A new arrival

Our wonderful new son was born on Tuesday. Life with 2 children is as crazy and wonderful as we could imagine.

He weighed 4.5kg or 9.9 pounds! Significantly bigger than his sister, who was only 2.9kg at birth. I will post a birth story once I have time. Short version is induction leading to a vaginal delivery.

He looks very similar to Roo, but very different in personality so far.

We’re very tired, and I am recovering from the birth slowly. However he is adorable, and we’re very lucky to have him.

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Part 2, working out which way is up

As I left our story we were driving up a hill to avoid the potential tsunami. We parked up and tried to work out what was happening. 

My mum told us how the heavy wooden bed frame she was sleeping on moved 3 inches to the side with her on it! Then when she managed to get off, the door had jammed in the frame and she was only just able to open it after applying significant force. It was a very scary thought.

Through talking with others and intermittent phone reception/mobile data, a very bad picture started to emerge. The town was completely cut off, with massive slips covering the roads out in all directions. But really we knew so little about what was happening, which was the scariest part.

We tried to let friends and family know we were ok. Then we spent a very long night trying to sleep in the car. I say trying because Roo was much too excited to sleep and spent her time talking and wiggling until she finally fell asleep at 5am. 

I got maybe 20 min sleep after that, before the rising sun and the leaving cars woke me again. We waited a bit longer to leave in the hope of Roo getting some sleep. She slipt off the seat and actually slept for another hour and a half in the seat well behind the passenger seat!

When we got back to the house (thankfully single story wooden construction), there was surprisingly little damage to the structure. Just lots of smashed plates and pictures fallen off the wall. Two doors were now having issues with opening and closing. 

We spent the morning taking turns to sleep and entertain Roo, and trying to remain calm during the aftershocks. The power was off, but we did have cold water. As we had planned to leave that morning, we didn’t have much food. 

Phone reception died completely from about 8am to 12.30pm. This was particularly unsettling as contact with our friends and family outside the quake zone was the only way we were getting information. 

When the reception came back it was heralded by a cascade of beeping and vibrations from everyone’s phones. I think that was probably the scariest part for our loved ones, when they didn’t hear from us. 

When we could talk to people again we found out that the town was setting up civil defence procedures. All shops were closed and the damage was widespread. There was mention of the Army coming in by helicopter and that a navy frigate might be used to get people out. All was quite uncertain though.

I called my midwife, who recommended that we check in with the local hospital to let them know that I was in the area. I was feeling very tired and a bit shaky, but otherwise well. Our biggest fear was that the shock would push me into labour, but I wasn’t feeling anything different from usual. 

After we had all had a little sleep, we decided to attempt the drive into town (we were staying about a 3 min drive from the actual town). 

The first thing we saw was a large new-build house where a large proportion of the bricks had fallen off the walls and chimney. We found out later that a couple had retired and bought the house as their dream home only a few weeks before 😞. 

The road to town was significantly damaged, with parts down to 1 lane as the rest had crumbled away. When we reached the town it was full of people in the streets, with hundreds of cars and camper vans parked on any flat surface (a large park in front of the hospital was covered in camper vans). 

We checked in at the hospital just as another significant aftershock hit. We decided to take the forms outside to fill in! I was given a quick check over by a nurse and told to come back if we were worried about anything. My blood pressure was unsurprisingly high for me (I usually have quite low blood pressure), but still within the normal range.

We found out that most of the town was without water, so at least we were lucky there. The local Iwi’s (Māori tribe) Marae (meeting house) had been set up to provide food and shelter for those in need. We decided to go back to the house and try to get Roo to have a nap, then come back to the Marae for dinner. 

As we drove back to the house a section of the damaged road was running with sewage. Many houses had visible damage, especially brick ones. Power poles were leaning dramatically and we could see that the seabed had risen. 

http://i.stuff.co.nz/national/nz-earthquake/86523289/what-kaikoura-looks-like-now-after-the-75-earthquake–in-pictures
Roo managed a sleep and then we headed back to the Marae about 5.30pm. A queue of people wound up the drive and out the gates, but as we joined the queue a woman pulled us out and took us to the front for food (being hugely pregnant has it’s perks). 

Dinner was a pregnancy food nightmare. It was donated from the local supermarket and was mostly deli meats and salads. However, we were so hungry that I decided to take the risk and eat everything except the room temperature ham and salami. 

We tried to find out what was happening with the evacuation efforts and the helicopters, but nobody seemed to know anything helpful. It was clear by this stage the damage to the roads out of town would take weeks, not days, to fix. 

We were scared and worried about how we might get out of Kaikoura, and whether we would be able to take our car and luggage. I was concerned about going into labour and being helicoptered out without B, Mum and Roo. 

Eventually we headed back to the house to sleep for the night. Roo managed to go to sleep and we followed not long after as we had no candles or torches. 

Since this is getting longer and longer I will pause here. See you with Part 3 soon. 

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I just want a life without drama

So… I don’t know what if anything has been in international media about the recent earthquake in New Zealand, but it was huge (7.8M). 

I mentioned in my last post that we were about to travel to a family wedding. The wedding was on Saturday in a little town called Kaikoura in the south island. All the other guests traveled home on Sunday, but we had organised to stay another night (didn’t want to stress my 36 week pregnant body too much… lol). 

On Sunday night at about midnight the quake hit. The epicentre was close to Kaikoura. 

The shaking was phenomenal. Things flew across the room and a large chest of drawers fell on to the bed (just missing B’s feet). My first thought was to get to Roo (aged 2), but I couldn’t get out of bed as the shaking was so strong. My glasses had flown a metre across the room and I couldn’t see them (power was out, it was pitch black, and I am extremely short sighted). 

After the first part (about 2 min long) there was a pause for long enough for B to find her phone and turn on the torch. Then another one hit. In the brief gap after that I managed to get my glasses and put of bed. I moved out of the room into the dark with the aim of getting to Roo asap. 

I stubbled into and around tipped over furniture and banged into walls as I made my way to Roo (her room was inconveniently located on the other side of the house we had rented). My mum (who came with us) had just reached her and B stubbled after me a few seconds later. We all huddled on the floor next to Roo’s bed and tried to reassure her as the house shook around us with almost constant aftershocks.

About 10 min later the caretaker of the housing development we were staying in banged on the front door. He told us to grab whatever we could and drive to high ground. 

We ran around frantically trying to get the important stuff in the car, and putting some clothes on. It was dark and we only had the light from B’s phone as it took a while to find where mine had been thrown. 

I kept Roo beside me with a pillow and strict instructions not to move from the pillow. She was amazing. No crying at all and followed instructions. She just clung to her favourite soft toy and lay on the pillow. 

We got what we could in the car and headed up the hill with lots of other cars. That’s where I will pause the story, which is very long (and gets even more dramatic), but I can tell you that we are home safe now.

http://m.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11747572
Will post part 2 soon. Thinking of everyone involved.

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Bits and pieces

I’m 34 weeks and 2 days. There’s so much random stuff to mention that I will just make a list.

  • This morning a van pulled out from a car park into the side of our car as we were driving down the road. It hit the passenger side where I was sitting. We were going reasonably slow, and only had a fright and a few little scratches in the paint. But that was nothing compared to the fright that the very nice man driving the van got when the heavily pregnant woman got out of the car! I think he will be more careful from now on.
  • I’m still adding to my list of pregnancy symptoms. My hands and feet are now swelling every day. Also feeling heart palpitations and very short of breath. When I lie down I often feel a painful pressure on my rib cage from underneath.
  • We’re going to the wedding of B’s brother and his longtime partner in a week or so. I’m looking forward to it as they are lovely people, but we will have to do quite a bit of travel to get there. My mum is coming with us to look after Roo when needed. It’s in a tiny town, at least 2 hours drive from the nearest major hospital, so I very much hope I don’t go into labour there.
  • Also, while B’s family is lovely, they come from a small town and I expect we might be the first out lesbians that most guests have ever met. Given that we’re also married, with a child, 8 months pregnant, and from a large town with jobs most people have never heard of, I expect to be a bit of a novelty.
  • I’m concerned about how big this baby is, and if that will mean an early induction. I am looking forward to our next scan in a few weeks, which will hopefully provide some more concrete information. 
  • My mum is going overseas for work when I’m 37 and a half weeks to 38 and a half weeks. I’m hoping that I don’t have the baby while she’s away. The plan is for her to look after Roo. We have a backup, but Roo is most confident with her Nan. 
  • Roo is just amazing at the moment. She says the funniest things. Sleep is back to normal and we are all very happy about that. 
  • Roo is fascinated by learning about new things. She currently loves glowworms, gardening (especially fennel for some reason), diggers, dressing up, dancing and music, baking, and rugby. 
  • I only have one more day of work left. It’s crazy to think that I will be off work for the next 14 months. And that I might get another job rather than going back to this one. My body is very ready to leave though. I’m exhausted.

    If you made it through the ramble, I’m very impressed.

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    Scan update

    In my last post I outlined how my midwife was concerned about my fundal height measurement not increasing in 4 weeks.

    She asked me to have a growth scan asap. The scan happened this morning, and the news so far is good.

    Instead of being small, Chase is measuring 3 and a half weeks ahead! His measurements were averaging 36 weeks, and I am currently 32 weeks 4 days. 

    Roo also measured ahead on all of her scans, then was born full term weighing only 2.92kg. So I’m a bit dubious about the accuracy of scans like this. However I am relieved that everything seems ok so far. 
    Fingers crossed that it is smooth sailing from now on.

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    A bit worried at 32 weeks

    My midwife visited yesterday. It was mostly fine, but she was concerned about one thing.

    When she arrived she mentioned that she wanted me to get a growth scan because Roo was only 2.9kg when she was born. I was just happy to think about seeing Chase again.

    Then when she did my fundal measurement it was the same as it was last time I saw her – 4 weeks ago. Which is concerning. 

    She asked me to book the scan within a week. At the radiology firm I have had all my other scans with, I could only get an appointment on the 31st of Oct. I asked my midwife if that would be soon enough. She asked me to call the rival radiology firm in my city to see if they had a closer appointment. 

    They did, and I get to have the scan tomorrow. Which I am very relieved about, as if my midwife is worried, then I’m worried. I am feeling lots of movement, so I’m reassured by that, but I will be happier when the scan is all normal. 

    Otherwise, I’m just gradually adding more symptoms to the list I complained about it my last post! Now my ankles and hands are starting to swell, and I’m getting pain at the front of my bump. 

    I’m thankful that I only have two more weeks at work. Then I can rest a little bit more, and more importantly have some mental space for preparing for our new addition. Hopefully I make it through the next two weeks at least. 

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    30 weeks 

    I’m 30 weeks pregnant today, it seems like a big milestone to have a 3 at the beginning of that number. I’m so grateful for the chance to have this baby, and looking forward to his arrival. However, I’m not enjoying much of pregnancy right now.

    I feel like I have almost every minor pregnancy symptom you can get. On their own it’s fine, but cumulatively it’s getting hard. 10 more weeks seems a long time. 

    Just in case the hormones make me forget, I’m currently experiencing:

    • Reflux/heartburn
    • Anemia
    • Constipation 
    • Bleeding gums
    • Bleeding noses
    • Back pain
    • SPD – pelvic pain 
    • Atypical migraines with blurred vision and tingling skin
    • Braxton hicks (whenever I stand up)
    • Tiredness 
    • Going to the bathroom often
    • Itchy skin 
    • Crazy dreams 
    • Interrupted sleep (because of the above)
    • Mood swings

    Looking at the list it’s no wonder that I’m ready for this to be over. I’m also having a few positive symptoms: 

    • Thicker hair
    • Stronger nails
    • Reduced acne
    • Baby movements! 

    I have always thought that I would like 3 children. But at this point I think B and I have settled on 2. Not just because of the difficulty in pregnancy, but it is a factor. 

    We would have been very happy to find out this baby was twins, but with B being nearly 9 years older than me we don’t want to stretch out the baby stage for too long. We’re also both looking forward to having older children that you can do different things with.

    To make life harder, Roo is having some behavioral issues. We think she’s worked out that the baby is going to get some of the attention currently reserved for her. She is making it very difficult to leave the house and to pick her up from childcare. I’m not enjoying being that parent with the screaming child.

    She also realised about 4 days ago that she can get out of her bed and open the door! It has been a complete nightmare. She’s missed all her naps from refusing to stay in bed, and two nights we have spent over 4 hours trying to get her back to sleep from about 1am. 

    We put a child gate in her doorway 2 days ago and it has made a bit of a difference so far. When she knows she can’t go any further she doesn’t seem to try as hard to get out of bed. However she’s also discovered turning the light on now. She’s not crying but last night spent 2 hours reading books. Any tips would be much appreciated!

    In the wider picture, I have 5 more weeks left at work and I’m looking forward to leaving. I’m ready for a year away from the office.  I’m quite doubtful that I will be returning to the same job to be honest, so I’m starting to really disengage. My focus is turning to this baby and our coming home life. 

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