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Last Saturday was a beautiful, sunny day, so my DH put our baby girl in her stroller and walked with her to the mall, about 2km from our house. ‘Babaliefie’ loves going to the mall. DH used to hate malls, but he loves taking his girl there. It’s such a cute picture: DH strutting around as proud as any dad could be with his beaming little treasure in her pram. (I had to put in a few hours of studying, so couldn’t go with. 😦 )

About two hours later, DH called asking me to please come fetch them with the car. Someone handed out balloons at the mall and DH was worried that walking back with the balloon in the sun would make it go *boom*.

When I arrived at the mall, I instantly understood. My baby girl sat in her pram with an orange balloon that was almost as big as she was. Both her arms were wrapped tightly around the balloon’s fat waist and its orange cheek was pressed firmly against hers. She was staring dreamily at the world, her eyes filled with wonder.

It was true love*.

I had a hard time strapping my ‘liefietjie’ into her car seat, as she didn’t want to let go of her balloon for even a second.

Back at home, we did everything we could to balloon-proof the house. She seems way too young to be confronted with the disillusionment, disappointment and pain of a broken heart.

Ai, if only it could be this easy to keep her heart safe forever..

* Tongue in cheek, of course. 😉


Last Friday’s fetal assessment went so well!

‘Babaliefie #2’ has a nuchal fold only 1.54 mm, very obvious nose bone (looks like a little Jew, actually!) and a risk of 1/3000 for Down’s (out of 85% of my maternal age risk of 1/200). So I’m thinking of not going for an amnio despite my age. I hate to consider that 1/400 risk of miscarriage that an amnio has – although I’m almost tempted to go just to see such a big a$$ needle!

Baby was a perfect size for 12 weeks 3 days. Heart rate 143 bpm.

The specialist scared me a little by saying the risk for spina bifida is much increased for baby, as I have spina bifida occulta (like my brother and dad too) – a practically symptomless version of the condition that only shows up as a vertebrae or two missing the spina part. But by the time she said it, I was already way too chuffed to really worry. Baby was busy drinking some amnio fluid and kicking its feet. Who could be worried there would be something seriously wrong while you’re looking at that?

I suppose it’s true what they say about second pregnancies (following a previous pregnancy that had a happy ending): you worry a lot less. True, you don’t have as much time to sit around worrying about your pregnancy while you’ve got your hands full looking after a little baby/toddler. Also, you’ve seen everything working out fine before – which is such a priviledge.

Lastly, baby seemed to try and flash those privates for us. It’s early days of course, but I’m going to have to start dreaming in baby blue!

Warning: I wrote this draft a week or two ago, but couldn’t just post it right away. It’s actually a rather raw, intense post. Fun on the outset, but also dark, philosophical and maybe disturbing. I hope that if you do decide to read it, that you will find some of the whimsical beauty in it that I tried to convey.

One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: That word is love.

Sophocles (496 BC–406 BC)

It’s still dark outside. Hubby is in the shower. Baby and I are playing in our PJ’s on the bed. Tickles, giggles, squeals and kisses.

Tiny, dimply hands outstretched. Asking for more cuddles, more rough and tumble, more of life. Baby somersaults and Billy Elliot leaps test the mattress’s enthusiasm, giving the old thing a higher purpose.

The window is coated with winter rain on the outside. On the inside, it’s fogged up with sweet baby breath, with the warmth of our fidgeting, squirming bodies and the love in our hearts. Tickles, giggles, squeals and kisses.

Somewhere in Somalia a child is starving. Somewhere a few kilometers down the road, a baby is being dumped in a rubbish bin.

The time will come when blowing raspberries will lose their charm. Time will sculpt those fat cheeks into a sleek profile. Time will shape my back into a crescent. My arms will no longer be strong enough to make my darling jump like Billy Elliot and make her somersault through the air.

But on this rainy, wintry morning, I’m playing with my baby. Tickles, giggles, squeals and kisses.

And for some brief, heavenly moments we’re untouchable. Far out of reach of world hunger, Malema, misery and despair. Two small souls lost in a moment of pure, sacred joy – against the vast backdrop of time, space and eternity.

Warning: Ladies who have not (yet?!) been blessed with a pregnancy might find this post offensive, but it is really not my intention to sound ungrateful at all. I promise. It’s just that I’m not made of plastic and it would feel like a lie not to post this for the sake of, I don’t know, niceness?

A guy once took me on a romantic flight in a microlight airplane round the magnificent Cape Peninsula. It was early one beautiful, perfect, sunny Sunday morning.

I skipped breakfast as I optimistically thought motion sickness wouldn’t be such a problem if I didn’t provide my stomach with any ‘ammunition’.. Wrong! I spent most of that flight trying to empty my stomach as discreetly as possible into a sick bag. (Never saw the guy again..)

At the risk of sounding ungrateful, I find that to be the story of first trimesters. You start out on this wonderful high and then things really go downhill from there.

This time I’m actually not as nauseous as last time (when I was wondering 24/7 whether I’m still OK or whether to start running to the loo that very minute). This time round, I am however so tired that I wish I could just stay in bed all day. I am taking Asic (anti-nausea meds) religiously, but that’s probably contributing to my fatigue.

This morning, I dropped LG off at daycare and then decided to rather work from home. I somehow ended up on the bed and only woke up again THREE AND A HALF HOURS later – so lunch time really. (Possibly low on iron, as I was shivering underneath a thick winter blanket?) What a way to start a week. Now I’ll have to put in leave for today, I guess. I also put in leave for all of last week, so I’ll be running out of leave (and excuses!) soon!

To top it, I had the creepiest dream. I kept dreaming I was awake, but had locked-in syndrome or something. My mind kept trying to wake up my useless body and open my eyes, but just couldn’t. I only know it was a dream, since in the dream I was asleep on a train (really bizarre, hey Freud?).

Despite this ungracious rant, I have not had any bleeding or severe cramps (again unlike last time) and have so much to be grateful for. Most importantly, sucking at first trimesters is such a small inconvenience, compared to sucking at conceiving – I’ll always be painfully aware of that.

FAS (12-week one) is on Friday. Please, please could all be OK – and roll on second trimester!

Something amazing happened just more than a year ago the first time I held my tiny, newborn baby in my arms. I looked at her and knew, just knew that she was perfect – that she would become the brightest, prettiest little girl ever. She had unlimited potential and could become anything she wanted, from a rocket scientist to a ballerina or rock star.

Inevitably, as I got to know my beloved baby angel, worries and doubts started to form. Shouldn’t she have smiled by now? Would having been born a month prem have a lasting effect on her? Was her head circumference at birth too small? Does she have enough trunk rotation (the silly paeds OT in me here)? Will she be OK in school someday? Am I doing enough to stimulate her? Is my full time work influencing her negatively?

I recently saw a blog where a mom had listed her little genius’s milestones and it went something like this:

  • 3 weeks 6 days: Smiles at mom
  • 2 months: Rolls over
  • 5 months: Crawls at 44 km/h
  • 9 months: Gets distinction for Applied Maths degree

OK not quite – but it was along those lines. (And of course parents brag about their babies! I really have no problem with that!)

I guess in the past year and a bit I’ve learned that a baby is like a wonderful gift, beautifully gift-wrapped. It will take many years to carefully unwrap this gift and to get to know this brand new little person.

Although my baby angel doesn’t give me (or her paediatrician) any reason to wonder whether she is anything but developing beautifully, I suppose it will be quite a few more years before we really know what talents, problems, limitations, dreams and fears my little girl will have to face during her lifetime.

Some things are already evident, e.g. she is waaaay too tall to become a ballerina, dancer or gymnast. (Not surprising of course, considering how tall her parents are!)

I suppose what I’ve learned since that first magical moment I’ve held her, is that she is unique and real – and human, just like me and my DH.

My greatest wish, having come to that realisation, is that I will be able to be there for her always – a guiding hand, a shoulder to cry one, a mentor. I hope that she will be able to trust me with her secrets, to share with me her joys and sorrows and to delight me with her achievements – whatever they may be.

Having been blessed with this wonderful baby, may God also grant me this wish: May I be able to be ‘there’ for her, through all of her winning, losing and trying – now and for the remaining days and years (God willing) of my life.


August 2011
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