Archive | March, 2011

More pretty things

29 Mar

I honestly don’t know why the universe is throwing yet more beautiful embroidery at me, but check these out! Embroidered Penguin Classics. Totally want to get the Black Beauty one when it comes out.

In other lovely news, I just found a shop that sells super cute screen printed textiles in Melbourne called Ink and Spindle. There are some gorgeous designs on there, even one with a pirate theme that I know The Boy will approve of. Someone should probably take my credit card away from me though because between the book covers, the pretty fabric, and my new cloth nappy addiction, we’re going to have more debt than savings soon.

And finally, I just want to mention crumpets. I’ve gone off the whole Easter Bun thing now (sooooo last week) and have returned to my first love – the jam crumpet. With tea. Totally can’t wait to be on maternity leave with my two boys, eating crumpets and drinking tea while we’re all rugged up together in bed. Mmmm.

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Very belly

28 Mar

So! I made it to the third trimester. Only nine more weeks until I’m considered term, 12 weeks to my due date. It’s super close now but it still feels like forever and I can tell already that these final months are going to be a drag.

A drag because I want my little man out already, so I can hold him close and breathe him in. A drag because I’m already HUGE – thanks, world, for pointing that out every single day –  and don’t really want to get any bigger. And a drag because I’m still at work and can’t concentrate on a single thing, which makes every day feel like it’s a thousand hours long.

In all honesty, I didn’t think I was going to make it this far. Not because we’ve been riddled with pregnancy scares, or because I’m high risk, or because something has gone wrong in the past. No, I’ve had a really easy pregnancy and am happier than I’ve ever been; happier than I ever thought I could be. I didn’t think I’d make it this far because it’s all been going so incredibly well that something terrible MUST be lurking around the next corner. And so while I’m super excited to be running the home stretch, I’m also typically paranoid that this good luck can’t possibly last.

Because Google is a pregnant girls’ best friend, here’s this weeks’ selection of Stuff I Googled And Immediately Regretted:

1. Breech babies. According to Google, only 15% of babies are still breech by 29 weeks. Henry is still breech. I can feel him, hell, I can SEE his head up under my ribcage. No biggie, I tell myself. He’s got plenty of time to turn. But, according to a number of unauthoritative websites, a baby that’s still breech by its 30 week can be indicative of  neuromuscular problems, such as cerebral palsy. Cue nightmares.

2. Lotus birth. This was actually a Google search recommended by a ‘friend’ that The Boy and I repeated for some unknown reason the other night. I think it was one of those instances where, when you see something horrible, you just have to tell someone else to get it off your chest. So that’s what we did. And that’s what I’m doing to you now. You know your curiosity will get the better of you eventually. But if you look at images, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

3. Cord accidents. Actually, Googling this made me feel a bit better. The number of fetus’ who’ve made it to the third trimester and then died is really, really small. Still, it could happen. Some of the time this is caused by what’s known as a cord accident. Junior gets his cord wrapped around his neck and everything ends badly. This fear has seen me on all fours under my desk, sucking down OJ and shaking my belly to get the little guy to move more times than I’m sure is necessary. But thanks to ongoing research we’re finding out that most cord deaths aren’t spontaneous – there’s usually some other factor in play, such as too little fluid, or a shorter than average cord. While I may be drinking more than a dehydrated fish these days, if it’s going to reduce the chances that Henry’s cord loses its jelly like substance because of low fluid levels hook me up to a hose right now.

4. Stages of labour. Anything to do with childbirth, really. But what got me was that the first stage of labour – when contractions start – can last up to 12 hours. 12 HOURS. I cry when I’ve had mild stomach cramps for more than 30 minutes. Childbirth is going to kill me. I haven’t even begun researching the second and third stages of labour yet because I’m still stuck on 12 freaking hours of cramps before its go time. What I think I’m going to need is a big fuck-off sign on the front door that can pre-warn any well-intentioned visitors that if they open said door they will be greeted by Linda Blair who will, no matter how nice they are, rip their heads off and slowly devour them limb by limb. And this is exactly why I’ve told The Boy that its only going to be him and me in the labour ward. Because he’s the only one who has officially committed to taking me for better or for worse.

Of course, this is just a sample of the things I’m anxious about. There’s the whole sleeping-on-my-back-and-therefore-depriving-my-unborn-of-blood/oxygen thing, which I don’t actually understand, and the food anxiety is, as usual, trundling along quite nicely. I’m also starting to get really worked up about post-natal things, like how to change a nappy, how to get a baby to sleep, and how to survive six months without sleep because I’m terrified my baby is going to die from SIDS.

Thankfully, in between freak outs, I’m actually quite excited. In a matter of weeks now The Boy and I are going to be holding our first love-child. I’m pretty sure it’s going to fantastic. We’ve got most everything sorted now so all that’s left to do is get ready to soak up the lovelinesses of our new little family. And that’s something I think I can do.

Embroidered story books

23 Mar

I have absolutely no idea how I found these today, but OMG check them out! Embroidered story books! They’re the most beautiful little books EVER!

Embroidery has always been one of those crafts that I’ve been a bit meh about. I find it hard enough sewing saddle stitch to finish off quilts, let alone doing something that requires the sight of an owl and the ability to work on something for months before seeing any tangible result. I’m an instant project kind of girl. Even then I have oh say about FIVE projects on the back burner right now, because the corners of this quilt are ticking me off and I have to finish it FIRST, before the baby it’s for actually has kids of his own.

Embroidery has also been, to me, a bit of a nana craft. Like, embroidered ducks in bonnets on one of those quilting loop things, hung on a wall. I’m all for nana crafts, but I like the cool ones… like crochet blankets, for example. Sure, they may look a bit dorky, but in a totally awesome kind of way. Plus, they’re practical. Like tea cosies. If I could knit well enough to make a tea cosy I’d have a bunch of those buggers lying around over leftover Saturday morning teapots.

Anyway… embroidered books! Awesome! I believe the cool kids are calling it ‘contemporary embroidery’ and I’m all for it. I love textures. If I had the patience (and time, and money), I’d embroider a bunch of cushions for our house. Even our sheets at home are embroidered and I love them. Because textiles are cool.

What I’d love to do for Henry is make a book just like this, but less girly. Like a Peter Pan one. Peter Pan would be good, considering his Dad’s infatuation with all things pirate. Or maybe one of his favourites from Dr Seuss? This is, of course, a complete pipe dream – I realise I have zero time to tackle anything new while the house still needs to be painted, curtains need to be sewn, and a folio needs to be completed. But a girl can dream, right?

The Great Disappearing Act

22 Mar

It’s official. I’m almost-not-quite 27 weeks pregnant and I can no longer see my feet when I’m walking down stairs. As for my lady-parts? I said goodbye to those a couple of weeks ago and for the record yes, it is super freaky not being able to see what’s going on down there.

Not that I made a habit of looking all the time or anything weird like that, but you know – you’d catch sight of things every now and again and be reassured that everything was still all normal. Now? Now I have no idea. Though The Boy has recently learnt an interesting new medical fact – lady parts tend to look bigger when one is growing a new human. Here he was thinking that larger-than-life vagina’s were perhaps something to do with the Western Sydney demographic but noooo… something changes around the 25 week mark and wham! That thing grows! Which I guess I should say is probably A Good Thing because full-term fetuses aren’t exactly small. I’m just hoping it snaps back to normal once all’s said and done.

Anyway…

Pregnancy week 27 has seen a return of first trimester nausea, as well as some exciting new symptoms such as leg cramps, dizziness, shortness of breath and an overall grumpiness that kinda makes me want to slap pretty much everyone. And then cry because I’ve turned into an awful human being, who will be a horrible mother, who will then create a mass-murdering child because she is a terrible role model. Is there such a thing as pregnancy-induced bipolar? Because I think I probably have that.

In all seriousness, while I love the fact that soon The Boy and I will have a baby I can think of better ways to get there than through experiencing nine months of pregnancy. I know there are women out there who love, love, LOVE being pregnant, and would give anything to be in my shoes but I’m not the type of pregnant chic that glows. Sure, the kicking is pretty sweet and the bigger boobs are definitely a bonus, but the moods, cramps, tiredness and unpredictable tears I could probably do without. Don’t even get me started on the back-fat and the gas.

So last week was a bit of a whingey week. I was tired, I was grumpy, I was behind in my school work and on the only day in this pregnancy where I’ve had the chance to get dressed up for a nice night out with The Boy I got a face full of cold sores and it rained, turning my tediously straightened hair into a mop of unruly frizz. As recompense I chucked a Monday morning sickie and schlepped around in my PJ’s, watching movies and eating pizza in bed with The Boy. As a result I still have the back-fat and the cold sores, but I’m no longer the totally wasted, grumpy bitch I was for most of the weekend.

And as for the moral of this story…aside from the one The Boy bought up about girls making silly decisions regarding snakes and eating apples (which I DARE him to repeat in the labour ward) it’s that pizza and snuggles can fix (almost) anything.

Monsters in the night

11 Mar

Ahhh… Friday night. Oh how I’m looking forward to you, and your delightful cousin, Saturday morning. This week there are no bucks nights to get up early for. No flights to Tassie. No early morning shifts, no appointments… nothing. Nothing but a good sleep in and plans for breakfast in bed. And maybe an early morning viewing of a Harry Potter movie while cuddled up to my beloved.

I totally need this Saturday. Because this week has been crap on the sleep front. Wednesday night? Shot to shit with what I thought was another bout of gastro. Thankfully, I was saved from the impending vomit explosion, but I managed to keep both The Boy and I up with my miserable whining and panicking about the fact that I was never going to make it through labour if I’m practically begging for an epidural over a few stomach cramps.

Thursday night? Even worse. Though thanks to my handy pregnancy apps, I’m assured that these horrific dreams I’ve been having that kept me wide-eyed awake in terror since 4:30am this morning are perfectly normal. Or rather, that bad dreams are normal. I’m not sure where my particular brand of mass-murdering, terror filled dreams fit on the ‘normal’ scale, but let’s just say that they’re worse than all five SAW movies put together. With a bit of Wolf Creek and Paranormal Activity thrown in for good measure.

Apparently, all the needing to pee and bladder kicking from Pork Chop are to blame. Waking up while in REM sleep is bad. Waking up three times a night while in REM sleep makes for one totally screwed-up sleep session that has left me with bags etched so deep in my eyes I pretty much look like an Emo with a mascara addiction without even trying. What’s really scary though is it’s not as though the little one is causing these whacked out dreams. No. Apparently it’s just the waking up while in REM sleep makes you more likely to remember your nighttime imaginings. Which makes me totally worried about my mental health if I’ve been dreaming this crazy shit for years and didn’t even know it.

Anyway. Saturday. Saturday will be good for sleep. And then I’ll get up for tea, and pancakes, and hop straight back into bed where I can stay wrapped up in some big, safe arms.

In other news – The Boy and I finally chose a pram that we’re both in love with, the graphic design course is going splendidly, and I’m the mood for baking hot cross buns this weekend. I blame the rain this morning. That, and the fact that Easter is just around the corner and I’m yet to see a good hot cross bun in our local store. And I’m totally hankering for one. Could this be one of those elusive cravings?

Anyway, since every recipe I’ve made from Design Sponge has turned out to be totally stellar so far, I figured I’d give this one a burl tomorrow. It has figs and chocolate in it… how could it possibly go wrong? I’ll let you know how it goes.

A bone to pick

8 Mar

Holy cow I’ve had an exciting day. I have a friend who has just bought an amazing house on the Gold Coast (fully pimped out with an 80’s curved mirror wall) and another friend who has just revealed she’s 8 weeks pregnant. The Boy has finished nights (which meant a massage for me last night – score!), and I spent my lunch hour sitting in the sun with a cup of tea and a few Scotch Finger biscuits, completing a drawing assignment for my graphic design course.

All in all I’m feeling really, really good. Mostly because when I checked my calendar this morning I found I have only nine more weeks left at work. And only five of those are full-time. I’m telling you, you couldn’t wipe the grin off my face today. D-day is fast approaching and soon The Boy and I will have an actual baby to hold, rather than a rather heavy lump to keep on poking.

In other news, today is International Womens Day. As such, I’d like to hereby invoke my rights as a woman to request my husband cook me pancakes for dinner. Pancakes and lasagna. Husband? Are you listening?

In all seriousness, I’ve read a few articles on the topic this morning. Most have been relatively well written and have highlighted how far women come, and how far we’ve got to go. You know, the usual. But what really got my goat was the number of men commenting on these articles about the lack of international men’s day. Complaining about how hard they have it that they’re totally unrecognised. Many argued that men fought for their own rights – to be able to vote, to create unions etc – and that women have piggybacked off their success.

While I’m not about to go into the finer details of this argument – my lunch hour is, after all, officially over – what I don’t understand is why it is so hard for people to recognise and acknowledge that some sections of society – be it women, men, the disabled, the aged, migrants, heck even whole countries – have it hard sometimes and it’s not going to hurt anyone to recognise that fact on the odd day or two.

So what, today is International Women’s Day. It’s a day to say ‘OK, sure, I can see where you’re coming from. I have a mother, a sister, a wife or a friend who I wouldn’t want feeling this way… so you go girlfriend,’ not ‘OMG I can’t believe how whiny all you bitches are. You don’t see ME complaining about how rough I have it!’

Reading all those comments left me pretty disheartened. It’s not because I don’t feel men should be heard, or that they don’t have their own battles to fight – paternity leave is an example of where I think men get totally ripped off. It’s because the majority of these comments stem from what appears to be a seriously selfish mindset. Why should women get a day and not men? Why should we give aid to Africa when there are new flat-screen 3D TV’s on the market? Because life isn’t always about what you get, and making sure your glass is just as full as everyone else’s. Sometimes its about realising that you could probably get by with a quarter of a glass, while that poor bugger over there who hasn’t had a drink in five days might relish the extra.

So you know what? I’m going to celebrate International Women’s Day, and every other damn day that I feel is valid. I’ll celebrate Martin Luther King day not because I’m black, but because I believe all people should be treated equally. And I’m going to start by asking that prick in a suit to get up and let me sit down on the train tonight. Because while it’s often argued that women fought for equality and now we should lie in the bed we made, I don’t see many men out there bearing the brunt of carrying a six month old fetus on an hour commute home.

A little bit more empathy, a little bit more compassion, and a little bit more kindness would go a long way. So before you jump up and down about your own rights and hardships, ask yourself – is it really too much to ask to let someone else be heard, just this one time?

Nailed it

3 Mar

Pretty chuffed with myself today. Totally aced yesterday’s pregnancy assessment obstetrician appointment. In fact I did so well I’m pretty sure I got a gold star. The Boy indicated it might have even been scratch-n-sniff sticker worthy. I quietly agree with him.

Now, to bore you with all the overly informational details…

Weight: “Excellent”. Apparently I’m supposed to be putting on weight since I’m, duh, pregnant. Though from now on my OB has told me I should start averting my eyes before stepping on the scales.

I credit my success in this department to a week of vegetable stick lunches, and consciously choosing the lightest clothing I could find. That 100g made all the difference, I’m sure.

Size of uterus: “Right on target!” This was said with much enthusiasm, along with the comment that I’ve certainly popped. Why yes, yes I have.

Blood pressure: “Nice and low”. My OB actually beamed when she did my BP. BEAMED.

Pee sample: “Beautiful and clear”. What she meant to say here was “If you want, we could start bottling this and make millions, it looks THAT good.”

Fetus: “Aww look he’s got a perfect nose” (cue look of absolute manic pride as The Boy takes credit for this) and “He’s certainly an active one, isn’t he”.

My OB clearly loves the ultrasound part of these appointments. It’s so nice to have her grinning from ear to ear and laughing as she chases my boy around with the probe. I didn’t tell her that this was Henry being quiet – I’d hate to see what he gets up to when he’s really kicking up a storm.

But the good news is everything looks great. Henry is head up right now which I kind of figured out myself because I’ve been poking this hard lump above my belly button for a couple of weeks now and wondering whether I was causing any permanent brain damage. We got to see him sucking his thumb and sticking out his tongue, and, as of this Thursday, our little man is viable!

Sigh. Another big milestone for the Pork Chop.

Hello, Thumper!

2 Mar

I don’t quite know what I’m growing but I can tell you that at 24 weeks it feels like I’ve got an entire soccer team in there. I love it, I really do, but now rather than worrying that the little dude isn’t moving enough, I’m worried that he’s well on the way to tiring himself out – and me in the process.

Not an hour goes by where I’m not feeling our future NBA star kick and roll. And he doesn’t stop at night either – lucky I can sleep through it – but The Boy says he feels him kicking his back if he cuddles too close. It’s incessant. I worry. Then I smile and think to myself that I’m going to miss this feeling like crazy once Pork Chop makes his grand arrival. It’s the coolest feeling in the world, feeling this little boy move around inside me. I probably drive everyone around me mad trying to get them to feel it too but hey, this is the most amazing feeling in the world! Feel it too! Smile! Forget all the daily crap you have to deal with and get a load of this! I’m growing a human!*

Anyway, aside from the endless knocks and bumps, The Boy and I have been on a variety of missions this week. First was Project Cot that I had very little to do with but let me just say it looks awesome and I had a bit of a cry because soon there will be a baby in there and it’s just so darn cute and OMG-this-is-really-happening-ish.

The second is Project Design that I actually have a lot to do with since enrolling myself into a design degree because, you know, I’m going to have heaps of spare time and graphic design is so easy. Wrong! I’m halfway through the first week and already I’m tired. But it IS exciting. Super exciting. And overwhelming, because I’m starting to realise that my folio is due the day before Henry and it’s probably going to entail quite a bit of work. Lucky about all that maternity leave I’m taking!

Project the Third is my monthly visit to the OB today. I’m nervous. I don’t know why, there’s no reason to be, but I have this feeling I’m going to cry. Over absolutely nothing. Because even I realise that I have nothing to cry about right now – I’m loving life! But if I cry – or if the scales are accurate lie and I’ve put on too much weight – I won’t get an ‘A’ for pregnancy and the adoring approval of my husband and doctor. (Because clearly that’s what these visits are about – grades. Yes, everyone is grading me. I know what goes on when I leave the surgery – there’s a little ‘B’ jotted down in my manila folder. Or ‘C’. C for crazy.)

So aside from worrying that I’m not PERFECT at pregnancy, I am super excited that we get to see Henry again today. I can’t wait to see how he’s grown and what he looks like now. Apparently he’s the size of an egglplant – a big one – and his nostrils are opening, allowing him to practice breathing through his cute little button nose.  He’s storing fat – which gives me the appetite of a hippo – and, by the feel of it, he’s flipped from head down to head up.

Little man, I can’t wait to meet you.

*Or an octopus. Or a giraffe with 60 legs and the girth of a buffalo. Or, most likely, my husband’s son who will run me ragged as soon as he figures out how to crawl.

Orange marmalade

1 Mar

On my day off on Saturday, between sewing projects and procrastinating about cleaning the house, I whipped up some of The Boy’s favourite banana bread.

The recipe for this banana bread comes from Nigella Lawson’s Domestic Goddess cookbook, though I make a few of my own additions. I leave out the bourbon soaked sultanas because we don’t usually have any sultanas (or bourbon) in the house. And I add walnuts, plus a teaspoon or so of my favourite secret ingredient – pumpkin pie spice – to liven things up. This time I added in one of those kid-sized packets of apricots and sultanas and something must of gone right because The Boy declared it to be The Best Banana Bread Yet. Looks like it’s an A+ for me this week!

Anyway, aside from slapping on some butter when it comes out of the oven, I love this banana bread with orange marmalade. Or apricot jam. But since apricot season is well and truly over, I figure it might be time to try my hand at making some marmalade to have on toast once the little one arrives.

Thankfully, Design*Sponge has inspired me with this gorgeous recipe. And if it’s anything like the pulled pork recipe that I made a few weeks back, it’s going to be a hit.