Thursday, July 31, 2014

pregnancy: weeks thirty-two to thirty-six

36 week belly

The past few weeks: I have been nesting. I can't stop tidying and cleaning. I really feel like I am rushed to prepare for this baby's arrival. I am not sure if this means bub will arrive early or not, but I am certainly feeling the pressure to prepare myself and our home. Most days I feel like time is slipping away.

When I look back at my last pregnancy post at 32 weeks I realise how much the belly has grown! I wonder if I will be posting a 40 week update?
I've been busying myself preparing for baby in many ways, setting up the nursery, taking moments to ponder, rejoice and grieve, and I've also begun packing the hospital bags.

Thoughts and feelings: I have been somewhat emotional lately. I have had a couple of 'flat' days and teary days. It actually feels good to have a big cry once in a while and it felt good to let it all out the other day. The sense that a big change is approaching is really in the air and Michael and I are both feeling it. We talk about this baby often and how excited we are to meet him or her. We are embracing these final few weeks with our two boys and enjoying the time we have remaining as a family of four.

Pregnancy symptoms: Baby is moving very much. The kicks are strong and sometimes catch my breath. I am having Braxton Hicks on and off daily and sometimes they are intense and I have to stop walking or moving. Last week in the early hours of one morning I felt really off and had cramping that would come and go - but that only lasted a couple of hours and I woke feeling heavy, but okay.

Sciatica has hit me once again in pregnancy and I can have good days with very little pain and discomfort, and I can have really bad days where I can barely walk. If I bend or move suddenly I pinch a nerve and almost collapse to the ground. The pain is horrible and shoots down my lower back, right buttock cheek and leg. I do gentle stretching, apply heat packs and bounce on the fit ball to help ease some of the pain. I find myself wishing we had a bath tub that I could float around and relax in. Michael is wonderful and offers to rub my back for me which helps immensely.

From week 35 I have been experiencing heartburn. I try to eat small meals throughout the day and it helps a bit. I take Quick Ease if it becomes too bad. We eat dinner early as a family, around 5:30pm but unfortunately it still comes on later in bed at night.

Current weight: 73kg

Looking forward to: That moment when I can say to baby 'okay baby, we are ready now'. I know that then I will be relaxed, all will be in place and we will only be waiting.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

preparing for our baby: packing the hospital bags

Over time i've been putting things aside for the hospital bags, and today I made my final list and began packing. There are many items which will be packed at the very last minute, things I use daily like my hairbrush etc.

Here is what you'll find in my bag and the baby's bag, ready to take to the hospital. I tend to over pack and my hospital stays have varied from one day to three days. You never know how long you'll need to stay, much will depend on yours and your baby's health (as well as any breastfeeding concerns etc).
I've roughly based my packing around a two day stay. 

My Bag - 
Hospital documents (yellow card etc)
Small gift for each of the boys
Phone and phone charger
ipod and headphones
My birth plan/preferences

Clothes to labour in (I usually opt for a large, loose dress or nightie, with a soft, wire free nursing bra. The backless hospital gowns are  available and fine, and can be practical if an epidural is planned).
Black, comfortable undies x8 (ones you are prepared to throw out afterwards)
Nursing bras x2
Bonds nursing singlet top x2 (I love layering a t-shirt or hoodie over these)
T-shirts x2
Cardigan x1
Zip up jumper x1
Comfortable, loose pants x3 (This may be over sharing but depending on blood loss, you may find you go through more pants than you thought!).

Maternity pads (I'd recommend two packs)
Nursing pads (You may or may not need these. You may be home before your milk comes in, but I take some just in case.)
Hair elastic
Paw paw ointment
Deodorant (go for something with no likes to smell you and nothing else.)
Sorbelene (or whatever moisturiser you use.) 
Make up (Not something essential, but I usually throw in at least an eyebrow pencil)
Witch Hazel (Put some into a small spray bottle. If you have any stitches it will help to soothe and heal.)

Baby's Bag - 
(Hospitals vary with what they do and do not provide for baby. Some have endless supply of nappies, wipes and nightgowns for you to use, and others may only provide these for the first day... it may be something worth asking.)
Newborn nappies x12 (Allow around six per day).
Single vest x4
Bonds Wondersuit x4

...and for the guys - 
Swimmers or board shorts (you may need hubby in the shower or bath with you during labour). 
Spare clean clothes/t-shirt (my husband helped deliver our two boys).
His wallet (to pay for parking etc)

Other items often suggested, that aren't on my list -
Your own pillow
Dressing gown
Fit ball for labour
Massage oils
Heat pack
Photos of loved ones
Pyjamas (I always just wear tracksuits)
A book to read for you and your partner (if you are being induced or labour is taking a while to become established).

Saturday, July 26, 2014


'A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2014.'

Ronan: I peek around the veranda and find you here. You are out growing our humble sand pit - I have big plans for a sand/dirt pile for you and your trucks... one day...

Finnian: Even though you have graduated to a big balance bike, you occasionally still feel drawn to your baby three-wheeler. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

preparing for our baby: the grieving process

When a mother brings a new baby into the world there is rejoicing, and there is grieving*. The grieving may have already been processed before the new baby arrives or it may occur afterwards, once mum and baby are home and a new phase of life begins.

In pregnancy, there are new beginnings, but there are also things that come to an end.
During the weeks leading up to the birth of my first child, I remember the realisation that it will never just be my husband and I... ever again. Our selfish ways with time and money for example would come to a halt. Late nights, socialising, sleeping in late and having movie marathons would no longer be realistic or practical possibilities.

When my second son was born, it wasn't until days later did I begin to grieve. I grieved for the loss of quality time with my first child. It would never be just him and I at the park, or reading stories on the couch. Along with my grief, I felt guilt. Of course I need to make it clear (although I would like to think it were obvious) that mixed with the grief was immense love and joy at each of my newborn babes. It wasn't that I wasn't elated and besotted with them, it was just a mixture of overwhelming emotions, one of them being grief. Once again, things would never be the same.

Here I am, a month out from welcoming baby number three and the grief is creeping in. It began a few nights ago as I was reading my boys their bedtime stories. I had a lump in my throat thinking about how I may not have the time to do this sort of thing once the little bundle arrives. Or perhaps if I do, I will have a small baby attached to my breast. It won't just be the two of them and I. It's the same lump that appears each time my almost-five-year-old calls out 'Mum, come and play shops with me!' or 'Mum, can you help me with this?' - these precious weeks I have left to walk to them and say 'sure thing' - I know my response will have to become 'In a few minutes' or 'can you please ask Dad, I'm feeding the baby.' When we cross the street as we walk to preschool, will one boy still be at each hand? Or will I have to choose a hand to hold, while the boys hold hands together? These are the things I think about and feel sad over their impending loss.

Perhaps it all sounds far too dramatic, and I do tend to over think and over react, but the truth is, it isn't always easy. Not all mothers take change in their stride and adapt to a new family member with great ease, skill and patience. I certainly don't. I think, I worry, I feel, I dwell and I wear my heart on my stained, snotty sleeve.

Our family of four is about to become five. Life has been breast-feeding, pram and nappy free for a very long time. I think it is healthy for me to acknowledge the changes that are coming, to grief the losses and to wait with much excitement and anticipation, for all the goodness that is to come. We will all be thrown into unknown territory and in our own time and own way, we will each need to adapt and find our new groove. It is daunting and exciting, all at once.

*Not everyone will relate to this. Some mothers may not feel anything is lost. This has just been my honest and humble experience.