Friday, December 30, 2011

Bump: 37 weeks

He's locked and loaded.

"Engaged", they say.

His heartbeat is strong, his body well developed, and he's 3.4kg with a few weeks to go. I'm feeling things I haven't felt before, in places I haven't felt before. I'm slowing down. Waddling. Finding it hard to bend down, to roll over, to get up. Feeling like showtime is just around the corner.

My obstetrician thinks he's going to come early, but I could be clock watching in 4 weeks with no showtime to speak of. Who knows when this little one will come along.

When you're good and ready, baby. When you're good and ready.

We had the 'birth plan' discussion with the doctor today and she is fully on board with our Calmbirth approach, which I was very happy to hear. I've been doing my relaxation and meditation exercises almost daily. Visualising exactly how we want it to happen; preparing for how we're going to react when I first realise I'm in labour, how we'll progress, how and when we'll head to the hospital, dealing with the contractions, the pushing, and that first sight of our little baby coming into the world.

It's all in the head. 

We sat down and had a serious discussion with the baby the other day. All three of us agreed that if he gets the show going about 6am and together, we can close the show by midday, then we'll be one happy little bunch, ready to tackle life and whatever it has to throw at us, as a family. Great. Thanks. Perfect, little one. That'd be great.

I also threw in a cheeky request to keep the pain to a minimum and to work that bendy head concept so as to preserve my nether regions. Ha!

Wishful thinking?

Perhaps. But it's worth a try, don't you think?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Getting out of town

There's nothing like escaping the madness of the city. I talk about it all the time because I think living in this city can be particularly suffocating at times, certainly more so than other cities I've lived in. The high-rises, the pollution, the people, the noise, the concrete. Urgh, you can imagine. It can all just get a bit much. So after our wonderful Christmas day spent with our great friends here, Phil and I took ourselves off to discover a part of Hong Kong we'd been meaning to visit for ages. 

We took a drive over to the New Territories only a cheeky 40 minutes away, stopping off at a few little spots in Clearwater Bay to breathe in the fresh(er) air and lap up that beautiful, chilly, wintery, beachy feel. 

Looking tres preggers here. Funny that, being tres preggers and all. We jumped (I waddled) back in the car and headed another 15 minutes up the road to Sai Kung. This place is a favourite with expats. It has a promenade, and grass, and ice-cream and dogs and dog-prams (no joke) and kites and happy people. Like us ;)

These fisherpeople just cruise on up to the wharf with their catch and people buy straight off the boat! Talk about fresh....

So after a wander around, soaking up the sun, some tasty lunch at a seafood restuarant, an ice-cream and another stroll, we felt invigorated, relaxed and chilled, a feeling you just can't quite grasp living in the middle of the city. 

So here's for making an effort and getting out of town. Perhaps a new years resolution?

Investing in the soul, eh....

Friday, December 23, 2011

A little birthday for a little blog

Little ol' Tales of a Tai Tai turned one today! Woooo!

It's been a year of incredible discovery for me, of a whole other part of life I didn't even know existed. I started this blog when I moved to Hong Kong as a way of documenting my discovery of this new city, of coping with the isolation I was feeling and to have something that I could work on, that was mine, that I could build.

The blog world has blown my mind and opened me up to a concept of community I'd never encountered before. I've been let into people's lives, learnt about their stories, heard about their challenges, their successes. I've marveled at the writing talent of the big guns, at their ability to capture a crowd and keep them coming back for more. I've admired and connected with the voices of the smaller blogs, telling their stories in their own special way.

I've peaked and troughed with my little blog over the year. At times its felt like a burden, like I've got no 'original' voice to offer, like I've revealed too much, like no one is interested in reading, like I'm failing. At others, its felt like my only solace; a place for me to rant and rave, a place for me to reflect and consider, a place for me to share my joys and my woes, a place for me work through my crap, to make myself and hopefully you laugh and to document changes in my life. A pretty good reflection of real life, no? Peaks. Troughs. Etc.

I have to thank EVERY one of you who has ever commented on the blog. It honest to god MAKES MY DAY when those comments come through and I don't think I'd have pursued blogging without them. No shit, you guys are awesome and I'm so glad I took the plunge into the blog world a year ago today. So a big fat THANKS. Seriously. You rock my world.

So on this, my first blog birthday, I want to share some blog love around ('tis the season, eh?). Here are some blogs, both big guns and littler guns, that I've fallen in love with over the past 12 months. Drop in, say hello, leave some blog comment love and make their blog year as good as mine has been!

Mums Got Talent
Che and Fidel (my fave of 2011)
The Rhythm Method
The Daze of My Life
Mama Museli Bar

Pee your pants
Life and Other Crises
This Mid-Thirties Life
So Now What?

The Inside Story
Little Brown Pen
Wish you were here
Little Bits of Lovely

Expert Expats
Diary of a Girl Abroad
4 kids, 20 suitcases and a beagle

Just plain worthy
Gifts of Serendipity
Tea & Vegemite Toast
Sunny & Scout
Life in a Pink Fibro

Thanks again team. Seriously.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Making the ordinary work for you

I have to apologise for clogging up your quality reading time yesterday with all that "I'm sick of this and sick of that" crap. Seriously, talk about a whinger. 

Today, however is a new day! I woke up feeling much better, like my cold had disappeared and I was a bit more my positive, less-whinging, less negative-nancy self. I knew I needed today to be about feeling good so alas the day has unfolded accordingly.....

I started with a bit of quality book time (I'm reading this, it just won the Man Booker Prize), got up, had some breakie and while drooling watching the uber-cool Lenny Kravitz as he was interviewed by Piers Morgan, began some chilled out yoga. So far, so good eh? As part of our Calmbirth preparation, we've been given some CDs to use to practice the 'relaxation response', to help you get 'out of your head' during labour, so I lay myself down on the window seat in the nursery, in the glorious sunshine I might add, propped myself up with numerous pillows, popped the ear phones in et voila!! Relaxation-station!! After about 45 minutes of slipping gracefully in and out of consciousness, it was time to get out of the house.

I drove over to Stanley with some good tunes playing, the sunroof down and sunglasses on, feeling pretty damn happy about life. 

A delightful bruschetta, a cool drink, some more book time and a lazy stroll later left me realising just how important it is to pay attention to those times when you know you need to feel good. And how important it is to really tune in to how to make that happen, for you

It's taken me a while to figure out how to make that happen here in Hong Kong. Right now, it's everything I've done today. Getting away from the drilling and noise of Central, having a drive, listening to some great music, eating some tasty food, enjoying some sunshine, seeing the ocean and inevitably finishing with something sweet. 

Preferably one of these.....

Stanley, mid-week, offers exactly what I need to relax and 're-balance'. It feels like you're on holidays over there. A world away from the madness. No high-rises in sight. No angry taxi drivers. People stroll, eat ice-cream, and smile. It was just what I needed....

Here's to more days like this, eh? Especially at this time of year when it's easy not so take time out and smell the roses. Or eat the ice-cream ;)

Taking the ordinary and making it work for you

It certainly worked for me...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Testing my patience

Is it bad? Am I a bad person? Does this mean I'm going to be a terrible, irritable, impatient mother?

I've had it. SO had it. Already. And I've still got 4 weeks to go. Shite.

WARNING: I'm about to rant.

I'm sick of being heavily beaten up from the inside out.
I'm sick of getting up multiple times every night to go to the toilet.
I'm sick of wearing black tights.
I'm sick of feeling massive.
I'm sick of having sore ribs.
I'm sick of filling up the hot water bottle.
I'm sick of worrying about whether we'll have the labour we want to.
I'm sick of worrying about how much it's going to cost.
I'm sick of wondering whether we have everything we need.
I'm sick of the drilling going on nextdoor, and downstairs, and everywhere I look.
I'm sick of not being able to sink a few glasses of champagne without feeling guilty.
I'm sick of struggling to walk up stairs.
I'm sick of having pork phalanges.
I'm sick of feeling incapable.

Mostly? I'm sick of waaaaaaaiting.

Fashion TV (more accurately, the Victoria's Secret show) is playing right in my face in the cafe I'm sitting at as I'm writing this. Stupid skinny, beautiful people. I'm sick of you too.

I'm going to blame this rant on some form of pregnancy hormone and the nasty cold I've had for the past few days. But sweet baby cheesus, I'm SO over it.

I can only imagine my patience is going to be tested a hell of a lot more in the future, so am kind worried about having little-to-none of it right now. Tell me it's just a late pregnancy thing? Or am I going to be a crazy, snappy, impatient mum?

Sigh, sigh, sigh....

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The nursery: a sneak peek

Just a few more things to get out of boxes, a few things to put away, a few more purchases and our little bub's room will be ready to roll. Here's a little taster of how it's looking so far....

Smiles all round over here ;)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Bump: 35 weeks

 Tell tale sign that I'm close to D-day? I have sausages for fingers. No word of a lie. Sausages. Big fat pork ones. Shame I can't eat them really. I've always prided myself on having rather nice hands. Long, slender, well shaped fingers, good nails, a nice palm. You know, an all round damn good hand. I'd even go so far as to say that up until a week ago my hands would be the answer to that question "what's your favourite part of your body?". Now? They're on par with my stretch marks and cankles. Oh, the joy.

Bar my swollen peripheries, the rest of me is in pretty good shape. Yes, I'm more tired than I have been, I still limp and wince each and every time I take the first few steps out of bed thanks to my rather painful pubic symphysis dysfunction (aka nasty groin pain), and I do feel rather like ten-tonne-Tessie. But overall, I think I'm holding up!!

I'm starting to feel the baby move down really low,  and I mean really low. He's still kicking up a storm and I can feel how much stronger he's getting by the gentle, ahem, nudges into my ribs when I sit down. I'm certainly getting aches and pains in my nether regions that I haven't felt before and those Braxton-Hicks contracts are becoming a faithful friend. I feel like my body is really preparing itself for something to happen. Quite amazing really, this whole pregnancy thing. It all just....happens. Without any instruction, without any "medical" input. Ironic how natural it all is and how you just let the body do it's thing, up until the birth part, when all of a sudden we feel like we need to be hospitalised, and drugged up and intervened with medically to survive the experience. Hmmm...interesting.

We've got our final session of Calm Birth pre-natal classes tomorrow, which I'm really looking forward to. We're doing a 'dry-run' up to the hospital on Sunday (now that my husband has finally got his HK license) and I dare say we might break the pram out of it's packaging for the first time and zoom it around our large (ha!) apartment.

Big news......The nursery is almost finished!! I may even share a sneak peek of it tomorrow, but will wait till it's all done before sharing the proper snaps. I have to say, it's fast becoming my favourite room in the house. I can just see myself, hanging out in the doorway, staring at that little peach of a baby in his cot and never wanting to move....

35 days to go.....

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Most powerful photos of 2011

A monstrous dust storm (Haboob) roared through Phoenix, Arizona in July.
Robert Peraza, who lost his son Robert David Peraza in 9/11, pauses at his son’s name at the North Pool of the 9/11 Memorial.
A woman cries while sitting on a road amid the destroyed city of Natori, Miyagi Prefecture in northern Japan after the massive earthquake and tsunami.
For more amazing images, check out these photos. They'll take your breath away, I guarantee.

Joining in with Wordless Wednesday here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The last Christmas I know

It feels like Christmas here. Well, the Christmas I've become used to anyway after spending the last 5 or so away from home. My Christmas is a chilly one, an icy one, with Christmas drinks a-plenty, where ugg-boots are on, the heater is out, Christmas carols are playing and where a tree clearly too big for our apartment is decorated in lights and decorations, this year with the help of a very special little cousin of mine visiting at the moment...

Where plans are made with friends for Christmas day, where there's talk of bad Christmas jumpers and whether a certain someone will don the Santa suit once again. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a repeat performance. The entertainment value is priceless.

Santa enjoying himself a little too much in the South of France '09

The difference for 2011 being I'm a little fatter than previous years, which means I most definitely won't fit into the delightful-yet-hideous Christmas jumper I wore last year (blessing in disguise), I'll very unfortunately have to stay away from indulging in just a little too much festive wine (which obviously means I have credit to over-indulge in other Christmas goodies...hello roast potatoes and Christmas pudding, I'm talking to you), and this year coming.... will be our last just the two of us. 

Next year will be a whole new sort of Christmas. And how exciting is that??

Friday, December 9, 2011

There's a hole in my pocket

Ever go through those times in your life when you feel like you're just burning, and I mean burning, through money? When every day sees you pull out the credit card and with a heavy-hearted sigh, sign away another few hundred dollars for this, another few hundred dollars for that? Well, I'm in one of those times, right now. And it hurts. It hurts bad.

I know we're about to have a baby, and babies cost money.
I know we now own a car and cars cost money.
I know we're living in one of the most expensive places in the world on one salary. Urgh.

But knowing all that, oh voice of reason, doesn't make the pain any more painless

Somehow, in our very talented way, I think we've just managed to squeeze all that pain into a neat few months. Setting up for the babe, buying those big ticket items that you only need to buy once, paying for private healthcare here in Honkers. Throw in Phil's birthday next week, Christmas a few days after, a nice fat bill to fix the 'new' car (yep) and a few international flights to be booked for early 2012 and how's your father, there goes that piece of plastic playing havoc once again.

'Tis the season, some might say.... well, this season? This one in particular? It's just plain hurting more than most. Sigh.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Things I can no longer do...

- see my feet or nether region (blessing in disguise)
- turn over in bed without groaning like a heffalump (seeeexy)
- go a night without peeing at least 4 times and evidently ending up toilet paper-less 1 out of 4 times
- get my wedding ring off (yes, I have hands like Homer Simpson)
- satisfyingly wee (damn shame that one)
- stay awake for more than 5 seconds when horizontal (bloody brilliant if you ask me)
- put lace up shoes on (au revoir exercise, clearly sobbing)
- stop eating.... anything
- stop buying little boys clothes (am loving H&M, and the fact that GAP has just opened)
- have 3 lovely ladies to stay for 4 days, attend an amazing wedding and surrounding events without then, quite literally, passing out with exhaustion for 48 hours afterwards
- dance on a dance floor (sober) without continuously losing my balance and looking like the inappropriately drunk heavily pregnant one
- feel remotely attractive
- stop thinking about sinking some serious champagne and sushi post-babe
- fit into any sort of pant bar a black legging
- guarantee I won't wet my pants when I sneeze (clearly my favourite).

Obviously a fabulous stage of pregnancy I'm in. Fabulous....

Well it is actually. At almost 34 weeks there's a lot of satisfaction in knowing that if JP Chang (aka the baby) was born right now, he'd be fine and a healthy 2.8kg. Yes, he's already 2.8kg. I know. I think the word my OB used was MASSIVE. Brilliant. "You won't have a problem pushing him out with those hips". Double brilliant.

Your pelvicly-blessed Tai Tai* xx

*Who is promising more blog activity in the coming weeks ;) Promise.