Dear Aviya – Letter To A One Month Old

My dearest Aviya

I’ve been staring at this page for days now, as I’ve been thinking about what to say, how to open my first letter to you as you, rather than as someone I was waiting to meet. I’ve been wondering how to begin to tell you about you, your entry to the world, your first few weeks in it, and what it’s done to me and to my life.Read more: Dear Aviya – Letter To A One Month Old

Birth Story of Squidgy – 13 March 2012

Our Squidgy girl’s birth story is a little bit of a lot of things. It’s still quite raw in my head, and this will probably all come out a bit rambly, but… it is what it is. It was imperfect, and yet perfect too. It was perfectly different. Perhaps that’s the first lesson I’ve had to learn in parenting two children. Perfectly different.  For a short birth, this is a long story. Here it is:

Squidgy, who is as yet unnamed, was born at 17:23 in water in our living room at home on 13 March 2012. She weighed 4.2kg, or 9lb 6oz, with a head circumference of 37.5 cm and length of 56cm. So,  yes. A rather big baby. By scan dates she was 42 weeks and 5 days gestation. By my dates she was 40 weeks and 5 days. Her placenta was fine and she was still covered in vernix and not at all wrinkled or looking like an overdue baby.

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41 Weeks, 2 Days – Letter To Squidgy

Dear Squidgy

I’ve been staring at this screen for ages now, and I’ve started this letter to you many times.  I have so much to say, yet don’t know where to start. I’m having a hard time filtering my thoughts into coherent sentences.

We’re ‘ready’ for you now. We have everything we need, Aunty Deshaine is here. Nana is here. Everyone is here, watching and waiting, ready for you. According to ‘dates’ you’ve been in there for 41 weeks and two days. Your sister was born at 40 and six days, and I quite liked the idea of a leapyear baby, but you weren’t all that interested.

I have been trying to connect with you, trying to speak to you and feel you and have been making efforts to bond with you and really get to know you. I’ve been trying to make notes of the differences between your pregnancy and Ameli’s. I’ve been trying to prepare  the world for  you and you for the world.  I’ve been trying to identify your personality. I’ve been growing in my love for you, picturing holding you, picturing sleeping next to you, dancing with you, carrying you. I’ve been imagining you as a real part of our lives, and now, sweet child of mine, I am ready for you.

It’s funny, how people say there are so many differences between your first and second pregnancy, and they aren’t wrong. First time round, I had nothing but time to focus on this new life and to wonder and question and imagine. This time round, there’s been so little time, and these last ten weeks have flown by so fast I have felt myself shocked to discover we’re actually at ‘term’.

And yet I have this excitement bubbling up inside me. I wonder what it will be like holding a new born again. I wonder what it will be like falling so incredibly head over heels for another child. I wonder how it’s possible for my love to grow even further and awed in advance by the life we’re about to embark on.

I’m nervous too. I’m pretty sure of my dates, I know when you were conceived, because we moved house and immaculate aside, there’s no way you were created earlier than that. But that scan we had, and the fundal measurements and LMP all said 23 February, so I doubted myself and believed their dates. Now here we are on the 3rd of March (my date is either 3 March or 8 March) and aunty Desh is getting ready to go back to South Africa already, and you’re not budging. We’ve tried the pineapple, the sex, the walking, the curry, and I even had acupuncture this week. You’re just not ready.
Which reminds me, we had an accident and a miracle yesterday. I was busy frying root vegetables for a 3-root vegetable crisps lunch, when something went wrong and I knocked the frying pan, oil flew everywhere. Bubbling, boiling, hot oil hit the cupboard the floor my right arm, my clothes and covered my right foot and I slipped on the oil, twisting my pelvis, banging my wrist against the cupboard and grabbing into the flame to try to stabilise myself.  The laminate on the floor and cupboards has bubbled up where the oil hit it. The oil that covered me felt cool. I have no burns, no blisters, no scars.  Only my wrist and pelvis hurt from where I fell.  I think we were Divinely protected yesterday, and I am so grateful.
Well, I have a midwife appointment this morning and we’ll see what she says. I think the fact that all this is based on one scan means they’ve taken your tall measurements, like your sisters and put your ‘due’ date too early. I think it’s going to be a major disappointment for your aunty, who is likely to miss your birth, and it’s stressful for me as, despite my trust and my faith in nature, there are always the ‘horror stories’ of overdue babies, post date stillbirths and all that. I think if anything I’ll just make sure the placenta is still doing well and we’ll take it from there.
I love you baby. I don’t want to force you out if you’re not ready. I just really want to see you now.
Love you, darling child.
Mama

 

39 Weeks Pregnant: Head Down, Bottoms Up

Dear Squidgy,

I’m writing this a few days in advance of actually posting it. It’s called ‘scheduling’ and at the moment it’s one of the few things I seem to be able to do to feel like I’m doing much to prepare for your birth. I have this persistent cold that comes and goes, but each time it returns it does so with a vengeance greater than the time before. It’s all I can do to sit up at the moment, so I’m trying to use this ‘bed rest’ time productively.

Let’s see.Read more: 39 Weeks Pregnant: Head Down, Bottoms Up

Pregnancy Week 37 – Letter To Squidgy

Dear Squidgy

I haven’t written to you in weeks. I can’t believe how quickly the last couple of months have gone. Just a few days ago it was Christmas – and suddenly here we are in February and I’m counting down the days. It’s crazy. You’ll be here within the month, and there still seems to be so much to do.

Actually that’s part of why the time has been going so fast. Every second of my day seems to be accounted for.

I’ve been teaching baby massage classes, and I’ve been doing  training for another class I can teach once you’re born. I feel really bad that I have to go to work straight after you’re born, but things have been a bit tight with what they call ‘the recession’ and Daddy hasn’t been working much, so I have to do what I can to help him out.

Actually, it’s been a really stressful time and I’ve been quite worried and then, on top of the worry, I’ve been worried about what being worried is doing to you. Sounds rough, doesn’t it? But it’s okay. We’ll be fine. And you’ve been so spoiled by the people in this world that love you, even before you’re born. Mama’s been so amazingly touched by friends who’ve come through for you at a time when I was feeling really low.

The love from people around us has been amazing, and while we’ve really not needed much to prepare for your arrival, we’ve been so blessed by the things we have been given.

As for preparations, we’ve slowly but surely been getting on top of things. We’ve done a trial run on the birth pool, and I’ve been drinking the right tea and taking evening primrose oil capsules. I’ve been doing my kegels and we’ve washed the clothes you’ll need for the first while.  We’ve acquired a Moses basket for your day time naps, and I’ve started making some extra meals to put in the freezer.  I seem to be getting on top of the things we need to prepare for your arrival. Slowly, but surely.

What I am not on top of is the house stuff… the tidying, the cleaning, the constant picking up and the suddenly endless amount of laundry – I blame winter. We have to wear so many more clothes in this horrible cold weather.

I don’t know if I mentioned this before, but you were transverse for ages, and on New Year’s Eve you turned, just suddenly. You seem to be head down now, which is great, and you’re moving a lot. Some days I’m pretty sure you’re on the right side, and other days you’re most definitely on the left. In fact, I’m often lopsided. It’s a great look.

Oh – and my belly button finally popped out at 37 weeks.  Just thought I’d make a note of the – it’s rather momentous.

I feel like there’s so much I have to say to you, yet sitting here staring at this page, I can’t think of the right words.

I think you’re the perfect gift for our family. I think we’re so blessed to have you joining us. I can’t wait to count your little fingers and toes. I can’t wait to put your gorgeous newborn nappies on you. I’m terrified, too, of the changes, the new stresses, the new things I’m going to have to learn. Having a baby once was such a learning curve, it changed everything about me. And I realise that you’re a new person, and the knowledge I have gained in this journey of parenthood may be useful, but may also mean nothing. You may be totally different. You will be totally different. There’s no doubt about that. It excites me, and it terrifies me.

I love you Squidgy. I love you already.  (Now I just need to start thinking of potential names for you!)

Mama

Pregnancy Week 29 -Things Are Getting Serious

Dear Squidgy,

This is it. The final week of pregnancy that starts with a 2. From here on out, if I recall, things begin to move really very fast and before we know it, you’ll be in my arms.

To be honest, I’m a little afraid. It’s not you. It’s us, this life, our lives. I’ve been a mother now for 26 months. You’d think I’d have a better handle on it all by now, but I really don’t. And no sooner do I celebrate a victory, confident in having figured something out than the whole game changes and WHAM! Just like that. I’m back to knowing nothing, feeling uncertain, unsure, insecure.Read more: Pregnancy Week 29 -Things Are Getting Serious

Pregnancy Week 27 – Exercises And Mince Pies

Dear Squidgy,

I’m a couple of weeks behind in writing down my thoughts, feelings and your progress and all that. I  know it’s not the same, but I do talk to you about the pretty much daily, and I spend half the day writing in my head. If someone could attach a keyboard to my brain, I’d be a seriously prolific author.

Sadly, life doesn’t afford me the time to sit and write as much as I wish I could – which is possibly a good thing, or they’d have to surgically remove this laptop eventually.

It’s been a rather exciting two weeks in your life, even though you don’t know it yet.

You’ve been moving a lot, and your kicks have started to move from internal to external – which means Daddy’s finally been able to feel you kicking. And boy, oh boy, did you kick him hard! His whole hand moved. It was rather precious, and the smile that broke out over his face was beautiful and filled me with joy.

You’re quite a space-consuming baby and my bladder is already no match for your 27 week old self. I’m constantly running to the loo for weak streamed droplets of wee. I know  you really wanted to know that. But at least it’s exercise, so that’s a good thing.

Speaking of exercise, I’ve started doing antenatal water aerobics. Kyra used to leap and bounce like crazy during those sessions, but so far you seem unfazed by it. I hardly felt you move the whole time I was in the water.

I also keep putting on yoga and other pregnancy-styled exercise DVD’s, then end up watching them while I eat mince pies.  Counterproductive? Well, yes.  But anyway… I’m currently fighting a losing battle against Christmas Mince Pies. I eat a box of six a day. Sometimes Daddy will help himself to one or two and those are lean, lean days for me! On the up side, I’m also constantly wanting mangoes, litchis and avocados, all totally out of season for the UK this time of year, so I’m paying a fortune for ‘exotic fruit’ imported from South Africa. Your genetics are coming through strongly, my child.

Fortunately our supermarkets stock ‘Foods of the World’ in which they have ‘exotic’ fruit juices, so you’re being placated with mango and litchi juice, and I buy an avo for some avocado on toast every now and then. (Hmmm…. Would love some now, talking about it, but it’s the middle of the night and I don’t see Daddy heading out to find one for me now!)

I’m loving your moves, your kicks and your flutters. I was thinking today that I wish there was a feeling you could bottle or a pill you could take to replicate the feeling of a child moving in your womb – without having to be constantly pregnant or the sickness that goes with it for me.  That is a feeling I treasure and each time you move, I feel joy.

You do not like the dentist, I think. I had to go in today for a broken filling – pregnancy is hard on my teeth – and you squirmed during the drilling. I don’t know if it was the anaesthetic… I do hope not, but you did squirm a lot.

You should be around 800g and 36cm by now, and I have to admit, that I feel a sense of relief knowing that if something were to go ‘wrong’ now, and you had to be born immediately, you’d have a strong chance of survival.  Obviously I’m happy for you to stay put for a while longer, but there’s comfort knowing we’ve come this far.

I was in a shop this week, looking at baby clothes. I have a gut feeling of you being a boy – although the pregnancy predictors (those people who can tell by your sickness/the way you walk/the size of your bump/what you eat) say you’ll be a girl. Either is fine, I don’t mind, but my gut says boy. Which means pretty much a whole new wardrobe as most of what Ameli was given is very girly, even if it’s not pink.

I’m holding off on shopping at the moment though. We don’t need much, and don’t have much money either, so I want to save our pennies to spend on the things we need – or I just really, really want – and we’ll take it from there. It’s still nice to walk around the shop and imagine you though.

Sleep well, Squidgy.

I love you.

Mama

Pregnancy Week 25 – Some Things You Didn’t Know

Dear Baby,

I have a confession to make. I haven’t written much lately, not because I’ve not had anything to say to you, but because I’ve been so unfocused. My days have been filled with housework, paid work, Ameli, personal things, things and more things going on, occupying my mind, fighting for my attention and dragging me away from you.

I feel bad though, because you deserve to know everything. You deserve to know my hopes, my fears, and my life as it is right now, as I feel you kicking and squirming inside me.

You deserve to know that I treasure every bump, ever movement, and that I relish it with a bittersweet excitement. Bittersweet, because I want to hold on to that feeling, knowing that you’re the last baby I’ll feel squirming, and kicking. Excitement, because it’s a miraculous thing and I’m so thrilled by it. It brings a smile to my heart and my lips, no matter what else is going on in my head.Read more: Pregnancy Week 25 – Some Things You Didn’t Know

Pregnancy Week 21 – Kicks And Cuddles

Dear Squidgy

Can you believe we’re 21 weeks into this thing already?

I look fat, not pregnant. Thanks for that. I have to unbutton the top of my jeans, but so far that’s about it. No maternity clothes – for which I’m grateful. I’m dreading forking out for winter maternity clothing I’m going to use for just a few months. So maybe it’s a good idea that you’re small.
Read more: Pregnancy Week 21 – Kicks And Cuddles