Archive for March, 2011

March 29, 2011

cheap labour

As birth day fast approaches (8 weeks to go!) it’s about time to give some more thought to the labour process and more specifically, where it will take place.

For me, it’s the simple option – the local public hospital.

I chose this option because I had a good relationship with my GP and this, coupled with the fact that I didn’t forsee any problems due to my health, size or age, meant I didn’t think I’d need the specialist services of an obstetrician.

Cost came into it as well to a degree but it wasn’t a deciding factor – some time ago I did actually take out additional private health insurance to cover pregnancy and birth but in the end decided not to use it.

In hindsight I’m so glad I haven’t already forked out thousands (on top of my private health cover) for a completely straightforward pregnancy.

Perhaps if my local hospital (Royal Hospital for Women @ Randwick) didn’t have such a great reputation I may have felt differently.

If I could change one thing? I had wanted to go to the birth centre  (more relaxed environment, dedicated midwife care, less intervention) instead of the delivery ward but don’t like waiting lists, and for the birth centre there was a lengthy one.

I would’ve made it in there by now I think but wanted to be settled and know where I was going and also to receive continuity of care throughout my pregnancy rather than changing halfway through (that being said, I’ve never seen the same midwife twice and it hasn’t bothered me one bit).

A friend recently gave birth at the birth centre and couldn’t be more positive about it so there is a part of me that regrets not signing up!

Plus she was home the same day she gave birth which really appeals to me – I’m crossing my fingers that I can get out of the hospital and home with baby as soon as possible.

My concerns are nothing major though – at this stage I just want it OUT and healthy.

Writing this has made me realise how much I don’t know about how the whole labour day(s) thing will work, but I’ve got baby classes at the hospital coming up that should answer some questions (here’s hoping).

I’d love to hear comments from anyone with an opinion on RHW at Randwick, or the labour experience in general (in terms of type of delivery) – did you go public or private? Birth centre or delivery ward? How long were you in hospital after birth? Let me know, ladies!

For more information on birthing options, Huggies has a good run down on the topic.

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March 27, 2011

The Pram – part two, aka why I love the boy

After a near meltdown last weekend, I was dreading the next shopping expedition for baby gear.

My fears were unfounded however, because while I was hosting a little brunch for a fellow mum-to-be the boy went out shopping and bought not only the pram, but also a baby bjorn and some other much-needed odds and ends (he missed the bit where watching a child being born from the business end, for a partner, was described as like “watching your favourite pub burn down” – HA).

We have ended up with the babyjogger citi mini, which from all accounts is an excellent allrounder- hard to argue with a an average score of 4.62 out of 5. 

Aside from having almost all the bells and whistles I like (best bit being a one-handed one-step folding action), its looks will inspire me to get into some fitness with bub (hopefully that wasn’t darling fiances motivation for buying it!).

Am also getting sorted on the clothing front, by proxy. 

I’d ordered some gorgeous gear from seed for the guest of honour at brunch today but lo and behold the package didn’t arrive in time.  Looks like I’ll be keeping them for myself then (nice one).

And as I didn’t want to be empty handed this morning, I went out and bought some replacement gifts yesterday – of course I had to buy duplicates of everything I liked for my baby to be, so have ended up with quite a good haul.

Folding the little tiny darling clothes was such a joy (I understand this will likely become a chore, but for now am loving it).

All in all, feeling a lot more relaxed about the ever-shortening ‘to purchase’ list – it’s looking a lot more manageable all together.

Time for some feet-up and a cuppa – thank you darling boy for getting done what I couldn’t!

March 24, 2011

a little perspective… (via the rigneys)

not sure if this should make me feel better, or if it’s a bit depressing, but i like it all the same (and certainly empathise with the poor fishers)

a little perspective... The next time I find my pregnant self complaining about the exhaustion, the nausea, the backaches, the muscle cramps, the bloating, the stretch marks, the insane amount of heartburn, the restless legs, the lovely lack of bladder control, etc… I'm going to remember this sign that I saw at the zoo the other day… …and then I'm going to thank the good Lord above that I am not a female fisher. Nothing like finding a little perspective on your li … Read More

via the rigneys

March 23, 2011

The Pram – part one

I’ve been a little quiet on the blogging front lately, but that doesn’t mean I’ve been taking it easy in preparation for bub’s arrival.

Well, not all the time.

In between liaising with the designer for the renovations to the new abode, sourcing appliances and furniture, deciding on paint colours for the nursery and the house at large and getting ready for the move, my lovely partner in crime and I finally took the long-awaited babymoon.

Kewarra Beach Resort - babymoon perfection

We spent a beautiful few days at Kewarra Beach Resort near Cairns relaxing, swimming and eating (and of course leafing through renovation mags).

If you like eating – what pregnant woman doesn’t – you can’t go wrong at Kewarra, the menu was an absolute joy to work through and the meals were a perfect punctuation to our heavenly days lazing on the beach and on our beachfront balcony.

Most importantly, the beautiful boy popped the question so there will be an easy answer when bub is asked “who’s your daddy”.

It was all very lovely and romantic, and we couldn’t be happier.

It’s lucky I love planning, checklists and research because now not only do we have baby’s arrival and renovations to plan for, but a wedding on the (far) horizon as well.

Good news and renovations aside, we decided last weekend to really make a start on getting all the required baby gear sorted.

Easier said than done.

Armed with a list of must have (and nice to have) items we hit the baby megastores, ready to go.

What did we get?

A car seat.  That’s it.

And while I’m loving the car seat (too scared to do any research on it now in case I see something bad), I’m feeling totally overwhelmed by everything we need, and all the choices out there.

After doing what may have been too much research, I had a list as long as my arm of requirements for The Pram.

Bassinet or capsule attachment, reversible handle, not too wide, not too flimsy, not too small but not too big, great for walking but manoeuvrable for city shopping and coffee shops.  Also stylish, not too mumsy OR space age, and a reasonable price (I had to add the last one after I found a emmaljunga pram that ticked most of the boxes but came in at a hefty $2200).

BF (sorry, fiancé!) and I stood there like deer in headlights, staring at the rows and rows of options, before hotfooting it out of the store into the safe and comforting arms of Ikea (that should give you some indication of how bamboozled we were, when a trip to Ikea seemed like a walk in the park).

Everyone keeps saying “just get one that will fit your lifestyle”. 

Oh, OK.  If only I knew what that was going to be!

Not knowing the area we’ll be moving to it’s hard for me to judge how much time will be spent walking (outdoors, in parks, on pavements or in the mall).

And while I have fantasies of shopping, heading to the gym and enjoying a coffee with friends – all in a morning with baby – this might be far from the reality.

Think I’ll have to take the advice of one wise friend and expectant mother – “you aren’t going to get a pram with everything you need, so compromise where you can and if you end up hating it, there’s always eBay”.

Will keep this in mind when we attempt The Pram – Round 2 on the weekend.

So what am I looking at?  As of today the top contenders are the mountain buggy and baby jogger, any advice from mums out there will be warmly appreciated.

(Don’t even get me started on cots).

HOT TIP for any budding investors out there – buy shares in ACP because I am buying up magazines in previously unheard of quantities. 

Along with reno mags, pregnancy mags and my usual fashion and gossip titles, I can now add wedding issues to the mix.  If you don’t hear from me in a while I am no doubt buried under a pile of glossy pages.

March 17, 2011

spill the beans

image courtesy of Time Out - Sydney's best coffee

Despite all the horror stories I’d heard about comments from well meaning (?) strangers, today I got my very first unsolicited comment about whether my actions were good for bub.

I was minding my own business, sipping on a latte, when a man in the lift with me looked pointedly at my cup and asked “do you think the baby would be happy with that?”

“Yes,” I said.  “It’s weak!” 

“I don’t think that matters.  It’s probably not a good idea.  If you need a lift you could get the same from some chocolate”.

I felt like asking him if he had really looked at me, or just the cup – I don’t look like a chocolate dodger, that’s for sure.

Instead, I smiled weakly (like my coffee) and hopped out of the lift, saved by the bell.

Even though I have done tons of research into the things I do that could be construed as harmful to the baby, and have found that the majority of research shows that up to 200mg a day of  caffeine causes no harm, he got me thinking. 

And feeling guilty.

So I hopped online to do (another) investigation into caffeine during pregnancy.

Turns out I was right.

However, the helpful gentleman in the lift may have been recalling old guidelines which did indeed dictate that no caffeine at all should be taken during pregnancy.

These days, as reported on ninemsn, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) states that “pregnant woman can drink up to three cups of instant coffee, four cups of tea or four cans of cola each day. But if your daily caffeine fix is an espresso, cappuccino or latte, one a day is the recommended limit.”

BabyCenter reports similar findings (and quotes a 200mg limit as well):

Caffeine is a stimulant; it increases your heart rate and metabolism, which in turn affects your developing baby (OTIS 2006). But while unremitting stress isn’t healthy, brief bouts of fetal stress, such as that your baby would feel after you drink a cup of coffee, shouldn’t cause him any harm. It’s akin to your dashing to the bus, another situation that briefly boosts your heart rate and metabolism.

These guidelines echo most given for pregnancy (and life, in general) – everything in moderation. 

Perhaps during pregnancy, more careful moderation is required (when not pregnant, I tend to go by ‘everything in moderation, including moderation’, but thats not good for me now!)

Like most things it comes down to a personal decision about what you think is ok, and what isn’t.

As one woman said, she weighed up the pros and cons and decided that living with the lack of alertness she gets from her caffeine fix was more dangerous than drinking a small amount of coffee or tea every day.

And while not in any way, shape or form, research based, I mused to my co-worker that half of South America and Europe can’t be wrong.  His response?  “Sure.  But they’re all psycho”.

Hmmm.

I think I’ll stick with my boss’ advice, which was not to worry about a cup a day – just avoid it during breastfeeding, for my own sanity if not for baby’s!

PS if you’re interested in the caffeine content of what you’re eating and drinking, see the list at Food Standards.

March 8, 2011

a real side splitter

I was keeping myself busy the other day, doing sit ups.

OK, I wasn’t doing sit ups, I was trying to recline by the pool (besides, you’re not meant to do exercises lying on you back after week 16 or so, depending on what you read).

Anyways, I was in a kind of half sit up position and noticed a pretty unpleasant looking bulge in the middle of where my abs should be.

It was about the size of a baby’s head, and that what I thought it was, until I read about the separation of abdominal muscles, or diastasis recti, that occurs normally during many pregnancies, especially at later stages.

According to birth.com.au, “the internal organs in the abdomen are covered by two large muscle sheets (known as ‘Recti muscles’). These muscles cover the belly and run from the rib cage, down to the pubic bone. They meet in the middle of the abdomen, in line with the belly button. Towards the end of the pregnancy, it is normal for these abdominal muscles to separate, to allow the belly to accommodate your growing baby.”

Ouch! Well, not really.

In fact, I wouldn’t have even noticed if I hadn’t been looking, and many women don’t notice at all until a check-up after birth (if then).

Apparently it usually fixes itself once your body slowly returns to normal (ish), particularly if you get back into regular exercise and focus on strengthening your core after bub is born, although some women need assistance in the form of a health professional (physio etc).

So how do you know if this has happened to you?

Birth.com.au suggests the following test:

Lie flat on your back with your knees bent. Have you head lying flat as well (no pillow).

Raise your head forward, tucking your chin into your chest.

Hold this position, while you gently press your fingertips above and below the belly button, (vertically up the middle of your belly).

You are feeling for a 1 to 5 centimetre gap, or a soft bulge. You may even be able to see it.

While it isn’t a major issue, if this happens to you, befitmom.com offers some tips on movements to avoid.

  • Movements where the upper body twists and the arm on that side reaches backward, such as during a tennis serve. 
  • Exercises that require lying backward over a large exercise ball.
  • Yoga postures that stretch the abs, such as “cow pose,” “up-dog,” all backbends, and “belly breathing.” 
  • Most traditional abdominal exercises that work the exterior abdominal muscles, such as crunches and oblique curls. 
  • All exercises that cause your abdominal wall to bulge out upon exertion. 
  • Rising from a supine position by rolling up and twisting at the same time. Instead, roll first onto your side, and then use your arms to help push yourself up to a sitting position. 
  • Lifting and carrying very heavy objects. 
  • Intense coughing while your muscles are unsupported.

Oh, the joys of pregnancy! Just more motivation to hit the gym after I meet the baby.

March 5, 2011

Mia Culpa, Confessions from the Watercooler of Life

I pretty much love anything Mia Freedman puts on paper.

I’ve read Mama Mia (A Memoir of Magazines, Men and Motherhood) three times, save her column in the Sunday papers til last so the whole paper-reading experience always ends on a high note, and check out mamamia.com at least daily.

My ultimate fantasy/job would be that Mia has a spelling problem and needs someone (me) to sit by her desk all day while she whips out witty articles for me to proofread, in between going over trashy websites and magazines, eating cakes and drinking champagne (not much of a job really but I never claimed to be a career go-getter).

So you can imagine how much I was looking forward to reading her new book, Mia Culpa, Confessions from the Water Cooler of Life.

I couldn’t wait.

COULD. NOT. WAIT.

So when I popped into my favourite bookstore at lunch the other day and saw it there, I snapped it right up and had half finished it by the time I got off the bus home from work.

So what’s it like?

Well, imagine you’re single and at a wedding, or a bar, or wherever.

Across the crowded room you lock eyes with one of the most handsome men you’ve ever seen.

As luck would have it, one of your friends knows him and introduces you, and a wonderful night follows.  Not just good looking, he is witty, entertaining, sweet, kind, funny – all in all, a perfect package.

The only catch is, he is leaving for a round the world trip the next day and wont be back for six months.

So you keep in contact via email, facebook etc and finally he returns and you’ve set up a date.

You can’t wait.  You’ve primped and preened yourself to the closest state to polished perfection you’ll ever be, bought a ludicrously expensive new frock and shoes to match, and had your hair styled in a super sexy, glamourous do (that manages not to look like a ‘do’ at all).

You meet up.

He is still handsome – just not as great as you remembered.  Maybe you had the beer goggles on the first time?

He is still witty – but all the stories he tells are the same as the one he told you the first night you met.

And while here is nothing technically wrong with him at all, you’re just not feeling the love.

This is how I feel about Mia Culpa – I really, really wanted to love it but I just dont feel ‘it’.

There was nothing I hadn’t read before in the new book – much of it word for word.

But just because the book seems to be a rehash of Sunday columns and mamamia posts (with a bit of the Mama Mia book version 1.0 thrown in for good measure) doesnt make it a bad book, not at all – I’ve just read it all before.  Mia culpa!

March 4, 2011

picture perfect pregnancy fashion (via B.J. á la mode)

Picture perfect pregnancy fashion Half of Hollywood is preggers and looking delightful, might we add. They're strolling the red carpet, street and airport terminals looking amazing with they're growing baby bumps. Being pregnant doesn't mean letting go of that fashionista bottled up inside. It just means learning how to work that belly, and new body and look as fabulous as you must feel as you await your new bundle of joy. We're not pregnant, so we don't know the oooey gooey deli … Read More

via B.J. á la mode

March 4, 2011

dream on, dreamer

My beloved ‘what to expect…’ iphone app had bad news for me this morning – any discomfort I’ve been feeling is only going to get worse from here on in!

This is a little bit scary, because my sleep is already up the creek – and as someone who NEEDS 8 hours of solid sleep to function I’m not a happy camper (I know Ill laugh at this in a few months time when Ill be lucky to get a couple of hours at once).

So why the sleeping problems?

The cramps for one. The incessant kicking – which stops enough during the day for me to freak out, but really revs up at about 10pm or whenever I switch off the bedside lamp.

But more than anything, its the dreams.

Some horrifying, all way too vivid.

I read somewhere (damned if I can find it now, maybe I dreamt it) that these dreams/nightmares are actually very helpful at forcing you to think about your fears and anxieties, and often women who suffer form these vivid nightmare end up with less anxiety once the baby is born because they’ve sifted through a lot of their issues beforehand.

Yay for me!

If only I could find the article.

There are however simliar sentiments in other articles, such as this one from BabyZone, which also covers the different types of dreams you can expect during each trimester.

For example, “The second trimester is also prime time for anxiety dreams, reflecting a woman’s concerns as to whether or not she’ll be a good mother. These dreams often involve leaving the baby somewhere or having a baby born deformed or severely undersized.”

As someone who frequently dreams that I’ve left my undersized, premature baby somewhere (usually under a pile of clothes) I can breathe a bit easier knowing it’s a normal dream to have and nothing (too) prophetic.

Another reason for these dreams? BabyCenter reports that “you are more likely to interrupt a dream-filled cycle of REM sleep by frequent waking during the night to go to the loo, ease a leg cramp, or move to a more comfortable position.”

All makes sense, now.

Now if only someone could explain last night’s dream that was a drama/action/horror musical set to TLC’s ‘Creep’.

March 1, 2011

it’s t-shirt time

Stuck at home today with something halfway between a cold/flu – normally Id just pop a few Codral and soldier on as they say, but seeing as I can’t take anything more effective than panadol am going to treat this thing with some r&r and check out some of the cuter baby t-shirts I could find online.

Yes, it’s t-shirt time, for those Jersey Shore viewers among us.

Not knowing the gender of my baby makes it a little bit harder (I keep looking wistfully at the cutesy girl wear) but there’s plenty of gender neutral tops to keep me going.

chimp dj from rock your baby

First cab off the rank is Rock Your Baby, a veritable treasure trove of gear for your little rock star. 

Some of them a lot of grown-ups will love, but might scare the littlies a bit (eg the chimp dj) but I guess a baby won’t know one way or the other.

There’s plenty of stripes too, but while my fancy towards the horizontal band borders on ridiculous, am not sure if I should indulge it tooooo much with baby clothes – a bit scared of ending up like those weird women who dress the same as their kids.

That being said, the little sailor girl number is pretty cute (oops, there I go looking at girl things again!  But I guess it’s a hard habit to break after 30 years).

sailor girl from Rock Your Baby

There are tons of sweet prints and graphics at Rock Your Baby, too many to mention them all – but the cherry print holds a place in my heart.

And I just realised I have basically summarised everything I love about baby gear (and home decorating come to think of it) – animals, fruit and stripes.

Staying on the fruit bandwagon, am loving the smalfolk apple delight t (you can pick this up at babysgotstyle).

Along with the apple t there are plenty of fruity/stripey/animal numbers to keep me happy, but even better I think are the shirts they have for toddlers and little kids. 

smalfolk apple t

I have a suspicion that many of them play up to parents a lot more than kids though and while that is pretty much expected, I imagine that when the little ones are old enough to have a say in what they wear, the Dora the Explorer shirt that grandma bought is going to get more of a look in than the shirt that makes dad feel cool.

Then there are the “funny” shirts of the iPood variety – some funny, some not so much.

The “I only cry when ugly people hold me” number is a good example of one which could be funny, but I dont like because I’m one of those people that makes babies cry when I hold them (hopefully this is a problem that can be rectified with practice).

I feel the same way about a lot of these comedy shirts on my baby as I do when adults wear them – Ill laugh at them occasionally (especially after a few beers) but wouldn’t wear them myself. 

But a few such as the “Congratulations, you get to sit near me” top from milkbomb (perfect for that holiday with a newborn) or the paperclip shirt from squirtshirts just might change my mind.