Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Baby Shower Friendships

The yummy yummy food. Check out the Cake and Cup cakes!!
 Being pregnant with Siam has really made me appreciate the friendships I have and how dynamic, delicate and important each friendship is. Not sure exactly why I feel this way more when I am pregnant…could be the support we have felt during this phase of our life. But I think Siam’s baby shower really brought these emotions to the surface.

Siam's baby shower was really surprisingly such an amazing event. I say suprisingly because I really didn't know what to expect. It wasn't like my birthday or my wedding where I would know the details of the event – the who’s coming and what will take place....not at all....Baby showers are not for the mommy to plan so I was really in the dark. All I knew was that Maita and Marica were in charge. I give them both a hand of respect because planning a baby shower that has no "sex" also can be challenging. But what a magnificent baby shower they planned, everything was perfect from the food, games, to the smallest of details like small dummies on the table. The pock-a-dot theme filled the whole club house with beautiful colours of joy. Baby cloths were hung as decorations and small colourful lanterns hung from the ceiling. The cupcakes were delicious and the actual baby shower cake was probably the best cake I have ever had, with my name on it. The games they also planned made me feel like everyone was involved in the baby shower ....not just me opening presents. (Thanks Team M&M....).

Maita giving Bingo instructions...Good job sis!
Fun Decor

Whats a baby shower without babies? Especially happy ones :)

But what really made the baby shower so special were the people that came. We played a bingo game while opening each of the presents and while I opened each present I realized how dynamic the friendships I had with each and every lady there. Each friendship was so different from the next and just as valuable and precious. There were old age friends and young aged friends, recent friends and long-term friends, cousin friends and family friends, friends who are friends through friends and friends who were once off friends. It meant so much to me that each and every one of them could make it. …not because of the presents but really it was the presence that was so valuable.

The following Sunday, as I folded away the new born cloths, packed away the nappies and displayed the toys – the reality of life, friends and love kicked in. A majority of what we had for Siam was all given to us by friends and family from far and wide. Some of it was brand new and some of it was second hand. If I was to mentally link any of the items in that room with an imaginary rope to a friend I was sure I would have created a quilt. … a strong friendship quilt that I felt so undeserving of. It built up such intense emotions in me….so much that by the time I finally got to rest my head, a flood gate of emotions just took over me like a storm. I probably cried harder than I had ever cried this whole pregnancy. Maybe it was my hormones but at that time those tears felt so valid and real.

I tried to explain to Avon why I was feeling so much emotions and all I could say was “Every friendship that we have is just so amazing – from the friendships overseas to the friendships surrounding us here. And everyone has given us so much and is so present in this phase of our life. It’s like Siam has this foundation around that he/she isn’t even aware of yet. But have you ever felt like you have received so much and you haven’t given enough. Right now I feel like words, sms’s, gifts, time are not sufficient expressions of my gratitude. I feel so helpless in my ability to express it all.”

As I write this I realise that maybe I didn’t have to cry so hard and it all could have possibly been linked to my pregnancy hormones. But the fact of the matter is I am so thankful for everyone who is part of our life. I used to crack a joke about having a friendship list that would have a limit to it and a waiting list. And people would earn their positions by their level of commitment to the friendship. If I met someone new who had the potential of being a great friend I would jokingly think “I really only have enough room for this many friends. ….I will have to put you on the waiting list! Or come back in a month’s time and there may be space.” But honestly speaking you can never have too many good friends in life. Friends are blessings not jobs and by failing to invest, forgive, commit in your friendships you really are only holding yourself back from a God given Gift.

Friday, September 9, 2011

B-WOW Maternity Photo-Shoot!

Before falling pregnant I never really understood the concept and reason for having a maternity Photo-shoot.  I mean you are absolutely  HUGE at this moment of your life and what the heck do you do with those photos….They are not exactly like wedding photos that you can have sitting on a coffee table and show all your guests who come visit. But as I grew the positive feelings about a maternity shoot also grew and soon I was determined to get a B-WOW photo of myself.

A while BS (before Siam) I remember walking into my half sisters bedroom after she had had her first child and she had a huge A0 size blow up photo of herself pregnant. At the time I couldn’t quite connect to the thought of being pregnant and the emotions behind a photo of yourself in that “State”. I stood there staring at this huge A0 size photo and thought wow “Why would you want to wake up to seeing yourself like that, your boobs are looking larger than life in this photo.” For me the photo was just scary. But to her there was a sense of pride in seeing herself carrying a child within her and the appreciation that her body could “DO IT”.  The sparkle in her eyes was similar to that sparkle in a Winner of a marathon photo.

Now that I am 8 months pregnant and baring the same symptoms as my half sister, looking larger than life, I can totally relate to that desire of “Mr Photographer Shoot me now! Boobs , tummy, bum and all….. Capture this BODY you see right here…for I am a Marathon winner!” I did The Google thing and searched other maternity shoots and was totally inspired to book my appointment.  I then chatted about my excitement over a cup of tea with one of my pregnancy buddies. She was 2 weeks ahead of me in her pregnancy and had already done her photo shoot. However the difference between her photo shoot and the ones I had seen on The Google was that this friend of mine was already in the film/design/photography industry.  So her photos were not scary but more so B-WOW…yes B-WOW (my word for blown away wow)! She proudly showed me her photo’s and I was completely dumfounded by the detail, expression, intensity, beauty in the shoot. Her photos looked like they were taken out of a magazine and in some I could barely recognise her. The photos were also fun and artistic with crazy photo edits which were ingenious.

So…almost deflated,  I went back to the drawing board for my maternity shoot plan. Now I wanted a fun and hip maternity shoot too! I also wanted to be in a bikini in a tub of milk, or be lifted with helium balloons and photo shopped here and there. I wanted a  B-WOW photo shoot of my own. But reality hit me quite quickly as I remembered my photographers maternity portfolio was hardly as creative and I didn’t have a stylist or make-up artists to join me. But never the less I brain stormed with Avon on some of the possible positions, props and wardrobe ideas we could use…..he would be my inspiration.

Early one Saturday morning Avon and I rocked up at the studio dressed in black and ready to pose for the first round of shoots then changed into jeans and a white top for the second, which was all conservative and normal (in my opinon). After about a half an hour of posing the typical maternity way I started doubting that we would get any creative B-Wow shots. Now our idea of creative was me in a bikini with toys all around me and Avon top less showing his tattoo… But how do you say it to a somewhat conservative male photographer with out sounding like you wanna get naked for him. Thank goodness Avon rescued the situation by saying “ Babe how about that toys and bikini idea?” …thank goodness my man knows me so well....I replied with a "Oh yaaaaa I almost forgot about that!" LIES!!!! lol. 

Posing at 8 months pregnant, in a bikini, and on the floor with toys isn’t exactly the easiest of jobs. Firstly you are hopping everything stays inside the bikini and that your new cellulite doesn’t get exposed. Secondly you are so awkward when you are on the floor because the lack of abdominal muscles and awkward bump doesn’t quite allow you to sit up or lean back nicely, you feel  like a huge seal (yes the animal) with your arms being the flippers.  You kind of have to role into position and when I did just that one of the squeegee toy animals hidden behind me gave a yelling screech as if it was in genuine pain.  This might be a normal sound for Moms with kids...but for me it was it was a terrifying unfamiliar sound. I couldn’t help but laugh out of embarrassment as both Avon and the photographer looked down at me so helplessly. I wasn’t sure if they felt sorry for me or the animal but either way it was hilarious.

Teddy and Tum-Tum
The next shot was a leg in air shot, I call it the tear drop shot.  You lie on your back and you lift your legs up in the air while they are folded over. I got the idea from an internet maternity shoot and thought it would be simple enough. But as I lay there on my back I realised that those leg lifts don’t come easy. So I had to explain to the photographer to take the photo SUPER QUICK .."when I lift my legs up YOU SHOOT". Lol. As I lay there on the floor I thought “wow kanya you really are pushing your limits here….just for that B-WOW shot.”

I am not sure of what we will do with the photos we took , but I must admit I had fun taking them and I am sure they may scare some people, as they once scared me before I was pregnant, but to me these photos will be B-WOW no matter what.  With the B standing for Baby-Wow, Big-Wow, Blown-up-WOW, Brrr-WOW, Bgosh-Wow, bloody-WOW!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Rhythm of My Pregnancy: The Birthing Fear Factor

It is the final month of my pregnancy and lets just say the whole thought of delivery is at the forefront of my mind. You would think that I have been thinking about this daily for the past 8 months, but honestly like anything I normally do ….I procrastinated till the reality of the situation kicked in.

It all kicked in when I first experienced the Braxon Hicks contractions (fake contractions). I was 34 weeks pregnant, in Canada and was leaving a movie theatre. When the unfamiliar pain kicked in I stopped dead in my tracks and held my lower abdomen. You can imagine the thoughts that ran through my head. “What is going on, is this labour pains, will I be giving birth in Canada?” This pain really jolted my imagination waves, as I began to realise that wow I am going to one day give birth and it isn’t going to be great feeling….it is going to be painful.

Once I had managed to make it safely home (in South Africa) I decided that I needed to jack up my ideas on the whole concept of birth. Yes I had been to antenatal classes and yes I had seen all the gory birthing videos. But for some reason something didn’t click inside me. It was like I was watching a fictional movie where stuff you know stuff happens…but it won’t happen to you.

My real Aha moment happened when I chatted to a mother who had experienced both a C-section and a Natural Birth. My first question for her was – which one did you prefer? That question opened up a full 20minute information-filled conversation about the benefits of having a Natural Birth. It was like she was talking about a joyful occasion and when I saw her husbands facial expression I thought wow “I want that emotion and feeling!” She nearly blew me away ……with all the facts and issues with C-sections, hospitals and how she would really encourage me get as informed as possible about your birthing options. She said “South Africa is the second highest ranked country in the world for women having C-sections. I really feel like women are not fully informed about their options. Kanya a C-section is a major abdominal surgery. God made you for labour and it should be a wonderful experience and the environment should be like you are making love to your husband, a relaxing and peaceful environment.” I dwelled on those last words and realised that at no point did I envision a love making environment for birthing.

I took our conversation as a God-incident and began changing my non existent birth plan. You see my original birth plan was to just have a natural delivery at Fourways life hospital with my current gyne. I had based it all on convenience because we lived so close. I mean I literally can see the hospital from my veranda. I think I figured that I would have an advantage of getting to the hospital quickly….coz labour can be quick (NOT SO TRUE). But I was not truly comfortable with my decision because I had heard that this hospital was called “Caesar- Palace” due to the many women who end up with C-sections and my gyne was apparently a Caesarean queen. And to add to it the Hospital didn’t quite have the “love-making environment” my friend was talking about.

Then I came across Genesis Clinic which is a natural birthing clinic in Johannesburg. It is 30 minutes further than the Fourways hospital but every picture, word and person who I had spoken to who had given birth there, screamed the birthing as a painfully joyous occasion! I finally knew what I wanted and it was this experience. I wanted to have my own room and my own midwife. I wanted to sit on a yoga ball and do stretches with out the gadgets and wires attached to me. I wanted to have music and candles playing in a love making environment while I screamed “AVON YOU DID THIS TO ME!!!!” and pushed SIAM out. I also wanted to be comforted with the fact that should something go wrong there was a C-section theatre ready for me. And when the whole event is over I want to be able to have my husband hold me in my king size bed while I drift off into la la land. All of this was available at a one stop shop – Genesis Clinic. My fearful thoughts about birthing were now becoming strangely peaceful ones. So I changed my gynaecologist, met up with two wonderful midwives and made my reservation for the Genesis Clinic.

I guess we all have our own birthing expectations and fears, and it may not actually turn out the way we planned and expected. But I think what is really important is that before that day comes we are happy with the decisions we have made to that date, whether it is C-section or no C-section, hospital or birthing clinic, gyne or midwife, love making or CSI. You should be confident in the hands of the people who will be looking after you and most importantly the environment should be sufficient enough for you to master your body’s capability to journey through the labour. But honestly speaking......the whole event is really in Gods Hands! ….. the count down is on...hopefully I am still inspired to blog.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Canada Vacation: Dim Sum Experience

Dim Sum is a style of Chineese food prepared as small bite-sized or individual portions of food and it usually is brought out in steamers. I don’t normally eat it but I always find it a fun experience for people who have no idea what it is. So during our time in Toronto I made sure Avon, Reagan and Maita had a true Dim Sum experience in China Town Toronto. If you go to a TRUE Dim Sum spot you will most likely get servers who don’t speak English. Thank goodness for Cantonese speaking friends (Jeanette and Ada)! Without them we wouldn’t have had a clue what we were eating.

Having Dim Sum is not like your typical restaurant. There is no set table …the servers just come around while you are seated and literally threw the dishes at you….the table was set for 8 in less than a Minute. To save time for clean up they use a plastic table cloth and just pick up the table cloth as is and put all the dishes in a dish (as if they are un-breakable). How the serving process works is different servers come around you with food on their trolly’s and just shout out what they have (not in English). You then decide if you want to order it and then they just place it on your table and you devour it with chop sticks and all. A lot of our choices were based on presentation. The pork buns and noodles seemed to be the favourite choice. Let the photos below do the talking.
The one minute setting of a table

Our husbands looking so nervous about the experience 

Ronnie and I supper excited with our Chop Sticks

An example of a Dim Sum Serving Tray

The Dim Sum Crew

To end off the experience I thought I would put a snippet of facial expressions of people eating a Tofu dessert which has the most uncomfortable texture:
Yummy Tofu dessert.....I think the best expression is Maita when Reagan was having his turn eating it (she knew exactly how he was going to react ha ha ha)