Friday, May 28, 2010

Braxton is a Hick

If Tricky was a library book, I'd have gotten a stern reminder letter and threat of a fine by now.

My Obstetrician doesn't think he is due until the 1st of June, but I thought he was due on the 25th of May because of a miscalculation when I first gave him all the information. It doesn't really matter anyway since such a small percentage of babies are born on their actual due date... apparently only 5%, with 75% coming after. That leaves 20% coming early, including all the premmies. So if we're going to place the safest bet, you'd chose after.

I had an appointment today to get checked out to see if anything was happening and without turning this in to the too much information super highway, I can tell you there is definitely some movement at the station. The OB in all his infinite wisdom assures me that it is “any day now”. Gee, thanks, I could have bloody told you that!

For the past three days I have had a strangely regular pattern of Braxton Hicks contractions. They come about five minutes apart, getting me to the point of thinking that this might actually be early labour when all of a sudden... nothing. They completely stop. It isn't strange to have BH contractions, or for them to be close together or for them to stop, the thing that is weird is that every time it happens it lasts for almost exactly five hours. Five hours on, five hours off. Does Tricky have access to a stopwatch that I'm not aware of? Perhaps he is doing a tally on the placenta like a convict carving the days on a cell wall?

Yesterday at the five hour mark they didn't stop so I emailed Hubby saying exactly what we had joked I would say: “I have no idea if this is the real thing, but I'm having contractions five minutes apart.” He left work within minutes but by the time he was home (under an hour later) they had stopped. They had been so strong and regular that we both thought I wouldn't make it to the OB appointment today, that instead I'd be seeing him in the birthing suite. Wrong again. Hurry up, Tricky! We just want to meet you!

So tonight I will go back to fondling the acupressure points that are meant to help dilate the cervix... I already have miniature bruises on the spots because I've been pressing them for a week. It is handy though because now Hubby and I can locate them without thinking!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Things that don't go bump in the night

It is hard not to go straight to panic mode when you realise you haven't felt your bub kick all day... this is what happened to us on Saturday

I had acupuncture in the morning and every other time Tricky has either gone completely mental during or immediately after the treatment and stayed really active for at least half an hour. After the session he hadn't moved and I thought nothing of it, assuming he was sound asleep (a Saturday morning sleep in, who could blame him?).

At 3pm when out with Hubby I mentioned in passing I couldn't feel him moving at all, but I still wasn't concerned, just very aware. A few times I thought it was him moving only to realise it was a small Braxton Hicks contraction.

I decided to have a bath at 7pm and if I laid really still and wrapped my arms around my belly I could feel the tiniest little movement, really similar to those first flutters – nothing like the footballer who had taken over my belly in the last two months. Where had my robust Tricky gone? By this point I was had passed being aware and had moved on to full blown concern – not panic, because after all, I could still feel him very slightly.

Hubby encouraged me to phone the midwives at the hospital, reminding me that we were told at antenatal classes to call for any reason and not to feel silly. But I still felt silly as I made the call... and then felt even worse when as soon as I introduced myself I burst in to tears!

My problem is I've never done this before – what is normal?! I've read the books so I know that foetal movement slows toward the end because they run out of room, but was it normal for him to go from being the number one draft pick one day to almost nothing the next? Surely it would be more gradual than that? The midwife, Louise, was fantastic and said we should just come in, have it all checked out on the monitor because then “you'll feel much better knowing he is fine”. She could not have used better words.

At the hospital Louise strapped me to a cardiotocography (CTG) machine which measured Tricky's heart rate and any contractions I was having. There is a speaker on there so you can hear the lovely swishy noise of the million miles an hour heartbeat. The standard monitoring is 20 minutes and in that time they like to see a good base heart rate (between 110-160 beats per minute) and two positive variations – meaning their heart rate spikes up twice as a result of their moving or a contraction. In the first 20 minutes Tricky's heart beat was nice and strong but only spiked once so they decided to go another round. Sure enough he decided to play along and his heart rate spiked again after I felt a small movement. Hooray!

The verdict? Louise and the other midwives think he's engaged (congratulations, Tricky – it's a lot earlier than I expected – oh wait, different type) and as a result can't squirm around as much as before. They figured this by having a bit of a feel around of my belly and because he didn't respond to the 'lemonade trick' where they try to give you and therefore the baby a sugar high by making you drink lemonade.

I like to find the silver lining in things that aren't the best. Not as a way to sugar-coat the sometimes negative or depressing parts of life, but as a way to remember that it is life after all and there are no guarantees. It might sound a bit stupid but the whole time that I've been saying that I'm having Braxton Hicks I actually had no idea if that was really what was happening... I was just going on what I'd read. I could very well have been feeling indigestion for all I know! But there it was in black and white on the machine print out – I was having small contractions (silver coloured ones). So now that it's confirmed that those feelings were what I thought they were, I'm no longer concerned that I will not realise I'm in labour – even after everyone telling me YOU WILL KNOW!

Did you have any dramas with your pregnancies? How did you manage to stay calm and not think about the worst case scenario?

Friday, May 21, 2010

A big FAT mind your own business!

Today I was at my local shopping centre, minding my own business doing my famous duck impersonation (waddling) from one end of the place to the other when I passed one of those temporary stalls in the mall. Actually passing it would have been fine – I tried to, you see, but a man from the stall stood in front of me so that I would have to stop... now I don't like being accosted at the best of times, let alone when I'm 700 weeks pregnant with a dodgy hip that decided today was the day to up the ante in the pain stakes. If you are a mall-seller feel free to offer me a sample, ask if I'm interested or try to wave me over – but if I say no or shake my head politely and you decide to BLOCK MY PATH, you better watch it. I chose to remain calm and gave him a very obviously fake smile, hoping he would see that behind the lip gloss were fangs that could cause him irreparable damage.

He introduced himself to me as Eric and tried to sell me a weigh loss challenge (yes, on the brochure he forgot the 'T' in weight and we all know how much I hate bad spelling – is the spell-check button so hard to find?). For only $49 I could get eight weeks of one on one coaching, a support group and advice on nutrition and food choices that would help me through the pregnancy... when I pointed out I had only four days to go until D-Day (my bump was quite compact this morning) he said “Well it is great for after baby to get rid of all the fat” and started rabbiting on about how his 'ex' struggled with post-baby weight loss and blah blah blah, I stopped paying attention at this point.

I haven't even had the kid yet and already I'm being told I have a time limit to lose the baby weight! At my obstetrician appointment today I was weighed and I have put on 13kg since becoming pregnant – within the normal range, and I was an average size 12-14 before that (I may only have two pairs of pants that actually say size 12 but dammit, it counts!). So lovely Eric, with no idea about my personal history has decided that I need help to shed the kilos. Gee, thanks. I feel so warm and fuzzy inside knowing that you care. If Eric had been a buff guy then his words might have carried a bit more weight (possibly around the bum, maybe the thighs), but instead his gut size rivalled mine – I have a BABY in there, Eric, what's your excuse? Aww a cute little beer baby? What will you call it? Carona if it's a girl or TED if it's a boy, how sweet.

I declined (very politely although my teeth may have been clenched slightly) when Eric offered to start my program right there and then. Without missing a beat he asked for my details so he could call me in a few weeks time to get me started on my very own 'Biggest Loser' challenge (and I really doubt he has permission to use that particular copyrighted catch phrase). I said I'd pass for now and concentrate on just having the kid. He was disappointed to not get a sale (maybe my fake smile was too genuine looking?) and ended with “Good luck, I hope everything goes well. I'd love to know what sex you have” which for a millisecond had me thinking not only was he a beer-bellied path blocker who said I was fat, but that he was also a pervert... hey, you never know with these mall sellers.

Did you feel the pressure to lose the baby weight?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Some people celebrate the birth of a child with cigars, champagne, presents, investment portfolios or sports club memberships... we are celebrating Tricky's imminent arrival with a spot of light gambling.

The rules for the sweepstakes are pretty simple: pick a date, pick a weight, pay $5 and sit back and wait to see if you get the cash – winner takes all and it's almost $150! To make sure everyone had a fair chance of winning they were told my actual due date and the date that my obstetrician wouldn't let me go past without being induced. If two people had the same date then it would go to the weight with the person closest without going over being the winner – it's just like being on the Price is Right except that Larry Emdur is replaced by Hubby's mate, Neil.

The dates picked span a massive 22 days – starting with Aunty Penny's pick on the 17th of May (guess she didn't win since I'm sitting here with a belly full of baby still). She thought Tricky would take after me and be a week early, but he seems pretty happy swimming around in goo at the moment. For $150 I'm considering picking a date no one else has chosen (funnily enough, my official due date) and booking in for an induction!

I'm very ready for him to arrive. Even though it means actually having to go through the birth process - which is understandably a little daunting - it also means an end to the constant heartburn, the dodgy hip and top of Hubby's list... an end (or at least reduction) in the snoring! By day I'm your average, waddling preggo, but by night, watch out – I'm a chainsaw! It's similar to turning in to a werewolf, except I don't tear you limb from limb... I make you want to do it to yourself.

So for now I'll continue drinking my raspberry leaf tea and attending my pre-birth acupuncture and yoga sessions to get my body ready... and just wait.

Did your bub come on time?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Lacking wisdom

Whilst eating my lunch today I noticed that one of teeth felt a little sharp when I touched it with my tongue. So I did what any normal, non-dentist person would do – I shoved my finger back there to see what I could find. What I found was slightly disturbing – half my tooth was missing! When did this happen? There was no pain, so I don't know if it broke during lunch or weeks ago.

Of course I went straight to worse case scenario and figured that my tooth would need to be taken out without any anaesthetic due to being pregnant. Before anaesthetic you could take a swig of rum to numb the pain, but oh no, no such substances can touch this sacred vessel. A quick internet search (thank you, Google) and a call to my obstetrician's office to confirm, I found out you can have a local anaesthetic, which surprised me because you can't take plain old over the counter ibuprofen.

One phone call later and I had an appointment for 3pm down the road with a dentist I'd never met before. I was a little bit scared but figured since the tooth didn't hurt yet, I'd probably be able to wait a few weeks until Tricky is born and then go back to have the tooth taken out while under the influence of some hard core dental drugs.

I sat in the chair, pretending that I wasn't scared and the dentist, Steven, informed me that yes, my tooth had broken but luckily it was one of my wisdom teeth so it didn't need to be saved, he could just extract it. As lovely as he was I wanted to tell him that no matter how pretty he made it sound with words like 'extract' and 'remove' all I could hear was “I will GOUGE open your gums and YANK out this tooth whilst laughing at your PAIN”. He did make me feel better by telling me it wasn't my fault that the tooth had gone bad, the way it was shaped meant a toothbrush could never reach it. I bet he says that to all the heavily pregnant women though.

So I had a decision to make. Get it 'extracted' right then or leave it and wait for it to start hurting before I came back. I figured I might be really busy in a few weeks, what with an infant an all, so I decided to go ahead with it. The tooth was history.

I was draped in a very glamorous lead apron for a quick x-ray then numbed up and Steven got to work on my dodgy tooth. But that sucker just would not budge - it took 45 minutes of yanking to get it out, luckily all in one piece. By the end of it all I'd been in the chair for just over an hour and even though I wasn't in any pain I'd managed to carve half moon shapes in the palms of my hands with my fingernails, just from the tension of having to sit there. At the end he told they normally schedule a check up appointment for ten days after a wisdom tooth removal to make sure that everything is healing up properly but because my 'delicate condition' meant I couldn't be sure just how available I'd be, they'd call me at the seven day mark just to see what I wanted to do. But then it got even better, because Steven said that if I'd had the baby and was worried about my tooth (or lack there of) he would COME TO ME to check it out. How nice is that?! I have never heard of a dentist making house calls before.

The anaesthetic has worn off now and it's no where near as bad as I thought it would be. I'm left with a dull ache, a massive hole in my gum and my tooth in a little plastic bag. If I leave under my pillow I wonder if I'll get any money?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A hairy situation

Hormones akimbo is a good way to describe pregnancy. Hormones do all sorts of cool things - like make ligaments stretchy enough to accommodate a growing baby, and quite a few not so nice things too – like turning your once quite normal face in to an acne filled grease ball and robbing you of your well deserved Glow.

I've had my fair share of hormonal dramas these past months (being teary one minute and a major cranky pants the next) but there is one effect that I have only just realised... the hair on my legs has stopped growing!

The hair on your head falls out less whilst your up the duff (which means my already thick hair is now bordering on a 'fro) so I assumed the rest of my body would follow suit and pretty soon I would look like I just walked out of the jungles of the Amazon, but apparently not.

To save money I switched from waxing to shaving when I realised there would soon be one less income and one more mouth to feed in our household. Through pure laziness though I didn't pay attention to the state of my legs – at the beginning I was feeling too nauseous to care then as time went by my tummy got in the way so 'out of sight, out of mind' came in to the equation. I probably wouldn't have noticed the lack of hair at all if it wasn't for one very strange phenomenon that Hubby pointed out to me as he sat there chatting to me while I soaked in a nice warm bath... MY KNEES WERE HAIRY!

No where else on my legs does the hair grow at the moment, so here I am with two very hairy knees in comparison to the rest of me. I have no idea how this is even possible - why my knees? They're not usually an area of the body affected by hormonal hair - it is much more likely for a preggo to develop a hairy chin or lip. It seriously looked like a pair of spiders had decided to make a home half way up my legs. With two quick flicks of a razor the spiders were sent on their merry way and a hairy knee crisis was averted. I'm just lucky that it wasn't a hairy ankle fiasco because I can barely reach those suckers now!

Interestingly when the baby is born all the accumulated hair on your head starts falling out and a lot of new mothers think they are going bald – but its just playing catch up really. I just hope my leg hair doesn't decide to go the same way and come back with a vengeance! Does anyone have a whipper snipper I can borrow just in case?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Striae gravidarum. Do you know what they are? You probably do, but just by a different name. It is the medical terminology for stretch marks caused by pregnancy. And guess who has them, baby? Yep, me.

I expected to get stretch marks because around 75-90% of pregnant women get them to some degree during pregnancy, because I already have a few tiny little ones from growing fast during puberty, and because my mum got them. It doesn't matter how much vitamin E cream or Bio Oil you rub in to your belly, because it's much more dependant on your genetic makeup than any external magic potion.

I've got about a dozen stretch marks that started to pop up around the six month mark and I'm whilst I will stop short of saying I like them, I don't mind them as much as I thought I would. I've heard people refer to them as a badge of honour – I'd prefer an actual badge (a big, shiny, silver one) if I had my way, but I get what they're trying to say.

My own stretch marks have a strange significance to me because they centre around three spots on my lower abdomen – coinciding with three scars I have from laproscopic surgery this time last year. The point of least resistance has been found and exploited! At the moment I look at them and because I don't yet have Tricky in my arms to associate them with, I automatically think of the surgery and it doesn't have the nicest memories attached to it.

You see, the surgery was to remove an ectopic pregnancy. So whenever I see them (actually it is more like whenever I feel them, because I can't see over my bump!) I'm reminded of the scary times spent at the hospital waiting - because at times like that waiting is all you seem to do. Wait for a doctor, wait for test results, wait to be wheeled in to the operating theatre while laying there in a really unattractive hospital gown, wait to find out just how much of your insides they have to remove and wait to find out if you can ever have kids...

Moving away from being melodramatic, it is pretty obvious that the last question was answered with a resounding YES otherwise this blog would not exist. I am one of the lucky ones – even though my fertility has been halved (there was too much damage to the tube and it had to be removed), there is obviously still something working in there! So it turns out my now lopsided-some-bits-missing reproductive system can manage a baby after all, it just took a couple of goes to get the hang of it. Practice makes perfect, apparently.

Monday, May 10, 2010

What's in a name?

I'm a bit of a spelling freak. Nothing amuses me more than professionally made signs with spelling or grammar mistakes, and one of my favourite books is 'Eats, Shoots & Leaves' by Lynne Truss (which shockingly has several dozen punctuation errors itself!). But what does this have to do with babies? Well its a bit of a story...

Today I went out with my mum to visit her work friend, Sally and her two month old bundle of joy, Noah. Oh how sweet and precious he is! But could I relax while holding him? No. Simple thought of “you break it, you bought it” running through my head meant that I held on to him for dear life for about five minutes before I offered my mum a hold. She thought I was being nice, giving up my 'turn'... but it was pure and blind panic that motivated me.

So we were chatting about the usual things a new mother would talk about to a pregnant woman – just how freaking tired she was, but how it is all worth it – when we got on to the subject of the announcement. Sally asked to be put on our official 'text list' for when Tricky is born but suggested we don't tell anyone until the next day so that the initial bonding stages aren't interrupted by people coming to see the little guy (I'm a realist, I know they wouldn't be coming to see me). At this point Sally's husband David started laughing and said I should make sure to spell Tricky's name correctly in the text message. What? I didn't quite get what he meant, so he continued...

David had sent a group text to approximately 20 people and had used the predictive text function on his phone, which didn't have Noah stored in the dictionary. Without noticing he announced the happy arrival of his new son 'Mobi'. Texts flooded back congratulating them and commenting on the name choice (I'm sure Moby fans would have thought it very cool). David sent a second text immediately correcting the mistake, and finally Noah had his name. Oh well, not so bad, a few people thought he had an unusual name there for a few minutes, nothing to worry about... or was there? In the short time between the first and second texts one of the recipients had jumped straight on the phone to purchase a gift... and that is why the Fremantle Dockers now have a junior member called Mobi.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

Today marks my last Mother's Day as a non-mother... I'm currently just host to a parasitic creature, but that just doesn't look as good on a card. Although if you happen to work for Hallmark, let's talk.

If the catalogues infiltrating my letter box are anything to go by, as soon as Tricky is born I will be overwhelmed with the desire for slippers and toasters once a year. Slippers are great and definitely have their place (on my feet) but the first thing I think of when I hear of them being given as a Mother's Day gift is not so much "loved mother", but more "on special at Kmart".

For those with small children the task of buying the gift gets passed off to the partner, and I'm not sure Hubby realises that the gift he would give HIS mother is not necessarily the gift I would like, even though we will both be covered under the "Spoil Mum this Mother's Day" banner. So I guess I should resign myself to the prospect of a new pair of slippers every year - although I can't wait until Tricky is old enough to make me a fantastic home-made card with a lovely scribble that is meant to be a picture of me. But until then... let's hope Hubby knows Peter Alexander sells slippers too.

Happy Mother's Day

Friday, May 7, 2010

Start the countdown

This week I've reached an important milestone in the world of pregnancy... Tricky is now considered full term! For the uninitiated full term is a massive FIVE WEEK window when you are meant to go in to labour - if your labour begins before 37 weeks its considered pre-term and the "powers that be" will do everything to try and stop it (unless its a multiple birth, in which case your due date is approximately 37 weeks because of the lack of room!). After 42 weeks you're considered post-term or as I like to consider it "over cooked" - most obstetricians won't let you go more than ten days past your due date before inducing though.

The magic number of 37 weeks is chosen because the baby's lungs are now fully developed and ready to breathe in the lovely dry, recycled air conditioning air of the birthing suite. Ahhh.

Being full term has brought with it a small amount of anxiety. When getting a few Braxton Hicks contractions I find myself thinking "Should I be timing these? Just in case they're the real thing?" Every twinge and ache is now examined under a microscope because I'm concerned that I'll continue to just pass off labour pains as Braxton Hicks and then all of a sudden have to rush to the hospital and barely get there in time - I've known people born in ambulances and one born in a hospital carpark (with the help of some kindly strangers who had just been discharged after getting stitched up after a drunken brawl)! I've never done this before so I really have no idea.

I'm not really worried about my waters breaking in public - it would be a cool story for any witnesses to tell their family over dinner that night - and I'm aware that real life is not like the movies, and the majority of women will be in labour (and know it) a few hours before their waters do break and can therefore be semi-prepared. What I am concerned about is if they break in the car! I've heard horror stories of seats rotting and needing to be replaced (even if a towel had been put down just in case) and Hubby would definitely not be happy if his precious car was soiled in any way! He couldn't replace just one seat - he'd have to get the whole set replaced so they all looked the same.

Over the last few days I've heard three girlfriends' stories of waters breaking in the morning laying in bed after going through the initial labour asleep the night before. The labouring while asleep bit really appeals to me - but what about my mattress? Do I really have to put down a plastic sheet? No one tells you these things! Plus there is no way of knowing if its going to be a gush or just a trickle... 

Did your waters break spontaneously? Where were you?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Culture shock

I love observing and learning about other cultures. I might be too chicken to actually totally submerge myself in them, but I'll watch and respect as long as I don't have to eat anything I would normally assault with a full can of bug spray (hence my refusal to eat crickets on a kebab in Thailand).

One of the cultures that both delights and baffles me is that of Japan. I'm fascinated by their contradictions; the quietness and respect for others right along side the loudness and vivacity of the Harajuku and Gyaru fashion trends. But something I saw this week truly baffled me so much that I just had to share it.

On the 25th of April this year a competition with a 400 year history was held at a temple in Tokyo. The contest is considered an opportunity to pray for babies' health – so how would you expect they did this? But bowing their heads silently? No. Chanting rhythmically as loud as they could? Also no. This is a competition after all, there needs to be something measurable... how about how fast can a Sumo wrestler make a baby cry? You think I'm joking, but I'm not.

The Konaki Sumo (crying Sumo) requires two Sumo wrestlers to each hold a baby and face each other and wait to see whose infant cries first (if they cry at the same time, the louder baby wins). They're helped along by a local priest who waves, shouts and holds up scary looking masks, but the children are never physically harmed.

For more photos see here

To me, in my closeted Western life, this is just bizarre! But according to the Japanese a crying baby grows faster and therefore healthier, plus the louder the infant cries the more the gods have blessed it. When you take it from their point of view I suppose it makes sense. It just shows you how differently we are all raised from one culture to another... which brings me to my next “discovery” of sorts – a documentary.

Before I get you too excited, I cannot find ANY details on the Australian release dates for this movie, but it launches in America (if you happen to be there) on May 7th. Known as Babies – The Movie, this documentary follows four babies from around the world; Ponijao from Namibia, Mari from Japan, Bayar from Mongolia and Hattie from America “from first breath to first steps”. Watch the trailer (I've watched it at least a dozen times now) and you won't be disappointed! I'm not sure what I'd do if a goat started drinking Tricky's bath water... 

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Pins and needles

Today I had my first “Pre-Birth Acupuncture Treatment” at a great little place called East Meets West, a Traditional Chinese Medicine practice in Tuart Hill.

So what is a pre-birth treatment and what does it do? Starting from 36 weeks gestation you go in for weekly pin-cushion sessions that are designed to prepare the body for an efficient labour by ripening and softening the cervix, helping position the baby (they offer a separate, more intense treatment for breech presentation), promoting blood flow to the uterus and encouraging optimal energy and stamina.

They also claim that research at a major midwifery practice in New Zealand showed that these treatments are able to reduce the number of inductions, reduce the need for epidural anaesthesia and reduce the need for emergency caesarean sections (their site has some statistics but I won't bore you with them here).

The service was recommended to me by one of the women I met in antenatal class (the one who also wanted delayed cord clamping), because she did it and found it very helpful. Mind you, it appears to have worked so well for her that her baby came a week early! She experienced a quick (less than twelve hours start to finish) and natural birth, required no artificial pain relief and was absolutely thrilled at the way everything turned out. That's what I want!

I'm feeling really positive about it, not only because of a personal recommendation but because during the session (the tiny needles are left in for 20 minutes) I was simultaneously treated for a bout of heartburn I was experiencing – and by the end of the appointment the heartburn was gone. Whether it was the dozen or so miniature stab wounds doing their thing or it was the placebo affect I don't really know... but I also don't really care – either way it was gone and that was BRILLIANT! After taking out all the needles, the practitioner then put “seeds” on these heartburn spots – a tiny little metal ball on what is basically a little bandaid – for me to press whenever I feel the burn or to use as a preventative three to four times a day for 30 seconds. Plus as an added bonus, on the third session Hubby is invited along to learn the pressure points he can press for labour pain relief (although whether he decides to press his or mine remains to be seen).

Acupuncture isn't for everyone though, and I'm sure some will think I'm just going way too hippie freak. But I'm going to try everything I can to help me get through this birth as naturally as possible for as long as possible. I've already trained in meditation but having never meditated DURING LABOUR before I don't know how good I'll be – so a few other bits and pieces might be necessary. Next stop, the aromatherapy store!


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