Wednesday, January 29, 2014

la petite bump {34 weeks}

How many weeks? 34 weeks.

Baby's size and weight? 17.72 inches / 4.73 lbs (45cm / 2146 grams).

Pink or blue? It's a BOY!

Weight gain? 14.3 kg / 31 lbs. After being sick, I've regained some weight and I'm back where I was at 30 weeks. And you know what - I'm actually feeling good about my weight gain right now. I've only got a little over 5 weeks to go, I haven't yet passed the 17 kg weight gain I had with Oliver and I'm feeling a lot more healthy since I've been walking every day.

Symptoms? SPD: the good old pelvic pain has been playing up again. I ran at the beach recently (not for fun, I was getting Ollie out of the path of a wave) and that really aggravated the pain, it was pretty nasty for a few days there but now is back to being sporadic. I miss being able to get dressed standing up though or roll over in bed without being in agony *sigh*. I'm really starting to remember how much more uncomfortable pregnancy gets in these later stages.

The braxton hicks have also been full on. I get a lot when I go walking and at night. Like my pregnancy with Ollie, they started up around 22 weeks or so but it's only in the last week or two that they've been reallyyyy uncomfortable/quite crampy. I just keep reminding myself that it's a good thing; my body is really starting to get ready.

Movement? He always seems to be on my right side - it's where I can see/feel all the movement. I'm curious to see whether he is still head down at my next appointment - fingers crossed, as my ob said we have until 36 weeks to get him that way...

The best thing? We had our first official prenatal meeting with our doula on the weekend. I feel really comfortable with her and talking about the birth has actually made me excited about the process - not the pain (obviously) but just the process of bringing another little guy into the world. Bubba's birth day is a special day, indeed.

The most difficult thing? Decisions, decisions. It's not 'difficult' as such, but we have a bit of research to do on all the newborn procedures during the hospital stay. There are a handful of things they do in hospital here that I'm not comfortable with (ie BATHING the baby only 2hrs after birth otherwise he'll be treated as a biohazard!?!?) or that I need to do some more research on before we decide yes/no. The differences between here & the Netherlands continue to surprise me. I have a checklist birth plan from Kaiser that I've completed which goes over some of the newborn care but I really need to sit down and write out a brief but more specific one for the hospital staff, as it doesn't cover everything.

Appointments? My next appointment is on Friday for the 35 week check/ultrasound. I can't wait to see the little guy again and I'm very curious to see if they'll take a guess at his weight... I'm really, really hoping I test negative for the group B strep. This is something that they don't test for in the Netherlands so it's a first for me. I had to be on IV antibiotics for a different reason during my labor with Ollie and it was a pain being attached to something; I really want to have a bit more freedom this time around and to be able to labor at home for as long as possible.

Looking forward to? This weekend is my sprinkle! Given that I had to throw my own baby shower for Oliver (due to living in the Netherlands where people don't do baby showers! The term was taken literally when the invite was sent out), I am so excited about having a little party for this bubba boy where all I have to do is turn up :-)

Bump comparison? 34 weeks with Mr Oliver on the left vs 34 weeks with this little guy on the right (I am DYING to say his name or even the initial but I also want it to be a surprise...)

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Third trimester must haves

It feels like an age ago that I wrote my first and second trimester essentials, but at the same time this pregnancy has flown: I am now well and truly into the third trimester and getting very keen to meet our newest little boy! Although the first trimester is hands down the most sickening, the third is by far the most uncomfortable (and nerve wracking; trying to get prepared for the impending birth). Here's a few things I find handy to get through this final stage of pregnancy...

1. Birth book. My personal favourite is Birth Skills by Juju Sundin; it's definitely a practical read. It gives loads of different coping mechanisms and although I'm a big fan of the mindful birth/hypnobirthing course we took when I was pregnant with Oliver, this book is a MUST read in my opinion.

2. Contraction timer. I had one of these on my phone when I was pregnant with Oliver, I just can't remember what one. This time around I've downloaded a few and I like the look/ease of use of this iBirth one. I have the free version.

3. Older sibling gift. I want to have a couple of big brother presents for Oliver when he comes to meet his baby brother for the first time, things that will fit into my hospital bag. So far we have gotten him an Octonauts playset and some of those re-usable sticker books that he loves. A couple of friends have also suggested to me that we take him to the build-a-bear workshop before baby is here and build a special bear together (one that we can record our voices on) to be given to him while I'm in labor. I LOVE this idea, we are just yet to make it happen!

4. Address book. These days, mine is on my iphone BUT I have a print version also for Mitch with contact details & availability of friends who can watch Oliver when I go into labor, essential phone numbers - eg labor & delivery at the hospital and our doula.

5. Raspberry leaf tea. I didn't start drinking this until I was 37 weeks with Oliver (and then, only 1 cup a day because the stuff I bought tasted like dirt). This time around, I started with 1 cup a day at 32 weeks and have built myself up to 3 cups a day. It's meant to tone the uterus etc to help with labor - whether or not it works, I don't know BUT I'm willing to try anything. So - cups of flavored dirt it is!

6. Packed hospital bag x 3: for Mum, baby and big brother. Obviously, I need to have a hospital bag for me & baby boy, but I also need to have a bag packed for Oliver with his pjs, spare clothes, favourite toy, drink bottle etc for when he goes to stay with a friend while I'm in labor.

7. Tissues. My experience of the third trimester when I was pregnant with Oliver? It's emotional, particularly towards the end when you are so big and exhausted and just burst into tears for nothing. Or, you read a reallyyyyy sad book and sob your heart out only to have your waters break hours later (I will be trying this labor inducing technique again!). So tissues are a definite must!

What are your third trimester essentials?

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Thursday, January 23, 2014

The gender game

Within days of announcing this pregnancy the gender question came flying at me again and again... Are you hoping for a boy or girl? What do you think you're having? Are you going to find out?

Don't get me wrong - I don't mind these questions at all! But I can honestly say that all I wanted is a baby. A healthy baby. Being pregnant is such a blessing and the gift of life is something I will never again take for granted. Whether this baby was of the pink or blue variety, we knew we'd love him/her and just couldn't wait to welcome this new little one into our life.

We found out the gender reasonably early - at around 15 weeks to be exact. I had been feeling down and like I couldn't bond with this baby, and so we decided to book in for an early 4D gender scan so that we could stop calling the baby an it. After I announced we were having another boy, the responses blew me away. Not from friends, but from complete strangers who'd see the bump & my boy - even to this day, some people have the audacity to respond with pity. I've had comments along the lines of oh, better luck next time or 2 BOYS - good luck with that. And of course the inevitable question: so are you going to try again for a girl?

I feel like there's this expectation that if someone's second child is the same gender as their first, they'll be disappointed. I've also noticed that people tend to (often wrongly) assume anyone who has a pigeon pair is automatically done having children; that having one of each gender is the ultimate goal & what makes a family complete. These assumptions weigh on my heart. It makes me sad. Gender alone does not complete a family. I grew up in a family of four girls and I couldn't imagine it any other way. I may not have had brothers, but I had an imperfect but wonderfully loving family.

When we found out at 15 weeks we were expecting another son, I was thrilled. A boy; a brother for our Oliver! A little part of me had thought there was a baby girl in there because this pregnancy has been so very different to my pregnancy with Oliver. The exhaustion. The emotions. The morning sickness, that lasted until 24 weeks. But in my heart, I have always felt destined to be a boy Mum. I have to admit, I was a little nervous telling everyone we were having another boy. That although he is so very precious to us, it wouldn't seem as special to anyone else because we're having just another boy.

Mitch and I both know in our hearts that we would like more children; I just can't imagine being done after this little one. I'll be the first to admit that I haven't loved pregnancy this time around, but it still doesn't overtake my desire to have a bigger family. I'd be surprised if we stop at two, but you never do know what the future does hold. If our plans pan out however, I know this pregnancy won't be my last. I try my best to be open & honest in this space so I will admit that if I never have a daughter, I know that I'll experience some sadness. I grew up in a family of girls and I would love to have a daughter too. But, I know the feeling would be temporary. If I never have a girl, I won't be be heartbroken. I won't have regrets. Why? Because never having a girl means that I will instead have a house full of boys. Sons. Oh gosh. Fun and games (and likely very stinky), but such a blessing all the same.

When I think about the future, I get so excited. I see my Oliver, with his little brother. Only 2.5 years difference in age and best buddies. I know they will fight and have their differences, but I can only hope and pray that at the end of the day, they are best friends.

We all can't wait to meet you, little man.

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Weekend goodness: winter beach fun!

You know when you've had one of 'those' weeks and you feel like you're losing the plot? That's been me. All of us in our little family actually. The past couple of weeks haven't exactly been fun filled thanks to an exhausted & emotional mama, an equally tired & overworked Dadda and a cranky, non sleeping toddler. Although the last thing I felt like doing on the weekend was getting out of my pjs, we decided that all of us needed a little time out. A change of scenery. Some fresh air.

So.... We hit the beach.

Yes, this is winter in California. It is unusually warm & dry at the moment, but even so - I really can't complain about winter here. Especially not after 2 years of bitterly cold winters in northern Europe! I might miss snow days but I wouldn't trade living so close to the beautiful Californian coastline for anything. The little man has already been asking to go back to the beach (and lucky for him, we did go back today with friends!)... It was a refreshing break for us all and I'm feeling ready to tackle a new week with this bump that is growing increasingly uncomfortable!

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Thursday, January 16, 2014

la petite bump {32 weeks}

How many weeks? 32 weeks

Baby's size and weight? 16.69 inches / 3.75 lbs (42.4 cm / 1702 grams)

Pink or blue? It's a BOY!

Weight gain? 13.2 kg / 29 lbs. Yes, I've actually LOST weight since my last weigh in 2 weeks ago - not surprising really given I was so sick last week and couldn't eat for a couple days.

Symptoms? Does feeling like an elephant count? Seriously. Complete strangers are feeling the need to tell me I look like I'm ready to deliver. Ugh. Pregnancy does not equal anyone and everyone being allowed to comment on my looks, thanks very much!

Movement? Every time I sit down to relax, I find I have hands digging way down low and feet in my ribs, kicking with a lot of force... So yes, you could say there's been movement. Not comfortable or cute, but comforting movement all the same.

The best thing? There's been a few highlights - finding a doula we felt really comfortable with and who is available in March was great news! We didn't have a doula for Oliver's birth (but had a small midwife team instead until the last minute when my pregnancy was deemed 'medical' and we had to deliver with an ob in hospital) so this will be a new experience, but from everything I've heard and read, it's a decision we won't regret. She's also available as a postpartum doula, which is a HUGE plus. It's something I didn't even know existed, but if the need arises we can hire her on an hourly basis after the baby is born to help out - kind of like our kraamzorg in the Netherlands.

We also got stuck into the nursery - the only thing left to do now is decide what to hang on the walls! I can't wait to reveal it :) Again, not having done this type of thing for Oliver (as we lived in a small European 1 bedroom apartment), it's been exciting.

I also got the last few 'big' things we need for the baby ordered - we got our new double stroller, which I found a great deal on with a free second seat. We got a new carseat - capsule as I call it, or pumpkin seat as everyone says here (where did that term come from?), as well as buying lots of other little bits and pieces that are boring but necessary (ie new breast pump and a load of bottles, because although I plan on breastfeeding again, I am also DETERMINED that this baby will take a bottle, unlike his big bro!).

The most difficult thing? Being in your third trimester with a nasty vomiting bug... At the same time as your toddler and husband. Lets just say there were a nightmarish couple of days last week with all three of us sick :( I'm feeling back to normal now thank goodness.

Appointments? I don't see my ob again until the end of the month; 35 weeks. Honestly, it feels like there are some pretty long stretches between appointments here. Routinely, I saw my dr at 6 weeks, 13 weeks, 24 weeks & 31 weeks. Far, far less than what I had in the Netherlands with my midwife practice. I understand that not a whole lot happens between some of these weeks, but I thought appointments would be a little more regular once I hit my third trimester; not still monthly.

Looking forward to? Getting some maternity photos done (courtesy of the husband). We mucked around with a few when I was pregnant with Oliver but haven't done a thing this time around. I can't shake the feeling that this little guy is going to arrive early (now, having put that in writing he will no doubt be way overdue) so I'm keen to get them done sooner rather then later.

Bump comparison? 32 weeks pregnant with Mr Oliver on the left vs 32 weeks with baby brother on the right... Ummmm I'm feeling like this new bubba boy is going to be bigger than his 8lb5oz big brother!

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Out of the mouth of babes {2 years, 5 months}

Quotes I don't want to forget - Mr Oliver, at 2 years & 5 months:

Me: I love you Oliver John...
Oliver: (looking lovingly up at me) I love ALL my toys Mummy!

When asked what he wanted to do one morning after returning to California - "lets go to town. Gympie town! Then to the Gympie house".

Bargaining skills - "I need to do poo. Give me TWO chocolates".

When he had a staph infection - "don't kiss me. I have sores".

Putting his Curious George stuffed toy (his fav) in a corner - "you need big time out George. Naughty".

Poking my belly button & talking about baby brother - "he lives downnnnn here. And around the corner. He likes to dance".

After going to bed every night and hearing Mitch and I talking in the lounge room - "DADDY. No talk to Mummy. Be quiet".

Me (upon seeing suspicious looking little balls of something beside him in bed): What's that Ollie?
Oliver: It's my nose dirt.

Love this boy :-)

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

le feast

Ok, so obviously the best part about Christmas in Australia was being able to spend it with family & friends, but the food comes a very close second. I come from a family of foodies - everyone loves to cook (even my older nephew & niece) and loves trying new recipes.

The Christmas period in the Gympie house was a feast, indeed - although in our haste to tuck in to the gourmet delights on Christmas day itself, we did forget to capture the end result of everyone's hard work...

Even George was well fed, courtesy of Mr Oliver ;-)

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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Festive scenes from the Gympie House

The house I grew up in - affectionately known to all as the Gympie house - is a special place. It's not just the bush countryside location, or the architecture & decor, but the people that fill it. I love it at any time of year, but the holiday season has extra special memories - and Christmas 2013 certainly didn't disappoint...

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