Monday 27 September 2004


Just three more days until we get to take another peek at you, Pip. Then we need to send text messages to a bazillion friends and family who want to know if you're a mini Mummy or a mini Daddy. We are so happy that you were there with us on Saturday. Daddy even mentioned you in his speech, and some of the wedding cards were addressed to all three of us. I hope you don't mind flying too much, and I promise to try and get us the best seats on the plane - for your comfort, of course.

We cannot wait to see you again, little Pip.

mister and missus

Very quick summary before we go: it was fantastic, nothing went wrong (unless you count the drippy weather), everyone had a great time. Much more later, but until then...


...some people all dressed up...

...and mmmmmmmmmmm cake.

Thank you all so much for your kind words/comments/emails. See you in two weeks with many more pictures and tales from California.

Smoochies and bear hugs,

Lisa and Paul xx

Friday 24 September 2004

the sun'll (better) come out, tomorrow

This is it. My last day as a MacDonald. My last day as a swinging bachelorette. My last day worrying if my ring and gown will fit. My last day to get my nails done. Bugga.

Blue skies today, and it's not been too cold lately. Lots of family and our best man (and his lovely missus) arrive today, so it's dinner for 16 tonight at the White Hart pub. A few last minute details to sort out, and then all I've got to worry about is walking a few feet without tripping over and crushing a flowergirl or two, and managing not to drop Paul's wedding band during the ceremony. And giggling. Must not giggle.

I'm sure we'll manage to post a picture or two Sunday or Monday before we go. Until then, have a smashing weekend and throw a rice grain or two in our direction tomorrow.

Thursday 23 September 2004

doing the small hand wave

(This is really just an excuse for a post so that Jen can continue her countdown.)

We're off to Buckingham Palace today to see where the Queen lives. Not like she'll actually be there or anything - although it would have been rather amusing if she greeted us at the door in rollers and a bathrobe with a cig hanging out of the corner of her mouth. It's just a quick tour of London today; a stop at Covent Garden for lunch, Bucks Palace, a look at the houses of parliament and Westminster Abbey (from the outside), and tea at Harrod's. I'm not that great at walking around/standing for long periods of time anymore, so the idea of a bit of sightseeing interspersed with eating sounds pretty darn good to me.

Wednesday 22 September 2004

it's all good

I've come across quite a bit of negative things about being pregnant, giving birth, and coping with a baby. The "non-serious" books about motherhood talk about the less savoury aspects such as hair growing in odd places, enormous painful boobs, wanting to slap your partner with a spanner, and other such hormone-induced hilarity. "The Best Friend's Guide to Pregnancy" is full of sarcastic and somewhat bitter reflections on motherhood and how much you'll hate the man who impregnated you. You won't sleep again, just wait until the baby starts kicking you in the ribs, you'll always be covered in a fine layer of baby barf, and you'll never have sex again. I think I've heard and read it all in the short 6 weeks I've been out of the pregnancy closet.

Perhaps it's in our nature to complain. It's certainly easier to discuss the negative aspects of pregnancy rather than focus on the good stuff. Me, I like being pregnant and although some bits of it I could do without, I am thoroughly enjoying it. How very cool to think that there are two hearts beating inside of me right now, that there is a baby floating around in my womb, and in a few weeks I should be able to feel those first kicks and jabs. I've loved seeing my belly grow and feeling the first flutters. At night, I lie in bed and prod my abdomen, wondering if that little lump or bump I feel is Pip as it dissolves under my fingertips. Lately I've felt what I can only describe as a "thud"; a combination of sound and feeling that reminds me of attending concerts with loud drums or heavy bass, when I can feel a beat reverberate inside of me. I don't mind when people rub my belly (although at this point, only around three people have actually done this so maybe it'll become annoying later on when everyone feels compelled to do this). I like it when people ask how I'm doing; I'm not sure why this seems to be a pet peeve with a lot of pregnant women. Put very simply, I love being pregnant. It's really cool.

The more cynical people will say that this is probably due to the fact that I didn't spend 12 (or 40) weeks with my head down the toilet, and maybe they would be right. I know that it's mere luck that determined this outcome, and for that I'm grateful. I want to enjoy this unique experience without it being marred by misery. I know that I'll get huge and uncomfortable in later weeks. I know that labour and birth can be terrifying and indescribably painful. I know that our lives will change when the baby comes. But for now, I am blissfully happy...and so is Pip because I can feel him/her fluttering around at the moment. Very cool indeed.

pet rescue

As we drove to work today, we noticed a lovely German Shepherd trotting up a very busy street, unattended. We both knew instantly that she must have strayed away from home, so Paul turned the car around so he could check her tags. She was actually heading in the direction of home; she lived up the road and her tag said she was called "Zena". Paul took Zena by the collar and walked her home, and put her in the back garden when he got no answer at the door. He drove around trying to spot someone who looked like they had lost their dog, but to no avail. We went back to the house, just around the same time that Zena's owner returned after searching the fields for her. Zena is a pup, less than a year old, and although she listens to the husband she is not so obedient with the wife. She was taking Zena for a walk and the dog ran off, but luckily she did seem clever enough to know where home was after her little adventure. Zena's owner was very thankful and Zena herself gave us several wags and enthusiastic licks.

Dog karma. Paul figures that if he takes the time to return wandering dogs to their owners, someone might return the favour for us one day, should we ever need it. This is the second dog he's returned home safely, so I think our dog karma should be in top shape.

Tuesday 21 September 2004

mums and dads

I'm very pleased to say that my parents spent a day on their own touring Cambridge yesterday and emerged unscathed. They took an open top bus tour and saw all the sights, and even stopped for an afternoon tea, I say tally ho pip pip. Paul's Mum and Dad drove up from Kent at lunchtime and met my parents for the very first time that evening. It went swimmingly; everyone liked each other and a good time was had by all. Needless to say, I had an excellent night's sleep last night and feel like a million bucks today.

My future in-laws have very kindly offered to play tour guides for Mom and Dad while we're at work, and for that, I am eternally grateful. I had visions of them wandering around Huntingdon trying to find something to occupy their time for three days. There's only so much you can see and do at WH Smith and Sainsbury's, really. They are off to the North Norfolk coast today, perhaps with a stop at Sandringham. Jealous. My office is not nearly that exciting or scenic.

One more day of work, then we're off to London on Thursday, Friday we take care of last minute wedding details and entertain our many guests, and then Saturday we're up to something. Can't remember what exactly, but I think it involves a nice lunch out and I probably have to shave my legs at some point beforehand. In the meantime, it's back to editing a UI and putting together something resembling a user guide. If it makes absolutely no sense or contains things like random song lyrics, I do apologise.

Monday 20 September 2004

hurray for mom!

Amongst the many gifts and supplies my Mom and Dad brought with them was a bag full of Kraft Dinner. You have no idea how happy this makes me, and I don't care how pathetic you think I am because of it. I have Kraft Dinner and lots of it. My world is a much, much better place now.

If anyone would care to send me Cheezies and dill pickle chips, that would be grand. Thank you.

not quite as fetching in a big fuzzy bathrobe

Here is my business idea - feel free to steal it as I'll probably never get around to it myself. We need to start a line of maternity lingerie. If it exists in this country, I've yet to find it. Sure we can buy underwear and bras in all shapes and sizes, but can we find anything silky and nice to wear to bed? Hell no. On my wedding night, I don't really want to wear cotton 2-piece pyjamas with long trousers, thank you. The babydoll is such a great shape for those of us with growing bellies; why don't they make them in maternity sizes?

If someone could get around to this by Saturday, that would be great. Thanks.

Sunday 19 September 2004

what a mighty good man

This weekend was the perfect example of why Paul is the best thing that ever happened to me. On Saturday, he put together some nibbles for us girls while we were getting pampered and then drove us into town (and back home again) for our Hen Night meal. Today, he woke up at 6am and drove to Heathrow to pick up my parents - a 1 1/2 hour drive to and from the airport, not including the long wait while their plane circled Heathrow and they made their way through passport control. He drove them to their hotel, went back and picked them up this afternoon, and then cooked us all a perfect roast chicken supper. He drove them back to their hotel, and has just put a load of laundry in the wash.

And today is his birthday. He did all of this for me on his birthday.

What more can I say? I am the luckiest woman in the world. Happy birthday, my gorgeous fiance.

Friday 17 September 2004

why i should never work in the tourism industry

My parents are arriving bright and early on Sunday morning. This is their first visit to this country, and I suspect that most of what they know about it comes from emails from me, shows on PBS, and all those Carry On films my Dad's so fond of. I feel solely responsible for my parents' wellbeing, entertainment, and their overall tourism experience in this country...which has been making me panic all week. I keep thinking of things that might confuse them while they're visiting, and I feel compelled to tell them about it. You've got to keep plugging coins into payphones here, you don't stick one coin in and gab all you want. If you ask for a glass of water, sometimes you're asked if you want sparkling, still, or tap water (us North Americans tend not to have such a variety of choices). Don't tip people behind the bar in pubs. Filet steak is tenderloin. If you want the bus to stop for you, you've got to stick your hand out and wave at it frantically (and even then, sometimes they still can't be arsed to stop for you). Panicpanicpanicpanicpanicpanic.

All of this worry is completely unwarranted. The only time my parents will be on their own will be when they come through customs, and when they go back to Heathrow on their way home. Otherwise, they will be with us or sightseeing with my future in-laws. So really, it's not like they're going to be dumped at some random tube station without a map and attacked by skinheads - unless Heathrow passport control has moved and gone really downhill.

It's just that these are my parents and they've never been here before, and I know that there were a billion things that took me by surprise when I first visited this country. You think you know all about England (us Commonwealthers surely cannot be that different?), but then you get here and you realise that all those episodes of Prime Suspect and Two Fat Ladies taught you squat. I'm sure they will have a great time, though. For all the confusion and unexpected culture shock, it more than makes up for it when you see something like Westminster Abbey or Buckingham Palace for the first time. A couple of afternoon teas, fish and chip dinners, and a tour of the countryside and they'll be over the moon.

Thursday 16 September 2004

hurry up and be born, already

I was telling Ruth last weekend that I cannot wait for the baby to be born. While we were playing with her beautiful daughter Naomi (and I'm not just saying that - her smile melts my heart), I realised how much I want to be able to hold and look at our baby. These brief, fuzzy, black and white glimpses (plus one bronzed glimpse in 3D) are fantastic, but I am dying to see our baby in person.

Gonna be a long 5 months.

just a little bit

Just a quickie today (oooeeer missus).

Bride blog has been updated and will likely be the last post until we return from honeymoon. Yeah, I know I've said that before. Woman's prerogative, an' all that.

Chives - I forgot to mention that I can grow chives. So well that they're also sprouting up elsewhere in the garden, feet away from the pot it's in. I can grow chives and weeds. Go me!

Thank you, and have a lovely day.

Wednesday 15 September 2004


When we went to see the doctor, he pressed what looked like a wooden funnel against my belly and said he could hear a nice, strong heartbeat. Hurrah, we said. Out of curiousity, I looked this funnely thing up and discovered that it's called a Pinard stethoscope. I also discovered that apparently you can't hear squat with it before 24 weeks. So what on earth did the doctor hear? In a slight panic, I emailed a UK midwives group and asked if it was possible to hear a fetal heartbeat at 16 weeks with this Pinard stethoscope. Three women (two midwives, one I'm not sure about) claimed that this was impossible at 16 weeks. Grand. So the doctor either heard my heartbeat and thought it was the baby's or he completely made the whole thing up. I felt sick; like when you discover that someone you trusted has conned you. Luckily, I had made an appointment with a midwife (mine's on holiday) with the intention of asking her to listen to the heartbeat with a doppler.

The midwife was absolutely lovely; enthusiastic, friendly, and kind. She assured me that you can indeed hear the heartbeat with the Pinard, but that she would use the doppler so that we could hear the heartbeat ourselves. Really, I asked? Even at 16 weeks? She said that she could and I could have the choice if I wanted her to use the Pinard. We both said no very quickly and told her how we hadn't heard the heartbeat yet (unlike everyone else in the universe who apparently gets to do this at least a dozen times by this point). As she started to explain that she might not hear it at first because the baby might not be in a good position, she stopped herself and said "Oh! There it is! Found it right away." At first, we just heard swooshing and other ambient noise, then, loud and clear, galloping. I turned to Paul and stated the obvious (something like "It's our baby's heartbeat!"), tears welling up in my eyes as the midwife very kindly held the doppler to my abdomen for quite a while. "That is SO cool!" I kept saying, and indeed, it was. Dida thump dida thump dida thump dida thump dida thump, oops baby's moved away, dida thump dida thump dida thump dida thump, at around 150 beats per minute. It was a beautiful sound.

So at least now I know that the midwife will listen to the heartbeat every time I visit the surgery, and if I ever want to hear it, I just need to make an appointment. But right now, I can still hear Pip galloping around inside me and will cherish that sound for a very, very long time.

how does your garden grow?

I can't grow anything. Don't get rude about it, I'm talking about plants. I can't grow them in this country. I make this distinction because I was able to keep any plant alive in Montreal; I had plants for over ten years that were still going strong when I gave them to a friend before I moved here. Every time I try to grow something here, it up and dies on me or develops some sort of fuzzy growth or insect infestation. I'm not even trying to grow anything difficult, I'm talking about things like mint and rosemary. Who can't grow mint? That stuff grows like a weed and will take over your house and garden in a month. It'll grow into your neighbour's yard, taunt the paperboy, and push its way through asphalt driveways. My mint, on the other hand, got to the seedling stage and then curled up and died. After three attempts and several hundred seedlings later, it finally took - but it's got some weird spots on it and I'm too afraid to eat it. Jack and Heather brought me some rosemary from their garden that quickly met its untimely death on my windowsill. In Jack and Heather's garden, it grew merrily alongside several other herbs. I bought a Japanese maple with a label promising me that it would thrive in full sun or shade. It sat by our front door for a couple of months before all the leaves curled up in terror and the branches shrivelled up in dismay. I got another one and put it in the shade in our back garden and once again, its leaves have curled and frayed. The only plants that haven't died are the ones that were already in the garden when we moved here. The conclusion is obvious - Canadians do not have green thumbs in the UK.

On a totally unrelated note, a very happy New Year to my Jewish friends! Having worked at a Kosher restaurant at university in Toronto (I always thought "kosher" meant "deli" as the only context I had ever seen the word was in reference to deli foods like pickles) and having lived in the bagel capitol of Canada for 11 years, I feel a strong kinship with my Jewish mates. So to you, my friends, have a wonderful holiday. And feel free to bring me any leftover cheesecake.

Tuesday 14 September 2004

yet another way to prove that you are a bad mother

The BBC reported yesterday, "There is no safe amount of alcohol that mothers-to-be can drink, experts believe." Headlines in various newspapers proclaimed similar messages in big bold print, telling us that even one glass of wine will harm our unborn children. Oh no, wait. Is that what the articles infer? Sorry, we actually meant to say: "We do not want to panic any woman who is pregnant and may have had a couple of drinks. The chances are their child will be fine. But there is a risk if you drink alcohol during pregnancy. The only way you can be certain is to abstain from alcohol." So does anyone actually know anything about this topic and have studies to back up some data? Or are we just playing the "We have no clue, so it's better to just scare the bejeezus out of everyone so they avoid it completely" game?

It's just like the peanuts theory. Mum eats peanuts during pregnancy. Child develops peanut allergy. Therefore, eating peanuts causes peanuts allergies. Mum has a child who develops a behavioural problem such as ADD. Mum adheres to the recommended one to two units of alcohol per week limit during pregnancy. Therefore, drinking even this small amount of alcohol might be directly related to her child's ADD. What about all the Mums with allergic children or children with ADD who didn't drink and never touched a peanut? Ah, it was probably due to that cleaning product she used, or that extra tin of tuna she had, or maybe it was from standing too close to the microwave.

A spokeswoman from the Department of Health said: "We would be interested to see any further research in to this area but current evidence does not justify changing our advice." Personally, I would be interested to see further research rather than add another item to the vast list of Things That You Should Avoid At All Costs during pregnancy. In the meantime, I will very happily enjoy my one unit of wine at my hen night and another during our wedding, thankyouverymuch.

Monday 13 September 2004

why having less than 4 brain cells can be amusing

I got my very fist snarky comment! Ever! I'm all agog. Since this person took the time to leave this landmark comment, I thought I'd take the time to respond to their queries.

are you only interested in a passport? Well, no. I am interested in lots of things; passports are only one of them. Maybe it's the shiny page with my picture on it. Maybe it's all the pretty stamps I get when I visit other countries. Maybe it's the bilingual text. Who knows? Who cares? God, I love passports!!

do you actually love this durbin bloke? Let's see...I bought a house with him, we bought a dog together, we're getting married in less than two weeks and oh yeah, I'm carrying his baby. No, I'm just after him for the extra year wait for the passport. Duh.

this website is sad!!!!! Life can sometimes be sad, it's true. Let's face it, if the world was a happy place, Morrissey would have nothing to write about and angst-stricken pre-teens like you would learn how to use capital letters.

real love rules

The rules to real love are as follows*:

1) You do not talk about real love

2) You do NOT talk about real love

3) If someone says "stop" or goes limp or taps out, the love is over

4) Only two guys (or less) at a time

5) One real love at a time

6) No shirts, no shoes. No animal print g-strings.

7) Real love will go on as long as it has to

8) If this is your first night at real love, you HAVE to make breakfast in the morning.

*(with many thanks to "Fight Club" for the inspiration)

I hope this helps! Thanks for writing.

Friday 10 September 2004

i'm glad my bump looks big in this

I love maternity clothes. I never thought I'd say that, but it's true. Instead of looking like Mrs. Claus, I actually look pregnant in maternity jeans. I like that - it makes my belly look like a nice rounded dome rather than this:



which is what I look like in regular clothes. My "middle belly" hasn't popped yet, so I appear to have two big roly poly bellies. I think I figured it out this morning. Paul noticed that my belly has gotten very round just underneath my breasts, but my uterus should still just be a couple of centimeters below my belly button. So, the belly below the button is baby belly, and the belly above the button is fat that's now been smushed up there due to my expanding uterus. Or at least that's my theory about how my pregnant belly is working.

The heartburn returned yesterday, so I've been feasting on Tums. Except the purple ones. They're gross. I can't get to sleep; my brain goes full tilt until the wee hours while my exhausted body tells it to shut the hell up and go to sleep. My back really hurts, my bum gets numb when I sit in one position for too long, and for some reason, my contact lenses don't seem to work sometimes.

But all of this doesn't matter because I can feel Pip fluttering around in my lower belly and sometimes I feel a bit of pressure in one very localised spot like Pip's stretching an arm or a leg. That makes up for the aches and pains any day.


I was reading Maggie's blog this morning and it made me realise that I never went to the Granby Zoo when I lived in Montreal. In fact, there were lots of places I never saw in the 11 years I lived in Quebec. For example:

-The Biodome

-The Insectarium

-Eastern Townships

-and sadly, Quebec City (I really regret never having visited)

I only went to a cabane a sucre once, I've never gone downhill skiing, I went ice skating once around the Olympic basin, and I can count the number of times I've been up Mount Royal on one hand. I blame the lack of a car and a lack of motivation (are you ever a tourist in your own town? Not counting the times you might have out of town visitors.) I am a bad, bad Montrealer.

Luckily, I've seen a lot of places in this country and Scotland. I think having been a tourist here first (and not being a native) has encouraged me to visit much more of this country than my own. I it a bad thing that I never ventured across Canada and yet I've seen so much of England? It's a much, much smaller country so it's not surprising - but now I wonder if I should have made more of an effort to see more of my home country. Tsk.

Thursday 9 September 2004


In 16 days, I will no longer be a MacDonald and will become a Durbin. In 21 days, I can apply to be a permanent UK resident. In 167 days (give or take), I will be a mother. In just over a year, I will be applying for British Citizenship. It's all very exciting of course, but it's also rather strange. In the span of a year, I will go from Lisa MacDonald, that lovable wine-swigging Canadian to Lisa Durbin, that sleep deprived mother with a British passport. It's like becoming an entirely different person. Perhaps I'll develop special powers too, like x-ray vision.

Which reminds me, when I was a kid, my doctor said that I needed to go on antibiotics. I thought she said "antibionics" and my heart leapt at the thought of being able to crush tuna tins in my bare hands and run 30mph. Of course if I had a better grasp of the English language at that point, I would have realised that "antibionics" would be the exact opposite of being bionic and the pills would actually give me the strength of a sick kitten. My 7 year old brain was excitedly planning all the fun activities I could do with my new powers, and I could not wait to get to the pharmacy. Obviously I must have eventually figured out that I wasn't going to become bionic, which must have been most disappointing. I'm sure this was the same year that I figured out that there was no Santa Claus (at first I thought it was really exciting that Santa used the same wrapping paper that we did but later realised his writing looked suspiciously like my mother's), so overall, it was a disillusioning period in my life.

So yes, changes. I promise that no matter what changes occur in my life, I will never forget my Canadian roots (or my Roots Canadian clothing). I live for the day I will hear our child say, "That's jolly good Mummy, eh?"

Wednesday 8 September 2004


Going through my first pregnancy posts, I realised that I never really wrote about the very beginning: three days of pregnancy tests. It'll be fun, honest.

On Saturday, June 12, we were asked to babysit Jack and Heather's little girl, Rebecca. It was hot, I was in the dreaded "two week wait" (the time between ovulation and getting your period), and babysitting was a welcome distraction. I had been reading through pregnancy web sites earlier that week and came across a lengthy thread about when women got positive test results. I was waiting to test until the following Tuesday at the earliest, since the instructions on the ClearBlue digital test said I could test on the day my period was normally due. After reading several posts from women getting results much earlier with other tests, I went out and picked up some First Response Early tests. This test claimed you could use it up to four days before your period was due. Four days! Now that's what an impatient woman like me likes to hear.

So back to Saturday. That afternoon, I used the first test. I got a faint line; so faint, I was sure it was a figment of my imagination. I took it downstairs to Paul and he thought he could see a line too. Although this was all very exciting, I wasn't at all sure if this meant that I was pregnant. The next day, I took the second test and got another faint line. This time, it wasn't as difficult to see but I still rushed downstairs to show Paul to make sure I wasn't hallucinating. It was getting more exciting - the line was gradually getting darker! I cannot wait to pee on another test tomorrow! (No really, I did think that.) I popped over to Boots and picked up another box of tests and eagerly awaited the following morning. On Monday, sure enough, the line was a hint darker. Ooooooooooooooooh. Can I get excited now?

When we got back from work, I pulled out the big gun - the ClearBlue digital test. It has a screen that unmistakably displays a Pregnant or Not Pregnant message, no line interpretation needed. As I was trying not to pee all over myself and actually try to hit the 2mm stick (do they not realise that women simply cannot aim?!), Paul walked by the bathroom and asked what I was doing. I popped the cap on the test, sat it on the counter, and we waited. In less than a minute, the word Pregnant displayed merrily on the screen. Pregnant!! I squealed, jumped up and down, and said several "Ohmygawds" while Jasper wagged excitedly. Paul and I sat at the top of the stairs and beamed, then he hugged me tight. I am excited now.

I took a picture of the digital test (the display disappears after an hour) and couldn't wait to post it on this site. Six days before Father's Day, Paul knew he was going to be a Dad. We wouldn't have to wait until the honeymoon to start trying again, after all. I am thrilled and amazed, and a little bit stunned.

16 weeks today - and I am still thoroughly excited.


As we left for lunch yesterday, we passed by a well-coiffed woman in a purple sleeveless dress. She had a cigarette dangling out of the corner of her mouth while she scrubbed our company's sign clean in front of our building. She wasn't wearing any sort of uniform and her car had no logo on it; it was as if a pub landlady drove by our building and decided that our exterior needed a bit of a tidy. I suppose we shouldn't expect cleaners to be wearing polyester smocks and no makeup, but it was rather surprising.

I haven't had to wear a uniform for a job in a very long time. The last two retail jobs I had several years ago didn't require one (I don't even think we had name tags or badges), so I think it's been at least ten years since I've worn company-supplied garments of any sort. I have never worked at a company with a dress code and the only thing that identifies me as an employee of Citrix is my security badge. I never minded wearing a uniform; I know that most people find them demeaning, but it didn't bother me. Of course I did have to endure some rather awful polyester uniforms in my youth (the worst was a fast food chicken place that forced us to wear brown and gold frilly aprons with matching headscarves), but on the most part, dressing up in work clothes was kind of satisfying. You never had to think about what to wear each morning and you didn't have to worry about looking unfashionable or frumpy because everyone looked the same as you.

On the other hand, I used to shudder in horror at the thought of wearing a school uniform. In Canada (the US too, I would imagine), only private schools and Catholic schools had uniforms. Not being Catholic, the alternative was private school and that's where Mom and Dad threatened to send me every time I got into trouble. "We'll send you to Hillfield Strathallan if you don't smarten up!" Uniforms? No boys in the classroom? Noooooooooooooo!! Here, all schoolkids wear uniforms - regardless of religion or whether or not your parents can afford a poncey private (or public as they're called here) school. I wonder if they feel the same way about school uniforms as I did, or if because it's the norm, do they even think about it?

Tuesday 7 September 2004

thumpity thump thump

My faith in doctorkind has been restored thanks to Dr. Whitten who turned out to be pretty much okay. After a bit of a wait (he got called out on an emergency just as we showed up, lucky us), he did a thorough exam and declared Pip and I fit and healthy. I am AB+, so no rhesus factor problems here. I am not anemic - although with the amount I eat, I would be amazed if I was deficient in any nutrient. My blood pressure is fine, I am just the right size for 16 weeks, and most importantly, Pip's heartbeat is nice and strong. Disappointingly, we didn't get to hear the heartbeat as the doctor used some sort of funnel-like device to listen. Apparently the midwife will let us hear with the doppler, but that's not until 24 weeks. Of course I'm thrilled that Pip's heartbeat was good (frankly I'm just thrilled that there was a heartbeat), but I was so looking forward to hearing it go thumpa thumpa thumpa thumpa ourselves.

I felt like the doctor knew what he was talking about and took a lot of time to check me over. He asked me if I felt any foetal movement yet, and I mentioned the fluttering; we both agreed that it's hard to tell when it's your first baby. He said that it can be felt anywhere from 16 weeks onwards, but when I said it was a sensation I've never felt before, he agreed that it must indeed be foetal activity. That was nice - I half expected any doctor to look at me like I was insane or laugh when I mentioned these flutters at this point.

So, overall, it's been a good experience. I am still jealous of friends who live mere miles away from me who seem to have a bazillion more midwife visits, scans, and doppler experiences than me...but I'm certainly happy knowing that Pip's in there thumpa thumpa thumpa-ing away nicely.

Monday 6 September 2004

a little patience

Tosha found out today that her little one is a boy! Conchita and I enviously admired her scan photos and both of us declared that our next scans were much too far into the future. For me, it's not just finding out the gender, but also getting the more detailed scan to make sure that Pip is okay. Unfortunately, that won't happen until we return from honeymoon on Oct. 14; I assume the people at Fetal Fotos won't be able to tell if there's anything wrong.

It's such a strange process. I breathed a huge sigh of relief after the first scan but am now feeling like it's been a million years since then. I'll probably feel better after my GP appointment tomorrow if he tries to listen to the heartbeat (even better if we get to hear it too), and I cannot wait to do the scan in San Diego, but I won't feel completely at ease until the detailed scan at 21 weeks...which feels like a million years away.

Patience was never one of my strong points. Can you imagine what I'll be like around my due date? Gads.


On Friday, we tried out an Indian restaurant called Cinnamon in Grafham. Based on a menu shoved through our letterbox a few months ago, I wanted to give it a try. Gary mentioned curry on Friday at work and I decided that I must have curry that night (lucky for me that Paul is very easy going when it comes to dinner choices), so off we went to Cinnamon. The food was absolutely fantastic and the service was excellent. I would have gone back the following night if I could. On Saturday after an afternoon shopping at Milton Keynes, I decided that I must have fish and chips (can't blame Gary for that one). We haven't been too thrilled with our local chippy in the past, so we decided to try out the chippy in our neighbouring town, Huntingdon. YUM. Crispy batter, moist flakey cod, and lovely golden chips, although the portion was a bit meager for my current appetite level. Must remember to go there when Mom and Dad arrive in two weeks. My other culinary weekend discovery are Revels: chocolate-covered things with a variety of flavours like caramel, Maltezers, orange, and milk chocolate. You never know what you're getting with each handful - it's like the chocolate equivalent of Bits and Bites. Mmmmm Bits and Bites. I miss those.

We did do other things over the weekend that didn't involve food, really. We picked up some final wedding bits and bobs (mmmm that sounds like Bits and Bites mmmmm) in Milton Keynes and I finished painting what will be the nursery. I put one coat on the skirting board and radiator about 6 months ago, but must have got bored and never got around to the second. We bought blinds for the guestroom/nursery and office, so that houseguests in the second spare room will no longer get rudely woken up in the early hours by sunshine streaming in through the voiles. After our housewarming party last year, one of our guests found the early morning light so painful that he crawled into an air mattress on the floor of our office, buried himself under a duvet, and drew the curtains.

So, one more week until Paul's stag do, two more weeks until my hen night, and three more weeks until we tie the knot - and I haven't eaten all the favour bag chocolate.


Sunday 5 September 2004

you can never have too many dogs

Presenting Pip's very first toy!

I really didn't want to buy anything until after my next scan, but I spotted this at Mothercare yesterday and had to get it. It's the softest cuddly toy I've ever felt, and it's a dog that rattles - what more could you possibly want? The rattle puppy is sitting in the nursery waiting for Pip's arrival in February. In the meantime, I've got to try and stop Jasper from licking and chewing the poor thing. Jasper's decided that he's also rather fond of rattle puppy, so he'll have to stay out of Jasper's reach for a while.

Friday 3 September 2004

clock watching

So it's almost the weekend (unless you're in another time zone, in which case, it's already the weekend or you've got several more hours to go) and this is the last free weekend we've got before the wedding. When I say "free weekend", I mean it's the last weekend in which we've got nothing planned - not "free weekend" as in I'm going to spend it romping with naked firemen while I still can. Now I've lost my train of thought. Right, free weekend.

It seems silly that we only really get two days a week to get most things done, and one of those days is only moderately useful as everything shuts at 4pm. We should get Fridays and Mondays off as well, because those are the two most unproductive work days of the week anyway. Nothing gets done on Fridays because everyone's too busy concentrating on the weekend and are distracted by their feelings of glee that the work week is almost done. Mondays are useless because we're too tired from overindulging over the weekend and we're too hacked off because it's a Monday to really care about our work. I think this makes sense and everyone should write to their MP/congressperson and demand a three day work week.

On that note, have a good weekend, and remember - your key to a shorter work week is only one angry 30 page manifesto away.

am i glowing yet?

I am so tired of reading messages from women (on various pregnancy web boards) moaning about gaining weight. You're pregnant, for goodness sake! Of course you're gaining weight! I think what really gets my goat (if I had a goat to get) are women who complain because they've put on a whole 3-5 lbs. in the first trimester. Honey, I can gain that in an afternoon in front of the TV. Amateurs. In a similar vein, I want to scream when I see a woman brag about not having gained weight or only having gained x amount of pounds. While I can understand being pleased about not putting on the equivalent to a sack of potatoes every week during pregnancy (truthfully, I'm amazed that I've not put on as much as I thought I would so far), but I draw the line when women get smug about it. Whatever you do or don't gain, most of it is out of your control and is this really the time to worry about your figure? Heck no.

Oh I am so glad it's the weekend and what's even better, we have nothing planned (just a bit of shopping tomorrow). In the weeks leading up to the wedding, we've got so much to do. I seriously do not recommend the pregnancy/wedding/work deadlines combination - it's a tad stressful. I am so grateful to be with Paul; he's made it his mission to ensure that my stress levels stay at a minimum. Three more weeks to go...

Thursday 2 September 2004

nothing original

Spotted chez Martine, this is a brilliant post about audio blogging (the text version of it is here, but it's far more effective as an mp3 for obvious reasons).

Courtesy of Melanie, here is a fascinating article from the BBC: "A panda in China who became pregnant after watching sex education videos has given birth to twins."

And finally, many thanks to PaulG who has offered to get this for us as wedding gifts.

picky, picky

The writer in me can't get over the fact that my pregnancy ticker on the top of this page says that I am "15 weeks and 1 days" pregnant. Tsk, honestly.

In other news, the fatigue and nausea seems to have resurfaced for some reason. Yay. I think the nausea is due to a decreasing lack of room; I've been feeling less like I've eaten too many cakes and more like I've got a bag of wet flour inside me, so baby/uterus must be getting much bigger. I can't bend over quite as easily any more because it feels like there's something in the way now - which there is, obviously, but you see what I mean. Fat is squishy and moves out of the way when you bend. Baby is not squishy and makes you feel like you need to hurl when you bend.

May I also just mention again that the receptionists at my surgery are complete cows? I just rang to make my first antenatal appointment with the GP and one of the permanently surly receptionists said, "I'vegotThursdayat2nameplease." "Um hold on," I said. "Thursdays aren't good for us - is that the earliest you've got?" She said yes, and as I started to explain that I needed another day, she interrupted with "nameplease" in the same hurried I-really-can't-be-arsed-to-be-polite-to-you tone of voice. "Wait wait wait! I need an appointment on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Friday," I said to the receptioncow. "Tuesday at 2. Nameplease." So you did have something earlier, you miserable wotsit. To be fair, there is one - and I mean one - very nice receptionist who answered the phone when I rang once. His name is Michael and he sounds American (which might explain why he's actually polite in a customer service matters kind of way), and he knew what I was talking about right away. Must remember to ring back and ask for him specifically next time. Cow avoidance tactics.

Did I also mention that the moody/sensitive/weepy hormones have resurfaced again too?

Wednesday 1 September 2004

dream interpretation 101

Last night I had a dream that I found out our baby is a boy. For some reason, they had to remove the baby from me, but he was perfectly fine and protected by a clear sac. I could hold him in my hands and see exactly what he looked like, and a technician or nurse of some sort told me that the baby was a boy. So this either means that a) I had a premonition about the sex of our baby or b) I am now officially in the "weird pregnancy dreams" phase. I vote for b.

I have moved away from sweet cravings on to spicy food cravings. I don't feel the need to stuff my face with chocolate and cake anymore, but I do feel the need to put chillis and tabasco in everything. Last night: enchiladas. Tonight: fajitas and nachos. Olé!

I have confirmed my scan booking in San Diego four weeks from tomorrow. That's just four weeks until I find out if my dreams are correct (I have a 50/50 chance, really) and until we get another peek at Pip. Cannot wait!