Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Very Pregnant Christmas! (the tale of Barbara Manatee, Lord of the Rings, a Nicer Dicer and Pavlova)

39 Weeks Pregnant (40 weeks tomorrow!) and it's CHRISTMAS!

The Christmas Spirit is in the air, with all the hustle and bustle of Christmas shoppers, Christmas carols TV, Christmas shows, and baking/cooking for Christmas day. It’s actually made me want to name the baby ‘Mistletoe’ or ‘Holly’ or ‘Ivy’ or ‘Noelle’. Maybe ‘Christina’ and ‘Angel’ might be going a bit far.

I mother-flipping love Christmas – My favourite time of year!

Nothing better than listening to the old greats wail away on our Christmas CD (which I made when I was 14 and just learned about burning software!) while cooking a ham/turkey/gingerbread/pavlova and looking at the tree all lit up with Christmas lights and TINSEL! J

Today consisted of – wake up groggily (bad night’s sleep unfortunately! The constant toilet trips and uncomfortable sleeping position has finally crept up on me) had some fruit and a cup of tea, had a shower and got dressed, chilled out for a while as Justin woke up, and then it was PRESENTS TIME!

The traditional Crawford Christmas consists of the gift giver handing out their presents to their recipients – As we sat drinking our tea/juice we opened present after present, marvelling in what each other had given or received. It was simply lovely! We are definitely an excellent gift-giving family with proportionately less socks given (a total of six pairs) than in some families. In particular, Justin (who had done secret Christmas shopping without my knowledge) surprised me with presents I had no idea about and were just GORGEOUS! Including a Slicer/Dicer thingy I had seen on the shopping channel and had decided was the only thing that would make my life easier in the kitchen. He had argued vehemently, lulling me into a false sense of loss, and had surprised me with it! I hate and love that man (mostly love.)

For some reason, lots of people gave me OWL related things J (Mug from Justin)

(Hint: I am a bit obsessed – they’re super adorable - especially the Frog-Mouthed Owlet below!) as well as a laptop tray for your lap, a fat piggy bank, gorgeous bags and a purse, a calendar of my favourite artists, photo frames, - and more adorable things! One very spoilt lady right here!

Then proceeded to have some bbq’d breakfast/brunch (By now 11.30am) and marvel over our gifts some more and enjoy each other’s company. After a quick wash up, I retired to do what many people do on Christmas after consuming a lot of food, and lapsed into a food coma and slept for an hour and a half. Now, I like to blame the pregnancy for this, but it doesn’t explain the other years in which this has occurred. Nap was amazing and woke up feeling thoroughly revitalised and ready for a swim.

Justin and I wallowed in the pool for an hour or two (Despite my attempt at being graceful in the water, I really did wallow – incurring Justin’s new nickname for me, Barbara Manatee, which also includes a song and which I am quite fond of – check it out here) and laughed at Miss Muffin’s kicks. She had been very quiet – probably squashed by all my egg and ham breakfast – and started kicking like crazy when we were in the pool. She is going to be a little dolphin I think!

After Ewan joined us for a swim, we hopped out and I decorated the Pavlova ready for the evening (YUM), drank cordial (the others had their beer/wine/whisky/scotch), chatted, prepared dinner with mum and tested out my new NICER DICER!! (Yet another great gift of Justin’s!) Did not slice off finger, which was a bonus. We pulled crackers (of which I lost all battles), ate some Turkey and stuffed ourselves silly on delicious food (Dad’s famous stuffing), drank some more (or they did), chatted some more (reminiscing over weddings, childhood memories and dirty jokes), before watching the rest of Lord of the Rings - the Fellowship of the Ring. (It's just a whole lot of walking - has anyone else noticed that?)

We finished the night with Pavlova and Batman.

Basically – awesome day. It feels like we did everything and nothing, and I’m going to bed happy, unstressed and not too exhausted!

Tomorrow is our official due date – 40 weeks! – so keep your fingers crossed she comes soon! Our last Christmas as a single couple (as in – no kids!) has officially finished, and I unfortunately didn’t get to dress Muffin in the cute santa-elf outfit I bought in case she came early. Well, there’s always ebay!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!


Barbara Manatee xxx

Pineapples, Raspberry Tea and NESTING!

Week of Pregnancy 38/39
Fruit to Fetus Comparison: Watermelon/Pumpkin is still in play – as there’s not a lot bigger than one of those. This week is somewhere between 3 – 4 kgs. Hopefully closer to the 3…

Mother’s impatience: Not a lot – I get moments of impatience where I just want labour to begin, but I’m actually quite happy just chilling out with Muffin in my tummy. The real work begins when she’s born – a little bit freaked out about that as this one I won’t be able to win over with my amazing personality…
Husband’s excitement metre: High. He has FINALLY moved down to the Sunshine Coast and finished work for X-mas so all is well! He’s enjoying chilling out, but also quite excited about bubby’s entrance into the world!
So this week (actually, 1.5 weeks – I am slack) I’ve been on the Sunshine Coast getting everything ready, going to appointents (some fun, some not) and generally nesting. Nesting horribly. It’s hard to nest when you’re not in your own home, so I have taken up cooking and sewing along with my crocheting. Had two doc appointments over the last week and a half and all seems well! My lovely midwife has checked out the position and little Miss Muffin is engaged and ready to go (YAY!), in the right position (no longer posterior – is now anterior, which means facing down with face toward my spine – that’s the way we like it!) and is a good size. Apparently NOT ten pounds (OH THANK GOD!), but that’s about all they could tell from having a feel. Heartbeat was fabulous and she’s kicking me all the time so I am feeling very good about her health. Dr B has implied I may not go into labour until January, however. I would prefer sooner rather than later for two reasons – 1. Justin only has three weeks off (including his Christmas break) and I was hoping he would spend a lot of time with his baby daughter before going back to work full time) and 2. I think I will get quite impatient come Christmas/New Year time. What can I say, it’s a bad trait of mine. So I’m trying to ‘nudge’ things along naturally…
Have taken up drinking a lot of Raspberry Leaf tea (Which, for your information, tastes like grass and makes you all hot and sweaty in this weather, but is supposed to tone the uterus and make labour progress more quickly), eating pineapple, walking on the beach, sitting on the birth ball etc. Have been told having a lot of sex will help – well I won’t share with you the details, but basically I am the size of a medium-sized rhino, and good luck manoeuvring this booty around.
On that note, I have returned to sewing! Have so far made a lot of toys (some for Miss Muffin, some not!) and some Nappy Covers! Love them!
So far I’ve made:
Florence the Dinosaur
Gilgamesh the Owl (Conqueror of Worlds - Justin Named him)
Six little owls that I will turn into a mobile for a friend (Baby due 14th Feb!)
Three Nappy Covers which I think are adorable J
Also have crocheted a baby hat and am finishing the baby blanket. And I did some painting and cooking. Gotta keep busy!
We finally packed our bag for the hospital - I have a stack of Muffin's clothes layed out and ready to go!

Plus mittens and socks and a hat. Hopefully won't forget anything but if so - Justin can just run back and grab it after Bubby is born :) Anyway - lots of preps to do for Christmas!  Here's me at Week 38! (In my yoga pants and breastfeeding top - super attractive!)
See you for Christmas!
PS: I love Felt and Ribbons.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Rhona: The Singing Whale, and other stories..

Week of Pregnancy: 37. Holy Bejezus I only have three weeks of non-mummy time left! :)

Fruit to Fetus Comparison: Still a watermelon, just a larger one!

Cravings/Aversions: My stomach hates everything and wants to expel it as quickly as possible, unless it is an iceblock. Also, I hate the heat and stairs.

Kick Counter: Still jammed in the ribs, head on bladder, and punching my insides repeatedly J YAY!

So this week has been semi-hectic, as all ‘last weeks’ are. Yesterday I finally headed down to the Sunshine Coast (six hours from Biloela) to stay close to my Obstetrician and chosen hospital in case the big day arrives early! Of course, now it’s not actually early, as Muffin is FULL TERM! WOO! Despite this, I doubt she’ll make an appearance until late December or early January! Being a first time mum, I’m trying not to get worked up over all the little ‘signs’ that baby is going to arrive soon! Signs include:

-          Muffin has ‘dropped’ into my lower pelvis to get engaged for birthing.

-          Braxton Hicks contractions (‘practise’ contractions that are not painful, but make your tummy feel like the consistency of a basketball) are much more frequent – gone from a noticeable 2 times a day, to at least six – eight. But, as I said, not painful, just uncomfortable!

-          Have to pee all the time. Like – ALL the time. There is no time when it feels like I don’t need to pee – even when I have just gone. Baby’s head/something is resting on my bladder and muscles! The tiniest amount of liquid makes me need to go. Awesome.

-          Backache – Though I attribute this to the baby dropping lower in my tummy, backache can signal labour, according to my doc.

-          Other gross signals involving the bowels and cervix that I won’t write about on here. (Click here if you want to know)
So, as I said, not really fussing about all these ‘signs’ (which ultimately could mean nothing!!) and I’m going to wait until a) waters break, b) contractions begin or c)the baby pops out before I actually believe labour is impending. Much less stressed about the whole thing now that I’m down on the coast – but for the last week I’ve just been thinking “JUST ONE MORE WEEK! Don’t come yet, Muffin!” And she gallantly obeyed. Of course, now she will hold out until, like, mid January, instead of coming on Boxing Day!

It was my last week in Bilo for a while, and had to wrap up all my marking, reporting and general school business. It was strange because, although I was so excited to be leaving on Maternity leave and obviously over the moon that Muffin was getting closer to being born, I felt two things at leaving work;
a)   Guilt.

b)  A sense of worthlessness and like I was easily replaced!
Both are irrational and certainly not suggested by the majority of the lovely people I work with, however present nonetheless.  The guilt stems from my necessity to please people, and my hatred of having other people do things for me. Leaving two weeks before the end of the term made me feel like I was abandoning my 8’s and 9’s (and like I didn’t love them enough!) and giving work to my colleagues who would have to take my classes. I did my best to prepare lessons etc, and of course I marked all their work and did all their reporting, even the week after I finished school, but still felt like I could have been there. I mean, come on, the baby isn’t literally pushing her way out of my uterus at this very moment – couldn’t I have held out another couple of weeks? Am I just a pussy?

Answer: No. Last week it hit 40 degrees Celsius and I struggled to complete my reporting in the air conditioning at home, let alone standing in front of 30 kids keeping them entertained for 70mins at a time when all they want to do is go on holidays. So, shut up, Rhona, and get over it. If you died, life would go on.

This leads to point b) Worthlessness and being replaced.

So the kids don’t need me. Big deal. Being the Libran that I am (and the drama queen) I like to be needed, wanted, doted upon and sought after. Being a teacher is quite great in this regard because it is a mutual respect and ‘need’ of one another (teacher and students) that makes the symbiotic relationship work. They need me, I, in turn, need them in order to do my job. I also enjoy it. So despite the few cards and gifts some of my gorgeous students presented me with in my last week, I felt useless and replaced. Of course, this was bound to happen next year when they get a new teacher and I am no longer a part of their learning life, but it happened because of my ‘inability’ to continue to work – which goes back to the guilt thing. So, does leaving work two weeks before the end of term make me a bad teacher, a worthless teacher or easily replaced?

Answer: No. Shut up, Rhona, get over it. You are well liked, you will be missed, many have said so – just take the compliment and let them get on with their lives.
Basically, I am trapped in a glass cage of emotion. Handing my laptop and keys in turned out to be more emotional than I had previously thought. It all happened so quickly. One minute I’m pushing my students to complete their assessment and getting whined at, fought with, and asked a million questions, and the next they have moved on. Such is the life of a teacher. I have a feeling that being a mother will be just as fulfilling, guilt riddled and emotionally traumatising as being a teacher. Probably more so. YAY!

Saturday then had the hubby’s Christmas party to attend (no alcohol for me, obviously, despite the free bar and my favourite wine being part of it!) where I instead ravelled in the free icecream van, face-painting and fireworks (10 Minutes of amazing fireworks!) whilst avoiding the alcohol, free ADULT SIZED bouncy castle, mechanical bull, and the dodgem cars. Yes, his Christmas party has all those things. And he organised it. He is amazing, to say the least. However I didn’t get to play on any of the cool toys this year (NEXT YEAR I WILL MAKE UP FOR IT!!!! MWAHAHA!). Amazing night with great people and food and lots of schmoozing.

Justin and I at the QNP Christmas Party :)
Finally, on Sunday, we got ready to perform at the Biloela Christmas Carols. My co-coach and I needed to ensure our Cheerleaders performed beautifully (which, of course, they did!) and that their costumes were complete (this took all of my morning – cutting, adjusting and adding giant bows to sparkle skirts…). Finally I prettied myself up (OMG How great it feels to put make-up on and a nice dress – sans heels and added large bump) in Christmas dress with pretty ribbons in hair etc, and headed to the Christmas Carols.  But, of course, the night couldn’t go drama-free.

On the way there (whilst driving two friends) I was pulled up by the police! For ‘failure to give way’ and ‘speeding’. The reasoning was that I pulled out in front of the cop car (which was, in my opinion, a fair distance away!) but the police woman said she had to break for me. In between the police car and me was  a pedestrian crossing and around about 30metres. Anyway – this was my first offence. The second offence was ‘speeding’:
Police Officer: Do you know what the speed zone is?
Me: Sixty.
Police Officer: And what speed were you doing.
Me: (adamantly) Sixty.
Police Officer: Well I had to do eighty to catch up with you.
Me: ?!?

So if I was consistently doing sixty, and they had to do a u-turn (after I’d turned out before them and had a good minute head start) she certainly wouldn’t have been able to catch me doing exactly the same speed as me. Right? Isn’t that just logic?
Anyway – I tried to look as pregnant as possible and smile a lot and hope that she reduced my sentence to a minimum (OH GOD MY BABY WILL BE BORN IN PRISON!)
She took my license for checking and came back about 5 minutes later:
Police Officer: Well, you have no prior traffic violations, so I can tell you’re not a rubbish driver, but I have to tell you that if you had failed to give way and someone had hit you, it would be your fault. And your insurance wouldn’t cover it… (pause)… well actually it would, but you would still be at fault. So, just be more careful next time.
Me outwardly: I will. Thanks. Have a great day.
Me inwardly: I am so confused. WTF just happened?

So thankfully, no tickets, no fines, and no points lost, but otherwise a very confused and unsure citizen.
We made it to the Christmas Carols in one piece, got our cheerleaders ready, plonked ourselves on the ground and ran around for two hours cueing kids and myself as to when we had to be onstage.

Lynesha and I arriving at Carols (Obviously she is the skinny, non-pregnant dancer while I am the whale in red - Yes, I wore the same dress two nights in a row - it is a luxury to have a fitting piece of clothing that looks good!)

Me singing onstage while the lovely cheerleaders (with their backs to the camera!) start their dance below (All I want for Christmas - is YOU!)

I did not forget my words and managed to hit all the notes (kudos to all the friends and cheerleaders in the crowd who said lovely things and cheered me on!), the cheerleaders (and Lynesha!!) did an amazing job, and the choir sounded beautiful (Well done Maddi!). All in all, very successful night.
Strangely enough, my thighs and butt are killing me today because of all the getting up off the ground, sitting down again, getting up, sitting down again. I’m not used to sitting on the ground on a picnic blanket at 37 weeks pregnant!!
Monday finally arrived, where we packed all my things (and baby’s things!) into two cars, said goodbye to Justin (who has to work for another 2 weeks!) and Mum, Dad, the dogs, and I convoyed off in the direction of the Sunshine Coast.
Me with the rest of Muffin's clothes that I brought down with me!
Goodbye Biloela – I’ll see you next with a bundle of joy in my arms J

2.5 weeks and counting (to the E.D.D!)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

WHOA! Everything just got heavy...

Week of Pregnancy: Week 36… 1 week until full term!

Fruit to Fetus: Watermelon. We’ve reached watermelon proportions. No wonder stairs are difficult and I have to wee every hour.

Cravings/Aversions: Can’t eat anything greasy this week – I think because it just sits on the top of my stomach and the relaxen hormone makes me want to spew it back up again. Toast is fine, as is fruit and salad, but no bacon, eggs, meats, etc. Still loving my muesli.

Kick Counter: Still the insane kickboxing gymnast that she was last week. Sometimes it looks like my tummy does a Mexican wave. Also, there is a foot poking out from underneath my right ribs. It’s not always there, but 80% of the time, which makes it hard to sit.

Now that Miss Muffin is the size of a watermelon, I felt like reflecting on how far she has come – and how big she’s grown in such a (relatively) small space of time – though it feels like forever since we did the test!

It amazes me how little Miss Muffin got from a seasame seed (above)... to a watermelon!! (A small watermelon - 2.9kgs this week!)

I found when I googled 'baby watermelon' that both cute and creepy things appear. Guess which one is cute, and which is creepy... 

Seriously?! Don't get me wrong - great GREAT art watermelon carving, but oh my gosh it is creepy. Kind of like the doll I had to use for the breastfeeding class - more on that later.
So this week I finished up at school (Well, ‘officially’ I’m finished but I still have all my marking and reporting to do from home!)and tripped down to the coast for my birthing class! Justin unfortunately couldn’t make it L So I went solo amongst all the couples that attend birthing classes. Kind of awkward that I took my mum? I don’t think so. After all, she’s had two babies with no form of epidural/caesarean etc – I think she’s pretty qualified J

 We rocked up and I handed in my epidural consent form. Apparently, if you have not signed a consent form BEFORE LABOR BEGINS they will not give you an epidural, even if you beg and cry. So I thought better to be safe than sorry! Though I’m still going for hypnobirthing and waterbirthing without drugs (hopefully) you never know what might happen. Also, I've heard posterior births may be more painful...

Little Muffin is currently in a posterior position (Head down, but facing up, spine next to my spine):


But we want her to end up like this, in the anterior position (Head down, facing down with spine against my belly) :


So, basically, if she doesnt turn around, we can still have a natural birth but, as the lady showed us with a set of fake hips and a doll, the head doesn't fit as well when baby is facing upwards.

Also, don't google 'posterior birth' images - just don't.

So, getting back on track, handed in epidural form, and learned about different stages of labour, ways of managing pain (ie: Gas, morphine/pethidine, epidural, etc) as well as some natural techniques such as hot water. No mention of hypnosis though… hmm.

Then watched a birthing video. Let me tell you, it is still just as scary to watch a baby crown when you are 26, as to when you were 13 and shown a random video of 70s ‘afro-lady’ crowning in sex ed.

DON’T DO IT TO YOURSELF! I know you want to you-tube it, but don’t. You can’t unwatch it.

Fortunately I will be up the other end and won’t have to watch. Although apparently you can request a mirror.

Um. No thanks, I’m good.

We then learned about breast feeding for another few hours (very good session, really!) and what to do with a newborn – what will you need when you go home from the hospital? How can you prevent SIDS? What are the questions most new mothers ask?

All in all, very informative, very knowledgeable midwives with lots of experience. Also, they had tasty sandwiches for lunch. Quite sad Justin missed it, actually!

Sunday mum and I went shopping (Well, can’t go to the coast – CIVILISATION! – without doing some shopping…) and I finished my year 11 reports.
Finally, Monday morning Dad and I did some hypnosis practise for relaxation and labour – Have some fabulous visualisations to practise, and was reminded that doing proper hypnosis (for 20 minutes) is as good as a few hours sleep! Am feeling much more competent and comfortable with the hypnobirthing idea, though I am deviating slightly from their suggested methods and adding some that Dad uses with his patients.

Strangely, at one point I was visualising myself on a beach, with waves gently surging over my torso, but that ‘fake’ me on the beach was visualising a flower opening (cervical dilation visualisation)…


So anyway – about to hit 37 weeks in a few days time (HOLY CRAP – Tomorrow actually!) so here’s to hoping Baby Bechaz doesn’t make an appearance until at least week 38/39, as I am six hours away from my preferred hospital and Obstetrician!

Lots of love to all – I’m off to finish marking and reporting and make a ‘clean break’ from Bilo in a few days time!



Sunday, December 2, 2012

Less than a month until our due date... *freakout*

Week of Pregnancy: 35 – 36

Fruit to Fetus Comparison: As long as a stalk of Swiss Chard/A leek. Or, as I like to tell Justin, as long as the size of a 17inch laptop screen.
Cravings/Aversions: I certainly wouldn’t say ‘cravings’ or ‘aversions’ but Ice-blocks are great right now, as is corn, muesli (which I usually hate) and anything satay. Hated foods mostly extend to anything super smelly (still).
Kick Counter: Less than previously, but more vigorous kicking in the ribs. Baby Muffin responds to loud noises like clapping, loud music and yelling. There has been some extensive dance movement lately where my tummy seems to do a Mexican wave in several places. Also, there’s still a foot jammed in my right bottom rib.
Husband’s Excitement Metre: Learned how to put on a nappy yesterday. Not rocket science, but at least he’s interested. J
·         I can no longer shave my legs standing up in the shower.

·         Heels are the devil.

·         People will part like Moses and the Red Sea for a Pregnant lady on her way to the loo.
Holy crap. We’ve reached Week 35. Despite me being super positive about the baby and the pregnancy, it is always a revelation every time we reach a new week or milestone… and now there’s only, like, 4 - 5 weeks to go.

Note that the tone of panic in my words is not from lack of wanting a baby – little Muffin is the best thing ever and I am so excited to meet her.

But I’m also wetting myself in fear.
A first time parent (to a human – we do have two dogs, but you can’t exactly just put a baby outside and scatter food on the ground when they get annoying and hungry) I am freaking out at the prospect of being in charge of someone other than myself. It’s not going to be easy. There will be very rare ‘me’ time or ‘alone’ time – and, I’m not going to lie, I like being alone quite often.

We can’t just yell out ‘Stop It!’ when the baby cries, like we do when the dogs bark.
We can’t just hand the baby to someone else and wipe our hands and say ‘done for the day’.
We can’t just eat, clean, and do the shopping when we feel like it late at night.
Obviously the amount of joy and love we feel for the baby outweighs any of these menial things, however, it just struck me that this will occur. Like, I’ve known it was going to happen – I’m not an idiot – but it’s just hit home. Four weeks of baby-free time left!
I don’t exactly feel like skydiving or going to a rave, but it’s nice to know I could if I wanted to. Or, could have (past tense) in pre-pregnancy terms.
So this week only a few things have to happen –
-          Complete all marking of assessment when it comes in.

-          Complete all reporting on students when they come in.

-          Photograph all student work for SAS.

-          Pack bags for coast.

-          Clean house, vacuum, provide meals for self and Justin

-          keep food in fridge, keep dogs fed and healthy, keep remaining plants alive (Two left out of six).

-          Spend time cooing and patting unborn child so she knows who I am when she comes out.

-          Practise songs for Carols by Candlelight next week.

-          Ensure cheerleaders are ready with their dances.

-          Find something to wear for Carols by Candlelight as all clothes now look like sacks (maternity gear) or cling-film (normal clothes).

-          At some point, FIX EYEBROWS so you don’t look like a wookie, and shave legs if you can reach them. (Justin has refused to help in this regard – I now need a chair to reach toes in the shower as I am afraid of falling down and not being able to get up again and drowning miserably in lukewarm water as the hot water heater gives out…)

-          Continue to check up on house (Slab and frame are up this week! Hopefully roof soon!)

Am starting to worry that lack of practise will ensure hypnobirthing method won’t work, and I’ll have to get an epidural or something. I just really, really, really want to deliver drug-free and naturally, but I suppose sometimes it just doesn’t happen. I’ve been practising, but finding the time is difficult at the moment. Not to mention I’m a bit tense with all this stuff that has to get done. I’ve been watching some amazing hypnobirthing videos on youtube which either give me a false sense of security of how amazing it is going to be, or make me freak out at how I’ll never obtain the amazing state of calm that these women have during their birthing!

One woman was talking about her surges (contractions) being like the ocean, and she imagined dolphins swimming merrily beneath the waves. All my mind went to when attempting to conjure this vision, was how pods of dolphins sometimes brutally attack orca whales and sharks when they invade their territory. Mmmm. Calming.
Anyway – am conjuring visions of waves on a beach, dogs playing in the water, swimming in rockpools, etc, and am making a playlist of music that calms me. After trying Enya and Classical music, I am still partial to old-school Silverchair and The Living End, which may not provide adequate stimulation for the whole ‘calm birth’ thing. Especially for the midwives.

Well – let’s attempt week 36 in style! It will my teaching career take a brief (or long) recess as of Thursday afternoon – then maternity leave kicks in! One week left in Bilo before heading to the Sunshine Coast for some R&R and a few doctor’s visits.
Lots of love – wish me luck with the marking!


Baby Mini-Muffin Timer

Lilypie Pregnancy tickers