Wednesday, June 29, 2005

With girded loins...

My visit to the physiotherapist was quite productive, despite the fact that I was longer hurting the way I did when I initially made the appointment. I was loaned a wide elastic girdle to wear around my hips and pelvis when I'm expecting to go walk-about, and shown some useful ways to move without hurting myself.

Basically, whether I'm getting in and out of a car, turning over in bed, bending down to pick something off the floor or sitting in a chair, the two main things I have to do are:

1. 'hug my baby' and
2. keep my knees together

The 'hug my baby' thing is just a really cute phrase meaning, pull my abs in a little just above my pelvis.

The girdle really works too, as long as I only wear it when I'm upright. Sitting down with it on just exacerbates the feeling of breathlessness I often get when I'm sitting down anyway (ever feel like you're about to faint through lack of oxygen?).

Tonight was Antenatal Class Number Three -
We were shown videos on breastfeeding (it makes the act look even harder than the two-hundred page breastfeeding book does) and getting the baby to sleep.

There was a talk about Plunket services by a well-intentioned but monotoned woman, who also showed us how to bathe a baby doll.

We also watched a video on pain management, ranging from none whatsoever through to massage, acupuncture, pethidine and epidurals. The video included footage of a woman in real pain, which - though realistic - was not very pleasant.

At half time, I compared belly sizes with one woman and acidentally bumped bumps with another.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

partial nude

I'm just trying out Blogger's new image upload feature. It's pretty cool really, and easier to use than Picasa. This here is a small portion of a nude I painted ages ago - the painting as a whole was pretty crap really, but I did like this little bit here.

Well, my appointment with the Women's Health physiotherapist is first thing tomorrow morning, and there's been no return of the debilitating arthritis-like pain I experienced before I made the appointment. In the past week I've been almost hoping for it to come back but, if anything, I feel a lot better physically than I have for a few weeks now. I can actually walk around the block with feeling the full implications of the term 'heavy with child'.

My mum's arm fracture is all healed up now - and just as well, because those 2-3 hour hospital appointments are a real drag. All she has to do now is lots and lots of physiotherapy; all I have to do is lots of nagging to make sure she does her exercises, and say 'no' persuasively whenever she tries to get me to be her taxi driver and rice sack carrier.

I think it might be nice to paint a couple of children-y pictures to hang on the nursery walls. It'll keep me busy in the few weeks after I finish work, and help cover the horrible salmon-coloured walls. The spare canvases are already on hand; I just need some inspiration regarding subject matter.

Monday, June 27, 2005


On this chilly but gorgeously sunny day, I'm waiting for the burly furniture delivery men to bring me the fab new recliner chair in chocolate leather, which the boy bought for me on Saturday. It's going in the nursery so that I can breastfeed in there, right next to the cot. I would've been content with something modest, like a simple upright chair with arm rests, but the boy wants me to have the option of sleeping in it if I'm really tired. Of course, the idea did dawn on me that perhaps this was a hint that he would rather I slept in the chair than disturb his sleep by getting in and out of bed all night - but he's denying it.

Also to be delivered is a bedside table, to be placed next to the boy's side of the bed. Until now, the side of the dresser has served as home for the alarm clock, the box of tissues, the books and the asthma inhaler. Getting the boy to leave his headphones and CDs there however, has been an impossible task. So buying the bedside table is really a concession to me, since he's promised he's going to actually use it to put all his junk on.

After the burly delivery men have been and gone (they said they'll be twenty minutes), I'll be waiting for the washing machine to finish with the laundry. For some reason, it's always too wet or too cold to do the laundry in the weekend, and I always end up doing it on Mondays when the boy isn't around to help me lug it up the steps to the washing line.

And the next task will be to take my mother out to the supermarket. She sets the almost-stationary pace, so it too is a kind of waiting.

Five weeks to go before all hell breaks loose.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

An eye for an eye

Having just finished The Lovely Bones, I've come to realise just how important revenge is to me. Although I loved the book, I was very slightly disappointed with one aspect of the ending, and it's to do with the fact that I have a need for retribution.

Whenever I read in the papers about someone who's been really cruel (whether to another human being or to an animal - it doesn't matter), it always makes me wish for some truly horrible thing to happen to the perpetrator.

The one thing that saved Dogville for me, because it was so hard to watch such extreme meanness and cruelty, was the vengence wrought on the nasty, nasty people of that town.

None of this 'they know not what they do' shit, or relying on karma - I wanna see justice.

Friday, June 24, 2005

how lame

It's just typical isn't it? I finally get an appointment with the hospital's physiotherapist, to look at why I've been walking like I've been beaten about the hips and pelvis with a softball bat - and then it goes away.

Shouldn't complain, really - because then it'll probably come right back and there'll be no one to blame but me.

I'm having a day off today, and seem to be spending it looking anxiously out the window every five minutes, checking for rain. You see, all the cot sheets, blankets, socks, singlets, bibs, mittens, towels and wraps we bought last weekend for baby, have been washed and are hanging out on the line. The sky is alternating between sunny and rain-cloudy, and knowing my luck, it won't rain until everything is almost dry.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Antenatal class number two

Tonight's class was a heckuva lot more uncomfortable than last week's. For a start, the midwife showed us a birth video. Apparently this birth was a nice, easy one. All the same, there's something about watching a woman pant from the effort and pain of squirting out a real, live baby, all the labour of it showing on her face, that made me want to reconsider the possibility of asking for a caesarian. It was full-on; I didn't really want to see her anus all stretched out from the pushing, even though that was the only way I was going to see the baby pop out of her other oriface (she was on all fours).

No matter how civilised we humans are, childbirth brings us right back to our most primal, animalistic state.

The other reason why the class was so uncomfortable is that there weren't any get-up-and-talk sessions like there were last time. Two hours is a really long time to stay seated - for me right now, anyway. We talked about the different stages of labour, SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), infant resucitation, and why we shouldn't put the baby on synthetic bedding. Interesting as it was, I had a really hard time keeping still. First my bum started getting sore, then my legs started getting restless. I'd cross and uncross my legs, sit on one bum cheek then the other, sit up straight then slouch. It really distracted me from the discussion.

Every couple received a bag of freebies from Johnson and Johnson. Among the baby soaps, moisturisers and nursing pads was a small sachet of KY lubricant. Hmmm...

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Books to read when I can't walk much no more

Amidst the frenzy of shopping for baby, the boy wanted to be sure that I'd have plenty of books to read during the last four weeks before the baby's expected arrival. So we went into Whitcoulls and he told me to just pick out whatever takes my fancy - what an offer. I managed to restrain myself enough to just get four:

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold (not a good choice for bedtime reading because it's really hard to put down and you'll end up getting no sleep at all)

We need to talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver (it had a great write-up in the weekend paper and seems to be about woman coming to grips with the fact that her son has grown up to be teen mass murderer)

and two books by Chuck Palahniuk, who wrote Fight Club:

Diary (a 'coma' diary kept by a woman as her husband lies vege-like in hospital) and
Survivor (a story about the only member of a cult to survive a plane crash)

I'll also be spending time watching Buffy, Angel and X-Files DVDs, so I reckon that'll be enough to distract me from the extreme nesting behaviour I've been warned to expect.

Monday, June 20, 2005

big buy-up

The nursery shopping is nearly all done, and boy did it cost. We spent nearly a grand, and that didn't even include a car seat or buggy (because we're renting those for the first few months)! We've got a travel cot, a bouncy hammock, blankets, cot sheets, monitor, winnie-the-pooh night light, hooded baby towels, singlets, bath seat and cloth nappies. I just about had a heart attack when I saw on the receipt that the nappies alone cost fifty bucks.

I've just noticed, now that my computer has been moved to the study and opposite a set of mirror tiles, that - when I sit down I look just like Mr Creosote.

just about crippled

I don't know why exactly, but the ache in my groin which finally made me swap walking home from work for busing, has gotten much worse. A couple of times over the weekend I could hardly walk because it hurt so much.

Yesterday I decided it was time to stop accompanying my mother on her slow stroll around the supermarket, because of the effect on my lower back. She was happy to wander about on her own, once I'd driven her there, and find me waiting outside for her on the bench.

Unfortunately, the bench is one of those hard, metal ones - and it's on a slope, so I must've unconsciously been using my bum muscles to avoid sliding down the bench. Anyway, it was soon after this that it started to hurt like it had never hurt before.

So at tomorrow's appointment with the midwife, I'm going to ask for some physiotherapy.

Friday, June 17, 2005

The lure of the free

Cadbury's must be doing a big promotion with the city buses. When I got on the bus this afternoon to go home, a man in a purple jacket (imagine a taller and much more wholesome Prince) handed me a Cadbury's chocolate bar and announced that the bus ride was free. Only after I sat down did I notice the sign on the bus window announcing free bus rides, and a box at the front brimful of chocolate bars.

The prospect of getting something for free, or at discount, really brings out my Cantonese upbringing. I've even accepted freebies which I have absolutely no use for, just because it was free - such as an insulated coffee mug with a church logo on it.

A few years ago, I was holidaying in Australia and lunching with a tour group. The tour leader had ordered an enormous plate of pizza bread and invited everyone to help themselves. Because I already had a huge hamburger on my plate, I wasn't interested - but then he said they were on the house.

And then...purely by reflex, my hand automatically reached out and took one. (The tour guy gave me shit about that, I can tell you.)

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Antenatal class number one

What luck - our antenatal classe are held literally five minutes away. If I wasn't such a lumbering beast at the moment I would have insisted on walking there, because it's just down the hill, across the street and into a side street.

The first class was pretty full once all the latecomers turned up, and they were from all over the area (including two preggies who live just around the corner). It was kinda sociable - the midwife who led the class got the preggies to get up and mingle several times over the course of the two hours, and the hubbies/partners/support people had to do the same.

Despite all that book-learning I've been doing, I still managed to learn stuff which I didn't know already from reading about it. The biggest surprise was that, once labour starts, we aren't supposed to yell and scream for the ambulance to take us to the hospital right away - we're supposed just hang out and wait maybe several hours, until the contractions are closer together and we're dilated to a certain degree. And guess what - we're only expected to be at the hospital for a few hours, unless there are complications. Which means that the long list of items I've been told (by the books and magazines) to pack for the hospital is almost completely useless. I was packing several pairs of undies and socks, shirts etc - when really all I need is myself and what I'm wearing, plus something for the baby to wear home.

Apparently I'm going to have to learn lots of birth positions, because on the day no-one's going to tell me how to give birth. It's not at all what I was expecting.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Ex-squeeze me

Thankfully, I have managed to always get a seat on the bus. It's hard enough to keep one's balance on a moving vehicle at the best of times, but I'm not keen on trying it when I've got a sticky-outy belly which needs protection.

But I think I want to stop taking buses to work anyway. Now that the weather's gotten really wintery, the buses are fuller. Even if I can get a seat, there's still a bit of a struggle to get off the bus without squishing my tummy against the standing passengers - even when they've positioned themselves as far from my body as possible.

Getting to the bus stop is harder work these days too, what with the sudden pressure on the bladder that strikes me when I'm just about to cross the street or whatever, and the fact that I can't button my coat (apart from the top two buttons) so that it flaps around in the southerly.

We've got our first antenatal class tonight.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Birthday Boy

It's the boy's birthday today, and he's started the day feeling old - which is a bit rich considering he's about five years younger than me. I've already asked him what he wanted for his birthday, and the only two suggestions he could come up with were:

1. to be ten years younger, or
2. an absolutely enormous plasma television

Well, number one is definitely out of the question because then I'd be old enough to be his mother, and that would just be icky.

Number two is also not going to happen, because those things cost an insane amount of money and I'm just too practical a person to willingly part with that kind of money for anything less than a fabulous holiday for two in Europe.

So in the end, he told me not to get him anything.

But I did. It's a secret, mind, so don't go telling him - at least, wait 24 hours when he'll have already come home from work and seen it.

Do you want to know what I got him?

I got him a framed print of this portrait. I hope he likes it.

Just as an aside, I'm glad Michael Jackson has been cleared of child molestation charges. He's weird, but I don't think he's a perverted sicko.

Monday, June 13, 2005


Over the weekend the boy got all constructive and moved most of the stuff out of the nursery-to-be and into his study. My computer desk is now just along from his, which means that we get to do simultaneous geeky stuff in the same room - it's so cute.

All that's left to do in the nursery-to-be is to find a new home for the ladder and the glass cabinet, move the sewing machine into the study, and to take some shoeboxes full of stuff down to the Salvation Army store. Oh, and buy some baby furniture to put in there.

I bumped into an old ex-flatmate in the supermarket, who already has three children. After I told her about how heavy I've been feeling and how hard it is getting around at nearly 33 weeks, she confidently assured me that it only gets a whole lot harder in the next seven weeks.

On the other hand, I've had heaps of encouragement from mums who tell me that, as long as I stay physically active, childbirth will surely be no more painful and longlasting than a really enormous poo.

Saturday, June 11, 2005


At long last, we got around to chucking out all the junk from the study and the nursery-to-be: the Seventies turntables which make handy bedside tables if you have the room; the boy's old computer parts and boxes; the clothes rack with the peeling plastic coating; the old school chair which has been in the house since before I first bought the place (about 16 years ago); the enormous sack of rags; and heaps more.

There was more than enough for two car loads. The funny thing was that when you take stuff to the rubbish tip you're charged by the weight - they weigh the car when you enter with the rubbish, and weigh it again when you leave without it - and my car apparently contained 0 kilograms of rubbish. I still got charged six bucks though.

It feels really good to throw so much stuff out. There's now probably enough space for all the baby's stuff, but also it feels more like a new start - out with the old, in with the new.

I went for a swim today. Isn't it ironic that I can swim six kilometres (albeit slowly and with a pause every 75-100 metres) without getting out of breath - but just while sitting in the car to go out to lunch, I can feel so breathless?

Friday, June 10, 2005

It's complementary

I ran into my mate Kazzer today. I hadn't seen her for at least a couple of months and I almost didn't recognise her because she's lost weight. In fact, she's probably lost about as much as I've gained - though obviously in slightly different places. There really is balance in the universe.

I lamented the fact that, unlike the other pregnant women whose blogs I've been reading, my increase in chest size has been mainly in the width across my back, with minimal increase in actual cup size. On the other hand, perhaps it's a good thing that I'm not a double-D; on my five-foot-nothing frame, surely such a projection would be laughable. I mean, can you take Dolly Parton seriously?

Once again I was struck by the fact that, when your friends read your blog on a regular basis, it's hard to think of something new to say when you actually bump into them in person.

I asked her about her poncho, made with love and worn with disappointment; she told me it doesn't drape as it should - that perhaps she's a tight crocheter (!).

Just before we made a lunch date for next week, I offered to let her touch my stomach ('cos, you know, people always want to). She declined on the grounds that she's English.

I'm really waddling these days - I know this, because I asked the boy and he didn't deny it. This means I'm duck-like in more ways than one (ever hear the euphemism, to have duck's disease? It means your bum is too close to the ground).

Thursday, June 09, 2005

pictures that make your eyes water

At the weekend the boy and I went to have a look at the Bridget Riley exhibition. She specialises in what's known at Op Art i.e. paintings that make your eyes go all funny if you look at them for too long.

Some of them I liked, in that they were real optical illusions (kinda like Escher only not representational, and, in my opinion, not nearly as clever). Others just looked like candy-striped bed linen to me.

I'll tell you this though. In her youth (that would be the 1960's), she sure did look like a cool chick in her capris.

After about half an hour of looking at wavy lines that seemed to move in three dimensions, I was quite glad I didn't have to drive us home.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Sweets for the sweet

Hooray, I can eat cakes without guilt!

I was right about no news being good news, because today the midwife confirmed that I'm not going to get gestational diabetes. This would be cause for a celebrational muffin, custard square or super-sized ice cream, but she also told me it would be a good idea to lay off the sweeties anyway. So, while I will be allowing myself an occasional, maybe a couple of times a week, I can't actually indulge to the fullest, pregnancy cravings for sugar being insufficient excuse.

I told her about the really uncomfortable soreness in my pelvis whenever I'm not lying in bed, floating in a swimming pool or sitting on the couch - the soreness that slows me right down in my tracks and makes me think twice before walking too far away from the nearest toilet. She nodded her head as though to assure me that it's quite normal and there's nothing to do about it unless it gets unbearable - then it's a referal to a physiotherapist and a prescription for a tight belly belt. I thought I'd just try and hang on to see whether it gets any worse.

The boy came home with gifts from the Orient - that is, cheap DVDs from Indonesia. In addition to his own choice of Star Wars movies and movies-based-on-graphic-novels, were Meet the Parents, Meet the Fockers and Dodgeball (a veritable Ben Stiller festival).

And now, back to the bank statement shredding


Progress on the nursery-to-be has been slower than I'd hoped. I've been doing most of the tidying, which has to be interrupted by long rest periods in which I wait for my lower back to recover. The boy spent a sweaty afternoon putting stuff into the attic - including a heavy, broken heater which I told him needed throwing out, not storing.

The chest of drawers is still unmade and in it's packaging, which is a little disappointing.

On the other hand, the boy brought home Buffy Season 5, part 2 and Angel Season 4, part 1. Apparently he did it so I won't be bored out of my mind when I stop working and start waiting for the big event. To misquote a well-known but oratorally-challenged All Black, all credit to my other half.

I managed to tick several things off my to-do list this morning:

- book an infant car seat from Plunket, for baby's trip home and first six months;

- get my mum showered and changed (she's steadily getting strength back in her arm, but isn't yet able to get into those tight thermal undershirts of hers);

- retrieved all my old bank statements from the rubbish bag out back, so I can manually shred them before putting them in the recycling bin (I'm paranoid about identity theft);

- return Foucault's Pendulum (I tried manfully to read it, but got bored - plus it's too big a book to hold in one hand and read in bed) and Oryx and Crake (a great little tale of genetic engineering extreme) to the library;

- find a new home for an unwanted, space-gobbling wardrobe.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

my back, my back.

It's not just walking extremely slowly with my mother around the supermarket that makes my lower back feel like I've been trying too hard with the yoga back-bends; it's also when she takes off to the supermarket restroom, leaving me to stand around for twenty minutes minding her trolley.

I've found another way to get a really tired, sore lower back - too much tidying in the nursery-to-be. By tidying, I mean: going through my filing cabinet and chucking out old bank statements by the ton; shifting everything out of the glass cabinet and packing it all away into the kitchen cupboard, having first cleared out said cupboard (although finding a bottle of wine, a bottle of coffee liqueur and several beautiful mugs and glasses I forgot I had, was a definite plus); and sorting through boxes of old travel memorabilia to make sure nothing gets thrown away that I want to keep.

It's because all those boxes, cabinets and cupboards are low, which means I have to bend, bend, bend. It's one of the curses of being short, really; I can't put stuff in high places because I can't reach, but if everything is stored on the floor then I have to keep bending over to get at it.

So today has been a bit of a pain, literally. By mid-afternoon I was walking like an old lady with a groin injury.

It's been a couple of weeks since I last had time to get to the gym, but at this rate I'm not exactly going to be in any condition to do anything but sit on my bum and supervise the boy while he takes over the housework.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Big clean-up

Not content to wait for the boy to make space in his study, for all the stuff which is to be moved there from the nursery-to-be, I made a start cleaning out the latter this morning.

Apart from my own computer, the nursery-to-be is still home to all my art gear, including a large wooden easel, folders full of completed paintings and drawings, and bags full of paper and craft materials. It's also home to the vacuum cleaner, the ladder and just about everything else which doesn't have a cupboard to live in.

That's the trouble with old houses, the lack of storage. Stuff which would normally be put away in high cupboards is stacked in corners of our baby's nursery-to-be.

Well, after an hour and a half of taking down pictures and sifting through bits and pieces, throwing some things away and putting other things into boxes, the room doesn't actually look very different - no doubt because what's left has nowhere to go yet.

The good news is that the boy has promised to start tidying up his study tomorrow, so perhaps by the end of this long weekend we'll have a space big enough for the baby gear. And if I'm really, really lucky, he'll have put together the kit-set scotch chest too, so I'll have somewhere to put all the baby clothes.

We went to visit some friends today who have a six-week old son. He seems the model of babyhood - easy to put to sleep, easy to breastfeed (according to his mum, anyway) and not a crybaby. Maybe it's because both parents are so easy-going and non-stressy, but it's made me wonder whether I've been worrying too much about it all and perhaps have read too much about potential problems.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Another quiz

It's only because I'm having blogger's block, but at least I've gotten some interesting answers...


??Which colour of Death is yours??
brought to you by Quizilla

?? Which Of The Greek Gods Are You ??
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Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Chinese Superstitions about Pregnancy

A friend told me that traditionally, after childbirth a new Chinese mother must not get herself wet for six weeks. This includes bathing (although sponge baths are okay), hair washing and food preparation. My mum confirmed it, and my Chinese boss told me it's something to do with the need to rebuild one's Chi.

But wait - there's more...

According to ricebiz:

- use of glue during pregnancy will lead to a difficult birth;
- if you strike an animal during pregnancy your child will look and behave like that animal;
- praise of a newborn baby will attract the attention of evil spirits;
- a baby with wide, thick ears will grow up to be prosperous (lending new meaning to that parental exclamation, "I'll give you a thick ear!".

According to britishbornchinese:
- swearing during pregnancy can cause the baby to be cursed;
- a child's imperfections, deformities etc are blamed on the actions of the mother (yeah, imperfect as in the wrong sex too!);
- continuing to work during pregnancy will ensure an easier delivery (and I thought Chinese society was just treating women as slave labour);
- it is unlucky to name an unborn baby, because it means the parents want the baby to be a particular sex, and may be disappointed (so it must be okay to name the unborn child with a unisex name, right?);
- pregnant women are supposed to be taken care of by their mother-in-law, not husband.

Hmm...but I still don't know why pregnant women aren't supposed to eat lamb.


Today I accidentally left work half an hour early. Yes, really. Normally I work till 4.30 Wed-Thurs and until 4pm on Fridays. Today I just forgot and leaped out the door at 4pm. I didn’t even realize my mistake until I got home and wondered why it was only quarter to five.

My boss had left early to pick up her kids from their babysitter's, and I bet the other staff thought I was just taking advantage...