Monday, 9 May 2016

Ready, aim, fire

It has crept up on me a bit, but I am 26 weeks pregnant. As I get closer and closer to 30 weeks (the gestation I had Ada, the 'big' milestone) I am feeling a strange sense of calm with a tinge of nerves.

When I was 26 weeks pregnant with Ada I had no idea we only had 4 weeks to go. This time we are ready for anything. 

As we wait, and tick off the days, I have prepared myself for any possibility. My hospital bag is packed *just in case*. Ada will be beginning part time daycare later this month, for many reasons, and one is so that she is settled into a new centre *just in case* things happen and she needs more care hours.  Baby's room is a work in progress but all the essentials are ready, waiting, for whenever they are needed.

Keeping my mind open to the possibility of baby being here in a month, in two or three is strange and mind-bendy. Not knowing the future but knowing in deep detail the 'possible' futures and trying to juggle them while not letting them overwhelm requires strong will.

I was at a women's conference a few weeks ago, and one of the speakers talked about the stages of shooting an arrow. I love a good metaphor, so this resonated with me.

When you prepare to shoot an arrow, you put the arrow in the bow, and draw the arrow back with vision, but also with a stretch, with tension.
My vision is a full term pregnancy, but even imagining this does come with some tension! Tension of what my mind knows, of my beliefs, of what I trust. 

Before you can release the arrow your body needs to be in an anchoring stance (one leg behind the other, with balance in the body), this gives stabilisation to the body. The full body is engaged in this act.
I am doing everything I can to keep my body aligned. Medications, scans, regular blood pressures and so on. In the end my body will take it's own course, whatever that may be, but I sure as hell am doing all I can to keep it in line.

When the arrow is released it is done so with power and intention, until it smashes the target.
My target right now is 30 weeks of pregnancy, and my mind is set on that goal and of breaking it, of conquering, defeating. I truly believe this is possible, and at the same time don't quite believe it will happen.

Another speaker at this conference reminded me that life and growth happens in the journey, not just in the high/low lights. Whatever the outcome of this pregnancy journey, whether it's a high or a low, I know I have been stretched and grown in immeasurable ways. I certainly would not be who I am today, without walking where I have, and for that I am grateful.

I suppose what I feel right now, is that while I'm ready for anything, I'm hoping for the best and believing I can handle whatever comes my way.

Ready, aim, fire. Come at me 30 weeks. I'm waiting.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Parenting a toddler

Parenting a baby is one thing, but I'm finding parenting a toddler is where the rubber hits the road.

Ada is two. And we know it!

She's cute: she can sing all of her ABC's, twinkle twinkle and EIEIO at loud volume. She has discovered stars and planes 'look mummy look!! pane!' She insists on goodnight prayers every night, and when she's in the right mood she can charm anyone. It is so fun re-discovering the world through her eyes.

She's challenging: she throws epic tantrums, at least one a day. She hardly eats and prefers popcorn and chippies. She has found her high pitched squeal and uses it loudly and has discovered the art of slamming doors. 

Everyday my patience is tested, and I refine and hone and chop and change my parenting styles and values. At my core I value a mix of gentle parenting along with strong boundaries and clear rules. I have vowed to never smack Ada, but that doesn't mean I am doing gentle parenting perfectly- I get impatient, I snap and have sworn under my breath on many occasions.

Yesterday was 'one of those days' and I ended it feeling like an awful mum and glad to be in bed. Ada was grumpy, had watched far too much TV and tantrums through our dinner. She refused to eat.

Today though, she is happy, entertaining herself, eating well and has watched hardly any TV. 

I have done nothing different- today and yesterday- and I guess I'm slowly learning that she has ups and downs, just like me, and it's not a reflection on my parenting. In the end, I know she will turn out allright. I will show her patience, and love and problem solving, and at other times I'll be grumpy and too quick to snap, and I guess that's ok - I'm human too and she's learning, slowly, about empathy through that.

Me and my kid. She is sure teaching me a lot.

Friday, 25 March 2016

The next 10 weeks

So here I am. Me and my son (my son!!) have almost made it to 20 weeks pregnant! Halfway, although I suspect I was halfway a week or two ago. I feel like this is a major milestone. All the potential early pregnancy problems have been left in our wake, and it's business time now.

I am feeling positive and yet ready for anything in these next 10 weeks. The next 10 weeks brings us to Ada's birth gestation. In the next 10 weeks I will reach viability and move towards better and better gestations. The next 10 weeks will start to form a picture of what direction this pregnancy might be going, and regular scans and tests will be coming my way.

I have been looking back at pictures of my pregnancy with Ada. At 20 and 25 weeks I did look quite puffy and unwell (swelling/puffyness is a part of pre-eclampsia.) I remember bleeding once or twice in the 20's. At 20 weeks Ada was 'big' for her size, at 26 she was bang on and at 30 she was small. It was the 20's that things started to change in her pregnancy and I didn't realise it until it was all too late.

So, in a way, I feel like I'm going into battle. I have that mentality. I have my armour all around me- God, family, friends support, counseling, my midwife on call, my obstetrician and my medications and tests. All of these things form a bubble around me to protect baby and I. I imagine pre-eclampsia and abruption and pre-term birth like a dark force heading my way. My armour is on and I am strong and ready. I am looking and waiting and will do whatever it takes to battle them away as long as I can.
I don't know if my armour will hold all the way to 40 weeks. Time will tell. But I feel like I've been waiting my whole pregnancy for this moment. Now is the time to fight and be strong and vigilant.

I am ready.

Friday, 11 March 2016

A high risk pregnancy, 17 weeks in

When I was pregnant with Ada, ignorance was bliss! My body was slowly failing us but we had no idea until the days before she was born.

With this pregnancy, knowledge is power but also pain! The knowledge means I am well looked after by my midwife and obstetrician, I'm on very specific medication, and regular checks and tests. The 20 week scan is coming up in 2 weeks time, and apart from the normal anatomy scan that everyone gets, I also get a 'blood flow' scan (and will get one every 2 weeks) which shows if baby is getting enough nutrients and is growing right. It is likely any issue will be picked up as it starts this time, but that doesn't mean we can stop it happening, and also means I may end up with weeks of stress and hospital stays.

I recently had two blissful weeks of 'normal' pregnancy. Nothing went wrong for two weeks and I started to think things were going great. Then *bam* I had a big bleed earlier this week and ended up in hospital for the day.
This hospital trip meant I had to cancel a long awaited for developmental appointment for Ada, so there's some Mum guilt right there!

The bleeding issues are not a good sign. I had the same with Ada (but it was milder) and in the end it meant the placenta was not doing it's job properly and was part of the reason she arrived early. So you can imagine my stress that this is happening again. At this stage they just don't know what it means, and can only tell me that baby is ok right now.

I have seen my GP to get a little help dealing with the stress but unfortunately I am not eligible for any help so at this stage I'm going it alone (with amazing support from family and friends.)

In the past week I've begun to feel baby kick as I lie in bed in the mornings and evenings. This has been incredibly reassuring! It means my baby is growing and getting stronger and it means so much to me. I imagine these baby kicks are going to give me much needed reassurance over the next weeks and months.

So now, at 17 1/2 weeks pregnant, I'm in a sort of limbo time. I'm praying every day for my baby's health and safety. I'm counting down the days to get through to next milestones- anatomy scan, next obstetrician appointment, 24 weeks and 30 weeks will be a big one!

I often may seem distracted at the moment and it's because my mind is whirring. What is reassuring to me is that this is only a 'season.' It's bloody hard, for sure, but in a matter of months time I will have my sweet baby in my arms and all this pregnancy stress will be gone for good.

Having a newborn and a toddler will be another thing, but at least the unknown and worries of these pregnancy days will be gone and I will be able to focus on moving forward with our wee family.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Seven times

Seven times I have seen you already baby, in under 15 weeks of pregnancy.

The first time, at 5 weeks, with a scan for bleeding, we couldn't see you but only a sac.
The second time, at 6 weeks, to check you were really there, I saw your heartbeat and the wee dot that you were.
The third time, at 8 weeks, a scan for bleeding again, we saw a bigger smudge with tiny nub limbs.
The fourth, at 11 weeks, in my obstetricians office, I quickly saw your face for the first time.
The fifth, the 12 week scan, we saw you as a baby. Your face, lips, nose chin. Your body and tiny feet and hands.
The sixth, at 13 weeks, in ED for bleeding, I cried when I saw your heart still beating.
And the seventh, at 14 weeks, at the hospital for constant bleeding, I saw you again.

This pregnancy has been a rollercoaster of worry. It seems like nothing has gone smoothly, and weekly, daily I am tested and do not know if you are alive or gone.

The last two times I have seen you, I have been so on edge, thinking the worst. And I'm sorry baby, because I know my emotional state effects you too.

Seven times you have proven to me that you are strong, you are growing, you are doing what you need to do.

And I've made a decision. Not that I won't worry. That would be a promise I'm sure I can't keep. 

I've decided that when I worry I will consciously remember that I have seen you seven times before. That each time you have proven that I should trust you to grow. Each time I've prayed that you'll be ok and each time my prayer has been answered.

Thank you baby for proving my worst fears wrong time and time again. I can't wait to meet you later this year and to snuggle you close. I love you already.

Mummy x
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