Tuesday 30 January 2007

when fashion finally makes sense

I would like to thank the fashion industry for making the following styles popular this season: smock tops, pinafore dresses, tunics, and babydoll tops. This finally gives the pregnant woman the option to buy clothes in regular shops, and to not look like a whale in a parachute. Thank you!

i deserved a break yesterday

I am ashamed. I did something so naughty yesterday, so hideously unlike me. Yesterday...I got lunch at McDonald's. DON'T LOOK AT ME! DON'T LOOK AT MEEEEE!

I had a wicked craving for a fast food burger and McDonald's is the only joint in our area. It's also on the way home from the grocery store, which is exactly when the craving hit precisely at noon, and they have a drive through. Damn them for making crappy food so convenient! I ordered a meal for myself and the healthiest thing on the kid's menu for Jack (a burger, carrot sticks, and an apple juice) and slinked guiltily back home.

To sum up the meal, I'll recount my son's assessment of it. I unwrapped his food and he said "Wot's dat?", pointing at the burger. I told him what it was, and he promptly opened it up, flung the meat across the table, and proceeded to eat both buns.

Oh, I would kill for a decent burger right now.

Friday 26 January 2007


On a lighter note, I put Jack down in his cot for a nap the other day. At night, we put him in a Grobag but I don't usually bother during the day. He didn't seem very tired, but I pulled down his blind and left his room just in case he reconsidered. I sat in front of my computer and started to read my emails, and I suddenly felt as if I was being watched. There, standing in the door with a huge grin, was my son. He managed to escape from his cot completely soundlessly, which was both hilarious and very unnerving. Needless to say, we have decided that it's time he move into his Big Boy Bed.

He's become more talkative by the day, and I'm absolutely loving it. Even in his stroppy moments, I can't help but smile. For example, "More juice. More juice, please. More juice, PLEASE. MORE JUICE, PLEASE! PLEEAAASE!!! Thank oo." Grumpy yet polite; I like that.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Jack and Heather for getting my son addicted to Hairy Maclary. It started with a book of stories given to him on his Naming Day when he was 6 months old, and has reached a crescendo with the DVD they very kindly sent him for Christmas. Oh my, but he loves Hairy. When he comes home from nursery, he runs to the living room and grabs the DVD remote, frantically pushes buttons and says "More Hairy, please!" until we either tell him that Hairy's sleeping at the moment, or we relent and pop it on for him. He's named his firestation Dalmatian dog after Bottomley Potts (covered in spots), so he's got two stuffed dogs called "Puppy" and one called "Spots". I think they are fantastic stories and I'm really pleased that we were introduced to them by our Kiwi friends.

And finally, my favourite recent Jack moment: while playing with one of his trains in front of a mirrored wardrobe, he looked up and spotted his reflection. "MY TRAIN!" he shouted to himself, clutching the train tightly to his chest, eyeing himself suspiciously.

Thursday 25 January 2007

she's a maniac, maniac

I've had a few odd looks and comments when I've told people that I'm going for a home birth - and attempting a VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarian), no less. I am not going to spout out any statistics about birthing at home or refute arguments that my uterus will explode if I try to push out a baby vaginally, but I will talk about my feelings on my specific situation and why this is the best choice for me. Are you bored yet? Sorry.

Before I fell pregnant with Jack, I used to joke that I wanted to be numb from the eyeballs down whenever (and if ever) I gave birth. I was convinced that I had a low tolerance for pain and why on earth do some women go without an epidural? And have babies at home away from the doctors and fancy equipment? Mad hippies. So when I did give birth to Jack, I was numb from the chest down. And it sucked. Be careful what you wish for, is my advice. The surgery itself was actually very civilised and pleasant - and I admit that part of me was very relieved to not have to go through the pain of labour and delivery. What was difficult for me was the long stay in hospital and the recovery. But you all know about that.

Fast forward to last summer, when I fell pregnant again. The plan this time was a home birth, mostly because I absolutely loathed being in hospital. The thought of being away from drugs and people with surgical skills frightened me somewhat, but I knew that a hospital transfer was easily doable if necessary. I can't say I was entirely confident about this giving birth thing, particularly as I hadn't done it before. I had no concept of the pain and the lack of progress with Jack still haunted me. Then, after I miscarried at home, I had to spend the day in hospital. When we returned home, the flashbacks and panic came thundering back. And then I really, really understood why those women gave birth at home.

Now I know the pain of contractions (although obviously not to the same extent as a full term birth), and I know that I can handle them. In a sad and terrible way, I did go through a birth at home, but I am grateful for that. Being in a familiar place, having those comforts and a large furry dog by my side made a massive difference. Had it happened the way it was supposed to the following day in hospital, I think it would have been even more traumatic.

However it happens, I'm very much looking forward to this birth. I'm excited at the thought of experiencing it, and I can't wait to get to the home stretch. I have officially become a Mad Hippy. Well, except that I brush my hair and I look really awful in paisley.

Wednesday 24 January 2007

a pain in the back

Right so, back labour. No one wants this (although a lot of women have perfectly fine labours with back-to-back babies), and it's something that can happen in any pregnancy. I'm not too sure how much proof there is about anterior placentas and back labour (it's something I came across on a midwifery list recently), but I'll be a bit more aware of it this time than I was with Jack.

The Spinning Babies site is a fantastic resource for baby positioning, and positioning during labour. To sum up briefly, here are a few ways to encourage the baby to look the other way, apart from installing a plasma screen on the back wall of your uterus (reception would be terrible, I'd imagine):
  • Don't slouch on the sofa, no matter how lovely and comfy it feels. Try to imagine your baby floating away in there while you recline back; it's natural for the baby to then face the front, simply due to gravity. Try to sit upright as often as possible and better still, invest in an exercise ball (they are the same thing as a birthing ball). They are incredibly comfortable to sit on while watching TV or working on the computer. I am 5'4" and use a 65cm exercise ball, which most should suit most women. I got a Reebok ball (anti-burst) for £7 at Argos.
  • Get on all fours. Some resources suggest that you scrub the floors on a regular basis to get in this ideal position, but this was obviously penned by a man who was nowhere near a pregnant woman at the time (or else he would have ended up with a TENS machine lodged in the side of his head at the mere suggestion.) I find kneeling over and leaning on a beanbag to be very comfortable, and again, this is something you can do while you're watching television. Yes, I watch a lot of television.
  • Go for a swim. Similar to the "all fours" position, swimming on your front also encourages the baby to face your back. And I can tell you, there's nothing lovelier than being weightless in the water as opposed to on land, where you feel like an elephant seal with water retention.

It's really important to remember that in a lot of cases, babies turn themselves round during labour. Also, you don't really need to worry too much about the baby's position until you're in the final few weeks - before that point, there is plenty of time (and room) for the baby to move.

Thank you, I hope you enjoyed today's lesson. Next time, I'll discuss second (or more) pregnancies and how it can make you feel like you've got a concrete bowling ball in there when you're only in the second trimester.

Tuesday 23 January 2007

the baby wants fajitas

So apparently an anterior placenta can mean that you don't feel baby movements as often (or as well), but apparently somebody failed to mention this to Beanie. Kicks, rolls, squirms, pokes, prods, wriggles - although not felt as often as they were with Jack, they are most definitely there. Which, may I say, is hugely reassuring. The only downside to my placental location is that the baby may go back-to-back during labour. The theory is that babies like to face the placenta (and why not...there's bug all else in there to look at), so a placenta at the front of the uterus means a forward-facing baby. This can mean back labour. Mama don't want back labour if she's birthin' at home without them heavy drugs. I'll just have to be extra diligent about this in the later weeks, although it's something I did with Jack as well, just as a precaution.

Regarding today's subject line, Beanie really loves spicy foods but luckily, doesn't care too much about sweets.

Jack has been making me laugh so much lately (and he knows it - he's such a ham). At the grocery store yesterday afternoon, he kept shouting out "Morning!" to people as they walked by. The other day, he put on Paul's baseball cap while carrying Jasper's toy rope around, and I thought he looked a bit like Indiana Jones:

And finally, here's a belly pic from today:

ring the alarm

Yesterday, Auntie Caroline took us to the fire station - it was very exciting! I've been looking forward to it all week and had been making "nee naw" siren noises all day long. I sat in a real fire engine and got to meet a few firemen. We even got to see them in action because they got called out to a fire. The truck left the station with the lights and siren going! It was loud, but we didn't mind. A fireman gave us a little stuffed Dalmatian dog toy, and we also got some great stickers saying "I met a fireman" and "I've seen a fire engine." The firemen were very nice, although they weren't lounging around shirtless like they show in some movies. It was a very good day and I'm so happy that we went!

Oh, and Jack came along too.

Wednesday 17 January 2007

i'm pregnant and i'm so hungry
im pregnant and i feel like crap
do baby boys have red prams
does tempura contain nuts
i would go to japan next year
i have short arms
my baby has a cold and he is very fuzzy
why was my canadian passport application declined
frosted flakes christmas wreaths
i swear someone's been in my house...
not exactly a news flash: convergys sucks

marathon man

On April 22, my fabulous husband will be running his cotton socks off in the London Marathon in memory of his cousin Adrian. He's never run a full marathon before (he ran the Great North Run half marathon a few years ago), and he's been training diligently in the mucky English winter weather in preparation. I'm so proud of him for taking on such a mammoth task and for doing this to honour a wonderful young man who was taken far too soon.

Paul has a page set up for donations here. Our company will match donations up to 1,000 euros, so every single penny counts. Please, please sponsor him - this is such a worthy cause and he looks really cute in running shorts.

Thank you!!

in the pink

Right, before everyone thinks I'm on an anti-pink campaign and will get hugely upset if we receive anything containing said colour, I better clarify what I mean. If it does turn out to be a girl, that is. Heh.

When Jack was born, I quickly realised that boy clothes are almost always blue and have dogs on them. I like blue and I like dogs, but it's nice to find something a bit different. I didn't go nuts with a particular "boy" theme in Jack's nursery and in fact, we kept it gender neutral (hurrah, we can reuse things for Beanie!) So even if Beanie does turn out to be a girl, I will keep the nursery gender neutral because I don't want it to look like Jordan's wedding dress. That, and I truly cannot be bothered to repaint the spare room.

I know that we won't be able to avoid pink; that's not really a problem. I'm just not a girly girl and can't get into the pink crinoline dress, white patent shoes, bow with elastic hairband, pierced ears at birth kind of thing. Know what I mean?

Tuesday 16 January 2007

it's a...

BABY! Okay, okay - they think it's a girl but we're not 100% sure. Apparently my morning orange juice made our baby bounce around like a Superball, so the sonographer couldn't get a clear view of the nether regions. We definitely didn't spot any dangly bits when they measured the femur, and we did see a "burger" (the term often used to describe girl parts in ultrasounds). I have another scan in just over two weeks, so hopefully we'll get a better look then.

In the meantime, I'm just very happy to have seen our healthy (and active) baby. We didn't get many details from this scan, but I did find out that I have an anterior placenta. That probably explains why I didn't feel any movement until later than Jack, and why I don't feel it very often. Otherwise, it isn't a cause for concern and I assume that everything else looked okay if no one claimed the contrary. Phew and hurrah.

I won't run out and buy pink yet because a) we avoided buying gender-specific things for Jack until he was born just in case the scan was wrong and b) I dislike pink. I do like girly things (like my friend's daughter Naomi's adorable little shiny red shoes) but I'm not big on bubblegum Barbie pink princess frilly frou frou things. Gosh, a girl. Mama mia.

Thank you for the positive comments! I may ask for them again in another two weeks.

Monday 15 January 2007

like i'm going to sleep tonight

Scan tomorrow. Cacking myself. Don't care if it's a boy or a girl (Paul still thinks it's a boy, I keep wavering). Just want a healthy baby. Keep coming across things about birth defects. Had an awful dream last night about a miscarriage.


Thursday 11 January 2007

even my uterus is irritable

Jack's had a couple of restless nights lately and has suddenly decided that 6am is a great time to wake up for the day. Yeah, it's great if you're a farmer. Paul did Jack duty two nights ago and I got up with him early this morning. I carried him downstairs, made his breakfast, carried him back upstairs, and spent ten minutes trying to pin him down with one arm and put his clothes/nappy on with the other while he wriggled and yelled. My lower back started to hurt, so I continued the wrestling sitting down next to him. As I got his last sock on and we went to brush his teeth, I started cramping. Nothing too severe, but it was very uncomfortable and eventually I had to go lie down. It felt like a cross between period pains and having eaten something dodgy, and then my belly felt very tight. This made me nervous, so I rang my midwife.

She suspects that I'm having Braxton Hicks contractions, which is new to me because I never had any with Jack. Apparently it's common to not experience them in first pregnancies but feel them in subsequent pregnancies, and it makes sense considering I seem to have gone through a pregnancy spurt over the weekend. My bump is even bumpier, I've gone up a cup size (I'm not joking), and I'm already getting pulling pains when I stand up or roll over. Oh yes, and the swelling...my hands and legs are already getting puffy. I've not even hit week 18 yet. Lovely.

I suppose it's not surprising that things happen earlier when you've already had a child, and it's not like I can just flop out on the sofa whenever I'm not at work. I'm tired, I've got a much busier life now, and I ain't getting any younger. This pregnancy malarkey is a lot harder the second (and more) time around. Or at least it has been for me.

But saying all that, I am grateful for every single day that passes without incident. Now that I can feel Beanie kicking and squirming away in there, things are much better. Time is flying now too, and that also helps enormously.

In other pregnancy-related news, I can't stop eating (give me anything salty or spicy), I have the urge to knit tiny things, the first episode of this season's ER made me cry like a lunatic, and I almost slapped the nurse at the surgery last Monday. Business as usual, then.

Tuesday 9 January 2007

double checking

I got a letter in the post today from the hospital telling me that the next scan will be on the 2nd of February and that if we wish to know, they will tell us the gender. The hospital used to have a policy about not telling you the gender, and they would make you shell out something like £60 for a special gender scan. So for reasons only known to them, they've changed their minds, which is fine by me. This means that we'll get a second opinion on Beanie's gender, almost three weeks after the student scan. The poor kid will be traumatised if s/he finds out how closely scrutinised her/his bits have been - and then having it documented on the Internet.

I promise not to haul out embarrassing bath photos when you bring your first date home.

Thursday 4 January 2007

got some splainin' to do

Jack: [points at my belly] "Baby!"
Me: "Yes, that's right. Mummy's got a baby in her belly."
Jack: [points at his belly] "Baby!"
Me: "Mummy has a baby. No baby in Jack's belly."
Jack: [frowning and lifting up his shirt] "BABY."
Me: "Mummy has a baby."
Jack: [points at Paul's belly] "Baby!"
Me: [giggles]

that's right, i have no life

Ken Russell is on this year's Celebrity Big Brother. WHY? Seriously, my jaw is still sitting on the living room floor from last night. Jermaine Jackson is also in da howse, and his brother Tito is a judge on a celebrity singing show on the BBC. I'm both terrified and intrigued by this sudden influx of Jacksons to this country. Other amusing Big Brother celebs this year include Leo "I've Still Got That 70s Perm" Sayer and Dirk Benedict. It tickles me that viewers under the age of 30 are confused as to who these people are (as reflected in the reactions of some of the other "celebrities".)

It's going to be an interesting 25 days. For those of us who don't get out much, that is.

Wednesday 3 January 2007

for the record

Before I forget (and really just for my own obsessive record-keeping), here is a list of all the symptoms I've had since the beginning:
-metallic taste in my mouth (that was a new one for me...not nice)
-morning sickness (ditto)
-severe headaches (ditto again)
-cravings for and aversions to specific foods (this was another new one)
-various digestive issues I won't get into
-lower back pain
-dry skin (I'm like a molting reptile over here)
-greasy hair (lovely combination, eh?)
-fabulous pregnancy nails
-boobs haven't expanded, but the belly is gonna get me
-abdominal cramping/pulling/stretching/pain if I move suddenly or sneeze with a bit too much vigour

But I'm feeling much better now, thanks. Well, except for the back pain, heartburn, dry skin, greasy hair, and and huge belly. Otherwise, I'm peachy.

Tuesday 2 January 2007

happy new year!

Amazingly, I managed to stay awake past midnight and ring in the new year with my lovely husband. I even had a glass of bubbly, because that's the kind of party animal that I am. Then I went to bed. Rawk on!

It's been a grand year, but then again, the last few years have also been grand. I expect the coming year to be grand as well, but extremely tiring. I never make resolutions, particularly when I'm pregnant. What am I going to give up, water? Vegetables? Doing housework? Wait, I like the sound of that last one. What we do every year is we eat like fiends during the holidays and then get back to something resembling a healthy diet when the holidays are over. Take today, for example. So far, I've had a bowl of my favourite granola cereal, some wholemeal bread with chickpea pate and soup for lunch, an apple, and I'm planning on making grilled salmon with salsa verde, salad, and potatoes for supper. My halo is a'shinin'.

We had a fantastic Christmas, and the best part was seeing Jack getting excited about everything (unlike last year when the whole Christmas concept eluded him). He discovered the word "baubles" (that's Christmas tree ornaments back home) and enjoyed pointing them out on our tree sounding a lot like the fish from Finding Nemo: "Baubles! Baubles! Baubles!" All of his presents actually did arrive on time, restoring my faith in the Early Learning Centre. His new favourite sentence is "MY digger" with a warning glance at the dog should he venture too close to said vehicle.

My big present from Paul was a spa day. A spa day! A whole day involving a massage, body scrub, facial, pedicure, manicure, floating around in a pool, and lunch. Oh yes.

I hope you all had a fabulous holiday. x

welcome to week 16

This week, I have been mostly experiencing the following:
-heartburn from Hell (although this is likely due to eating like a pig over the festive season)
-belly expansion (see above)
-cravings for pizza and salad
-aversions to broccoli, asparagus, and as I discovered this morning, bananas

I decided over the weekend that I'm having another boy. I know that everyone else thinks it's a girl, but for some reason I'm now certain that it's a boy. I think we've decided on a boy name, although we're still stuck on the middle name. Middle names are like soooooo last year, anyway.

And the most exciting news of all is that I've just started to feel the first little baby flutters - it's incredibly reassuring. Oddly, they aren't like the movements I felt with Jack in the early days (his were more like vibrations or small muscle spasms), these feel like bona fide squirms and wriggles. Beanie is probably ricocheting around in there from all the chocolate I consumed last week.

Thank you, that is all.