Thursday, 28 March 2013

Today I finished my book

I am two days over due. While everybody says that hardly any baby arrives on the due date and first babies are generally late, suddenly I keep getting annoyed. Since before my due date husband kept asking: 'Do you feel anything? Any contractions? Anything different?' And he would ask me like that every couple of hours. As if in the case that I did go into labour I would just keep quiet and waited for him to ask.
The day after my due date - yesterday, was the day of my ante-natal appointment. My midwife is on holiday, so we had to go to a drop in at a near by children's center. The waiting area was full and husband didn't get any better idea than announce that we are over due. A day, people, a day over due! Yest there were all the sorry looks and suggestions of a long walks....
The midwife didn't know me and we both realized how blessed we were so far to see the same midwife throughout my pregnancy so far and a lovely one on top of that. This new one did hardly check the baby but kept telling me about the thing they will do to me (or should I say to my cervix) in a week time if I don't go into labour and about getting my induction date. As if I was awfully late. And I should take long walks, eat pineapple and have sex - all of it a lot. I felt like a complete failure, like if I should have had already delivered or do something about it. I left feeling rubbish and the only good thing was that husband didn't really click with this new midwife, too, she may just have been in a strange mood or annoyed because the clinic was busy and she was there overtime, but our day was ruined.
My pregnancy so far was great. Everything was well, now I only need my baby to arrive. By itself. I want to avoid induction or any funny business around my cervix, I believe that it will happen. Since about the end of 38th week I keep observing myself, unsure of what to expect. But I thought that the real stress starts only by the end of 41st week, which is still faraway?
To add more to my mood my family and our friends keep asking: any news? Again, as if we wouldn't tell them. Luckily my husband finally realized that him asking me won't do any good to my mood and knows that I will tell him as soon as the magic contractions arrive. For the rest of the world, I wish I could move away into a cave and quietly wait.

But I am proud to announce that after weeks of hard work (some days of doing nothing, some days of hard writing) I finished my novel. All 32 chapters, all 88 493 words. I wrote last two chapters early in the morning after a bad sleep (dreaming about getting ready for my cervix to be poked and explaining to my husband that I really don't feel very sexual these days - I want stuff to come out of me, not to get in!). So I am done. I was afraid I will not finish it before giving birth, that I will loose the flow, as I know how difficult it is to catch up after a long break, but I did manage at the end. And now I feel completely ready for the baby to arrive, no unfinished business here.

I finished my book, went out for a long walk, came back home, made a pot of raspberry leaf tea, printed out the novel so it is ready for revision and now I can write a very satisfying blog post about a finished project. All I need to focus on is to get the baby out of me. I am ready, husband is ready and eager (well it's not him doing the labour, is it), our home is ready. I have all the time and energy for walks, pineapples, curries, and positive affirmations. Come, my precious, come....

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Week 39

Week 39 is fun. Last week my husband was panicking because our friends decided that we are not ready enough and have no idea what is expecting us. Besides that, everybody had a need to give him all the horror stories possible. So he kept coming home wondering if we should try to get my non-traveling family to come over, if he will know what to do with me, if I will cope. How will he know how far my labour progressed? Will he be checking it? (NO NO NO). What if the baby needs some help? What if the umbilical cord is around its neck?
My midwife - as I am lucky to see the same one every time I go for my check, will be on holiday next week and he took it as a personal insult. Somehow, in his head, he assumed that she will be holding my hand through all of my labour. How did he even think it is beyond me, the fact that she has got the clinic in my GP surgery doesn't mean she will be around while I am giving birth, does it? I never thought so, but here we go, he was really upset about it and I am glad he wasn't able to come to the last appointment with me.
I really like my midwife and thanks to that I have an absolute trust in all of her team and whoever will be assisting me during the birth of my child. But ultimately, it is my job to birth the child, so I have an absolute trust in me and my baby. We will make it.
It doesn't matter that I don't have a family which will come over or many friends. I prepared very well, I am calm. If people assume that my calmness is due to ignorance they should first find out how ready I am (and how ready I helped my wonderful husband to get!) before unnerving my birth partner. What are friends for again?
But over the last weekend I was panicking myself. We were practicing how to put together the pram, how to put the car seat in and I couldn't get it at first. I started panicking that I will be horrible mother once the baby is here! I am very fine about my pregnancy and about the labour but now I have to start to look further and it is indeed scary.
What am I supposed to do with the baby? How do I bring it up? Looking back, I have a feeling I brought myself up, I remember being quite reasonable as a child. But of course I needed my parents a lot. Will I be any good at parenting?
There was a video sent to us by another helpful soul about the four kind of cries. Apparently babies usually need one of the four things so a well tuned parent will recognize by the cry what it is, helps the baby swiftly and never ever ends up with endlessly crying frustrated baby. I didn't hear any big difference between the apparently different cries and when I thought I did I couldn't remember what it was for.
'Can I just leave once the baby is out? It's only fair, I carried it around for a very long time, it's your turn now!'
My husband found it amusing. Where will I go? No idea.

But it was last week. Now all is well in Real household. We decided that our team works well and we will take it forward one step at a time.

I am huge. Baby is engaged and wiggles a lot, I suppose it is annoyed with the lack of space. I am inviting it out: more than enough stretching and kicking space out here! I hope we will have birth on term. I don't want to be induced. And I am tired, I don't sleep well, I am slow. I try to stay active as much as I can as I feel better that way but in the evenings I am finished - as if I was on a trek. I am also afraid to go too faraway by myself. So over the weekend my husband took some walks with me but during the week I am very careful and scared to go for a swim by myself. It is apparently quite normal.
Most of all, I am ready. It is Spring now and I am having a Spring baby. It woke me up at 5.30, all excited about the equinox (probably). So come! Anytime!

Thursday, 7 March 2013

37 weeks - almost there!!

I am officially ready and my baby is officially ready, too. It is still moving freely within, last week we had our check and it didn't engage yet. I don't think anything changed about it so far. Well, we still have couple of weeks, so the baby can enjoy the cosiness and comfort of my womb and I can... enjoy what? Last weeks of pregnancy are demanding. I still feel good but now I am discovering things like agony with number 2 - hello piles! I am short of breath, tired, slow, unable to sleep comfortably and if people are not sensitive enough I may cry. Yes. But I am happy and proud nevertheless.

I spent a lot of time getting ready and organized and I am trying my best to organize the world around me, mainly husband. He just doesn't understand that our lives will become a chaos very soon and that whatever he can do NOW he really should do.

I am cleaning obsessively because it may be the last proper clean I will be able to do for a while. I am stacking up things, freezing food and agonizing over laundry - will husband run out of socks and shirts? He is unable to think ahead and realize that if he only has got one shirt left he needs to wash, dry and iron some. Same goes with socks and underwear. Once you take the last thing out of the drawer it is too late. How can men not realize such thing? Yet even if he does realize, the control of a washing machine is a mystery to him. It is a machine, he should love it as men do enjoy anything with displays and buttons, yet somehow it stays a big enigma to him.

I am busy preparing baby's things, making sure I have got the newborn stuff ready and somehow it annoys me that I have to think about husband in a way as if he was my first baby - a very needy one.

Yet he is great. He gives me massages and prepares himself to be my birth partner because he is the only person able to do so. I don't have a close enough friend or a family member to ask, he is my closest person. We worked as a team up until now and my pregnancy brought us even closer.

I am now on maternity leave, he is quite busy and we had the chat about his leave. At work they know when we are expecting the baby and once I go into labour he will start his leave. He asked me how long should he take? Does he even need a leave? What?
His argument was he will not be of much use to me in the first days. I will be taking care of the baby most of the time. As a man he sees the birth and the breast feeding as a thing he can not influence too much.
So I tried to explain to him again: he will be shattered, labour will be long and he will be with me. If he manages to stay through without fainting, of course. Then he will want to bond with the baby. I am having a relationship already, I feel it moving in me all the time, there is a strong connection. He feels the movements sometimes and sees my bump, but I don't think he is as much aware of the little person as I am and I think once the baby comes out (and I will get my body back! yes!) he will need his own bonding time and I will be more than happy to see it.
But that is not all. My plan is to rest and I need him to take over the house, take care of the cleaning and cooking and shopping, to make sure we have got everything we need, to communicate with the world as I don't think I will be in a rush to go out or think about the world outside (I will be on baby planet), yet obviously we will need to share the big news.

That is the one thing that worries me, the way how unaware men are about all the little things that need to be done. What I do around the house without thinking I have to ask him to do if I need his help. He will cook but he will not take the cookbook back to its shelf. He will wash the dishes but he will not clean up the kitchen counter at the same time. He will clean the cooker but not the wall behind it splattered with tomato sauce from his cooking.
He will wash the sink but leave the tops of the taps dirty although the stains from water or toothpaste are so clearly visible.
He will clean the toilet seat but not lift it and clean it from the other site.
He will take the bin out but not clean the lid if it is dirty, he just replaces the bag.
He doesn't mind to the weekly shop but he will not think about the meals in advance and prepare the shopping list, check what we need. If he takes out the last toilet roll or tube of toothpaste he will not think about adding these on the list.
And so it goes on....

That is the thing - we see things (mess) differently and approach chores differently. I see what needs to be done, he does a task (the one task he was asked to do). I will spend longer doing things because they need to be done, he will say he didn't notice. How can he not notice? Do men not see mess? Yet he is a germophobe, he washes his hands obsessively and is generally good at helping around, but he doesn't notice dirt on the bin, in the bath or in the toilet.

Husband lived alone for a while so he knows the basics, but when I ask him to do things, he does them in a way as if they were beneath him. I don't expect a man to be crazy for chores, yet why should I be? Cleaning and house work aren't my favorite things to do or a way to make myself proud, I do them because they need to be done. And I like to be organized and take pride in my work, even if it is a mundane thankless chore.

So he now understands that I want to take some time after birth, recover and get used to taking care of our baby and I wish not to worry about domestic chores. His role during his leave will not only be to enjoy his first child but also to take care of us. He understands it and agrees, yet I am freaking out. I don't want to have to keep asking him or reminding him, I just want things done for once! How will it be? Only time will tell, obviously. Nothing will stay the same, that's for sure. But I don't expect husband to finally understand and appreciate all the invisible work that goes on around the house. Whenever he does help I feel obliged to praise him, whatever I do stays unnoticed because same way he doesn't see mess he doesn't notice when things get done. Isn't it a nice thing to be born a man? Hopefully we are having a girl....