I've been thinking hard about how to prepare Bear for the arrival of a baby. I'm not sure how much he can understand at 20 months about what's going to happen. I suspect not very much. That said we want to give him the benefit of the doubt and talk to him as if he can understand. My main objective is to teach Bear what a newborn baby is like and what it does.
I've had a hunt around for a good board book that introduces babies to very young toddlers. I couldn't find anything I was happy with. I wanted to find something that had realistic pictures of newborns in board book format so that Bear could independently explore it without doing it damage. I liked this one the best - the content seemed relevant and age appropriate but the pictures weren't realistic - I might get it for him later, once he's met the baby. In the mean time I've made some cards for him instead.
I found this book at an op shop and had to buy it (I remembered it satisfying my adolescent curiosity when I first found it on my mum's book shelf back in the day). It has beautiful photos of newborns doing newborn things. I photocopied them onto photo paper, cut them out and laminated them onto some cardboard. They came out nice and robust.
We use them to talk about what babies are like and what they do i.e. sleep, nappy changes, baths, cuddles, cry... The cards live in a basket in Bear's baby drawer (the only drawer in the playroom that isn't Bear-proof) with his baby doll, a blanket, a bib, a washcloth and a soft rattle.
A baby doll
I was so inspired by this post to put out a baby doll for Bear. Why not teach boys to care for baby dolls? How important are tender, gentle, confident fathers!
We look at the baby's face and body and point out his eyes, nose, ears, fingers and toes. We take his clothes off and put them back on. We cover him with a blanket. We take turns cuddling him.
Bear doesn't choose to get the baby out on his own. I guess he's still just not that interested. He's much more interested in pushing his truck, building train tracks and throwing balls. Every now and then I suggest to him that we explore in his baby drawer and he enjoys playing with the baby together.
The count down is on before we meet our second son. I wish I could know how and when it will all happen. All I can be sure of is that is will unfold in its own way and I'm sure very differently from my labour with Bear. I've been imagining the way I would like it all to happen and have shared my dream birth story below.
I'll wake it the early hours of the 9th April (the day I'm booked for my induction) with strong contractions coming regularly. I'll lie quietly in bed snuggled up next to Tom and listen to my favourite playlist. I'll sleep in between contractions until they get too strong to lie quietly through them or until the sun comes up.
I'll get up and make myself a delicious and hearty low carbohydrate breakfast - nutty muesli with apricots and honey - pausing to breath through contractions. I'll eat outside in the crisp morning with my ugg boots and beanie on and a blanket over my lap. I'll watch the sun rise across the paddocks and listen to the birds waking up.
By the time Bear wakes up the contractions will be getting stronger and I'll wake Tom up to help me with him. I'll bounce on my exercise ball while Tom and Bear eat breakfast then I'll play with Bear while Tom has a shower and gets dressed. Bear and I will talk about babies and read books about babies. Or maybe we'll just play with his toys or play outside together.
Once we're all dressed we'll take Izzy for a walk through the bush. A slow, lazy walk. Enjoying each others company. Pausing for contractions. Taking our time.
It's probably time to call the midwife and the babysitters when we get back to give them an update. We'll plan to stay at home for now, we'll come in to the hospital when the contractions get stronger.
Bear and I will hop in the bath while Tom makes us a big breakfast for lunch with bacon and eggs, french toast, avocado, mushrooms and a strawberry smoothie. Bear goes to bed after lunch for a sleep and contractions start getting much stronger.
I lean on the kitchen bench through contractions while Tom rubs my back or holds a hot water bottle for me. I rest in between on my fit ball. While Tom gets our bags in the car I hop back in the bath then he comes in to massage my back with tennis balls.
By the time Bear wakes up from his sleep contractions are coming every 3 minutes and I'm keen to get up to the hospital. We all get in the car and head into town. Tom drops me off first then takes Bear to the babysitters. He leaves me in the care of my midwife who shows me to my room. She checks my cervix - 6mm dilated! more than half way. When Tom gets back I'm in the bath again and he sits with me and rubs my back through the intense contractions.
One contraction at a time. I focus on the second hand of the clock and my breathing. Time ticks by. Finally I feel the urge to push so we hop out of the bath and I kneel up on the bed. Pushing with contractions and breathng in between. One push after another after another.
Finally my slimy little boy arrives. I scoop him up and we snuggle up and enjoy the amazing relief of being together peacefully again. He's calm and alert and almost immediately he's looking for my breast. Before the midwife has a chance to get the glucometer out he's sucking vigorously with a perfect attachment.
I'm nervous about the amount of intervention I'm going to end up needing. A short natural labour would be a dream come true. There are threats of induction, continuous foetal monitoring, drips, assisted second stage, formula feeds, special care nursery admissions... Of course these things aren't disasters and I am completely prepared to cooperate 100% with whatever my midwife and doctors advice. But I dream of a natural birth... I pray that it will be so.
I love the new year period. I love the symbolism of a new beginning. A fresh start. I love to use it as a period of reflection on the year gone by. To take stock of the things we've done and have yet to do. To refresh my goals and ambitions. To ponder on the challenges ahead and how to negotiate them.
This year is a big one for our family. My husband and I are both starting in very new jobs. Bear will be cared for outside our home for the first time. We're expecting a new baby boy in April.
I am so excited about all of these things and the new challenges they will bring. I feel amazingly blessed and cared for by God. I can't help but feel that he's intricately working out these things for us in the way that he has planned. I trust him completely.
But I must admit I have had a nervous feeling in the background of my mind. I have felt that this is the calm before the storm. Change is often difficult and all three of us (soon to be four of us!!) have huge changes coming all at the same time. I have been using the last few weeks in our familiar routine to prepare as much as possible. To get organised and tidy up loose ends. My New Year's Resolution is simply discipline. I want 2015 to be characterised by discipline in all areas of my life. The first 8 days of 2015 were looking great. I was feeling capable, confident and excited.
Then I was thrown off balance.
It looks like I have gestational diabetes. I have no risk factors. No family history. My pregnancy with Bear was completely normal. This has come out of no where. This was not part of the plan at all. It is completely out of my control.
This tiny bit of news - intellectually I know it's not necessarily a big deal - has completely overwhelmed my coping mechanisms. It's made me realise that I was only just getting by with the mental "to do list" I already had. I suddenly feel like everything is too much. I have no energy left. My motivation is gone. The heat is oppressive. I need to pee all the time. Think of all the appointments! How on earth will I live without donuts?! I don't have enough discipline for this!!
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6
I don't understand God's will and plans. But I wonder if he's thrown diabetes my way to remind me to lean on him. To do lists often trick me into thinking I can control more than I really can. Gestational diabetes is not a disaster and it is not outside God's sovereign plan for our 2015. I think our path might have changed direction somewhat but I am determined to submit to God wherever it leads.
After the midwife gave me the news about the diabetes I was reminded what a joy it is to be pregnant. When she felt my tummy we were both surprised to find that the baby was lying transverse! What a cheeky boy! It's like he was making a little baby joke to cheer me up. Whatever sacrifices and physical discomfort I might be put through it is worth it for the privilege of bringing a new unique little person into the world. Praise God for his good gifts.
My name is Vicky I am wife to Ranger and mum to two boys - Bear (2) and Fox (8 months). Somehow I stumbled across Montessori and now my goal is to raise and educate my children with a Montessori philosophy in country NSW Australia.