She’s Here!

With the expected due date still almost three weeks away, our lovely little E decided to show up already on the 1st October and has been giving  us so much happiness and joy during her first week here with us that I cannot even begin to explain how fortunate we feel. But I must say, I was not really prepared for this yet.

Well, now I am kind of lying. I had actually just managed to wrap up most things at work (admin stuff), we had sorted out the car with the mechanic (ordered what I hope will be the final parts for the car to fix the problems we have had), booked the dogs in for a haircut and I had started planning my maternity leave (swimming, prenatal pilates classes, pregnancy massages, general nesting etc) so that by Friday 30th September I was pretty optimistic about October and my maternity leave starting. Little did I realise that only 4hrs into October, when according to our calculations she was only 37 weeks, little E would decide it was time to make her entrance to this world.

And that she did. My water broke at 4am on the 1st and after having spoken to my doctor we headed off to the hospital to have me and the baby checked. Once there we were told that yes indeed I was heading into labour and 2 cm dilated already. We were sent home to get our stuff, have breakfast and in general wait a bit longer so that my contractions would be a bit more regular and close together and told to head back to the hospital around 9am or so. Well, that we did. We headed home, J put together the last few things we still had to assemble of all her stuff as well as installed the car seat in the car while I packed my bag and prepared some breakfast for us. Looking back now, I am not sure what I was packing for really as I did just pack loads!

Food in case I get hungry (like we were off on a 2 day hike..), two sets of clothes to change into (not sure what I was thinking here either as you dont really care what you wear at this point as long as its comfy..), books (in case I would have time to read.. ehm.. ok..), a movie (in case we would have time to watch that.. EHM again…)… Thankfully I did also pack two sets of clothes for Little E, nappies, wet wipes, her Weleda baby care products and the camera.

We signed back into the hospital at about 9.30am and it was all very exciting and new and surreal at this point. I was NOT really computing that I was about to have a little baby, most likely that day. Having managed half the sign in process my contractions were starting to get stronger and I was sent up to the maternity ward ahead of J who finished off with the admissions guy downstairs.

Having gotten into my gown and settled into the room, by 11am things started speeding up. My the contractions were now getting slightly painful, especially when lying down. And of course they wanted me lying down so they could do their monitoring. I knew Little E  was ok and I could feel her moving, so I was not very understanding about their need to do any monitoring at all. But of course they won and I had to lie down and suffer through it, knowing as well that I was frustratingly enough still only 2cm dilated. I mean WTF! All that pain for nothing?

As of 11am – 12pm my contractions started getting worse as I was dilating approximately 1cm per 20-30 mins. At this point I started having time distortion and all I could really think of was the regular rhythm of contraction – rest – contraction – rest. But at least things were starting to happen! And they were really happening so fast now that suddenly the nurses started stressing that my cool and chilled out doctor wouldn’t have time to get the birthing pool set up!

But thankfully he did.. However, I did not have much time in there at all since as soon as I jumped in my contractions changed and I could tell this was much more of a downward pressure than previous, encouraging me to start pushing. So, just as a side note here before we continue. I must say, the birth up till now had been a bit painful. Basically I had not expected the contractions to grow to such intensity, and I was not really able to enjoy the relaxation and serenity that hypnobirthing was supposed to give you… But at no point was I even considering an epidural or any pain killers. Its funny but it didnt really cross my mind as an option, even if the nurses kept asking and asking and asking me if I wanted it. (J would then again never have allowed that either.. And it was just easier to go through it than to pick a fight while in the midst of labour…)

What I found was the most difficult thing, and what hypnobirthing definitely helped me with, was overcoming the mental blocks and fears that so easily build up. I had entered into the whole pregnancy thing with an open mind and developed a strong philosophy with regards to how I wanted my baby to be born (as naturally as possible in water) and what I definitely didnt want for her (drugs, induction, intervention), what the course and all my meditations on the matter helped me with was getting rid of the fear I had previously harboured towards giving birth.

But as I was sitting there in the water, feeling another contraction coming on with its encouragement to start pushing, I realised that what I was most afraid of wasnt the pain at this point. Pain you know what is and you can handle. What I was afraid of was what will this final stage of childbirth really be like. And THAT was what made me almost not want to push but rather just hold her in in order to stop this whole thing. During the first contraction in water I sensed the change in the rhythm and type of contraction. During the second I felt a proper urge to push and I did tried it a bit, but just a little bit to see what it was like, still holding it in for dear life.. The third contraction I decided I might as well go for it. Or actually, I realised I will have to go for it if I want this to end. And during the fourth she was pretty much out.

Gazing into my daughters eyes for the first time was just incredible but also so surreal. I could not comprehend that she was finally here. Not to mention the tricky question of how do you hold a newborn baby? There was so much going through my mind and at the same time nothing, just silence as we stared. I think we were both as bewildered at meeting each other at quarter to four on a Saturday afternoon.

The following hour is a bit of a daze. Little E went off with J and the paediatrician to be checked while I remember being amazed at how all the pain had disappeared and how tiny my tummy suddenly had gone.

A bit more than 24hrs after my water broke we were allowed to head home from the hospital, another thing I would like to praise a natural birth for. Little E has also been extremely attentive, curious and in general so alert that I cannot help but think that she also got a birth that was as easy as possible for her. After all, she did a massive job as well when she worked her way into this world.

***

Little E is now almost a week old. She is absolutely amazing, even if I say so myself. I do realise it is a bit of a subjective opinion, but then again, its my blog. 😉

She sleeps calmly through the night, I have to wake her up every 3 hrs to feed her as otherwise she would happily snooze her way through. She is just like her daddy. She eats well and loves sitting up in mine or J’s lap, just watching the world around her. But mostly I think she likes sleeping and eating. What I like the most is looking at her when she does my favourite face, actually I love just looking at her in general. And of course knowing that this exciting adventure has just begun for all of us.

BIG MAMA!

Big Mama!

That’s what one of my colleagues calls me nowadays… He usually shouts it out across the cafeteria at work as he makes his way over to say hello. Now that sure is something that does make you feel noticed, and not always in the best of ways, especially now that I really am gaining quite a big of volume.

At our last doctor’s appointment I was still under 70kg even if I had my bets on the over on that one. But I guess its only a matter of time before I do cross over to the other side of 70 especially considering I still have at least 5 weeks to go. I just wish the weight gain could be a bit easier!

I guess the explanation that my Pilates teacher always gives me when she is trying to explain how I should curl myself around a ball makes much more sense now. “Imagine you are curving your stomach and spine over the beach ball in your lap”.. Yup, got that one now, with a built in beach ball!

Exercises for Pregnant Ladies

I have been trying to keep up my exercising as much as possible while pregnant, but my god everything seems to be somewhat against me in accomplishing what I wanted to do! I’ve been into Pilates for years and was very much looking forward to the prenatal Pilates experience while pregnant. Unfortunately that just hasnt seemed to happen at all.

Well, now Im kind of lying. During the first trimester I did a little bit but in the end I was just too nauseous to really enjoy it. Second trimester of course our car had to be out of action for most of it, meaning I didnt manage to get to my classes at midday. And here we are in third trimester now, with no Pilates under my belt yet thanks to too much work and again car troubles!

I will make another effort next week (my last week working before the start of my maternity leave) and hunt down my teacher and beg her for at least a few classes before D-Day.

I also had great plans to do a bit of swimming during my pregnancy as I hear that is supposed to be great for pregnant ladies as well. Unfortunately I have only gotten so far as to identify where the closest pool is, but have not yet actually ventured over to see it with my own eyes…

Well, according to today’s doctor’s appointment I still have about 1.5 weeks to go before my maternity leave kicks off, but once that begins I am definitely going to do a bit more. At the moment work is eating up too much of my time and in the evenings I am basically just too tired to do much.

Meanwhile, little E is putting me to shame with all the exercises that she is doing on the inside. My gosh, I can barely keep up! The hiccuping episodes have diminished but she has basically just replaced the hiccuping with kicking instead. It feels like she might kick her way out of the bump soon via my right hand side! However, I guess its not just pregnant ladies who benefit from exercise.  Little ladies are also in need of some action in preparation both for D-Day as well as for all the new adventures that await on this side.

Positions Everyone! (Most importantly little E!)

Today I stumbled upon this wonderful site about Spinning Babies while trying to find out more about when the head engages and what she is really up to in there. I tend to have a lot of kicking going on just under my ribs on the right hand side of the bump while at the same time the occasional large hard bulge on the left hand side or the sliding movement across my belly button of something equally hard. Well, what can I say, I got very curious about what the hell she is up to in there!

Having browsed the site a bit I think I have diagnosed E’s position as Left Occiput Anterior. Especially based on this phrase: “The mother feels a bulge for the baby’s bottom on her left. The feet stretch and kick in her upper right.”

Thankfully the LOA is apparently  “…the most common, ideal fetal position (Optimal Foetal Position)” so that is yet another relief on the journey towards D-Day.

Another wonderful thing that I found thanks to this site was Belly Mapping. What a wonderful idea to learn about your baby and its position through Belly Mapping! I would love to have my little E painted on my bump, too bad this lady is based in the US and not over here on our sunny shores.

Anyhow, I better get back to what I was doing before the Spinning Babies came into my life before I get even more distracted by them. Ill save the rest for a weekend read.. Happy Friday everyone!

Hiccups!

Lately the little one has started to have hiccups! Its not just a single one every now and then, its a regular hic-hic-hic at least three times a day. Fetal hiccups, at least according to one site I was just reading, starts happening towards the end of the pregnancy when the central nervous system is adequately developed for them to happen:

“First of all, only more mature fetuses hiccup in the womb because their central nervous system is adequately developed in order to allow this to happen. It is believed that the fetus breathes in amniotic fluid or drinks it. When this happens and the amniotic fluid enters and exists the fetus lungs then the diaphragm contracts and hiccups results.” (Read more at The Labor of Love)

I did not know that. I had heard that the hiccups will be a funny thing to feel during pregnancy, but I did not know that they are also such a wonderful sign of a little person developing along so quickly and wonderfully.

I am just glad that I dont have to have the hiccups as often as little E does. But apparently they are soothing for little babies still in the bump, so maybe I shouldn’t feel too sorry for her.

Nesting..

This weekend went completely to the important task of nesting.. It wasn’t really the plan as we started off celebrating our weekend, but somehow it just snuck up on us while we were out to do our weekly shop and I ended up getting pulled in, deeper and deeper into the world of nesting. Personally, I blame the hormones.

Anyhow, let me tell you what happened. So, we have not gone completely over the top with buying baby stuff up till now, but have still felt that the situation has been under control. There was basically still time and honestly, she cant need THAT much for the first month, surely not? But hey, who am I to say, its not like I am the expert here.

The Crib

But this Saturday, as we were wandering around the shopping centre not too far away from home, we happened to stumble upon a lovely crib. I guess most of the stuff we have bought up till now is smaller stuff, and we were just going to have her sleep in a basket the first month or so, but suddenly we realised that I guess we will be needing bigger stuff as well. Most importantly we would be needing a crib, a car seat, a play pen and possibly a stroller.

So at least we had found a crib I thought as we went into the shop to hear a bit more about it and check prices. We were very fortunate indeed as that weekend they were offering it at 20% discount, so we decided we might as well pick it up then and there. As a consequence to all this, I am now the proud owner of a beautiful crib!

J impressed me with his DIY skills and put it together that morning and now it is just sitting there, ready to be used, in our bedroom with the gorgeous quilt that my colleagues mum made for us. It actually turned out pretty nicely, since now we have a great place thats a bit out of the way to store all the baby stuff as well. Ill just have to rethink that once the little one is here.

In addition to the crib, we also picked up a gorgeous glider chair! I had never tried one of these before, and I agree that it doesn’t look too cool, but my gosh how nice it is! I tried it in the shop and could happily have stayed there, gliding away. Unfortunately we had other things to do as well so I had to leave the gliding till later. I didn’t have to wait for too long for the next session as the chair was also on 20% discount and we decided to pick that up as well.

To finish off my wonderful nesting weekend I decided to put on my domestic goddess hat and whip up some cinnamon rolls for my team and for us at home. I havent dared try make them with dried yeast since the traumatising experience I had with dried yeast in Scotland in 2000, but I must say, this time it actually worked out! They came out pretty nice, the first ones were a bit burned underneath thanks to the kind of oven we have, but the rest were delicious so I will definitely be doing this again.

Kanelbullar - Cinnamon Buns

Making Cinnamon Buns

For those of you who want to try, I used the recipe from this lovely food related blog

Banana Muffins on a Rainy Saturday

Yesterday we did our weekly supermarket shop. Obviously I forgot a few essentials as I dont seem to be able to get my act together and make a list, but I got most of the stuff I wanted when it comes to supermarket stuff and today is our market day so today we are picking up the fruit and the vegetables for the week. I didnt really think I would be a fan of weekly shops, I like popping in now and then to pick up stuff, but I must say it is growing on me..

Anyhow, one of the things I forgot to top up was my flour reserve. We had some old bananas kicking about from last weeks fruit shop and I really wanted to use them to make some banana bread. Unfortunately, due to the lack of a shopping list I didnt have enough flour at home to make banana bread. I also realised I didnt have an oven form for loafs, so I had to come up with something else. Roaming around on the internet I found a lovely Swedish food blog with a delicious sounding recipe for banana muffins! And fortunately, the flour I had at home was enough for half a batch of delicious banana muffins!

I whipped it all up and had the first part of my small batch in the oven when J came home. It smelt lovely… Second batch was coming up as well, but I decided to do mini muffins instead of normal sized ones. Unfortunately thanks to my wonderfully short memory and attention span, I left them in a tiny bit too long and they gained a bit too much colour for my liking. 😦

But we ended up with 7 delicious, golden brown muffins to enjoy while the doggies could have the semi burned mini muffins I thought. I shared one between them and my gosh did they like them! I have since then been followed around by two little doggies, looking up at me with sad puppy eyes, begging for more of the deliciousness I had before.. Extraordinary. This reaction is right up there along with empanadas and chicken, possibly even higher!

In summary, take a look at this simple recipe for banana muffins, its perfect for a rainy Saturday afternoon when you need some banana sunshine in cupcake form. Dog approved as well.

16 normal sized or 8 large ones

You need :
150 grams soft butter
2 dl sugar (I used brown sugar)
1 tsp vanilla sugar
2 tsp baking powder
4 eggs
3 bananas (ripe, ripe, ripe)
4 dl flour (I used coarse wheat flour)

This is how you do it:
Use an electrical whisk and mix butter and sugar to an even paste. Mix in the vanilla sugar and the baking powder. Add the eggs, one at a time while whisking. Mash the bananas and mix them in with the wheat flour. Fill the cupcake shapes so they are 3/4 full. Place in the oven at 200 degrees C for approximately 15 min. If you make American sized cupcakes, again, fill the shapes to 3/4 only. They will rise a bit. Add 1o mins to the cooking time.