Friday, 12 December 2008

Underwater Afternoons

Friday, 12 December 2008

Even when not pregnant, I have a 2-3pm sleepy pocket most afternoons. The girls at work know that if they need to schedule a meeting with me, this is my preferred window as around that time I always have to force myself to get up, move to a different room, have a change of scenery, etc. otherwise I slip into a bit of a hazy slump.

As I type this it’s 2.37pm and I feel like I’m underwater, I’m so tired! Everything’s in slow motion and even taking a nice, fresh deep breath in is ridiculously taxing. To make matters worse, I didn’t sleep very well last night, and I was putting my make-up on this morning I caught myself wondering how realistic-looking a fake eye I could paint on my eyelid, instead of my usual eye shadow, such that I could sit at my desk with my eyes shut and no one would notice. Trickle of corner-mouth drool, occasional snore-snorts and sleepy mumbling notwithstanding, I may have got away with it. Maybe I’ll try it next week.

I wonder, am I actually more tired and more nauseous with this pregnancy than I was with Ben? Or was it so long ago that I just can’t remember what it was like? For most of this week I have been struggling with feeling quite nauseous. Usually it goes away if I munch on something, but today it has been quite relentless! The experience of feeling nauseous and sick is referred colloquially in our house as:

pronunciation = /spyoon/
noun: sickness at the stomach, esp. when accompanied by a loathing for food and an involuntary impulse to vomit.
adjective: advance warning pertaining to likelihood of discharging the contents of the stomach through the mouth; vomit. “Jason, I feel very spewn.”

(Does everyone use made-up words for silly cute things with their husband, or am I just weird?)

Anyway – today I do feel very, very spewn. Spewn and tired. Well, only 2 or 3 more weeks til I’m in the 2nd trimester and should start to pick up a bit.

Bring it on!!!

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Drugs, Glorious Drugs

Wednesday, 3 December 2008
When you get pregnant you start forward-planning like crazy. I like to think I’m a fairly organised kind of gal, but there’s nothing like the pending arrival of whole new person into the world to really map things out for you. At the minute, ask me what I’m doing in February 2010 and I’ll be able to tell you!

Pregnancy is the multi-tasker’s wet dream: perpetual lists start forming in your head; myriad ‘what-if’ scenarios of varying eventualities start working their way into your subconscious. And with the luxury of hindsight, I am finding my second pregnancy has already thrown light on a whole host of issues, currently filed under ‘Things I Will Do Different This Time.’

Things I Will Do Different This Time: Chapter 1: Labour
Woah, MAMA… is this ever going to be different this time. When I was having Ben it was less than ideal; everything that I didn’t want to happen, happened. It was long and drawn out, I started pushing far too early, I had an unspeakably gruesome episiotomy and Ben was delivered by forceps. 39½ hours (actually, no… it deserves to be not abbreviated…) THIRTY-NINE AND ONE HALF HOURS from start to finish; needless to say it was no picnic. Don't get me wrong... it was all worth it in the end, but now that I've got the chance to do it all again there are a few things I will change.

I found that because it was my first baby, because I really had no idea what to expect, despite all the advance research and preparation, I was somewhat ill-equipped to make proper informed decisions while going through it all, because I had nothing to measure it against.

This time I’m going to get out of the bed, walk around a lot to bring things on nice and quickly, listen to some cool tunes to take my mind off the contractions (I've already got a few ideas for the track listing!) … somehow in all the hustle and bustle of my last labour I forgot that it was my body, and that I was in control of what happened to it. I just stayed in the bed, and took everything the midwives said to me as read.

I feel that I had my epidural way too early – of course, not knowing how much worse the pain was going to get, I wimped out really close to the start – which really slowed things down.

And the biggest thing: I am going to wait until I get that uncontrollable urge to push, before I actually start pushing. Sounds pretty obvious but it really is funny – when you’re pregnant with your first baby, you read all sorts about how when the time comes you will get an ‘uncontrollable urge to push.’ Let’s just analyse that statement a moment:

  1. ‘Uncontrollable’: yep – totally know what that means.
  2. ‘Urge’: mm-hmm… yesiree, I get that one as well, I’m down with the urge.
  3. ‘Push’: check – opposite of ‘pull’. Thunderbirds are go!

But nothing -- and I’m sure my fellow Mummy friends will agree – nothing actually prepares you for the ‘uncontrollable urge to push’… it totally took me by surprise! I actually had no control over the pushing my body was doing! And I know you’re probably laughing right now – duhhh… Nicola, you idiot – but honestly, your body just does it! You have no say in the matter at all! In fact, in my gloriously euphoric pharmaceutical haze I remember having a drugged-up battle of wills with myself at the time:

Normal Nicola: “Don’t do any more of those silly pushes… you’re bloody exhausted! Just have a rest this time! Sit this one out, come on!”

Labour Nicola: “Great idea; I’m glad I brought you alonnnnnnnnnnnnNNNNNNNNG! Grunt, grunt, groooooan!”

Normal Nicola: “Hey man! What the hell are you doing? I thought we agreed?! Gimme five minutes, I just need to catch my breath.”

Labour Nicola: “Okay, okay, okay. You’re right. I’m sorry. Honest, I'm really sorry. I’ll really try not to dooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo it againnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnNNNNNNNNNN!!!”

… and so on.

But the upshot of it all is, I really do think I started pushing too early. I remember the midwife (not the lovely Lynnette, I should clarify!) telling me when I was 4cm dilated, when I was 6cm and when I was 8cm. But I actually don’t remember her ever telling me when I was 10cm. What I do remember, is her asking me, “Do you feel like pushing?” A reasonable question, without a doubt. But I thought she meant, “Do you fancy having a go at pushing?” to which I replied, “Sure! I’m not really doing anything else at the moment, why not?” but what she actually meant was, “Do you have that ‘uncontrollable urge to push’ yet?” and I totally didn’t.

What I think happened was I started pushing before there was adequate room for Ben to make his grand entrance, and I just aggravated the ol’ bits and pieces 'down below' by trying to make things happen before they were naturally meant to.

Our bodies are pretty smart – they’re constantly in communication with us, letting us know how things are going, and this is probably never more important than while in labour. Now that I know what this 'pushing-babies-out' game is all about, I’ll go into the whole thing with a little less ignorance, with a lot less despairing, and most certainly a little more confidence.

Oh – and a much bigger appreciation for all the marvellous drugs.