While I sip endlessly on my raspberry leaf tea, eat yet another chocolate brownie, and listen happily to the familiar and comforting sounds of the Australian Open commentators, I've found the ULTIMATE way to distract myself from what isn't happening (ahem).
Sweet jesus why didn't someone tell me about this earlier? I mean, I've seen it around the traps, heard the word, seen a few hyperlinks, but for some reason I've just kind of ignored it. It felt like just another social media-esque thing that I'd sign up to, and then fail at. Kinda like my twitter account.
But, oh no. This is a whole new ball game. If you haven't used it, the idea is you sign up, and then drop (pin) any image you find anywhere on the web into your profile (and it brings the source with it) which you sort by whichever topic you want: For the home, fashion, photography, animals, books, food, whatevs. It's such a great way to save and organise all those images and all that inspiration that you come across on the web. I know I'm late at picking up on this but seriously, I am HOOKED.
Throughout the past week, I've managed to trawl through my favourite blogs, websites etc and put together a few boards of my favourite things - mostly to do with my ultimate home that one day I am seriously going to have to have. Not sure how that is going to happen. Or when. Or how we'll afford it. Or where it'll be. But who gives a shit about details. I've got Pinterest now.
Here are a few images from my boards:
If you want to check me and my style out, head on over to my page.
This last week has been a bit of a struggle. The bum steer "you'll definitely deliver early" from my doctor was clearly a royal bum steer and resulted in a very frustrating week of symptom watching which alas, has lead to sweet FA in that department, obviously.
I've never been much good at waiting for things. I find it a tortuous process. Which is surprising really considering I've had SO much practice waiting for my eternally late, but oh so wonderful (ahem), husband who FYI takes the longest showers in the world. Does yours do that? God it annoys me. I thought us women were supposed to take longer to get ready. Not in this household. No siree. I think it's something about men and bathrooms. Toilets, even. Something primal. Like they need to make their mark. Where the 'action' happens. Whatevs. Just hurry up!
I digress. My point being, there's not much to do in this last little bit of pregnancy, but wait, which is tough and exciting all at the same time.
All I want to do is meet my little baby and the anticipation is killing me! Bags are packed. Pram, car seat, hardware is prepped. Nursery is good to go (I'll show you shortly). Phil is answering every phone call on the first ring (you don't know how rare that is). We're just well and truly ready.
I'm still to buy the grandma black undies that my friend very wisely suggested I buy in bulk. That's on my to-do list for today.
And FYI the clacksickles have been a hilarious topic of conversation for my girlfriends and I here over the weekend. If you don't know what I mean, have a read here. Fun-ny.
But now, all there is to do, 4 days before my official due date....
I've known Beth for 15 years. Her little sis and I are the best of chums and since the day I first discovered the way that family can laugh, chat, dance, and let's be honest, EAT, I was hooked. All these years later, and across continents, we stay connected through the blogosphere and just like the way Beth writes her blog, the way she dead set is in real life, she's given me the most honest, sincere, encouraging and a little 'holy shit balls Batman' words of advice for the first moments of this massive journey I'm about to take on.
I'm lucky enough to be able to share it all with you. Have a read.... ______________________________
How is it that you have a baby coming any day now when it seems like only yesterday I was holding your hair back while you vomited from the cheap alcohol I had bought for you? Time, it really does fly. I wish I had all this wisdom and big sisterly advice to pass on to you in these final weeks. I wish I could say something knowing and caring and full of insight about what is going to happen to you in the next few weeks. About just how much your life will change. But I don't. I cannot possibly explain to you what's about to go down. I will just nod and smile knowingly, just as the mother's around me did before I embarked on the same journey almost 5 years ago now. And in a few weeks time you can email me and say "WHAT THE FUCK" and I'll say "I know. I KNOW!" But we can't go there now, the anticipation is too exciting.
What I will tell you is this. A few pearls perhaps, a few insights, a few hints and tips so to speak. Sista to sista.
1. Get some of the biggest MOFO black grandma undies you can get your hands on. Buy a pack of 10 because you will end up throwing them out. Get some of those surfboard maternity pads - the bigger the better and be sure that these will be your saviour in the days proceeding the birth. Trust me. If I could have walked around with a towel between my legs post birth, I would have.
2. Yes, you really do poo during labour. In front of your husband. And everyone. Yep.
3. You may also vomit over everyone, especially during that bit where it gets serious. Transition, is that what's it called? Then.
4. All the birth plans and CD's and hopes and dreams count for not much. I mean they do, best intentions and all that, but when it comes down to it, there are so many variables that are out of your hands - is the baby OK, did you have to be induced, will you have an epidural, will, why, won't that you have to take it as it comes. It's the first real part of parenthood - letting go and realising that there is now someone else that needs priority over yourself.
5. The second that baby comes out no one will really give a shit about you. All that attention, all those loving questions about how you are feeling go out the door the minute the baby arrives. That doting husband? Gone. Until the milk comes in that is.
6. It is OK to be completely overwhelmed and freaked out when the baby comes out and he is screaming and you will look around and realise that the ONLY person who can make that baby stop...is you. This suffocation and wonderment is called motherhood. Welcome to it!
7. Breastfeeding is really, really, really hard. I never knew that. If you can get the baby to latch on correctly the first time, you are on your way. DEMAND that the midwives show you how to do this. Keep at them over and over and over until you are sure it's right. I stuffed it up the first time, got a graze, then had bleeding nipples, then had mastitis and then had A FUCKING BREAST ABSCESS. You do not want one of those bad boys.
8. A baby really does come out. Who knew? I mean everyones knows, sure, but it will blow your mind that it's a real baby in there. All baby like. And perfect. And you made him! A BABY! It still amazes me. Maybe that's just me.
9. If the baby doesn't make a noise for the first little while - because of a cord wrapped around a neck or something, it's OK. IT's not brilliant, but it's OK. I expected noise with Harper and had silence for 5 or so minutes. She's fine now of course, so if that goes down, it's OK. Promise.
10. If they offer to show you the crowning head with a mirror don't go there. Well go there if you want, but I'm just saying you can't undo the image of a head coming our of your own vagina. I try every day.
11. The day your milk comes in will be the day that you will cry more than ever before. You will cry over the love for your baby. For your family. For your aching breasts. For the sheer size of your boobs. For the taste of your lunch. The distance of home. For the sheer relief that at last your baby will be fed and content. For the fact that you are able to feed a human being. You'll cry. It's normal and OK and even though you are expecting it, it will still surprise you.
12. Your child will be the best thing you have ever done. Ever created. Ever seen. Ever that was. Ever. Ever. EVER. He will be your endless joy, your biggest frustration and your unending confusion and self doubt. He will bring you more joy than the best day you've ever had up till now. He will show you what it means to give. To love. He will make you laugh and cry and everything in between. He will make an unbreakable bond between your husband and you that will last forever. He will be wonderful. You can do this. You don't have a choice. And you guys will be wonderful parents. Promise.
Good luck my friend. I'm here if you need me with any questions. This blogging community thing we have going on is a pretty special place to be. A virtual village of women supporting you, holding you up, offering advice on twitter in the middle of the night, company when feeding. I know I speak on behalf of lots of us that say good luck, and send you so much love.
Maybe that's just me.
Love Beth x
Now I don't know about you, but for me? Someone who knows sweet FA about what's about to happen, in those first few moments, hours, days after our baby is born? Those words are GOLD.
So, to a woman I've known through drunken nights, school formals, fake IDs, dance moves, laughter, tears, boyfriends, husbands, now kids, pork comas, champagne and endless amounts of incredible food, I THANK YOU. For getting me excited. For being REAL. For making me shit my pants (just a little). For steering me AWAY from the mirror. For not mentioning the fact that I also vomited on your mother's doorstep. And then left. Leaving one shoe beside the doorstep, as a token of I don't know what. For sharing your journey of motherhood and making it that little less scary for me, and for anyone else reading this about to become a mum. This sort of stuff just isn't talked about enough, and I feel pretty lucky to have women around me willing to put it all out there. Seriously, from me and my bump, thank you.
I've got a real life human head between my pubic bones.
Picture it. Head. Pubic bones. Head. Pubic bones. 10cm of head. Between my pubic bones.
It makes for an interesting walking style. Somewhat like this....
I've got a total of about 2 hours total walking time a day in me at the moment before I start sighing like a MOFO, throwing in the occasional head-turning grunt and wincing like an animal. It ain't pretty. And it does NOT tickle...
D-Day is 9 days away. I feel like shouting a Lleyton Hewitt "C'MMMMOOOOOON", but I'm supposed to be all zen and calm and relaxed and shit, so..... I will not.
LUCKILY, I received the best email from a certain blogger you may all be aware of with the wisest of words for my imminent adventure, from a mum who's been there, done it all, felt it all, loved it, hated it, and most impressively, written honestly about it.
I'll share it with you on Friday. That is definitely one to stay tuned for....
I mentioned months ago that we were thinking, as most people do in Hong Kong, about getting a helper. Well, today? She started. Full time. Yep. Full time. As in all day, every day. Except Sundays.
Do I feel like a spoilt brat right about now? The answer would be yes. Yes, I do. But sweet jesus, am I loving it already? Yes. Yes I bloody well am.
I was as apprehensive as all hell last night, so worried about whether I was going to get along with this person that I essentially felt like I was moving in with. So worried about whether she was going to make me feel like a stranger in my own home, whether she would be too much of a presence that I didn't feel like I could just be, here, at home. My biggest fear. Worried that maybe we'd made a mistake by doing this at all.
It's been really important to me from the minute we agreed to do this that we manage the situation really well, so we all knew exactly how we were going to make it work. Phil and I did some serious preparation last night, brainstorming everything we could think of to tell the helper straight up so there was no confusion for her. When she arrived this morning, we sat down and spent about an hour talking things through, making sure all her questions, and mine, were answered and that we both felt comfortable about how this was going to happen.
Then? She just, well, started. Just like that. Cleaning, organising, washing. Being a dead set champion sorting out our house and consequently, what feels like our lives. Just like that. We went for a bit of a walk to a few shops so I could show her where to buy groceries etc and again, she nailed it. Knew where to get the best this, the cheapest that. My smile kept getting bigger and bigger. My walk however, uglier and uglier. After about an hour, my extra 475kgs became a little too much so we headed back home, picking up everything for dinner on the way.
And when we got home? She sorted out my kitchen. And my fridge? You should SEE my god damned fridge!! It's amazing. It's the fridge I've always dreamed of, but never been quite motivated enough to make happen myself. Oh it's superb. Just superb.
Oh and now? She's cooking dinner. I knooooow! Chicken shnitzel with potato mash and fennel salad. What a treat! This feels like such a luxury, and trust me, I know how lucky we are to be in this situation. Someone else making me dinner? Bloody marvellous.
And all this in just one day! Imagine what she'll get done tomorrow?!
She is seriously an angel, already making my pregnant-self so much more comfortable, making me relax a hell of a lot more about how life will be with the baby and..... I do fear, dare I say it, I'm going to get very, VERY used to this.....
It's too easy to look for causes, to look for others to blame, to look for an excuse, a reason to explain it all away. For it to be someone else's fault, someone else's problem, someone else's insecurity. It's not often we take a step back and actually think that our OWN perspective, the strongest, most influential one for us, dictates our world and the way we experience it.
"The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company...a church...a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past...we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you. We are in charge of our attitudes."
This year is bound to be big. BIIIIIIGGGGGG. There'll be smiles, tears, laughter, holidays, flights, flights, flights, challenges, desperation, delirium, nappies, happiness... all rolled into one. I'm excited ;)
2011 was a year in itself. A year definitely worth remembering and definitely worth (an albeit belated) 'Round-Up' post. And because I love a list, and a bullet point....here goes:
I thought I hadn't travelled that much but still managed Bali, Cebu, Hanoi, Yangshuo, Macau, Guangzhou, Singapore, Phuket, London, Paris, Sydney (x3). Not bad, not bad at all.
I spent a good 8 months unsuccessfully attempting to find a job. Some of the most demoralising months of my life.
I spent 9 months off booze. Low point, in my books.
My bosoms went from mediocre to marvellous. Even if I do say so myself.
I turned 30. Moving swiftly on.
We bought a car. The joy, oh the joy, of sunroof down, music on, freedom. The pain, oh the pain, of the cost of fixing it.
I filled out applications for high school for my unborn son. No shit. For 2022. Ridic.
This song came out and I CAN'T stop listening to it.
We had visitors galore to stay with us in HK.
We had our first wedding anniversary. Ohhhhh..... Phil celebrated by taking himself off to New Zealand for the Rugby World Cup. Did someone say karma?
Our family dog had day surgery on her tooth. You'd think the Queen had undergone life-threatening brain surgery. She, the dog, is fine. As is, I believe, the Queen.
I decided I rather like waking up to the sound of jackhammers every morning.
The last one is a blatant LIE.
So there you go. A whirlwind of a year for me. Settling into a new city, a new country, a new culture. With new friends, a new way of life, a new normal.
And just when we thought things had settled down, when we'd got ourselves sorted and figured things out, we're set to start anew all over again when our little baby pops into the world in the next few weeks. Such is life, eh? It'd be boring without all this change, wouldn't it?