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November 8, 2013 / Zoe

Juniper

About two months ago I had a baby. Her name is Juniper. If you follow me on twitter or instagram you will probably have already noticed this, but I thought I should officially update my woefully kept pregnancy log.

I will write her birth story at some point. It wasn’t a nice birth, or an empowering experience, but it has a happy ending.

Her full name is Juniper Hilda Susan Kennedy-Harris. She has many names, and we now know she has the feisty personality to handle them. Hilda is her Great-Great-Grandmother, on Matt’s side, and Susan is my mum. Juniper is inspired by the beautiful Juniper Pearl, from the movie Benny and Joon.

She was born at 9.22PM on the 9/9, and weighed a fairly hefty 4040g, or 8lb 15oz. She was 53cm long. She now weighs an even heftier 6kg, and is, mostly, an utter delight.

It feels like she’s been here for the blink of an eye and an eternity all at once.

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She is perfection personified, of course.

June 3, 2013 / Zoe

24-25 Weeks.

Apparently I only post fortnightly now… I’m sure this will change when I get through my exams. I have 20 more days and it’s all over for the semester, and then I have to decide what to do next semester…

Blob is getting bigger and kickier, and I can’t wait to meet her/him/it! My favourite activity at the moment is to sit on the couch with my shirt pulled over my belly so I can see it jiggle and shudder as Blob tries to make an escape, alien style. I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of how it feels! Even when I get a good punch/headbutt in the bladder, it’s still amazing.

I had another appointment at the hospital on Friday. It was awful again, but at least this time it was self-inflicted anxiety, not from any outside influence. I had the same doctor, and I think he must have actually my psych note, because I felt much more respected than the last visit.

I feel a little embarrassed writing about the anxiety attack I had, but this is what it’s like having an anxiety disorder. It’s irrational and sometimes ridiculous. And if it helps anyone reading to know that they’re not alone, then it’s worth some people thinking I’m a bit crazy.

When you arrive at the antenatal clinic at the hospital you have to go and weigh yourself and do a urine test for glucose, protein and blood. Now, I know what it means to have glucose and/or protein in the urine, but I wasn’t sure what blood indicated. But it’s blood. It sounds bad. When I did my test the first two were negative, but it came back as very high positive for blood. Bad. Blood is bad, right? The awful thing about having us test ourselves is that afterwards we have to sit and wait to see a midwife and then a doctor. Within 20 minutes I had diagnosed myself with kidney failure, and decided I would probably have to have a c-section before I died. I KNOW. RIDICULOUS. But that was the reality in my mind, so I sat, shaking, for and hour and half, waiting for the midwife. I was so glad to have Matt there in retrospect, but at the time I just didn’t believe him when he said that everything would be fine.

When I did get called to the midwife she asked how I was, and I answered, voice stuttering, ‘well I’m a bit worried because I had positive for blood in my urine and I don’t know what that means and I’m a bit worried about that.’ *GULP*. ‘But the others were negative?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Ok.’ End of conversation. Until she took my blood pressure, I don’t know what it was, but I’m guessing it was HIGH. She gave me a few moments to calm down before taking it again. I was able to calm down by going to my mental happy place of sitting in my chair while doing some crochet, and the next reading was normal. There’s a few definitions of agoraphobia, but one of them is the fear of having a panic attack in public. That’s most definitely the variety I have. I’m able to mask my anxiety very well, only Matt can see when I’m on the verge of breaking down, but I think my blood pressure must have given me away to the midwife! After all that anxiety and stress in the waiting room the doctor didn’t even mention the blood in the urine, I had to ask him at the end of the visit. Apparently it’s pretty normal and common for pregnant women to have blood in their urine, and he said it it’s still positive next time then they’ll test for an infection.

It’s nothing. It’s common. I’m fine. Blob is fine.

I just feel like a bit of a dope.

May 20, 2013 / Zoe

22-23 Weeks.

Whoops, did you notice I skipped a week? No? Just both Blob’s grandmothers? Well then. (Hi Lesley and Mum!)

I think my brain needed a little break from thinking about being pregnant. It’s a weird thing, being pregnant. It’s not like it requires any real mental effort, it’s just something my body is doing all by itself. But it’s always there, taking up a little bit of brain power. Or a lot of brain power.

Thank you for all the supportive comments/tweets/emails after my last post, I really appreciate that you (and you and you and you) understood where I was coming from. The doctor didn’t touch me excessively or inappropriately, it was just that I had put a coping mechanism in place, well in advance, and it failed me. My next hospital visit is next week, and the first thing I will say to the doctor is, ‘have you read my psych care plan?’ And if they say no, I will tell them I will wait while they do.

I also think I’m going to drop a unit from Uni. It seems crazy to drop out when there’s only a couple of weeks left, but when I look at the amount of work I’m supposed to do in that time? It would be near impossible, nearly half a semester’s worth! If I was at my best, mentally and physically, then I could get the work done. But I’m not. And that won’t magically change. I find it very hard to differentiate between avoidance and stress management. Avoidance is my main coping strategy for my anxiety, and it works very well! The problem with avoidance is that you avoid this, that, and the other, until eventually you’re avoiding being alive. However, I think I’m just managing my stress levels. I’m not completely dropping out of Uni, just one unit. I think that’s ok considering my anxiety disorder and the fact that I was very very ill for much of the semester.

So, how have the Blob and I been? Well Blob has been busy building something. That’s all I can imagine it’s doing in there. Possibly some kind of escape hatch for the developing exit plan. I’ve been much the same, nauseous in the mornings, heartburn all the time, and spending way too much time doing nothing but sitting and feeling my belly. I’ll never get sick of the flips and flops and pokes and prods. I had my first intense food craving, I desperately needed canned tomato soup and crumpets, with the soup in a mug. It was so good, my belly was very happy!

I’m hoping that now that I have less on my uni plate, that I’ll be able to put something on my crafting plate! And then I’ll have something pretty to show you, instead of just my words.

May 6, 2013 / Zoe

21 Weeks.

This week was hard. Blob was good, but mentally, everything else was just hard. My anxiety has been pretty bad. Super bad, actually. I had to make a really hard decision, between something I wanted to do, and my family wanted me to do, and doing what was best for my mental, and therefore physical health, as well as my uni work and finances. I chose my health, which means I won’t see a lot of my family until after the Blob arrives, which I feel horrendously guilty about. I shouldn’t feel guilty for doing what’s best for me, but I do.

I also had my first antenatal appointment at the hospital. It was horrible. An absolute nightmare for someone with social and generalised anxiety. We were there for 3 hours, in a loud and busy waiting room. I had my blood pressure taken, was weighed and peed in a cup, which took a total of about ten minutes. The other 2 hours and 50 minutes were spent waiting, and being told things I already know. The doctor I saw has also clearly not read the psych note in my file. Because I’m very aware of my anxiety and what my triggers are, I organised to see the psychologist at the hospital to have a note put in my file to let the doctors/midwives know how I need to be treated. I have past sexual trauma, so it’s basically simple things like, tell me where and why you’re going to touch me, ask my permission before you touch me (anywhere, not just ‘down there’), and just so they’re aware. I understand that doctors are busy, but when a patient is flagged as having an anxiety disorder and has a brief note regarding it, it would be nice if they read it! I know it’s a bit silly, because he’s a doctor, but I did feel violated when he touched me without telling or asking me. It triggered a lot of anxiety, and I ended up binge eating that night, something I haven’t done in months. I wish I had of said something to him at the time, but I completely froze and just sat there.

To complete this anxiety trifecta blog post, I have about half a semesters worth of uni work to do, and about 3 weeks to do it. Enough said.

In perfect timing for this post, today Beyond Blue launched a campaign to raise awareness about anxiety disorders. If you don’t have anxiety, or are not sure if you do, I really recommend watching the ad, it very accurately portrays what it’s like to live with anxiety and might help you understand what we go through. If you do have anxiety, don’t watch it! It very nearly gave me a panic attack.

Anxiety is more common than depression, but it doesn’t get as much attention even though it destroys lives. It nearly destroyed mine, and I’m determined to never go back to that place. Which is why I will get this uni work done, I will see my family when I see them, and next time a doctor touches me, I will ask them if they’re read my psych note.

Looking forward, Blob deserves a Mama who can do anything. Not one who binges and hides when something scary happens.

I really want to be that Mama.

 

April 29, 2013 / Zoe

20 Weeks.

Half way there! Eek!

It’s not really half way there though, because for the first two weeks of ‘pregnancy’ you haven’t even ovulated yet, then for two weeks you usually don’t even know anything has happened while the little zygote is busy rolling down a fallopian tube and nestling into a cosy uterine wall. And then, if you’re me, you spend a week pacing around the house knowing full well you’re pregnant but not wanting to take a test because you’ll be really sad and cry if it’s negative, even though you weren’t actually trying to get a zygote to burrow into your uterine wall.

(Flashback – the pregnancy test changed so quickly that I had to wait until I’d finished peeing before I could go and dance around the lounge room with my little plus sign. That’s the advantage of waiting until 21 days past ovulation to test, I suppose!)

So. I’ve only really known for 15 weeks. Which means I’m not even half way there yet, plenty of time!

This week I seem to have acquired a belly. I saw my reflection in the shops today and had a moment of, huh, so there IS something in there. I can also feel the weight of it when I’m trying to sleep, I’ve already found myself a belly pillow to rest my belly on. I also have four pillows to prop myself up so I don’t get heartburn, so I’m a bit of a pillow hog at the moment.

We get to see our little Blob on Thursday for the structural ultrasound. We won’t be peeking between its legs, but hopefully we’ll be seeing a good little heart and all its other bits, and then I’ll have some more pictures to show off!

April 22, 2013 / Zoe

19 Weeks.

I think my belly is starting to change shape, but it’s hard to tell. Like I said early on, I already have a big squishy belly and I think the only real change is that it’s getting less squishy! The internet tells me that the Blob is the size of a mango this week. Again, I’m confused. A sweet potato is bigger than a mango, yes? Does the baby shrink from week 18 to 19? Very suspicious.

My hormones have been doing funny things this week, yesterday we went to a market to get fruit and veggies. We got there really early so it wouldn’t be too busy, it seems the other people who get to the market really early are people with their children! I got a bit teary when I was watching a father feeding his toddler a croissant, and again when I saw a little boy dancing on a chair. I haven’t been teary for the rest of the pregnancy, nothing in ultrasounds, nothing when folding itty bitty clothes, but there was something about seeing these little people out in the world that really set me off! I think it was he realisation that I’m going to have the privilege of knowing an awesome little person who I get to spend all my time with, I get to show them the world and take them to markets, and it’s going to be amazing!

One more week and I’m halfway there!

April 15, 2013 / Zoe

18 Weeks.

Blobby is the size of a sweet potato this week. I think Sweet Potato is a pretty cute pet name, so I might keep that in mind for when I can hold my Blob, and give my little widdle sweet potato lots of kisses. I think if Matt ever leaves me it’ll be on account of my despicable baby-talk habits. It’s bad enough with the kittens.

This week was awful with the nausea/vomiting/bloating/burping/refluxing. But it’s getting easier because I can now feel Blobby jiggling around more and more. It’s a good reminder of why I feel so awful, so I can remember it’s all worth it in the end.

I planted out my veggie patch this week. Squats are a most excellence exercise for pregnant ladies, especially when they want to deliver in that position! But I find it hard to motivate myself to do them, it’s so repetitive and boring (It’s fair to say that I will never be a gym junkie… ). So I planted some seeds with a squat for every one, and I pulled a bunch of weeds, doing a perfect squat each time. With the season finally turning into autumn the weeds will pop up in no time, so I’ll have plenty of opportunity to get my squat on without getting bored. Plus, fresh veggies in the garden! It’s win-win!

It seems like I’m running out of time to prepare, but 22 weeks is a long time! It’ll fly by, I know, but I still have time to get all the teeny tiny clothes in order. It’s strange to think that the broad beans will arrive before the Blob does!