Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Zeroing In

Less than 4 weeks away from show time, assuming everything happens according to the paperwork... which we're not counting on! Realistically we're preparing ourselves for action any time from about 2 weeks time to whenever. That's a crazy thought... I'll be a Dad some time in the next few weeks.

I've had a couple of "WHOA!" moments in the last couple of weeks. I had a dream that our baby had been born and I was washing their face with a flannel, then another dream where Hannah was just going into a smooth and relaxed labour. Then one night a few weeks ago, I went to sleep at about 10:00pm but woke up half an hour later in a cold sweat..."We're going to have a baby soon!"

I find it really hard to clearly envision life once it's changed. I suppose it's almost impossible to predict really, until you've gone through it yourself. People will happily tell you how much life has changed, but that's THEIR lives changing, not mine. I guess I'll find out in vivid detail within a very short time frame.

Missus Report

The great news is there's very little to report. Hannah is feeling great, and received a 10/10 bill of health in her most recent meeting with our midwife. No vitamin deficiencies, no elevated this or lowered that. No swelling, no major aches or pains (other than tendon related stuff from having to cart a watermelon around in your pants), everything is tip top. She's in a fantastic state of mind at the moment too, and we're both looking forward very much to the big day and beyond.

Fraternal Affairs

I hung out with my brother Brendan and my sister-in-law Hayley the other week in Karratha. Aside from a really great opportunity to hang out with my family, which was awesome, the trip also gave me some excellent insight. Reuben, my less-than-a-couple-of-months-old nephew, and my niece Elora, who is just over 2 are terrific kids. Reuben just chills out his bouncer all day, and Elora is a tiny person with an fully developed personality and more energy than you could ever imagine. Just sitting and observing this family at full speed was such a great learning experience. I got some really good lessons around:
  • Routine - the obvious benefits, as well as what to do when you need to alter it
  • Roles - what Brendan and Hayley were able to do, and who did what
  • Discipline - Elora is gorgeous, but sometimes she's going to get cranky when she's tired, for example. Brendan and Hayley handle it so well, with so much patience. There was rarely a need for any yelling or carrying on
  • Consistency - The kids know exactly what to expect, which I think must make them very happy. Elora has a very clear sense of what she can and can't do, and what's going to happen when. Does she try to push the boundaries some times? Of course she does, she's a kid! But there's a very clear sense of understanding when it comes to the rules, regardless of who she's asking. And a profound sense of respect.
What an amazing family unit they have! Such a tight knit group. Very inspirational. I returned home with so much confidence. And I don't think this all came about by a fluke! I think the consistent, intelligent and patient approach that Brendan and Hayley have taken is absolutely the winning formula, and the reason their kids are so fantastic. They've worked hard, evidenced by the result.

What now?

Over the next couple of weeks, I really want to get a few things accomplished:

  • Start learning baby sign language, which is a simple copy-what-I-do activity designed to associate hand signals with baby needs, such as a sign for "milk" or "nappy" etc. Nothing too alternative, it's just a means by which you can try and interact a bit more intelligently with your bub before they develop speech.
  • Keep practising our hypnobirthing techniques and exercises, such as soft touch massage, affirmations, deep relaxation, anchor association and all the good things we've been doing for a couple of months now.
  • Read up on the various ideologies around helping babies to settle into a routine, especially around sleep. I suspect there won't be a single answer to this, so I want to read up on what people have to say before ignoring it all and coming up with my own awesome methods (like associating bed time with the War of the Worlds soundtrack so I get to crank it up every night)
  • Finish another Jack Reacher novel, before "me time" disappears for a while. I'm up to the 7th one, and they're fantastically mindless and easy to read.
  • Dry run the birthing pool, especially if we keep having these hot days... Hannah's picking it up today! Pool party!!
  • Keep cooking and freezing meals. We grabbed a bar freezer the other day, and have started stacking it full of left over meals, so once we're in "B-Town", we don't need to worry too much about cooking.

Fear Release Follow-Up

Following up from my last post, which was admittedly a long time ago now. I discussed the fear release assignment where we wrote down all the stuff we were crapping our dacks about, and then compared notes. Well, I'm happy to report that this was a fantastic exercise, with a terrific result.

The first thing Hannah and I did was compare our notes, then discussed the items which were the same for both of us. As an example, we discussed options around having to transfer to hospital if the home birth doesn't go as hoped, and what that might mean. Massively helpful. A lot of the fear and anxiety around some of these things was simply a matter of having not discussed it out loud. Once we chatted about it, we discovered we were fine! Logic and reason sprung to the fore, and we nutted out some practical solutions to the issues.

Next up, we discussed the left over things on our lists: concerns that were specific to each of us, and that we didn't share. This was also extremely helpful. I know I had one really major sticking point which I was very concerned about, but Hannah helped me come up with an excellent solution to the issue, which is probably going to have longer lasting value for more than just baby-related concerns. Similarly, I was able to provide a different perspective to some things that Hannah was thinking about.

Lastly, there were a few things left on the list which either or both of us still had some concerns around. So those were the things we took to class with Diana, our hypnobirthing instructor (http://www.hypnobirthperth.com). Diana ran a session which was aimed at taking those things you were still concerned with and creating a means by which to move past them, or to lessen their effects. Admittedly, I fell asleep during the relaxation prior to the hypno session,  but Hannah found it really effective. Hannah has now moved into a state of mind where the problems are just things to not dwell on. She has moved on and it happier, more relaxed and more confident.

Keys to victory!

All was not lost for me though. The simple act of writing down my concerns, and discussing them with Hannah was one of the most therapeutic and beneficial things I have ever done. I wish I had done this when I was struggling daily with anxiety and depression a few years ago. If you only take away one thing from my blog, let it be this: Talk. Talk about everything and anything. If not with your partner, then a friend, someone you trust or even a professional paid to listen. It made such a difference to me, and has really allowed me to get on with being as excited as hell about having our tiny little love on the outside.


I'll try and get these updates coming a bit more frequently, as things happen. It'll all get a bit easier in a week or so when things are a bit less crazy at work, and I can remember to write things down as they happen.

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