Short Version: 1. Post-partum depression act, please read. 2. Maternity clothes discussion. 3. Baby kicks. 4. Warning of impending absense due to visitors.

First, for the Americans: this about post-partum depression legislation (via Rachel, who provides info on post-partum depression and infertility).


"I'm busting out of my maternity jeans," I announced the other day.

"Too much belly?"

"I'm busting out around the thighs."

"Oh... ah... er..." Mr Bea trailed off, looking panicked.

"It's probably all muscle," I hinted.

"Absolutely!" he agreed, with relief. "Bound to build up the leg muscles with all that extra weight you're carrying." He paused and looked at me. "I've stuffed that one up, haven't I?"

At nearly forty weeks, especially after infertility, I am disinclined to rush out and buy more maternity clothes. So it's on, people: the race against time and fabric.


The other night, I was lying on my side on the beanbag when The Foetus gave a nice, solid kick. And I heard the beans go "shush". All of a sudden, it felt like he didn't just exist inside my own body, but as part of the world. That little shush somehow made him a good bit more real.


My parents-in-law are arriving tomorrow. If I drop off the face of the earth, try not to read too much into it.

Short Version: general Monday update, everything fine and the same, random observations.

Do you know what it feels like? It feels like The Foetus is trying to physically push his way through the cervix by bracing his legs against my ribs and diaphragm. Not gunna work, little buddy. You have to set off this whole hormone cascade and actually dilate the thing first. Trust me.


Today I saw SOB and everything is still fine, although I got that feeling again where... well, before he palpates my abdomen he rubs his hands together vigorously to warm them so I don't get a shock when he touches my bare skin, which is all very good and professional and everything, but as I lie there watching him do this, him towering over the exam table, I just can't help but expect him to throw his head back and cry, "Bwahahahaha ha haaaa!" It's a mite disconcerting.


Today, SOB signed off on my birth plan. I know! First labour, and I have a birth plan. How cute! The thing is, though, we're giving birth in a foreign country, with its own cultural practices, and no-one, including SOB, is inclined to wait until I'm 7cm dilated to have an argument over my fong.


People keep commanding me to be things. "You're so close! You must be excited/nervous/impatient/etc!" At this stage, I find I'm neither excited nor scared. I'd describe myself as quietly waiting to see how it turns out. It seems infertility beat my sense of anticipation into such a pulp it has not yet recovered. As for patience - we've waited this long, another couple of weeks seems easily doable. I'll get back to you on all these. They may change.


I've also been asked if we're ready. I'm never very sure how to answer. The best I can do is tell you that, give or take a cot, a carseat, and a cute little cloth nappy stash, we're about as ready as we've been for several years. Which is to say ready enough, I hope.


New pictures up on our picture site. Email me if you want to see and can't.

Short Version: as the title suggests, really. Pretty sure it's not going anywhere fast, though.

So I wouldn't call them contractions. They're twinges. Cramps. They're uncomfortable enough to make me slow down my walking and, every so often, to suck in my breath. Last night they disturbed my sleep. But they don't last more than a few moments, and I get the idea a contraction, as such, should hang on for, at the very least, what? ten or fifteen seconds at a stretch? If not much, much longer. So I think this is more of an irritated, my-pelvic-floor-is-squashed-now response to having The Foetus sit so low, rather than an actual onset-of-labour type thing. Plus it seems to happen in response to either a) The Foetus moving or b) me getting up to walk around or c) my bladder and/or bowels becoming full, but never d) just spontaneously off its own back. However. I thought I'd mention it.

Short Version: perhaps you'd call it nesting, but I think it's more accurate to call it hoarding.

"Check out our freezer," I said to Mr Bea. "It's half-full of frozen food, and the other half is coming soon."

"Excellent thinking."

"Then I had a sudden urge to stock up on toilet paper."

"Well, we do have a lot of guests arriving, that's for sure*. And we don't want to run out of toilet paper."

"I've also started hoarding beer."


"You don't seem pleased. I thought you'd be pleased about the beer."

"Beer is pleasing, I'm just not too keen on the picture I'm getting in my mind of my nearly-nine-month-pregnant wife struggling uphill from the shops to our apartment with her little grocery cart chock-full of beer, whilst the neighbours stand around and tut and whisper behind their hands about how I probably beat you when I'm sober."

"I didn't see any tutting or whispering."

"Nevertheless. Maybe you should leave the beer-hoarding to me."

*We are booked solid with guests during May and June. I also have my uni exams somewhere in there. And something else might be happening... what is it...? Oh yeah. We will probably be taking care of a newborn. If you don't really hear from me until July, you'll know why.

P.S. If you were in Australia last night, or for some reason had access to Australian news, you might have noticed that my clexane video from IVF Shoot 'Em Up made a news montage about the recall of said drug. My belly was on national news! Cheers for the head's up, Jules.

You can't get a good bitch-slapping round here even if you ask for it! You guys are sweet. But I don't want to lose my perspective - it's one precious thing I've gained from the infertility - so those who offered to bitch-slap if asked, I hope you're prepared to make good on your offer if and when.

Short Version of this post: stuff is happening. Don't get too excited - I think I still have a good couple of weeks to go.

Question: hypothetically speaking, if your husband comes to bed late despite prompting, would you say a proportional response involved a) a small amount of verbalised irritation or b) beating him out of the house with a pillow in a wild frenzy, then locking the door, forcing him to sleep outside on a sun lounger under a sky threatening to rent itself apart with a violent, tropical storm? Hypothetically speaking?

I think my hormones may be fluctuating again. I've woken up with the same kinds of hot flushes I experienced in the first trimester; my breasts have suddenly gone up another cup size, with accompanying tenderness; my pelvic cavity has regressed from a cheerful, hardworking body part to a whiny, toddlerish body part ("Slow dooooooown!" "That huuuuuuuurts!" "I need to go to the toooooooiiilet!" and so on - pretty tolerable, but it does seem heavier down there); The Foetus seems restricted, more or less, to squirming rather than kicking; and I just feel, kind of... restless. Like pre-menstrual restless. I'd say it's my nesting instinct kicking in, but to date I have only progressed as far as getting grumpy at the standards of tidyness and cleanliness around the house, but not as far as doing anything about it.

So I'd say my hormones are starting to fluctuate. Suddenly, it really does feel like the end is coming close. Which I think, together with the fact that the storm didn't actually break until 6am (by which time I had relented and unlocked the door), is why Mr Bea has decided to be patient and forgiving with me.

Short Version: invitation to a bitch-slapping. The bitch would be me. Subjects discussed - birth, infant care. And infertility, again.

You know how, sometimes, what you need isn't unconditional validation and support, but a good, stern talking-to from a friend? This is one of those times. It's about the birth. Well, it's not just about the birth, that's the whole issue - it's about the infertility. It's always about the infertility.

Every so often someone asks me why we're keeping The Foetus' sex a secret (except from you guys), even though we know ourselves, and I say something flippant about how much I enjoy teasing my mother, but that's not it only a small an initially small but steadily increasing part of it. If pushed further, I will add that we wanted gifts in a more imaginative variety of colours than the traditional pink or blue, but that's really nothing to do with it. When Mr Bea and I discussed it together, our reasoning was two-fold. First, there was this sense in which we were still feeling trepidacious about letting people know we were "having a baby" at all. We were far too scared to commit to having this baby.

But we also just... well, we just wanted to keep it a surprise. It was our private information, and we controlled it. Infertility made that precious to us, having taken so much of our privacy and control away. Even if we had tried to keep as much as possible of our journey a secret, we would have needed to tell our GP, our fertility specialist, his nurse, his reception staff, the phlebotomists, the scientists and lab assistants, the anaesthetist, the hospital admissions people, the clinic's nurse counsellor, the chickie who comes in twice a week to freeze semen, the accounts department, the claims staff at two separate insurance agencies (one state, one private), several pharmacists, the security staff at the airport who checked my needles through, and any number of people at the clinics in Sydney (where our recurrent miscarriage specialist works) and Singapore.

Now I know what some of you are thinking. You're thinking, "Girl, if you're complaining about a loss of privacy and autonomy, you're talking to the wrong face. You had insurance, two sets of gametes, a functioning uterus, and a partner who was on the same page. Come step in my shoes and we'll see just how violated you feel." I'll cop to that - it's true. Infertility doesn't treat us all equally, and so far it has treated us relatively well. But although it takes more from some than others, there's no doubt it gets a certain piece of us all. It has robbed me of my desired level of privacy and autonomy.

And, God help me, I want it back.

Somewhere in my presumed-fertile past I didn't much care about my birth experience, and not so long ago I had whittled my aspirations down to a single, live, take-home baby (bonus points for being healthy). So when, and how, did this new transformation occur? When did I start worrying about the fact that I might want pain relief or need any number of interventions? When did I gain this ardent passion for exclusive breastfeeding? Why do I feel such a need to prove that I can do it alone? And how, when there are genuine things to worry about, can I be afraid of simply... needing more help?

Also, where the fuck do I get off even wanting these things? Did I not get beaten down hard enough, that I've bounced back so quickly and with so many extraneous demands? Have I learned nothing? Have I forgotten it so easily?

I want to be ok with whatever has to happen. My head has my priorities straight - I'll be fine, it says, with anything that brings The Foetus home safely. I just want to be sure my heart will agree.

You may start speaking sternly now, I can take it and won't hate you, I promise.

Short Version: Another appointment, everything fine, officially at term now with SOB saying he doesn't mind when I go into labour from here on in. I discuss my labour preparations.

"I don't know why the prenatal class teacher spent so long drilling us on pelvic floor exercises," I said to Mr Bea the other night. "Every time The Foetus headbutts my bladder I get practice pretty much automatically!"

"Er... yes," he answered, awkwardly. "Is that the kind of bawdy, intimate humour you have girlfriends and a blog for?"

Based on that conversation, I'm supposing he doesn't want to hear about the evening primrose oil capsules I've decided to stick up my neveryoumind. Do you want to hear about the evening primrose oil capsules I've decided to stick up my neveryoumind? Wouldn't be the worst thing you've read on the blogs today, would it?

I've got these evening primrose oil capsules. I've heard you should stick them up your neveryoumind on a daily (or is it twice daily?) basis, starting from about thirty-six weeks or as soon as you get around to it afterwards. Ideally, this should be combined with perineal massage, which is something else Mr Bea would be embarrassed to discuss, although I would like to point out that he's man enough to actually do what he has to do. (It was the same all through fertility treatments. We have this unspoken agreement that the sperm samples he obtained in the clinic "men's room" were produced more or less by magic.)

But bless him he will, for example, brew up a nice hot cup of rasberry leaf tea, which he doesn't like talking about either, but that's more because it bores him. So I've got the rasberry leaf tea, the pelvic floor exercises, the perineal massage, and the evening primrose oil up the neveryoumind, but I am in two minds about one matter: sex. You see, I've heard that the prostaglandins in semen are most efficiently absorbed through the gut. Then again, you won't get any perineal massage or pelvic floor workout that way, will you? Things to ponder. And perhaps to discuss, but only with girlfriends and blogpeople.

So have I missed anything?

Short Version: Cot purchase and safety/environmental/animal welfare announcement in one.

I nearly posted to ask you to resolve a moral dilemma for me, except then I thought of the perfect answer. So now I'm posting to boast about my answer under the pretense of keeping kids safe by disseminating information about the hazards of cots. Let's face it - most of you are well-versed in this stuff already, being the info-savvy, long-prepared, safety-conscious people you are. Frankly, if anyone knows this stuff and takes it seriously, it's an infertility blogger, think about it. Then again what the heck, you can't repeat an important safety message enough times, and there's always the chance you'll tell me how wise and clever I am. Therefore on with it.

It started when we saw a second-hand cot for sale. I know, we have the bassinet for starters, but it won't last for long, and I happened to see this at a good price, plus, hey! recycling! so I arranged to view it, tape measure in hand. Why a tape measure? Because I wanted to make sure it conformed to safety guidelines (pdf), and for that you need a tape measure to figure out how big all the gaps and things are. Happily, the cot passed the test and we arranged delivery to our flat.

That's when the dilemma started. Because the people wanted to get rid of not only the cot, but also the bedding, and they were using far more of it than is recommended by Sids and Kids in their safe sleeping FAQ (pdf). There is also the issue of using second-hand mattresses, which is discussed in the above brochure, and although the SIDS people haven't found enough reason to recommend against using one provided the mattress is otherwise safe, I am paranoid enough to want a new one anyway. So my dilemma was this: so much bedding, so little desire to use it. What does one do with two cot bumpers and five tiny pillows that one considers to be a death trap for infants? As well as a second-hand mattress which is arguably safe, but you never know?

When you have things to get rid of you have several choices: you can sell them, you can give them away, or you can chuck them. Now, whilst chucking them seems wasteful, selling them or giving them away involves a high risk that someone else will use stuff on their baby which you consider to be below acceptable safety standards, and there's something not quite moral about that. Profiting from their ignorance (by selling) does seem worse than passively accepting their ignorance (by offloading for free) but it doesn't really make the second option right.

Of course, ultimately there's a limit to my responsibility for other people's parenting decisions. I don't, for example, feel the need to picket stores that sell cot bumpers and baby pillows, or accost strangers wheeling prams in order to grill them on their tot's sleeping arrangements. On the other hand, I am clearly responsible for advertising used equipment as "used" and for being honest about my reasons for getting rid of something if asked. If I were to make up some reply about not liking the colour, that would obviously cross the line. But am I required to explain myself to people who don't ask me? If I am, is that enough, or should I go further by refusing to hand over the goods to anyone intending to use them for a baby, contrary to safe sleeping guidelines? If the second, am I required to ensure, absolutely, that the products don't get used for someone's baby in the future, or is it enough to gain reasonable satisfaction of such? What about my responsibility to the environment - to recycling and reducing landfill?

These were the questions I was going to pose to you when the answer hit me. The perfect place for unwanted and unsafe baby bedding is the local animal shelter or vet clinic. (Or, if you know someone, a neighbour with an elderly dog.) Why?

  • Cot mattresses are ideal surfaces for medium to large sized dogs with mobility problems (including those with arthritis or those temporarily bed-bound from illness). The soft cushiness will help guard against debilitating and potentially dangerous bedsores, yet the surface is close to the ground and therefore relatively easy to get onto and off. Depending on the make of the mattress, it may also include protection against leaky bladders and drool.

  • Small pillows can be used in clinic settings to prop patients into good positions - for comfort, ease of breathing, attachment and use of IV lines and other equipment, extra protection of wound areas, or positioning for x-rays.

  • Cot bumpers, with the help of scissors, needle and thread, can be turned into mini-mattresses for small patients, or a number of thin pillows.

Any way you look at it, vet clinics and animal shelters can make good, safe use of your unwanted baby bedding, and I feel that by handing it over to such an organisation for that defined purpose, I have made a reasonable enough effort to ensure that no harm comes from their future use. So that is what we have decided to do. Perhaps you can think of further ways to safely dispose of unwanted cot bedding (and if so, please add them in the comments).

To sum up, there are a few reasons I went ahead with this post:

  1. I wanted to remind people to check their safe sleeping guidelines when setting up their nursery. These guidelines can save little lives!

  2. I wanted to remind you not to dump when you can recycle! The planet (and your local vet clinic, animal shelter, or whatever) wants to put your unwanted stuff to good, safe, alternative uses.

  3. I was feeling smug about my solution and wanted to display my smugness publicly.

So there you have it. Goodnight and sleep well.

The IIFF Awards have been handed out. Head on over to the ceremony!

Short Version: I admit to the wisdom of my readers, and start nesting a little. Oh, by the way, I had another appointment and everything is normal. Weekly appointments from now on.

You were all right. Those of you who said it was no big deal and that it would work out either way - you were right. However, those of you who encouraged me to try and smooth the road by being prepared - you were also right. And those of you who pointed out that a bag packed by Mr Bea is a dubious proposition... well, let me take you back to our honeymoon, and a lesson I should have already learned.

In the hurly-burly of our wedding preparations nearly, gosh, nine years ago now, Mr Bea was assigned the task of packing a honeymoon bag. Long story short, he did quite well except for the underwear. Now, whilst I'm sure we can all find amusement in the fact that my groom forgot to pack any underwear at all for his bride to take on our honeymoon, I'm not so sure I'd be laughing about it in the maternity ward.

So I have packed. More accurately, I have thrown what I would like to pack into a plastic bag and dumped it into the bassinet, which is now out of its box and set up. I have also managed to drag Mr Bea to Ikea to buy dinky little storage solutions, and I have sat down and, well, I guess organised is the only word for it, the baby stuff.

"So that whole pregnant/nesting thing - not a myth?" Mr Bea said, poking his head into the nursery last night.

"Apparently not, from what I've read, although I do wish my instinct would kick in," I replied, stuffing a onsie into a drawer along with other onsies of arguably similar size*.

"Right..." he said, looking pointedly around the room.

"All these other people are way organised. You should see the Spock's nursery, with its ocean theme, and its boat-shaped bookshelf, and its drawers upon drawers of thrice-washed cloth nappies and infant clothing."

"How many pre-washes are you up to?"

"So far? Zero. Although, in my defence, most of our nappies haven't arrived yet."

"Yes... I do think you made a good choice when you decided against a legal career."

"Are you going to poke fun, or are you going to come and learn about the organisational intricacies of my changing system?"

"Will you hit me if I answer honestly?"

Anyway. I haven't got anything photographable yet, but at least I can see what we've got and where it is. And I'm in with a decent shot of being hygienically-clothed in the hospital. For now, I think we're good.

*"0-3 months" really does cover quite an eye-opening range of sizes, doesn't it?

Short Version: I wonder whether I need to be getting more organised.

Tell me if I'm wrong. By the time most of you wake up in your respective time zones and read this, I will be thirty-six weeks pregnant. I have, you know, stuff. After yesterday's car seat purchase, I officially have the sort of minimum requirements needed to get us through the hospital stay and, say, the first two days at home. It's not washed. It's not neatly laid out in a cute, fully-decorated nursery. It is, in point of fact, stuffed into the built-in robe in the spare room such that I can close the door and no visitor will know we even have stuff.

I haven't packed a hospital bag. Mr Bea asked when I was planning to pack a hospital bag. "I guess sometime..." I said, equivocating over whether to delete another 500 words of the essay on surrogacy I've been rewriting over and over again for several weeks now. "Damn, I've gone and contradicted myself again. I'm going to have to completely restructure this whole argument. We also have to pre-wash everything at least once, but you know, they say first stage of labour lasts eight to twelve hours, and is it just me, or is that heaps of time to throw some stuff into an overnight bag and put on a couple of loads?"

"And maybe arrange the nursery, set up the bassinet, put a few spare meals in the freezer, that type of thing?"

"For example."

"It depends. Are you also going to be rewriting your essay still?"

"Ah! I think I've worked it out! Do we own a copy of anything by Kant?"

Probably it'll all get done in a flash when my nesting instinct kicks in suddenly, any day now.


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