The bump chronicles #27: Maternity leave

Weeks pregnant: 38
Baby size in vegetables: Leek

Friday was my last day of work, which was kind of awesome and totally weird all at the same time. I went for a lovely lunch with my closest colleagues, was given a touching leaving speech with an absolutely hilarious leaving card and I made a final visit to the roof terrace bar of my building for a bottle of water. And then I said goodbye and went home and cried Β little because work isn’t just work to me. It’s my second family and I love what I do. On the other hand I have had quite a few bouts of really bad nausea over the last week or so… kind of like my morning sickness has come back and I can no longer pretend that I am not really… unwieldy… so not having to make the journey across the city isn’t the worst.

leeks

A vastly underrated vegetable

As we have a rough idea when Little O is going to be here I know I won’t be on maternity leave very long so I am trying to balance relaxing with making sure I use the time constructively, including:

  • Dying my hair
  • Getting a haircut
  • Getting an manicure and pedicure
  • Buying some extremely sexy feeding bras (anyone who has had a baby will be able to appreciate the sarcasm)
  • Getting some last minute things for my hospital bag including a giant bar of Oreo chocolate and some jelly babies that I plan to eat as soon as I have given birth
  • Catching up with friends
  • Cooking some meals we can put in the freezer to eat when we only have time to microwave things
  • Watching all six seasons ofΒ Sex and the City
  • Packing up some things we don’t use regularly ready for our imminent move
  • Sorting through the pile of shoes I have amassed and donating 3/4 of them while wondering what on earth possessed me to ever buy anything so hideous
wp-1465903997381.jpg

38 weeks… the waiting game

My final activity is something called colostrum harvesting, which I promised the midwives at the hospital I would blog about. Colostrum is the very first food your body makes for your baby. It is super rich and packed with essential nutrients, fat and protein and only a few mililitres is enough to provide your baby with everything it initially needs.

Colostrum is particularly important for babies who are born to mothers who have gestational diabetes. A baby born to a healthy mother can go for a couple of days without feeding while mum’s milk is coming in but GD or “sugar” babies as they are affectionately called are at risk of hypoglycemia so they need to feed immediately and often. While there is nothing wrong with topping up with feeds with formula if necessary (or exclusively feeding with formula) there is a benefit to giving a sugar baby extra colostrum if it takes a while for breastfeeding to get going if that’s what you want to do.

When you are pregnant your body starts making colostrum at around 20 weeks so it can be possible to hand express and freezer it before you give birth to have a store available if it is necessary. I was extremely fortunate to be offered a lesson and storage supplies by the hospital and had a great one on one lesson with an antenatal feeding specialist. Since then I have been one of the lucky ones who has found it relatively easy to get Venezuela and Columbia (as I call the lady chesticles) to produce and I am building up a good supply just in case there is a reason Little O needs it.

Colostrum can come in handy in the case of any kind of difficult birth and since you can store it for up to six months and it’s apparently great for a sick baby later on so it’s something all expectant mums might want to consider doing. So if you are pregnant and reading this, ask your midwife!

21 Comments

    1. About a week… eep!

  1. So exciting! Mostly because I don’t have to deal with discomfort and worry. πŸ˜‰

    1. I have actually been very lucky in terms of discomfort. I am a bit achy and I am slow and cumbersome but compared to what many people seem to be going through I have been so fortunate.

  2. Also, Ian asks if British leeks are larger than ours, because our leeks are smaller than much of the fruit and veg you’ve posted in recent weeks. I just wonder about a leek emoji.

    1. A decent sized British leek is over a foot long with its leaves. They’re not very big in diameter though… maybe 2 inches.

  3. That sounds like a pretty thorough list of not only practical stuff but also ways to take care of yourself! And this is the first I’m hearing about colostrum, ever. I really feel like your Bump Chronicles series is teaching me things.

    1. I am hoping keeping busy will stop me from spending all my time thinking about actual labour… which no one wants to think about too much! I am glad that it’s been informative. I really think knowledge is power when it comes to this kind of thing.

  4. I’m really liking these ‘chronicles’, of course being a man it fascinates me as I’m learning new stuff. I have my own ‘chronicles’, though its veeeery different, hehe, its about my time spent in a rehab clinic that was actually some sort of religious sect. If you have the effort I’d love to hear what you think. But you sound like you’ll be pretty busy!

    And that is awesome that your work is like your family. So few people get to do what they love, well not enough people do anyways. Sounded like a great last day before maternity leave πŸ™‚

    BTW you look beautiful in that pic! πŸ™‚

    best wishes for the future πŸ™‚

    1. I would love to read your chronicles. I might not manage right away but I will definitely come back to them when things calm down a bit around here. It might be some time but I won’t forget.

      I am extremely lucky with work. I am not sure if someone had written down the career path I have had and offered it to me I would have chosen it but it turns out it fits my personality exactly and I have so much fun doing it. The people make up more than half of the enjoyment though. I feel like I get to go and hang out with some of my best friends every day, which is awesome.

      And thank you. You are so sweet πŸ™‚

      1. πŸ™‚

        I am studying youth work, so I hope to be in the same position where I love my work. Some youth workers are real bastards tho so, I dunno. If I were to have it my way I’d be in film school, but such a place doesn’t exist here

        1. I am sad to hear that there is no film school in Australia 😦 But so good you’ve found something else that you enjoy so much!

          1. There are schools in the eastern states, Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney…. but not Adelaide. I have found something but cinematography is one of ten different things the course focuses on =/ Oh, and it is 23,000$

            Nice and cheap eh?

            1. Yikes! That is very expensive. I was lucky, I managed to get through most of uni on a scholarship and my dad paid the rest… although I now realise it was a total waste of time.

              1. Oh, that is a bummer that it ended up being a waste of time. =/ And yeah, that’s a lotta cash huh? I don’t doubt it’d be totally worth it but still….. so much money, an amount I’ve never comer close to ever having in my account!

                1. I’ve never used a single thing I learned at uni but I’ve had a career that I’ve loved so far so I think peoples’ experience varies so much.

  5. I learn something new with each one of these posts, which is awesome!

    Venezuela and Colombia, eh? xD

    1. I am glad it’s ended up being so educational πŸ™‚ It’s a long but silly story and somehow the names just stuck!

  6. So exciting. That’s awesome you are able to store up some good milk for baby. It’s amazing what your body can do for a baby, I was baffled by all the changes with my girls. All the best!

    1. I was amazed by how much I’ve managed to get out because the feeding specialist told me not to be disheartened if there was nothing but I’ve now got 13 syringes in the freezer.

      1. That’s a lot! Great job.

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