Thanks for all the feedback so far. It's been very reassuring.


I have enough hand-me-downs from Nephew to cover the clothing angle in the short term. I might need a couple more lightweight things as Nephew was born in a colder season, but I suspect MIL will be onto that before the first week is out (she probably already has a gender-neutral pile going and is just waiting to find out the sex so she can really go on a spree), so I'm not too worried.


Last time I got by with just breast. I do have a manual pump and a couple of bottles if need be and I even know where they are. Mr Bea can pull them out and wash them off at a moment's notice, and if I need anything more motorised I know where to get it as I go along. Burp cloths and bibs - check. I even found my warm-or-cool gel packs and I have nipple cream because I've been using it as lip balm for the last couple of years. Other people do that, right?


Yeeeeeees. Well. Although you can house babies in drawers and cardboard boxes, we are hard up in both directions. We left a lot of our furniture (the stuff we're not taking with us in the move) under my Grandmother's house after the whole flood debacle, including pretty much all our drawers. Our cardboard boxes are mostly full of spiders by now, although I'm sure Mr Bea would take one for the team by consuming enough beer at short notice to empty out a sparkly fresh one, and although we have a bassinet, the mattress went moldy in all the rain and as it's an unusual size and what with all the businesses that have had to close up shop temporarily due to inundation, we may not have a new one for up to two weeks (it is currently on order). For those counting along at home, this is half a week past our estimated date. On the up side, MIL owns a portacot, so again I am not too worried - unless you count the fact that we don't really have room for a portacot. I seem to recall The Prata Baby mostly using our bed during the first couple of months anyway. I'm sure it'll work out. At least we are ok for sheets etc.


The first time around, I didn't realise this was a whole category on its own, and a really, really important one at that. For some reason, the baby shopping lists I had led me astray. However:

- muslins, check
- miracle blanket, check
- vibrating bouncer, check
- sarong sling and ergo, check
- dummy, check
- iPod and speakers, nineties' grunge playlist, check
- rocking chair... hm... I seem to remember this being exquisitely useful last time around, and although I have the fitball so I can at least rest my legs, I might have to look into buying and/or hiring one, if I can work out where to put it.


We have both a car seat and stroller that can be used from newborn, although the former has not yet been installed, but that's quickly sorted. I'm not sure I'm ready to lose the spare seat in our car for another week or so, til I'm more confident we've finished carting items around.

Changing and bathing:

I need to pick up a bath from my SIL which I will do tomorrow. I am actually more worried about where the rest of us will bathe, since our bathtub (we have a shower-over-bath) CRACKED FROM SIDE TO SIDE and water pours out through our floorboards whenever it is turned on now. This is happening to us two months before a major renovation project which involves completely dismantling the bathroom, and I am still trying to decide if I need to do anything about it and if so, what. Feel free to give your opinion.

Back to babies, however - I seem to have a lot of free samples of soaps and nappy creams, enough so that I am pretty much good for the next couple of months. I have one hooded towel, plus our ordinary towels, and I am inclined to leave it at that. I have facewashers.

I have plenty of cloth wipes for messy jobs and a few packets of disposables. I have a couple of packs of disposable nappies - I am planning to return to cloth, but not until after all the moving is over and done with, especially considering the latest post-partum business trip developments happening over here. (To keep tally - flood evacuation, birth, house falling down around us, moving internationally, business trips/temporary single parenting, major renovation. Maybe I should throw a major course of study into the mix, or...?) I have the change mat from the nappy bag, and am thinking I'll just use that on the bed rather than try and get fancy with change tables etc. I may have to think about how to organise all the stuff so I can use it easily. Shoeboxes, perhaps. Somebody, somewhere, must have a spare shoebox.

I might need a few Q-tips.

First Aid:

- thermometer, check
- standard first aid kit, check
- there's not a lot else you can give a newborn without proper, medical supervision, although for what it's worth I do also have infant panadol. I found gas drops to be useless last time - I know some swear by them - but I am not planning to restock until unless I get desperate enough to want to try anything.
- relevant contact numbers, check


A couple of people have given us toys, there's a toy rail on the bouncer, The Prata Baby will hopefully share some of his more suitable items, and also provide live entertainment. Right?

So to recap:
I should think about getting a rocking chair. Or, I dunno, borrow parents' hammock, since the front verandah is about the only space it could possibly go anyway, and then only if I remove a side-table and chair.
Buy packet of Q-tips. Pick up hand-me-down bath.

Unless someone can think of something else, that seems pretty sorted. Hurrah!

Summary: I ask for help with my newborn shopping list.

So I did it. I unpacked the house again, and it is so much better because it is now devoid of a number of pieces of clutter that would have just made my life harder if they'd still been around.

So now I am starting to set things up for this baby we're probably bringing home (it feels good to say that, even with the precautionary "probably") in a couple of weeks' time or whenever (!). The fact is, I got rid of most of our baby stuff when we moved from Singapore. I couldn't bear to ship and store something I might never use again, and I stand by that decision - some of it would have broken or spoiled, and all of it would have detracted from my mental health. Not only that, but now I've unpacked what's left, I can't for the life of me think what the rest of it actually was.

I mean, I have hardly any baby stuff here, yet I really don't know what else I could possibly need. Am I missing something? What have I forgotten? At this stage, I really only want the bare essentials to get us through the first couple of months, because (after all) we are moving again come April. (Did I update you on when that was happening? It's going to be April. Actually, the house should be packed up in late March, Mr Bea will go to Singapore to set things up and we will go to my parents' house for a month, and then go to Singapore in late April or possibly early May. By the end of May I should be very, very good at moving. And quite, quite disinclined to accumulate unnecessary stuff.)

So for those who've done it before and can remember better than me: what's on your "essentials" list? I'm a bit worried I've missed something vital and I'd rather sort it out before the birth.

Summary: a short list of what's going on now, followed by musings on eye colours and what it means to be family. Lots of mentions of children and pregnancy.

***Appointment update** - went well. Boring. Fine. Hurrah! ***

News in brief:

  • I am almost finished unpacking the house again. Just over a week to unpack a house after a move is some kind of record. I may even get around to doing up a hospital bag before labour begins.
  • I have my thirty-eight week OB appointment later today. I'll let you know.
  • Everything is rapidly going moldy and mildewy in the post-flood heat and humidity. Everyone here is battling it. The Prata Baby's mattress and the one from the bassinet have both fallen victim, amongst other things. Every time I turn around there is more growing on the walls or ceiling. Incredible. Insane. Inconvenient. I am just flat out keeping up with myself at the moment and my to-do list keeps on growing.

The Prata Baby and I were chatting at the supermarket yesterday, and for some reason we got onto the subject of eye colour. I asked what colour eyes he thought the new baby would have, and he said blue, like him. I agreed that this was possible, and then mused that they could be a different colour, too - perhaps brown, like Dad's? Or Hazel? The Prata Baby affirmed his guess of blue, and went on to opine that the new baby's Dad would have green eyes. I stopped and peered at him. "The new baby's Dad is your Dad," I explained carefully. "You'll have the same Dad."

Whoa. Whoa. Obviously this hadn't occurred to him. There was a moment of stunned silence, followed by a rather longer period of thoughtful fingernail-picking. Then PB tentatively asked about the new baby's Mum and I had to break it to him that he'd be sharing one of those, too. Blue, brown, hazel or green - he was prepared to accept the outcome. But the realisation that someone else would have the same Mum and Dad as him? It, like, totally blew his mind.

I used to think I'd be sensitive to conversations about where my children got what genetic traits from. Apart from a sort of general squeamishness on behalf of those who wouldn't be passing on their genes, I wasn't sure if a hypothetical Next Child would be genetically related to the same extent as the first. I remember having a complete change of perspective the first time The Prata Baby met my Grandmother. To my grandmother, idle chit-chat over eye colour is for amateurs. Even before she and PB met, she had dug out a pile of family photos showing infants around the same age, and was keen to lay them on the table and hold them up one by one, analysing everything from general build to subtle facial expressions. And that's not counting all the other information she'd collected about our family history, no matter how old or peripherally-relevant.

All of a sudden I knew she would do the same no matter where the child had come from. Whether we'd conceived with the help of donors or adopted from The Philippines, she'd be there with pictures and books and magazines, retelling and guessing and predicting and - above all - looking for commonalities between the child and ourselves. She has a very loose definition of family, my Grandmother. To her, it's not so much about blood ties as about showing up and joining in. To her, discussions of this type are about finding connections, rather than separating "us" from "them".

Perhaps I would feel different if our family had been built differently after all, but since then I'm not sensitive about discussing the baby's eye colour. Even the Prata Baby knows it doesn't really matter who shares that.

We got back in last night, albeit without internet access.

I am buggered. Absolutely buggered. Thirty-seven weeks pregnant in the middle of summer is not the time I'd recommend to move house twice within the space of a week. In fact, moving house twice within the space of one week is insane under most circumstances. Nevertheless, it has all been good, the flood did not actually reach us after all, I am overwhelmed at the amount of support we received, and we are probably three quarters of the way towards putting it all back together again. Then we really must start getting ready for this baby.

Despite everything, I actually feel as if, personally, I've had a good week. Others obviously not so lucky... but as far as our four (thankfully flood-free) walls are concerned, the care we've been shown far outweighs the inconvenience we've experienced.

I have not been able to read blogs much these last few days. Please update me! Whilst I shower and crash into bed.

In the end, the flood waters were a lot less severe through our town than the worst predictions. This was, basically, because the weather stopped dumping torrential rain on our catchment areas at just the right time, allowing the hydologists to stop releasing water from the upstream dam. The dam was already doing a lot to spare us from the more dangerous flash flooding which occurred upstream and in other parts of the state, and in the end it was able to spare us from waters high enough to reach our house, as well. Our neighbour, who elected to stay (their house has three stories compared to our one - still, they stayed up til high tide at 4am Thursday morning just in case they needed to pile into the car and leave), reports that the flood waters stopped a good block or so away and are now receding.

Earlier, they were talking about the possibility of more flooding with the king tide next week, but as the waters reached us, the media stopped discussing anything that wasn't of immediate concern. I think, now that we've experienced our longest period without rain since... gosh - in months? - and the medium-term forecast is looking a bit more accurate, this concern has subsided. However, I am having trouble getting confirmation on this. Apart from the same, basic desire to know what's going to happen next that everyone must be experiencing, my nesting mind wants to know when we should put everything back in preparation for the birth. At present - and due to the absolutely amazing efforts of our helpers who whisked the entire contents of our house away between dinner time on Tuesday and lunch time on Wednesday - it is squirreled away in four separate locations across a twenty kilometre radius and I don't really know what's where. On the plus side, I think I can actually get to the hospital I'm booked into again now, and possibly even meet my own obstetrician if need be. Yesterday it was looking very much like my choices were either telephone-guided home care, or nearest emergency room. Which is not the worst possible set of choices, but "in person with own OB at intended hospital" is much better.

At any rate, today is going to be a day for cleaning. The extreme humidity this summer has caused (I discovered once the house was empty) mildew to grow behind most of our furniture, and there doesn't seem much else for me to do today except keep an ear on the radio and take the opportunity to scrub down the walls. And maybe try to find where I left my shorts. Or at least Mr Bea's shorts, which fit me nicely at the moment. And the Prata Baby's kiddy toothpaste, which he misses very much.

The latest flood reports are predicting levels well above 1974 levels. We have decided to self-evacuate, tonight and tomorrow morning. If one more person instructs me, jokingly, not to go into labour for at least another couple of weeks, I will... thank them for their concern and well-wishes, of course. Still, if the comments keep up it might start getting old. Wish us luck!

**Update to update**
Predictions have worsened slightly, but we still expect to be ok. They have started evacuating parts of our suburb, however, so I have left laundry and Prata Baby with MIL and come home to do a few things, including pack a suitcase. Thursday now looking dodgier than Wednesday, so we'll see how we go over the next couple of days, but really, we should still be above the waterline.


Just a quick update from us.

Yes, our city is "next in line for flooding" and the council is issuing alerts.

Yes, our suburb is one of the "at-risk" suburbs.

No, our street is not on the list of streets expecting/experiencing closure.

No, our house did not flood in 1974 (although the property itself did - right up to the floorboards! - so if that happened again, we wouldn't be able to really live in our house or park our car anywhere near where we live) which is good news, as the floods are not (currently) expected to be as severe this time due to changes in infrastructure. I think we're going to be good, and the hundred-year flood report on our property combined with predictions about floods to come over the next couple of weeks says life will almost certainly go on more or less as usual for us.

The one exception is our shed is quite damp, with water across the floor, which is a bit of a problem because with our small house we are actually using it to store important things. We have evacuated some stuff (I started on some of the baby stuff last week anyway) and nothing has been ruined (although I suddenly have an awful lot of laundry, but luckily MIL has a dryer which we are shortly going to avail ourselves of). Mr Bea is just off to do another check of the shed to make sure everything important is either in our living room (which is getting quite crowded at this stage!) or on top shelves, well clear of the ground (thank goodness I invested in some great shelves and also plastic storage boxes a year or so ago! Thank goodness also for our decluttering efforts over the last two years - we have a much more manageable amount of stuff and don't have to worry about things that aren't at all important to us! Yay me!)

But overall, for those watching the news, we are almost certainly going to be fine in our household and ditto for family (I'm still chasing up friends but pretty sure they're all good, too). At present, worst days are expected to be tomorrow and next Friday, so I can let you know then, but in the absence of news, expect that we are ok.

First, this:

Then this:

Now this: (summary - my feelings as I start into the last month of this pregnancy, and how they compare to last time)

Surprise Pregnancy is progressing well, if quickly. Technically, I am into the last month, although having been fifteen days past dates last time I find myself unable to take that estimate very seriously.

It's impossible, of course, not to compare my feelings this time to last. Last time I was feeling... what? "Emotionally exhausted" is probably the best description. I did not feel excited. I did not feel relieved. I did not feel nervous, or impatient, or wistful. I felt... I think I described myself as "patiently waiting to see how things turned out". I guess I felt detached. I believe I could have persisted in that state for approximately ever and ever, if that had been an option, neither moving forward to the future nor revisiting the past, but instead existing in that narrow window of emotional stillness. I had not had the opportunity to experience such stillness for the longest time.

This time, I am not still. I am somewhat restless, in fact. I am frustrated by my inability to get things done at a worthwhile pace. I am frequently tired. I am heavy. I am irritable. I feel hot too easily. I can't think or concentrate well. I have too much to do, and I am not confident in my ability to do it all. It's downright annoying, is what it is. This must be what normal women feel like towards the end of their pregnancies, when they complain of being "over it". Have I gained the sympathy I previously lacked for their "plight"? No. If anything, I have lost a little. Good grief - get a problem. See, I am even annoyed at my own annoyance.

That is, except when I am marvelling at the human body's ability to reconcile our souls to the inevitable. There is a peace in my restlessness that didn't exist in the detached stillness of the last pregnancy. I really may not do this again, and yet I find that I am more or less willing to move on. The tiredness, irritability, and other symptoms help, as does - no doubt - the prospect of a second live, take-home baby, but I don't think it's really that, or at least not just that. I am moving through the normal, emotional cycle of pregnancy in a way that eluded me before. I am living in synch with myself.

Powered by Blogger.