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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.


Last Thursday evening I was busy cooking in the kitchen when ‘babaliefie’ came crawling towards me with her pink wide-brim hat in her little hand. (She can now also walk a few metres independently, but crawling remains her quickest and safest mode of transportation).

I put the little hat on her head and she was off again.

Next, she came crawling towards me with DH’s hat in her little hand. I put the hat on my head this time.

‘Babaliefie’ instantly broke into a wide grin and pointed towards the door.

She can’t say it yet, but the message was very clear: “Now that we’ve got our hats on, let’s go have fun outside!” 😀

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. 😉

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.

These are my favourite holiday pics, all taken in the Kruger Park. Hmm.. wait, they all happen to be of my baby angel, someone who has according to my darling husband definitely surpassed her mommy in beauty! Guess I can’t argue, hey?

Hitching a ride on daddy’s back

Bathtime fun

Lunchtime fun

Having a chucle in the arms of my brother in law during a picnic at Afsaal

Most of the footage I took of animals are also really footage showing my ‘babaliefie’ looking at animals through the car window.

How times have changed. How we love things the way things are now.

I’ve finally finished the story of my LO’s birth (and about time!), so here goes:

On the 16th of July just before going to bed, I complained to DH that I was feeling crampy. It was past midnight and I thought the fun-filled Friday evening around Chinese take-aways with my brother, SIL and delightful 2-year old nephew explained my discomfort.

I was 35w6d pregnant and the weekend’s to do list was crammed with get-ready-for-baby chores: ‘pack hospital bag’, ‘buy car seat’ ‘cook food to stock freezer’, etc. At my gynae appointment only 5 days earlier there was nothing to indicate that baby was anything but cosily awaiting her due date (14 Aug).

At 4 o’clock, I woke up and went to the loo. A trickle started on my way there and I instantly knew it was amnio fluid. I was shocked to see some blood when I got to the bathroom. The trickle soon turned into a steady stream.

It turns out that the quickest way to wake a DH from his slumber is to holler from the bathroom that he should call the labour ward and inform them that we’re on our way. I popped into the shower and then hurriedly threw a few things into my hospital bag.

At the hospital, a friendly, but both adamant and clueless porter made me troop through most of the hospital. This is very inconvenient while you’re worried about the absorbency of maternity pads and whether you’re trailing amnio fluid. I insisted that I needed to go to the labour ward, but he somehow thought I was supposed to first check into the ER. After ER told him to take me to the labour ward, he proceeded to march me to the maternity ward. He then finally took me to the labour ward, i.e. where I was headed before he intercepted. 😕

The monitor showed some contractions, but the cramps were not even close to as bad as my AF cramps so I was unperturbed. The gynae visited at about 5:30. He admitted me and said he won’t give any treatment to keep LO in, but hoped that maybe she’d stay put for another week. My cervix was completely closed. He gave me antibiotics and steroids and then left for the beach. It was his day off and I was fine with seeing the on call gynae for the day.

When the on call gynae saw met around 8 am he didn’t want to do an internal check as I was clearly not in labour and he didn’t want to risk infection.

Considering the pregnancy was only at 36w, I did not want to have a C-sec should I go into premature labour. I previously booked an elective C-sec to avoid a long drawn out labour with a full term LO stuck inside followed by an emergency C-sec. Since preemies are very prone to respiratory problems, I didn’t want to compound that risk by having a C-sec for a tiny little baby. Also, by not doing an elective C-sec, LO could stay put for as long as possible.

Not long after the gynae left, the cramps intensified. A nurse hooked me up to the monitor again, but the dumb machine somehow showed that the contractions were less severe than previously. The nurse believed the machine and told me not to worry.. Sheesh!

I popped into the shower after sending DH to buy some shampoo, but by then the cramps became severe. I worried I might pass out in the shower, so I got out and sat down on the physio ball.

At 9:30 I called the hairdresser between contractions to cancel my 10 am appointment. Having a baby seemed a valid reason for cancelling! 😉

DH returned with the shampoo (which was no longer required) to find me on that enormously silly ball, in tears. I then got to do all that undignified moaning, crawling around and screaming I thought I’d avoid when I originally booked a C-sec. 😦

I called a nurse once or twice, but they just went on about Braxton hicks and rolled their eyes at this ‘overdramatic first timer’. I kept insisting that the baby was coming and that they’d better call the doctor..

At some stage a nurse thought it an idea to offer me gas for pain relief. I immediately started sucking the stuff like I was trying to make the cylinder implode. Alas, I can’t say I was impressed by the pain relieving properties of gas. The nurse warned me to go less heavy on the gas as it could apparently make you pass out. I was still sitting on the physio ball (by then all slippery from amnio fluid) and woozily hanging onto DH – my pillar of strength – for dear life. Actually, passing out sounded like a lovely option!

At around 11 the gynae was back and I asked for an epidural the moment I saw him. He took one look at my cervix and told me it was way too late for that! I was fully dilated and he said that one or two big pushes would bring LO into the world.

His prediction was slightly off as it felt like a lot more than 2 big pushes that was needed. The gynae was generally great, but he kept marvelling at how naturally everything was happening. I was too otherwise engaged to give him a piece of my mind on what I think about ‘natural’ birth.. (You can read all about those dark thoughts here.)

DH was wonderful even though I would quite frankly have preferred him not seeing me like that. He kept telling me that I was doing amazingly well. He was even assisting the nurses, adjusting the bed and keeping me up to date on LO’s progress (“I can see her crowning”!).

LO was born at 12:14 am weighing 2.7 kg and 49 cm tall.

I looked at her and felt the most incredible rush of love. After 9 months of carrying her (OK, 8), I was surprised to catch myself thinking, “There truly is a little baby! It was all true.” (Gazing into her dark brown, dazed eyes, I bet she was even more surprised to see me.)

My worries of her being whisked off to an incubator was laid to rest when they put her delicate, pink body on my chest. My late pretermer aced the Apgar tests with with 9/10 and 10/10. As she lay on my chest, she lifted her tiny head turned it to the side and guardedly studied DH’s face as he sat next to the bed.

After 45 more mins, the gynae declared the placenta stuck tight and I was rushed into theatre for an evacuation. Not too bad an experience really as I love anaesthetic. (Yes, seriously!) After an eventful night and having missed out on an epidural I loved getting some blissful ‘time out’.

DH was kangaroo-caring for LO until I came out of the recovery room. Soon as I got to hold my LO, I wanted to never let go of her again. I fed her and she latched and nursed like a voracious little tiger cub. I thought it was amazing that she knew exactly what to do to be able to nurse.

The nurses kept asking whether they could put her in the nursery for the night and I kept replying that I wanted to hold her just a few more minutes. They finally took her at about 1 am, but I couldn’t sleep anyway. At about 3:30 am, I tiptoed to the nursery and fetched my baby angel so I could hold her, love her and marvel at her tiny face some more. I waited for her long enough.

We were discharged two days later with LO weighing 2.5 kg. On my hit parade of favourite days, Take-baby-home day tops the charts as it is right up there with my wedding day. More joy, love and happiness were squeezed into that one day than one could ever dare hope for.

When we carried our little angel into her new home, DH turned to me and said, “Can you believe that we get to keep her? We never have to hand her back to some other parents again”.

Saw my new gynae on Friday for the 16w scan. Our cute little ?girl was as always playful, showing off and even somersaulting. I could almost hear her saying “Dream a little dream of me, mommy!”

She measured slightly small for 16w, but still on track. The placenta is apparently in front, so I can’t feel LO moving yet.

The relentless m/s has loosened its grip slightly and I’m starting to believe that I’m going to be rid of it again one day. (Hopefully before my boss starts thinking of firing me.) My dad said that my mom was terribly sick for ‘very long’ when she expected me. So guess I had it coming, hey?

Fortunately my DH has been incredibly supportive and loving and automatically took over most household tasks. I’ve been a bit quiet on the forum, since I’ve been spending lots of quality time lying in front of my fan and hoping to feel better. (New gynae said to try Gaviscon. Alas, I found it to be no miracle cure for m/s..).

I still wear my ‘normal’ clothes, but just bought the coolest pair of below knee-length, maternity jeans. Can’t wait to start wearing it!

Is the 13 week scan awesome or what!? Our ‘babaliefie’ was dancing around looking way cute.

It looks like a girl, but it’s too early to be sure. It would be the first granddaughter for both grannies (only grandsons so far), so the possibility will certainly generate excitement..

The Down’s risk calculated to only 1/3000 (out of 85% of 1/200 for my age – if I understand all correctly). So I think I’ll skip the amnio despite being over 35. I wouldn’t choose to terminate in any case. Hope that sounds levelheaded.

Must say, I had a rough week and I feel beaten by the m/s. I e-mailed my FS just now to ask about Vomiphene. I think I’ve lost about 2 kilo’s recently, barely did any work this week and lately had way too many intimate moments with the porcelain in the bathroom. It’s weeks since I’ve had more than 5 hours of sleep at night – terribly nauseous at night too. And I expected things to get better this week!

I’ve decided to stay on ADs for the recommended 6 month period (till end Feb), which makes me reluctant to take more meds and possibly becoming a study in multiple drug interactions.. although I know it should be safe. Sigh.

My rickety, loose hips are holding out OK at the moment, which is a huge relief. Pilates classes are doing wonders! I also bought an SI support belt which is great for when I need to walk ‘a lot’, e.g. go shopping.

Most important thing is that baby is happy and healthy! We’re so grateful.


October 2019
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