my mother in law visited me too even though it was now the middle of the night. I feel a little sad for myself when I think back to that time. I was so out of it that I didn’t realise I had no baby by my side. My arm was full of drips and I didn’t know I was so sick and needing a hell of a lot of intravenous anti biotics and an extra day tethered to the hospital bed (most C-section patients are only kept in bed for one day).

I was happy (even if in a drug induced haze). I’d seen my baby briefly and he was alive. It was all I needed to know at that moment. Almost nothing had gone to any kind of original plan but I knew that the baby and I were in good hands (in fact – the best – I cannot even express how grateful I am). I am relieved that I went into all of this open minded, not trying to control everything. Perhaps my challenging pregnancy had made me mentally strong enough for what was to come.

Stay tuned for the next post about the aftermath of my crazy birth experience...

So close, yet so far! Late pregnancy musings.

This post was originally drafted on Thursday the 3rd November, 2011. It was scheduled to be published at a later date, so as to maintain privacy for my family and I around the time of birth (which came 3 days later to my surprise!). It documents the lead up to labour and my feelings and experiences (with a bit of sparkly vampire pop culture thrown in). It’s kind of funny reading it back. Labour and aftermath to be blogged soon x

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If you know me well, it would be common knowledge that I really can’t stand sparkly vampire type movies or television shows about blood sucking non-people people. I just can’t get on board with that stuff. Each to their own, but I am much more a fan of zombies: brain eating non-people people. Yes, there is a distinctive difference.

Anyhow, each time a new Twilight movie is on the horizon one of my dear friends will invite “the girls” around to catch up on the previous movies before heading to the cinema for a night out to enjoy the latest one. I usually “um” and “aah” about whether to get over myself and just go – for the awesome company of course – or to refuse the invitation on principle. The last few times I’ve been busy anyhow so it hasn’t been an issue.

This time, upon viewing the Twilight: Breaking Dawn trailer, I am decidedly against attending the movie.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hrCkkilRDM]

I think it might be quotes about the pregnant character Bella.

You know, things like “The foetus is not compatible with your body. It’s too strong and fast growing.”

And…”It’s crushing you from the inside out…”

I have since concluded that I must be pregnant with some kind of vampire/werewolf thingy (I don’t actually know what’s going on there other than what I see on gossip/entertainment websites).

My body is reacting a lot to having a whole new crazy bunch of baby boy hormones inside it. Gestational diabetes, two types of rashes (the second one is worse because my trusty treatment from last time is no longer working effectively – trust me), blood tests on my uric acids (kidney function) and bile salts (enough to make me feel like I’ve been attacked by very hungry vampires – my arms look like that of a junkie). The list just feels like it keeps growing and growing! It’s like my body has decided it’s had enough of being pregnant, but the message hasn’t quite transmitted to our Little Mister who seems kind of comfy (maybe too comfy) inside me!

I’ve been in and out of hospital for a week now, with no signs of the constant appointments and monitoring ceasing anytime soon. It’s been very tiring and stressful. The baby is fine but like the crazy foetus in the Twilight trailer, he seems quite strong and he is quite fast growing!! I bawled my eyes out after my 36 week ultrasound because I was told his estimated weight was that of a fully cooked baby already. I may or may not have disturbed the waitstaff at the cafe my husband took me out for lunch at afterwards. It’s all been a little overwhelming. OK, so a lot!!

Tomorrow marks the end of the 37th week of pregnancy and the beginning of the 38th. I am hoping and praying that someone will induce me – SOON. I’ve been told (after a confronting internal examination in which I was a teensy bit traumatised) that my body is preparing in all the right ways for labour but none of it means it will naturally begin for me any time soon. It could be days or weeks.

INDUCE ME!!!!! Right now I feel that I could probably give birth to our baby naturally while he is of an OK size, but in a couple of weeks? Hell no. Because of all my itching and discomfort, I admit to being afraid to have a C-section. Not so much because of the whole being-cut-open thing, but the worry about recovery and healing afterwards. I’m much better with pain than I am with itching, which might seem strange but I seriously can’t handle the itches. I go kind of nuts. The idea of a possibly itchy scar has me wanting to join my bubba in the foetal position!!

On the bright side, being in hospital so much lately has made me less afraid of going into labour. The familiarity I am gaining with the maternity ward and the different midwives on shift each time I visit helps a lot. I recommend to other pregnant lovelies out there that you take a tour of your maternity ward before birth and ask lots of questions if possible. It really does ease your mind knowing where to go and what your room might look like. Even how the staff interact with you. I don’t recommend finding out the hard way like I have been, but sometimes sh*t happens!

I’ve kept this stuff fairly quiet with friends because they are already so excited for me and I am receiving text messages and facebook wall posts quite regularly now, asking when the hell I’m going to have the baby! I’ve stayed vague, not because they’re people I can’t confide in, but because my latest experiences are very raw and can change any moment. I plan on telling all after the birth. I have no doubt my friends would be so loving and caring if they knew everything, but right now I just want to be quiet and private so as to stay calm and focused. I know they won’t hold it against me. Sometimes I just need some time and space to process things for myself before sharing with the world.

I’ve been quite emotional and run down lately. I can joke about this stuff in blog form, but it can be really challenging. The Husband Guy has been so supportive and helpful and my parents (and inlaws) have been great. I know most women get to that “so over it” phase during late pregnancy, but I think that for me there is much more to it than that. I’ve had one helluva ride over the last few months and I’m ready for the next exciting chapter of my life. The part where the pregnancy conditions (hopefully) ease or disappear and I have a beautiful baby boy in my arms.

At times I’ve felt like I’m just crap at being pregnant (when I started this blog I had no idea just where the journey would take me), but I have to remind myself that I’m not. I am lucky. I have a healthy baby inside me that my partner and I were able to conceive in the first place. My own body may be shot to hell, but I’m successfully carrying this precious cargo safely to term and I could not be luckier.

I guess I just never planned on being one of those “problem pregnancy” bloggers. I feel like I’ve mentioned the words “rash” and “diabetes” almost every single post and I have never wanted to be pigeonholed as a poster girl for any of these issues. I have just tried to document my experiences honestly. Maybe all this sh*t has happened for a reason. Maybe I can bring comfort to someone else going through similar experiences.

I hope that the next news I have to share will be the announcement of the birth!

Hallo…what?

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I admit it. I am not really a big partaker in the annual Halloween tradition. I’ve always let it pass me by, without feeling an ounce of regret. I suppose that growing up, it was never really on an Aussie kid’s radar. It was more of an American “thing” to us (and yes I am well aware that Halloween did not originate there but it’s the US version of it that is sold to us these days). Now of course there are kids dressing up everywhere, begging to be taken trick or treating by reluctant parents (some of who belong to my generation). It can’t be that fun for these mini trick or treaters because of a lot of us suburban home dwellers just aren’t prepared for those obnoxious knocks on the door come the 31st of October.

I say “obnoxious” because some kids just have no manners (well, the ones who aren’t being supervised by their lovely parents)! They aren’t polite. They’ll knock for what feels like hours – the same kids! I remember one kid who used to live on our street (at our previous home). When he would knock he sounded like he was falling down against the front door very violently. At least we always knew who it was.

I’ve never once been prepared for these knocks at the door. No big bowl of chocolatey, sugary treats. No leftover Tim Tams in the fridge. Not even some old cough lollies or ancient packets of lifesavers (the type you find in your car that you forgot about before opening the wrapper and gingerly placing one in your mouth even though you don’t remember buying Lifesavers any time since 1999 then declaring that it tastes a bit funny but you can’t remember if that’s just how they taste because it’s been so long).

I admit to being that Halloween grinch who turns the television up and pretends to not hear the loud knocking and giggling children. I just have nothing to offer. Even if I did find some scummy lollies in my handbag worthy of passing out, my husband would not be impressed. He shuns the idea of Halloween completely (Halloween Super Grinch)! He would probably admonish me for giving out treats: “Oh great – they’ll remember this next year and the cycle will never end!!”

Right now we can plead ignorance as a childless couple who don’t understand, but in a few years this might all change. Just wait until Little Mister (he finally has a moniker) comes home from school telling us that Billy and Bobby and Suzie from school are ALL going trick or treating and what am I going to make as a costume for him? Sigh.

I am really no fun this year. Being diagnosed with gestational diabetes is a bit of a downer on the whole junk food experience. Stocks at my house have plummeted. We’re in a non-diabetes friendly food recession. My husband even has to sneak out of the house for a sausage roll or a biscuit (otherwise my jealousy eats away at me and he almost dies a sudden death by the “look” – you know the “look” a wife can give a husband – I’ll slice you in half with my angry glare)! If someone knocks on my door tonight, I’m either going to do the ol’ turn up the TV maneuvre or I’m going to hand the kiddies an orange (if they’re lucky) or a sugar free fake bar of chocolate (half eaten) which tastes like that really cheap, nasty easter egg chocolate that old people give you when you’re a kid.

I think I may have got my Halloween Grinch-ness from my grandfather. I remember staying at his house over a Halloween weekend or two while growing up. There weren’t many trick or treaters back then but he really did a good job of deterring the kids who gave it a good effort. Once he offered them overly ripe bananas. Another time, a can of chicken soup and I have some sort of vague memory of him handing out a tomato or two. I am quite impressed that his car was never egged or that his house was never toilet papered.

Now don’t get me wrong, if I am invited to an adult Halloween party I will enjoy dressing up and playing the part for a fun evening with friends! I’m just not a trick or treating kinda gal! There’s something enjoyable about dressing up as the slutty version of something. Anything. Just make it slutty and you’re good to go. Or just raid the local lingerie shop for pre-made costumes – the type everyone is wearing (which will only make you feel worse when someone younger and hotter turns up at an event wearing the same thing). It’s great when you get your outfit from a costume hire place. It’s usually an ill fitting version of something slutty, one size fits all. Usually in some kind of cheap, scratchy fabric. The type of well worn costume where you wonder what happened last time someone wore it. Now that’s a scary thought for Halloween!

I don’t think I’ll need to dress up this year. I am scary enough as it is, with my tired face, my blotchy, itchy skin (yep – the rash is well and truly back and won’t respond to my normal treatment that worked so well last time) and my greasy ointment. Not to mention my truly round appearance. I look like one of those blow up toys that you punch, but they always somehow stay upright. What are they called? Never mind…I probably wouldn’t actually stay upright if you punched me, come to think of it…

So happy Halloween to those who celebrate it, and to those who do not – I feel ya! 😉

Getting reflective before giving out some unsolicited advice.

As I reach the pointy (stretchy, bumpy, achey) end of my first pregnancy, I am feeling a little bit reflective. It has been one big journey both physically and mentally. When talking to friends who are in the earlier stages of gestation, I realise that I have come a long way. It feels like only yesterday I too was overwhelmed and felt entirely clueless about the whole situation and now I am doling out advice (hopefully the useful and welcome kind) and trying to reassure others about the process – not that I’m some big ol’ expert know it all or anything. I guess I’ve just learnt a lot along the way.

Now, during and after childbirth? That’s a whole other matter!! Stay tuned!!!

Here are some reflections on some of the feelings and symptoms I’ve experienced so far.

Pre-conception

I was trying to play it cool. My pill prescription was due for a refill and I was going to head to the pharmacy for it when my husband said, “Are you sure you need to do that? That’s a whole four months more of the pill. Maybe we could start trying for a baby. It might take a while for your body to adjust so why not just leave it?”

Eek! I couldn’t believe we were having this conversation! I mean, we had always talked about it in an abstract kind of way and we knew we both dreamed of a family of our own, but this was REAL! Holy crap! I looked at him with wide eyes, he looked back at me and I felt a dangerous thrill.

I bought a couple of books online (OK so about four) for us to read. A couple for dads-to-be and a couple about pregnancy itself. I started having an excited browse of them, but soon realised I didn’t want to read far ahead because it was too overwhelming and I needed to stay cool. Conception might take a while and I didn’t want to pressure myself or become crazy about baby making. I wanted to be relaxed and peaceful about the process, not impatient or anxious.

I had occasions where I would have a “moment” and would need reassurance from my husband. I knew people (including my own parents) who had struggled with different fertility and pregnancy issues and while I tried to tell myself that it’s more common than people realise and that I was just being realistic, I realised just how important the dream of falling pregnant really was to me. Being adopted made me feel like I needed someone who comes from me. From my biological family tree. That is hard to admit because so much of my life is about knowing that love is thicker than water, not blood or genetics.

I stopped reading the books completely and the hubby and I booked a Contiki tour of Europe (something to look forward to if things weren’t happening on the baby front), which took the pressure off. Turns out we never went on that tour! 😉

Pic Oh crap! What now?!

First Trimester

I was nervous from the moment we found out we were expecting. The first trimester is when you’re at the highest risk of miscarriage and I was scared that I would have one. Reading statistics about 1 in 5 pregnancies failing doesn’t help! I almost expected that my first pregnancy would fail just because it was my first pregnancy (don’t ask me how that logic works). I just hoped that a second attempt would be successful (luckily this was not to be an issue).

I felt tired and overwhelmed. Suddenly I had a tiny being (or bean) on board. I’d heard the heartbeat early on (about 7 weeks in) and seen a scan of something that looked like a jelly bean attached to another jelly bean (the embryo and its little sac), but it still didn’t feel entirely real. I was excited but I didn’t want to let myself get carried away. I had a few weeks before I would feel safe to tell the world.

I was googling everything I felt. I was reading about all the foods I suddenly had to avoid (if you followed every tiny bit of written advice there is out there you wouldn’t be able to eat anything). I lost my appetite and I was losing a bit of (admittedly excess) weight. I felt so…dumb!

I started reading Up the Duff and What to Expect When You’re Expecting but nothing really sank in. I wasn’t quite ready for it all. Later these books would become my bibles (I highly recommend you keep them for when you’re ready to take their advice).

We told immediate family almost straight away. We figured we’d have support from them if things went wrong but everyone was sworn to secrecy. Their lives would not be worth living if they told even a soul!!!

We had a scare at 12 weeks (right before our ultrasound was due), with a bleed in the middle of the night. I had been stressed and that moment was confusing and scary. It was a long night for us as we waited to have an appointment with our doctor the next morning (it seemed a better option than sitting in ED with the drunk casualties at the hospital on a weekend night). We got our scan booking moved a few days early as we were quite anxious. We were so relieved when there was our little foetus looking more baby shaped, the technician telling us there was no bad reason for my bleeding (perhaps it was the placenta implanting nice and strong in my uterine wall) and that everything was looking great. There appeared to be no abnormalities and there was no likeliness of Down Syndrome too. We were in shock, but this time it was the happy kind. It was a wake up call for me to avoid lots of stress and for my husband to help out with that rather than hyping me up when I felt a bit overwhelmed. It was a big adjustment for the both of us.

I told a couple of very close friends earlier in the piece but it was hard. I never knew how to announce it! It felt embarrassing and weird! Eventually my mum told me it was getting a bit crazy (I started showing at 10 weeks) and that I really just needed to be brave and share the news. I realised she was right. Bottling it up and keeping things secret has never been my style and I just wanted to feel real and honest with those I care about.

It felt like such a relief and I felt ready to embrace the experience.

Second Trimester

This was a wonderful time. I could finally show off my bump and I was starting to gain confidence in what I could eat. My appetite and energy levels came back with a vengeance and although I stupidly started comparing myself to other pregnant people (bad idea) I was feeling excited and happy. I started running around like a madwoman – my version of nesting. I was making the most of my energy boost and I was really enjoying everything I felt in my body. Even the not always awesome symptoms – they meant I was pregnant and that was enough for me!

I was baking up a storm almost daily in the kitchen. I was organising things for people and getting my creative juices flowing. I had started this blog you’re reading right now and I was finally able to read my pregnancy books without freaking out. I made a rule that I would just take it all a week at a time. I would only read about the week of pregnancy I was in and would not dare to flick forwards to those scary parts about labour or breastfeeding! This strategy has been a fantastic one.

Our 20 week ultrasound was very exciting. We paid an extra $15 for a DVD and we delighted in showing our families. We were on top of the world. We now knew we were having a boy! Everyone expected a girl (including me) but it was yet another boy to add to ALL the males on both sides of our families. I was admittedly a teeny tiny bit disappointed but knowing the baby was healthy and he was all ours overshadowed that feeling. I guess the rebel in me had wanted to even up the scoreboard with a bit more oestrogen. Never mind! Maybe next time!

Right after the scan I developed a PUPPP rash. They believe about 1% of women will get this hormonal pregnancy rash. It was unbearable and it started in all the uncomfortable, undignified places you can think of. It itched and it made me crazy. It took 2 weeks to get a diagnosis and I felt so helpless and depressed (I don’t use that term lightly). Until I got a great treatment for it from a dermatologist, I had nothing that worked besides lukewarm baths. Let me tell you, living in the bath sounds like a great idea, but it really gets bad when you can’t cope without it. It would soothe my skin for maybe a couple of hours before I was scratching, crying and having the darkest, most saddest thoughts about my pregnancy (and then feeling more awful that my mind could go there). I wouldn’t wish that time on anyone.

My skin started to scar badly and I felt unattractive, no longer the glowing pregnant lady. I had no clothes to wear (it was winter and leggings or cheap fabrics were out of the question) and I was a shut in for weeks as I was constantly soaked in greasy steroid ointment or had no clothes to wear. Luckily my mum saved the day with a whole bunch of beautiful maxi dresses. Phew. I could leave the house again! Albeit wearing scarves and god knows what else in an attempt to hide my scars.

The itching died down with the ointment and I only needed to use it occasionally. I started living my life again and I felt quite good, although the fear of a flare up was always in the back of my mind.

This is a time where I’d like to point out that I realised there is no perfect pregnancy. I couldn’t control everything and I had to accept that this was my experience. It was OK to have some bad thoughts or experiences. It didn’t make me a bad person or a failure of a pregnant woman. I did feel misunderstood because not many people knew what the condition was, but eventually I was able to re-embrace my pregnancy and focus on the positives with a lot of love and support from family and my husband (who was AMAZING during this time). By being open about my condition, I felt liberated and I hope I educated people on what the condition is about. Even the fact that pregnancies are not always perfect and that’s just the way life is. I became determined to not feel ashamed. The rash was/is not my fault.

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Third Trimester

Sh*t gets real in this trimester. It’s like my focus went from “being pregnant” to “going to have an actual real live baby”. I finally felt ready to buy baby things and think about the end result of my pregnancy! It had been too overwhelming before but now I started to realise what all of this truly means (well I knew a baby is going to be born but there’s a difference between knowing it and feeling it).

I wasn’t just thinking or reading about pregnancy symptoms. I was finally ready to hear advice about actual babies and labour and all the rest of it!

The nursery slowly filled up with furniture and clothing and goodness knows what other supplies! A pram was purchased (something that had scared the bejeezus out of me a trimester or two earlier – who the hell knows what a baby needs?!) and a cot was assembled! I finally had a handle on what all these baby products are, what features I wanted and what the teeny tiny clothing sizes mean!

I had my glucose tolerance test at 28 weeks. What a downer that was! I had a gut feeling all along that I would test positive for gestational diabetes, despite everyone being optimistic.
“What are the odds? You’ve already been through hell with the rash. I’m sure you’ll be fine.”

They meant well, but I just KNEW.

I got a bit grumpy having to see a dietician and test my blood four times a day. I felt horrible knowing that the condition was genetic (although relieved it wasn’t caused by my behaviour) because now I’ll be one of those people who have to watch out for Type 2 Diabetes for the rest of my damn life. That’s a lot to take in!!! Before this pregnancy I have always been healthy and taken for granted my smooth, tanned skin. Damn, reality can bite!

I felt hard done by. My diet would now be even more limited. I was having a pity party. 1% get the rash. 3-5% get Gestational Diabetes. I lost hope in all statistics. I no longer believe that if there is an extremely low risk of something happening that it means I’ll be right, mate. My body has proved that I can quite easily be in that minority.

I adjusted my diet over a week or so and finally feel confident in what I can eat or not eat. The hardest thing has been people in my life not understanding the limitations on my diet. Eating out can be difficult and people think that as long as I don’t eat cookies, cake or lollies then I’m fine. There is much more to it than that. I have to watch my carbs, the hidden sugars in almost everything we buy off supermarket shelves, even the natural sugars in fruit. All the condiments, sauces, salt content, proportioning of a meal, the timing of when I eat etc can have an effect on my blood sugar and at times I felt like I was repeating myself over and over and over. I don’t expect people to cater for me (I eat at home first or just watch them eat cake) but it did get frustrating trying to explain. I know everyone means well and I truly don’t blame them for not having the information (after all it’s not their problem). I think I just reached a level of annoyance about having the condition in the first place. Everything was getting to me. I withdrew socially for a few weeks so I could regroup and toughen up a bit. Perhaps, had I not had the rash, I might have handled it better psychologically.

This trimester we went to ante-natal class. I felt so much more relaxed afterwards. I now know more about the process at the hospital and about birth itself. How it all works, what the midwives are likely to do and different birthing positions and stories about natural births and C-sections. Taking some of the unknown out of the whole labour experience proved oddly reassuring, even though I’m sure to be in a whole world of pain and unexpected events when the time comes! The class made me realise I’m so ready for this baby.

One thing that really cheered me up socially was my baby shower! It was the first time I would see my friends in maybe a month. I was nervous about entertaining so many people at my house (I was getting to the really tired phase of pregnancy) but it was fantastic. There was SO much love in my house that day and I was on a high for days afterwards. The gifts were all gorgeous and useful. People were raving about the dessert buffet by Finn + Evie (which was planned before I found out I had diabetes) for days and I felt so spoilt. I felt overwhelmed by love and all warm and fuzzy that our baby is going to know this love soon!

Now I’m in the 36th week of pregnancy and my rash is trying to come back with a vengeance. It really loves my legs and my newly acquired stretch marks (please don’t give me advice on my skin unless you’ve had the condition – I know you mean really well and I love you for it but I can’t just whack on some bio oil or paw paw ointment yet – it’s going to be a long process and my skin is very sensitive at the moment – it’s not always that straight forward). This is difficult as I am already finding it hard to sleep. I thank my lucky stars I have my ointment this time. The weather isn’t helping at 94% humidity!!

I still have to pack my hospital bag (and one for the baby and one for the husband) but I feel ready. Once I know our little one is fully cooked, I can’t wait to get him out of me and into my arms! I want to meet him and love him and nurture him and show him off, but admittedly I am also SO over being pregnant! I want to eat what I like, wear high heels (or even nice wedges will do) and stop itching!

Pic

My Two Cents Worth

I’ve had a big reality check with my first pregnancy. Life isn’t always smooth sailing and pregnancy is no different! I don’t want to scare any newly pregnant people with my tales of woe! It really is a lovely experience despite everything else. I just don’t believe in sugar coating it or making others feel inadequate by not being honest about my feelings and experiences. One thing that hasn’t changed through this whole process is my love for our baby. Love really can conquer all. I would tell anyone who is newly expecting that if you go with the flow and know it’s OK to not be in control, you’ll be able to get through anything. You might have dark thoughts, scary moments or feel particularly frumpy or spotty or clueless, but I promise you that you’re not alone. It’s a scary time as much as it is exciting. You just never know what will get thrown at you along the way! Just don’t beat yourself up if it’s not perfect or your thoughts aren’t all unicorns and rainbows. Everyone’s experiences are different. That woman you feel daunted by because she’s one of those seemingly perfect pregnant ladies might be hiding a multitude of conditions. She may have suffered miscarriages previously, she may be dressing so nicely to hide scars from a rash, she may not be able to eat what she likes (that might be why she seems so perfectly slim everywhere but the bump). She might just be paralysed by anxiety when she goes home at night. She might be able to keep up her paid day job forever while you feel like you can’t cope, but she may be throwing herself into work to avoid the inevitable list of baby related preparations that are seriously freaking her out.

You just don’t know, so don’t compare yourself. You’re good enough and you’ll be amazing even if there are some (big or small) bumps in the road.

I truly believe that if we’re all honest and we don’t buy into the bullsh*t that pregnancy is all glowy and blissful 100% of the time for everyone, if we take the time to listen to someone who is feeling confused or scared (or itchy!), then perhaps it won’t be so difficult and some of us might not feel so alone. Unconditional love and support has been what has got me through darker days/nights. We need to let people know they don’t have to be perfect just because it makes us feel better.

And, hey. If you have a terrifically blissful 9 months – good for you! I cannot express enough how much I am happy for you! You’re so lucky and so is your baby 🙂

Wish me luck for the next few weeks, lovely readers – we’re approaching crunch time!!

What’s in a name? A whole lot of trouble, I’m guessing.

Pic: …Uh…unless your name is Bozo.

So, you know how I kept telling everyone that my husband and I have a shortlist of boy names that we’re keeping top secret and not telling anyone until the birth? Well, for various reasons we have ended up back at square one. My too clever husband came home from work one day with the realisation that the first initial of my FAVOURITE name was going to look disastrous next to our surname and might ensure a lifetime of bullying, or at the very least the fodder for many jokes. I was most disappointed. I tried denial. I tried the “I have better faith in mankind than that” tactic – yeah right…I even asked if we could hyphenate my slightly long but boring maiden name before our surname in order to still get my way (no dice).

But in the end I realised we would need to go back to the drawing board. My carefully coveted shortlist – DESTROYED!!!

I went out and bought a new book of boys’ names.

It is now all more confusing than ever before! We are trying to compile a new shortlist of names, but I seem to be realising what I don’t want to name my firstborn…which you would think is a start but in a book that boasts 20,000 names, that’s a lot of things to rule out!

Here are some of the doozies (and their meanings):

Bozo: Born around Christmas time.

Kauldi: Crippled. Lame.

Eanes: Tiresome

Telebus: Abuser

Phaeo: Not bright. Dim.

I mean, no offence to any parents out there who have loved these names and bestowed them upon their offspring, but I do wonder what the hell they were thinking. Maybe they thought that a not-very-aspirational name would inspire their child to rise above their low expectations?

“Hello everybody and welcome to your first day of a new school year! This is Bozo and he’s new here. Be sure to make him feel welcome!”

Um…yeah.

It also doesn’t help that I am becoming unbelievably picky. I mean, this is the name our child will have FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE! It’s quite the commitment! Unless of course he opts to change it by deed poll at the age of 18, which would make me feel a bit bad…

No pressure or anything…

Every time someone suggests a name I have some kind of reason for why it won’t be acceptable. Everything from, “I met a boy called that when I was five and he was too shy and I didn’t ever click with him.”

I didn’t “click” with a kid with a certain name when I was five?!

Or, “That name reminds me of that trainwreck celebrity who is actually a female with a traditionally male name.”

“That name is too boring.”

“That name is too unusual.”

“That just sounds like the kind of name a bogan would like to call their kid.”

*sigh*

Maybe I’ll just have to close my eyes and point at a random name when we’re in the hospital and still haven’t figured it out. Or I could just find the closest male hospital worker and name the baby after him. Or I could just call him “Boy” which is apparently acceptable according to my new baby names book. Kind of like when people think they’re funny because they called their cat Cat.

What do you think of your own name? Did your parents get it right?

What are the craziest baby names you’ve heard of?

 

See what a bunch of 20 Something Bloggers think on this issue!