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!

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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.]

12 weeks 3 days – My Wriggly Little Bean!

This morning was the longest morning of my LIFE!!

My scan was scheduled for 2:30 pm.  I was SO anxious!

What if something was wrong… what if nothing was there and I had been imagining it all??

I just couldn’t fathom that a tiny little human bean was actually inside me…

EVENTUALLY the time finally rolled around and I was lying on the doctors bed with jelly on my anxiety-makingly flat tummy.

A couple of days ago I thought I felt a movement… it was way down low near my pubic bone and felt like a little “flip”…

… the doctor put the probe right on the exact spot where I had felt the sensation and there was my baby!!

It was in an awkward position at first, so it considerately did a complete flip so we could see it better 🙂

Little arms and legs all moving around, nice strong heartrate of 154 bpm.  We saw the brain and stomach and bladder – and the risk of Downs is ridiculously small at 1:13700!

Even the doctor said “that is an excellent scan, congrats” 🙂

It felt so surreal seeing it on the screen… there is actually a baby inside my abdomen!  Now that I am not feeling sick anymore but my tummy is still barely showing, it has felt so unreal… now I look down at my tummy and have the images of that little bean in my head and know it’s really in there!

Judging by the size of baby, the doctor put me at 12 weeks 3 days – which is only 2 days off the original estimate, making my due date around August 8th.

12 week belly – there’s a baby in there, honest!!

And a little backwards mathematics teaches us all an important lesson… copious quantities of beer, pizza and playstation are not a contraceptive.  Consider yourself warned!

Pregnancy – The Ultimate Beer Belly?

Weeks 6 to 12 – Nausea

Weeks 6 to 12 of my pregnancy can be summed up in one word:

Nausea.

No vomiting.  Vomiting would almost have been a relief sometimes.  Just constant, all-day, background nausea.  Ironically, it got worse when my stomach was empty – so just when I felt worst, was exactly when I should eat.  Managing such nausea is a subtle art to learn.
Somedays all you want is vegemite on English muffins.  The next day the very thought makes you feel sick, and only salt and vinegar potato chips will do.
And whoever decided to call it “morning” sickness must have been a man! 😛
Just like my book said, the nausea set in just before 6 weeks… and then a few days before 12 weeks, I realised that it was abating.  I was hungry again.  I didn’t feel a constant state of being mildly ill.  And I didn’t feel so deathly tired all the time.
During this period was also when we decided we would stay in Melbourne, and started on the house hunting.
I don’t know why this house has a gun… but it pretty much sums up how I feel about house hunting.  Look at those square, slightly desperate eyes…    
One bedroom apartment ain’t quite gonna cut it anymore.  Maybe it’s my nesting instincts, but I just want a it all sorted, and to be settled.  Right NOW!!
11 week belly… there’s a baby in there… I haven’t just been eating all the pies, honest!