Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Where are we, again?

Tokushima... I think. I keep wanting to say 'Takamatsu' and I'm not even so sure that is a place.
Shikoku anyway. Arrived yesterday on the bus. It's quite nice here, sort of provincial. Well it seemed small anyway, until we caught the cable car up to the top of the nearby hill and looked out and realized that, no, actually this city is freaking huge. Grey and grey and grey as far as the eye could see, grey sea blending into gray horizon and overlaid with a hazy quilt of more grey. Sounds terrible but it is nice. We've walked around a couple of parks, some castle 'ruins' (would have been better described as a 'site' as no ruins were to be seen but there was a decent view and lots of nice trees, and thousands upon thousands of mosquitos.) Many interesting sculptures about, my favourite was a giant ant stuggling in a pond.
I was going to say more but the enthusiam to write has escaped me.
Tomorrow: whirlpools at Naruto.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Time for an update?

I can hardly believe we are halfway! Where did the time go?

The first 11 weeks are a blur, from not knowing for the first four, to passing the next 7 in an exhausted haze. At the time I was thinking, 'I'm not that sick, I can't complain, I haven't even vomited once' but now that I think back I realise that, actually, I felt like crap. Trying to pack to go to Japan was such hard work, I would sit staring into the suitcase with dismay, I could hardly concentrate on anything and just wanted to curl up and sleep. I forgot we even had a packing list. I forgot to take my trackies. I forgot my bathers. I took sheets for our bed, but forgot to take pillowslips. It’s impossible to know if it was just the hormones, or withdrawals from my medication as my GP halved my dose, either way I felt beyond ordinary, like having a 7-week hangover.

When we got to Japan I was just tired, but I didn't expect any less, even short plane trips are draining. Once that initial tiredness had worn off, I felt better immediately. It was like a switched had been flicked, from ‘crap’ to ‘fine’. The switch seems to have one extra setting: ‘great’. I feel so contented right now; it’s really quite a strange feeling for me. It seems those ‘happy hormones’ have cranked up a gear and I am very steady right now. In fact, I’m not anxious at all. I seem to be feeling very blasé about having a baby; I’m just convinced that it will work out fine. I have Dylan, I have my mum and brother, and I have Dylan’s family and my friends (including here on SIC) all as backup. Even my father has come to the party and sent me an email asking how I was, and telling me he was excited to hear that we are pregnant (I wrote him a letter from Japan).

Then, as you know, Dylan’s grandmother passed away a week ago after a long struggle with motor neurone disease (although it was a stroke that struck the final blow). I think this is a great relief to everyone as this way she, and others, did not have to see her go through the end stages of MND, where she would have been a prisoner in her own body with full cognition of what is happening around her but no way to control anything at all, no control of eating, talking, bowel movements and so on. At least she was spared that final indignity.

Dylan’s dad brought us home for a week and the funeral was yesterday. Ikingut twitched through the entire service, especially at the end when we stood around the coffin. I was surprised at how much I cried, I just kept thinking of how, in some ways, Nanny and I were quite similar. We both had a love of craft, of art and design, and we both have suffered from anxiety and depression. In her case, it was not until her 70’s when she had help from medication with this. I consider myself very fortunate that I was able to start getting better from 22. It’s taken five years but I feel good now, I actually feel good, and normal, and rational. I don’t expect to stay this way forever, there are ups and there are downs to go along with them, but I’m very grateful for this time of level-headedness and clarity.

We had a scan in Japan on Monday and the doctor told us everything was fine, but he mentioned that the placenta might be a little low; he also smirked at the size of my tummy. When we came back to Australia the other day we rushed around and were able to see my GP who said, ‘oh, you’ve put on hardly any weight at all!’ which was very reassuring (22 more weeks is plenty to time to add it), and we were also able to have a scan in Australia which was much more comprehensive than the Japanese one, this time I was told that the placenta's position is fine, it is low but well out of the way as well. Ikky looks totally normal and I am so relieved. Much as I like having minimal medical intervention when you have a totally normal pregnancy, it was still good to see and hear that the baby looks fine. I was just thinking about how S had mentioned her friend who’s child had DS and even though that was OK it would have been good to know beforehand so she could prepare. I realised then that forewarned really is forearmed.

I met up with my 37-weeks-pregnant friend and her husband today for coffee, they were quizzing me about nappies and so on, and I realised I have no idea anymore what I want. The irony being that they are going with cloth nappies, and I was the one who convinced them they should look into this in the first place. I still think I want to stick to as basic a set-up, and as green a set-up, as possible. Cloth nappies, no pram just a pusher, sixteen different types of slings, Ikky in a cot next to the bed so I don’t have to get out of ours when they wake. What I do have is a short-list of names (I keep adding names to it, Dylan keeps taking them off)

When we get home things will be interesting. We have no house. We have no car. We have no jobs. We don’t yet know which hospital we should even (theoretically) be going to. Luckily my GP is a very relaxed sort of person (perfect for me), and just said ‘oh, we’ll just sort that out when you get home’, she’s also planning on sending me off to a psychologist for a proper review before Ikky is born so we can see if I can reduce the medication, or stop it completely for a month or so beforehand so the little-one doesn’t have to withdraw from it.

Now my mind is consumed with ‘what will they look like?’ Will they have Dylan’s blue eyes, my hazel eyes, FIL’s grey-green eyes or MIL’s brown eyes? Will they have blonde curls like my brother, or dark ones like Dylan did? Will their hair be dead straight and white like mine was? Will they have one dimple like my brother, two like Dylan, or none like me? How big are they going to be? Will they be a waif, or a roly-poly? Will they be a sleepy baby, or eternally awake? Is Ikky a boy as I believe, or a girl as everyone else thinks? Are they going to be born in summer, or in autumn? I can hardly wait to find out, I’m so excited even if reality has not entered my brain at all (but then, as my latest book says: “You’re quite sure that reality and fantasy are opposites?”*)

Well, that’s my update. It’s ended up a lot longer than I intended, and much more about me than about the baby (oops) but oh well.

*Brave Story (p 120), Miyuke Miyabe