Saturday, September 29, 2012

Full Moon

It's almost October and we will for sure, by the end of the month, have a new little boy. Back in August we were were hoping to see the month out, and then we were fairly certain that we'd be having a September baby, but here we are on the cusp of our official due date month, and while the prodromal labour has picked up again with quite a bit of force, I really think we might make it until close to our official due date.

The past couple of days, though, have been fairly challenging. Rich has been very busy outside of the house, including the early evenings, so all week it's been Raf and I (though Raf has been going to school most days), and almost every night I wake up in the very early hours with some discomfort that makes it all but impossible to get back to sleep. I usually am on the cusp of sleep minutes before Raf wakes up, so I have a very significant sleep deficit. I didn't get to sleep until close to midnight last night and then woke up before 3 only to be nodding off a couple of hours later, when, yes, Raf woke up before 5.

It was a very busy day with chores, including getting my car serviced, a lunch out with the boys, and then a work party in the late afternoon. Rich was too tired to go so it was me and a very over tired 3 year old who woke up much too early and napped for less than 30 minutes during the day. It's not the easiest thing managing a 3 year old at a party when most of the guests are adults and much older children, and schleping Raf around on the trampoline while trying my best to entertain him while talking to my colleagues was, well, tiring. Raf had tremendous fun on the trampoline with the very big kids, and then Raf found a good friend in Scott who had Raf in stitches as they threw soft toys to each other.

It was lovely to catch up with my colleagues and friends, especially since they have been wonderfully supportive as I've had to take a leave of absence from work. I'm so grateful to them all.

Now I'm home, though, I feel so tired. I am saying a small prayer that this little guy doesn't put in appearance this evening or even tomorrow (though it's a full moon this weekend, so who knows!). I am guessing that I'm being prepared for the next few months (or years!) of sleepless nights. On the other hand another 2-3 weeks of pre-labour might leave me with one foot in crazy.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Still here, still pregnant... After all this preterm labour I'm now convinced we'll go beyond our due date.  I have been feeling very patient - and definitely in no hurry - but I've started to become even more uncomfortable, primarily, I think, because of the amount of amniotic fluid surrounding this kiddo. It's still in the normal range, but high-normal, and as I compare my ultrasound reports with Raf's, it's more than double the amount so I feel a lot of pressure through my entire uterus and breathing sometimes has its challenges.

So a little bit of impatience is sneaking in, but mostly we'd like this little guy to cook for at least another week as we still have lots to do and get.

Yesterday I had my 38 week scan and aside from the higher fluid levels everything is looking super. After seeming to drop down the percentile growth ladder, poppet is now back up to the 52nd percentile in predicted size. The head and tummy are getting bigger and bigger while his legs are not growing at the same pace.. this following Raf's pattern exactly. Tomorrow I have my 38 week midwife appointment and a non-stress test.

In Boy Wonder news: Rich and I had our first parent/teacher conference at his new school/nursery this morning. We saw the assistant teacher Dan for half an hour and discussed Raf's progress and adaption to his new preschool. Raf does long days there - so it's both a preschool and a nursery - and from our perspective he's adapted fantastically. I don't think we've ever had any tears at drop-off, and when we pick him up he's always happy and seems to enjoy himself whilst he's there.

It was a relief to hear that Raf is indeed integrating very well. He is VERY social, and the first thing Dan mentioned was how cheerful Raf always is. He loves to play with other children and has a big assortment of friends. This morning, as he ran off into the playground, he immediately started playing with his friends Denny and Michael - and what struck me was how at ease he was and how happy he played with the other boys.

One thing we've been a bit nervous about is how Raf reacts to conflict and how he does if another kiddo has been a bit mean to him. Our perception of Raf is that he is fairly passive in lots of ways, and because he's so open and friendly that he might be a bit vulnerable to rejection or being hurt. Dan observed that while he can be a bit passive - and was a target by another little girl - he is really, really good at regulating his emotions, so, if he's upset, it's very short-lived and he moves on very quickly. This was a bit of a relief because while he does seem fairly resilient to us, you just never can predict how they'll be or how they'll react when they're out of sight and navigating new contexts and situations.

It wasn't all good... though his social and emotional skill-sets seem to be really well formed and evolving. Raf's expressive communication has been a red flag to them. He is often difficult to understand, even while he talks in sentences which make complete sense to him. He had very stagnant speech from 18 months to around 30 months, but in the last 6-8 months both his receptive and expressive speech have come on in leaps and bounds. We did have him tested at 2 years old for a speech delay and the speech pathologist, who I really liked and was very experienced, didn't think that there was a significant issue and that Raf was likely a late bloomer. We still think this, especially as he is blooming, and he seems to have no problems being very social, but Dan did suggest that Raf see the case manager at the preschool for a briefer evaluation especially since the school has a speech pathologist on staff and if Raf can get some extra help then it seems like a reasonable course of action.

Another thing Dan mentioned was Raf's fine motor skills, which could do with some work. We were a bit surprised about this because he was a very early developer in this regard but as talked about it we can see how Raf gravitates toward activities which involve gross motor skills and, as a result, he doesn't practice his fine motor skills in the way that he use to. Dan didn't see this as overly concerning, though.

Overall we came away feeling really good about Raf being in the school. We had a lot of misgivings about the place mostly because it's large and so different from what Raf has been use to with his old nursery and the various nannies we've had. He seems to thrive in a bigger group, though, especially once he gets used to it - which has has, and very, very quickly. We'll be interested to see what comes from Raf's assessment with his speech, and it would be useful for us to know how to work with Raf a little more on some of these difficulties.

He's such a bright, funny little boy, very sweet, kind, and cheerful, and I have to admit that these qualities are - and have been - more important to us than how well his academics are progressing. Of course both are important but he's only three and developing a disposition and character and resilience seem really so integral to us.

We really do feel so fortunate to have Rafi. Above, he's posing, saying 'cheese', so we can send a photo to Daddy at work! He made me take so many pictures!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Autumn Beach Walk

Each weekend we think to ourselves, 'this could be our last'! We had big plans to organize and pack today.. well, it didn't go quite to plan even though Rich stayed up half the night putting up shelves in the garage so we could finally unpack some more boxes and organize the kitchen a little more. Instead we got up and I made blueberry pancakes, and after that I walked the pups to the beach along the train. It was a gorgeous, gorgeous morning. The trail is spectacular at this time of year with the leaves turning and the birds chirping loudly and happily. 

We met Raf and Rich at the beach. Raf is really pretty grumpy with this cold (though he keeps on telling me he's happy!), and once we got to the beach I thought it was going to be a LONG walk. As soon as I assented to him stripping off all his clothes, though, he cheered right up! Funny how running around starkers can lift your mood! Raf had a super time - we all did - running up and down the beach. Luckily the sunshine was warn, though the water was frigid, and he had a joyous hour running after the pups, trying to round them up as they ran after seagulls and other dogs. 

I am feeling mighty uncomfortable these days. A lot of prodromal labour, and some unbelievable pressure in my stomach, especially when I eat or drink. We're edging towards 38 weeks and it seems like a miracle to still be pregnant after the last 2 months, and now I'm beginning to think that I'll be pregnant forever! I would love to make it to 40 weeks, but honestly not much more than that. I'd at least like some time to properly pack my bags.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Birthday Party and a Trip to the Movies

Raf had a new experience today... his first trip to the cinema! His friends' Colby and Sawyer were having a birthday party at a local theater which also serves food and, unbeknownst to me, also caters and hosts parties. It was Colby's 7th birthday, so a big boy birthday, but Raf and a few other 3 year olds were invited along to keep Sawyer company.. and also Colby is a big boy that 3 year olds tend to look up to :)

Unfortunately we've all come down with new colds, after just getting rid of the head cold from last week, so poor old Raf woke up very stuffy and a bit grumpy but he did first go to football practice. He didn't have the greatest of times, but he was very excited to go to the birthday party. I told him that the movies was rather like watching a big telly. I don't think he really got it.

But he had a fabulous time! He adored the popcorn and pink lemonade, especially! When the film previews came on and the lights went down he was pretty taken aback but I was very surprised that he made it through almost the entire flick! It was a lunchtime film and I could see that he was getting very tired (he usually naps at school around 12:30) and almost at 2pm he asked to go home. En route out we spied Sawyer and Karla playing on the arcade games, and Raf managed to find the strength to play with Sawyer for another half an hour before I dragged him away so he could nap in the car.

A really, really fun afternoon for Raf. He is definitely out of sorts, poor lad, but hopefully he'll be fighting fit tomorrow. Each weekend we keep thinking it could well be our last as a family of 3. Raf is becoming very excited about his little brother. We were watching a show and a baby appeared, and I thought that Raf would burst with excitement when he suddenly spired the baby and pointed, as he beamed with delight, "baby"! He then explained how he'd feel his baby milk bottle to the baby. Last night he actually tried to feed Baby Toast through my tummy. I got a very sticky bump as a consequence. 

I really think he's going to make a super big brother. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A week of non-bed rest

And we can get haircuts... 

And a snack afterward... with a very dirty face.

We can go apple picking.

And dog waking.

We can even hit the trail.

And throw sticks into the water.

And jump up and down.


We can buy apple trees to plant for Papa.

We can walk up to our neighbours for a Jewish holiday.

We can play with massive bubbles at said gathering.

And eat apples and bread that have been blessed.

And we can get sneaky kisses as we walk there and back.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Term... almost!

Thanks for the lovely messages, people. I did have another bad night of cramping and contractions but at least the dreaded cough has mostly disappeared. I got up feeling somewhat better, despite really having no sleep, but I was able to get in a nap once Raf went to school and watched a very good Miss. Marple episode. It's the small things!

I also saw my midwife today... my very favourite one. I was hooked up to have a non-stress-test and Baby Toast passed with flying colours, which in itself cheered me up no end.  She did a cervical check and there has been some more dilation, but honestly not too much, which makes me think that we'll get to at least 39 weeks... at least that's the hope. The downside of this is that this pre-labour stuff  - that basically keeps me up most of the night - could go on for weeks. Mercy. To help, Jen prescribed wine, a bath, and Tylenol to see if any or all help.

I didn't have any prodromal labour with Raf (just the dreaded kidney pain) so this is a bit surprising. The very good news, though, is that tomorrow marks 37 weeks - and thus I'll officially have made it to term.

My stomach measured quite small today, but we think it's just because baby boy has dropped further into my pelvis. That feels GREAT! I walked the pups this afternoon and I could definitely feel more discomfort but it was a beautiful autumnal afternoon and I felt so great being outside with the two naughtiest dogs on the road.

So, I'm officially no longer a complete misery. It's been a very challenging pregnancy, that is for sure, but there is light and the end is in sight. I cannot wait to meet this little fellow. And Raf will be a super big brother.

And what a big brother he is! Every day he seems to be growing in independence and personality. Yesterday he randomly started adding 'sure' to the word 'yes'. "Raf, can I have a kiss?", 'Yes, sure, mummy". "Did you have a good day at school?" "Yes, sure..." And so it goes on.

When he got home tonight he didn't want to eat his dinner and asked to play upstairs with his trains, with Rich and I watching him while lying on his bunk bed. After an hour or so he alll of a sudden decided he was hungry, though I wasn't convinced he was going to want to eat anything I'd prepared. But downstairs he went and ate a big hummus and falafel wrap, diced tofu, strawberries, peas, and applesauce. He even asked for more falafel after at first he declared it was 'yucky'!

Raf also likes to check in about what mood he and I are in. I ask Rafi how he feels, sometimes, and usually he says, "I happy, are you, too?" Though it makes me laugh when he says, "I grumpy pants". Funny boy.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Hey Ho.

I've really been struggling with this darn head cold. It's not too bad until the evenings when I'm trying to sleep and then as soon as I've lain down I begin to hack up a lung or two. I've been fairly exhausted as a result, so taking care of Raf yesterday was a real challenge, especially since he's getting over the same cold and is quite sensitive and miserable as a result. After I tried to get him to nap at home I eventually gave up and put him in the stroller so I could get him to sleep.

It was lovely being out in the sunshine with Rafo and the pups, but as I walked I started to get fairly painful contractions very close together - though there was no pattern. For the rest of the day I was having a lot of painful cramping, and while the contractions seemed to stop when I went to bed, I continued to have the painful cramps throughout the night, so it was another mostly sleepless night.

I had my 37 week scan this morning. We'd planned to take Raf with us but I ended up going on my own for various reasons. I'll try and post a picture tomorrow if my scanner is working, but all looked good and I did get a few lovely pictures of the baby. In one picture it looks as though he's laughing. It's very sweet. 

I hadn't felt great when I got up, and en route home from the scan I thought I was going to pass out from low blood sugar so quickly stopped off at Target and wolfed down a protein bar before I'd even gotten to the till to pay. I started to feel incredibly achy, and by the time I got home every single part of my body was sore as though I was coming down with the flu. I took myself to bed for most of the day and got up in the end to make dinner.

I actually feel incredibly low. Raf is basically the only person I've spoken to in the last 36 hours. I'm of course super, super happy that Toast is on his way, and I'm not even feeling impatient for him to arrive, but I suppose I am feeling ready not to feel physically so terrible. And now, since my mood seems to have followed my physical state, I have to admit that I am feeling quite fed up, and I think those around me are utterly fed up with me. 

Mind you, this little kiddo cheers me up no end!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Apple Picking

Poor old Raf and I have head colds so the reprieve from bed rest has been a tad anti-climatic. This morning, after a poor night's sleep on my part, the boys went off to play footy (first stopping to buy some new footy boots as we'd left Raf's trainers at school) and I, well, went back to bed! Not for long, but it meant that I did miss out on his game. I think Rich may blog about his football practice later (together with some sweet photos). When the boys returned home we decided we'd head out for some apple picking.

We timed it with Raf's nap but when we got there he was a little but grumpy - a combination of not enough sleep and a miserable cold. After a bit, though, Raf was in his element, having fun picking, but mostly eating, the gorgeous apples as we strolled through the Orchards. 

Raf is not especially fond of loud noises and so we were surprised when he asked to go for a ride on the tractor. He loved it! 

We captured some nice photos. As I look at these pictures, though, I see how puffy poor little Raf's face is. Hopefully we'll all feel better in the morning.