Friday, 20 November 2015

Durban Doula Pregnancy Diary Week 20

20 weeks now, which means we're


What the heck... how did that happen?

So, as you know I had my once scan this week. We did want to find out the sex of the baby, partly because the girls were totally convinced we were having a boy, and for various other reasons - although we really were totally unfazed with either possibility.

And besides the fact that everything is totally normal and spot on for a healthy pregnancy and birth and baby, we also discovered that our third little sproglet is most certainly, definitely, no doubt about it....


But beyond that, Jansen sproglet #3 also possesses the plumbing of a little boy. And he wasn't shy about letting us all know. I'm not posting that pic online, because that's just creepy, but even I could see what was going on!

So anyway, much excitement ensued. We have almost decided on a name, but we are keeping that, at least, a secret. The grannies are so excited that they can go shopping now!

The feminist in me is slightly irked by the huge fuss about baby's sex, and the intense gender stereotyping that starts happening before the sproglet is even born, but we deal with that as it comes.

That wasn't all that happened this week...


At 20 weeks I am well and truly in the thick of things. (Excuse the pun.) My belly finally looks truly pregnant, and to be honest, I keep getting a fright when I look down and it's there... weird I know. It's a bit like when you have a cavity and your tongue keeps searching it out. I feel like my belly has just popped out and I just want to touch it the whole time.

On belly touching, I really don't have a stress with friends touching my belly to be honest, it is so lovely to be part of a community that celebrates this baby with me! At church this week a lady came and asked if I wouldn't mind her knitting something for the baby. I have spoken to her once or twice, before but was so touched by her open heartedness. I honestly can't imagine having a baby without a community like this!
Wikimedia Commons

More about bellies - dad and both
the girls have felt the baby move this week. Hubby said it's watching my belly grow that makes things feel more real for him, not the movement so much, but my eldest daughter's response to the baby moving was so precious - she marveled at how strong the kick was. 'My hand almost bounced off your belly!' she says.

It's not surprising that the kicks are quite strong, baby is about 16.4cm from crown to rump, and about 25.6cm from crown to heel - that's about half the length of my first two at birth! So apparently that makes baby banana sized now. The girls love the fresh produce comparisons. Centimetres don't really mean much to them, but they know bananas!

Fitting it all in

I'm desperate to go on Christmas leave and do some sorting in the house! But first we have the end of term to get through... It's not so bad this time with both girls at the same school - I think it will be slightly more complicated when they are at different schools next year!

I'm also struggling to get enough exercise although I have been gardening a bit which is great for squats and the like, but not so good for cardio! I really need to make time to go walking and / or do aqua as summer comes, as I can feel my hips are already feeling a bit unstable. I didn't realise how much ballet helped with my previous pregnancies! With my second I was teaching up until a week before she was born! It really helped keep me fit and toned - although I do remember sometimes feeling dizzy from standing so much.

Food weirdness

Spur's Chicken Wings - the half portion!
On that dizziness, this last week I had two days where I even felt dizzy sitting in a chair. Then I realised I had forgotten to take my iron and magnesium for a couple of days - and once I took them again I felt a thousand times better. I think part of the problem has been that I've struggled to eat meat this pregnancy - except for Spur Chicken Wings - I can eat a 'to share' portion of those on my own! Other than that I struggle to get meat down my throat without gagging, that and egg for some reason. So I'll take the chicken wings when I can get them!

Oddly enough, I was out with some friends at a birthday breakfast for another friend the other day, and the thought of getting bacon and eggs into my belly was giving me cold shivers, even at R25 a shot, so I took the plunge and ordered a half portion of wings which went down a treat... Yes. I was that crazy pregnant lady noshing on spicy durky chicken wings at 9 am while everyone else was deciding how they wanted their eggs. I felt quite decadent. At least I have an excuse! (And, as crazy as it sounds, me and bacon are really not getting along at the moment!)

How expensive are babies?

The 'must-have' list part I
(Click to zoom)
I can never get over how much money people will spend on baby gear... I sometimes get the feeling that moms think that the more money you throw at something, the better it will turn out - like birth for instance - you must have the best (i.e. most expensive) gynae to get the best care, and a midwife that charges a small percentage of what the gynea charges can't be giving an equivalent or superior level of care. This also counts for hospitals - in my doula work I find the state hospitals have after birth care and policies that are streaks ahead of 99% of private institutions. Their breastfeeding advice is far better and women get much better support - and I almost feel sorry for the women spending a fortune at private institutions thinking they must be getting the best care, when often the advice given and policies implemented are, in my experience, severely outdated and not in the best interests of mom or baby.

So yeah, I also often feel moms should wait a couple of months after baby is born to decide what gear to get. I can't tell you how many moms have bought gorgeous wooden cots and compactums and portable baby baths, running into thousands of rands, only to end up cosleeping, changing nappies on the go and bathing baby in a tub in the big bath!

The 'must-have' list part II - so you can 'rest easy'
knowing you are 'as prepared as possible'.
Can we sue for false advertising?
Never as the retailer what you need!
(Click to Zoom)
In short, please don't ask the saleslady at the baby shop what you will need! Ask a mom who seems happy being a mom, whose parenting style you admire and who is in a similar financial situation to yours - she will be able to give you a much better idea of what works and what doesn't!

Or, you could take your doula shopping with you - I sometimes wish moms would do that - then at least they would have an idea beforehand of what is really worth the money and what isn't, and what alternatives exist, in the interests of informed choice and all that.

Travel System - great for carting groceries around
while baby sleeps in your arms!
For example, my favourite baby carriers / slings are not sold at your usual baby gear outlets, and you won't find a wide variety of cloth nappies there either. I prefer not to take that baby bucket seat out of the car (spending too much time in those seats can cause spinal issues) so the whole travel system thing doesn't work for me either, and I'd much rather take my baby shopping in a sling or wrap than packing all my groceries in the pram while I hold a screaming baby anyway, but that is another story.

Also, there are plenty of places to get good quality, second hand baby gear - an option that is friendlier on your pocket and on the environment!

I guess there is also a little bit of chagrin on my part that women will spend 3k on a compactum (i.e. glorified chest of drawers) and 5k on a cot that may end up becoming laundry storage, 7k on a travel system too big to take anywhere and another bunch on nursery decor, but 3k for a doula is just too much... But, placing my own issues aside, babies don't have to be as expensive as we make them, and spending more money doesn't automatically make you a good parent. *Rant Over*

After all that, reaching this point in the pregnancy has really got me thinking about what we will need for this baby.
  • Cosleeper - I made myself one of these last time, and used the long pillow as a pregnancy pillow. The dog attacked that one, so I'm going to need to make myself another one soon! In case you were wondering, we didn't use a cot at all with #2 - this was it. And in case you were wondering, she sleeps beautifully now!

Humanity Cosleeper

  • Car Chair - Another car seat and possibly an extra booster too to make sure we can fit all the kids in our car. It's that or a new car... so maybe we'll go with the car seat for now. 
  • Cash - to pay our midwife. Medical Aids only pay about 25% of what a home birth costs, even though a home birth costs only about 25% of what a normal vaginal birth without epidural costs in hospital. But anyway.
  • Donut - We were lent one last time - so possibly looking at going the second hand route for one of these.
  • Clothes - We have mountains of frills and flounces... which will now be donated to a good cause - but very little that I could use for a boy, so that is a biggie. Gender stereotypes again, I know!
  • Home birth supplies - Linen savers, pliers, maternity pads, chloroform, biting sticks and industrial plastic to line the birth pool.
  • Coconut oil - I use it for everything! Bum Cream, massage oil - everything! Beyond that we don't use too many lotions and potions on baby skin so we're sorted. 
  • Washing Machine - Ours is almost ten years old and has been serving us faithfully for all that time, but is starting to show signs of slowing down, so we are looking at getting a slightly larger one with better water usage... I must admit that on the whole I'm a little concerned that our appliances are reaching that age. You know 'that age'? Our fridge is also nearly ten years old, and starting to feel too small for our growing family, and our dishwasher is over 20 years old and irreplaceable bits are starting to rust, but I guess we'll need to cross (or wash) those bridges when we get to them... (Update: Our washing machine gave up the ghost a day or so after I wrote this! Typical! But fortunately for us, a friend needed to get their machine sold this weekend, so we are taking it over. On the rest, we'll have to wait and see!)
  • and possibly some other bits and bobs like reusable breast pads and gel ice packs and whatevers... 

I'm sure I'll think of some 'nice to haves' along the way, but that's pretty much it!
I have a full stash of cloth nappies: some that I used with my older daughters, and some new ones I've bought since. Like I mentioned a couple of weeks back, I also bought some newborn cloth nappies and a friend offered to lend me her stash of newborn nappies to supplement mine - so we are all taken care of there!

Yay for budget babies!

PS I was joking about the choloform.

PPS And the pliers... and yes, the biting stick too.

(Find my Week 18 Pregnancy Diary here in case you missed it.)

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Durban Doula Pregnancy Diary Week 18

Week 18 of the Durban Doula's Pregnancy Diary!

I was wondering how I was going to find something to write every two weeks, but even with a third baby (6th pregnancy, but more but that later) there is always something happening!

Well one of the most exciting things about the last few weeks is that we won a birth photography package from Sarah Jane Photography, a photographer based in Hillcrest here in KwaZulu-Natal. The prize includes a full birth photography package and a mini-maternity shoot and from the pics I've seen on her Facebook page and website, this is going to be amazing!

Sarah Jane Photography

Getting good photos is important to us, but not something we can usually afford. My hubby struggles with memory issues, which means photographs are almost a necessity when it comes to big events, so we we are so excited about winning this prize!

So two weeks to go until our scan, and in the interests of budget babies, I'm going to a private sonographer (i.e. one not attached to a hospital or franchise) and this scan is going to cost me less than my first scan with my first daughter over seven years ago... Giving birth and having babies doesn't have to break the bank!

This week I popped in with Arlen Ege, my midwife in Pietermaritzburg, on the same afternoon that I went to visit my most recent client. All is good so no worries! I'll have my next checkup with my backup, and then back to Arlen again after that.

In case you're wondering why I am seeing a midwife so far away from me - 45 minutes' drive - Arlen was there for my second daughter's birth and I honestly couldn't imagine inviting anyone else to be there. I work with Arlen reasonably often as a doula, more often than I do with any other midwife, and we know we work well together and I feel like there is a mutual trust there which I really appreciate. 

So alert!
So about that client - I linked to her first VBAC birth story in my previous post, and she had a second successful VBAC on Monday morning this week! It ended up being an unintentional, unassisted home birth but mom was absolutely overjoyed! Full story on my blog here.

via Wikimedia Commons
According to various internet sources, our littlest one is the size of a bell pepper now - although if baby was supposed to be avocado sized last week, I'm not sure what's happening! Maybe in Ameria the bell peppers are huge and the avos are small, because here in South Africa the avos are usually bigger than the peppers! Actual measurements do help though - so we know that baby is probably just over 14cm long from crown to rump and weighs just under 200g... And this little one is particularly active! I have been feeling definite baby movements quite regularly for the last 2 weeks now, and I am absolutely loving it!

So next time you hear from me, I'll be chatting about how having babies doesn't have to be as expensive as people generally believe, and of course I'll be sharing some updates from our scan! See you then...

(In case you missed it, find Week 16's Pregnancy Diary here.)