Sunday, 29 September 2013

Opinions: People have them

So, now that it's becoming more widely known about baby on the way, people feel very eager to share their opinions with me and tell me why I'm wrong. It has begun!!

Now that I'm around 16 weeks pregnant, the most common question I get (apart from 'was it planned?' don't really wanna share about my sex life with you, random stranger) ahem, anyway, the most common question is 'will you find out the gender?'

Fair enough question. At the moment we think yes we will, although that may change. And it is SO crazy the amount of people who don't just disagree with our decision but tell us we're wrong and stupid. Sure, disagree away about our decision, but attacking us is not really fair. Comments we have had

"People can't keep anything a surprise anymore, it's the 'now now now' generation."
"People can't keep anything a secret anymore it's so stupid."
"Back in my day I never found out the gender and I don't know why people would today, it spoils it."

And so on.....

And, the birth. I'm having a hospital birth, probably with some form of medication (I'm keeping an open mind). I may have to have a C-section (medical reasons), and someone was dismayed by this. A c-section isn't a real birth you see. If I have the condition that means I will need a c-section, if I try and give birth naturally I would bleed out and die. Is that natural enough for you?

Come on, I am over 5 months away from birth anyway! And really, my private birth experience is only the concern of me, Matt, baby and the midwives/doctors. No one else needs to know, and giving opinions like that is not helpful.

Another decision (not really a decision at this stage, just a thought) is to go back to work for a day or two a week 3-4 months after baby is born. I don't need to tell you about the looks I have been given for this one. Sigh.

I had heard about this type of judgement that people feel free to give to expecting mothers, but man I have never been so judged in my life before about pretty simple and private decisions. And what is to come? I can only imagine it will get worse as the pregnancy progresses and then baby is born.

Look, I am happy to hear differing opinions on issues. That is how I learn. But not in such a disrespectful way. And if you are a stranger to me, I probably don't want to hear it. I'd rather learn from those who I trust, and who respect my final decisions.

Friday, 20 September 2013

'Reach Me' free pregnancy pack

If you're like me there is nothing that can make your day like a package in the mail full of free goodies. Today I received my free pack of samples from 'Reach Me,' and for free samples, it's pretty good!

What's inside:
  • A parenting magazine
  • A ricochet baby bib
  • Libra maternity pads
  • 2 Treasures newborn nappies
  • Travel wipe sample pack
  • A sachet of Eco store stain remover
  • Eco store hand cream (full size, pretty stoked about this one!)
  • Bepanthen nappy rash cream
  • Travel size packet of corn thins (perfect for pregnant ladies on the go!)
  • Phloe bowel health capsules
  • Lots of vouchers for discounts of baby products
Reach me also have a pack for when the baby is a newborn and a toddler, and I will definitely be getting those!

I'm pretty sure this is all run by treasures nappies, as since I signed up for this I have received an email promoting treasures. I don't really mind, it would be easy to unsubscribe if I wanted, and you can't complain about free things.

Adding this to my bounty pack (which you receive at the GP's when you're first pregnant) I'm feeling pretty stoked.

(I think this pack is only available in NZ, sorry ladies!).

Monday, 16 September 2013

"The Child who was never born"

I found a picture of this statue a while ago

"The child who was never born" by Martin Hudáčeka

I feel like I am in a place now where I can appreciate the raw beauty, sorrow and hope this statue creates.

Although this statue was apparently created for the situation of abortion, and the pain after that, art is in the eye of the beholder and for me this statue is just as poignant for those who have gone through miscarriage or stillbirth.

I am so grateful for my current pregnancy, and I will never forget the hurt of the loss of the two earlier ones. But this pregnancy is healing me, and I can look back with less grief in my heart now. I will never forget, but I feel like I can move on.

This statue will be such a lovely memorial to those mothers who have lost their babies too early. It would be moving to be able to visit it and to have a moment remembering those gone too soon.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Fitness Failure

Only a year ago, I was amped up and started running for the first time in my life.

And one year later- I am doing NO exercise.

It all started to do downhill after the 7k race in February. I got such a good time (for me) and was so proud of myself. However, after that there was no real goal to work towards and I lost motivation. Also we moved house, so my favourite running track was replaced with steep hills (not surprising in Wellington.) I do live close to amazing views, but I have NO motivation to run on hills.

This amazing view is about 2k and many hills from our house

Another thing working against me was my medical/pregnancy issues earlier this year. When I was pregnant I wouldn't do any exercise for fear of harming the baby. When I was miscarrying I was advised not to do any exercise anyway. And now I'm 13 weeks pregnant and have been advised against exercise for medical reasons (for now anyway.)

So, whenever I can get back into it -later this pregnancy or after baby is born- I'm going to be starting all over again.

I'm hoping I get the all clear for some 'gentle' exercise soon, as I'd love to do yoga or pilates, at least to get a bit of strength and flexibility. I have considered aqua-natal-jogging, but I can't get past the fear of it being like this.....

Actually, I should probably just get over myself, because anything in a cold pool is probably going to be very appealing this summer.

I suppose this is just a 'woe is me' post, and there is nothing I can do about the exercise situation at the moment. The only way I can control my health is by eating well, and I am trying my best but I definitely could improve. If I end up not being able to exercise till after March, I will just have to accept it, and do the best I can when I am allowed again. Until then....

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Pregnancy after miscarriage

For those of you who didn't know..... I'm pregnant! And safely in the second trimester :)

But oh man, pregnancy after miscarriage- it's hard, I'm not gonna lie. The first 12 weeks really were a rollercoster of emotion, hope, despair, belief and doubt.

Here is my story.

So, I had an inkling I was pregnant again, around the end of June. My period was late, but then it was the month directly after a miscarriage (I miscarried in early June), so I couldn't be sure if it was late or just taking it's sweet time as it can do after these things.

So for about two weeks I waited for it. Honestly I kinda just wanted my period to come. But as the days passed I began to suspect more and more. 

I really didn't want to take a pregnancy test. I knew I would be excited, but I also knew I would be consumed with fear. So for about two weeks I lived in denial and tried not to think about it.

I decided that I would take a pregnancy test when I started bleeding, just so if it was a miscarriage, I would know and I could get referred to the hospital clinic for recurrent miscarriage.

My Dad came to stay with us for a few days. And lo and behold, at this time when I wanted to be able to keep things together and enjoy the time with my Dad, I started bleeding. So, I took the test (hoping it was a negative and this was just my period), and BAM it came up positive straight away. So, I believed I was starting to have another miscarriage.

Oh man, that was so hard. I wanted to curl up in a ball and cry and cry, but I really felt the need to hold it together in front of my Dad. I did tell him what was happening, but didn't allow myself to break down. I prayed desperately 'please God, let this bleeding stay away till after he is gone and I can grieve properly.'

Well, my Dad left a few days later, and the bleeding had stopped altogether. I wasn't sure what to think. I was on that rollercoaster again, not knowing whether to hope or not. I went to the doctors and she ordered me a blood test. She didn't hold out much hope (she started telling me all about the miscarriage clinic), but she said if my pregnancy hormone was over 1500 I could get a scan. The highest my pregnancy hormone has been with my two prior pregnancies was 350.

I got the blood test. And got a phone call two days later- my pregnancy hormone was at 29,000! I couldn't believe it, that was SUCH an amazing number. But the thing about these hormones is that you have to get tested a few days apart to check they are rising. So I got another blood test a few days later and my hormone had gone up to 50,000! This was SO amazing. At about this time I began to have hope and believe this could be real.

During this time I had worked out roughly how far along I was. I lost my two previous babies at about 5 1/2 and 6 1/2 weeks. So reaching and passing those milestones in this pregnancy was a great feeling.

A few days after the blood tests I had a scan. All my scans before had shown nothing. So, I was fearful of this scan. Matt came with me. In the car I was feeling so, so scared. I prayed 'God, please let this be ok. But please don't let this be ambiguous. Let this scan clearly show a yes or a no.'
(I had had ambiguity with a pregnancy before and it was not a nice feeling.)
Matt prayed with me as we drove, and I walked into the scan with a sort of 'what will be will be,' feeling.

We got into the scan. And as soon as she put the scanner on my belly, I saw it. I knew this was real. Our little baby was tiny (1cm) but alive- she could see it's heartbeat! Our little baby was 7 weeks old.

I was so elated after this scan. It was really there, there was really a baby!

Around this time I started to develop quite bad morning sickness. I didn't enjoy it, but I saw it as a good sign of a healthy pregnancy. Every morning I vomited, and sometimes during the day too. I began to develop ongoing hunger, and began to carry snacks with me everywhere I went. It was hard to hide it, especially at work.

Sometimes the sickness was so bad, I just had to cry. It can wear you down, that constant unwell feeling. Then I would feel guilty about hating the sickness, as wasn't this what I had wanted to badly? It took a while for me to reconcile that I could feel both annoyed at the sickness, and at the same time oh so glad it was there.

Having had prior miscarriages, I tried not to be obsessive, but I can't lie, I was. I would feel anxious when I wasn't nauseous, I would often check for blood. The fear is not a nice place to be in. I tried to just let it go, but I couldn't. 

From about 7 weeks I did have a little bleeding probably about once a week. Let me tell you, as someone whose prior miscarriages started this way, this was not at all fun. Seeing blood would make me so upset, angry and fearful. I was so, so afraid and there was nothing I could do about it. I just had to ride with the emotions and hope and pray the bleeding would go away (it did.)

Through my early weeks I knew of a few friends who were early pregnant too, who lost their babies to miscarriage. I was so, so heartbroken for them because I know that pain, and I know that fear. I prayed for them and cried for them. Miscarriage seems so unfair. Their experiences fueled my fear that I would miscarry this baby too, so I had to work through that.

Each night and every morning (and often in between) I would pray, thanking God for this baby, and praying for his protection. I went to a conference in Auckland during this time, and someone who had experienced miscarriage also talked about the moment she realised that God loved her babies more than she ever could. This was a revelation for me, and took a bit of the stress away. Realising that God loves this baby more than I ever will helped me to relax a bit.

At 9 weeks I went for another scan. I had been bleeding a bit, and so again was fearful about what they might find. But again, I saw a lovely baby and a strong heartbeat. This time I was able to see baby wriggling around! Which was so amazing. I have a picture, but it is a bit blurry.

The head is at the left, the body is the C shaped looking blur in the middle of the screen.

So, the days began to tick away. The weeks felt incredibly slow. But, I decided to see everyday as a victory. Everyday as getting closer to that magic 12 weeks mark. (I know bad things can still happen after 12 weeks. But I knew I would feel better after 12 weeks as the chance of miscarriage is the so, so much lower.)

I joined a private group on Facebook for ladies having babies in March 14. It has been so great to share the journey with others. It really reinforced for me that we all experience pregnancy differently! I found out a few other friends are pregnant too, and it's been so nice to have chats with people about it.

I watched 'One born every minute' and began to believe that will be me. I would cry at the look on the parents faces being held their precious newborn. Even thinking about it makes me tear up (pregnancy hormones!).

Every day I believed with more and more faith that this baby was the one, that I would meet him/her in March.

And then- boom- at 11 weeks 4 days I started bleeding quite heavily. It went on for several days, and it really stressed me out. At times I really believed it was the end, and I was so upset. It was a good thing my scan was only a few days later. Going into the scan, again I didn't know what to think. I didn't know whether to hope. But amazingly, all was ok! Matt and I were so relieved/thankful/awe-struck/happy and all those good emotions at once.

I know this looks like just another baby scan to you, but this is the best photo ever to me!

Little baby feet! Oh, they kill me. Already wanna kiss them.

So, all seems well with the baby, and we saw it wriggling around heaps. It's so weird to know that baby is alive and well and having a good old time in there, and yet I can't feel it at all.

In the scan I found out I have a low placenta which might explain the bleeding. Either way, as a girl who is terrified of bleeding in pregnancy, I think I am just going to have to get used to it. This is me, my pregnancy, and I will have to handle whatever may come.

We took so much joy in telling people I'm pregnant. Emails, phone calls, texts, face to face- and we had such an excited response every time. There is nothing else like it- this joy, after so much pain, is such a salve to my soul.

To see such a turn around from my grief a few months ago, is so amazing. I'm constantly thankful. And I know we're not out of the woods yet (although, are parents ever out of the woods?), but we're starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. And starting to really believe we'll hold this little one in our arms in March next year.

We love you baby, and can't wait to meet you!

Thursday, 5 September 2013

I've lost my university mojo

I'm seriously considering dropping out of my honors degree.

Everytime I sit down to my current assignment, every ounce of motivation leaves me. It feels like this is the most boring, painful thing I could be doing. And it's not the content of the assignment, its the action of studying and writing, just grates with me right now.

I have felt like this before- in the early months of this year. I seriously questioned what I was doing at university still, and in the end decided to re-structure my degree. I wonder now if this re-structure was just a band-aid but I haven't really fixed the problem.

I've been studying for years, alongside working as an interpreter, and until this year I really enjoyed it. Yes, assignments were a pain, but often I really enjoyed doing them.

This year doubt has crept in, and now it's slapping me in the face.

What am I doing? Why am I really continuing with post-grad study? What are my goals?
The answer to all three questions-  I don't know.

I suppose when I qualified as an interpreter, I imagined myself one day in the distant future, working as an academic researcher. I enjoy research. I enjoy my field of work, and combining the two seemed perfect. And, fitting in study is easy while interpreting, so it was the perfect match.

But now I wonder. Do I want to be an academic? If I really do, I would have to do a PHD. As I am doing study part time, this would take EIGHT years (including time to do a Masters degree first.) Eight years, and thousands and thousands of dollars.

I am starting to wonder if being an academic is the only way I can be intellectually satisfied and contribute to the interpreting profession. I know plenty of interpreters who contribute heaps in other ways- taking an active role in our interpreter association, doing their own reading and professional development and passing this onto others, becoming very skilled in certain areas and passing on their knowledge.

Also, there has been an interpreter specific post-grad program offered before. I didn't take it at that time, but if it's offered again perhaps I could. Perhaps something much more specific to my work would be better for me.

Not to mention the fact that a baby is on the way (wohoo!), so Matt and I are at a stage of our lives where priorities are shifting. I won't be able to finish my honors degree any time soon (I have another year to go after this part time.) That's not to say you can't study with a baby. Of course you can. But with my motivation this low already, I don't think it would work for me.

Maybe if I take a break, I could come back in a few years if I miss it?

At the same time, I think I should just finish this paper. I won't get a refund if I quit. And I might as well do what I can before baby gets here. I wonder if I'm just lazy and I just need to push and do some hard work to get through. Sometimes we have to do things we don't like, and if I give up now it would be such a waste.

Sometimes I wish someone else would make my decisions for me!

What to do....?

Addendum: I've decided to stick with the paper I am doing as there is only 6 weeks left. After that I will put my study on hold and see how I feel after some time off.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

A Weekend Away

Matt and I went away for a long (four day) weekend, exploring the middle of our lovely North Island.

The main purpose of the weekend was to go to Rotorua for my friends 30th birthday. We stayed together in an AMAZING house, and hung out, ate food, chatted, watched movies and dressed up as rubix cubes for the party night...

There's something so lovely and energising about being with friends. Ones who truly get you, and who you  can relax with. You can all just watch a movie together, or play Jenga Boom and be totally yourself, totally content. I love times like that.

After we left, Matt and I headed down to Napier for the night and stayed in a pretty nice motel. It had a spa bath in the room- that is the epitome of class for me!
We spent a short time at the beach. I've been feeling a bit unwell, so I loved going to the beach, hearing the waves boom, seeing the vastness of the grey ocean.

Because I was lucky enough to grow up near the ocean, the beach has always been my place to go when I need refreshment, time out, space to think. Even spending a few minutes at Napier beach was enough to refresh me.  I found that the millions of pebbles, enormity of the waves and enduring nature of the ocean helped me put my problems into perspective a bit.

It was great to spend some quality time with my hubby. Just being with him is so enjoyable to me. Sometimes we miss that being in the rush of day to day life. So some quality time was just what we needed.

Weekend get away's are the best. So refreshing for such a short time. I think I'll start planning the next one....

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