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Besties with God

7 Aug

Today Henry became BFF with God. Everything went well – the service was perfect, Henry was better behaved than an angel, and it was so lovely to spend some time with friends. We even managed a public breastfeed and the little dude was so hungry he latched himself on piranha style the second we sat down. Success!

And now we’re home, enjoying the rest of our Sunday in our PJ’s. Perfect way to spend a wintery day. All in all it feels like we’ve reached a turning point, a time when life is starting to become more normal. A time when we can actually start to do stuff and go places without everything falling to pieces. And if nothing else this Sunday that’s certainly something we can thank God for.

Breast is best

7 Aug

It’s funny, all through your pregnancy you think about the labour. What it’s going to be like, how you’ll handle the pain, what you need to learn to get through what’s supposed to be the toughest four, twelve, twenty hours of your life. Typically, I didn’t think about it that much. I figured it was going to suck, that I’d beg for pain relief within seconds, and that it was only one day out of a life of thousands. And that’s pretty much how it panned out.

What no-one really talks about, and what I certainly didn’t think about, was the weeks and months after labour. How much a third degree tear really does hurt once the epidural has worn off. What it feels like to have your nipples ripped to shreds by something that looks all innocence but really has the sucking power of an industrial strength vacuum. How much it hurts to put your all into something for hours and hours each day only to have it not work, for absolutely no reason. How guilty you’ll feel giving your baby formula. And how terrified you’ll be that you’re stuffing absolutely everything up.

I’ve never been the most confident girl in the class. But I always figured I’d be a good mum. I’d love my kid to bits, I’d give him everything he needed, and I’d breastfeed because ‘Breast is Best’. I never thought that we’d struggle with something that’s supposed to be so natural, or that I’d reach the point where I just wanted to leave, run away, because I was completely unable to do the one thing I was supposed to be able to do – feed my child – in the way I thought I had to.

Seven weeks later and it still hurts. Every time I think I’m ready to just suck it up and pack it in I feel guilty for giving up so easily. I still think that by eight weeks, ten weeks, twelve weeks something will magically change and we’ll get it – there’ll be no more tears and screaming. And then there are the days when I wonder why I’m still plugging away at something that feels like it’s ruining the bond I have with my baby.

We’ve had help and lots of it. Our community health nurse has been fantastic, we’ve been to Tresillian to learn how to settle Henry and recognise the difference between hungry and tired. I’ve seen lactation consultants, I’ve been medicated, I’ve pumped till my nipples were purple. The supply has improved, slightly, but it’s still not where it should be. In a word, it’s heartbreaking.

But it’s time to move on. Henry will be two months old on Thursday and the time is simply flying by. He’s smiling now, holding his head up and pouting, becoming his own little person. Each day it’s something new, some little thing that becomes absurdly exciting when you’re a new parent – and I don’t want to miss a second of it.

It’s a new world

26 Jul

Everyone tells you your life changes when you have a baby. I never really believed it. Sure, I knew that there would be this other little being we’d have to factor into our lives, that it’d take more time to get ready to go out, that we’d have someone else other than ourselves to think about. But in the back of my mind I always questioned those people who said we’d have no time to shower, or eat, or do anything other than care for eight pounds of flesh that would wail at all hours for love and nourishment. I didn’t believe that could possibly be the case. But now, almost two months since my last post on here, I get it. That eight pounds of flesh sure takes up a lot of time and even when he’s sleeping it’s incredibly hard to draw my eyes away from his perfect little face.

The past six weeks have been the biggest learning curve of my life. Henry was born on the 16th of June weighing in at a healthy 3.68 kilos. He was perfect. Labour wasn’t exactly a breeze but it wasn’t a horror story either. The recovery was tough, tougher than I expected, but it was breastfeeding that really threw me. The one thing that was supposed to be completely natural, the one thing that I was supposed to be able to do for my son, just hasn’t happened. And for no real reason. The one thing I really wanted to do, and the one thing that I didn’t prepare a worst case scenario for, has failed. I think this is probably the first thing in my life that I haven’t succeeded at. It’s certainly the one thing I’ve put the most effort into so it’s hard to come to terms with the fact that it just hasn’t worked for us.

But now I’m finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m sitting here, next to my little guy, enjoying a cup of tea in the sun and realising for the first time that we have a beautiful baby boy who’s healthy and happy, no matter how he’s being fed. And it feels so good.

The sperm that just won’t die

6 Jun

A few years ago, The Boy got himself a needle-stick from an HIV positive patient. After the initial freak out he decided to do what any caring and considerate guy would do when faced with the prospect of becoming a potential HIV carrier – he froze his sperm. You see, The Boy knew he wanted to be a Dad some day but obviously didn’t want to expose his wife or kid to his hypothetical HIV. Kudos to him for his exemplary foresight.

Luckily The Boy didn’t get HIV. He met me, we got married, then pregnant, and The Sperm continued to live its quiet life frozen in some upmarket Sydney lab. Until The Boy decided that he no longer needed said sperm and stopped paying the storage bill.

A few months went by. A reminder letter was sent and The Boy informed The Keepers of The Sperm that he no longer wanted his cup of half-made offspring. He told them to dispose of it. A new letter was sent with very detailed instructions for The Boy to follow in regards to requesting the termination of his sperm. He didn’t follow them. This then resulted in another letter being sent requesting he provide a copy of suitable photo ID, which necessitated the use of our piece of crap printer/scanner. Of course it was at this precise moment that our piece of crap printer/scanner decided to give up the ghost completely. So after spending $100 on replacement ink that didn’t work we decided to mail off a copy of The Boy’s old hospital ID in the hope that this would be enough to get rid of The Sperm.

It wasn’t.

The Sperm did not want to die. And I have to say, both of us were fast becoming quite impressed with The Sperm’s robustness.

The Boy was sent another letter that detailed, again, what he needed to do if he wanted to allow his sperm to ‘succumb’. By this point, despite The Sperm being ‘in excess of our current reproductive needs’, we kind of wanted to see the little dudes fight on. They’d come this far. It was only fair. And after a number of ridiculous letters and phone calls, jerking The Keepers of The Sperm around had become a pretty fun way to spend our downtime. Who knew sperm would be this hard to get rid of?

Anyway, last week we got another letter alongside a call from a debt collector, indicating that we should probably take this situation a bit more seriously. The last letter came with a post-paid envelope and it looked like game over until The Boy came up with the perfect reply.

A tissue.

Now, I want to be the person who actually mails that envelope with a tissue in it SO BAD, but unfortunately the rational side of my brain is putting up a pretty fierce argument against spending what would be approximately $300 on five minutes of entertainment. With a baby on the way, I’m not entirely convinced it’d be worth it. Pretty damn close though.

Flying solo

25 Apr

The Boy left for Kenya today and up until 2pm I was keeping my shit together. Call me the Queen of Denial. But now I’m home alone, missing him like crazy, and wishing beyond anything I could wind time back to last night and make it last forever. I’m also wishing the freaking cat would stop periodically clawing the flyscreen and settle the hell down for the night before I totally snap and throw the little bugger back out in the rain.

Today’s word is “Bah” and is brought to you by an excess of pregnancy hormones and the pity party specialists. 

So. I’m 32 weeks pregnant, The Boy is somewhere in the air over the Indian ocean, The Cat is about to be made into mittens, and I’m feeling more than slightly ill at having massacred at least two chocolate bunnies in an effort to release some much needed endorphins. While my mood hasn’t exactly improved, I do have one energetic little fetus that is using the sugar rush to punch the crap out of my belly. And that, at least, never fails to make me smile.

80 days

5 Apr

80 days. Just enough time to fly around the world in a hot air balloon. Or, you know, finish growing a baby.

So that’s it then. The Boy and I have 80 days left to enjoy life before our cosy two becomes an even cuddlier three. To celebrate, I decided to spend the equivalent of my weight on cloth nappies because a) they fall into the ‘essential’ category and are therefore on my very tiny Allowed To Purchase list and b) they’re super cute and soft and I NEED something that says baby right now. Because the kicks, heartburn, and waddling just aren’t convincing enough.

Anyway, we had our 28 week check up yesterday and everything looks wonderful. Pork Chop had his foot stuck up somewhere near his mouth and he’s swimming around in a normal amount of fluid. My uterus is measuring a week ahead and, silly me, I thought once it hit 30 centimeters it’d stop growing. Apparently not. Apparently, those bony structures otherwise known as ribs are no obstacle to a growing uterus – they actually MOVE to make more room in there. So yes, I can get bigger. Much bigger. Freak show bigger. Awesome.

I also had my first childbirth class last weekend. I took a friend since The Boy was studying, and boy was that awkward. There was an audible sigh of relief from the other couples when I managed to mumble out a few mentions of my husband, though now I kind of wish I’d played it up a bit more. I mean, how often do you get to pretend to be a lesbian at childbirth classes?

As for the class itself, if was pretty good. I totally aced the relaxation exercises, sleeping through most of the eight-hour class. I’m still not convinced though, that when push comes to shove – literally – I’ll be all that relaxed. I’m pretty sure I’ll be whimpering for an epidural within the first 30 minutes. But hey, supposedly if I practice every day the next 11 weeks I’ll hardly feel a thing at all during labour. I might even orgasm. And surely the thought of being able to trot that out at Henry’s 21st will be enough to keep me going?

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.

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.

The road trip that wasn’t

27 Feb

Because I love my new iPhone, I’m going to dedicate this post to a bunch of useless photos I took on what was supposed to be our road trip to Canberra.

After bitching and moaning for a whole week about having to drive what would be my hungover husband to our nation’s capital, I got up early Sunday morning, donned my special driving hat, a bag full of snacks and my best smile, and set off to find said husband for said road trip.

After a number of wrong turns (thanks, GPS!) The Boy finally told me just to pull the damn car over so he could find me on foot. That being done, we set off. One short McDonalds stop later and all of a sudden my brand new car decided it was cactus and stopped in the middle of the road. Just like that. Oh, it revved. But it wouldn’t go. Reversing was fine, but fat lot of good that was going to do us for the three hour drive south.

Feeling slightly guilty that I may have wished the car broken we finally called the fix-it guy, who couldn’t fix it. After much nodding between Fix-it Guy and The Boy, it was decided that the car had ‘a computer problem’. This seemed to me like a bit of a bullshit explanation but by this point I’d downed two bottles of water and was getting rather desperate with Pork Chop stomping on my bladder. So I was more than happy to nod and agree if it meant we’d get somewhere (with a toilet) sooner.

Fix-it Guy called Tow Man, who thankfully rushed over because Fix-it Guy was nice enough to point out that I was pregnant and not likely to last much longer. Tow Man was super nice and offered to take us, with our lemon of a car, back to the dealership. Which suited me just fine because new car dealers always have really nice toilets. And, since this looked to be the extent of our road-trip, I took lots of photos because a) I love my iPhone and b) ‘the car broke down’ sounds like a totally lame excuse for not turning up to Canberra as expected when everyone knew The Boy had been oggling boobs to a bucks night the night before.

So, for your viewing pleasure, here’s some of the delightful scenery somewhere off the M5 in suburban Sydney.