Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Just ask

I woke up yesterday morning feeling nauseous. I haven't felt nauseous since I was 16 weeks pregnant, at which point I'd been feeling nauseous for 11 weeks straight. Needless to say I wasn't welcoming the feeling back. The memories weren't pretty. It was just nausea until around 2pm, so the morning had been bearable. Fletch had been crying more than normal though and I was starting to feel like something about this day just wasn't quite right.

And then I started vomiting. And a manner of other bodily functions decided they'd take part in the affair. I'm sure I don't have to spell it out. Let's just say I was feeling all kinds of feral.

I'd barely eaten all day, and whatever I had eaten decided to forcefully makes its way out between the hours of 2 and 8pm. Holy shit (pardon the pun), it was HORRENDOUS. It came on every 10 minutes or so and all the while I was trying to feed and settle Fletch who definitely knew something wasn't right. He was going mental, crying his eyes out like I'd not heard before. I was feeding one minute, then yanking him off the boob, putting him on his playmat bawling and racing to the loo with my hand covering my mouth, then racing back a few kgs lighter and trying to find the energy and focus to latch my screaming baby back onto my boob. Yes. Delightful.

After a few hours I could barely hold Fletch anymore what with the post-vom shakes and the distinct lack of energy, but I was the only one who could. So I did. Fletch was 5 weeks old yesterday and for 5 weeks I've felt together, on top of things, like I could handle it all. But all of a sudden with the crying, the vomiting, the runs, the general all-round feralness, I was losing it.

So I finally made the call to Phil.

"Can you come home? I need some help".


I find it hard to ask for help. It's not something I've done much in my life. I was the kid marking my classmates' maths homework in Year 3 for god's sake. I just never needed much help with things. As a result I'm not altogether that comfortable asking for it. Even now.

But I'm slowly starting to realise that this baby is changing the status quo.
Including my ability to do everything myself.

I'm quite sure there are going to be many more times ahead like this one.
It's time to step out of the comfort zone...

And just bloody ask.

ps. It was just a 24 hour thing. I'm feeling back to normal today. Thank bloody god.

Monday, February 27, 2012

They way we are

Our weekends are different these days. Better different. 
It's a time to spend real time together, just the three of us. Just our little family. 

It's a time to be at home. 
Napping. Feeding. Smiling. Hugging. Playing. Laughing. 

It's a time to relish this new way that we are.

Working out the new dynamic that is no longer two, but three. A better dynamic, a stronger one. One that makes me proud and confident, and one that at the same time makes me feel more vulnerable than ever.

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Difference

My breakfast, made for me, every morning. Yep.
That's the name a friend of ours here has given to the helper they hired a few weeks before they had their first child.

So I'm poaching it.

Because without doubt, our helper is The Difference.

She is the difference between me feeling completely and utterly overwhelmed by this new journey into motherhood, and me feeling like I actually love every minute (which I do).

She's the difference between me hating multiple daily encounters with my extremely long-cycle washing machine, and me not actually having put a load on in 2012 (which I haven't).

She's the difference between me detesting how hard it is to do grocery shopping in Hong Kong, and me being able to outsource it every day (which I do).

She's the difference between me undoubtedly eating far too many bags of chips and pieces of toast and Mint Slices, and me actually eating more healthily than I have in donkeys (if you ignore the chips and the Mint Slices).

I'm quite sure she's also the difference between my husband and I having daily blow-ups over who should do what and deciding we don't actually like each other all that much, and us actually enjoying each other's company and having time just to talk about Fletch and life (which we do, if we've finished watching the next episode of The Good Wife).

It's no secret that I have a love/hate relationship with Hong Kong. Well, I tell you, having a helper in the absence of the support of family and old friends, is certainly tipping the scales in the love direction. And all of a sudden, I can understand why people find it very hard to leave this place.

It's the difference, as a new mum here, in a city that is so easy and so not, between falling apart and just having the chance to plain fall in love.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Fletcher: 4 weeks

My little boy is 4 weeks old today! Can you believe it? I certainly can't. The time has flown. I've been on the steepest learning curve of my life this last month. Learning so much every single day about how to look after a baby, my baby, how to stay awake at all hours of the night when all I want to do is sleep, how to breastfeed, how to be a mum, how to be a family.

Fletch has changed so much already...

From the little man who could barely stay awake to a little man who is so awake and so alert.
From staring blankly into space to following me across the room.
From waking every 2 hours to sleeping for 6 hours in a row at night.
From having one facial expression to almost cracking a smile.
From having no head control to being able to lift and turn his head.
From fitting only into size 0000 clothes, to now fitting into some, not all, 000s.


We're getting to know each other better and better, day by day.

He loves a bath.
He loves looking around at the world.
He loves having a nap on my chest.
He loves to be sung to sleep.
And my favourite....he loves a cuddle.

Everyone says you just crave time for yourself in these early days. That couldn't be further from the truth for me. Yes, we've got our helper which is making the world of difference for the domestic side of things, but you would have to pay me to be further than a few rooms away from him right now.

I just can't get enough.

And I can't see that changing any time soon.

I think it's called love.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Our birth story

The conversation was had.

"I'm done. Let's get this show on the road".

We approached our OB who swiftly dropped the bombshell that there were, actually, no induction dates available for the 2 weeks post our due date care of Chinese New Year, the ridiculously auspicious Year of the Water Dragon and all that. Blah blah. Not what you want to hear 40+ weeks pregnant and not dilated at all. I was so done. But it was out of our hands.

We willed our little man to be ready, we told him we were ready. Let's make this happen. Let's wake up at 6am tomorrow morning to gentle contractions and let's meet at midday. You know, like we discussed?

But no. Apparently talking to your womb doesn't actually work. Go figure.

And then we got the phone call at 10am the next morning...

"A spot has become available for tonight. Would you like it? Call us back".


Phil and I stared at each other. Smiled. Then frowned. Smiled again. Then debated the crap out of whether we should stick with our what-seemed-like-a-good-au naturel-plan or tap into a little modern medicine to get this long awaited show on the road. Pros, cons, and a long, long walk and conversation later, we decided.

Let's do it.

Bags were being packed, cheeky smiles were being exchanged, butterflies were rising and falling. It's time. It's happening. We're going to have a baby. Holy shit. We're going to have a baby.

The drive to the hospital was calm. Eerily so. It was dark, around 9pm, cold, really cold and misty. I was ready. And so excited to finally experience labour but more so to meet the little man that we'd created and been so eager to have in our lives. To see what he looked like, what he smelled like, what he sounded like. To have a family. The three of us together. Just us. Just ours.

We checked in, went to the delivery suite and talked about the process with the midwife and our OB. A prostaglandin gel on the cervix tonight, a likely sleep till the morning when the oxytocin drip would be inserted and the contractions would be on their way. Phil was going to head home and we'd call him when it was 'game on'. Fine. Great. Good plan.

But in less than an hour after having the prostaglandin gel, the contractions came thick and fast, lasting a good minute each and no more than a few minutes apart. There was no warm up, no time to adjust, no gentle climb to intensity. Our Calmbirth preparation was a saviour, as was my incredible husband. Between contractions, I sat, eyes closed, trying to breathe calmly, to relax, trying not to get caught up in what I was about to feel, again. Phil comforted me, encouraged me. He was everything I needed him to be. When the contractions came, I breathed hard and focused, trying to find the most comfortable position to get through it. I needed to be on my feet, leaning on the bed and swaying, almost jigging, from side to side. The fit ball was no good, the bath seemed impossible, lying down just wasn't an option. My wrists hurt from supporting myself while I was standing. My pelvis felt like it was being torn apart. I went into myself in a way I've never experienced before. Eery. Again. The darkness, eyes closed, pain, rest. Darkness, pain, rest. All-consuming. Overwhelming.

After a few hours, I started vomiting. The midwife examined me and I hadn't dilated at all. Nothing.

Then my waters broke, and after hearing I hadn't progressed, so did I.

I had a pethidine shot at 5.30am and within an hour I'd dilated to 5cm. The pain had intensified so much, the contractions less than a minute apart. I was in a trance, my eyes constantly closed. I was exhausted from lack of sleep, from the effort of getting through the contractions, and decided I needed some help to keep going. I've never felt so tired. Or consumed. Just after 6.30am I had an epidural. The relief was almost instant. I could relax. I slept for an hour. I felt human again. It seemed all my stubborn cervix needed was a few nudges in the right direction to really get going. And by 7.30, I'd almost fully dilated and was well and truly ready to push. The urge was incredible. Unavoidable. Uncomfortable in a really satisfying way. All of a sudden, I was in control. I was ready to go. Ready to meet our little boy. And after an hour and twenty minutes of pushing, a natural tear, small episiotomy and consequently two stitches, the intensity of the previous 10 hours fell away.

At 9.06am, our little angel arrived.

He was placed straight on my chest. He looked at me. I looked at him. I looked at Phil. And back at him. And a few minutes later, my tears came. Tears of incomparable love, joy, happiness, and relief. Relief that he was finally here, healthy and happy. Relief that it was over. Relief that I did it. In my way, the way that was right for me.

I can't really find the words to describe the love I feel for our son or the fierce protective instincts I have for him. I never in my wildest dreams imagined I could love him so so much. I've cried more in the two weeks since he was born than I did my whole pregnancy. He makes me smile from ear to ear every minute of the day. His squeaks and coos make my heart melt. When I see Phil holding him, the lump in my throat rises.

I just can't imagine ever having lived without him.
He is the best thing I've ever done in my life.

My beautiful little Fletcher James...