Daddy’s boy 100%

This week sure has been interesting so far!  This is my last week at work and so every morning my husband says to me, “Today is your last Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday of 2017!”  This really is kind of insane as I have had a job of some kind since I was 15.  The longest gap in employment was about six weeks when I first came to hubby’s country.

Where I live now maternity leave is paid at 70% of your salary for 4 months.  This seems incredibly short compared to the likes of Scandinavian and ex-Communist countries which have maternity leave requirements sometimes up to 2 years in duration!  In any case, my plan is to take additional holiday and unpaid parental leave so that I am home with baby for at least six months.  Then I’ll see what I want to do after that.

With this in mind and because my role at work is senior, my employer has decided to recruit maternity cover for me.  For the past three weeks I have been spending hours and hours with my replacement explaining in great detail everything about the main client she will be working on.  I’ve been coaching her through all of the information, even though she is older and has more experience than me.  She was doing well and sounding really enthusiastic, even messaging me out of hours to tell me how great everything was.

So you can imagine my surprise when she just didn’t turn up to work yesterday and then it transpired that she had contacted the Director of the company where I work and made it clear she no longer wants to work with us.  I don’t want to risk getting myself into any legal trouble, but let’s just say the way she went about this was quite spectacular, highly accusatory and she will not be on my Christmas cards list this year.

I thought I was a decent judge of people, but then stuff like this happens and I’m totally taken by surprise.  So now I have two days of work left and no replacement.  Everything will be fine in the long run I’m sure, but unfortunately whoever takes over from me won’t get any in-person handover now.

The whole drama surrounding this – and there was a lot of drama that I am not able to mention here – was exhausting yesterday.  I went for drinks with a few colleagues after work last night (they had wine, I had lemonade) and I think if I’d not been pregnant I would have had a wild night.  Instead I came home at 7.30pm and was so exhausted I just lay on the sofa until my husband came home. Even then I was not capable of making dinner or being of any use at all.

Today I am better but I’m drained from everything that happened yesterday.  I’m also now busily trying to get as many big things for work ticked off the list so that those left behind to look after my work have less to do, at least for the next couple of weeks. I have not even had enough energy to look at what things I should be packing for the hospital!

Today we had a check-up with our doctor and there was absolutely no drama about that – the baby is doing brilliantly!  He’s about 2.7kg (almost 6 pounds) which is pretty average for 36 weeks, which we will be on Friday. We saw all the important stuff – brain, stomach, legs and… errr… testicles!  Yes, hubby made a request for the doctor to show us his willy and balls.  So the doctor (male) made a special effort to take a “between the legs” photo.  I am not kidding when I say I now have a photo of my unborn child’s testicles and penis.  It’s funny, but truly men never grow up!! (I’m not posting it here, or anywhere!)

We got a semi-decent 3D shot of the baby’s face.  He looks NOTHING like me and everything like his dad in this shot.  At another time we could see he has a full head of hair too.  As a baby, I was bald for practically the first year. This baby is definitely not taking after his mother! As I said to my mum, at least we know they didn’t mess up the sperm samples when they were doing the IVF! (Does anyone else have that nightmare that how do you know they actually transferred the correct embryo?!)

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He has his hand or something in front of half of his face.

Baby is not at all engaged in the pelvis.  He is having way too much fun doing laps and cartwheels in my uterus.  The doctor said he’d see us once more in about 10 days time for another scan and then after that the next time he will see us will be for The Big Day.

As I’m a scheduled c-section patient I have also been able to reserve which suite I want to stay in so I have chosen the biggest one. Hahaha!  There have to be some advantages to being sliced open, right?

I am starting to get excited now as it’s getting closer and closer to his arrival. I am also starting to worry about taking care of a small human.  I have lots of experience taking care of small cats, but I’m wondering how much of that will be transferrable skills?! Maybe the cats will be the best guardians ever.  I sure hope so!

 

One hell of a hot shower!

The baby shower yesterday went off very nicely and, after all the drama, it was a big relief that everyone seemed to have a good time.  It was hosted in an outdoor venue that has a lovely garden surrounding it which gives it a lush vibe.  Even though we’re in the middle of the Mediterranean summer, we thought it would be nice to sit outside as the shower was scheduled to run from 6pm.

Well it was nice, but it would have been even nicer if it hadn’t been so damned hot! Even at about 7pm the temperature was around 37 degrees (98F) and so we were all suffering a bit in the heat. It did cool down somewhat as the evening went on, but I didn’t really get my thermostat back until today when I spent the entire day in the office in air conditioning!

Sweating aside, it was a very relaxed occasion rather than the full-on baby showers I see on TV shows.  We had some gorgeous table decorations, some nice food platters to share, drinks (cocktails and prosecco for the non-pregnant guests), as well as some cute cake pops and cupcakes. The girls excelled with the gifts – this is one spoiled baby!  The got a few things off our gift list including this awesome activity gym from Skip Hop. I think I might be more excited about this than the baby is ever likely to be!

So while there was a LOT of drama around the organisation of the baby shower, on the day, it was lovely and relaxed and I think everyone had a good time.  Even my mother-in-law decided to come and she kindly settled the bill at the end which was very generous.

Here are some pics so you can see for yourself how lovely it was.

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Another momentous milestone today was that this is the last Monday at work for me for all of 2017.  As someone who got her first job at 15 years old and has not been out of some kind of employment for longer than 6 weeks since (and that was when I moved countries), it is a very weird feeling to realise I’m not going to have a job to go to for many months. I am sure I will be working very hard though in the coming months, albeit a different kind of work.

Things are not going too smoothly with my maternity cover so I am a bit worried about that.  She has been working with me since the start of June but for the past three Mondays she has called in sick. I mean I understand if she’s not well but this is sounding suspicious now. I think she may be overwhelmed by the sheer scale of the learning she has to do to get up to date with my client and this is having an impact.  The only good takeaway from this is that I think I now recognise that I bring a lot of value to our team so maybe they’ll miss me a bit!  It’s easy to underestimate your contribution at work and this has been one of the pleasantly unexpected side-effects of preparing for maternity leave.

Otherwise, all is going well with the small one growing inside me.  I don’t think he’s in any hurry to come out as he’s sitting quite high up still.  I think if the plan wasn’t for a c-section I would be one of those women who are like 42 weeks pregnant.  Haha!  Maybe a c-section is not so bad after all.

Week 35 – Cruising to the finish line

It’s kind of hard to process that in a little over three weeks baby will be here. That is practically no time at all!  I suddenly got The Fear these past few days and started picking up some final things to prepare for his arrival. I’m even thinking of packing the baby’s bag this week, if not making a start on mine.

I live about 5 minutes drive from the clinic where I will give birth so it’s hardly a big deal in case I either forget something or have to make a surprise visit there. I could turn up with nothing right now and could send others home to pick up whatever I need.  I do not envy those of you who have a big journey from home to the place you’re planning to deliver.  This would actually cause me some kind of anxiety that I wouldn’t make it and I probably would have packed my bags a month ago!

Given that I’ve poured my heart out already this week, I think you all pretty much know how my week went.  Let’s just say that it finished a whole lot better than it started!

Weight gain: Only about 400gm this week which is fine. As I have three weeks to go maybe I’ll end up with a grand total weight gain of around 16-17kg (35-37 pounds) which I’ll be okay with. People keep kindly remarking this week that they can’t believe I am as far along as I am, so I think I’m doing well all things considered.  I am already looking forward to getting back into some kind of shape. I wonder if I’ll still feel so optimistic a couple of weeks after baby arrives.

Symptoms: The usual fatigue, but to be fair I have had a draining few days! I also get very breathless and even more so in the heat. I don’t have too many aches and pains – my back hurts a bit in the afternoon at work from sitting at my desk all day but with only one week to go until maternity leave I’m not worried about this. I also keep reading that everyone gets constipation at this point.  Well so far I’m not bothered by that, which I am sure you are all delighted to learn!  Long may that continue!

Eating: It is super hot these days so my appetite is not as strong as it might be if it was cooler.  I’m really enjoying all the fresh watermelon that’s about at the moment.  And ice-cream!

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Sleep: After the two-day siege (as I now refer to hubby’s tantrum of earlier this week) I slept pretty well, apart from all of the getting up to pee.  By the end of the week though, I was really tired and have been a slow-moving creature today as a result.

Movement: Baby is showing no signs of slowing down.  Lots of jabs and rolls and who knows what going on in there. Ice-cream in particular makes him active.

Emotions: Yesterday a memory on Facebook from 6 years ago popped up which was of my cat when she was a kitten chasing her tail around like crazy.  This was the cat I lost almost a year ago (she literally went missing, it was so bizarre and I was incredibly depressed about it) and so every time I look at it I sob.  Thanks Facebook!

Missing: I would have really enjoyed a cool glass of wine today.

Purchases: I bought a bunch more sheets as the clinic said I need to have 10 for my stay there.  I decided 8 would be sufficient, though even that seems a bit excessive! I also suddenly got weird that I didn’t have enough baby socks so I bought 5 more pairs.  Also purchased was some fancy organic baby wash, some baby butt cream, nipple cream and these magical things that you use either hot or cold on your boobs in case of issues like mastitis.  I also put in a bulk order online for all my favourite face creams so that I won’t have to buy any more for about two months.  I guess this is a form of nesting!

Looking forward to: The baby shower tomorrow? I say this with some trepidation after all of the mega drama surrounding it, but hopefully it will be alright on the night, as they say.

Best moment: Today was great.  We had a really lovely time at the beach relaxing and swimming.  Even though I was in the shade with a massive hat on I still managed to take home some colour with me, which was nice.

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Exercise: Housework and carrying groceries has been my workout this week.  That has been more than enough!

Bump update: Bumping along nicely now.  The belly button innie is now a small outie.  I try not to stand side-on to the mirror too often these days as it freaks me out.  Front on everything looks quite neat and contained.

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Keeping it real

I am here to tell you that I am feeling so much better than I was when I wrote my last post.  While I refuse to make any excuses for my husband’s behaviour, we did have a calm and detailed conversation on Tuesday night about the issues that lead up to the conflict and then his behaviour in general.  I can’t say I feel 100% confident that he won’t do something similar in the future, but I am pleased I got the opportunity to express how poorly I think of him for his behaviour and how unacceptable it will be when we have a child in our house.

I did think hard about whether to be so frank in my previous post, but I decided to share what was going on as an exercise of showing my whole self.  While I love my husband and overall I think we make a great team, I think so much of what people present online and on social media in particular doesn’t reveal our full truths.  Sometimes life is messy. Sometimes we are all a bit of a bitch. Sometimes even as adults we act quite pathetically. I don’t want anyone who knows me and/or who reads this blog to think everything is perfect in my life every day.  But what is important is that we all recognise when we’re wrong and take responsibility for our mistakes.

Now that my husband and I have found a way to move forward, I have been able to sleep again.  Oh. My. Goodness.  It’s like a weight has been lifted and such a relief to be able to sleep, albeit that is pregnancy sleep which involves getting up to pee several times a night.

Baby has also seemed to calm down a lot since all the hostility ended.  During the “two-day siege” baby was very unhappy with lots of aggressive movement accompanied by painful Braxton Hicks.  Now I’ve just gone back to the regular painless BH with abdominal tightening.  They seem to come mainly at night when I’m at my most tired and when I get up too quickly… and when I say “too quickly” that means anything faster than a snail’s pace.

I am now down to 6 working days left before maternity leave and yet I am still seemingly running the show with my client.  My replacement, though much older than me, behaves a little bit like a sweet puppy and is completely deferential to me.  That’s very lovely and polite but in some ways it would be nice to see some feistiness as I’m starting to lose confidence that she’s going to be able to take charge when I’m gone.  More than once I have had a mini-panic about what state my current clients will be in when I return (will they even still be working with us by then?!!)

Today I had to lead an important meeting with a member of senior management at my client’s company.  It involved 1.5 hours driving in each direction on top of the meeting which I was really not happy about.   In any case, it was a very interesting meeting with a lot of business strategy discussed and the guy we were meeting seemed to really be listening to me.  I was a bit sad that essentially I’m going to hand all of this interesting work to my replacement who seemed to understand about 10% of what he was saying.  Ugh.

The baby shower political saga continues to rage on and – while I’d never say it to those going to the kind and generous effort to organise the baby shower – I really do wish I had stuck to my guns and just not had one.  The MIL has now gone from being all about hosting the shower, to not wanting to host it or organise it or anything, to now being a little miffed when she didn’t get a personal invitation to it from the girl who is now organising the party.   Then another girl has gotten a bit cranky because I am enforcing a no children rule.  Thankfully I am not so close to her so if she’s annoyed enough by that rule not to come I really won’t care.  But in general I’m like OMG please can everyone stop being crazy?!

Tonight I am doing some quiet things at home because I am tired from the excitement of the driving and the meeting and the craziness.  I’ve definitely dialled it down a load this week and I don’t even care.  I actually feel better for it.  So if that’s the way it’s got to be for the last 3 weeks of this pregnancy so be it.  Maybe I’ll just enjoy being a lazy one for a few weeks before the chaos properly sets in.

 

Showers, stress and tears

I have said for some time I didn’t want a baby shower, mainly because my family and closest friends are halfway around the other side of the world. I feared either no one would come or those that did would do it under obligation. So when my husband offered to organise the shower for me as he didn’t want me to miss out I thought it was the sweetest thing ever.

I was wrong. 

This shower has turned into a big mess. To summarise, he didn’t have a clue what a baby shower involves and why would he? He planned to get a party planner to do it and she went AWOL. So then it came down to him organising it with his mum and everyone getting super stressed. I started to worry it would be a disaster and got very upset about the whole thing. He called me miserable and ungrateful and then things snowballed from there over the weekend. 

Also on Saturday he unloaded a bunch of stuff about his family and concerns they have about me potentially being manipulative and keeping them from seeing the baby. Sorry but WHAT?!! I do not feel this way and I have NEVER indicated anything differently. In fact, I go out of my way to send his mum updates – I send her videos of the bump kicking and all the photos of the scans when I visit the doctor. I’ve brought her to baby shows with me and let her choose the colour of the stroller (she did buy it for us as a gift). 

So let’s just say by Sunday I was feeling ragged by the attacks. Once again the baby shower was brought up on Sunday and it made me sad again. I cried. I am practically 8 months pregnant and I cry at Amazon Prime adverts so this is not really a surprise that the prospect of having a shit and/or cancelled baby shower made me cry!

Various words were exchanged with me not being an innocent party in all of this. At one point (in the middle of a swim in the sea, no jokes), he told me I was miserable. This was true but it was said as an attack not out of concern. I said nothing but gave some kind of death stare and he proceeded to throw a strop which culminated in a 1 hour drive home in silence thus followed by a total refusal to a) speak to me in any capacity or b) be in the same room. 

I have been very upset about all of this. I took some of his feedback on board and visited his parents on Sunday to expressly inform them that I have NO INTENTION of blocking them from seeing their grandchild and that I’m very grateful for all their support. I did this with a bright red face and floods of tears. Classy. 

Much discussion was also held about the baby shower and an action plan for organising it was decided. All was fine. 

Unfortunately the stress of the situation with my husband caused Grade A insomnia and painful Braxton Hicks on Sunday night so I was a total mess at work on Monday. I held myself together until about 4pm when I got a message from my MIL telling me my husband had called her and cancelled my baby shower. WTF?! 

Then I just sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. Thankfully my colleagues and my boss helped me calm down. The contractions had started up again then and everyone got worried. The girls I work with have now volunteered to take over all organisation of the party which is the most beautiful thing ever. 

I hoped that by taking this task off my husband he would relax a bit but he refused to speak to me at all again last night   So that was 2 nights he slept on the floor of his study. I can’t imagine he slept well. I think he slept with cat blankets to keep him warm which has made me giggle to myself at least. 

I managed to get some sleep last night and only had BH for a short period of the night so I feel a bit more put together today. But I’m furious! I’m so mad that he felt this was an appropriate and acceptable way to deal with conflict. 

I’m not expecting sunshine and rainbows 100% of the time and I know I’m not an innocent party in all of this, but more than 2 days of putting your 8 months pregnant wife through this level of stress? No, that’s hard to get over. It means he’s put his own ego ahead of the welfare of his unborn child and I cannot get my head around that. 

He sent me a text message earlier indicating he wants to make up now but am I wrong to feel that I need something more from him to move on from this? I can’t be sure he won’t behave like this again whenever things turn ugly again in the future. This is really stressing me out. All advice is welcome. 

Week 34 – Must start listening to body!

A few weeks ago I attended a free breast-feeding seminar and there was another girl there who was 34 weeks pregnant and I remember her saying that she’d really noticed a big change over the previous two weeks. I thought she was exaggerating at the time. I now no longer think she was exaggerating as that’s exactly how I feel too! The past two weeks have seen a step change in going from pregnant but pretty okay doing most things, to very pregnant and now kind of useless at doing most things. I am not handling the transition particularly well!

In addition to my gardening efforts on Monday night that left me in pain and pretty much exhausted even on Tuesday, I then hit the pool on Wednesday night to do a few laps. Well actually I did 40 laps in 30 minutes and felt amazing while I was in the pool. As soon as I got out of the pool I was struck down by pretty intense contractions. I laid down on a sun lounger and had a snack and some water, hoping that would help. It didn’t. So I stayed there a while longer before going for a shower and heading home. At home I then lay on my left side for a while and things did not get better. The contractions continued and were quite painful. In particular I was getting lower back pain similar to that of period pain and it was at this point I started to get worried.

Even though I took it easy at home, the contractions kept coming. They were not at consistent time intervals and they were not painful enough for me to actually do something about them but they were bad enough that I was very uncomfortable and quite cranky. At one point in the late evening I warned my hubby that we might be taking a visit to the clinic for observation and that freaked him out a lot. He ended up putting into practice some of the massage techniques he learned at one of our recent baby classes and actually it did help to either calm me down and to ease the pain I was feeling. I was then able to get into bed and go to sleep, albeit I woke up a few times during the night with pains. Thankfully there was no such continuation on Thursday. It was very scary though!

I guess I need to really start listening to my body. I told one of my friends who has a 2 year old about the contractions and she really told me off. She said that I shouldn’t be swimming (or any other kind of exercise) in order to specifically do a workout, but rather I should just be making an effort to move and stretch at this point of the pregnancy. Given that baby is coming in a month I guess it’s not long now to wait so maybe I should just chill out a bit. I certainly don’t want to have another night like I did on Wednesday night.

Weight gain: I’ve seen a week-on-week gain of 500gm (about a pound) this week which seems to be in line with what the apps say to expect. I’m now 14kg (31 pounds) up on my starting weight. I’ve not been getting too caught up on this recently.

Symptoms: VERY TIRED! Contractions (see above) and Braxton Hicks when I do too much, and when I say do too much this can be anything from unpacking the groceries to hanging out the laundry. I am seriously challenged by the Braxton Hicks! I’ve noticed it can be a little hard to get my rings off if I get very hot (most days here are 32 degrees + / 100F). I also get a sore lower back if I sit in my office chair too long. And peeing. I pee a lot these days.

This image was in my weekly email from The Bump today and it perfectly sums up how I feel now!

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Eating: Nothing much to talk about here. Cold things are good but that’s only because it’s so damned hot here.

Sleep: A mixed bag this week, but last night was pretty good actually. Most nights are heavily disturbed by either needing to pee 100 times a night (barely an exaggeration) or general discomfort from the belly being kind of huge these days.

Movement: He continues to be very active with belly quakes still a regular part of every day. This is comforting as I know he’s still doing great in there.

Emotions: A bit cranky this week and when I’m not cranky I am very easily tipped back over to the cranky side. If I don’t eat regularly enough I burst into tears quite easily too.

Missing: Being able to do everything that I want to do, especially exercise-wise. I found a photo the other day of myself from back in October in yoga gear and looking in freaking amazing shape and it made me want to cry. I wonder if I will ever look that good again?!

Purchases: I went grocery shopping last night and put nappies/diapers in my trolley for the first time ever. It felt so weird that I sent a message to my friend (the same one who told me off about the swimming) and she replied, “Dude have you looked in a mirror recently?!!!”. It really made me laugh. That’s a true friend. I also bought maternity pads for the hospital. Eeeeek!

Looking forward to: Other than not carrying around an extra 14kg+ in body weight?! Well I’m also looking forward to maternity leave starting in just TWO WEEKS!! OMG, longest two weeks ever!

Best moment: Every time I get to lie down is considered a best moment currently.

Exercise: Well there was the gardening that went so brilliantly and then the swimming so I think it’s safe to say I have failed at exercising safely this week. No one follow my advice please, I’m clearly an idiot! In good news, the people at the pool I go to still have not worked out that I’m neither a guest of the hotel or a paid up member of their health club so I continue to get free swims. I’m enjoying this super power of pregnancy where I seem to get away with more stuff than I usually would. I think the lifeguard guy recognises me now but must just think I’m a regular member. I don’t know, but I try not to engage in conversations with anyone lest they find out my secret.

Bump update: I feel so much bigger this week than last. It’s kind of crazy how much difference a week can make. My belly button is still a “flattie” rather than either an “inny” or an “outty” but I think there is still potential for it to pop out before the baby makes an appearance.

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Bumping along!

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Boob vision with bonus kitty

Gardening in the third trimester: not a good idea

I don’t know what came over me, but I decided after work yesterday to do a spot of gardening.  Yes, at almost eight months pregnant I thought it was a GREAT idea to garden.  I think you might know where I’m going here…

Well needless to say that the gardening that would normally have taken about an hour or an hour and a half, took me two and a half hours and ended up with me exhausted, sore and having practice contractions.  Ladies, I do not recommend this. In good news however, my garden looks really lovely now so I am very pleased with myself.

Even though I was mainly potting plants and reorganising things (not digging holes or anything like that), it turns out that bending and shifting medium-heavy items, then sweeping up afterwards was a bit too much for my heavily pregnant body. The baby let me know quite consistently that he was unhappy with loads of strong kicks.  I think this was also because I was quite hungry and maybe a bit thirsty, and the fact that it’s REALLY HOT here!

By the end of it all I actually felt like it ached everywhere, made worse by the practice contractions  I tried to do some dishes around the time hubby came home and I was leaning my forearms on the sink as I washed as I couldn’t hold myself up.  Even after dinner I went to have a shower and I couldn’t stand up while I dried my hair afterwards.

Eventually I took myself off to bed and had a terrible sleep which was really not what I needed.  These days I average about four visits to the loo at night (five is my record) and it’s infuriating! So any attempts at good sleep are usually thwarted by loo stops anyway.  I  ended up waking up for work today feeling like I’d not gone to bed at all.  My body was clearly letting me know that what I’d been up to yesterday was very much not a good idea!

I struggled all through today with lots of practice contractions and felt super-emotional. Have you seen the new ad for Amazon Prime?  Well that made me cry. One of the my favourite people who works for my client said he would miss working with me.  That made me cry too.  My colleagues cannot stop laughing at my random bouts of tears! I’m about the only person in the history of maternity leave who has been sad about the prospect of not working with their clients anymore!

Anyway, since I’ve had such a rough day I came straight home and went directly to bed for a nap.  I ended up having only a short nap as my smallest kitty decided I should really be getting up and playing with her so meowed every half second constantly for 20 minutes outside my bedroom door until I couldn’t take it anymore.  As soon as I got up she went to sleep of course! I guess this is good preparation for motherhood. In any case, I feel much better, more alive and less likely to burst into tears randomly.

Moral to this story: gardening in your third trimester is bad for you.