Introducing…

This post should have been my 40 week pregnancy update, but I didn’t quite get there in time! At 39 weeks and 5 days, my water broke. Early the next morning, my little girl arrived into the world! I’ll cover the details of the birth in a separate post, but suffice to say it was fast and furious, with a total of 3.5hrs from start to finish!

We’re now at day 5 of our little Baby Bird’s life (I’ll call her Birdie on this blog) and what a week it’s been! I had two full days in hospital, where Birdie learnt how to feed and sleep, and I learnt how to eat while holding a baby, pee as quickly as possible, and how to survive on quick chunks of sleep in the small hours. Birdie passed all of her checks with flying colours, and so after the two days had past we were allowed to go home, this time as a family of 3.

This week has been a bit of a whirlwind, but Birdie’s been incredible throughout. We’re now on Day 5, and she feeds amazingly well, sleeps for long stretches, and is a delight 24/7.

The only issue I’ve had has been some soreness in recovering from the birth, and some issues with breastfeeding. I’ve been getting quite frustrated at the “if it hurts, you’re doing it wrong” line that so many books and guides parrot. Every midwife and nurse has said how well Birdie is latching, and that it looks exactly as it should. And yet, I have grazed, cracked nipples that cause a substantial amount of pain when Birdie feeds. I put it down to two things: on Birdie’s first night, she cluster fed back to back from 10pm until 5am, without a break. Regardless of how well she latches, the intensity of usage on my poor nipples left its mark. Secondly, the milk came in two days ago, and my god did it come in! My boobs were like boulders, and felt like they’d been hit by them as well. They were so swollen, Birdie struggled to latch on properly, and so my tender nipples worsened. Thankfully, one is recovering well, while the other is getting a day’s break, thanks to a breast pump. For those of you reading this, dreading the same outcome, I can tell you that it is improving, and it’s so worth it. I’ve been using a range of products and techniques to help with the healing, and if you’re interested, they are:

  • Lansinoh ointment – a lanolin gel that coats the nipple and protects it, while also helping it heal. This stuff is awesome. Buy big tubes of it
  • Multi Mums compresses – expensive, but fantastic. Soothing, cool and a great barrier between sore nipples and clothes
  • Hand expressing – just to relieve the pressure. Feels weird, but it works
  • Warm showers – just because. They help to reduce the pain and swelling prior to feeding

There are a few more things I’ve been doing, but those have had the most impact.

Anyway, I’m getting lost in the details of breastfeeding, when this post was meant to be an introduction to my gorgeous girl. She really is perfect, in my eyes, and all I want to do each day is make sure she’s ok.

This is Birdie and I, in her first week in the world. I couldn’t love her more.

Week 1
Jane xx

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Pregnancy Week 39

Week: 39

Baby: A leek – not as skinny (although that would be helpful for labour…), but certainly as long! Grub is very nearly full size now, and is busy making herself as fat as possible for delivery day.

What I’m cooking: A baby with an operational digestive system, and white rather than pink skin! She’s pretty much done, and is welcome to make an appearance any time now!

Main symptom: Aches, pains, Braxton Hicks (pretty much constant period-like cramps), and general uncomfortableness. Also, a massive case of the grumps. I’m reaching teenager levels of hormonal behaviour now, so watch out!

What’s on this week: More maternity leave, and the wait for labour. Each day is a potential for the “oooh! This is it!” moment, and yet, still nothing. Not frustrating. At all.

Week 39 comp

So as you can see, I’m just loving late pregnancy! I am the crankiest I’ve been in years, not aided by the hot weather (32˚C today, or 90˚F), my enormous girth, or the fact that each day the number of phone calls and texts asking if I’ve had the baby increases. NO. NO I HAVEN’T HAD THE BLOODY BABY. Did I text you? Did I send you a picture of a scrunched up newborn and a tired me? No? Well then. I haven’t had the F**KING baby! Seriously. Every message and phone call is “any news?” or “had the baby yet?” – what do they expect the answer to be?

“Oh, yeah! Ooops! Forgot to mention it!”???

I know. I know. It’s lovely that people care, and are excited for the new arrival. What’s unfortunate is I feel exactly the same way they do, except times a million, and I’m trying very hard to not think about it while I lie exhausted on the couch, unable to do anything except moan (once again, lucky Mr Nester!). Every time I get a text or a phone call, it just reminds me of how freaking pregnant I am, and how my body hasn’t kicked into gear yet. For fuck’s sake, I’m not even due yet! I feel like a failure already because my labour isn’t punctual. Again, I know all of this is somewhat over the top, but emotions are running high at this point in the pregnancy, and I really, really, REALLY would like to meet my baby now!

On the plus side, all this frustration at still being pregnant has meant that my fear of labour is diminishing by the day. Pain? Bring it. I can handle that. It’s the day after day of being uncomfortable, irritable, and having to wait patiently that I can’t stand at the moment. At least the pain means I’m close to meeting my little Grub. Come on baby, it’s time to see the world!

Otherwise, in grosser news, I’ve started losing my mucous plug. For those not in the know about this lovely little item, your body basically creates a seal at the cervix that lasts throughout the pregnancy, and you guessed it, it’s made of mucous. Once the cervix starts softening and dilating, this plug starts breaking apart and, well, coming out. It can also be called a bloody show, as it can have blood in it from the cervical blood vessels rupturing as it dilates. It basically looks like snot. Lovely. So for the last week, each time I visit the loo I get another “gift” from my cervix. It can mean that labour is on the way, it can mean nothing at all. I mentioned it at my midwife appointment this week, and her response was “I don’t want to say we disregard it completely, but…”. So it seems I’m not necessarily at the precipice of contractions then. She also mentioned that Grub is still 3/5 engaged, and my sigh of frustration seemed to surprise her – she said that there’s nothing wrong with that at all, and that she could drop the rest of the way right as labour starts. It’s more important that she’s engaged at all, rather than to what extent.

So there you have it. Still playing the waiting game, and I have the stretch and sweep next week if nothing happens between now and then. My due date is fast approaching, and I can only hope Grub wants to make her grand entrance close to that date, because another 2 weeks of waiting and I may just go insane.

See you at the (hopefully) last week!

Jane xx

 

Pregnancy Week 38

Week: 38

Baby: A pumpkin – the biggest one you can find. Quite apt since we’ve just had Halloween, although I’m not really up for a ghoul or vampire baby – just a normal human one would be great.

What I’m cooking: Same again for Grub – she’s still gaining fat, growing fingernails, and processing meconium for that first poo. Yuck.

Main symptom: I actually had some Braxton Hicks this week! I’ve been trying a few labour-inducing exercises (more on that later), and I think some of them are doing something – two nights ago I had pulses of pain across my lower abdomen, like cramps but stronger, about once every 30 minutes or so. They subsided overnight, but it’s good to know my body’s getting ready!

What’s on this week: Maternity leave! Ohhh hell yes! Also, another midwife appointment. Other than waiting for the big event, that’s pretty much it!

Week 38 comp

Ahhhh maternity leave, how sweet you are. It’s been so lovely to be able to slow down, and actually rest! I’m mid way through the first week of leave, and so far there’s been no sign that Grub wants to make an appearance, which to be honest has been fine with me. It’s been fantastic to be able to move at my own pace, and just start getting everything finalised for bringing her home.

Also, is it just me or does my figure look strange in this week’s progress shot? Something is looking odd with my length or something – both my butt and the underside of my bump look quite different to last week’s picture. Not sure what’s happening there, but according to the midwife this week not much has changed drop-wise – she’s still sitting at 3/5 engaged, although my fundal height has caught up to my week progress – at 36 weeks I was measuring 34.5cm, but this week at 38 I’m bang on 38cm. Looks like she’s got her size figured out! Speaking of the midwife appointment, she told me this week to go ahead and start trying to bring on labour! Basically, if I hit 40 weeks they’ll do a stretch and sweep, then let me run on to 41 weeks, at which point they’ll induce. I really, really don’t want to be induced, so it’s all systems go for Operation: Bring on the Baby! I’m slightly torn though, because it’s my birthday early next week, and I’d really like to keep the day to myself! Whatever happens, happens though. I’ll deal.

In terms of trying to bring on labour, here’s what I’m trying:

  • hand expressing – this is the only trick that has any scientific backing, according to Expecting Better, so I’ve been giving this a red-hot go. I’m actually producing some colostrum, which was a bit of a shock!
  • Long walks/climbing stairs – this one is not much fun with the belly size I’m currently packing, but I can certainly feel the effect after walking up a big hill or a set of stairs. Hopefully this encourages Grub to get further into my pelvis.
  • Fit ball bouncing – same reasons as the walking, but this one I can do in front of the TV, so it’s been a hit over the last few days!
  • Raspberry leaf tea – apparently you need to drink a lot of this to have any effect, but it’s worth a shot!
  • Spicy food – cooking up a nice curry tonight in the hopes that helps things along, although the heartburn side effect isn’t the greatest…

So far that’s it – there are a couple more options to try out, but I might save them for next week if there’s still no action. I still have a few more things I want to cross off the list before the day hits, so I’m not too worried if there’s no result for a few more days yet.

Otherwise, I’m now onto weekly hospital appointments until either I go into labour, or they decide to induce me, and I’m trying to catch up with friends while I’m home and relaxed, just in case I don’t see them for a couple of weeks!

I’ll let you know if anything happens, we’re on the waiting game now!

Jane xx

Pregnancy Week 37

Week: 37

Baby: Celery – how healthy. This is what I need to be eating a lot of once Grub pops out, so get back to my svelte (ha!) pre-baby figure.

What I’m cooking: There’s not a lot of changes between now and birth for little Grub, she’s just stewing happily in there until she decides it’s her birthday.

Main symptom: Still achiness, along with the inability to put socks on. I’ve finally reached the stage where my feet are a bridge too far. The biggest inconvenience with this is sitting and leaning forward, where I instantly crush my already squished stomach, and feel like I’m going to vomit. Fancy.

What’s on this week: The last week of work! Tying up all the loose ends, and finalising everything for my classes so others can take over, then it’s home for good! It seems completely surreal.

Week 37 comp

I made it! I can’t believe I actually survived to the end of 37 weeks, and the end of my working stint. When I originally organised to work until 38 weeks, my thought process was along the lines of “how hard can it be? I just have to take it easier for a bit!”. Stupid, stupid Jane! Thank goodness my bump has still been pretty manageable, because I was on the verge of throwing in the towel this week, and that was with only 3 days of work (we got an extra long weekend due to Melbourne Cup). I think the biggest barrier for me was an all-encompassing desire to be home. I didn’t want to leave in the morning, and all I could think about during the day was what I wanted to be organising in the house. Call it nesting, whatever, but it has been such a strong urge this week. I feel like I can relax at home, and I can also move at my snail’s pace without being late for anything.

So I lasted through my last week, and work was wonderful – my students threw me a party and gave me presents, my colleagues took me out for dinner, and I cried on the last day knowing I’d be leaving it all for quite some time. I do tend to bitch and whinge about work quite a lot, but I work with some amazing people, and I teach some amazing kids. I’ll miss them all a lot.

Now I’m home, it all feels quite surreal – like I’m skiving off work and someone’s going to catch me out. I’ve tried to get quite a bit done this weekend in terms of going out and buying the last few bits and pieces, just in case Grub decides earlier is better and makes a hasty appearance. It also means I don’t have to go anywhere if I don’t want to – I ducked into the library on the weekend and picked up some books to keep me occupied, as well as the local craft store for some material for nappy liners and some wool in case the knitting mood strikes. That, along with all the tidying up our house needs, should keep me very busy for the next couple of weeks!

Otherwise, in baby news, I’m pretty sure Grub has officially dropped. Looking at last week’s progress shot (here) compared to this week seems to show a more gentle slope of the top of my belly, and I’m certainly breathing better. The other indicator is a lovely sensation of Grub grinding her head into my bladder, at the most inopportune moments. Luckily, this hasn’t resulted in me wetting myself (yet!), but it’s certainly not a sensation I am enjoying.

Next week we have another midwife appointment, and week 1 of maternity leave! Let’s see if I actually get anything done, or if instead I blob on the couch catching up on Netflix…only time will tell!

Jane xx

Pregnancy Week 36

Week: 36

Baby: Rhubarb – yummy baby! Now, just to stew some apples and make a pie…

What I’m cooking: Chubby cheeks! Now she’s all about the fat gain, Grub is getting some squeezable cheeks this week, which is going to make it all the more difficult not to eat her up!

Main symptom: A serious issue with general uncomfortableness – sitting for too long makes my coccyx ache, standing for too long makes my legs and feet ache, walking makes everything hurt, lying down impacts on my hips. The extra weight, all centred on my stomach (I hope!) just really takes a toll on your body. As a consequence, I’m cranky and awful for a lot of the time. Lucky everyone else!

What’s on this week: Another midwife checkup, and our last ultrasound before we get to see Grub for real. Also, my last full week of work! It couldn’t have come a minute sooner.

Week 36 comp

I am not keeping up to date at the moment! Big weeks at work in trying to get everything sorted before I leave has meant my organisation in all other areas has been severely lacking! So I apologise for my delay this week – can I blame being fat and slow? This week, I’ve had something on pretty much every night – the midwife appointment on the Monday along with another doctor appointment, work meetings on the Tuesday and yoga, an ultrasound on Thursday, and then a wedding on the weekend that I’d promised to make an artwork for, so Wednesday and Friday (and Saturday!) were spent experimenting and finalising the piece. Luckily for me, I’ve then had Monday and Tuesday off this week (see how late I am!), in which my nesting instincts have kicked back into gear. We’ve been gifted a ridiculously large amount of baby clothes from our friends who already have kids, so this weekend I sorted through them all, put aside some for charity donations (seriously, there are so many clothes it’s impossible to keep them all), and washed and sorted the rest. The remainder of the house is a dump site, but at least that’s done. I also finally finished packing my hospital bag! I went into a bit of a panic late last week, as a friend of mine that was due the same day as me gave birth on Thursday! So that certainly helped me to get my skates on. I later found out she’d been induced as the baby hadn’t been growing as well as she should, so that’s put me at ease a little more, but the countdown until D-Day is getting to be a crazily small amount of days (I swear last time I checked it was about 60 days until I was due, now it’s 17!!) and I feel like there’s still a lot to do.

Surprisingly enough, I feel almost ready for labour. I think the trickiest part at the moment is the not knowing – I could go into labour in the next 5 minutes, or it might not happen for another couple of weeks. That’s causing me the most anxiety, so I’m almost wanting it to happen sooner so that I can just get on with it. I’ve never been good at waiting for things! I’m trying not to symptom check, but it’s tricky when everything hurts – you start questioning whether it hurt that much before, or maybe something’s changed.

Anyway. Let’s give you an update on the official stuff – the midwife appointment was great, as usual. Lovely midwife, we had a great chat while she was checking me out. My urine test (the first one I’ve done…oops! I’m meant to do them at every appointment…) was negative, my Strep B test also came back negative, and Grub is starting to head towards being engaged! They’ve said she’s 3/5 engaged, which means her head is almost in the middle of my pelvis. This also means that the measurement for my fundal height (meant to match the amount of weeks) isn’t as accurate anymore, as she’s not all up in my abdomen. At 36 weeks, I measured 34.5cm, and I imagine it’ll be similar at the next appointment at 38 weeks. She certainly feels heavy though! We also had the last ultrasound last week for the placenta study I’m involved in, and we got to see Grub’s lovely face again, even if it was only nose down (her eyes were too far into the pelvis to see properly). We were also told she’s already 3.1kg (6lb13oz)! Which puts her in the 90th percentile size wise – no issues with a lack of growth here…eeek!

Here she is, little chubby cheeks:

38wk scan

I feel like as I’m slowing down, everything around me is speeding up. I’m so looking forward to reaching the end of this week, as from Friday afternoon I’ll officially be on maternity leave! I’m trying to come up with some ideas for things to do to keep me occupied, but I think the first few days will consist of a lot of sleeping and catching up on Netflix!

See you on the relaxi-side!

Jane xx

Pregnancy Week 35

Week: 35

Baby: Silverbeet – now we’re getting somewhere with the length! I feel constantly full at the moment, there’s really not much more room for Grub to grow…

What I’m cooking: Still developing the pudge as much as possible, this is pretty much all that’s left for Grub to do – she’s nearly ready for the outside world!

Main symptom: Still the achy hips, still the sore lower back, and more of the cramps. I’m just getting somewhat walrus like – slow, ambling, and averse to any kind of movement. I love love love my couch.

What’s on this week: Still on the work countdown – no appointments, but just trying to wrap as much up as possible in case I pop early! Mr Nester and I are off to the city for a day out this weekend, to have a bit of a last hurrah before everything baby hits!

Week 35 comp

I’m getting progressively slower. I also have a serious case of the can’t-be-fuckeds. Work just seems so unimportant at the moment, especially knowing that I could go into labour at any time. I’m really, really hanging out for maternity leave now, and kind of wishing that I had organised to finish up sooner. I just want to be at home, getting everything prepared and taking it as easy as possible.

I was clever enough last weekend to cook up a huge batch of dinners for the next couple of weeks, so that has taken the pressure off somewhat. My main problem is that I’m running out of freezer space! We only have a little freezer on top of the fridge, so fitting a month’s worth of meals into it just isn’t feasible. I’m very tempted to buy a little bar size freezer to stock up, as I figure it’ll also come in handy when Grub starts eating solids, and I can batch cook and freeze her food. We’ll see. I need to find somewhere to put the freezer first!

I’ve done a little more shopping, and have also been gifted an insane amount of hand-me-down clothes, which is awesome, but I’m a little concerned that Grub isn’t going to have enough outfit changes to get through them all! It’s a little crazy! I ended up buying another carrier, as mentioned recently – the Manduca. I managed to find a fantastic Facebook group that does a buy/sell/trade set up for all types of carriers – I had no idea there were so many! And some are so ridiculously expensive! I managed to get myself a bargain with the Manduca – about half the retail price, and it looks like it’s in great condition. It should arrive next week, so I’ll update you once it comes through.

I’m also trying to restrain myself from buying yet more nappies, as I’ve also found a Facebook MCN (Modern Cloth Nappies) group, that again has some great bargains. Trying to restrain myself, failing pretty badly!

Ah well. Only 3 weeks of work left, including this week! (I’m writing this blog waaaaay late, so now it’s only 2 weeks left! Hurray!).

Yours in walrusness,

Jane xx

Pregnancy Week 34

Week: 34

Baby: A honeydew melon – I’m guessing this one is weight, not size, as I’m feeling closer to a watermelon in the belly compartment!

What I’m cooking: A rapidly increasing baby! Grub is putting on about 250g a week now (1/2 a pound), so the weight gain is really starting to focus itself on my middle…looks like I’ll be doing some waddling pretty soon…

Main symptom: Mildly itchy eyes again this week, but mainly the start of what I’m assuming are Braxton Hicks, or similar – very light menstrual cramps, and achy hips and lower back.

What’s on this week: Another hospital appointment, and my first week of work in the standard maternity leave period – it’s going to get harder and harder to stay working now when I know I could finish at any time!

Week 34 comp

Well don’t I look incredibly pregnant at the moment! I’m a little shocked at the progression pic this week, as I seem to have ballooned overnight. I’m also feeling like my belly is a lot heavier at the moment, and pretty much as soon as I stand up I feel the need to pee – Grub is making use of the cushions available to her!

I was off to see the midwife again for another check up, where she asked me for my urine test result (??) – I told her I’d never been asked for this yet, and she seemed very surprised. Turns out I’m meant to be peeing on a stick and reporting the colour every time I go for an appointment, which I’m sure no-one has told me (or if they have I forgot it instantly!). Ah well, no matter – as long as I do it from now on I should be fine. I also got my whooping cough vaccination this week (as a multi shot, with tetanus and diphtheria thrown in for free) – this is an important one, as newborn babies can’t be vaccinated against whooping cough for the first few weeks, and it can be a scarily serious problem if they contract it in that time. By me having the vaccine in the 3rd trimester, I can provide antibodies to Grub while she’s still in utero, which provides her with some protection until she can get her own shot. It’s nice to know I’m doing what I can to help her out, even before she springs into the world.

Speaking of springing, I’ve had an uneasy feeling all week that this little bub is going to make her entrance before time – I still have quite a lot to do at work before I can let things go over to other people, so this week I’ve been a little frantic in trying to get a few loose ends tied up, just in case. It might be due to the fact that I’ve developed these little cramps on and off (although that may just be a bit of dehydration from the hot weather), and also that I feel very heavily pregnant at the moment – she’s starting to feel like she’s going to fall out of me sometime soon. I’m also somewhat at risk of a pre-term labour – I was born 6 weeks early, and that can apparently be an indicator of giving birth early. Also, the fact that we conceived using IVF can be another risk factor – for some reason over 55% of IVF pregnancies result in a birth prior to the due date. So, in short, eeek!

Otherwise, I’m counting down to the end of work (3 weeks left!!), and to the complete transformation of life as we know it. I’m swinging between being ridiculously excited, utterly terrified, and just a little overwhelmed, and sometimes all three at once!

Next week brings more of the same, with hopefully a few more work things organised…just in case. I also have a few online purchases that should be arriving soon, which I’ll show you when they rock up on my doorstep. Exciting!

Jane xx