Saturday, August 28, 2010

A painful night one year on

Throughout last night I kept waking in pain. My stomach felt like I'd been punched. It felt bruised and really sore. No other symptoms, just that. This morning, when it was more or less at its worst, I realised that a year ago today, on 28 August, it was the beginning of the end.

My last day of work before starting my maternity leave. It was obviously quite a busy day, but I remember a meeting with our PR agency. I was hauling them over the coals about non-delivery and trying to be very firm, but all the while wanting to smile because Sophia was kicking and dancing like crazy and you could see it from the outside. In retrospect I wonder now if she wasn't perhaps already in distress.

I left work a little early and fetched The Band for my doctor's appointment. The doc had tried to cancel, but I'd insisted on keeping the appointment because we were due to leave the next day for a week in Plett. He was rushed and running late. He measured my circumference, felt my belly, and was done. I wonder now, if he may have picked something up with a scan. They say he probably wouldn't have, but who knows? Spots on the placenta, raised fetal heartbeat. Those things would have shown.

Back to the car which had broken down outside the doctor's rooms (which are at the hospital). The Band eventually had to call a mechanic to come tow the car. It kills me that we were Right There. If there had been some kind of sign or warning we were right at the hospital for ages, but there wasnt.

It was a busy evening. Waiting at the mechanics for a while, then off to show face at a farewell. Not sure, but I think I started to feel quite tired there. Then we went to the mall. Whenever we go on holiday we each buy a book and a cd. In the CD shop I suddenly was overcome by this overwhelming feeling of emptiness and sadness. It was so strange. My lower back started to ache. I went to sit a while. The sadness had no logic and so I put on a happy face, but it was there. A horrible feeling.
I wonder at that now. Was it premonition? Had she already died and my body knew it?

Home, bed. Ow. Back ache. So sore. Like period pain in my back but bad. At about 4am I lay in the bath for ages, just topping up the hot water inbetween. I checked my pregnancy book and it said that back ache was one of the early signs of labour - baba could arrive within the next week or two! On that happy note I was quite positive about it. Mildly excited even. Little did I know that somewhere during that night Sophia had died.

By the next morning the pain had eased to tolerable. The Band helped me pack, hot water bottle was positioned on my back and we left for Plett. By the time we arrived at Beacon Isle the pain had gone.

I wonder now, at this time, whether the pain in my stomach, which believe me is very real, is coincidence or somehow psychological.

I am now bracing myself for the days of reliving that are ahead.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

the inevitable topic

The Band and I went for dinner the other night. Casual chatting. Something about a little boy. Then a conversation something along the lines of:
Me: Hopefully the next one is a little boy and then the factory can close.
Him: What? you can't just say that!
Me: well...
Him: We always said 3 kids.
Me: yes, and we've had two!
Him: Yes, but you know what I mean.
Both: let's not talk about this right now

But it upset me. Quite a lot. In retrospect, he's right. It's not something you just say without a decent discussion. I'm not even sure if I mean it or not. But what got me so shaken was two-fold: the thought of going through the terror of another pregnancy, let alone another two, and the realisation that he actually really doesn't know how hard it was for me.

Pregnancy was HARD. TERRIFYING. Worth it? obviously. That goes without saying. And always and forever it is not something I take for granted. I am grateful.

But I am also tired. 2 long pregnancies. A year and a half (more actually) of watching what I eat, drink, do. My body has been through a lot. It is stretched and reshaped. The fear... wow. The nightmares. Months and months made up of moments of sheer sickening terror. I can't tell you how different I feel without the constant fear companion. I have joy too and grief of course, but that nasty, suffocating fear is gone and I don't welcome it back!

In reality, in time, perhaps I'd consider another two pregnancies. But I think I need The Band to realise how much this has cost me. How I held my breath throughout. In real life I put on a brave face, I guess, and I'm sure it's my fault he doesn't really know. I've seen that with family as well - my mom for example - I really think a lot of them think I'm all fixed up now, because I'm not forthcoming with where I'm at (not in real life at least) and if they don't ask, I don't say.

I would definitely be open to one more. Not for me - I feel like Sophia in heaven and Tandia here are enough right now, though that could well change - but for her. I want her to have siblings and family. I want her to have nieces and nephews some day. I want her to have companion(s) when we go on family holidays. All that.

But two?

Two would mean me having FOUR pregnancies. That is A LOT on any woman. Then add to it that they will be high risk pregnancies, that I will be scared. It's big.

I think it's also just far too soon to even contemplate. I am still too worn out from the past year and a half. I think that I need time.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Happy Birthday Noon!


91 years old today and no doubt, if you were here, you'd STILL look longingly at big trees and state "that would be a good tree for climbing".

So here we are. Your birthday again.

A bit of an update from my side. Of course there's big news since I last wrote...
Your great granddaughter was born a month ago. She is SO SO precious. Of course I am going to be biased but she really is a gorgeous thing....
exhibit A:

Such a sweet temperament too. She was 4 weeks early and so the books predicted we'd have a few extra battles and her development would be a little delayed, but we've had none of that. She is an absolute pleasure.

Of course Stef is convinced she is a genius. I bet you'd agree. You two are shameless in your bias towards those you love. Love that that about you.

Ah Noon, I wish you were here. I wish you could see her. Actually, I wish I could see you seeing her. Everytime my mom sees her (at this stage via Skype - you'd be amazed by skype!) she melts. My mom is no softy so it's special to see. You would melt Noon. BIG TIME! There would be plenty of tears and you'd assure me that they are happy tears.

I can't tell you how it comforts me to know that you're with Sophia. I bet you wish you could see me seeing her.

Shoh... what a situation we find ourselves in. You there, me here. You with Sophia, me with Tandia. One day Noon, some day, we are going to have such a reunion, the four of us. Can't tell you how I long for that.

Meantime, give my girl a big big love from me...there are no words... and Phoebs too!
Love you.

Pick me! Pick me!

In case you missed the MASSIVE button on the right hand side, I'd appreciate it if you took a sec to click it and nominate me for the 2010 South African Blog Awards.

I've never really looked into this stuff (hell, I only figured out how to set up Google Reader a couple of days ago - after 4 years of blogging) but what the hell?

If you like my blog please click and nominate it - I guess I'd fit into the "personal blog" category or possibly the "parenting" one.

Ok enough self promotion. I'm starting to feel like a pimp.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Changing Lanes

*Spoiler alert for LOST fans*
In a recent episode of LOST, some of the survivers are in a submarine and there is an explosion and it starts filling with water. Sun's leg is stuck. The others leave, but her husband stays to save her. They realise he can't get her unstuck. She begs him to leave, he refuses. He'd rather spend their last moments together and die together. Beautiful. Romantic. But tragic. Especially tragic coz they have a daughter who just became an orphan.

A friend of mine was raped as a teenager. Someone broke into their home - their safe place, their refuge - and raped her. She told me that after that she'd sometimes go walking late at night. Almost shaking a fist at life and daring it to throw something else bad her way.

It sounds so silly, but I can relate. After Sophia died I felt that same angry rebellion. Rather than live in fear of something happening you almost want to dare it to, to face things head on. Sure, in my case that never went much further than driving faster and without a seatbelt (yes, yes, mock me if you must) but the sentiment was there. I may have been truly reckless with myself were it not for the realisation that that would be incredibly unfair and selfish to The Band and my family.

Anyway, yesterday I left The Kernel with The Band and popped to the shops. I was interested at how cautious I was. Not simply with my own driving - I'm a safe driver by nature, but even with other cars - the situations that were out of my control. I was literally praying for my safety and protection. Not in a fearful, panicked way. Just in a simple "please keep me safe" kind of way.

My dad is like that. He takes good care of himself, exercises, watches his cholestrol, because he knows we need him. He is the glue, the stability, the anchor of our family and he recognises this and cares for himself. It is the kindest thing he can do for us. The greatest gift he can give us.

My daughter needs me. I need to be ok, to be safe, to be healthy so I can look after her and that's a good realisation and responsibility to have.

The Wunderkind

4 weeks ago today Tandia AKA The Kernel was born. I am so glad I am home, comfy on my couch typing this, rather than in a hospital bed drugged and in pain. I am so glad we've had the blessing of 4 extra weeks with her. She is an absolute delight.

The past 4 weeks have passed in something of a blur. It's strange how slowly time can pass when you're pregnant and fearful and every day you feel like you're a ticking time bomb. But now, since she is here I would happily press some sort of slow motion setting and savour these moments for longer.

The Band and I can stare at her for ages - in the same way you can be mesmerised staring at a fire. And (from my side anyway) it's not even staring at her and dreaming of everything she might become... it's simply staring at her and taking in all that she is: beauty, seriousness, contentment, wide-eyed wonder, the cutest sneezes, absolute trust.

The Band is, of course, convinced that she is a child prodigy. This is because I read somewhere that it would be a couple of months before she should be able to have enough control of her hands to find her mouth with them, but she regularly sucks her hands. He now sings the "wunderkind" song to her... "are you a little wunderkind? wunderkind! wunderkind!" (repeat infinitely) It's very cute.

She's still a teensy thing. She's weighing in at 2.7 now and still very much in her premmie clothing. I keep looking at items of newborn stuff thinking "this is small, it should fit her" and then holding it up to her and seeing that it's a good 5 - 10cm too long still.

None of the annoying horror stories have come to pass. It is very rare that we have a bad night. For the most part she wakes up once a night for a feed. Not bad going at all. There's plenty of trial and error but we really are just enjoying the journey.