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Jacobus4Liefste Kleinboet

Ek sit en wonder waar my gunsteling Kleinboet-soentjies hul plekkies vind.

Onder jou haastige, trippel-trippel voetjies wanneer ek saans vir jou skoon lyfie pajamies aantrek na badtyd?

Agter teen jou warm, kielie-kielie intrek-nekkie as ek jou inhardloop en opraap?

Op die goue sonstrepe in jou wip-wip hare wanneer jy spring-spring langs my lessenaar kom staan en my grootoog van ‘n “pinnetop”1  vertel?

Bo-op jou ronde wil-self handjies wat “Tyk! Tyk2, Mamma!!” jou nuwe wêreld vir my wys?

Op jou boepmagie waarop ek raserige soentjies blaas nadat ons soggens in die bed gelê en stories lees het?

Op jou sagte wangetjies wanneer jou lyfie donkernag teen my kom warmte en troos soek?

Nee, ek weet nou:  my gunsteling soentjies is die waar jou kleine lippies self onverwags, soos ‘n skoenlappertjie, op myne kom sit

  1. ‘pinnetop’ = ‘spinnekop’
  2. ’Tyk’ is sy woord vir ‘Kyk’

Note: I’m’ breaking the blogging drought of the year up to now by a looooong post that is generally about how wonderful I think my kids are. I don’t expect the level of detail or the tone of the post to interest any stranger, of maybe even friend, but hey! It’s my blog, isn’t it? 😉 So here goes.. 


There are so many, many, many things we teach our children. But then there comes a day that your little baby does something you haven’t taught him or her: something your baby was born to do or born to like. Or born to be.

I find this part of raising kids to be the most exciting part of the parenthood adventure – or at least one of the best parts. When you first hold your baby, you have no idea who that little person will become. Then – slowly – as the years pass, you get to know more and more about the little baby nestling against your breast, the tot jumping on your bed, the little person living in your house, the little soul that was entrusted into your care.

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Some people say you should never compare your kids. Well ..ha! I’m about to do just that. So here I will be revelling in the uniqueness of my ‘babies’.

I get that we’re not supposed to force stereotypical ideas of how boys or girls are supposed to behave unto our kids. Thing is, I’ve been reading many of the same baby books (like “First 100 Words”, etc.) to both my little girl and my little boy and I love watching them discover favourite things.

My girl fell in love with a picture of lovely pink, purple, blue and green soap bubbles when she was 13 months old. She would turn the pages till she found those bubbles and then she would stare and stare and stare. If you were to turn the page, she’d instantly page back to those beloved bubbles. Ever since, she’s been in love with everything that’s round (specific mention required here of balls and balloons), pink and pretty. She also loves flowers, ducks, bunnies, butterflies.. you get the drift.

My boy was about 13 months old when he fell in love with a picture – of a yellow front loader-bulldozer-type thing. Other favourites followed: cars, tractors, everything with wheels, elephants.. What can I say?

More on my girl

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I love seeing my little girl’s creative flair in action. She was fifteen months old when she took a bunch of balloons and ‘arranged’ them so that they were decorating our (previously dull) couch. (She would make ‘Bambi eyes’ in the mall at every Spur or Wimpy waiter standing in front of a bunch of promotional balloons.)

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My girl is a perfectionist. When she started building towers with cubes, those blocks had to be perfectly aligned. She’d become very upset if she struggled to line them up with those tiny, clumsy hands. The downside of this is that she clearly dislikes failure and will avoid things she might not succeed at.

She’s generally a pretty tough cookie. She took teething in her stride. After falling over, she’d usually be more concerned about what happened to the bottle or duck she was carrying than the damage done to her knees or the bump on her head. After taking a tumble, she’d sometimes look a bit embarrassed and say: ‘Ooapsie’. At her 18 months vaccinations, she watched in fascination as the clinic sister gave her multiple jabs – without shedding a tear. She moaned a little afterwards as the Prevenar’s sting kicked in, but that was it. (She has some sensory issues though, so she’d cry blue murder when I washed her hair or bushed her teeth! Go figure.)

She can be very eager to please and love it when I tell her that I’m proud of her. Ask her to help with a chore however, and she might be reduced to tears! She can spend the entire day packing toys, seeds, nappies, rocks or whatever into various containers, buckets, strollers, bags, but just try asking her to put away her toys. Go ahead, I dare you to give it a try! ;-D She’s a little whirlwind blowing through my house.

She loves mixing-and-matching her shoes.  No, not with clothes.  Just with other shoes..  sigh.  We often go out with her looking like this:IMAG0369
Give her a sweetie and she’ll save it for later. Give her a few sweeties and she might eat some, but she’ll definitely be saving the rest for a rainy ‘day’.

She has developed the most entertaining, endearing imagination! Somewhere before her second birthday she started engaging in pretend play: blocks strung together would become a train and a ball in a cup would become a cup of tea to be offered to mommy.

Her ‘lovey’ is an ugly little duckling that we’ve ‘adopted’ (or bought in Clicks after her vaccinations) when she turned one.

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Her little duck was soon her best friend and took an active part in every day’s adventures. She refused to go anywhere without ‘Tietatjie’ and it sometimes felt as if I spent half of my waking hours looking for the little duck. Still, I felt so sad when she looked at me one day (when she was 2 and half) and told me that her duck was just a toy. For a month or so, little duck was ignored by her fickle friend as my girl seemed to struggle with the disappointment of having discovered this painful truth. In some crazy mommy moments I almost consoled the rejected little duck! The friendship did resume after a month or two, but she now seems to be drawing comfort from a familiar ‘face’ when she holds ‘Tietatjie’, as opposed to sharing her life with a best friend forever.

She is generally a caring little girl. In January, we were in the midst of serious potty training when she had a little accident in a favourite panty with a teddy bear picture in front. “Is jy ôlwaait, beertjie” (“Are you all right, little bear”), she asked as she inspected the ‘water damage’. She seemed happy when I pointed out that only the bear’s feet got a bit wet. 🙂IMAG0286

For the past month or two, she’s been rather consistently calling herself ‘The Green Zebra’. And baby brother is ‘The Purple Zebra’. When asked where little brother is, she once replied that “The Purple Zebra is cutting the grass with his pink lawnmower”. A glance through the window confirmed that baby brother was walking outside on the grass with my little girl’s little pink toy stroller!
The other day I was pushing her on the swing. “The Green Zebra is floating on the ocean in a tiny boat”, she told me. “The Green Zebra’s hair is waving in the wind,” she said. “Like the ocean waves..”

She’s a cautious and careful little girl. She’s most likely an introvert and I whenever I find her daydreaming, I so wish I could read the thoughts behind those big, dreamy, blue eyes.

More on my boy
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First thoughts on my boy are that he is such a cheerful little soul! He’s full of giggles and ‘baby jokes’.

He is less interested in stories than my girl and seems to have a shorter attention span, but he loves figuring out how things work. Every button needs to be pushed, every lever pulled. While pushing my little girl’s pink stroller, he’ll stop, turn it upside down and remove a stick that got stuck in one of the wheels.

Even before my boy could walk properly, he started refusing to crawl. He’d be giving one or two steps, fall over, get up and try again. All freaking day long. We had lots of frustrated tears as he struggled to get where he wanted to be. Nowadays (at 15 months old), he seldom walks. He sort of shifts his weight forwards and then runs off hurriedly with those tiny feet trying to keep up with the momentum of his chubby body.

Teething turned my boy into a wailing little teething monster of misery and despair. In his defense, he already had 16 teeth just before he turned 15 months old. He cut those canines and first molars at the same time. He also ran fevers and became sick when he was teething.

He is a lot more likely than my girl to bawl his little eyes out after bumps or falls. But once those tears are wiped away, he’ll be giving that same bad idea another go!

He’s extremely eager to help around the house. He loves brooms and will eagerly tidy up when asked. He will close drawers and cupboard doors behind him – and even behind me!

My boy has lately ‘courted’ his daddy rather successfully and I love watching the growing bond between daddy and his boy. However, for now he is still unmistakably ‘mommy’s boy’.

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I made photobooks for my mother and mother-in-law as Christmas presents. I combined photos of my kiddies with some digital scrapbooking papers and elements. How fun!!

5 months old


Little teddy of 6 months old


Lazing in the afternoon sun


Time for a bath 😉
(at 7 months old)


Scrunching up that little nose


Hoping for a kiss from a princess


8 months old


I’ve grown sooo big

It’s already 8 months since my little guy became part of our world – and how do I love him! Every day he reminds me of how incredibly cute a baby can be.

It’s so funny that he can frame his angelic face with his two dumpy arms by clasping those puffy hands together above his head, elbows next to his little ears. (If I try to do that, I have waaaayy too much arm to make it work.)

He’s also fond of swooshing those podgy arms up and down, up and down, with straight elbows, almost as if he forgets that his arms can bend in the middle. He sometimes gets so excited when he sees me that he looks like a tiny Mexican wave.

He loves greeting us by holding up his little hand as if to say: “Slap me five!”

I love slipping my finger along the creases of his wrists and ankles where invisible elastic bands rumple rolls of baby fat.

He boasts two bottom, two upper teeth and a mischievous gap-toothed smile. When he smiles, he tends to scrunch up his little nose to make that already incredibly adorable look even more so. Unlike my little girl who took teething in her stride, it turns him into about 8 kilograms of blubbering misery. Girls are the stronger sex after all, aren’t they? 😉 (He has been a little Mr Grumpy lately, probably and hopefully due to his swollen upper gums where two more teeth seem ready to make an appearance.)

He gave his first roars of laughter when he was just 2 months old. It happened when I undressed him. It turns out the little dude is incredibly ticklish! He’s also very fond of making lots of noise – laughter, crying, complaining, chatting, or even piercing experimental yells in the supermarket – anything goes! He’s definitely much more vocal than his sister used to be.

At his 6 month follow-up, he was 8 kg and of cuddly squishiness with both his length and height on the 50th percentile – which is a bit surprising as we’re a family of tall, thin giraffes. Where does this little ‘shorty’ 😉 come from, I ask you?

Shortly after he learned to sit unassisted (at 6 months), he started launching himself forwards – rather boldly – in order to expand his reach. As second child, in addition to the need to reach toys, he has the motivational factor of a sibling from which he needs to be able to retrieve a toy after he started playing with it. He is now scooting around, creeping forwards and crawling a little – mostly backwards still. He’s pushing himself up on his hands and feet – like a bear.

He’s pulling himself up against anything suitable or unsuitable for such an exercise. It’s becoming quite tricky to bath him, as he just wants to stand in the bath, holding on to the bath’s rail-handle-thingy-whatcha-call-it.

I sometime worry that my boy might be sleeping too much – imagine that? When I chat to Dr Google I’m always assured that he sleeps as much as an average baby does (or maybe only a teeny bit less). What a relief and what a welcome change after his little stay-awake-all-the-time sister! DH, little sister, baby boy and I all sleep in the same room. I wasn’t sure whether this arrangement would work, but we’re sleeping a lot better than when my little girl was a baby! DH, baby boy and myself all bed-share, and I love it (little girl sleeps in her cot still). It feels so right and so awesome to do this. He still sometimes have a drink or two in the night, but the two of us barely even wake up for that – and DH and my little girl doesn’t seem to be woken by that at all.

Breastfeeding him is a piece of cake. I’ve started giving him water in a bottle, but he’s still working on figuring out how to make that work. He usually ends up with very wet clothes – which is maybe his intention in any case, yes?

Feeding solids is going OK, although he tends to gulp lots of air and often ends up all windy and crampy. He regularly tries to supplement his diet by eating paper – letters, junk mail, grocery lists, till slips, you name it. He can make half an A4 page disappear in seconds, the moment I turn my back! And just you dare try and fish the remains out of his mouth through those razor-sharp little teeth.

I love watching how the relationship between his sister and him unfolds – but more about that in another post sometime.

I so often wish I could have a photo of every second we have together with this comical little baby dude.

I wrote this draft in the month after my little girl turned 2, but haven’t had a chance to finish it yet! I still wanted to say more about her little personality.

On the other hand, it’s probably already waaaay too detailed! So let me just post it now to break the blogging drought. Also, she’s doing new things all the time, so this is already a bit old! I’ll add the notes on ‘who she has become’ and what a sweet big sister she is later one.

Physical development:

Size-wise:

  • She’s VERY tall.  She was 93.5 cm tall on her 2nd birthday (Oh dear!) and weighed 13 kg.
  • Her head circumference was 48 cm on her 2nd birthday.  Her head was far below the 2nd percentile at birth – only 31.5 cm.  (That was pretty small, even for a 36-week pretermer.)  She caught up beautifully, as 48 cm is on the 75th percentile for a 24-month old girl.
  • The shoes in her cupboard range from  a kiddie size 7 to a kiddie size 9, so let’s say my little hobbit wears a kiddie size 8 shoe.  Sjoe!

Health history:

  • She has never been on antibiotics and has only been sick maybe three or four times.  Once with a tummy bug (we were travelling at the time of course..), once with a cough and stuffy nose and she had a runny nose once or twice.

Sensory development:

  • She has always had sensory issues and remains somewhat tactile defensive, e.g. you shouldn’t casually put your hand on her thigh or around her waist if she’s sitting next to you.  She’ll tell you not to do that.  (My DH jokingly says he’s been teaching her that..)
  • Her sensory issues affected the way she developed in that she didn’t do much weigt-bearing on her arms and hands when she was a baby, e.g. she started sitting without support without ever having supported herself on her hands, and also before she started rolling over.  She hated being prone too – I think she didn’t like the sensory feel of this position?
  • She hates it when we wash her hair (lots of screaming, I’m afraid) or brush her teeth (more screaming).
  • She eats well and doesn’t have issues with the textures of food, but often dislikes it when her hands are sticky, e.g. when she gets peanut butter on her hands.
  • She likes hugs and kisses; and is fond of sitting on my lap though.
  • She wasn’t ticklish as a baby, but did become somewhat ticklish somewhere along the way.

Gross motor skills:

  • She throws a ball with such accuracy that it’s fun to play catch with her.  She kicks a ball with good accuracy too.  She can catch – or rather grab hold of – a big ball thrown into her arms.  She has always loved playing with balls and would always notice even the smallest ball in the furthest corner of a room (or shop!).
  • She jumps enthusiastically and has in the past month or so started lifting both feet off the ground – before that, she had this one (cute!) sticky big toe for months.  I’m surprised at how high she can jump by now!  She also jumps forward with both feet together.
  • She’s always had pretty good balance, e.g. she never felt insecure when I played with her on a giant gym ball.
  • I currently find it hard to take photos of her, since most of them just show a blur of activity – except of course for those photo’s where the child is no longer in the frame by the time you take the photo!

Fine motor skills:

  • She had ‘thumb-in-fist’ posture of her hands, especially her right hand, for what seemed like forever.  She used to crawl with her right hand in a fist, maybe partly due to her tactile issues?  The thumb of her right hand remains too flexed for my liking to be honest. When she waves goodbye or slaps a high-five, her right thumb is curled against her palm.
  • Her fingers are very flexible and tend to hyperextend in funny ways.
  • The functional use of her (funny little!) hands seems fine, although I am a little worried that she might have underlying problems that will crop up later on. Let’s hope not.

Cognitive development

Cognition

  • She is able to focus unbelievably well. This strikes me as one of her biggest strengths, as this ability is likely to benefit her lots throughout her life.  From the time she was about one year old, she could easily sit down and listen to stories for half an hour, or sometimes even longer.  (She’s always LOVED books. Yay!)
  • She’s been asking me about the words and letters on the pages, so I have taught her some letters of the alphabet, including ‘e’, ‘o’, ‘s’, ‘a’, ‘m’, ‘i’.  She knows these very well and will point them out everywhere: in her books, in the text on the Marmite jar, on my Kindle..  She catches on quickly, but I don’t want to overwhelm her by introducing too many letters too soon.
  • She’s known ‘all’ her shapes for what seems like forever.
  • She can sit down and sort 40 cards consisting of 20 identical pairs into the correct pairs.
  • She knows all her colours, including primary colours, secondary colours, white, black and brown.  (Red and pink are her favourites!)
  • She’s not big on counting, although she can point to objects one by one as I count out loud.  So she has a basic understanding of how it works.
  •  She can identify quite a few different bird species in the wild and/or on pictures and most of them by sound only too!  Viz. hadida, hoopoe (hoep-hoep), bulbul (tiptol), dove (duifie), fish eagle (visarend), penguin (pikkewyn), guineafowl (tarentaal), lapwing (kiewiet), owl (uil), starling (spreeu), crow (kraai), grey lourie (kwêvoël), crested barbet (kuifkophoutkapper) and white eye (glasogie).
  • I’ve always tried to help her come up with solutions to problems and am quite pleased with the way she tackles problems.  E.g. when a toy falls and disappears under the fridge, she’ll fetch something like a golf club to try and fish it out (which is usually not successful until I help a bit though, to be honest).
  • She’ll come up with advice on what I should do when her baby brother is crying, e.g. if I say he might be teething, she’d suggest I give him some ‘pink medicine’ (Calpol).  If he’s crying, she might say that I should pick him up, bath him or give him a turn on the swing.  It’s so cute!
  • I love the pretend play that’s part of toddlerhood!  E.g. the other day she folded the square cover of a (kiddie) CD into a cone and announced that it was an ‘ice cream’.  Too cute, especially since she’s never actually had an ice cream cone!  (I know, I know, strange and strict mommy that I am!)

Language development

  • As baby, my liefietjie was friendly, but very quiet.
  • She had a tiny, soft voice.  We could go out to dinner and even if she cried, it would not really be audible above the din in your average restaurant.  (Unlike the piercing roars of her baby brother!)
  • Her understanding of words and commands ‘always’ seemed good, but I took her to a Speech Therapist when she was 20 months old.  I was worried that her speech was lagging behind.  The therapist said her receptive language was good for her age and her expressive language was age appropriate.  In the next three months, she started speaking in sentences and suddenly had a word for ‘everything’.
  • When she started talking, I would sometimes hear her practicing her pronunciation after I had put her to bed in the afternoon/evening.  It was so cute!  She actually still does it sometimes and it still melts my heart.
  • She loves it when I sing and often asks me to sing to her (something I do all the time while I’m busy around the house anyway), but she hasn’t herself figured out how to sing yet – which I find a bit surprising to be honest.    (Mind you, her dad has not yet figured out how to sing either.)

Emotional Development:

  • So far, the terrible twos have actually not been as bad as I feared.
  • When we go to the shops, she’s allowed to hold toys or things she like while we’re in the store, but once we leave we say ‘bye-bye’ and teddy, toy duck, soccer ball, or whatever goes back to its ‘home’ and ‘friends’ (in the store).  Saying goodbye to a ball of any kind is always the hardest!  We’ve never had a hectic tantrum at the shops though – not yet, I guess!
  • We’ve had some spectacular tantrums at home.  My word!  I’ve wanted to clap and shout: ‘Bravo!”
  • She can get terribly whiney, I must say!  Especially when she’s tired. And also when she’s not! 😉
  • She is mostly very eager to please, although I also make sure I don’t hit those buttons that are likely to bring out that obstinate little banshee inside!

Today, it is two years since my sunny little girl stepped out of my dreams and into my world.

To say that she fills my life with love and laughter is such an understatement. The truth is simply that every single day, my world is a better place now that she is in it.

I guess I should try and balance the overload of sugar and spice in the paragraphs above by adding how it’s also been hard and challenging, but you know what? I suddenly can’t think of anything about the past two years that was tough and that is worth mentioning now.

My one big regret is that the two years I’ve had a baby girl in my house flew by so quickly. Gone too soon, as Michael Jackson would have sung.

And suddenly the thousands of photos and hundreds of minutes worth of videos I have as reminders of the past two years seem so hopelessly inadequate. There’s so much more about the baby girl that I have had to say goodbye to that I did not manage to capture.

Because I could never capture on film or on memory card:

  • the incredible lightness of 2.7 kg of baby girl
  • the softness of those first wisps of baby hair
  • the way I had to cut those tiny fingernails every weeks to ward off a little Edward Scissorhandsie
  • the toothless innocence of those first smiles
  • those shy looks of adoration and contentment she gave me as she quietly drank from my breast, often avoiding eye contact as she concentrated on filling up on the soft, warm nourishment
  • that freshly-bathed, chubby, pink, baby smell
  • the way she marveled at her tiny feet the day I first dressed them in the little socks with the blue doggies on
  • the similarity between her smile in the morning when I would first pick her up, and the sunrise outside
  • the warm heaviness of her tiny body whenever she fell asleep in my arms
  • how much I always looked forward to picking up my Liefietjie after work
  • the way she’d notice and delight in tiny details my adult mind would mindlessly block out, such as the brightly coloured frying pans suspended from their handles above the aisle at Checkers
  • the way everything would always before long become a game
  • how wonderful it was to watch a tiny baby girl grow into a beautiful, cheerful, lively, running, jumping, laughing, determined, creative, funny little girl

To name but a few.

Precipitate birth

After going into labour, some women get to watch a sunrise. Some watch a movie or do seriously silly things like baking a birthday cake – on a real birth day. Some get to light a zillion candles or even get some sleep while they wait. Some get to have an epidural. Awesome.

Well, as mentioned in my birth story’s ‘main act’ (as per my previous post), I got to reach the hospital. In time to deliver baby. The end.

I suppose it doesn’t happen all the time that someone books an elective c-sec for her firstborn only to end up with two vaginal births, without as much as an epidural??

From what I’ve read, only about 2% of women get to experience ‘precipitate labour’, which means baby appears less than 2 hours after the contractions started.

At the risk of sounding ungrateful, I must say that this was a rather intense experience. If something that normally takes many hours to get done is crammed into 2 hours, it has its downside. It actually carries much more risk to mom and to baby than a ‘normal’ birth.

I was fortunate to only have a grade 1 tear (the same as with my girl’s delivery, whose birth story is here), but I doubt that my pelvic floor will ever regain its former glory. I’ve actually made an appointment with a gynae as I don’t feel fully recovered after the birth yet – and we’re nearly at the 4-month mark. I’m already back at my normal weight, so surely all should have been fine by now?

After my little girl’s birth, I could immediately get up and walk (as in even before the retained placenta was surgically removed). This time however, it took me hours to summon the strength to go take a shower. I was really sore for at least 2 weeks. I also had really hectic after pains.

After the delivery, the gynae mentioned that a colleague did a photography course 3 years earlier and that he used to say he wanted to be notified if anyone attended an exceptionally bloody birth. I didn’t ask why that thought popped into his head, but I can just imagine.

No-one is really sure why some women get to have such fast and furious births. In my case, maybe my ability to put my elbows on the floor like so might have something to do with it, yes?

Beautiful baby boy

As I waited outside the Clicks Clinic for my 2-week old boy to be weighed, I listened to the song playing in the store. “I’m falling in love all over again,” someone sang. How wonderfully appropriate it was I thought, as I sat there with my heart lying swaddled in a blue blankie on my lap.

When I compared baby photos, it was amazing to see how similar my girl looked as a baby. Here they are as newborns:


One of the delightful things about babies is that they can’t run and they can’t hide. Therefore, my little boy is such a sitting duck for all those kisses I love to plant on those chubby baby cheeks. 🙂

And so, this is where the story book would say: “Then they all lived happily ever after.”

On Monday 27 February, my little girl woke me during the early morning hours. She settled back to sleep again at 4 am. As was often the case after those nighttime interruptions during the pregnancy, I couldn’t find my own way back to dreamland.

I was 38 weeks and 6 days pregnant. I lay in the darkness thinking how much I needed my little boy to arrive on that very day (as per my previous post).

After a while, Braxton Hicks contractions (I thought) started. I didn’t take much notice initially as I had had similar ‘cramping’ during the prior two weeks. After the cramps intensified, I woke DH (it was 5:45 am) so we could start timing things. The contractions were 6 minutes apart and each lasted for about a minute! I realized our boy was probably on his way out!

I told DH I was going to take a shower and wash my hair. He called the labour ward. However, by the time I hopped into the shower, the contractions became excruciating. I realized I didn’t have time to wash my hair after all.

I did last minute packing while DH woke my mother-in-law (MIL) and father-in-law (FIL), as well as my little girl. I loathed the idea of being doubled-over with contractions in front of MIL and FIL (in front of anyone, actually), so I ducked into my room whenever another wave surged.

DH packed the car in what felt like sloooow moooootioooon to me.. He told me later on that as my waters didn’t break this time, he thought it was probably a false alarm!

I kissed my little girl goodbye and told her I’m going away for a bit, but that ‘Ouma Els’ would look after her. She simply said ‘no’ and didn’t want to let me go. It was so sweet and I regret having had to rush that last precious moment as mommy to her exclusively. In all truth, I still felt so unprepared to become a mommy again.

The car rolled out of the garage at about 6:30 am. The contractions were no longer a joke. Neither was Monday morning rush hour traffic. I kept telling DH that the baby was in a hurry. A BIG flippen hurry!

I got started on the moaning and screaming part of labour. Between two contractions, I called the maternity ward again and told them they’d better be ready to deliver my hasty little dude once we get there. Provided he didn’t make his grand entrance in the car, of course! DH became paler by the minute.

And that is how my dear, law-abiding DH (somewhat irritatingly so, really) ended up speeding along in the yellow, left-hand lane of Cape Town’s N1 through the Monday morning rush hour chaos. (I doubt my DH has ever as much as skipped a STOP sign in his life, so when I recounted this bit of the tale to my parents later on they nearly killed themselves laughing.)

All in all, it was a rather embarrassing trip. Not only did I wonder whether my DH might end up killing us all by crashing into one of the (angry-looking) motorists along the way, but watching him weave through the traffic was painful on many levels. Geez, he was such a complete rookie at hell driving! But that’s my man, alright! :p

We arrived at the hospital at about 7:00 am. DH parked in a loading zone in front of the hospital entrance and said he’d go park the car while I walk / waddle / crawl to the labour ward – as we had discussed earlier on. However, I was suddenly gripped by fear and begged him to just abandon the car and come with me.

On our way to the labour ward, we had to stop two or three times as contractions wracked my body. I felt somewhat embarrassed although there were fortunately not many onlookers. This preggo lady was obviously busy popping!

At the labour ward, I was instantly ushered into a delivery room. I hastily threw on the gown and provided a urine sample as requested. I kept on insisting they’d better call the gynae that very moment.

Soon as I was on the bed, they checked my cervix. Yip, fully dilated. (TOLD you so..!) They instantly called the gynae (WHAT? You haven’t called him yet?!), assuring me that he lived very close by and would be there in minutes.

Every new contraction was by now starting before the previous one had even ended. At 7:11 my waters broke in a huge wave that went splashing onto the floor. There was meconium in the water (I didn’t realize it at the time, but the gynae mentioned it afterwards).

Unlike during my girl’s birth (which you can read about here), the nursing staff were great. They kept saying that I was doing a great job. It was so nice to hear, although I knew they’d have said it no matter what, considering the circumstances.. They also told me not to push. But my body was saying, “Like hell I won’t push! Just watch me now..”

By then I was precariously floundering rather close to the edge of the bed. I was lying on my side and I remember looking down towards the floor, wondering whether I was going to go crashing down onto it before long. The nurses tried getting me to move to the center of the bed, but I could do little but cling to the side of the bed for dear life while my body had its way with me.

Shame, from what I remember poor DH was pretty pale through all the drama.

At about 7:20, just as I asked whether the gynae still hadn’t arrived, I heard the doc’s voice. I told him it was just my luck to be missing out on an epidural yet again!

During the following contraction he told me that the baby would be there in another push or so. “Yeah right!”, I thought. I told him that the last time a gynae said that to me, it was another 2 hours before baby arrived.

Then suddenly, during the very next contraction I felt my boy’s head slip out. His body followed during the subsequent contraction. (My little girl slipped out all at once, so I remember feeling slightly surprised at this.)

At 7:23 am, less than 2 hours after my contractions started, I became the mommy of my baby boy.

I asked whether he was beautiful and was told that he was very beautiful. I can’t remember whether he cried, but the gynae suctioned him and someone put him on my breast. His fingers and toes were incredibly blue, but the gynae said he was doing great. His Apgars were 8 / 9 / 10.

And so, all of a sudden he was there! I was holding my baby boy. I looked at his shoulders, his arms, his legs and they were the most adorable, chubby little limbs ever.

The nurse asked whether she could take him to be weighed and checked, but everything inside me said, “No! I’m not letting him go.” My arms tightened around him as I jokingly spoke those words out loud before reluctantly handing him back.

Whereas my little girl was a wee, gaunt little fairy at birth (at 49 cm and 2.7 kg), my little boy was a padded little cherub weighing 3.4 kg for his length of 51 cm.

Unlike last time, the placenta delivered without further ado (about 15 minutes later) – which was a big relief. It meant I got to spend magic hour with my boy this time round.

After congratulations from everyone around, the gynae asked whether it really took 2 hours last time. Haha, I admitted that I had exaggerated a bit. With my girl’s birth, an hour and a bit passed between the gynae’s declaration that baby would be there in one or two pushes and my little girl’s arrival.

Before he left, the gynae said he was really impressed as it was pretty usual to be called out to a patient who came in fully dilated and to then find her dressed in a hospital gown. At that point the nurse asked about the urine sample. When I told her I had left it on the toilet, the gynae shook his head seemingly in disbelief and said, “You’ve managed a urine sample too!?” Haha! The things you feel proud of in the labour room.. Must be all those hormones. 🙂

I feel guilty when I recollect how unprepared I felt to be my beautiful boy’s mother as I held him for the first time. I kept thinking how my little girl’s arrival had totally rocked my world. Holding her for the first time was maybe the most overpowering moment of my life. This time round I felt dazed, to be honest, as well as scared of how the new baby might impact on the relationship I had with my girl.

Yet there in my arms was a wondrous little boy who was, just like my little girl 20 months earlier, in desperate need of all the love my heart could give.

My boy nestled against me and he was so small and so vulnerable. I lay there thinking what a good little boy he was. The month we decided (filled with trepidation) that we had better get our ttc #2 journey on the road, this sweet boy decided that he would be our second little miracle. When I told him that I needed him to arrive on Monday the 27th of February, he did just that.

He found my breast and started sucking with so much enthusiasm that I wondered whether he might suck my nipple right off my breast. He kept at it for what seemed like ages before he fell asleep contentedly.

A new life ahead

Last November, my DH accepted a job offer in Pietersburg/Polokwane. I was 6 months pregnant and we were living in Cape Town – about 1,800 km from DH’s new office. DH was due to start early in January. My little boy was due on 6 March. Can you believe such horrible timing?!

I decided to stay behind in Cape Town until the arrival of my boy as it seemed unwise to move to a new city / new gynae / new world in the last trimester.

On being a ‘single’, working, very pregnant mommy

The month of January passed me by in a blur of heat waves and exhaustion.

My little girl became (rather abruptly) heart-breakingly unhappy at daycare and was sobbing quietly in the mornings as dropped her off. I got the impression that her daymother was leaving her in her cot for hours. (The woman increased the number of babies in her care that month from 4 to 7 with no prior notice. Argh, I still feel furious about that!)

My little girl craved lots of attention every late afternoon/evening. She (and therefore I) was often awake for two or three hours at night. I remember one night she managed to switch on the light (using the remote control) and started pushing her doll’s pram around the house – at 4:30 am!

A logistic nightmare

At my 34-week gynae appointment in late January, there were signs that my little boy might come early (just like his sister) and I had steroid injections to mature his lungs – just in case he decided to show up that very same week. At the time, the thought of having a prem baby to added the mix of challenges was pretty scary.

DH could take 2 weeks of leave to come to Cape Town for the birth. But when should DH have scheduled those leave days in order to be present at the birth?? DH was guaranteed to miss the whole thing if I went into premature labour and the gynae seriously doubted we’d make it to my due date (6 March). DH decided to come in mid February (at 37 and a half weeks).

We also had to make arrangements with the removal company in order to get our stuff moved to Polokwane and for our house to be let once we left. Not knowing when baby would have wanted to come to party made the scheduling a nightmare!

An elective c-sec or induction at 39 weeks were options I was less keen on (provided baby and I made it that far!), since I’ve had such an uncomplicated labour (as labours go..) with my little girl. If I were expecting another girl, I would have been less reluctant to go for one of these options, since baby girls do better when they’re ‘evicted’ (as opposed to being allowed to pick their own birth date).

Getting closer..

My baby – good little boy! – hanged on in there till his daddy arrived in Cape Town in mid February.

My sweet mother-in-law (MIL) came and stayed with me after that scary 34-week gynae appointment. I remain very indebted to her for coming to help out at the time. It also meant that my little girl no longer had to attend daycare. Yay, yay! She instantly started sleeping better, if not well.

We decided that my little girl and I would go stay with my MIL and FIL after baby’s birth. We’d join DH in Polokwane as soon as the little dude was a bit bigger and stronger.

The perfect date

Beforehand, I mentioned to my mother that the perfect date for the birth would be Monday the 27th of Feb. It was the one day that truly fitted our schedule! On that specific day:

  • Baby was almost 39 weeks along and doing well.
  • My DH was in Cape Town (for only 5 more days mind you).
  • I was officially on maternity leave, having completed all the major things I wanted to finish off at work. Must say, it took much longer than I had hoped to reach that point – my brain was seriously uncooperative when I tried to do anything that challenged the grey matter.
  • I was packed and ready to go live with my MIL after the birth.
  • The moving company was due to start packing our stuff in boxes on that day. I wasn’t too keen on hanging around in that kind of mess while I felt hot (not in the sexy way) and about to pop.
  • If baby didn’t arrive within the next two days, I’d have had to consider the c-sec or induction route. Also, we’d have had to move out of our house and go live.., hum, I didn’t actually know. My SIL? A friend? In a B&B? DH and I couldn’t come to an agreement on this.

Shame, I felt so sorry for my boy. After telling him for weeks to please hang on, I suddenly needed him to snap into action. Instead of being a time of joyful anticipation, the last days of my pregnancy was rather tense, although I did my best to take things one day at a time.

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