Saturday, 23 March 2013

Finishing up at work

Just one more week at work and then my maternity leave starts. It's unbelievable, the time has flown. And the whole baby-thing is becoming very real. We even discussed yesterday on the couch who started this baby-thing in the first place. I mean, it's something to talk about babies, but it's something else completely when there's only seven weeks left before your baby will arrive for real.

With reality slowly kicking in, we are both practising baby-handling in our own ways. Age yesterday tried making coffee with one arm - with in the other arm a wriggling and angry-looking Minnie. He didn't get very far. And I have been to a breastfeeding class (no men allowed). I had to bring a life-size doll for that class, something we didn't have, so I went to Ikea and got a doll from there, with some other stuff. Their dolls freak the hell out of me. You can't see if they're boys or girls, only that they're very ethnic, with either an Asian, Caucasian or Afro appearance.

The class was interesting, especially the video at the beginning, of lots of different babies finding their way to the breast on their own, just like little blind newborn kittens. Hilarious were the dolls of the other ladies in the class: a big red Elmo right beside me, or a huge teddy bear from someone else. The nicest part was the fact that I swapped phone numbers with two other ladies, who I also'd seen at the antenatal classes, and we'll go out for coffee with the three of us sometime next week.

Last Sunday I had a get-together with my golf businesswomen group. The main reason was that one of the ladies had been out fishing and caught a couple of crayfish. She thought it a good idea to share the fish with some additional platters from a few other ladies, and to my surprise the group had organised a mini baby shower for me. That was very nice of them, and we're now a nappy cake richer, with lots of little goodies for baby - and newborn nappies.

On Monday I'll have a 'wishing well' from work, with at least one baby game I'm aware of: guessing who's who based on team members' baby photos. I'm having a lot of fun with that already, as everyone is complaining that they can't find any baby pics from themselves, especially the non-Australians, who are all bugging their mums in Malaysia, Italy, and NL to scan pictures.

So next week is my last week, a short one too, with Easter, and then I'm on leave and becoming a SAHM (stay at home mum) till early January '14. The government just implemented some new parental leave policies this year, one especially for dads, giving them the opportunity to take two weeks leave from work, paid for by the government - at a minimum wage that is, but still. It means that dads don't immediately have to consume their precious annual leave (holidays) when the baby comes. So Age plans on taking that straight after the baby is born, as well as some time off during the rest of the year - and we booked a nice trip to Noosa already for the three of us at the end of winter. Except for flights. You can't book flights for someone who isn't here yet :-)

Had a scan yesterday at my 32 week appointment, and baby is growing very well. I knew that already, as I'm growing very well too. One of the things that comes with growing and something I don't like is a lot of pain in my rib area - especially at night time. I suspect it's my abs stretching, as it feels like very tired muscles close to my midrif. If one of the pregnant ladies reading this blog knows a remedy, then I'd like to hear it.

And Age suddenly picked up a cold this week. Don't know where it came from, but he and a colleague started to sneeze within five minutes from each other, and developed exactly the same symptoms at the same time. It seems fairly mild and the worst seems to be over by now. Of course he missed my scan and ob appointment (again - men in general are definitely of the weaker kind), because really, you can't have a nasal-sounding guy around all those pregnant women. It was good going alone, because the delay and waiting can be terrible, and where I get a day off from work for these appointments, Age doesn't, so he sits there with me drumming with his feet, looking around annoyed, sighing all the time, swearing at the inefficient hospital processes, etcetera. Enough to make my bloodpressure sky-rocket.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Aaargh, 39 degrees

Okay, hopefully this is the last post from me venting about the temperatures - because..... it looks like we're in for cooler weather from this evening. That would be sooooo good. We had a long weekend last weekend (Adelaide Cup Day - horse racing), with yesterday 38 degrees, and we had a very smart idea, namely to get out of bed early - that happens anyway, because the nights are about 25 degrees at the moment, so it's hot and sweaty - and then Age would go for a run and I for a walk. And that's what we did. So about 7.30-ish in the morning we were more or less ready and went out the door, and that is the time of day that apparently every man and his dog are outside too, as well as the mountainbikers.

Age did his run - he thought he should start training using the (hilly) trails in our suburb, as he put his name down for a 9km run here in a couple of weeks' time. He does run a fair bit during work hours in the CBD, but it's as flat as a pancake there. And I did my walk, using the same network of trails, starting off nicely in the shade and going downhill, ending in what felt like the beating sun, on a steeply uphill going track- wich probably wasn't the smartest move. But, good for those lazy muscles.

The network of (short) trails here is great - not even a 500m walk from our house - and they're still expanding it, adding new trails. They're suitable for walking, horse riding, and mountainbiking. Some follow the contours of the hills, so that you stay more or less on the same height level - which is about 200m above sea level, with views over the sea and distant suburbs and hills, and others go up and down a fair bit. Not suitable for prams and strollers, as the terrain is too rough - but a baby carrier will do the trick.

Age encountered two kangaroos on his run yesterday, and I saw strange animal droppings (poo). We searched the internet to find out what animal could possibly have purplish droppings with lots of seeds in it, similar in size and shape of that of a medium dog. It didn't seem to be Kangaroo droppings, neither from a wombat - they have square ones :-), but we thought it could be from a fox.

Overall our long weekend has been really lazy. Saturday morning we had our third and final antenatal class at the hospital, about breastfeeding, infant care, 'dads/partners', and we had another tour, now of the maternity ward. That is the area where you'll go a couple of hours after giving birth and where you stay with your baby for about three days. If you're lucky you'll get your own room and bathroom, with a not very comfortable looking fold-out bed for dad. If these rooms are taken, then there are rooms with 4 beds for new mums and their babies, and the dads have to go home at night. That part was 'designed by men', according to the midwife who delivered the class.

She also said that she was going to bathe a baby. I thought she would demonstrate this with a doll, but no, she got a real baby from somewhere, and put it in a bath. That was rather cute. The baby wasn't even 24hrs old yet, and 7 pounds. I thought it was a fairly small baby for 7 pounds (read: perfect size, you don't need them any bigger), and actually, it sort of was. Because Age and I kept talking about the size of that baby at home, and her weight, and we remembered that English pounds are different from Dutch pounds. So Australian pounds would probably be like English pounds. We looked it up, and yes, that baby would have been 3.17 kg, instead of 3.5 kg. That doesn't sound like much of a difference, but it very likely is for a baby.

Anyway, she put the baby in the bath, on her back at first, but baby didn't like that very much. So then she just turned her on her side and baby instantly relaxed completely, and started slowly to tread water with her little legs. Very cute. A brief massage followed, then she was quickly dressed, wrapped in a wrap, and tucked in with a blanket in her crib. Most of it done with one arm of course - that'll require some practice. Baby was knockout and deep asleep before she hit the crib again.

My maternity leave will be here before I know it: three more weeks at work, but actually only nine working days left - each week will be a short week for me, due to public holidays, my one day per week off, and some antenatal leave for appointments. Crazy.

After our class we somehow slept the afternoon away - both of us - actually, especially Age. He did go for his first run of the weekend though, after his nap.
Sunday was very lazy too, because of the heat. Can't remember what we did, but it can't have been much besides reading and browsing and playing with Minnie. At the end of the day, after dinner, when it was bearable again outside, we went to the beach for an evening walk and a dessert. Something the rest of Adelaide did too. By the way, it was really hard to keep up with our melting ice creams! We arrived when the sun just disappeared at the horizon, and left again in the dark - got home with the Milky Way above our heads.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Hottest summer on record

It's official - it's the hottest summer on record, not just for Adelaide, but for Australia as a whole. For us here in SA it's also the driest summer on record, but I don't think that that's a record for the whole country, as Queensland and other Eastern areas have been plagued and are still being hit by lots of floods and tropical wet weather.

I don't like hottest summers on record.

And I also don't like 'hottest starts of autumn on record' either. It's currently 34 degrees, and the temperature is stabilising around that mark, and even looking to climb up to 38 early next week. Bleeeh.
I don't like it when I'm not pregnant, but now that I am, I even loathe it. Just can't go outside for a proper daily walk, not getting enough exercise and fresh air in. Scared to death that I'll swell up like a balloon, and get cankles (sausage feet) and sausage hands. I have a little bit of fluid retention in my hands, and now and then a bit around the ankles after a day at my desk and driving to and from work, but have still been able to keep that under control. But I don't need more hot weather!
You should have heard the ladies from my antenatal class complain.

They also complained about not being able to sleep, being uncomfortable etc. Up to last week I was fine, and counted myself very lucky, but now I'm starting to struggle in bed too. Turning around is becoming an effort, and this extra weight on your belly pulling constantly on your back doesn't help either. A good thing was that our second antenatal class covered some massage techniques for partners, so Age has been able, or rather, forced, to put his skills into practice.

Last week we suddenly had two days of reasonably cold weather, 22 degrees, with rain and wind. Lots more rain than forecasted. I made sure I worked from home those days, and in the middle of both days I went out for a walk at lunchtime, armed with my golf umbrella. Whooopiii! That was fantastic. Still not cold and wild enough to my liking, but it did the trick.

About the second antenatal class, this one was done by a physiotherapist, and it was quite an informative session. All about favourable positions for labour, made insightful with a model of a pelvis (het hele heupgebeuren) and spine. So forget all those tv-series where women lie flat in hospital beds giving birth - that's the most difficult position to work from, as that way you're fighting gravity as well as opportunities to naturally help you to make more room from inside to help baby come out. Here, they rather don't want you lying on your back in bed, but encourage you to be more active in different positions in the shower, in bath, on a bean bag, a swiss ball, by supported squatting, leaning on your partner, on a chair, standing up, and 'walking'.

This starts to turn into yet another baby-focused post, apologies in advance, but we also did some more baby shopping in the weekend. We now've got a capsule (car seat) too. And a baby carrier (buikdrager). And some lovely sleeping bags. And we finished the crib - we bought it second hand, I washed everything, cleaned it, sanded the wooden poles, and gave it a fresh whitewash. Looks lovely. Seems tiny on the pics, but is in reality rather big. People with inside knowledge know how big that desk is on the second pic... Handy to carry around on your world trip by the way - I mistake the desk often for the piano, which we don't have anymore. Must be because of the piano stool.

Straight after all that shopping for baby Age was of the opinion that he also deserved a treat. I have been successful in holding it off for many years, but gave up on Sunday, and now he (we?) finally got a 'proper sound system' with five boxes, subwoofer and god knows what else - one of life's necessities, according to men. Why are these things always so ugly?? And big and black??

These chairs have been a favourite spot for many cats! Klaasje, Ziva, and now Minnie. They all slump down in the same lazy position. Cats probably have a special gene for lying on armrests.