One of the most exciting things about having a baby is knowing that you get to create a space, just for them, in your home.
I have never been one for ‘themes’ and always envisioned a calm, neutral and tranquil space… which mean that the 1980 pink terracotta floors that came with the house had to go! Working in client service, I get paid in smiles (and the occasional pat on the head) so sadly the budget wasn’t there to re-floor the entire house, but we did manage to save enough to put laminate flooring down in the guest bedroom and study (turned nursery).
It made a massive difference!
We inherited some pre-loved furniture – a cot and compactum – which, after serious amounts of elbow grease, sanding, priming and painting look almost brand new.
Being the frugal DIY’er I am I made the mobile and my hubby applied the stickers to the walls.
I sometimes wondered if this room was ever going to come together, and even though there are still some things left to do it’s pretty much complete and I just adore it.
Walking around the room last night to take photos I said to the husband “It still feels like something is missing…” to which he replied “Yes, a baby”
So, minus 1 x baby, I present to you #BabyRankins nursery:
Something I have been looking forward to my entire pregnancy has been my baby shower. I really am the luckiest lass as between my mom, 3 x A type bridesmaids and a host of talented friends and family, events like this are always filled with such attention to detail! (Remember my bachelorette?) My ‘Sprout’ themed shower didn’t disappoint.
I think the pics speak for themselves.
Side note – I highly recommend getting knocked up – the pressie and spoils are outrageous!
Only my mom would painstakingly grow dozens of Sprout heads..each personalised of course!
Dr Seuss, Roald Dahl and Beatrix Potter. What more could a literature loving mom want for her kid?
Babies and Bostons… of course
Instead of a card, each gift had a photo of the sender as a baby. Amy had printing issues so she decided to draw hers. I never would have imagined her looking like this as a baby… Mad skill!
Some people on the other hand, were a lot more easy to identify.
Chocolate brownie stag cupcakes… I mean, really.
Food, glorious food!
Guessing baby’s name… NO-ONE got it right 🙂
Things then went back to our place where my hubby was having a nappy braai…let’s just say it got messier than a diaper after a first solids feed.
One of the big pregnancy milestones is being far enough along to attend an antenatal class. (I’m lying, you can go anytime, I just feel I need to congratulate myself on 32 weeks of sobriety). We decided to join the free one that the hospital offers, because cheap.
The class took place over a full Saturday and I tell ya, the last time I was this excited for a full day Saturday anything was our wedding.
One of the highlights of the day was walking into the hospital foyer, pillow in hand, and bumping into our Gynae, Dr D. The look of panic on his face as he thought I may be coming in for an early labour was priceless, because he looked very ready to head on home – coffee and newspaper in hand.
Why a pillow you ask? I too was skeptical when the hospital asked us to bring one with. Turns out, if you can sit through 9 hours of antenatal class in the torture chamber chairs provided (even with a pillow) then you are well ready to have a baby. The nurse who took the class told us about a lady who was on bed rest, and took the entire class lying down on a bed of pillows. Having attended the class myself, I know that was all a lie, and the clever duck just had the foresight to make an ulterior plan.
Suffice to say, the chiropractors at Sandton Medi Cinic must make an absolute fortune on Saturdays at 5pm.
My favourite part of the day had to be the informative videos. For most of them, real life woman were filmed, all looking exceptionally glamorous having just popped out a baby. I also think all the men in the room are now immune to nipples and boob. The word aureole now gets tossed around as casually as you please.
For those who aren’t able to attend an antenatal class, or who want a little teaser of what’s to come, here you go:
1. Breastfeeding is best. They will literally shove images of latching babies and saucer sized nipples down your throat until you get the point. If you are considering breastfeeding, it’s very important to remember these handy, yet almost impossible to remember tips:
Baby’s lips must always be in a C shape, bottom lip visibly open, body aligned and latching like a starved fish.
Baby’s position should be like that of a football. Excellent analogy doc, as I’m sure a whopping 0.01% of the moms in the class are avid American sports fans.
When nipple cracks and bleeds, you are doing it wrong
Should baby’s mouth position not be as above, you are doing it wrong
If it hurts to the point where you want to stab yourself in the face with baby’s umbilical cord, then you are probably doing it wrong.
Basically, your baby needs to look like these goldfish.
2. Everything comes at a cost. From the nurse talking us all into ‘skin on skin contact’ immediately after baby is born (R700) to the ‘optional’ hearing test performed at birth (R400), not to mention the accommodation (yep, not rooms, accommodation) options – ranging from a R900 only-share-with-one-other-mom to the R2500 per night luxury suite (dinner for hubby included!) it is clear that nothing about having a baby is cheap. (Again, why we chose the free classes)
3. Possibly the most heart-breaking of all the lessons learnt was during lunch. The vegetarian option consisted of a Greek salad with feta as well as feta and tomato tartlets. HANG ON JUST ONE MINUTE, I thought feta when pregnant was the devil’s food, no more or less dangerous than swallowing a bottle of lighter fluid? My emotions were torn friends, do I eat the feta because I’m at baby school in a hospital, or do I listen to 99% of all the advice I’ve been given that’s told me otherwise?
Have the last 219.8 days of my life been a lie?
4. People are soft. And my darling husband is the most soft of them all. Apparently we were the first class to watch the illustrated video of the natural and C section births, due to complaints previously (I BET from men) about the real life videos being too graphic. I’m sorry, but do these folk think that a baby comes out in 2D picture? Nonetheless, 12 seconds into the cartoon video of a C section (think elevator music and a soft narrative) my husband goes as white as a sheet and leaves the room to go find Coke and other sugary treats. Shame – pregnancy is hard on the men.
5. As the class went on and the ‘list for hubby’s’ grew longer and longer (think tremendously intricate tasks like charging the camera, or packing socks) my poor husband began to look more and more distressed. It was at this point that I realised we would have to forego the R700 skin-on-skin option as I would need the money to pay for his stitches from when he passed out during the delivery.(Another item on list for mom’s – sit your hubby down in front of the telly and make him watch a medical documentary. If at any point he looks even close to vomiting, you may want to consider packing several Cokes for the hospital…and asking a friend to be there as a Plan B).
So, with 8 weeks to go I may feel slightly more informed, but no less panicked about what’s to come. It’s fine though, at least I know I will have my husband holding my hand throughout it all after he’s woken up from his coma.
You know I’ve mentioned I’ve had an easy pregnancy right? Well, I really have. Despite the vomit inducing heartburn and occasional I-want-to-punch-your-dumb-face in mood swings, it’s been smooth sailing all the way.
Until Saturday that is.
Every few weekends, whenever we can, we take part in the Lonehill Park Run. I walk it, husband sprints Tom Cruise style and comes in 2nd place. That kinda thing. This week, as I approached half way I suddenly felt all the muscles freeze in my backside, and my legs lock into place. Terribly embarrassing, considering it was in the middle of the track and I was the cause of an almost domino effect of neon clad runners as they had to very quickly skirt and bypass me.(Quite like skirting and bypassing a beached hippo). I imagine I let out a delicate yelp and bent forward, partly due to the athlete who nearly rear ended me and the absolute excruciating pain running down my arse. It was at that point that a concerned jogger ran up to me and asked if I was in labour. “Nope, I don’t think so” I replied “I just have a very sore bum”.
A very sore bum! Oh my god. A very sore bum implies a hot curry was consumed the night before. No, this was daggers and juggernauts (I don’t know what a juggernaut is, but it sounds like it would be sore if in my glute, so work with me here).
A little while later, whilst in Baby Shitty putting together my registry, the same pain explosion occurred. You can imagine the horror on the moms faces while they tried to push past me with their laden trolleys and screaming toddlers in expensive prams. “Sorry” I kept saying, whilst laughing hysterically, because I just could not move. I was one foot under Disney, back somewhere near a bottle sterilizer and a few toes away from disposable breast pads. My friend Amy ran to fetch me the security guards plastic chair (turns out the security guard at baby City is just as friendly as all the other phlegm snorting staff) for me to sit on.
So there I was, sitting in baby City on a plastic lawn chair contemplating my slow painful death.
Later that day, at my nieces first birthday party, I lost the use of my limbs at the exact moment sweet Emma tasted her first piece of cake. Of course I was standing infront of the photographer at the time.
I won’t bore you with the details, but by the time 8pm rolled around and my husband was peeling off panties and shoes whilst trying to coax me into the bath I had lost my sense of humour along with the ability to walk in forward steps.
Turns out, what I thought was sciatica was a simple case of ‘very common in pregnancy’ Locked TIJ. I don’t know what it means, but if you look up “overweight red face woman writing in agony whilst performing movements similar to that in a game of Twister’ you would find it.
Typically, Monday rolled around and I could urinate without assistance – so it seems that I’m making baby (the pun, intended) steps in the progress department.
However, should you spot me somewhere down the line, flat faced on the floor and twitching like an electrocuted squirrel, do me a favour and help me up. Just don’t ask if I’m in labour.
I woke up this morning and realised I haven’t blogged in a few weeks, because I had nothing to write about.
3 hours later I got stood up at a meeting that took me 2 hours to get to, I ramped a curb and damaged my car leaving said meeting, I was spoken to rudely by several people and my colleagues played a harmless prank on me. All before 1 pm. All which made me break down in a sobbing fit about 5 minutes ago.
Other reasons I’ve cried during my pregnancy?
Money worries. How am I going to afford everything that comes with having a baby. What do I do if my baby is sick and I am at work. Can we afford a nanny? Can we afford nappies? Can I still afford Mitchum or do I have to move to Shield?
My neighbours dog died. About 30 minutes ago. It happened while I was on a conference call with Ireland and he was frantically messaging the neighbourhood WhatsApp group asking for help. All I could do was Google the number of a vet and ask someone, anyone, on the other end to phone the vet. I was too late and his dog died and now I feel like I have a hole in my heart the size of Texas because I couldn’t do anything to help him.
I thought I had lost something that someone had loaned to me, and after frantically searching and asking for it I had to tell the person I loaned it from that I had lost it. Turns out some colleagues had hidden it from me as a harmless prank. This is now the reason I’m hiding out in an old boardroom in the office (that smells like feet) and sobbing into my keyboard. (Me, crying over a prank. I invented the prank. What.The.Actual.Fuck is going on with me)
I couldn’t eat fishcakes. This happened really early on (around week 8). I bought expensive Salmon fishcakes from Woolies and realised, as soon as I started cooking them, that if I ate them I would be sick. I sobbed and sobbed while I watched my husband eat all 8.
Someone finished the rusks. And the Marie biscuits.
My husband forgot to buy dog food, and after a massive brief altercation I drove to the shops in my pyjamas and bought 16 bags. I also tried to slam his hand in the door when he tried to stop me.
I baked. And I fucked up 20 perfectly good cupcakes that I was making for a colleagues birthday.
I was told I was being ‘hormonal and pregnant’. Now, this is a tricky one, because if there’s a sure way to fuel that fire, it’s to cry when someone tells you that you are being ‘overly emotional’. That being said, blame my emotional state on my pregnancy one more time, and I will stab you in the fucking face with an unused box of tampons.
My mattress is shit. I cry for a sturdy mattress I will never know.
Traffic. But who am I kidding – traffic makes me cry even when I’m not spawning a child.
Most TV adverts and movies featuring the following:
A pet (extra points for dogs, triple points if the dog dies)
A homeless person
Any Tracker ad
The sight of my naked body in the mirror. (fun fact, the other day I was trying to view my belly button, convinced it was bruised. Dr D says it’s because my stomach muscles have split and my stomach is now just a round piece of fat holding my uterus in. Awesome)
People’s opinions. If I’m planning on tattooing a Swastika down my baby’s face after birth, then by all means, say something, but for everything else – unless you plan on paying for a portion of my baby’s life, your opinion is null and void.
So, on that charming note, I’m off to dry my mascara and have a cup of tea. I just hope it’s not with full cream milk, because that just may set me off again.
I walked down the ramp at the office in the rain and nearly fell.
I walked down the ramp at the office in the rain and did fall. The next time it was raining my lovely colleague Lucy took my arm and helped me walk down said ramp. Then she fell. I think the bigger issue here may be the ramp itself.
I stood on a revolving office chair to fix an aircon vent. My boss charged out of his meeting with a face like thunder and yelled “What the hell do you think you are doing? What if you fell and your baby died? You can’t do that when you’re 8 months pregnant”. To which I replied “Oh, I’m only 7 months pregnant. Don’t worry, if I was 8 months I would never have done this”
I leaned down to find the cheesy Marmite from the office cupboard and my tea lady scolded me yelling “No Kate, stop it, we are here for you”.
I opened and closed a manual garage door.
I left for work in the morning without packing snacks.
I grabbed a basket at the grocery store instead of a trolley. My friend Amy was with me and said “pregnancy is not the time for baskets”. 5 minutes later a 750 gram tin of fruit rolled out the trolley and landed on my foot, nearly breaking it. I think pregnancy is in fact a time for baskets.
I was being emotional. You know what’s fun, non pregnant people? When you tell someone with a human growing inside of them that they are being emotional. We love that.
The office desks were being re-arranged and I tried to help. After a bit of a fight they let me carry a pot plant and an empty Tupperware.
I walked through the metal detector at a meeting. The other option was to pole-vault over it onto the other side. Silly me.
Funnily enough, things I haven’t been scolded for:
Grocery shopping and pushing a trolley the size of a Boeing at Douglasale Pick n Pay at 6 pm on pay day.
Washing the dogs. I’m pretty sure wrestling two 15 kilogram octopus (octopusses, ocotopee?) covered in butter would be easier.
Dropping an earring and crawling, leopard style, under the bed to search for it.
Driving in Randburg. Or Fourways, or anywhere other human beings and taxis also drive.
Refilling the 21.8 kilogram office water bottle after getting tired of shouting “Guys I am dying of thirst, please can someone replace the 21.8 kilogram water bottle” (A few days later when someone noticed that it had been done, I got kakked on for doing it myself)
* The word ‘kak’ is a glorious South African’ism for ‘shit’. pronounced ‘kuk’. Ie: “You speak more Kak than Jacob Zuma”.
To be ‘Kakked on‘ implies being shouted at, and should not be confused with literally having feces dumped on ones self. If I had written a blog post about ‘Reasons I have been covered in poo during my pregnancy’, then I was probably in bad labour, or there’s something terrible wrong with the State of our Nation. (Apart from the actual State of our Nation).
This happened about 5 minutes ago as I was rummaging through my bag for a post lunch stick of gum. Do you think I can ask my gynae for a R30 refund on my exorbitant bill?
A bill so so worth it through. As any mom or mom to be understands – ultrasounds during pregnancy are one of the most exciting things that can happen. My doctor today even jokingly asked if I knew the exact gestation date. I did. 25 weeks and 2 days. Except when sprout came up on the screen…. all ONE POINT ONE KILOGRAMS of him, his estimated age was reading at around 29 weeks. “That’s one big boy you have in there” Dr D noted. “At this rate he will just walk right out of your womb”
So, yay, baby boy is healthy and happy and oh so very large. He was also clearly terribly bored by all the attention that was on him as we captured him mid-yawn.
Side note – If anyone was planning on buying us cute newborn clothes, perhaps its best to fast track to the toddler aisle.
When I first found out I was pregnant, I donwloaded every pregnancy app out there, bought all the books and subscribed to every online newsletter available. I tracked my daily progress, hungrily devouring the information that was provided to me. I lived for Sundays, which was the fetus’ ‘birthday’ and on those days I would shout out at my husband while he was in the shower “Babe, today it’s the size of a grain of rice!” and later “Oh my god – its a whole grape love!”
Fast forward to 24 weeks (boom – hello 6 months!) and our big little man is supposedly weighing in at an impressive 600 grams. Still a while to go, but it’s bizarre to think I have something the length of a ruler and the weight of a margarine tub just chilling out in my belly.
I’ve said it before, but I have had an easy pregnancy. However, nothing is without even its small issues, and as the time goes on more and more textbook symptoms are cropping up. Trust me, not much is fun about those, and as much as you try your damnedest to avoid the fateful aches, pains and marks of pregnancy, they are just sometimes unavoidable.
Never fear, I’ve kindly taken lab rat to a new level and experimented with a whole whack of options to cure these issues. Hopefully, if you are on this gassy glorious road to motherhood too, you will find value in some of these solutions.
1. Baby on bladder and other wee issues
I’m fine during the day, but the second bed time comes (around 6:30 pm these days) my bladder fills up faster than a nightclub bar on student night. I have my bedtime routine down to a fine art now; Wee, brush teeth, wee again. Get into bed and read for 30 minutes (get up to wee twice during reading session). During the night its a few more wees, and then a grand wee at around 5 am, bypassing the need for any sort of alarm clock. Ladies, sorry to break it to you, but there is no cure for this – the only thing that has slightly helped is to drink all the water you need during the day and then go H2O cold turkey from about 6 pm. Don’t even be tempted to swallow a little bit when brushing your teeth, no ma’am, even the smallest amount will top up your bladder faster than you can spell w-e-e.
2. Purple marks are the highway to hell
The other morning, while lifting my pendulous bosom from its resting position on my belly, I happened to catch my reflection in the mirror (lately that’s the only way I can see past my neck. Need a bikini wax? There’s no way of knowing unless staring directly into a reflective surface.).
I digress, I caught my reflection in the mirror and let out a howling wail – the underside of my now-no-longer-belong-to-me-boobs were covered in purple stretch marks, and not be too TMI about this, I’ll leave it at that – but let’s say I sobbed all the way to work that day.
Stretchmarks are sons of bitches, and apparently the boob ones do go away after baby is born. The only solution for this is to accept it, move on and dream about the boob job your husband is going to buy you to say thanks for carrying his child for 40 weeks.
As for other stretch marks – I swear by Bio Oil – I use it twice a day, on-top of a Palmers (designed for preggy) body lotion and combined with Palmers preggy body butter. By the time I’m done applying cream in the morning you could squeeze me through a keyhole.
3. Back be damned
A combination of orthopedically un-approved office chairs and a burgeoning belly are a recipe for disaster when it comes to a sore back. No position is comfortable and by the end of the day it hurts to even breathe. Apparently working from bed isn’t an option, so the next best solution is to discard said office chair (burn it if possible) and sit on a gym ball or chair not made from Satans tool box. Getting up during the day also helps. I found myself at one point going outside with the smokers for a bit of a break, until I realised that was probably worse for me than the chair…
4. Your shoes are laughing at you.
As is any form of home pedicure, foot cream or sock. Unless its a shoe you can slip into (praise you dear Havianas) just about any shoe is going to cause an unnecessary amount of bending and uncomfortable contortionism. The other day I walked into the office with one sneaker unlaced. My lovely colleague Lucy kindly tied it for me, as she will be doing for the next 3 months. Thanks Luce!
Top tip – fuck office wear and buy flip flops. Also, pay someone to paint your nails. Someone who isn’t a 3 year old or your husband.
5. If you sleep on your back your baby will die
… is what I told my gynae I’d read online. Which is when he replied with “Kate, imagine all the dead babies scattered around from woman who accidentally fell asleep on thier back!“. Mortified, he had a point – don’t take everything you read online as the gospel. That being said, it’s actually not advisable to sleep on your back. It’s impossible to sleep on your tummy and its pretty uncomfortable to sleep overall. My darling husband bought me a preggy pillow which I used once, and which is now dog bed v2.
I find spooning a regular pillow, and sleeping next to bed hitler (Kate you’re sleeping on your back again!*) helps tremendously.
* And when he calls me Kate I know I’m in kaak.
6. R200 for a belly band? I’ll take 2!
Possibly the biggest life saver during pregnancy has been the ‘belly band’. An overpriced stretchy piece of material that allows you to extend the life of your pants. These little miracle workers have allowed me an extra 6 months in my skinnys. I’ve also found that randomly flashing my unzipped jeans and belly band to colleagues on an almost daily basis more than makes up for the hefty price tag. They just love it.
I have more, but let’s save those treats for months 7 through 9, shall we?
One of the most exciting parts about a baby on the way is undoubtedly the baby nursery. Hell, I will find any reason to decorate and buy things for the home, and here I have the perfect excuse. But, unless you’ve always known what your dream nursery looks like, it can be a daunting experience.
Thank goodness for sites like Pinterest – but also, not thank goodness – because, so much choice!
Luckily for us we know the sex, so that eliminates half the options. I’m also very firm on the ‘no theme’ rule. I’m just not a Disney or Teddy kinda gal.
I’ve always loved prints and have decided this is the perfect-time to pay round with contrast. We’ve decided to keep the nursery neutral – with tones of grey and white and pops of colour. I initially wanted mustard but was met with a raised eyebrow, so we’ve changed it to royal blue.
Friends and family have been totally amazing, and we have been so fortunate to receive a hand me down crib and compactum. Both these pieces need a lot of work, but if now’s not the perfect time to unleash my inner DIY’er, then when is?
Here are just some of the ideas I’m playing around with… but with just over 4 months to go, it’s time to get cracking on making a firm commitment.