27 Weeks – Hungry, Hormonal, Healthy

Hunger in pregnancy is different from normal hunger, I have found.  Before being pregnant, I could notice my hunger without having to fulfil it, and could ignore it if necessary.  Hunger in pregnancy is HUNGER!  As in, I MUST EAT SOMETHING RIGHT THIS MINUTE hunger.  It is an urgent kind of hunger that absolutely must be filled if you hope to function in any shape or form.  In fact, sometimes I don’t actually know I’m hungry, I just suddenly feel strange, out-of-sorts, incredibly tired and kind of restless… put a big carby feed in front of me (hot chips, steamy pasta, all such good things) and suddenly I’m awake again and feeling a million times better.  I also find myself grazing for hours – I tell ya, this is a hungry little bub!  Even when I’m full, it’s a kind of “yep I’m full but I really could keep eating if I wanted to” kind of full.  Daddy C says that now I know what it’s like to be a boy 😛

I’m aware that so far I may have made pregnancy sound like a completely joyous walk in the park… well, no, it’s not quite rainbows and lollypops 24/7.  Some days you’re happy and on top of the world… but then there are the other days.  The days you feel teary without really knowing why, the days you feel like you’ll smack the next person in the face who comments in any way on the size or shape of your body, the days you feel like you just want to sleep for days and instead have to push your way through a day of work, the days you feel like a giant heffalump, the days you really just want a glass of WINE and can’t have one, the days your partner goes out for a quality evening of drinking beer and getting smashed and you realise that you are never going to have your pre-baby life back ever again.

Of course, when it really comes down to it, you know that this baby is going to be more rewarding than all the partying in the world ever was, and that all the discomforts of pregnancy will be more than worth it when you are holding that very wanted little girl in your arms.  But I think it’s more than normal to have the odd moment of mourning the life you are leaving behind, just as most of the time you are excited and looking forward to the life ahead of you.

Headed to my GP the other day to get referred for a blood test, as I wanted to check my iron levels before I see my midwife next week.  She had a feel of my tummy and confirmed my suspicion that little girl likes to lie with her head down in my pelvis and bum up near my ribs – not so fun for my bladder capacity, but great for the impending exit, so hopefully she continues to favour that position!

The GP also managed to talk me into the 27 week gestational diabetes test, which I had been planning on refusing seeing as I have absolutely zero risk factors (no family history of diabetes, young, slim, not of certain ethnic backgrounds) but at the end of the day, I was going for a blood test anyway so I decided to give that battle up if just to get the GP off my back!  It’s really not a difficult test, they just give you a glucose drink and then take a blood test an hour later to see if your body has processed the glucose normally.  If it hasn’t, then you progress to a more convoluted test.  Luckily mine was all clear and fine, so I don’t think I would do the test again in future as I feel it is unnecessary for me.

  All my other parameters came back normal also, except for my iron, which had dropped dramatically.  I knew babies used up a lot of iron, I just had no idea how much!  So I will be gulping my iron tonic like there is no tomorrow.

But otherwise we are both healthy and happy and growing along well 🙂  Besides getting up 50 million times a night to pee, this pregnancy has been a very healthy and happy one so far – may it continue that way!  I have decided to reduce my work hours down to four days a week, as 40 hours was getting a bit much for my easily exhausted self these days, and I have felt much better and on top of things since then.  I have also begun my nesting, setting up my change table, cot and pram and going shopping for cot linen, which I found rather disproportionately exciting 😛  Hopefully my little girl hasn’t grown a peepee cos she’s got a lot of pink stuff!

The 25 week bellysplosion
26 weeks

27 weeks – definitely preggers now!

24 Weeks – Babymoon!

Over the last few weeks, Daddy C and I have taken the (rapidly diminishing) opportunity to take a couple of trips while it’s still just us two.

First we went to Perth for a few days, the Western Australian capital where Daddy C grew up, for St Patrick’s Day.  Daddy C enjoyed lots of Guiness and Mummy Em enjoyed lots of gorgeous sunny weather!

19 weeks pregnant, meeting the locals in sunny Perth!

 Then about a week ago we spent a lovely weekend together in the Gold Coast.  The sun and beach were stunning and we really enjoyed the chance to have a couple of days away together.  I have to admit, it was almost bittersweet… I had this feeling like I was living out something that would become a memory, one I would cherish (with a little bit of longing) in years to come.

Beautiful Surfer’s Paradise on the Gold Coast

 Since then… well back to real life and the babymoon is over! 😛  My little belly has been growing up a storm!  I’ve even noticed a growing pattern – I get really hungry over the weekend and then on about Tuesday or Wednesday, my belly suddenly looks heaps bigger.  Then I’m not as hungry for a couple of days… and then the pattern repeats!  I even had ligament pain this past weekend, an achy, stretchy feeling in my bump – growing pains, basically!  My uterus is up way past my belly button now, pretty much as high as it can go – so it’s only out from here!

It’s a funny stage of pregnancy, this second half of the second trimester.  All the ultrasound scans are done but it’s not quite countdown time yet… so you just kind of sit and grow!  You have to create your own little  milestones… the first time she jumps on your bladder (today), the first time you get offered a seat on the rush hour train (today… guess I must really look preggers now!), the first time Daddy C is able to feel her from the outside (still to come – I’m looking forward to that!).

At our hospital appointment a couple of weeks ago, the doctor reviewed the notes on my previous pelvic fracture and gave our homebirth the go-ahead – which is very exciting!

It might sound weird, but I was quite happy to learn that my little munchkin is now “viable” – which means she would have a half decent chance of surviving outside the womb with the right care.  The more time goes by, the more I feel like I can really believe that I am really going to have a baby!  She even has hair now, on her head as well as little eyebrows and eyelashes.

A little bub at 24 weeks

As much as I get impatient, time is definitely flying… less than 16 weeks until another little human being joins our lives!

23 weeks

24 weeks – yesterday

22 Weeks – Finally Starting to Look and Feel Pregnant

Over the past couple of weeks I have really become fascinated and in love with my funny little belly!

For one thing, it seems to sometimes have a little overnight growth spurt, none more than when I went to bed at 21+2 with what could have been a little beer-and-pies girl belly and woke up looking… pregnant!

21 weeks 2 days – belly-splosion!

 The other weird thing is that it seems to flucutate – sometimes it looks more pregnant than others.  I think it depends a lot on what I’m wearing, but also maybe has to do with the position the baby is lying in.  I’ve noticed that it looks a lot smaller and flatter after I’ve done yoga – maybe yoga puts the baby into a more vertical position or something.

Here’s a little timeline to illustrate:

20 weeks 2 days

21 weeks – I think I had just done yoga before taking this picture

21 weeks 3 days – Three days later… pointy belly!

22 weeks – today!

I’ve also noticed that my normally deep belly button has become a lot shallower – I tried to point this out to Daddy C in fascination but he just looked vaguely horrified and didn’t want to hear anymore about it!  Haha – boys are so funny!

One thing is for sure though – I love my little growing bump!  Having always been fairly slim, having a belly is quite a strange novelty to me, but I love watching it change and grow, because it means my little girl is healthy and strong and getting big enough to meet me 🙂

I’m also getting movements every day, multiple times a day now, which I LOVE!  I love feeling her move around in there and knowing she is active and healthy.  She is definitely getting stronger these days and finding weird places to nudge me in.  She even seems to be big enough to nudge me in two places at once sometimes, and sometimes I have a really weird sensation that I assume is her doing a little flip or something.  It’s very exciting and I can’t wait until her little nudges are full blown kicks that Daddy C can feel from the outside!

Tomorrow I have a hospital clinic appointment, at which I hear what they managed to find out from the NZ hospitals about my prior pelvis fractures.  My lovely independant midwife is coming with me so we can make a birth plan with the knowledge, as well as Daddy C for some moral support.  I really hope the news is good and I can continue with my plan to homebirth, but I’m trying to be at peace with the fact that, as Daddy C always reminds me, “whatever will be, will be”

19 Weeks – We’re Having A….. (drumroll please!)

Around the 20 week mark is the most important ultrasound scan, called the morphology scan.  It basically checks that baby is growing properly and has all the bits and pieces and fingers and toes it should.  AND…. if you want… you can find out the gender!

I have been DYING to know whether I have a little boy or girl ever since I found out I was pregnant!  Not to mention I just wanted to know bub was ok, as I still wasn’t feeling much in the way of movements yet.

I had heard a few horror stories in the preceding weeks, so the night before the scan I barely slept a wink!  Luckily the scan was in the morning, but the scan place was running 40 minutes late – torture!!

Finally, though, my name was called and it was so worth the wait!!  The scan was amazing, all little arms and legs and fingers and toes accounted for and wriggling around!  All the structures of the brain were measured and we could see inside the little beating heart – and we even saw little bub taking little gulps of the amniotic fluid, which I thought was amazing!
My perfect little bub at 19 weeks 1 day
AND… the big question… little bub gave us a nice clear look between the legs and….

A perfect little girl 🙂  I thought I wanted a boy, but ever since finding out she is a girl, I have been totally in love with her.  I love that I have a pronoun for her now, it all feels so much more real!

She is measuring right on date too  – she has been such a textbook baby so far… let’s hope that bodes well for the birth…. and after!

Hopefully not like this – Crazy Baby!!

Daddy C and I even came across a girl’s name the night before that we both really liked and it is definitely in the forefront in the name stakes now.  I thought we were going to have a lot of trouble picking a girls name as we hadn’t been able to really agree on anything before that – but it turned out easier than I expected!  I think we’ll probably wait until she is born before introducing our little girl to the world – just in case she comes out and doesn’t suit our name at all!

The thing I find funny is – I hadn’t really been feeling movements before the scan, just the odd niggle about once a week.  Even during the scan she was going to town with the wriggling and I couldn’t feel a thing.  But ever since the scan I have been feeling movement everyday, multiple times a day.  She even seems to have a little cycle, movements are mostly in the morning before morning tea, sometimes in the afternoon, and then in the evening again.  They are mostly little niggles rather than big kicks (I guess her feet are still pretty little and her cartilage is only just turning to bone now) but it is always exciting, I absolutely love it.

I’m not quite at this stage yet!

 It’s very exciting to know that my little girl is growing and getting active in there!

18 Weeks – Growing Belly!

Well, I don’t have much new to update here… I just want to show off my growing belly, which seems to have popped out all of a sudden!

Still not feeling movement really… well, apart from the odd flutter that I *think* is movement… can’t wait til I get some good kicks in the tummy!

Currently my main mission is trawling Ebay for bargain bump-friendly clothes before I start stretching all my normal clothes.  Mmmm Ebay goodness…

Seriously, if you don’t know how to find bargains on Ebay, I’m surprised you can read…

One week until my halfway morphology ultrasound scan – hanging out to see bub again and take a peek at his/her naughty bits – counting down!!

17 weeks – Settling into the Nest

Given I want a homebirth, there is one very essential ingredient that needs to be taken care of… a home!!  Luckily my lovely man found me one of those about a month ago and we have been settling in ever since.  The advent of the big comfy couch made things pretty much complete (and my bum much less numb!).  Now we just have to recover from that and then start thinking about… eek… the baby’s room!!  In the meantime, it’s lovely to have my cosy little nest!

I like how this chick rolls.

I met my midwife a couple of weeks ago and loved her!  Felt totally comfortable with her straight away and she was very knowledgable – I felt utterly in safe hands.  Ended up spending 2 1/2 hours at her house!  She is going to join me at my next hospital appointment when I find out what the verdict is on my pelvis, and after that we can plan from there.  I feel so much better knowing that, no matter what ends up happening, I have someone knowledgeable and professional advocating for me who knows what I want and supports what is important to me.

Other than that, not a whole lot to report.  I’m at that weird stage of pregnancy where there are no symptoms, it’s still a little early to feel movements (for a first pregnancy anyway), and my little belly doesn’t really look like a pregnant belly… so it all feels very surreal! 

Mmm mmm made with brown rice syrup – wish I still had morning sickness to give THAT a try!

Only 2 weeks until the halfway morphology scan now, which I am super excited about – I want to see that bubs is still doing well and I want to know if it is a Mr or Miss Little Bub!  I have thought boy the whole pregnancy, but everyone else seems to think girl… can’t wait to find out!!

In the meantime, I’m just looking forward to feeling some decent movements and watching that belly grow!

16 week belly – it finally kind of looks pregnant… with a little imagination 😛

15 Weeks – Birth Choices

You don’t realise before you embark on this journey how many choices and decisions are going to be involved.  It can get somewhat overwhelming at times!!  One of – if not THE – most important of which, of course, being – how are you going to give birth?

Andre Jordan

 Australia is very daunting and complicated in this respect.  As I came to grips with the system over here, I learned one thing – I don’t like it!!  In New Zealand, having a midwife is part of your normal pregnancy care and you certainly don’t have to pay for it!!  Over here, you are either a number in a heavily loaded hosital system where you are seen by a “team” (i.e. group of doctors and midwives) or you get into a hosiptal-based midwife program in which you are still seen by a “team” of midwives (not building a relationship with just one)… OR, if these options don’t seem appealing – you fork out thousands of dollars to hire an independant midwife.

I was drawn to the idea of a homebirth quite early on in my pregnancy, but dismissed it because of my history of prior pelvic fracture.  However, a tour of a regional Melbourne hospital put the thought right back in the forefront of my mind.  Sure there were private labour rooms… but the place only had two baths and if they were busy – too bad.  And if the midwife on duty wasn’t certified for waterbirth then – too bad.  And then you are carted to a bigger shared ward for about 36 hours afterwards, where you partner is ushered out at 8 pm.  I hated the idea of relinquishing so much of my control over my birth experience.  The idea of having my baby safe at home, and being able to curl up in my own bed with my baby and my partner afterward, feels empowering and just.. right.

Today I had my first hospital clinic appointment at the Royal Women’s Hospital, and the whole experience only served to increase my desire for a homebirth.  The clinicians were lovely but it feels so clinical and impersonal.  They won’t officially okay shared care (which means seeing my GP for some visits rather than having to go to the hospital all the time) until they have details from my NZ hospital about my pelvic fracture.  Fair enough I guess, but I just felt so trapped, I wanted to either cry or run out yelling “I don’t want to be here!!”  My partner is of course concerned for my safety – but ironically enough, I feel a million times safer at the thought of a homebirth with a qualified and caring midwife.  In hospital, I am afraid of my power and my ability to have the labour and birth I want being taken away.

I have done my research, and it should be perfectly possible and safe for me to have a normal vaginal birth with the background of my prior injury – which, after all, was 8 years ago.

I am having an initial appointment with an independant midwife this Friday.  She seemed lovely on the phone and the service she operates under has been recommended to me by someone who is also with them, so I am looking forward to meeting with her.  Hopefully I feel the right click and I can start feeling excited about this birth, rather than apprehensive and to be honest, mildly terrified.  Well, of course, there will always be some aspect of these feelings, but I would like to at least feel comfortable with my choice of birth and feel like I have some power and say in things.

I’m sure that in every woman’s first pregnancy, there comes a certain moment – a moment that I experienced today following my hospital clinic appointment.  That is the moment in which it really, truly hits you – in this little growing belly is a baby, and that baby is going to have to come out somehow!  And it’s got a whole lotta growin to do before that happens!  Of course you “knew” that before, but all of a sudden you *realise* it, the reality of it hits you.  This baby has to come OUT of me somehow!  And not only that… once it’s out – you’re going to have a baby!  A real live human baby that will need you 24/7.  An actual baby.

This moment can threaten to overwhelm you.  It’s like something has been set in place that has a terrifying finish line that you both want and fear, but there’s no going back now, there’s no leaving the race – that finish line is going to get there whether you like it or not – and probably quicker than you’re ready for.

I am so happy to be pregnant and I can’t wait to meet little bub.  But I would be lying if I said I wasn’t, a little bit, a wee bit, a tiny bit – utterly terrified.

I guess the best way I know of dealing with that, is to take back as much power as I can by making an informed (by both knowledge and instinct) choice around how I want to give birth.

14 week belly – You want PIE??

13 Weeks 2 Days – Boobs and Body Image

Pretty much anyone who has spent more than 10 seconds with me knows that I have always loved my boobs.  But now… wow, now I REALLY love them!!  Pregnant boobs are the BEST!

My boobs are, in fact, what alerted some small observant part of me to my pregnancy in the first place – they became sore and heavy and started growing…

The other day I bought my first D cups and I think I’m outgrowing those already!  I love it.

In fact, I love my whole body.  For the first time in my life.  Coming from someone who has spent most of her adolescent and adult life on a journey from trying to shrink her body away to learning to love it as it is – this is a significant statement.  I no longer stand in the mirror wishing my tiny belly away, sucking in to make myself look skinnier…. Suddenly, when I see my round little feminine belly, I feel proud, I feel joyous, I can’t wait for it to be *bigger*!!

Ahhh…. preferably not *this* big….

 All those years of aiming for prepubescent skinniess suddenly seem childish… Now I feel like a woman – vibrant, alive and capable of carrying life – I have never felt so sexy and utterly in love with my body.  It feels like liberation, like suddenly I’m allowed to be just exactly as I am.

Of course, there are good moments and bad moments.  The niggling voice isn’t completely silenced.  Especially at the moment, when I’m not big enough to look pregnant, but my waist becomes thicker and rounder every day.  But whenever the voice starts wanting to pipe up (“you know, most people probably just think you’re fat…”), I just remind myself – there is a baby in there!  My growing body harbours the miracle of growing life.  And I put on a tight skirt and t-shirt and flaunt my wee belly proudly.

I am woman, hear me roar!

I hope that I can carry this forward past my pregnancy – that I will look upon flabby baby belly and stretchmarks and thick thighs, not with hatred and self-loathing, but with pride and affection, knowing that my imperfections are stamps that say “I am woman.  I nuture life.”

In this world that displays androgenous stick figures as the pinnacle of all a woman should be, I want to run hands over soft hips and bask in the glow of my perfect imperfections, the miracle of this body I was blessed with.

Suddenly, who and how I am, is just exactly who and how I want to be.

13 weeks – grow, you beautiful belly, grow!

[NB: having Googled for photos for this post, I believe I am now scarred for life.  Just saying.]