Week 165

Dear Genevieve,

You became a big sister this month. After waiting and waiting for the baby in my tummy to arrive, I finally went into hospital and out came Elliot. It wasn’t quite that simple or easy for me unfortunately but for you it was. One day you had your parents all to yourself and the next day, after a sleepover at Gigi’s, you had a baby brother.

I’m not quite sure what you thought of him when you first saw him because you were very quiet. When you arrived at the hospital to see us, he was being checked out by a nurse so you sat on my lap and just looked at him. We had all been excited about the prospect of you becoming a big sister and had talked about the fact that mummy was preparing a new life in her belly. Then you were presented with the sight of a wriggling infant and I don’t think you knew quite what to make of him.

We asked if you wanted to hold your brother. Repeatedly actually but you were resolute that no, you really didn’t want to hold him thank you very much. You would tell everyone that came near that he was your baby brother. Nurses, family, friends…you were really quite proud of that fact and seemingly of him but you didn’t want to actually hold him. You would creep close when he was in your father’s arms and after taking some time to scope out the situation, you decided to kiss his forehead but you wanted to take the time to really introduce yourself.

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Your father and I didn’t want to push you so if we offered and you declined then we just let it pass. It was when we hadn’t offered though and a group of visitors had just left that you announced I’d like to hold Elliot now. And then it was game on. There were kisses and cuddles and of course conning me out of my hospital meals at every opportunity. At least the bread rolls and the sweets. I’m sure you thought I only ordered them so you could eat them. That was fair enough though cause I’m not sure your dad really had your nutrition on his mind at the end of the month.

You and your Dad would come and spend a couple of hours at a time with me and Elliot in the hospital but I never saw your dad bring any food for you at all. No snacks. No meals. Nothing. We frequently carry fruit or biscuits in your nappy bag but while you were visiting in the hospital, your father seemed to think that you wouldn’t be hungry and didn’t require sustenance. You wouldn’t get food you didn’t scam off me until you went back to Gigi’s house I think. Sorry about that. We’ll totally try and do better when we get home, I promise. We will also try and make sure that we have time just for you. You had a hard time of it this month.

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Since January consisted of a remarkably cranky and pregnant mummy and school holidays, you have spent a lot more time at home that maybe wasn’t as much fun as it could have been. There were no playgroups to go to. No storytime, no mini music and no friends. I’m not quite sure what we did do all month because clearly, there were a number of days to fill but I’m pretty sure they weren’t taken up with activities that you thought were really awesome and entertaining. Its all a little bit of a haze in my memory now actually. Hopefully next month will be better.

Alles Liebe,
Lexelah

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Month Seventy-Eight

Dear Husband,

You got a son this month. That was pretty big. He came early too, mostly on his own. But you were able to rest assured that he was perfectly fine and in fact fully cooked. I’m sure it was a comfort that several medical professionals commented that the mass of peeling skin to be found on our baby after I had birthed him was more akin to a baby born post term and definitely a sign that he was ready to come out.

Leading up to this of course, we had had many discussions about the pros and cons of having a baby before forty weeks, or rather inducing a baby before forty weeks. For at least the last month, I have been totally over this pregnancy which was so different to the last. I have been more than ready to get him out whilst you have been researching on the net (never a good thing where anyone’s health is concerned – everything leads to cancer and death!) on the whys and wherefores. You have been hesitant to support an early delivery, worried that we will somehow ruin our son’s chances of enjoying life because of…something. In the end though, it was more or less a moot point because I ended up delivering him several days prior to the date we agreed to induce him.

So now I am in hospital with Elliot and you are…between here and somewhere else. I see you every day, sometimes with the other munchkin in tow but I am currently acclimatising to not having a living thing in my belly anymore. Which I have to say is freaking awesome even if feel like I have blown up like a puffer fish. But that is not what I thought I would be talking about this month. I thought I would be talking about the other path you have just started walking down.

Since I have known you, you have come up with a number of ideas about what you could study if you went back for further education. There was the real estate licence course that you applied for but never actually started. There was the personal trainer course that you briefly looked into. There was the engineering diploma that you started and then stopped. There was the plan to become a public school teacher and move to the back of beyond for a while so you could eventually move to an inner city school. There was also the plan to complete an education degree and subsequent study to equip you as a Montessori teacher. Something I was more willing to support as it seemed to fit well with our move to the country. But now you are applying to the Melbourne School of Theology.

Before we moved out of Sydney, church and religion were always on the periphery of our relationship but never a real part of it. We have attended on and off since we have been together (although far more off than on) but we never found someplace like “home” so it was never part of the calendar. Since we have been here though, its become a habitual part of our lives and this in turn has apparently given you the final push to pursue study. We have discussed this option over the last couple of months and you perhaps have fought this decision and what it could mean for you. You have kept on coming around though to this is what I am going to do. I therefore support you whole-heartedly.

I know you think I like to crap all over your ideas sometimes. That I am always itching to take you down a peg or two or that I ultimately know better. That is only true some of the time, dear. What I have always been looking for though is your passion and your drive. Your commitment to a course of action on an ongoing basis. Your true belief that the option you are espousing is not a flight of fancy. Your ability to accommodate certain changes and your willingness to compromise in order to achieve something. This course of study that you are planning to undertake is an option that you researched in depth. This decision was one I saw you fight and finally accept. This direction is one that sits with your life and character as it is, a little like a hand in glove.

Now I am not saying that I think it will be easy or smooth sailing. I think it will challenge you in more ways than one and may not even be a path that you complete. But I also think that it is the right decision now. I think things have a way of working out in the end. I trust the path that brought us here and I think we should keep going down it to see where it leads.

You think I frequently complain and criticise when I write these letters and that I never say enough nice things? Well I wanted to say that not only are you still a great dad but what you are planning on doing now with university and the crèche and everything? I am proud of you. You are incredibly generous and you have the ability to make a positive difference to people’s lives. You continually push me to be a better person and I am grateful for that.

I am also mildly allergic to being that schmaltzy so I think I am going to have to leave this one here.

Schmaltzily yours,
Your Loving Wife

Day 266 (AC)

Dear Peanut,

My OB tells me that you are in the right position. Not “engaged” exactly but spine outwards and head down. Ready to come out. Unfortunately she also told me that my body wasn’t quite ready for you to make your appearance. She said she would see me next week for my scheduled appointment because she was pretty sure she was not going to see me in hospital this week. Bummer.

I think I am ready for you to come out little dude. Before you get too much bigger preferably. That’s the thing that is really concerning me at the moment. Well that and the other irrational thoughts I have concerning whether something will go really wrong or we’ll find out something after you get here that slipped under the radar and is, you know, “not good”. I have absolutely no reason to think that anything is wrong. That you will be anything other than a healthy little boy but still I am starting to get some of those “what if” moments. I suppose I should be thankful I haven’t been plagued by them the whole pregnancy, but still…

These last couple of weeks have just been hard. Physically I am finding it tough. I am definitely not sleeping well. The heat isn’t helping. As I lie there on top of the bed with the window open and a fan going I feel like my feet are on fire because that what I use to regulate my temperature. If I am able to cope with a sheet covering me, my feet are usually sticking out somewhere. Which can get kind of tricky in a king bed when you are constantly turning over and trying to get that comfortable position so you can enjoy at least an hour of uninterrupted sleep. It’s the small things. Cause I don’t quite have the same opportunity for rest as I did last time.

Your father doesn’t really get that he was working full-time when I first took mat leave from work and that at the time we had neither a young child or a dog at home. Since your father resigned so we could move to the new house, there have constantly been three other beings in the house that want my attention and it adds to the whole tiredness thing, I tell you. And then there is the fact that your father was concerned about the whole inducing early thing so I actually read up on it this time. Last time, it was strongly suggested that we induce because I was overdue. I wasn’t offered the option so much as presented with a particular solution and so I went along with the advice. That was what I was paying the doctor the big bucks for when it came down to it. Not that I would have changed things but I didn’t “know” going in that induction made things hard and fast and required constant monitoring and led more frequently to intervention being required.

I actually had a textbook induction when it came down to it of course. I didn’t require any other intervention (apart from the induction drugs themselves) and there were no real complications but this time I am slightly apprehensive. Despite the fact that I’ve been through the process before, I know I coped really well and hey, the smaller you are, the better, I’m still not sure what to expect. It could be very different this time. I am hoping for better. I am hoping for not scary, manageable and your father not feeling like he could pass out because he was paying too much attention to the business end. I’m pretty sure he’s hoping for that too cause he’s never living that story down…

So even though I initially thought I’d really like for you to be a February baby, I good whenever you are right now. I’m just waiting for my body to catch up. You seem to be moving less. Not necessarily less often but less…enthusiastically shall we say. Not sure if that’s because there is not enough room any more. I think there is not enough room in there any more. I think I’d love to lose some weight and dropping a baby, a placenta and some amniotic fluid sounds like a fine idea. How about you help me out with that?

Much love,
Mama

Day 259 (AC)

Dear Peanut,

37 weeks! Term! You can totally come out now! I must admit I am actually starting to get a little bit apprehensive about when and how you are going to arrive. I am expecting you to be quite big. Bigger than your sister at any rate. My delivery with her was a good experience on the whole but I’m not sure if I can expect the same with you. I have had no medical professionals freak out and suggest that I might want to consider a c-section due to your size so I guess that is a good sign. On the other hand, I was reading a couple of comments on Facebook the other night which was probably not a good idea.

Don’t read about the things that can go wrong or the things that could be issues right before you go through something. You will only freak yourself out. Or convince yourself you are dying of cancer. Everything gives you cancer nowadays. I’m sure if won’t be long before someone tries to claim that childbearing gives you cancer or, you know, something else that should be innocuous such as blinking. Anyway, don’t go to that level of “being prepared”. Being prepared is contracting a medical professional you trust to advise and arrange things for you so you don’t have to worry about all the ifs and buts and maybes. That was the plan last time and it worked swimmingly. I’m crossing my fingers and toes that it works the same this time around. I’d cross other parts of my body too but I swear that you feel so huge that its really uncomfortable to do so.

Apparently you are not engaged yet so you’re not showing any inclination to come and meet the family. However, you do feel like you’re pushing down at times and I sort of hobble to the bathroom when I get up to pee at night. It sure makes your dad and I look a pair at times. He has had issues with his back so he occasionally waddles around groaning in discomfort and I shuffle along behind with my distended belly. It is really a workout taking you anywhere. My heart rate jumps up merely because I turn over in bed! Which I do like every ten minutes it feels like because otherwise I get all twitchy and uncomfortable. Sleeping is really bad at the moment.

We have had hot weather this week which has not helped at all. Your dad lies beside me under a sheet, cell blanket and doona while I lie on top of all the bedclothes with a fan going. Preferably with my feet in direct airflow because they tend to feel hotter than the rest of me. I toss and turn all night, rearranging the belly for maximum comfort each time I try and settle. I am hanging for the day when I can roll over onto my stomach again and bring my knees up to my chest. It’s the little things in life. Also being able to curl up on my side without feeling like I must have a weight bearing down on my chest would be good. Its not necessarily a shortness of breath I feel at the moment but neither is it comfortable. And then theres the scratching…

Its not like last time when I would wake up in the middle of the night wanting to take a layer of skin off with my fingernails because my stretched stomach was so damned itchy. Nor do I have a repeat of the skin irritation I found it incredibly difficult to get rid of which had me try to peel off my shins or the area behind my knees. No. This time around, I get those little itches that just want a slight scratch but my skin as a whole is sensitive to level that I feel like I have just given myself a bruise whenever I satisfy the compulsion. So then I hurt all over again for a different reason. It’s a pain I tell you.

Hope you’re faring better on the inside.

Much love,
Mama

Day 252 (AC)

Dear Peanut,

What can I say this week? You are really pushing the limits of my stomach at the moment. You have been for a while but now, despite the complete lack of feeling I have around or through my actual belly button, the area surrounding is quite sensitive. Probably because of all those stretch marks I now have. I didn’t get any with your sister at all which was great. However this time around, I have little purple pathways that wend their way outwards from the middle. I don’t have any marks on the side of my torso as some other women do but front on, you are already making a mark for yourself dude.

As for everything else, its one day after another and one step in front of the one before with a couple of naps thrown in for good measure. I haven’t had to take numerous phone calls from a job that no longer employs me so I have not been bound to a wooden chair for hours and I have been soaking up the last of the “three of us” days before you get here. Well, in between biting people’s heads off because the whole pregnancy discomfort and lack of a suitable brain-mouth filter kind of means that the rest of the family are treading very carefully at times.

I did have some grand designs of fixing up your bedroom. Getting rid of the excess clothes that belong to everyone else in the house. Putting some of the clothes that will be yours into the wardrobe ready for use. Finding some floor space etc. I thought the beginning of the year would be a great opportunity. I haven’t managed to get around to that yet but I will. Before you officially move in. Which in reality is months away because you will be sleeping in our room for a while so it is the dog that we have to relocate first…although I had vague plans of using your bedroom floor instead of the hallway so I might have to get on that…

Maybe I’ll get a crazy nesting urge and overhaul everything just before you get here. Although I didn’t get one of those last time. I was induced last time and plan to be again so maybe that whole cleaning and sorting compulsion will escape me once more. Who knows. Rest assured that you will have somewhere clean to sleep and it won’t be in a drawer so you’re all good.

Much love,
Mama

Week 161

Dear Genevieve,

Since you learn the majority of your language skills from us, we are trying really hard to teach you to speak properly. And I say trying really hard because whilst your father and I know what is “right”, society lets us get away with what is now acceptable and we have grown lazy. For instance, we’d like you to understand the difference between “can I” and “may I”. Whilst both are questions, only one of them is really a request. We are not always consistent though when we gently try and correct you so at the moment we have a lot of please could I may have something I want. Which is actually kind of cute.

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What is not so cute is that you have picked up the bad habit of saying “like” all the time. Like when you like put the word “like” in the middle of a sentence that like doesn’t really need it? It looks totally stupid when you write it but it creeps into speech in unnecessary places all the time and it will totally be a losing battle for me to get you to stop because I do it all the time too – just go ask Grumps. He got really mad at me when I started doing it as a teenager! So I know one of the main culprits for that speech pattern. What I don’t know is where “ya” was learned. You have taken to saying “thank ya”all the time. Not thank “you”. This is not something I have ever said and not something I have heard your father say either. I am currently trying to knock it out of you quick smart cause it really irritates me.

Other than that, your vocabulary and your comprehension are evolving. Sometimes you have the funniest expressions. On Christmas day, you were somewhat overawed by all the presents you received and at one point you exclaimed in delight “I can’t believe it!”. You also love to talk about movies and frequently discuss the storylines and character motivations. Ad nauseum. You recognise the value of a leading statement and like to tell me happily that “I didn’t get any chocolate/tv/treats today” in the hope that I will understand this to be a real problem and rectify the situation. Sadly, you are a little off with that one. And every so often we are surprised when you get close but are still missing part of the sentence or the exact word you are after such as when you advise us that “baby has a throat today”. Yes, yes she does. We all have throats…But I’m very sorry that baby has a “sore” throat today. Or a cough. Which I can totally understand you seeing as just part of the throat.

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And speaking of sore throats, I think this month saw the first time that you have actually been sick since we moved. You were frequently ill when we lived in Sydney which could have been our house, the city or daycare. Or a combination of all three. Ever since we have moved though, you haven’t been really sick and to be honest, you weren’t this time either. I don’t think you even had a fever. Just a snotty nose and a bit of a cough. You were unsettled for a couple of nights and then you just got over it. It was awesome. Although you are usually pretty good when you’re sick so I shouldn’t really complain. I can complain about how much of a toad you are when you are naughty though.

We have lots of discussions in our house about your cranky face or your rude face. Sometimes you are just trying to throw your weight around. Sometimes you really don’t want something to happen (or you really do want it to happen) but sometimes I think you and your dad get carried away with a game and all of a sudden you put on the face and get told off for it and we just create a whole situation we could have avoided. Unfortunately you do need to learn that how you are perceived is sometimes equally as important as your intention and desires. No one likes a belligerent child and its usually not ok for you to demand “don’t talk! I don’t want you to talk” when we are trying to explain something but maybe we have to watch if we are contributing to these occasions unnecessarily…

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Other than that this month, we saw the arrival of Zebby, the imaginary friend. As far as I am aware, she was ony around on two occasions and not for very long at that. Usually you seem to prefer Baby as your companion. Oddly enough, she was actually out of commission for a number of weeks and it didn’t seem to phase you. You had an “accident” on your bed and we decreed that Baby had to be de-peed before you could have her back. This ended up meaning an extended stay in the laundry because it took us a while to get around to cleaning her off. We eventually did though and ever since then, she has been required in bed to go to sleep. Which was fine except for the fact that the day you got her back, you left her behind when you and your father were out during the day. For about 5 minutes, we thought she might have been left at the library and we were trying to prepare you for the fact that you would not have her for bed and we would try and pick her up first thing in the morning. After further discussion though, we suspected that she had been left at the church and your father had to chase up a set of keys so he could go and retrieve her. You were one lucky girl that night!

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The only other things I wrote down for this month were the trip we made to hand pick our live Christmas tree. We all drove you to the Christmas tree farm where you kept on insisting you wanted a small tree for some reason. Not sure what that was about. Your father was not about to be done out of his big, hitting the ceiling height Christmas tree however so that is what we ended up with in the end. You were more than happy to help decorate though. Just as you are more than happy to get tickles on your back. I know that your father loves touch and it seems that you are taking after him in that regard. I was absentmindedly tracing my fingers over your back the other day and now you will lift up your t-shirt and present your back to me to say tickles mum! Now.

Alles Liebe,
Lexelah

Day 245 (AC)

Dear Peanut,

Happy New Year! Just to let you know, we celebrated by me wearing pajamas, turning on a fan and hopping into bed well before midnight. I contemplated being in the city for the 9 o’clock fireworks…for about five minutes. Then I figured that with the amount of time we would need to be out in advance and I would be sitting on the ground, not to mention the walk to and from the car park, the traffic getting out and the lengthy drive home it was so not worth it. Genevieve doesn’t know what she is missing yet and your view is still pretty static at this stage. Not that I expect you’ll like fireworks for a while yet anyway. They pretty much start out more as loud bangs than pretty lights…

And speaking of things that will take a while, cause I totally was, apparently you don’t seem to be in a hurry either. Just like your sister. I had a growth scan a couple of weeks ago and whilst I knew that it put me out of the high risk category, apparently it also showed that there is a goodly length of my body from your head to where you come out and they are not expecting that you’ll be in a rush to come and meet everyone. This was not exactly unexpected but it wasn’t exactly good news either. Especially as I have also been warned that you are likely to be bigger than your sister, weighing in at over 4 kgs.

This pregnancy has been a lot tougher on me than the last one was. You are all out in front like a big watermelon, really low down (I swear my belly dips down slightly before continuing around) and really heavy. I have started clasping my hands underneath like a platform to boost you up and take some of the pressure. I guess I shouldn’t complain thought because I have not been bed ridden, I don’t have sciatica up and down my legs and I can still breathe – albeit more rapidly as I am frequently puffed. However, a full night’s sleep is but a distant memory, I am way more cranky overall and am most comfortable when I am horizontal. Which I find I need to be frequently. I lie down a lot now. I nap too but sometimes just lying down makes it all (a bit) better.

So yeah, last time around at 41 weeks everyone was saying you must be so over this stage and ready for the baby to be out and I was like no, not really, I still feel fine. This time around, I’m not even at “term” and I totally would not care if you came tomorrow! I really think your father might though. We have decided to opt for an induction right off the bat this time around and he is therefore aware that this will probably needs be before my actual “due date” but he seems a little concerned at how early the OB and I might consider to be appropriate.

As long as you arrive safely though and without too much drama, I can definitely deal with everything else. I would gladly take more discomfort in pregnancy if it meant that you were better off when you are delivered. Doesn’t stop me also hoping that the next couple of weeks don’t get any harder and that the birth experience is much like or even better than the last one I had. The whole wing it philosophy worked last time so here’s hoping for a repeat performance.

Much love,
Mama