in late breaking news…

my waters just broke. I’ll see you on the other side.

40+7, otherwise known as 41 FREAKIN’ weeks

Quick post to be updated once children are in bed. But am still here. In one piece, with an incubus now probably the size of a three month old.

Another day of incubating = another day of baking.

After (watching) three games of (Felix playing) Auskick this morning did nothing to bring on labour the day has just passed as the many before it.

Dinner was the roasted chicken I did the other week but without the sausages, and with broccoli rather than the peas and lettuce.

Dessert was my take on Eton Mess – about 500ml of cream whipped to soft peaks with the nine-hour meringues that I roughly crushed up folded through as well as a raspberry sauce and a strawberry sauce I made. Then topped with some sliced fresh strawberries.

Raspberry Sauce
250g frozen raspberries
2 tblsp icing sugar
– blend until smooth

Strawberry Sauce
50g caster sugar
100ml water
200g strawberries (approx), finely sliced
– heat the sugar and water until the sugar is dissolved
– add the strawberries and cook until the sauce thickens slightly and goes the most lovely shade of pink

I also made our family’s boiled fruit cake, although it’s looking a little dark as I got caught up in the latest episode of Big Love, the first series I have committed to in about two years and to which I am wholly addicted, although I can’t stand Nicki and know it is all going to end badly.

Boiled Fruit Cake
This is one of the first recipes I ever learnt to cook. It came from my Nan, to my Mum and to me. I’ve changed it slightly, but only just and I still gook it in the same tin as my Mum did.

600g mixed dried fruit (I normally use sultanas, currents, raisins in varying ratios of the total amount, always working to sultanas being the most, with a handful of glace cherries)
6oz butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 tin crushed pineapple
1 cup hot water
1 tsp bicarb
2 eggs
1 cup plain flour, level
1 cup SR flour, heaped

– Preheat oven to 180C and line a 24cm square cake tin.
– place the fruit, sugar, pineapple, butter and water in a saucepan, bring to the boil and cook for 2-3 minutes.
– add the bicarb, then cool.
– fold through the eggs, then the flours.
– Bake for 1 – 1.5hrs.

In our family there is a tradition of icing the cake with some homely lemon icing (as opposed to fancy royal icing etc).

40+6

** UPDATED **

Everything feels amplified today.
They’re cutting down a tree about two blocks away and I was very close to going and asking them to stop it. Stop it NOW.
If walking wasn’t such a chore.
The boys seem louder than usual.
The requests for food, drink, football, tv, xbox, computer, food, food, food seem to be coming more often than the usual 3 minute alotment.
Chef/Felix/Jasper’s coughing seems so much more irritating today than usual.
Mum eating five of the vanilla biscuits in quick succession (granted, they are mini ones) really burred me up. On the inside of course.
The ‘there’s nothing on TV’ reality is really reality and making me cranky.
My carpal tunnel feels particularly ‘sharp’ today. That’s the only word I can think of to describe the combined pins and needle numbness.
I just have an undercurrent of irritation that feels like it could quite easily erupt into a complete meltdown at any moment, probably triggered by something like someone looking at me.
*****
After making the vanilla biscuits last night, which almost killed me as baby clearly moved back into the posterior position and caused impressive sciatica that almost made me fall over, I had three egg whites left over.
So, naturally, I made meringues.
Which I then promptly forgot about until this morning at 7am.
We’ve called them ‘the nine and a half hour meringues’, which will be turned into a very nice Eton Mess type dish this evening. With strawberries.

Meringues
3 egg whites
150g caster sugar
– beat the egg whites to soft peaks
– add the caster sugar gradually, allowing each addition to be fully incorporated
– either put into piping bag and pipe shapes onto a baking tray, or simply spoon amounts onto the tray
– bake in a 110C degree oven for 30 minutes. Although after 9.5 hours while they are quite brown on the inside, they’re still quite tasty.
*****
Midwife check-up is this afternoon at 1pm.
*****
All fine at the check-up, it was quiet on labour floor which seemed a bit surreal.
I am so very tired tonight.
I know it will horrify some of you, but tonight I finally got the baby clothes I pulled out the other day into an actual drawer.
I had this absolute compunction to do it. In that it HAD to be done RIGHT AWAY.
Maybe it’s a sign.
Maybe the fact it’s a blue moon is a sign.
I do feel different tonight, perhaps that is a sign.
The boys are hanging around me very closely. Sitting right on top of me, head on my arm, hand on my belly. Maybe that’s a sign.
Jasper isn’t well. He’s got a temperature of 39C. Maybe that’s a sign.
I know the end of this pregnancy, my last, is looming.
I am both relieved and sad at the same time. It sounds so strange to say that, but I guess it is all part of that passing of time. I am so very excited about our life as a family of six that it can take my breath away and my heart race. I am overwhelmed, daunted and inspired by who I will become as the mother to four children. Four! I always dreamed of having four children so the fact it is about to become a reality is something I am so very chuffed about.
I know I’m about to be in a hell.of.a.lot.of.pain and that is scaring me probably a lot more than I am willing to let myself admit. Let the baby come. It’s that feeling of being totally out of control as the pain grips every single ounce of your being. Let the baby come. A pain so intense everything else disappears. Nothing else exists. Let the baby come. That feeling that if I move even a hair of a millimetre part of me will break, literally crack in two or a hundred pieces it doesn’t matter. Let the baby come. That feeling of the baby moving downwards, when you move from the grip of agony to the realm of anticipation. Let the baby come. Knowing that I can do it, that I have done it three times prior, is doing little to lessen my anxiety about the whole shebang. But you know? When it actually starts, all that anxiety, all the ‘I don’t know if I can do it again’ will disappear as the mantra returns and my body takes charge once more. Let the baby come.
Maybe all this waxing lyrical is a sign.

40+5

A quiet day.
Acupuncture this morning, pure bliss.
Then a quick trip to Felix’s school to see his class perform a dance at 11.30. We got there at right on 11.30 (as we were instructed) and they were just finishing. Sigh.
Anyway, am at home now and taking it very easy.
Jasper is (finally) asleep, mum is picking the boys up from school and is in the process of making her chop casserole for dinner.
Those vanilla biscuits may be a little project for me and Oscar this afternoon while Felix is at art class.
I’m watching Cinderella Man and I hate boxing movies but I’ve decided that Craig Bierko is quite the spunk and as much as it pains me to admit it, Russell Crowe really can act. Renee Zellweger still shits me.

and just so you guys can be assured I am not exagerating about the trotters…
and

. . . oink oink oink.

*****
On Wednesday we had Auskick training and I got to talking with one of the other mums. She knew us, correction, she remembered Oscar as her eldest son had gone to preschool with him. I can’t tell you how many people ‘know’ us from this time that come back into our lives at various events or activities.

Once we got talking I had vague recollections of her as one of those parents who do the overley friendly thing when you have a kid with special needs. You know the ones, they talk a bit louder, are particularly effusive, gush with how lovely your child is and so on and so forth. The type who, because of the particular time it is in your journey with your child with special needs – the time of most doubt, most anxiety, most intervention/testing/decision making – you just want to poke them in the eye with a stick and tell them to fuck off. You’ll be relieved to know that some years later you recognise that yes, they are a particular personality type and that is OK.

Anyway, we eventually got on to talking about her son, who is experiencing the tightening of tendons in his toes. This, it turns out, can be the first sign of juevenile rheumatoid arthritis.

We talked a lot about Oscar and his feet issues, botox and using it in the treatment of cerebral palsy (and possible applications with other syndromes), the shock of hearing your child needs surgery or could have something very life impacting, the use of alternative therapies etc etc etc.

And I haven’t really been able to get the whole conversation and situation out of my head. You see, many years ago, a friend in my mother’s group said to me that we were lucky with Oscar. That we knew about his condition from birth whereas there were those in the group whose child may have an illness or disability that wouldn’t present until the child was at school or even later in life. Granted, it was a weird thing to say to someone but she did have a point.

Here was a mother who was suddenly trying to get her head around the fact her child could have a condition that could be incredibly debilitating and life-altering for her child. And, as those of us with kids who have special needs know with a keeness you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy, she can not make it go away.

I guess it just rang home for me that feeling I had when Oscar was 10 days old and the neonatal intensivist told us about Oscar’s dodgy chromosome four. I was holding Oscar a the time, all 4 pounds of him. He was in his first outfit, a pale blue polkadot pinnie that had been made by one of the hospital volunteers. There was a big splint on his right arm holding his drip in place, a big bit of tape going across his cheek keeping his gastro tube in check and the oxygen/CO2 monitor thingy illuminating his foot so it resembles ET’s finger. That feeling of looking down at him, knowing that in every cell, in every part of his body was this dodgy chromosome and there was nothing I could do about it. Nothing I could do to make it go away, nothing I could do to make it better. Feeling so fucking angry at God, at the world, at science, that it/they picked Oscar for this little experiment. But more than any of that, feeling that this child was perfect. Through tears, I said to the doctor, “But he’s perfect”, he replied to me “of course he is, he is your son”. And so, as a parent, there is no greater truth.

40+4

I was going to make vanilla biscuits today, but it was so much better than that.

First, remember this?
It’s the Dualit toaster I bought on Ebay that didn’t work etc, that Chef spray painted and got fixed for my birthday. I’ve been trawling through Glamorouse archives to find reference to it, but with no luck, so you’ll have to take my word for it.

Anyway, one of the elements blew quite early on and it has just sat on the kitchen bench as decoration every since while the griller in the oven has been our stand-in irritating-the-crap-out-of-me toaster.

Last week we schlepped across Sydney to the place that can fix it and picked it up today. I am very excited about not having to use our crap-arse oven as a toaster anymore.

While I was waiting in the car for Chef, I spied this great monument of what looked like meringues in this funky little cafe next door. On his return, I made him go on and investigate. There were plain and chocolate ones. Naturally, as the baby has eaten my ankles and wrists, I had to have one of each.

Here’s the chocolate one:
and it’s internal gooey goodness
But really, the plain one was my favourite and Chef won (most of) the chocolate version.

Then, we (finally) went to Sopra, which is the cafe of Fratelli Fresh, home of the most divine fresh produce and purveyor of cheeses, meat and bread.

It is all located through these quite impressive doors
Then you, in what feels quite a strange move, walk through the loading dock, carparking area
But it all just kind of adds to its appeal.
The dining room is bathed in glorious sunlight and the sound of people enjoying stunning produce cooked simply echoes around the space.
We started with a very simple antipasto plate, that featured a delicate fennel salad, a robust roast pumpkin salad, some glorious mushrooms and the most delicate crostini topped with this broad bean concoction which I would happily have had a bath in.
I then had the most divine lemon linguine, with chilli and parsley and topped with fried breadcrumbs.
While Chef had a tagliatelle w/ gorgonzola piccante, which had the most delicate, non-oily flavour I’ve ever tasted in a cheese based pasta sauce. We also had a side of rocket and parmesan, which was finely grated rather than shaved pieces, so it almost formed a paste with the balsamic and oil.

So while I am feeling like I’m in a very strange place, trapped in some bizarre purgatory full of contradiction, it was an absolutely lovely outing.

I am feeling both deeply attached and completely separate from my body at the moment.
I have these moments where I almost lose my breath at the realisation this will be the last time I feel one of my children moving inside of me.
Such moments are only to be outshone by those when I can feel my whole body stiffen at the thought of another labour. As every muscle tightens I tell myself to relax, to breath, to let the baby come.
Chef took photos of me today which I find both horrifying and deeply empowering.
I know the strength of me as a woman. I know my capacity to create life and bring it into this world. It’s funny isn’t it, that you can look at your child who is now nine and still feel that connection from when they were deep and settled in your belly. I do wear my deep, massive, ugly stretch marks with a badge of fierce maternal pride.
But at the same time I am all “Dear GOD that is HUGE”.
I am amazed and repelled by the trotters I know have for feet, the creases where my ankles once were, the fat little sausages that apparently are my fingers, the double chin that has returned do to a stunning daily calorie commitment. My feet and calves are fat and shiny and it is really quite gross.
The numbness/pins and needles/increasing lack of strength in my hands and the fat wrists also fall into this category.
The calmness I’ve felt with this baby in the last few weeks is something I treasure deeply, as some sort of twelth hour apology to him/her for the previous eight months of stress, depression, more stress and basically having a mumma acting like a caged wild animal.
I look at the cot, the tiny clothes, the new wraps that Mum has edged with ribbon for me and am filled with a sense of excitement and anticipation at having another new little person in this house, in our lives and in our care.
But then I look at the road ahead and have moments of panic as to my ability to give this child, in fact all of our children, the best of me.
So another day has passed and all is quiet.