While Ben managed to capture some amazing photos when Jackson was born, afterwards I was a bit bummed that we didn't have more photos or even video footage for me to remember the experience by. I was in such a zone with Jack's labour and everything happened so quickly that I felt a bit ripped off when it was all over. Obviously apart from having the most amazing little boy!
This time around, I was eager to make sure we had some video footage so I could look back and reminisce. Ben did a fantastic job on the day of capturing footage as well as getting photos. Maybe even too good of a job... Below is a short video I put together using some (the least graphic!) of the footage. The rest may just have to remain in a private collection!
Eventually I will get around to writing up her birth story, but in the meantime...
(Disclaimer: Probably give it a miss if you are freaked out by birth, boobies, nudity etc)
I am freakishly proud and excited to introduce my darling little girl, Annabel Laura Louise Henry.
Three days to go until D-Day.
I have had two stretch and sweeps, and nothing. Just some crappy Braxton Hicks and a whole lot of misplaced hope. My mother always said she wished I would have a daughter just like me, and I fear that may be the case. This little chicken is doing things in her own time.
These last few days have been absolute torture. When you combine the massive excitement of meeting our little girl, with the abject terror of impending labour, and then throw in all the outside influences and extenuating circumstances (of which there is an inordinate amount at the moment) it certainly makes for a testing and highly emotive time.
I know you aren’t actually due yet. We still have nine days until that is the case. I know that your brother was five days past his due date, and that I can probably, realistically expect similar from you.
All of that acknowledged… please Baby, come out.
My pelvis feels like it was stolen in the night by some 80 year old woman who is now out there twerking with my previously, only slightly used, but a hell of a lot more functional pelvis. My legs and feet are so swollen that my cankles have their own cankles. I have creases in my ankles for goodness sake. My throat and chest feel like the scene from Star Trek where Spock’s planet implodes in a fiery mess. This is especially the case if I even consider eating anything chocolate. What kind of a cruel, fucked up joke on a pregnant woman is that shit!? Baby, your head is so low in my pelvis right now, that sometimes I find myself peeking down to check that you haven't just popped your head out to say 'Hi'. It feels like I am sitting on a grapefruit 99% of the time. Try it, it isn't fun. Your legs are awesome at finding that special spot under my right ribcage that you tenderised months ago.
Apart from the myriad of phyical pain and general exhaustion that I am feeling, there is also just a overiding sense of impatience and frustration. I just want to meet you already! I want to see your little face and run my finger down your little nose and ears, just like I did with your Big Brother. I want to look in to your beautiful eyes and see the funny like faces you make. I want your Big Brother to meet you and finally find out who we have been telling him about this whole time. I want you here, in person, being a part of this family and life we have together. I want you to meet your Nanny and Pa... especially your Pa... who is so excited and eager to meet his precious little Grand-daughter. You have no idea. I can't wait to see your Daddy's face when he holds his little girl and the full impact of being the Daddy to a girl hits him. Gonna need a photo of THAT face!
We are so keen and eager for you to arrive Baby. Maybe consider it? Please?
Women get excited about pregnancy for so many different reasons. Obviously there is the baby, but there are other things as well such as the growing bump, the first scan, hearing the heartbeat... Something that I was looking forward to during my first pregnancy was cravings. I really wanted a wacky craving. Would it be ice-cream and pickles or peanut butter and bananas.
Months and months went by and I certainly went in and out of a hundred and one different food aversions (assisted by morning sickness)... but not really any cravings.
Then, it hit.
I think I must have been about 20 weeks pregnant with Jack, give or take a few weeks.
The smell. The texture. The taste (how did I even know what it tasted like???).
There were times of the day where my entire head was filled with the urge to eat dirt. Yes. DIRT.
I was absolutely mortified and it took me ages to confide in Ben about it, let alone my Ob. When I eventually did speak to my Ob about it, he shrugged nonchalantly and stated it was actually pretty common. It is a condition called Pica, where you crave an inedible substance. People can crave chalk, cigarette butts, wood, metal... and apparently dirt. If I told you that I managed the entirety of my pregnancy with Jack, not giving in to the craving, I would be lying. I had my moments.
Well, it has happened again with this pregnancy. This time, as soon as the feeling hit I shrugged and decided not to stress about it so much. I suppose I must have been about the same gestation as I was with Jack's pregnancy when it hit again. Obviously there have been times when my determination to not give in has faltered with this pregnancy as well. What can I say. My bad.
I have also, since found out that my Paternal Grandmother had the exact same craving during her pregnancies. At least I am in good company!
From the research I have conducted, it is actually a pretty understandable craving. There are still tribes around the world to this day that consume various forms of dirt and clay as part of their diets and health regimes. It is, after all, one of the easiest and most basic ways to ingest a variety of important minerals and nutrients. There are even forms of food grade, edible dirt that can be purchased for these purposes.
And, as of today, I have a jar of it courtesy of the husband. It is called Australian Bentonite Clay powder (or Australian Healing Clay), and it both smells AND tastes sufficiently dirty to satisfy my needs. No more licking unwashed potatoes or finger dipping the dirt for me!
31 weeks and time is creeping by. I am well aware that before too long my little girl will be in my arms and it is exciting and daunting all at the same time.
Today we went for another scan at Miracle Me, organised purely for us to see how our little one and how she is developing.
Just like last time, it was a magical experience. Jackson was beyond excited to see his little sister on the massive movie screen and was far more engaged in watching the scan this time as opposed to the variety of toys that were available for his entertainment.
Funny story: Before we left for the scan, I had eaten a pickle sandwich (shut up, it was delicious) and apparently baby girl is not a fan. We were able to catch some amazing footage of her having some big gulps and swallows of amniotic fluid, before scrunching her face up in disgust and spitting it back out! I hope this isn’t something that translates to life when she is born! Jack has never been a fussy eater, so I am not sure I would know what to do with a child who was!
The things we were able to see our baby do, in real time was simply astounding. The movements and facial expressions made everything just that bit more real. We organised the scan for this gestation, as it is very close to the same gestation Jackson was when we had his 4D scan. Little Miss looks quite different from her brother (at least according to the scans). She seems finer and more delicate in her facial features, which makes me think she may take more after her Daddy’s side. The name we have picked, all things going to plan (which just means, if I don’t change my mind), seems to be a perfect fit for the gorgeous little face we got to see today.
I am so acutely aware, every single day, how lucky I am to have the amazing family that I do have. My Jack is my world and such an amazing little boy, and I am overjoyed that our beautiful little girl is not far away from joining us. It is moments like this that really make a huge impact for me, and creating this amazing memories is something I will treasure forever.
Birth Plan: Evacuate child growing within me, preferably with the least amount of physical damage to myself possible.
Some people are in support of the good ol' Birth Plan and some think they are basically a crock of shit. Personally, I think it depends on how much credence you put in to the likelihood of your birth 'going to plan'. I definately had one with Jackson and was very lucky that his birth did go pretty much to plan. Was that due to the guidelines and stipulations outlined on a single A4 piece of paper... absolutely not. Did the existence of that plan give me some sense of control and provide Ben with a reference for when he had to answer things for me... absolutely.
This time around, I will have a Birth Plan again. Pretty much identical to my last one as I am hoping (fingers crossed) that this birth will be just like the last one... hell, maybe even easier. A girl can hope.
I don't presume to know what is going to happen, none of us ever really do going in to something like this, whether it is baby number #1 or #10. Our bodies and our babies are both so unpredictable.
The things I have included on my plan, and why, include:
It has been weeks and weeks since my last post. Oops.
I will be 23 weeks in less than two days. Morning sickness has gotten so much better, but I can still not yet say with certainty that it is completely gone. I feel that I will either be confident of that soon, or that I may just be a little 'iffy' for the remainder of this pregnancy. Time will tell.
We have had confirmation again that our little belly bubba is indeed a girl! I know, I know... I just can't believe it. I never saw myself as the Mum of a girl, so it is still a surprise to me. If I am being perfectly honest, I think there was a touch of gender disappointment there, when we found out. Don't get me wrong, from the get go I felt this baby WAS a girl (100% success rate), but I was hoping for another boy. This baby was always intended, first and foremost, as a friend and ally for Jackson. I always pictured that as being a brother for him... and not so much a sister. This is probably tainted by the fact that I had two older brothers who were as thick as thieves, and I (as the only girl and youngest) always felt on the outer.
Most people can't believe when I say this, as we have a 'pigeon pair' and are so lucky. Yes, we are. We truly are ridiculously lucky, no matter what our children's genders are. I have come to the realisation that I think a sister will be perfect for Jack. He gets to be the only boy and do his 'boy things' and the baby gets to be the only girl and do her 'girl things' while still having each other to relate to and play with.
We are truly blessed.
On another note, I am so happy to have been accepted in to the Mater Midwifery Group Program. This basically means that all my care will be under the guidance of the midwives and I don't require any alternate, medical appointments. Which is awesome. Less things to have to drag a two year old around to. Appointments are conducted in a group setting, which is also used as information sessions. Also, as long as bubba's pregnancy remains as trouble free as currently and providing her birth is also straightforward... I can go home in as little as four hours afterwards (insert fist pump here). I was extremely lucky with Jackson's birth, so am hoping for the same luck with this one. I know that all I wanted to do (after Jack was born and I had showered), was go home. My Ob was amazing and let me go the afternoon after Jack was born. It is not for everyone, to be sure... but I felt so much more settled when I got home. I feel that with a two year old to consider this time as well, it will be a very similar scenario. That is the plan, anyhoo.
Today we had a very special scan, specifically organised to confirm our bubba's gender. Every since being told at the 12 week scan that bubba was a little girl, I have been anxious to just have that confirmed again, once and for all! I know that often, gender determination can be difficult at a gestation as early as 12 weeks and is much more reliable from 16 or so weeks. The place we went to is called 'Miracle Me' and they perform non-medical ultrasounds for parents eager to see their little bubba's or find out the gender. They have a massive room where the scans are performed, with reclining lounges for friends and family, toys for other children and a huge, comfy bed for the Mumma of the moment.
The scan went extremely well and it was so exciting to see our baby up on the big screen! We are very excited to confirm that Baby Henry #2 is indeed, a little girl! We saw some simply amazing footage of her getting her groove on and having a good old wriggle about. Jack got very excited when Bubba appeared on the big screen and pointed up to her while yelling out 'Sissy! My Sissy!'
Anybody considering going for one of these scans, I can highly recommend as being able to see our baby in such detail was absolutely breath taking.