If you'll allow me to indulge for a minute, I am excellent at feeding and birthing large, robust humans. Natural childbirth? Done. Breastfeeding? No dramas. Cruising through pregnancy feeling healthy and sane? Not so much. If there is an obscure pregnancy symptom, I have it. Blood noses, symphysis pubis disfunction (sexy), bleeding gums, peeling fingertips, dry eyes, anxiety, congestion, heartburn? Check, check, check.
I know pregnancy is a blessing and a joy and while there are many times that I have gotten misty-eyed over feeling the baby kick, for the vast majority of the time I am an overheated, sweaty, moaning mess of pain and emotional volatility. Anyway, here is a motley collection of things that I have found helpful, useful or interesting over the past seven months.
As in nip cream. This stuff is made of 100% lanolin (wool fat from sheep) and is made to be smeared on your teats to stop cracking and bleeding. Thankfully I never had major nipple issues but still use this stuff as lip balm, moisturiser for my dry fingers and nails, and as a barrier cream for Archie's drool rash and mozzie bite scabs. I also smear some in my nose to help with the dry, bloody nostril situation (sorry for the grossness, but it helps!).
Maternity crop tops
Due to the fact that my puppies have been full of milk since I was 18 weeks pregnant (!), I have been sleeping in a bra for the past six months or so. Milky boobs with no baby to feed (yet) result in super-sensitive, massive cans that need to be contained and controlled, but I obviously don't want to sleep in a proper bra. I got these extremely daggy and unattractive crop tops from Target when Archie was born and wear them every single night.
I was adamant that I wouldn't need any maternity clothes with either pregnancy as they were all either fugly or super-expensive. Oh, bless the ignorant and stubborn first time mother. One day I was shopping with my mum, waddling along in my skinny jeans held up with rubber bands and pins, and she forced me to try on a pair of maternity leggings. I wore them out of the shop, and pretty much haven't taken them off since. Well played, mother.
Things I have bought on eBay for the baby: Two cots, one double pram, one Mountain Buggy tyre, one Ergo Carrier, numerous pairs of toddler shoes, a suede Seed toddler coat for $15 and few pairs of toddler pants. Pretty sure I have saved megabucks this way.
My New Baby by Rachel Fuller
After we found out that we were pregnant, I ordered this book online for bit of a subtle subliminal messaging to Archie. The baby and the toddler in the book are both kind of gender-neutral so we call one Archie and one Baby. The book shows breastfeeding, the baby crying, the toddler on the potty - all things which are relevant to us at the moment.
Calming the f*ck down
This is probably the most important but most difficult thing. I am prone to a bit of the old anxiety/depression and was on medication for it for eight years until I got pregnant with Archie. I am fine 99% of the time but pregnancy hormones, exhaustion and general overwhelm has resulted in a few epic episodes in the past few months where I totally lost control of my head and my tear ducts. I am a prime contender for post-natal depression (I had a huge 'M' for MENTAL on my file at the midwife clinic last time, so all the midwives/doctors/nurses/orderlies/ladies filling the vending machine/other patients knew that I was MENTAL. Awesome) so am making a big effort to consciously do less, relax more, go to bed early and get help so that I don't get sick.
My feet are achey, hot and swollen and I have been living in my old trusty Salties since November. The leather is so soft now that my feet can puff up without looking like this, and they look good enough to wear pretty much everywhere. My pregbot uniform this time around has been black maternity leggings (see above), red Salties and a tunic dress/maxi dress/ muu muu. Throw on beads and a scarf and I am ready to both meet with an architect at work or wrestle a toddler into a trolley at Aldi.
I don't know if I should recommend this website or not as it is both a blessing and a curse. We had a short, simple list of baby names, but then I found Nameberry where you can plug in names you like and they recommend other names for you. Our short, manageable list of names suddenly quadrupled and now I have so many options that the baby is likely to be starting kinder and still be called Baby. Or Joe, which is Archie's chosen baby name option.
I started taking Blackmores Pregnancy Formula once I got the positive pee stick result. I had a blood test recently that showed that I am both anaemic and Vitamin D deficient, so now I take a cocktail of the Blackmores preggo multivitamin, Blackmores Magnesium for the achey muscles, fish oil for the baby's brain, Floradit iron for energy, Ostelin Vitamin D capsules and Normafibe to counteract the iron's constipating tendencies (TMI, sorry). I take some in the morning and some at night, and always take the iron with orange juice to help absorption. The rad nutritionist and blogger Katie180 wrote a great post about preggo vitamins which was super interesting.
Hope this helps any fellow pregheads out there. Got any hot tips for me? Leave 'em in the comments.