Yesterday we had two separate visits from children, one 4 year old and one 18 month old (with their respective parents obviously). I don’t think we’ve ever had kids visit us before, which may be a reflection of our previous general interest level in other people’s kids, or just that not many of our friends or immediate family actually had kids until recently – probably a bit of both. Anyway, it was quickly obvious that a) we have no idea what to do with kids and b) that our house is totally not kid-proof. We tried to keep the 4 year old happy with offers of juice, biscuits and chocolate all the way from Switzerland but apparently he ‘doesn’t like those kind’, only the games on Mum’s i-Phone were of interest. The 18 month old of course went directly to the shelves that are full of knick-knacks and collectables, at grabbing height and probably not exactly child-safe. Hmmm. Anyway, I’m sure there are far worse thing than kids that don’t like Swiss chocolate (more for me!) and I figure we’ll work it all out as we go, and we’ve got a bit of time before ours will be mobile to put away all our adult stuff and replace it with smooth-edged, non-flammable, non-swallowable, non-breakable, crayon and vomit resistant stuff.
Monday, 30 January 2012
Sleep is starting to evade me now. This is common apparently (another thing I didn’t realise – I thought since you were more tired you would sleep more, alas it seems to be just want to sleep more), but I am anyway blaming it on the heat. It mostly seems to have just been on the really hot days. Last night was especially lovely with the high temperature and the anticipation of rain that never seems to come and instead just heightens the humidity to unbearable. Baby was moving so much around 1-2am I started to convince myself it was getting heat stressed and suffering foetal distress. That didn’t help with the getting to sleep bit. It wasn’t of course, and after a certain amount of house pacing in a zombie-like state, re-opening all the windows some one else had closed (why oh why?), adjusting the blinds and other things that kept making annoying noises and more pacing, sleep returned.
Friday, 27 January 2012
And, of course, all disposable and all cloth nappies are not the same. I'm sure this would have been a much easier comparison if cloth nappies were still just squares of cotton cloth that you fold up and pin on, but these days there's 'modern cloth nappies' that don't need folding or pins but can have all kinds of things in them apart from cotton like bamboo and hemp and microfibre and special waterproof coverings - all of which have their own kind chain of (poorly documented) environmental impact.
After wading through limited research results and pseudo information from all kinds of cloth nappy advocate groups etc (Oh yeah, turns out there's legions of people obsessed with nappies, eek, is this what motherhood does to you?), it seems to boil down to cloth nappies will have a smaller environmental impact but only if you wash them in large loads with a relatively efficient washing machine, don't use a tumble drier, or use them on more than one kid. This is basically because cotton uses massive amount of water and pesticides so the production part is really high impact. This part of the impact can be reduced if you get hemp or organic bamboo ones (but non-organic bamboo uses loads of chemicals in the processing which has a huge impact as well).
Or, to really reduce the impact, you could buy second hand-ones, the attractiveness of which might be tempered depending on how you feel about cloth that has already caught some other kids poo (I'm still undecided).
My personal favourite idea, from a website full of patterns and instructions to make your own nappies (where do these people get the time?!!), is the old t-shirt nappy. Totally recycled, easy and free (depending on how many old t-shirts you have).
Wednesday, 25 January 2012
Going to all these childbirth preparation classes, has meant so many discussions about bodily functions, physiology and anatomy and seeing so many videos and pictures of naked women, ginormous breasts and babies sucking on huge nipples. I think I have become desensitised to it all and start to think this is OK fodder for normal conversation. I noticed yesterday that I was having a lengthy factual conversation with a colleague who has recently become a first-time Dad, whose wife is also a work colleague, neither of which I know that well, about their methods of post-birth contraception and only realising this was perhaps not the most appropriate workplace conversation (in an open office shared with 5 people) when he said ‘not that we are getting much practice in to need it’. Eek. We later moved the conversation onto prams instead.
Tuesday, 24 January 2012
I'd like to think she was giving us a worst case scenario to mentally prepare us, but I know friends who have had babies recently that had pretty much this experience. But I also know they survived it well and are very happy.
Monday, 23 January 2012
As you would expect, the hospital has a set of standard procedures that they have to apply in a one-size-fits-all type of fashion to provide the overall safest, healthiest outcomes. However, as I am learning, just because it is the standard and generally recommended procedure, doesn’t mean you, as an individual patient, have to always follow it, or that’s its best for you. But that also means you have to know what the procedures are, why they do it and what the pros and cons are, which means getting totally swamped in information. And all of the ‘information’ is loaded with opinion and various motivations – people get very worked up about this stuff. Overwhelming.
Anyway. One of these standard procedures is a test at 36 weeks for Group B streptococcus. Sounds yuk, but its a common natural bacteria that people have without knowing about. The problem comes if you are pregnant and you have it in your, ahem, vagina, during birth then there is a small chance you could pass it onto the baby and then a small chance that the baby could get sick from it, and if they do get sick from it it can be very serious and can even cause death.
The issue with the test is that this bacteria is transient so if you have it at 36 weeks there’s nothing to say you will have it at the birth and vice versa. So, the test result may not really be meaningful, but a positive result will mean antibiotics at birth – which can have a variety of side-effects for you and baby, as well as a much greater chance of having to be induced – which might then lead to the dreaded ‘cascade of interventions’ (which basically means with each ‘unnatural’ intervention like being induced you’re far more likely to need the next more serious intervention like epidural, forceps or caesarean). But of course if you are positive, the antibiotics greatly reduce the chance of your baby getting the bacteria.
So at the last visit we were offered the standard test and had to decide whether to do it or not. Although I knew a fair bit it still felt like making a snap decision, and I’m not a 100% sure we made the right one. Still I’ve got a few weeks to change my mind I guess, and the midwife was more than happy with the decision which is reassuring. (we decided no test).
Friday, 20 January 2012
and.. our plan for the end of the day appointment has also been working out very well. So far we've only had to wait about 5 minutes each time
Midwives are my new favourite kind of people. So far I've found the ones at the hospital are friendly and open, they seem to actually care and be interested in you and your progress, they listen and answer your questions without making you feel like an idiot (the opposite of which is usually my chief complaint about doctors), and they respect your opinions and choices - I'm assuming this is the case only so far and they don't let you make stupid choices. So when at this week's visit we were offered the options of seeing an actual doctor at our next visit or sticking with 'just' the midwife, I straight away said the midwife. Since the doctor isn't going to check anything different to the midwife and so far everything is going well, I figure I might as well stick with people I feel comfortable with and that will more than likely be at the actual birth and have one extra opportunity to get to know them a bit more. What do we need a doctor for anyway?
Wednesday, 18 January 2012
One of the things I was surprised about what how anti the 'hard stuff', being epidural and pethidine, the hospital midwife who ran the course was. I was never keen on the drug options but after that chapter of the course I am even less keen and even quite worried about them and their side effects in case they might become necessary for me. I had heard lots of stories about hospitals encouraging you to take the hard stuff so I guess I was expecting the course to, if anything, be more pro than anti. In the end her real point was that too many people take the drugs without being aware of or thinking about the side effects - which can be quite significant, so she wasn't against their use per se, since they are often needed, but against their use without thought. It all makes sense to me and I'm glad to have some of my pre-conceived ideas about hospital staff be wrong and see that they are keen on the process being as natural as possible, although I still suspect many of the other staff, especially the doctors (as opposed to midwives) might not have the same approach.
Monday, 16 January 2012
Warning: tune out now if you’re squeamish.
In the second instalment of the calmbirth class yesterday the midwife recommended pre-expressing some breast milk (or actually ‘colostrum’ which is what it is called at the beginning when its got more fat and protein and stuff in it), freezing it and then taking it to the hospital with you for the birth. It apparently can be very helpful if your baby has trouble with starting to feed.
Anyway. I’ve always imagined the breast milk would like more or less like cows milk, i.e. would be white. So, I was kinda surprised to discover on experimentation that at the moment mine is yellow, and not some pale off-white type yellow, – bright bold technicolour yellow. Weird. Turns out this is the normal colour of the colostrum part, but its gonna go to white later, which now sounds rather boring.
Friday, 13 January 2012
Thursday, 12 January 2012
I'm really hoping my perineum is going to prove super stretchy!
Wednesday, 11 January 2012
Monday, 9 January 2012
Tonight is the first part of the hospital’s childbirth education classes which I imagine will be somewhat of a contrast in vibe.
Friday, 6 January 2012
So, in thinking about motherhood, I’m constantly yo-yoing between hoping I can do as good a job as my Mum – I mean, as my sister and I always say, look how great we turned out!, and promising myself I won’t do this and that the way my Mum did.
Only time will tell I guess, but I’m inclined to think that key is not to over think or over-analyse these things.