Monday, February 17, 2014

Nudey Rudey Take 2-dey

The evening after the baby shower I had a booking for my second life modelling class. I also had to drive across the city (thru peak hour traffic) in the opposite direction first to drop off my mum and sisters at the airport (just prior to the class) and was therefore rushing the whole way. I literally parked the car at the life drawing destination one minute after the class was supposed to start!


Then I was racing up and down the hill trying to find the class location. I rang my hubby to get him to google it, dropped my bag and my water bottle started rolling down the hill and THEN… it started to pour with rain! Whilst on the phone with my hubby a second call came thru from the life drawing organiser who lead me in the right direction (Thank-goodness!).

This Life drawing room was a medium sized hall joined to the back of a church. There were two other halls next to it also being used for classes simultaneously. The other classes were a "Glee club" (singing group) and a Tae Kwon Do class. So I stripped off, got into my first pose, closed my eyes and listened to the comical live soundtrack which was a combination of softly playing classical radio and charcoal scratching paper inside the drawing room mixed with gospel force melodies pumping out from the glee club and "HIIIIII-YA!" shouts and chops from the Tae Kwon Do class. It was comforting to think all these church rooms were being put to good use and not shut up collecting dust.

The students were asked to use different techniques throughout the class. At one point the teacher requested they only used geometric shapes to build up the figure. I was intrigued as to how they would interpret this (as my body was clearly at its most CURVACEOUS!!) but one of my favourite sketches from this class is one of these "geometric" interpretations (see photo below).

In between the longer sittings the class will take short breaks. Usually these allow the students to swap over the paper they are using, change medium (if they want to swap from charcoal to ink, to paint etc) or have a glass of water. These breaks give me the chance to get feeling back into my numb limbs or to rub away pins and needles from hands or feet (which happens quite often especially as I get bigger). I also try to wander around the room and check out people's drawings (taking snapshots if they don't mind) and chatting with people in the class. I do attempt to throw my robe on before weaving in and out of the students (although they have just seen me completely exposed and bathed in very unflattering fluorescent light) it still seems appropriate to be semi clad whilst making eye contact and conversation.

Everybody's drawing style, skill and technique are so different. Its lovely to see how each person has interpreted the same subject...

 soft and sketchy (but using guide lines for proportion) 
 heavily shaded (albeit heavily pregnant... ha ha)

Poses normally range from standing (which I try to do at the start for the shorter 1 or 2 minute time slots). Seated (usually there are a variety of seats around the room and I will tend to place a small towel or piece of clothing between hence and my large posterior) I try to do these for the 5 to 10 minute positions. Then finally the reclining (laying down) positions for the 10 to 20 minute poses. You may think that laying down in the same position sounds easy (like being paid to have a little kip) but let me assure you its not! If you would like to try it out, by all means place a towel on a tiled or concrete floor, set a 20 minute timer, assume a desirable laying pose, now stay deadly still for the whole time. Do not scratch your nose, move your head or arm or even your facial expression for that matter. Also when your arm or foot starts to lose sensation don't change facial expressions (still continue to look calm and serene).
Ive found counting the time to myself helps to keep me distracted from the pain... and deep breathing (perhaps this is good training for giving birth?? ha ha).

Most of these drawing classes finish up around 9.30-10.00pm (and then I have about an hour drive to follow to reach home). Due to my sleep patterns being completely out the window I have found it has been a good distraction to have something to do late at night.
My attempt of a strange "last minute late night hurrah!"
"Yes, I might be 8 months pregnant but I will go out mid week and get my kit off in front of a room of strangers, yes I will!" (before I spend the next 6 months tied to a pooey, screaming, feeding little bundle of joy). "6 months I hear you question? how about 18 years... well hopefully the pooing and screaming will subside well before then... I think I can handle the feeding... ha ha ha".

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Baby Shower

I think Baby shower's are fun! they are a great chance to gather together all the lovely ladies in your life, dress up, eat yummy foods, play some silly games and celebrate the grand feat your body has created and is about to bring into the world… (oh and of course the pressies too! :))

I thought Baby Shower's were quite a western and modern concept, but after consulting trusty wikipedia I was surprised to read that many countries around the world celebrate a similar baby shower tradition.
These events are usually for woman only and are celebrated either prior to or shortly after the birth. Interestingly the Chinese equivalent called "Man yue" was traditionally held one month after the baby was born, apparently this is due to in ancient times birth mortality rate being so low that it was celebrated if the child survived to 1 month old! In modern Chinese society they claim it gives the mother a month to rest and the baby time to adjust to its surrounds.  To read about a modern day Chinese Man Yue I found one here Not so keen on the food selection of red eggs and sticky rice… I think we had it just right with yummy cakes, sausage rolls, fresh fruit and mocktails!

I was super excited that both my sisters and mum could fly in from interstate to join the celebrations. Although we always have Skype or text on hand for a catch up, it is not very often that we actually have all four of us (5 of us) in one room.

 my sisters to the (left) and beautiful mum
Our yummy food table with devine decorations!!
Games time! 

best play-doh baby… Each person is given a few lumps of play-doh to create a little baby with. 
The one in the bottom right hand corner won (it looks like a real fetus!!)
 Cut and paste a baby (taking cuttings from photocopied photos of Andee and myself, each person had to create a "Brandy" morphed baby). 
I hope our real baby looks better than this… ha ha
Labour or Porn (this is a game I put together with photos off the internet, I cropped faces of woman either having sex or giving birth and the person with the highest correct guesses wins a prize). We revealed the rest of the photo to everyone as we marked their score pages,,, cheeky,,, funny!
Can you guess?
After receiving lots of emails of interest in my "Labour or Porn" game I have finally made it available for you all to enjoy at your own baby shower party!!!! Head to the link below to purchase the game. For just $14.95 you receive the game page as well as the 16 cropped images revealed!! to show who is in AGONY and who is in ECSTASY!! 
This is a sure way to break the ice and get all your girlfriends, aunties, mums and even grandma's giggling!

Guess the belly circumference game! each guest cuts off a length of string with their guess of how long my belly circ is. They put their name on their guess and then I try each piece on for size in front of everyone to find the winner.
handmade hard boiled candy, made in Melbourne
 Me and my mummy in bubs room

The afternoon was topped off with a swim in my neighbours pool! At 41 degrees you have got to be grateful that the loving neighbours don't mind sharing the pool!

Later that evening we were contemplating when bubba would decide to arrive. My sister suggested I just look up the hottest day of his due month and surely that would be it (as my wedding was 42 degrees and the baby shower was 41!!). Funnily enough when I looked up the hottest day estimated for March 2014… it is the actual date my little man is due!! 

I have 2 weeks and 6 days to go…
Cant wait to meet you

Babymoon Bliss???

Babymoon holidays are a new "fad thang" recommended by many popular baby website's and blogs. They are encouraged to be enjoyed during your second trimester (post morning sickness, pre "gigantic-immobile-whale-discomfortism").  The general idea is a "last chance" couple escape pre bub's arrival.

Being the travel lovers that we are, I embraced any excuse for a holiday and started googling destinations very early on in our pregnancy. Despite being out of work at the time (and money running at an all time low)... I threw caution to the wind and booked one of those super Cudo deals to bali for 12 days. We had not been to bali before and the idea of a tropical summer escape to an exotic location we had yet to explore sounded like Bliss! Babymoon Bliss surely! 

Mistake number 1) we booked our holiday during the 28th week of our pregnancy (after 27 weeks travel insurance will not cover you if you are pregnant and flying, you will also require a written document from your doctor confirming they can vouch that your pregnancy is low risk). We decided to take the risk and head off yonder! How risky can it be? this friendly northern island neighbour, with its recent history of bombings, drug trafficking, lengthy jail sentences and widespread corruption... a perfectly safe destination for a 7 month pregnant woman to travel.

My initial worry was going into spontaneous labour on the 6 hour flight from Melbourne to Bali. I thought if I survived the flight that the rest of the holiday should be smooth sailing. In preparation I purchased some ridiculously overpriced compression travel socks they recommend you wear if flying whilst pregnant. At $30 a pair you want to hope they actually do something... and that its not just "marketing hype".  I also packed all the other relevant medications/lotions/sprays and potions for 3rd world country travel, insect spray, sunscreen, hydra-lite's, anti-diarrhea tabs, pain killers etc. We were set! All I needed now was a clear bill of health with a letter signed off by my GP the day before we flew out of the country and we would be set!

 Unfortunately in the week leading up to our departure I started to get increasingly unwell, severe pains in my right side and constant trips to the loo were my two main symptoms. Considering these are also "normal symptoms" of pregnancy I was finding it hard to judge as to whether they were " normal" discomfort and pain... or "worse than normal"...implying something more sinister? After reading a variety of articles on these issues I decided to start a "bladder diary" (as suggested by one of these websites) so at least when I did visit the doctor I had some sort of real track record to go by (not just "whinge whinge, sore, whinge whinge, wee a lot"... go home silly complaining pregnant woman).  After the first night of keeping the bladder diary I realised things were not normal... I had gotten up 15 times during the night to pee (giving me approximately 20 minute intervals of sleep in between). The following day the pains in my right side became considerably worse and by the time my parents arrived that afternoon (as they were visiting from interstate for the weekend) I burst into tears "waaaahhhhhhh everything hurts!!". By midnight that night my hubby and I decided to head to the local hospital emergency department, I had the sweats and shakes by that time and we thought it was best to be safe than sorry. I suspected a kidney infection or possible UTI. After answering the same list of questions to a variety of nurses and doctors, blood and urine tests taken, I was settled into a bed dressed in a "sexy" backless robe. My suspensions were soon confirmed, kidney infection it was. We were sent home with some strong anti-biotics and a friendly hit of Panadeine forte. By the time we arrived home I was floating on "cloud-happy-happy-thank-heavens-for-drugs-they-are-my-friends". Within a few days the symptoms started to subside and the green light for travel was given by my GP.

We survived the flight no worries and were greeted by the thick & steamy Indonesian summer air. Luckily the hotel transfer van provided a mini esky with cold water and icey wet washers to keep us cool for the drive from the airport to the hotel.  We were staying at the Grand Aston Bali which is located just outside of the very "high end" part of Nusa Dua.  Like many of the "Cudo" hotel deals they tend to be offered on what used to be very high end hotels that are slightly run down and have been recently purchased by new owners to do them up. You end up with a great quality deal for the price but need to expect that the resort has tended to have seen better days (or that parts of it may be in the process of renovation when you visit). We were very happy with the accommodation and VERY appreciative of the great air conditioning in our room!

Andee and I knew this was supposed to be a "relax by the pool holiday" with daily massages and mocktails... but the adventurers in us couldn't help their greedy selves! We were in a new country with endless food, cultural and shopping experiences to be had... and this is where our problem began. We wanted to explore as we normally would, but were hindered by my 7 month bump handicap. Each day we would attempt to venture out (only via taxi our hired scooters this time boo hoo!) but would very soon be requiring a toilet, pain killers for back ache, cold water, a fan and food (preferably restaurant or 5 star quality). For anyone who has travelled about in a 3rd world country those things are not necessarily easy to find at a moment's notice (especially the toilet!). Then there was the HEAT! sweating, sweaty fat legs sticking together, running out of energy to walk far. I was struggling... and Andee was struggling with my complaining. As my anti-biotics kicked in and cleared up the kidney infection they also gave me that lovely LADY side effect of giving me horrendous THRUSH! So now I was grumpy, sweaty, peeing constantly, my back hurt and my vagina was on fire! The day before we were due to return back home to Melbourne this was all topped off by me kicking my toe so hard on the end of the bed that it looked as though I had broken my toe. My toe turned black and I had a limp. When I kicked my toe I completely LOST IT! melt down mummy BIG TIME! I stormed outside to the balcony and howled at the top of my lungs. My poor hubby was trying to console me (although he looked slightly scared). Each time I would quieten down and almost stop sobbing, he would start telling me "everything will be alright, just calm down" and I would start howling again. It was this complete overwhelming feeling of frustration, self pity and exhaustion. I was sharing my body with another being and it was hard work. I never expected to feel quite so encumbered by the experience of being pregnant… in fact encumbered is definitely the right word to describe it,
encumber restrict or impede (someone or something) in such a way that free action or movement is difficult.

It made me consider how hard it must be to live with a debilitating illness, constant pain from an injury, or just the general frustration with your body's restricted ability's as you grow old. At least I had a time limit of another 3 months and the incredible reward of my own miracle baby to receive at the end of it.

So my thoughts on "Babymoon" holidays… knowing what I know now. I would still opt to take the holiday but probably somewhere in Australia (Noosa perhaps) shorter flight, clean toilets and sanitary food. I think any excuse is a good excuse to escape with your loved one! Let alone the "we-just-created-a-human-together-and-our-lives-are-about-to-change-inexplicabily-forever" excuse.
Surely that is the best excuse of them all!

                      Perfect babymoon bliss... or so the photo seems to portray