~ A Merry Little Christmas!
Wow! It has been sweltering this week! I should say that Brisbane is usually pretty darned warm from the beginning of September until the end of May, and even our "Winter" months are barely what most people would consider "wintery". However, this week, we have had temperatures consistently 15 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit above average for this time of year (over 100 degrees in the shade day after day!). Thank goodness for our air conditioners is all I can say! (Except for the fact that the poor AC in our bedroom has been having a very hard time coping with the heat and keeps icing itself up!) Even with them though, I have found myself drinking my way through litres and litres of cold water each day and STILL feeling thirsty and hot.
Our anniversary on Sunday was lovely! Andrew and I don't buy each other anniversary gifts, but we always exchange cards. The one he gave me this year was particularly beautiful and meaningful. He had arranged to have lunch out at a "secret" location. We decided to go as a family this year, as we had left Thomas several times recently to go to ante-natal classes and will need to leave him again soon when I am in labour. It was LOVELY! He had booked a table at Brett's Wharf, which is a restaurant right by the Brisbane River. We had a table inside (in the air conditioning!), but right by the windows so we had a great view of the water. Thomas particularly liked watching the pelicans and seagulls. Apart from almost having a coronary when I saw the prices on the menu, I must say that everything was perfect. The fish I had was probably the best I had ever eaten! Thomas was even on his very best behaviour, and we all had a very pleasant few hours.
My obstetrician appointment went very well. We gave him a copy of our "birth preferences". I prefer to call them preferences rather than a plan, as I know that it isn't really possible to plan a birth - there are so many variables. There really wasn't anything too radical in there at all. The main things mentioned are that I am aiming to go without drug forms of pain relief and that we want Katelyn to have her Vitamin K orally and to not get the Hep B shot yet. My OB was fine with all of that. The hospital, midwives there and my OB are all great!
My blood pressure was fine, 115/70. Katelyn is still head down, bottom up. Her heart rate was 143. My uterus was measuring ever so slightly small but nothing to worry about at all. I am going to have another scan at around 34 weeks to check on Katelyn's growth and well-being. My OB said he usually doesn't do this as standard, but given that extra reassurance always comes in handy, and that when Thomas came at 36 weeks, the placenta had absolutely "had it", he thought this was a good idea. They apparently can't check the placental function directly from an ultrasound but by taking a good look at the baby, they can get an indirect indication of how it is going. I have slightly mixed feelings about the scan - on the one hand, it is very exciting that I will get to see my baby again so soon; on the other, I worry that any time any sort of testing is done, there is the potential (however slight) that something untoward could be discovered.
Christmas was lovely! This year, instead of doing our usual "thing" where we spend all day and evening out, spreading our time between the two families, we had most of the day at home with just the three (or is that four?) of us. Andrew had actually wanted to go away for Christmas this year but I just didn't feel up to all the packing, plus the fact that I like being close to home these days "just in case". We decided that this year we could see my family on Christmas evening and Andrew's family for lunch on Boxing Day, and that worked out beautifully. It was really nice to have some quiet time for just our little family. We opened presents, Thomas played, I cooked us some lunch. After lunch, Thomas and I had a little play in the kiddie pool we had bought him. It was really cool and nice to be in the water!
I found it very comforting to think of the little child who would be opening the present we put under the Wishing Tree. We have decided to do that every year - to buy something that we think a child the age Nicholas would be would really enjoy. Thomas (and Katelyn too when she is old enough) can help choose the gift. Little traditions like that really do help me cope with the fact that he isn't with us here on Earth. Of course a huge comfort to me is that I know that he is in Heaven, and God is taking the best possible care of him. Actually, around this time last year was when Thomas was asking a LOT of questions about death, God and Heaven. One thing he was particularly worried about was that God would make sure He blew raspberries on Nicholas's tummy, as that was the thing Thomas had most been looking forward to, and he didn't want our little Peanut to go without. He also wanted to be reassured that God would always comfort our baby when he needed it. I told him that I was SURE God would be taking the best possible care of our baby.
During the week I received a BEAUTIFUL email from a woman who had experienced two miscarriages. She shared with me some thoughts that her mother had shared with her after her first loss. Her mother had herself suffered through three pregnancy losses and therefore understood all too well the pain. What she said was, "You will never get over this, but you will get through it." I totally agree with that sentiment: when you lose a child, you will always feel a sense of loss and sadness. You can't just brush things aside after a certain "acceptable" amount of time has passed, and having another pregnancy doesn't take away the fact that you miss the child you lost. However, you DO get through it! The pain, although peaking at times such as anniversaries, does lessen over time to a point where it is bearable. You do reach a point where you have some sort of resolution, can hope again, can dream again..
Katelyn's movements have gradually been changing over the past few weeks - she is obviously getting pretty cramped in there! LOL! She seems to stay in the same basic position, and does lots of wriggling, stretching, and the occasional roll from side to side. She also likes grinding her head down into my pelvis! OUCH! I really like giving her little massages on her bottom and feet and she seems to enjoy that too. As part of my Childbirth Education Association class fee, I actually get to attend a special baby massage class a few weeks after she is born, so that will be great!
I have been getting LOTS of Braxton Hicks contractions. I don't feel like I am about to go into labour yet or anything, but it is so exciting that things are "happening". The very reassuring thing is that now I have reached 32 weeks, even if I were to go into labour now and deliver, Katelyn would almost certainly be fine. I would also be able to go to the lovely hospital where I am booked, as they have a level 2 nursery and take babies from around the 32 week mark. I just need to hang in there a bit longer now - I'm at the business end of this pregnancy and even though I am scared, I am also feeling pretty darned excited!