The small guy is here!

Yes, the day finally arrived and our little boy was safely born yesterday (17 July) at 8.35am. He weighs in at 3.420kg (about 7 and a half pounds) and is a very long 53cm. 

The boys holding hands!

As an overall summary of the c-section, it was remarkably unstressful and painless. I had been nervous as hell about the whole thing in advance, especially the epidural, but actually that stress was misplaced. 

I was taken into the theatre at 8am and the epidural took a few minutes to administer. The general anaesthetic before they insert the epidural was barely even a prick of the skin (it’s much more painful to have the central line put into your hand). It took a few minutes for the epidural to take the full effect and the only bad moment was that my blood pressure dropped dramatically at this point and I felt very nauseous, did some dramatic retching into a dish and had a bit of a cry. I was given something else to balance me out and felt fabulous after that. 

The actual c-section surgery was very quick – maybe 10 mins long – and totally painless. I had two surgeons working on me and they were pulling and yanking and leaning on my chest to get the baby out which was strange but did not hurt. 

Hubby was fascinated by all of the surgery so spent most of the time watching that rather than sitting with me. Watching his face was a good distraction – he is not at all squeamish so he loved seeing the whole process unfold. 

Before long our little guy was pulled out and I immediately felt substantially lighter and able to breathe fully again!! No big surprise after we learned how long he is! He let out some beautiful big wails straight away so I knew he had strong lungs. The doctor gave me a little peek at his face before the paediatrician took him for a few mins to check him over. 

He was still crying when she brought him to me and so she rested his forehead against mine – would you believe even that small amount of skin-to-skin contact was enough to soothe him. 

At this point, I also got a good look at him and I realised actually he doesn’t look like a replica of my husband as we thought the scans showed but actually he looks just like me as a newborn!! That was quite a surprise!!

After a few minutes of being sewn up I was taken to the recovery room where I was reunited with the baby, our son, for some proper skin-to-skin. The midwives helped me to get him to latch on and within less than 30 seconds he was feeding. It was incredible! In fact it turns out he is a real booby-lover as I’ve had almost no problem getting him to latch on since. 

I felt pretty good for the rest of the day yesterday which was certainly assisted by some light epidural top-ups and so much adrenaline coursing through my veins!!  We had some immediate family come as visitors yesterday (everyone has now seen my boobs) and now today there are other people popping by which is nice. 

This morning I was finally disconnected from the catheter and the central line which meant I could have a shower. It was a magnificent shower as I felt so gross but I found myself very overwhelmed by dizziness and nausea and barely made it back to bed before vomiting quite heavily. I think I’m a sensitive soul when it comes to vomiting in general so they gave me some anti-nausea meds and I’ve felt great ever since. 

It’s been quite a big developmental leap to parenthood but it’s great so far. I’ve even gone from being a nappy/diaper-changing novice to changing two today – one of them quite a messy meconium poo one. 

My belly has gone down significantly which is great. I do wonder what the scales will say too! I still have some bloating and baby belly flab (of course) but I am hopeful at least some of this will shift in the next few weeks. 

So 30 hours into motherhood and I’m hooked!! Seeing how much this little guy is bonded to me already and my heart is melted. ūüíô

*In the interests of retaining anonymity on the blog, anyone who wants a better photo of the baby is welcome to comment below and I’ll email you some pics directly. 

The final countdown

We are now DAYS away from the small guy arriving and us becoming parents and it is blowing my mind!  I have definitely been feeling more anxious these past few days than at any other time since the early days of the pregnancy. This is also not helped by practically everyone who crosses my path saying encouraging things like:

You’re never going to sleep again
Life as you know it is over
Enjoy the peace while you can

I remember people also said similar doomsday-style messages of “encouragement” before we were married and they were all complete BS because I really like being married. I do wonder what on earth inspires people to say such negative things dressed up as a joke or a lighthearted comment. ¬†I mean seriously, you’ve been through this before so why are you not being more encouraging and saying what a wonderful new dimension having children brings to life? And – as my Mum says – if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. I think I really need to walk around with earplugs in for the next few days or else I might have a heavily-pregnant-hormone-induced rage at someone soon.

Yesterday we had our last appointment with our doctor prior to delivery. It was overall unremarkable in a good way – baby looks great, he is still measuring long (tall) and weighing in at 3.2kg / 7 pounds already!! Keep in mind I’m at 37 weeks and 4 days, if baby reached 40 weeks or more he would be really big (as would I be). Eeeek! ¬†The doctor said these measurements are not exact though. ¬†Also, the doctor kept emphasising that his weight was because he is long, not because he’s overly chubby.

The baby has dropped more into a position ready for birth. ¬†He’s not fully engaged in the pelvis yet, but he’s certainly on his way. ¬†This was no surprise to me as I have also noticed the bump sitting lower. ¬†This has positives and negatives… positive because I can now breathe a bit easier (yay) but negatives because if he so much as shifts to one side I feel like I need to pee urgently.

Every time the baby moves these days – and he moves a lot – it is awkwardly uncomfortable. ¬†It’s like he’s shuffling my internal organs! ¬†Also the Braxton Hicks are getting more strong each day and sometimes take a bit of heavy breathing for a few seconds to get through. This has put the fear into me that I could go into labour earlier than my scheduled c-section which would be bad in my situation.

Why bad?¬†As I’ve described previously, as part of my battle against reoccurring miscarriages, it has been discovered that I have an issue with thrombosis – a condition called Antithrombin III deficiency. ¬†Put simply, this means I have a deficiency of a protein that stops blood from clotting and I’m at higher risk of blood clots generally. ¬†There is a theory that if you have this deficiency it can be a high risk factor in causing miscarriage and so the treatment is blood thinners, in my case daily injections of Clexane.

Clexane is routinely used as a blood thinner during IVF transfers as it is believed it may assist with successful implantation of the embryo. The dose that most people are given for this practice is usually 2000mg or 4000mg and only for a few weeks, but I started on 6000mg and am now up to 7000mg – quite a high dose!! I have been taking the daily injection since early November and, apart from it being very expensive and not claimable on insurance – it also means that any kind of surgery needs careful management.

From a pregnancy delivery perspective, and because I’m having a scheduled c-section, I need to be very specific about when I take the Clexane ahead of my surgery. The anaesthetist won’t do an epidural if I have taken the Clexane within about 24-36 hours because there is a risk of the epidural needle striking a blood vessel and causing spinal bleeding which can… well, it can lead to horrible things like paralysis. ¬†These are the things that keep me up at night currently!

Now throw into the mix that if I go into labour naturally:

a) I won’t be allowed to labour naturally due to my previous¬†myomectomy (surgery to remove a fibroid which also involved taking a chunk out of your uterus, thus making the uterine wall thinner and more at risk of uterine abruption during labour)

b) I will need to deliver via c-section ASAP but won’t be allowed to have an epidural if I have taken the Clexane within 24 hours (which I will have as I take them every morning) and will instead have to deliver under a general anaesthetic.

I do not like any of these options!!! So most of my appointment with the doctor yesterday was discussing my options for taking or not taking Clexane. ¬†As the Antithrombin III deficiency was identified by a haematologist and not my ob-gyn, he can’t really over-rule the dosage and also I don’t want him to as the end of pregnancy brings with it the highest ¬†risk of a blood clot generally. ¬†That could be very, very bad for both baby and for me!! We ended up agreeing to speak to the haematologist to see whether I could at least reduce the dose to 4000mg- which would mean an epidural would be possible within 12 hours of the last injection – but she has come back this morning to say absolutely no to that as it would be “very dangerous”.

While very glad everyone has mine and my baby’s welfare in mind during these discussions, hearing the haematologist say stopping/reducing the Clexane dose now would be “very dangerous” did not make me feel at all calmer! ¬†In fact I had a bit of teary moment during my appointment, but the doctor did say my concerns were justified so that made me feel a tiny bit better about the crying. Also the nice ladies at reception were all trying to get me a drink when I came out. ¬†Maybe it’s not good for business when heavily pregnant women come out into the waiting room looking like a mess! ¬†Haha!

So now I am having regular chats to the small guy inside me and encouraging him to stay in there for a few more days until the date of the scheduled c-section.  I am also on the alert for any and all suggestions that labour could be on the way (bleeding, bloody show etc) because in that case I will FOR SURE stop the Clexane!

In between all of that, I also decided yesterday to clean the fridge which I had not expected to be as dirty as it was.  Then I started on the drawer where I keep my cutlery/silverware and that was also more disgusting than I imagined so it got scrubbed out too.  After that the kitchen floor looked like a muddy army had passed through it so I mopped the floor.  That was all in all about 3 hours physical work yesterday and so I was pretty tired after that! The fridge does look spectacular though.  I even took a photo of it! Hahahaha!

The weather is insanely hot still and my feet have gone out in sympathy. ¬†They are not huge but they are definitely a lot more puffy than normal. ¬†I’ve tried elevation, ice baths, light walking and frankly they just stay the same so I think they will until baby arrives. ¬†I’ve decided unless they suddenly go huge (i.e. a sign of pre-eclampsia) that I’m not going to worry about them any more. That’s the benefit of only having days to go as you think, okay I can deal with this if it’s only for a short while!

Week 37 – The freaking out has begun

I have cruised through most of this pregnancy in some kind of fog of disbelief that I was actually pregnant and going to have a baby after all the loss and disappointment. ¬†For this reason, I don’t think I have really let it sink in what it actually means to be a mother and to have to take care of a tiny, fragile human being. ¬†Well that seemed to suddenly hit me out of nowhere this week and I have started to freak out.

I’ve started questioning if I even know how to raise a baby? I have only ever changed one nappy/diaper in my entire life and that was my niece when she was 18 months old and it was just a wet nappy, no poop in there. I’m also a perfectionist and kind of a control-freak so I am worried about handing over so many responsibilities to my husband for the time frame when I am incapable of taking on regular activities. Then I start worrying about how long it will be that I’ll be out of action. ¬†It’s a steady spiral of panic!

I”m sure his family will support us – they are very generous – but they are not the touchy-feely, earthy type that might be able to talk me through breast-feeding or baby sleeping woes (hubby was bottle fed anyway so the concept of breast feeding is kind of unfamiliar to his mother). ¬†I know lots of people have their own mum come and stay with them for a couple of weeks to help them out and generally make sure they don’t go insane. ¬†It’s not possible for my Mum to come as she has leukaemia and the travelling would be too much for her – and that’s before we even contemplate how she could continue her medial treatment while here. And my sister…. well… she’s a mystery. She doesn’t even send me a message to ask how the baby is. ¬†The last time she messaged me was 14 June and that was in response to me thanking her for sending my husband’s birthday gift.

I’m not mentioning this to invoke miniature violins playing tunes of sympathy – we all have our own stuff going on which makes life tough – it is just some context as to why I’m freaking out because I’m not sure how I am meant to learn all of this baby stuff with no one around to tell me how to do it. ¬†I do have some great friends here and back home who will only be a message or call away so I think that’s probably how it will go, but I am envious of those new mammas with stronger support networks to help them through the first few weeks where everything is so new and unfamiliar.

Anyway, in good news I PACKED MY BAG! ¬†Or should I say bags. I decided it was easier to give baby one small bag and me another so that’s how it’s turned out. ¬†During the bag-packing process I suddenly realised that the only baby blankets I have are quite thick and warm and didn’t seem very appropriate for roasting hot summer weather. ¬†I consulted a good friend who had her son here in early August and she advised me to get some light “receiving blankets” so I picked up a couple today in Mothercare. ¬†If I need more I can send hubby off to get them later as the shop is very close to home.

Other than that, I think I’m all set which is kind of CRAZY! ¬†I also think the packing of the bag/s brought on a lot of my freaking out as I suddenly got a sense of the reality of what was coming.

Weight gain:¬†A good solid gain of 1kg this week (2.2 lbs) which I put down to baby packing on the weight and also I think I’ve taken on a bit of fluid this week what with all of the hot weather and rushing about Ive been doing. ¬†My feet and hands are still pretty good considering my late stage of pregnancy but they are bigger than normal. ¬†I think everything is a little bit larger than normal although I think I look ok considering. ¬†In total I am now up 16.5kg (36 pounds) and I think if I made it to 40 weeks I would definitely hit the 20kg mark so thank goodness baby is coming out before that can happen!

Symptoms:¬†I have been plagued by Braxton Hicks contractions this week. They have been a real problem! They are undoubtedly triggered by doing too much, which is not how I expected my pre-baby maternity leave to go, but I’ve just found there are so many things that need doing. The worst day was Thursday where I found the BH got so intense that they were coming about every 10 minutes! ¬†My doctor had said if they are 5-8 minutes apart or particularly painful then I am to come in for monitoring. In the evening I counted one that was 8 minutes apart and so we were getting prepared for a visit to the clinic, but after some dinner and a lie down on the sofa on my left side they started to space out substantially so it was ok.

Even on a good day I still find I get the BH in the evenings when I’m tired although they usually come around every half an hour during this period. ¬†They were quite bad last night too but that was after the 2 hour maternity photo shoot where I had been walking a lot in hot weather and high wedge heels (the sacrifices we make for vanity), so it wasn’t like I didn’t realise why they were so bad.

I still have the issues with raging hot feet – they were particularly bad last night after the photoshoot / high heels situation – and so I continue with the ice packs and hope that this stupid symptom goes away after birth. I have some mild water retention in my fingers and toes but not something that others would necessarily notice by looking at me. I don’t have any other major symptoms which I think is pretty incredible actually!

Eating: Since I’m no longer at work I find myself munching quite a bit at home and I have to have a strong word with myself to make smart snack choices. ¬†I think I would be having those same conversations with myself even if I wasn’t pregnant as there’s just something about not having to go to work that makes you feel like you’re on holidays and calories don’t count. I don’t have any particular cravings though. ¬†I almost feel disappointed that I haven’t had any of those pickles-on-ice-cream-on-Doritos types of cravings that are some kind of urban myth.

Sleep: Not too bad considering my advanced stage of pregnancy. The afternoon naps have also been helping to keep me sane.

Movement: The small dude is still moving around a lot.  I think a lot of his movements are kind of turns as it feels like every one of my organs is being reallocated a new part of my abdominal cavity whenever he moves. Not only does it feel uncomfortable but it looks so freaky!

Emotions: I had a bit of a cry yesterday when I went to my hairdresser friend for him to do my maternity photoshoot hair.  He helped me to see how funny everything was so I felt a lot better afterwards.

Missing: Not much.  Everything is good this week.

Purchases: I bought a couple of light blankets today after my bag-packing-panic, a top-and-tail bath thing, and another fitted sheet for the moses basket.  The latter was purchased just because it was cute.  Mothercare was a special kind of hell this morning (Saturday morning) so I will try and avoid going there on a Saturday again!

Looking forward to:¬†The baby’s birth!! ¬†Yes, it’s little more than a week away now, hence why I am FREAKING OUT!! ¬†The small dude is going to be on the outside soon. ¬†OMG that is so incredible and scary and wild all at once!

I’m also looking forward to seeing the photos from our maternity shoot. I hope we took some nice ones.

Best moment:¬†Not going to work this week was pretty awesome, but the highlight was the maternity shoot. ¬†It was a last minute decision to book it and even though I was totally exhausted and super-sweaty when it was done I think it was a really wonderful thing to do. Most of the photos were with hubby and I together and really we haven’t had that much intimacy during the pregnancy so actually it was a great way to connect. ¬†We chose a really gorgeous space to take the photos – a local park with Australian trees (it felt like home to me) and a lake – and we took the photos just before sunset so we should have got some “flattering light”

Here’s a photo I took with my iPhone when we were done. ¬†Hard to believe this is in the middle of a city?! (No filters or photoshop used!)

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Exercise: I have been running about cleaning things, doing errands, ironing, mopping Рall sorts this week so I think actually I have been moving my butt more than usual and certainly more than when I was in the office.  Also, the photoshoot required a bunch of walking about on uneven ground in wedge heels and that was a special kind of workout all of itself at 8.5 months pregnant!

Bump update:¬†The bump is sooooo big now! ¬†I look back at my bump shots from like week 20 and I laugh when I think that I thought I was huge then. ¬†I was not. ¬†So if you are midway through your pregnancy and you think you are big, let me tell you that you ain’t seen nothing yet! ¬†Hahahahahaha!

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The Queen of Air Conditioning

Here I was thinking that my maternity leave pre-baby would be a like a mini-holiday. ¬†Everyone kept saying it will be great to relax and take things easy. Well, I seemed to have missed that memo as I have been non-stop busy for the past few days. ¬†Turns out I had been “saving” a bunch of tasks for my maternity leave and so I have been busy, busy, busy. ¬†From hair appointments (girl has to look good for her post-delivery pics), to shopping, to washing all the sofa cushion covers, to random chores all over town, to doing my tax returns (seriously), it’s been hectic. ¬†I did a bit too much yesterday and was rewarded with many Braxton Hicks all yesterday evening and last night – they even wake me up when I’m sleeping. ¬†Ugh.

The weather has continued to be hellishly hot – literally – and I think this is playing its part with the Braxton Hicks. ¬†On Sunday my car thermometer said the temperature was 46C (115F). ¬†Pregnant or not pregnant, that is too hot!! It’s now even too hot for me to go to the beach unless I go in the evening or at night. ¬†So I am now the Queen of Air Conditioning.

I am yet to pack my hospital bag still, but I am definitely doing it tomorrow.  I have now said this about 5 days in a row so wish me luck.  I have finally purchased some post-c-section knickers which are not as hideously awful as they could be, and I think I have most of the other things that are needed for the hospital stay.  Now the challenge of putting it all in a bag, or more to the point, finding the motivation to put it all in a bag.

We are still waiting for the baby room wallpaper to arrive. It was on order from Timbuktu (only a small exaggeration there) and so has taken forever to arrive. ¬†We are also waiting for the new car to arrive and I’m not sure what’s going to make it first, the baby, the car or the wallpaper. ¬†I’m predicting the baby comes first ahead of everything else!

I am however enjoying naps in between watching key Wimbledon matches and also just generally not having the stress of work. I feel like I’ve been able to breathe out the past few days and this has made me feel a bit more tired. ¬†Like all of the stress is now coming out of me. ¬†I had a massage today and that helped a lot in cleansing myself of tension and I’m going to try and take it easy for the rest of the week.

I have also booked in for a maternity photoshoot on Friday. ¬†This was a last minute decision and I do wish I’d done it a bit earlier when my belly was smaller. ¬†So word of advice to other ladies out there – aim for 28-32 weeks for your maternity shoot if you want to look cute-pregnant and not whale-pregnant! I have somehow convinced hubby to do the photoshoot with me – he hates photos even though he’s gorgeous and even had to be practically begged to do wedding ones – so fingers crossed they turn out nicely. ¬†The photographer also does cute newborn photos so we are having a package that includes them both.

Symptoms wise I’ve been doing great. Braxton Hicks aside, my only real symptom is raging hot feet as previously mentioned. ¬†I use an ice pack on them in the evening before bed and just deal with it at other times. ¬†Less than two weeks before baby arrives now and our world turns upside down!

 

Week 36 – Bye work, see you next year!

That’s right! ¬†No more work for me as I am on maternity leave now! ¬†Yesterday was my last day in the office and it was really a strange feeling to walk out at the end of the day and know I wouldn’t be coming back for at least six months. ¬†I was not super-emotional about it, more kind of numbed by the strangeness of it all. ¬†I think my entire pregnancy has been characterised by a feeling of disbelief that this is really happening to me, that I’m actually having a baby. My losses and failures had hit me so hard that I had prepared myself partially for a life where I would never be a mother, so even now with a giant belly protruding I still find it hard to process that this is actually happening.

I have now recovered a lot more from the shock and anger caused by the resignation of my maternity cover. Tuesday was bad, but by Wednesday I started to find the whole thing funny in a way. Even after essentially bailing out of the job and sending a legal letter to my company with some interesting claims in it, this woman then contacted me directly. I still cannot work out what the point of that was – was it to assuage some guilt, to explain herself, or because she thinks she can be my friend still? Who knows, but I didn’t reply.

My work also threw a little party for the two babies who will soon be arriving (my colleague is due a few days after me) on Thursday.  It was a total surprise and really fun so I have gone from not wanting any baby shower to having two baby-related parties in one week! Haha! And other colleagues from abroad sent me some absolutely gorgeous flowers yesterday so there was a lot of love.

I’m a bit worried that I won’t know what to do with myself on Monday so I have booked in for a 10am hair appointment with my super-fabulous hairdresser who has the best celebrity gossip stories ever. ¬†He used to be a model years ago in London and has worked for lots of celebrities so a visit to him is better than reading any gossip magazine around. I think about 25% of his stories are true, but I don’t mind as he tells them so wonderfully!

Weight gain:¬†I have had a big week of gaining! ¬†I went up about 1.5kg in ONE WEEK!! ¬†That’s more than 3 pounds for you folks who prefer it in such measurements. ¬†I did have only a small weight gain last week so maybe I have been making up for lost time. ¬†Also, there have been a lot of cupcakes and other such naughty things this week due to all the parties. ¬†In any case, I feel like the bump grew a LOT this week and so I have officially transitioned into the category of feeling huge and self-conscious about it. Ugh.

Symptoms:¬†My old friend heartburn is back again. ¬†It did take a bit of a holiday for a few weeks there around the second trimester but now seems to be back with a vengeance now. ¬†Acidic food and chocolate are known causes, but other things randomly set it off too so I’m having to be a bit more careful. ¬†Also, this week has been a heatwave with every day hitting 40 degrees plus (that’s more than 104F). ¬†Even at night it is getting down to only 25 degrees (77F). ¬†This is the kind of weather that’s hard to deal with even if you’re not pregnant and when you are it is actually AWFUL! ¬†Thank goodness for air conditioning!

The hot weather has also brought with it some mild puffiness of my feet and hands so I have retired my rings for a few weeks until baby comes. ¬†I didn’t see the point of risking them getting stuck on for the sake of a couple of weeks. ¬†I am also finding that my feet are raging hot to the point of distraction. ¬†I have even taken to using an ice pack on them to bring some relief. ¬†Both Dr Google and my actual doctor told me this is totally normal and basically deal with it. Great.

Eating:¬†It has been a very random week of cupcakes, brownies and crisps at work so I don’t think it was my finest nutritional week, at least during working hours. ¬†Also with it being so hot, hubby keeps bringing home mini-ice-creams which are amazing and totally hitting the spot.

Sleep:¬†My sleep is more or less as poor as it’s always been, however I think the stage of my pregnancy and the heat is making me more tired. ¬†Most nights this week hubby has come home from work or gym or whatever at about 8pm and found me asleep on the sofa. ¬†So my nap game is brilliant even if my night-time sleep is less than average. Next week I am sooooo going to be about afternoon naps!

Movement:¬†Baby is not engaged at all in my pelvis so he’s still doing a merry dance around my uterus throughout the day and night. ¬†Now that he’s so big and there’s less space in there it can really be uncomfortable to the extent that it even hurts at times. ¬†I’ve also noticed that sometimes he does a bit of a vertical stretch and I can feel him pushing down on my bladder. ¬†That is seriously weird when it happens.

Emotions: Not too bad this week. ¬†Very little crying other than one fraught moment on Tuesday shortly after the maternity leave replacement sent her legal document thus exiting the company. But you know, I think I would have cried at that even if I wasn’t pregnant.

Missing: Not being the size of a whale.

Purchases: Mini-ice-creams by hubby. Many of them.

We finally built the stroller last night too and it looks great. ¬†It also looks kind of huge when it’s in the middle of our lounge room. Not long now before we will actually get to use it!!

Looking forward to: It not being so dammed hot here! Also looking forward to a couple of weeks (hopefully) before baby makes his arrival so I can do a few things around home and relax a bit too.

Best moment:¬†The surprise baby party at work was really nice. ¬†The baby shower on Sunday was also great, despite my reservations. ¬†Oh and seeing the small dude on the 3D scan was wonderful! ¬†It’s incredible that he’s practically ready for the outside world now. That little spec of embryo on the end of the catheter last November has now become an actual human being. ¬†IVF is freaking amazing!

Exercise:¬†Getting out of bed and going to the loo now counts as exercise in my book. Seriously. ¬†I promise I used to run marathons although I wouldn’t blame you for not believing me at this point!

Bump update:¬†People, actual strangers, now say things to me like “Oh you must be due any day now”. ¬†I think that says everything. ¬†I am actually happy these days not to be going to 40 weeks (or beyond). ¬†Less time to get even bigger!

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Yes, that is my kitty going around my legs as I take the photo

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Here she is!  Just for perspective, she weighs 3.3kg which is approximately the average weight of a full term new born.  

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The view from above!

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 Рthis 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.