Thursday, September 29, 2011

week 23: paw paw

this week the baby is the size of a paw paw (that's 'papaya' in american).

there was a big milestone this week: s got to feel her first kicks! i have been very impatient for this so i'm very happy it's finally happened. 

i'm experiencing shortness of breath quite a lot. even when i'm sitting quietly, i'll suddenly find myself gasping for more air. it's quite disconcerting.

i think i may be having some big hormonal fluctuations because i've been struggling with some very negative emotions this week too. i was prone to this pre-pregnancy, and knew that there was a chance that being pregnant could exacerbate the problem... i guess the warnings were justified, though it's been tough because i've also had weeks where i've felt really strong and calm and happy - better than i have in years. i suppose there's not a lot of point in over-analyzing things. when things are bad there's not much i can do but ride it out...

Saturday, September 24, 2011

week 22: spaghetti squash

this week, fruiby is the size of a spaghetti squash. i'd never heard of this vegetable, but some investigation showed me that the flesh is stringy and is just like spaghetti. it looks pretty great...

my update is a little late this week because we have come over to perth for the weekend for the funeral of a close family friend. it's been sad, but we're glad to have spent some time with s's family, who we don't get to see anywhere near as often as we'd like.

as a consequence of this trip, fruiby has now had his first plane ride. i'm pretty sure he has some strong feelings about flying because he seemed to kick and wriggle more in those four hours in the air than he ever had before. this week, his kicks have definitely become stronger, and i love that, because it means he's growing, and i have more regular reminders that he's doing ok in there.

i've been having a few leg cramps in my sleep, which is annoying, but i'm told it's pretty normal. i'll have to pick up a magnesium supplement next time i'm at the health food shop.

there isn't a lot of other news, which is good!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

baby e

that's my mum, holding a very tiny me.
i wonder if fruiby will look anything like that when he's born...?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

week 21: carrot

this week, fruiby is about as long as the average carrot.

as i mentioned, we had our 20 week scan and it showed that all was well. finding out that fruiby is a boy has sparked a new obsession with name selection. it's been sad to say goodbye to some of the names we'd chosen for a girl-baby (ivy, freya...), but it's fun to think of new boy names with the knowledge that one of them might be the one!

for the last few days the muscles in my lower belly have been feeling sore. they're not unbearably painful, they're just letting their presence be known. and this, of course, is coinciding with my tummy getting bigger again. s says my belly-button is getting shallower, which i find weirdly amusing.

we still can't feel kicks from the outside, but they're getting stronger inside.

we did a bunch of useful shopping this week, and actually bought most of the bigger items that fruiby will need, including:
  •  a stroller 
  • a baby hammock (these are really great for soothing babies, and a safe and comfy place for naps)
  • a cot (which we will construct without it's drop-side, and 'sidecar' onto our own bed for co-sleeping)
  • a basic change pad, (which will live in the bathroom for easy access to toilet and laundry as we're cloth nappy-ing)
i bought one or two other items which some people may not consider to be strictly essential... but those people would be wrong:

all in all, a very good week!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

hail caesar, by caroline de costa

i couldn't believe my eyes when i saw this book in the pregnancy and birth section of my favourite book shop. there are always thousands of books about birth, and some of them might have a chapter on caesarians, but this is the first book i have seen that's exclusively dedicated to discussing them.

contrary to what the title suggests, this book is not a one-sided tribute to the glory of the caesarian. it's much more balanced than that, and quite broad ranging in it's approach to discussing this type of birth.

de costa places the caesarian in historical context, and discusses the development of the different surgical techniques, what scientific developments gave rise to them, and their subsequent social, ethical, and political implications.

she goes on to discuss in more detail the different groups that have a stake in the provision and availability of caesarians, and outlines some of their motivations and arguments. she does this in a reasoned and balanced way, that i found to be very informative.

as an obstetrician, de costa was able to provide accurate and detailed information about the procedure itself, how it has changed over her decades in practice, as well as how it fits in the broader context of birth options in australia. she also gave a range of case studies and anecdotes from women who had experienced caesarians for a variety of reasons, and responded to them in very different ways.

de costa does not at any point come across as pro- or anti- caesarian, but she believes strongly that women should be well informed about all their options, because then we are able to take ownership of our birth experience, and feel like we have agency in the process. this feeling of ownership and agency has shown to be, in her experience, and in clinical studies, the difference between a woman's subjective feeling of having had a positive or a negative birth, regardless of what type of birth it was.

20 week scan

we had our 20 week scan today, and discovered that fruiby is a boy! i have been quite convinced of this all along (though i couldn't tell you exactly why), and was pleased to have my suspicions confirmed.

the scan went very well on all other fronts. all major brain structures are present, as are other organs. kidneys and heart appear to be functioning properly. there were no signifiers of cleft palette, club feet, downs syndrome, spina bifida, or any other conditions.

fruiby was, true to form, a little recalcitrant about letting the sonographer get the measurements she needed, but after a lot of prodding and poking, we got there.

here are a couple of pictures:

a little foot!

 profile, featuring spine

 4d - slightly less creepy than the 12 week one.
he appears to be sucking his arm...
so there you have it! all things being equal, we won't be seeing any more pictures of the lad til he's on the outside... and that's a pretty amazing thing to contemplate!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

week 20: banana

this week the baby is the length of a banana (though hopefully a lot fatter!), and we are officially half way through the pregnancy.

we had a checkup with our ob/gyn and discussed a bunch of stuff, the most important of which was the birth itself. we've scheduled the date (the 20th of january), which i'm thrilled about, and we got to ask some questions, and express our wishes about the procedure. for example:
  • i wanted to know about the specific sounds, smells, sensations i will experience as the procedure takes place, so that i can prepare myself for what it will be like (i got a lot of information about this from my reading, but wanted to discuss it with our doctor as well).
  • i wanted to make sure that my doctor would use stitches rather than staples to close up, and she said that she never uses staples, so that was a relief. staples seem particularly barbaric to me, though i'm sure they have their place in some form of surgery.
  • we asked if we could bring our own music to have on during the procedure, and we can, so that will help give us something to focus on and reduce the anxiety factor (now to make an amazing playlist!)
  • we want the baby to be placed on my chest immediately, and not be taken away for tests and measurements unless there is something very wrong (and there is no reason, at this stage, for us to think that there will be). we made this very clear, and also stipulated that if i am unable to hold the baby, s will.
our doctor told us that the anesthetist they have rostered on for the day of the surgery is one of the best and was very happy that we got him. the epidural is the thing i am most apprehensive about in the whole process, so it's reassuring to know i'll be in good hands.
while we were there, we also checked my blood pressure, which has returned to normal, and flagged that we'd like to do a blood glucose test at our next appointment. i have a few of the risk factors for gestational diabetes, so it's worth checking for.
finally, we had a listen to the baby's heartbeat. every time i hear it (and i think this was only the third time) i feel completely overwhelmed. it's so strange and lovely that there's a person in there, with a heart and a brain, and all this incredible potential.

my tum is continuing to expand, and i definitely look pregnant unless i wear very loose fitting clothes. i got my first unsolicited horror-birth story from a random shop assistant today, which i guess is the result of looking pregnant. i should have said "well, that doesn't really apply to me because i'm having a c-section" but i didn't. in fact, that was the interaction that resulted in me finally deciding to write yesterday's post. i wondered why i felt awkward about what this complete random would think of me, and realised that i didn't care. liberating.

still really tired.
still clumsy.
getting kind of vaguer about things.

so i think everything's on track!

only 5 more sleeps til the next big ultrasound. so excited!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

coming out again

i wrote a post a few months ago about choosing to have a caesarian birth, but ended up deleting it because i felt incredibly self-conscious about it. i saw women being shamed for it on pregnancy forums. i worried about well meaning friends and family trying to talk me out of it. i stressed about being labeled "too posh to push". i didn't want to contend with all that judgment, and hand-wringing, so i figured i'd just be quiet about this choice, go ahead with it, and just not tell people it was planned form the start.

but that kind of sucks.

we got to choose our baby's birthday yesterday, and i was so excited, but i felt like i couldn't tell people because then they would know that i was doing this terrible, unfeminine thing.

i've been interrogating my feelings and have come to the conclusion that i have to take the same approach to this as i do about coming out* - just fucking do it. be out, and be unapologetic, because hiding it or being ashamed of it is only letting the judgmental and the bigoted oppress you.

so, yeah. i'm having a scheduled caesarian. i'm doing so for medical and psychological reasons. these reasons are my own, and i do not need to have them approved by anyone else. i am completely comfortable with my choice, and my partner and my ob/gyn are too. i have done a metric arseload of reading on the topic, and i understand the risks as well as the benefits. i feel empowered by the fact that i have made this choice for myself.

expect me to talk more about it in future, because preparing for a scheduled caesarian is a really interesting and different process to preparing for a vaginal birth. and because talking about stuff like this is important - it shows that you're not ashamed.

here's a related article: 'i had a c-section and i loved it', by barrie hardimon

*i want to stress that this is my approach, and i am not suggesting this is the only right way to do things. i completely understand that for some people it's not safe, desirable, or important to be out to any or all of the people they know and i respect that this is a very personal choice.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

the godparent question...

s and i have had a few discussions about the idea of godparents since we got pregnant. 

we won't be christening or baptizing fruiby, because we're atheists, and we intend to raise our kid/s in a non-religious environment (at least until they're old enough to make their own rational and informed choices about their beliefs). so the traditional role of the godparent - i.e. person responsible for spiritual guidance etc. - doesn't really apply.

but we really like the idea of fruiby having people in their life who are extra-specially invested in their happiness and wellbeing. another pair of grown ups who are present, and involved in their life, and their development. we want them to have other adults to turn to when their own parents don't have all the answers, and we want them to feel supported and valued by these people.

we have a bunch of friends, and family too, who would fill this role unofficially anyway, but we liked the idea of singling out a couple of friends who's special responsibility this would be. friends who we know will be amazing role models for our kid, who have similar values and ideals to our own, and who are already involved in our everyday lives.

we knew who we wanted to ask, but they needed a title other than 'godparents'.

s and i were coming up with no useful alternatives (s was quite pleased with her suggestion of 'the A team', but i vetoed that!), so i asked my twitter friends to make suggestions. the best one actually came from one of the people we wanted to fill that role - that suggestion? oddparents! it's perfect! fruiby will be their oddchild, and they will all be odd together. we love it.

we've asked those friends if they'd accept the role (appropriately enough for the four of us, we did so over sunday-night-curry, and before a viewing of 'return of the king'). they said they would, so fruiby is all oddparented-up - hooray!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

week 19: large mango

this week, it has felt like fruiby has had a serious growth spurt. i know that there's a lot of growing and developing going on in there anyway, but this week my tum seems to have popped out significantly, and i have been monumentally exhausted. i mean i have been hit by waves of exhaustion that have left me weak, shaky, clammy and nauseous. getting out of bed in the morning has felt like a herculean effort, and it's been all i could do not to spend most of my days napping.

having cfs means that these feelings are not foreign to me, but i haven't had them to this extent since before getting pregnant, and it's been a bit frustrating to have to contend with them again. i am carrying on with life regardless, going to uni, visiting friends, pottering in the garden, going for short walks, sewing... i have to do these things, because otherwise i get bored, and then i get depressed, and the problem compounds itself.

i've also found myself getting noticeably clumsier over the last week or so. i keep whacking my tummy on things because it sticks out further than it used to. i've also conked my head a few times, and am continually hitting my feet and knees against the furniture.

another thing i did this week was organise all our pregnancy-related paperwork into one big folder. i was keeping hings in one of those plastic display folders, but it filled up so quickly that i had to find an alternative. everything is now neatly filed under:
  • 'ob/gyn and hospital'
  • 'scans and tests'
  • 'breastfeeding and aba'
  • 'courses and info', and
  • 'misc. info and pamphlets'.
it's amazing how much stuff we've managed to accumulate so far, and i can only see it increasing as we progress. i need to feel like it's organised properly, and that i can find any information i need without having to take the house apart.

plus, i think the folder will be an interesting record for the future - the procedures, traditions, and accepted wisdom around pregnancy and birth change so quickly, that in 30 years this will probably be an interesting historical relic. when i was at her house the other day, my mum was showing me some of the bits and pieces she's kept from my birth, and it was like looking through the contents of a time capsule. i'd like fruiby to be able to look through this stuff when they're my age and maybe even expecting a baby of their own. there are pamphlets and information sheets, as well as hand-written notes by me, photos from ultrasounds, etc etc. it's as close as i get to scrapbooking.

side note: until now i've been using "shakeit photo" to make my photos into polariods for this blog, but i've just switched to photostyler because it means i don't have to edit photos on my iphone, and can do it directly on my mac.