Monday, October 31, 2011

Week 33: Maternity Leave!

I have waited for this day since I found out I was pregnant - I am officially on maternity leave! It is actually very difficult to physically maintain a fit state to fully concentrate at work. In the beginning of the pregnancy, I felt nauseous and sick most of the time. In the middle, I had some good days and some really bad days when my back used to cause problems. Now, in my third trimester - I'm just too big to keep up with the highly demanding pace at work. I am slow, big and heavy - and that affects me mentally as well. It gets harder to get up in the mornings and to get ready, and driving for at least an hour everyday just to get to work has started to take its toll on me... in short, I did the best I can those final weeks at work - but I believe I have reached that point where I just cannot deal with work stress anymore, nor the travel, nor can I find the focus to deal with issues on a daily basis. 

Updated Belly Shot - 33 Weeks
Even with Mondays off, I felt like time wasn't enough. There's only so much a heavily pregnant woman can do in one day. I felt like I needed to "split" my chores - so I only do a little bit each day - so I don't get all tired and sore by the end of each day. 

I also felt like I needed to make more time for exercise. So there was no way I could fit everything in the weekend (which is usually busy with social events coming up as we approach Christmas!) and just one day off.

So... YAYY!! I am officially on maternity leave!

We had a truly busy weekend this week (and it's also the long Melbourne Cup weekend so the parties are not over yet) - we went to a lovely wedding on Saturday and it was a long drive to get there - and yes, I survived most of the day in fact surprised myself by how much energy I actually had. Even got up on the dancefloor a few times! But by 10pm I was wrecked and ready to go home, lol.

Then on Sunday, we drove a long way again to Werribee to celebrate hubby's parents' combined 60th Birthday. It was really good to see family and a lot of other people and the sister and brother in laws have all done a great job putting the party together. I didn't really do much... I guess I had the pregnancy excuse, lol. Of course, throughout the party I had to quietly sneak back into the house to rest my feet and then come back to the party, talked to a few more people, then sneak to a quiet corner somewhere again to sit, lol. It's silly being this pregnant! Can't stand up too long, can't sit down too long! After the party, we stayed up at the house for a little bit to hang out with the family. Then, it was time to head home and drive another long hour (I had a short snooze in the car), then pick up something quick for dinner on our way home, cook a simple meal, have dinner, watch a movie, bed.

I got up at 11am today. Finally a good night's sleep and I only have to get up to go to the toilet TWICE last night, woohoo!! Twice is good.. most nights I have to get up 3-4 times during the night to go to the toilet - very annoying - but hey, at least that's better than wetting the bed! Hahahaha... hubby is working from home today, so that's always nice. I am off to the CITY tonight for karaoke with some friends. I know, I know.. what am I doing with all these activities?? I should be fine by tonight, will take today easy breezy and be fully energised again for tonight. It'll be good to catch up with these friends before the baby arrives anyway - and it's so much easier to go out now anyway, so I may not get anymore chances to hang out with my friends when the baby is born.

Tomorrow, we're off to a Melbourne Cup day at another friend's place. So, as you can see... this weekend is hectic - but it's fun - and I don't have to stress about chores YET because I will have the rest of the week, oh wait the rest of the MONTH to do them all. 

I AM LOVIN' IT! Happy Maternity Leave TO ME!! :)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Week 30: Flights, Pram & Paid Parental Leave - CHECK!

Week 30 and getting more things done in preparation for the big day. 10 more weeks to go!


I have booked flights for my parents to come and visit me in Melbourne (my parents live in Malaysia) on the 27th June 2012. I know that seems ages away, but I booked those dates for various reasons:
  1. The flights on that date are the CHEAPEST flights I could find on Air Asia's website.
  2. It would take a lot of getting used to - having an extra person in the house aka a BABY, I think hubby and I would appreciate as much "family time" just the three of us and getting used to it first before having my parents also stay in the same house.
  3. I'm sure my parents would have more fun meeting their 6-month old grandchild for the first time who can smile back at them and interact better.
We've also purchased a PRAM today! I know we didn't really have to rush into buying a pram, but here's the thing - we didn't rush! There was a sale months ago on www.bambinobrands.com.au - I think I've mentioned it before on my previous posts - where the Baby Jogger City Select was on sale for $599 (the normal price is $929). We've missed out on that sale, because we procrastinated. Then, we went to Baby Bunting to physically check out all the different prams on offer. It was a nightmare! So confusing, so many choices... and then we saw the Baby Jogger City Select and we loved it. The thing was, the cheapest Baby Bunting could offer at that time was $720. Oh bummer... we've missed out on a GREAT deal online for just $599!!

THANKFULLY, the online sale came back today. Same price, same pram, same sale. And we bought it!! Hooorrrayyyy!! We picked the "Ruby" pram as the only other option is "Diamond" which is too white for my liking - I don't trust white things around a baby, it'll just get dirty too easily!

To view full specs of this pram: http://www.babyjogger.com/city_select_dtl.aspx
To view a list of accessories that can be purchased separately: http://www.babyjogger.com/c-31-Accessories.aspx#cityselect

And finally, I've submitted my claim for Paid Parental Leave - it was all done online, and it took me three attempts to get the application right. So many things / paperwork I needed to get together in order to provide all the information the Australian government / Centrelink needed to process this claim! Paperwork is so important, all my Australian Visa stuff, all the passport details, Tax File Numbers, Employer Details, Income Details, etc - so important to stay organised and have all this information properly filed so it's easily available whenever an application like this needed to be completed. Thankfully, it's all done now. Just need to wait for their response.

If successful, I think I get 18 weeks Paid Parental Leave funded by the government at the current National Minimum Wage. Not much, but better than nothing and a few thousand dollars more than the Baby Bonus when you add them all up. For more information, visit this page.


Friday, October 7, 2011

Childbirth Education Class Part 1/3


Hubby and I went to our first Childbirth Education Class last night at Casey Hospital. It was really good to attend the class as a couple, and be surrounded by other couples who are going through the same stages of pregnancy and are also about to be first time parents. It also felt good that we weren't the only ones who are almost completely clueless about what to expect, and realise how little we knew.

The Childbirth Education Classes Program at Casey Hospital costs $75 per couple - and are split into 3 weeknight sessions from 6.30 - 9.30pm. The educator tends to finish up by 9pm so that's not too bad. Starting at 6.30pm is a struggle though, since we normally don't even get home from work until close to 6.30 and if the traffic is bad we could be running late. It also means we don't really have time to have dinner beforehand.. which is not good. Last night, we just made it at 6.30 due to the traffic so we didn't have dinner until we got home at 9.30 (we went and got Red Rooster takeaway at a drive through... was too hungry to have time to COOK anything!)

The class was quite interactive. The educator really encouraged us to get to know each other and be involved in group activities. We started by getting to know the person next to us and then introducing that person to everyone in the class. There were about 11 couples - which is actually quite an unusually HUGE group. Apparently they don't normally take more than 6 -7 couples.

After the Ice Breaking activity, the educator started to cover the various stages of natural labour. Casey Hospital only accepts Low Risk pregnancies and they only do natural labour (with some minimal gas / drugs assist when required) and only resort to a C-Section if there was a breach (baby positioned the wrong way i.e. leg first instead of head first) or a serious complication discovered during pregnancy / labour. Casey Hospital has one of the lowest rates of C-Sections in the country. What is that rate? Apparently 10%. Which is still pretty high in my opinion.. I mean, if there were 11 couples in that training room last night - that pretty much means ONE of us will have to have a C-section!! But apparently 10% is the lowest rate, so it's all good.

Anyway, after explaining some of the stages, she showed us a VIDEO of a natural home birth. I think that was my first time watching a labour... I always tend to avoid watching the actual LABOUR process even when documentaries on pregnancies were on TV. This time, I couldn't escape! It was ... not that bad, I guess.

After the video, we split into 3 groups and had discussions on:
  1. The Things We Need to help create a good Birthing Environment
  2. The Qualities / Characteristics of a Support Person
  3. The Qualities / Characteristics of the Woman Giving Birth
I liked those discussions - especially the first one. It helps me prepare a checklist of things to pack before going into labour, things that might be good for us to take to the hospital when the day finally arrives.

Then we finished with ANOTHER video.... *goose bumps*
This time it was a longer video, the lady was swinging her hips around during 2nd stage labour... and then one funny moment when we see her husband falling asleep on the bed while she breathes in and out on a fit ball (assisted by whom I assume was her midwife / mother). She was getting massages to help her feel better - and then another funny moment when her HUSBAND was getting massages too at the same time??!! What the?! Lol. Then she was in the shower, and she looked like she was in agonizing pain... and then.. and THEN... oh my goodness they showed her girly bits and showed her RUPTURE OF MEMBRANES that was apparently a rare case of BIG splash. It was WEIRRDDDD!!! But anyway, she had her baby and all was good.

So I STILL DON'T KNOW how I feel about watching these videos!! Part of me thinks "ignorance is bliss" and I'll just deal with it when the time comes. Another part of me thinks it's good to "be prepared" and know what's coming so I know how to deal with it.

Definitely feeling better now though, and more prepared. Looking forward to learning (and seeing?) more in our next 2 classes.

Oh and BY THE WAY, the ASSIGNMENT for this week:
  1. Have a QUESTION prepared about the last session to ask in the next session.
  2. Partners / husbands - give your wives MASSAGES this week and KNOW what she likes. Best to know now than to "experiment" during labour and possibly irritate her! Nice... I like :-)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Week 29: Nursery Update (Getting there!)

Our house has 3 bedrooms and a study. So, we previously had a master bedroom, a study and 2 guest rooms. One of the guest rooms had just a bunk bed and the other guest room has a single bed and bookshelves so we also refer to that room as the "library".

Now that we need to convert the 2nd guest room / library into a nursery... last weekend we were faced with the question: What do we do with that single bed??? Our baby will not require a bed for at least a few years, and the room is not big enough to fit the single bed AND the bassinet / cot and everything else baby related.

So... this is what we did...


Oh boy, now our guest room is looking like a hostel or backpackers lodge or something, lol. So many beds! This should get interesting when the family comes to visit... they will all either have to cramp in the same room, or we will need to bring the mattress out to the lounge room. Eek! We need more rooms!! Or we need to get rid of the pool table or something to make more room in the living area!! Where is the kid going to play?? Oh but that's a different story... I don't even have the kid yet and I'm thinking about where he's gonna PLAY?? Getting ahead of myself... anyway moving on.

As for the nursery, it is finally starting to look like it is expecting a child. I've put some stickers up on the wall, cleared some of the junk (although most of the junk is still hiding in the closet and in boxes at a corner), sorted through the Size 000 clothes and folded them neatly into drawers, got some newborn nappies also in the drawers, and finally replaced the worn out changetable top with a new one from Baby Bunting.


So far so good! I'm pretty happy - I think I've covered most of the basics. I get to procrastinate now for another month or so, yes? All the junk in the corner... don't know what to do with them yet. Will need to wait for Hard Rubbish Collection. Plus the baby will be sleeping in our room at least for the first few months anyway.

Yeah, it's getting there!