Monday, 25 July 2016

Dear Ada- life at 2 and a half

Dear Ada,

I am writing you this letter as you play independently and quietly (the best kind of playing ;) ), while I sit on the couch in the sun.

I'm heavily pregnant with your baby brother, and because of that I've been thinking a lot about you recently, about how life is going to change for you, about how I want to treasure and soak up these last moments of you as my only child.

So far, I have loved seeing you as a two year old. You have more sass and attitude for sure, but along with that comes a lot more language and understanding.

The other day the groceries arrived, I exclaimed 'oh that's so annoying!' 
'What's wrong mummy?' you said, with concern written all over your face.
'Two of the eggs are smashed!' I said
'Oh no mummy, I sorry,' you said.

Or when I wince and twinge from pregnancy pains. 'What's wrong mummy?'
'Oh, my tummy is a wee bit sore.'
So you kiss it better, 'all better mummy!'

Those tiny moments of sweetness melt my heart.

I love seeing you being compassionate. And I love the joy in your face when you exclaim 'I fix it!' or 'Ada did it!,' with such pride. You are learning new skills and rightfully proud of yourself for it.

You can sing ABC's and twinkle twinkle with conviction. You can count to 10 (although you often miss six), and you love to draw, sing and dance.

You do struggle to share your toys with others, something which is probably very normal for your age and your only child status. We try and guide you to be kind and considerate and we see wee glimmers of understanding and empathy. I know the next few months might be rough for you as you lose your place as our only child, and I hope we can guide you through it well. I know in the long run you will absolutely love having a brother.

You can be stubborn and cheeky sometimes. You don't throw epic tantrums like you used to, however you do know how to act the drama queen sometimes, with a furrowed brow and wily look. Your Dad and I are secretly laughing although we try not to show it.

I love that we understand your language now (well most of the time!). We are working on your often demanding tone, and manners, and seeing you learn these skills is very rewarding. I can now sit you down and explain things to you, and you seem to get it. Being able to communicate like this makes life a lot easier!

We tried you in a bed, but you liked to come up the stairs many times during the night. So we put the cot back up. You love being back in your cot, and insist the sides stay up. You must feel very safe snuggled in your wee coccoon. Perhaps it reminds you of the incubator in NICU and the feeling of safety you got there? Either way, you've taught us that you're not ready for that big move yet, that what makes you feel safe is important too.

There is so much more I could write about you Ada, but I will stop there because you are bringing me ALL the books to read. And after that it will be nap time.

You're such a sweet and clever toddler, full of life.

Your Daddy and I love you so much <3 <3

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Baby Update

So it appears I posted a rather vague update on Facebook last week (whoops!) and since have had people messaging me to see if baby and I are ok.

We are!

Last week I had a scan which showed that baby is not growing quite as well as he has been. Phrases like IUGR (Inter-uterine growth restriction- Ada had this) and SGA (small for gestational age) were thrown around, along with the possibility of baby coming a little earlier than he might want to. At the time I was quite upset about this possibility. A 35/36 weeker is nothing compared to Ada's birth at 30 weeks, however it could mean baby needs time in Special Care, which would mean being separated from my baby at birth- something I feel quite strongly about NOT experiencing this time.

However, by talking it through with my lovely friends and family, as well as praying and mulling it all over, I have been able to process and come to grips with this possibility. The appointment also gave me the motivation to finish all the last baby bits and pieces, so we are ready for his arrival whenever that might be.

I have also decided to take maternity leave. My line of work is freelance, so it would be easy for me to keep accepting work here and there when I feel up to it. However, mentally deciding to officially stop working from next week, to spend some time resting and with Ada, has been a good decision for me. I never got any leave before Ada was born (I worked on the day I went into hospital!), so it will be nice to do things a little differently.

I had another scan this week, and they can't compare baby's growth from last week to this one (it's too soon to compare) but they did check other bits and pieces such as the blood flow from me to him, and this is all fine! Therefore he should be grand to stick around another week, till next week when I am 36 weeks and we have the big growth scan- from there we will make a plan around his birth.

I think I'm now at peace with whatever may happen. Even though medical phrases were thrown around in todays appointment, in a quite unlike me fashion, I decided not to ask for more expansion on the terms, or explanation of their consequences. Unlike with Ada, who was labelled and diagnosed with lots of things, I feel comfortable at this point to not think too far ahead. We will know diagnoses and plans in full when we need to. I also feel confident and competent in my knowledge around birth and neonatal stages to advocate for myself and baby when we need it.

He might need to come next week, he might stick around a few more weeks. I may go into labour, I may be induced, I may need a ceserean.  I'm feeling very 'what will be will be,' about things now.

We've made it so much further than Ada's birth gestation, and I know whatever happens, it will be a very different experience to last time. I'm excited to see what will happen, and very excited to meet my son.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Terrified

It's hard to put into words the more challenging side of motherhood. Yet lately I've been feeling it more than ever.

The relentlesness. Sleeplesness. Feeling like someone's slave. Feeling impatient, angry, tired, hormonal. On the one hand wanting only the best for my daughter, wanting to be the very best mum for her. On the other, the reality that I am flawed and my perfect parenting moments are few and far between.

You wouldn't know from looking at my instagram or facebook feed, as I, like most mum's, tend to only post the good stuff. Of course, because who wants to see a selfie of my tear stained face at 4am, or a video of Ada screaming at the closed door while I'm vomiting over the toilet and wishing she'd leave me alone for one minute. None of that is glamorous, and none of it is too regular, but it's reality.

Not quite the whole truth
I am completely terrified of being a mum to two small children. I love my kids, but I am not one of those natural mum material types. I struggle not to be selfish, to give my all to my kids. Luckily one of them is still in utero, but the impacts on my body (regular vomiting, fatigue, HORMONES) are influencing how I parent Ada already.

It's not Ada's fault- sometimes I will handle her toddler behaviour with ease and grace, with boundaries and love. Other days I snap at her, cry in the kitchen and sneak chocolate when she's not looking. She is changing and growing and testing boundaries and it's all totally normal. It's my responses that change from day to day, and I don't think this is fair on her.

When thinking about the months ahead, about adding a baby to the mix, I am equal parts excited and terrified. How can I share my time and love fairly between two kids? How can I be the mum they both need? I don't know at this point.

So there's the reality. Parenting highs and parenting lows. I know I'm not the only mum to feel this way, and I know that 'this too, shall pass.'

Friday, 10 June 2016

30 + 3: We made it

Holla, I'm officially more pregnant than I've ever been! Can I get a whoop whoop!!

Ada was born at 30+2, and today I am 30 weeks and 3 days pregnant. This is it, the huge goal I have been gunning for this whole pregnancy. I am SO excited to be here. And sore...turns out being further along in pregnancy comes with all sorts of aches and pains ;)

Excited that the baby hasn't escaped

Yesterday, Ada's 'birth' day, was interesting. I did not feel as sad as I thought I might, but I did feel very nostalgic. I looked at photos of her birth day and imagined what baby boy looks like. Ada was so tiny and precious.




I think I am mostly at peace with what happened with Ada, and a big part of that is because she is totally fine now. Prematurity is not her defining feature any more. And so it seems, prematurity may not be the the defining feature of this pregnancy either.

Ada now

So far this pregnancy is going perfectly. Baby boy is growing well and I am showing no signs of illness. It was assumed at the start of my pregnancy that I would need a scheduled c-section at 37/38 weeks, but this is no longer the case. Of course it depends how things go in the coming weeks, but I may be able to actually have this baby in August when he's due (imagine!).

Every day now is a blessing. And every day I feel more and more 'normal.' I've started doing normal pregnant lady things like reading up on labouring skills, and going to breastfeeding classes. When I imagine baby boy's birth I now see the possibility of holding him, of feeding him, of skin to skin, of leaving the hospital together.

Who knows what the coming weeks may bring, and it is a distinct possibility I may develop pre-eclampsia at a later gestation. This possibility does not fill me with terror anymore, or consume my thoughts. We've made it further than we did with Ada, therefore I know I can handle whatever might come my way.

Thankyou to all my friends and family who have listened to me go on (and on and on) about my thoughts and feelings thus far in the pregnancy. Those who know me know I find talking things through so very helpful in processing things, and I appreciate your listening ears!

If I could celebrate with a glass of bubbles I would- instead I've bought 'gourmet' chocolate milk, I'll drink a glass to Ada and to my baby boy, who I'm so excited to meet... but not yet :)

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.
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