New territory

Now that Ava is a real little person and not stuck in my belly anymore, My Bump has moved to My Bundle.

If you liked and/or subscribed to this blog, and want to get weekly updates on my and Ava’s journey together, feel free to go check out and/or subscribe to the new one.

Cheers,

Michelle

The long-anticipated arrival

Ava at four days old on our last day in hospital

Ava Ella Edwards was born on April 4th by Caesarean section. She weighed 3.31 kgs and was 50cm long, and scored 10/10 on the APGAR tests (that’s my girl!). She has fat cheeks and busy fingers and long feet and a head of light-brown-reddish hair and a Cupid’s bow mouth. She only ever cries until her demands to be fed/to get this nappy-changing business over with are met – which is perfectly reasonable. And when she does cry, it’s in a really mournful, existential-angst kind of way. I’m so thrilled I don’t have a whinge-y, petulant crier (yet… don’t want to jinx it).

She is so enormously important and precious and I am completely smitten.

Dylan is an amazing parent. In a lot of ways, he’s more intuitive than I am. He’s already better than I am at swaddling, burping, getting her to take her dummy and putting her to sleep. On our first night at home, when she just wouldn’t settle down, he slept with her on his chest for hours.

I’ve never seen him happier.

[Note: I will be blogging at My Bundle from now on. But don’t expect anything up there for a little while – I’m kind of busy taking care of a tiny person these days!]

38 weeks

Four days before B-day (baby-being-born-day, bye-bye-big-belly-day)

The things I couldn’t live without

I’ve managed to (largely) avoid serious discomfort and grumpiness recently thanks to:

  • Penicillin
  • Cherry Melon stretchy-top shorts
  • Butterscotch-flavoured Sparkles
  • My Preggie Roll pillow
  • A Mamma Mio pregnancy foot massage and pedicure
  • Cold red grapes
  • Coke floats and Brown Cows
  • Bicarb of soda (I tried it for heartburn when I ran out of Rennies, and it really works, but it tastes disGUSting)
  • The entire series of The West Wing
  • The swimming pool
  • Dylan’s T-shirts (even more comfortable than my maternity tops)
  • Cool winds coming off the sea (no more 30-degree days)
  • My rubber Ipanema slip-slops (quite literally the only pair of shoes I have that fits me properly)
  • Dylan as hunter-gatherer and cook (especially the tomato, mushroom and feta pasta sauce he threw together for lunch one day out of the sparse ingredients we had left in the fridge; and the fresh breads from The Food Barn Deli that he’s started bringing home)
  • Napping (I’m like a narcoleptic. I can be in the middle of doing something – reading, filing, cleaning – and then hit a Sleepy Pocket and pass out for hours).

[An update: I went for the final scan today at 37 weeks. The baby’s growth has slowed down a bit – they put her at only just 3kgs now, while if she’d carried on growing as she had been before, she’d be almost 3.5kgs by now – but the doc is happy. “A nice size baby”, apparently. The C-section is at 9am on the 4th – which means checking into the hospital by 6am! Gaah!]

My bump’s big photoshoot

We spent a late afternoon in our neighbourhood’s most beautiful spots when I was at 35 weeks.

These are the photos that came out of those sunset hours.

Avondrust Common, Noordhoek

Near Monkey Valley, Noordhoek

Avondrust Common, Noordhoek

Noordhoek beach

Noordhoek beach

There are more of these stunning pictures on our photographer Laura Cooke’s site.

With three weeks to go

I’ve had a very busy past few weeks, which is probably how it snuck up on me so suddenly that in three weeks’ time we’ll be holding our tiny baby.

We held our fabulous unisex picnic/braai/pool-party baby shower at our house a couple of weeks ago. There were no games (except boulle on the front lawn) and loads of presents – so many tiiiiny pink things! It was probably the last time we’d have so many friends and family members at our house for a while, which made it extra awesome. But now I know why women might opt to have a helpful friend or family person organise their baby shower for them. Hosting it ourselves was really exhausting, and I spent way too much time on my feet that day. I wouldn’t do it differently if I had the choice, except that I might have spent more time just sitting on my bum and chatting.

We finally finished decorating the nursery this past weekend – Dylan was highly unimpressed with the amount of work that I undertook, but for me it was totally worth it to see the room complete – and bought everything we’ll need for the baby’s arrival. Our poor credit cards. Like every father before him, Dylan wondered aloud how it was possible for something so tiny to need so much stuff as we were driving away from Baby City with our hatchback groaning under the weight of everything we’d bought. I’ve heard that newborns need very little at first – but we’ve bought things that she will need for the first 6 months of her little life. We both loathe shopping, so would rather have got it all out the way in one shot. And if there’s anything we don’t use – hey, that’s what Gumtree is for.

We had our maternity shoot last week – I’ll load the pictures soon. They are gorgeous. We chose a few spots in Noordhoek as the setting, at around sunset, so there are lovely ones of us on the Common, at the ruins near Monkey Valley, and on the beach with Chapman’s Peak in the background. I honestly hadn’t realised how big my bump was until I saw the low-res versions of the pictures the other day. It’s bordering on the absurd. But it does make for good silhouette shots.

And I suppose it’s hardly surprising that, amid all this activity, my body decided to show me, once again, who’s boss (i.e. my body is boss. My mind/will power/stubbornness/determination is not). After a weekend of a sore throat and no voice to speak of (ahem), I suddenly developed rather a nasty cough. Pharmacists, Google and my baby books told me that the only remedy for a head cold and sore throat in pregnancy is to gargle with salt water, drink honey and lemon tea, and take Panados – all of which I did. Dylan finally made me promise to see a doctor (trying to make an appointment with my GP over the phone was farcical, considering I had no voice and the exertion of trying to speak made me cough up a lung), and she was horrified when she saw me. She promptly booked me off for a whole week with bronchitis and a throat infection that had spread to my glands, gave me antibiotics the size of torpedoes, and a pregnancy-friendly cough syrup (it’s called Exigen, and it does exist. Bloody pharmacist). She couldn’t believe I’d ‘left it so long before coming to see her’ – which baffles me. Throughout my pregnancy, when I’ve felt a bit off or been sick, I’ve been amazed at medical professionals’ attitude – either they tell you that there’s nothing they can do for you, tell you to take Panados, and get some rest, implying that you are stressing for nothing; or they act as if you’ve been deliberately neglecting your health and whip out the big guns (those dreaded words, Bed Rest) as if to scare you into looking after yourself.

But I am very grateful for the antibiotics, even though they are basically pure penicillin and make me incredibly drowsy, and grateful, too, for the imposed rest. I’ve spent at least three hours napping every day since being booked off, which, yes, I suppose is my body’s way of telling me that I needed to take it easy.

So, anyway, when I go back to work next week, I’ll be there for two days before I go on maternity leave. I’ve got a list as long as Dylan’s arm (which is substantially longer than mine) of things to get done while I’m on maternity leave, including cooking and freezing meals to eat in the first few weeks of the baby’s presence in our home, so hopefully I’ll be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed again in a week.

One month to go

 

Tina Fey’s ‘Prayer for a Daughter’

 I read this in ‘Bossypants’ before I started carrying my baby girl, and I loved it. I love it even more now. It even sort-of made me cry when I read it again recently. But that was probably just the hormones.

“First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.

“May she be Beautiful but not Damaged,

for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the Beauty.

“When the Crystal Meth is offered,

May she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half And stick with Beer.

“Guide her, protect her

When crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock ‘N Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age.

“Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes

And not have to wear high heels.

What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You, because if I knew, I’d be doing it, Youdammit.

“May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers.

“Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen.

Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long,

For childhood is short – a Tiger Flower blooming

Magenta for one day –

And adulthood is long and dry-humping in cars will wait.

“O Lord, break the Internet forever,

That she may be spared the misspelled

invective of her peers

And the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed.

“And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister, Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends,

For I will not have that shit. I will not have it.

“And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, that I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back.

“‘My mother did this for me once,’ she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck.

‘My mother did this for me.

“And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental Note to call me. And she will forget.

“But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.

Amen.”

The great Baby Yippy second-name poll

Thanks to the bloody Beckhams, we’ve come a bit unstuck on the second name for Baby Yippy (so nicknamed by a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-sister on Twitter, based on Dylan’s profile info: ‘Party hippy, part yuppy’).

Although other people’s opinion will probably have little to no bearing on the name we end up choosing (after all the great comments on my previous name post – for the baby’s first name – we are going with a name nobody suggested and that doesn’t fit in with anything we’d thought we wanted), it’s always fun to find out what other people think when it comes to something as highly subjective as names.

The thing with second names is that they have to flow really well with the first and last name. I can’t tell you the first name we’ve chosen yet (it’s bad luck, yeah?) so you’ll have to give your opinion on these names based on their own merit and how you feel about them as as they stand.

Here’s the Top Five:

  • Harper: intended to be a reference to the author of a book we both love. But, as I said, we’re balking against giving our daughter the same name as a celebrity baby who’s already been paparazzi-ed more than the Queen of England and who might very well end up being the Paris Hilton or Kim Kar-crash-dashian of her time – not a legacy you want your kid to have. But part of me thinks the Beckham child’s name won’t have any bearing on what people think of Baby Yippy.
  • Abigail: meaning ‘my father’s joy’, which is really very cute. It’s also quite classic and won’t go out of fashion.
  • Chelsea: a name I’ve always loved, mostly because it makes me think of confectionery. And the baby’s due two days before Easter, so it fits.
  • Charlotte: it’s beautiful, and posh (although a lot of ‘posh’ names are being used by the American masses these days – this one is very popular on American baby name websites at the moment), and a name to grow into.
  • Ella: the double-E prevented us from choosing this as a first name, so I’m hoping to sneak it in as her middle name. The ‘eh-eh’ sound is less ridiculous somehow when there’s a first name that doesn’t have an ‘eh’ sound. It’s Dylan’s grandmother’s name, and I love it.

Let me know what you think of these. Like I said, it probably won’t make a difference to our decision, but do it anyway. You can add other choices if you like, and you can vote for as many names as you like, and as many times as you like. Hoorah!

Barefoot. Pregnant. In the kitchen.

32 weeks - 6 and a half to go!

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