Wednesday, 28 September 2011


A lovely message from someone I know - I shall focus on this when times get difficult!!

It says: "Thrilled for you both - best time of your life. Pass my congrats on to MrM too - you'll make fabulous parents - lucky baby to be chosen from the shelf for you two. Can't wait to meet the little one."

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

What's the sieve for?

I have booked a doula to mop my brow during the birth and last night she came around for dinner to meet MrM for the first time. I wanted to ensure they did not get along at all so that they'd argue during the birth and it would take my mind off what I'm supposed to be doing.

Gah - they got on really well.

MrM and I fired lots of questions at her, and I went through my list of things to pack. I am not planning to go to hospital, and if I have a bag ready to go, to my mind, this will ensure that it's not needed! She also outlined some things that we'd need to have about the house; ice cubes, buckets, arnica cream, maternity pads...yes, yes, yes, thousands, thanks to my sister who stocked me up last week!

Then she asked me if we had a sieve.

Oh no, we don't use them, we've got tea bags I said, thinking she was talking about a tea strainer.

She laughed and explained what is was for, making my face fall.

"It's not a big deal" she said.

But it IS! I remember having to write a story for the local paper about a little boy who did a poo at the swimming pool, necessitating an evacuation (of the pool, I mean!) and the closure of the pool for cleaning. So it is something I would like to avoid.

No sieves please, we're British.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Pamper evening

The pamper evening organised by the NCT was fabulous and could not have come at a better time! Fortunately it did turn about to be the chance to try out various treatments and not an evening about nappies!

I had a very gentle back, neck and shoulder massage which helped with my stressful week at work, and I also enjoyed a bit of reflexology which I actually found much more beneficial - probably because the bump gets in the way of massages at the moment. AS well as being relaxing, the therapist claimed that regular reflexology treatments can reduce the length of labour by FOUR HOURS!!

It's quite expensive, but if that's true, it would be worth coughing up! Although I haven't got anything to moan about as everything has gone smoothly so far, I haven't had a proper night's sleep for a week now as the baby (which has previously been playing football in the womb) now seems to be kicking the ball against my ribs, so having a nice foot massage is just the ticket!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011


Look at this advert:

How easy does it look to change a nappy? There's no disposal of the soiled one, no crying, no wriggling, no need to take the nappy off and put it back again and no wrestling with poppers to get at it in the first place.

I make it sound awful, but I offered to change my nephew's nappy this morning. I was blessed as it was wet but not dirty, and he kept smiling for my three attempts.

The first time I put it on the wrong way round. The second time, the nappy fell down when I stood him up and the third time was perfect! Or so I thought. Fortunately, before a code brown situation, my sister noticed that lil nephew's buttocks were on display and that I had given him a wedgie.

I look forward to telling MrM that I obviously won't be changing any nappies when our little one arrives as I have no natural aptitude for it!

Thank you sis!

It's Christmas here at the McBaby household! I could not feel more prepared for the little one after a visit from my sister and her lovely little boy. She's been actively sourcing great things for me that were preloved by the nephew, his cousins and friends with babies of the same age. My living room now boasts a chair, a car seat, a pushchair, lots of clothes, a breast pump (at least that's what I think it is; it could equally be for sticking Garfield toys in the rear window of the car?).

Not only did she provide it, she also delivered it to the house! This is fantastic - this stuff would cost thousands, but here it is all free and in great condition. And as well as obtaining free bits and bobs, she drove me to Mothercare where she stocked me up on more goodies, such as pads, toys and nappies (meanwhile, under our dad's guardianship, the nephew stocked up on bruises! Two in an hour on his little forehead while he was exploring various displays!). SHe also talked me through things that would be useful, explained that some things aren't necessary and suggested makes and brands that she got on well with.

This is so useful. It can be utterly mind boggling to stand in a baby shop, not knowing where to start! My sister was a million times more helpful than the staff in the shop and has a second career awaiting in personal shopping services for first time mums!

I am ready now. All I need is a baby!

Monday, 19 September 2011

The role of the dad

MrM is away for a couple of weeks and I've sorely missed him. Not only is he lovely company, but he's been great with ensuring my bump is moisturised, and that he talks to the baby, either reading to it, singing to it, or telling the baby how loved it is (and will be).

So it made me laugh to read a list in a great, practical book, called "Blooming birth". (I initially thought it said "Blooming birth", in the style of "Merry Blooming Christmas" but I now realise it's blooming as in flowers...

It's an extremely practical book - it pulls no punches in telling you that labour is blooming hard work and will hurt. It also contains advice that I hadn't heard before, such as how you'll need to take your contact lenses out when in labout, and advice on going to the toilet after the birth. Pretty gruesome, but better to know now than be unpleasantly surprised later on.

anyway, here's their list for the father when labour begins:

1. Be sure to do practical things such as driving your partner (gently) to the hospital.

2. Pack the camera and take pictures.

3. Mop your partner's brow.

4. Don't chat through contractions.

5. Don't forget to eat and then faint

6. Don't boss her around.

7. DOn't watch the baby coming out so intently that you forget about your partner.

8.Encourage her to adopt positions that are gravity friendly

9. Guard her space and ensure she gets what she wants, such as peace and quiet.

10. Ask questions if she's not able to, but don't get caught up in facts and figures.

11. Encourage her, especially through interventions.

12. Most importantly; be there and tell her you love her.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Circus Mum

I met the utterly fabulous Circus Mum the other day - her blog is named to reflect the juggling, tightrope walking, somersaulting and clowning that goes with being a working mum. She made me howl with laughter with tales of her three-year-old daughter who insists on telling people that she's five, and made me realise for the first time that there is life after the birth! I've been so focused on being pregnant and getting through the birth that I'd forgotten that I was going to have a baby and also that this baby will grow into a child!

Circus Mum's daughter, the Princess, is quite a character, having forced HER to sit on the naughty step to contemplate how she'd interrupted her daughter; and unbelievably at the age of eight months, initiated an escape down the stairs having clambered out of her cot by stacking up her toys so she could climb up.

I'm looking forward to being able to share some of these stories in the not-too-distant future! In the meantime though, this is a lovely post from Circus Mum which sums up how I feel about forthcoming parenthood!!

The Streak and Peter Rabbit

I was away with work last week and picked up some children's books - ostensibly for the baby, but really for me.

One of these was Peter Rabbit which MrM then proceeded to read to the bump with great creativity. I enjoyed it. I think the baby did too, although if it really had been listening as intently as its mum, it would jumped more overtly at the appearance of Mr MacGregor wielding a rake and shouting "Stop thief!"

Having said that, Beatrix Potter's masterpiece went down better than an excerpt from "Principles of Financial Management" the week before, and the reading is something I want to encourage. I am an absolute book fiend and MrM would be if he had more time on his hands. We would like the baby to go in the same direction, but perhaps avoiding the route marked "geek" which was where I went.

I then happened to spot this article in the Guardian Family section about a girl whose father read to her every night until she went to University. It didn't seem to do her any harm....

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Save the Children blogging conference

Thanks to the fabulous blogger I happen to be at a conference organised by Save the Children to promote blogging and their "No Child Born to Die" campaign.

I have realised that I have been completely self indulgent over the last few months. I nodded sagely when I heard on the radio that there is a shortage of 4,700 midwives in the UK. Try multiplying that by a factor of 10 in the world's poorest countries. We've been hearing stories today on women in Africa who have to walk for four hours to get to their nearest hospital when their child is sick. Or they can take the bus to get immunisations - the cost of the bus being a week's wages. When they get there, they have to camp in the hospital grounds while the child gets treatment.

Food for thought. I am not going to complain again about any midwifery services I receive....

Friday, 16 September 2011

The tube

Someone gave up their seat on the tube for me! I was so stunned that I laughed and said I was fine. What an upstanding young man. I hope his mum was pleased.

Home birth story

MrM and I trotted off into town for the monthly meeting of local people who are interested in home births. We thought there would be lots of people, but it was just us and a couple with a newborn. They'd kindly come back to share their experiences of how it all went and this is the kind of story I need to hear more often!

The little one had a very unusual name and it's one that I had suggested to MrM only to get his usual disdainful response! I still really like it though and it really suited this lovely little chap. The couple seemed pleased with my endorsement too!

It was the husband's first child and the wife's second. It appeared that she'd not had the best experience first time round, but boy did she make up for it this time. Labour lasted three hours and sounded painless with the midwife being supportive although she arrived just minutes before the baby made his appearance. It sounded so peaceful and idyllic and it was clear that the baby was calm and happy thanks to his wonderful entrance.

As well as describing this, they had practical advice for MrM on filling up the pool, calling the hospital and registering the birth.

Well worth attending; only a shame that more people didn't hear the story.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Head down.

Just had a very positive meeting with our midwife. MrM as ever, accompanied me, after calling his office to tell them that he would be a bit late because he had a midwife appointment, which caused one or two raised eyebrows in his office.

Blood pressure is ok, baby's heartbeat is strong, the baby measures exactly what it should - despite the midwife noticing a massive change in the size of my bump! I told the midwife about a little mishap that I had last week and reassured me with a little giggle that you can't snap the baby's spine by bending over too fast - sounds ridiculous but I'd been lying awake worrying about it. I do my best worrying at night.

She was extremely receptive to our home birth and very positive about our hypnobirthing, saying that the last two she did were lovely. She did ask me if we had CDs and said that they start to drive you mad if you keep replaying them; something which had occured to me when I put mine on repeat to get me to sleep the other night!

Monday, 12 September 2011

Parenting by Modern Family

I remember a friend of mine being surprised that I knew what a Braxton-Hicks contraction was when she was telling me about her recent experience. I just nodded sagely and didn't tell her that my knowledge of these came from Friends! Thanks Rachel!

Now I have my own little one coming, I've now noticed just how much of my knowledge comes from watching TV! Take Modern Family for example, one of my favourite US comedies, and its parenting tips:


Be down with the kids. As Phil calls it: "Peerenting".


That MrM and I need to paint a mural in the nursery so the baby knows that we're always watching over it.


If you want a girl and get a boy, best not to put make up on him...

4. No need to be dramatic when the family meets the baby for the first time...

5. ....Or when you accidentally lock the baby in the car:

6. "you just stare down at them; let the eyes do the work"

7. Encourage your children to follow in the same career footsteps as you:

8. Don't take children to a horror movie...

9. You can shoot your children to punish them...

10. Most importantly...99% is just showing up....

Marie Mongan

I was at my first class on Saturday which at one point, I nearly cancelled for family reasons, but I couldn't completely relax even though I wasn't needed in the end. However, I was glad that I went. I was the only person there on my own, along with three other lovely couples.

We were introduced to the thinking of Marie Mongan as well as other forward thinking obstetricians. Their thinking is that our bodies are designed to have babies and that birth is over complicated and over medicalised. Put simply, if you relax, then your body will take care of the birth, possibly eliminating the need for drugs, intervention, hospitals, stitches and making for a happier environment to bring the baby into.

You often read about people not seeing their baby immediately, being poked and prodded and "failure to progress" - little wonder when there are bright lights, other people screaming and strangers wandering about!

Easy for me to say at this point, but these tools will be helpful and if I do need to go to hospital and do need a Caesarian, then I'll be in a good state of mind.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Spiritual Midwifery

MrM has caught me crying almost each time that I've picked up this book - some crying was good, some bad!

I can't remember who recommended this book, but it's a collection of birth stories that took place in the 1970s. Ina May Gaskin is a famous midwife who lives in the Mid West, and oversaw more than 2000 births in the early 1970s.

I've noticed that most of the stories I've heard have been bad, focussing on the pain, so I wanted to read a wide selection where there were at least some that went well! In this book, most went much better than you'd ever imagine, but of course there are some terribly sad stories. There is a tad too much psychedelia, but the overwhelming message is that if you can relax in loving surroundings with your partner there to talk you through it, it's bearable. There's absolutely no doubt whatsoever that all of the pain is worth it once you see your little one!

It has been one of my favourite books about birth. It's very inspirational and gives some great advice that I'd not thought of before such as being positive about changing nappies, so the baby doesn't think it's him/her that disgusts you (anything you get on your hand will wash off, she reminds you) and doesn't grow up to be ashamed of its bodily functions.

It also (and I was guilty of this about two weeks ago), says don't distract a baby who is feeding. I couldn't stop stroking my nephew's foot when he was having his food - it's so soft! However, this is like someone tapping you on the shoulder repeatedly when you're having your dinner!

Monday, 5 September 2011


HOw many times has this happened? We're good friends with a couple and hang out a lot. They then have children and reassure us that nothing will change. Then their lives are redefined. Previously where we could talk about anything; politics, fun, music, we now talk about child seats and how many hours little Timmy sleeps through the night. They come to our house and tell us that we drink too much or that our abode is a death trap - shame on us childless people for leaving a knife in the kitchen!!

We go to Glastonbury and are informed when we get back that you can't do such frivolous things when you have children (erm are those children that I've seen at festivals just very small adults?); you're lucky you have no responsibilities; ad infinitum.

Anyway, we met up with one of these friends recently and ahem....talked about babies, sleep, hospitals, discipline, schools, nursery, help from parents.

I've now gone to the other side!!

It was almost as if we'd found common ground once again and could rekindle our friendship from a new starting point. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind talking about babies, and this lady's children are very lovely and funny. (They are well behaved though, so an exception perhaps!). It's just that I don't want to talk about this exclusively or be told that my life is pointless because I don't have children.

She gave me some fabulous baby things - a Moses basket, clothes, toys, blankets. All is forgiven!!!

Friday, 2 September 2011


I went to my second "babies on board" exercise session last night. AFter checking a four-page form of contraindications, we did another very gentle aerobics session. So gentle in fact that it exercised my brain more than my body - if I went right and crashed into the lady next to me one more time I think she was going to sit on me. She is expecting twins and has the biggest bump I've ever seen on such a small body.

It was good fun though and it's great that the instructor is also pregnant, expecting a couple of months before me. There's also a lady who is due next week! If she makes it to the class, that will be very amusing!

Thursday, 1 September 2011

The correct order...

Perhaps it would be helpful to list the things that happen when a baby is born; obviously some things are different for different people!

1. Baby is born! (Easy!)
2. Cord clamped and cut
3. Placenta is delivered
4. The baby is given an AGPAR score out of 10. I really want to pass this one with a good mark!

5. Vitamin K for the baby
6. Baby weighed
7. baby given a name tag
8. Stitches - (can't even think about this)
9. Baby and mother taken to post natal ward.
10. 1st feed (within first hour)
11. 1st bath/shower for the mother
12. go home!
13. take baby for a walk
14. 1st poo (the mother's!)
15. Milke comes in (day 3)
16. Baby blues - the mother is liable to get weepy and emotional (I do that anyway - I did it watching this video

17. Sore nipples
18. The midwife signs you off (on day 2-5) and you are visited by a health visitor instead
19.Cord stump falls off.
20.You can sit down without it hurting.
21. Baby's hearing test
22. Birth registration before 42 days - or go to prison. (Might try this for a laugh!)
23. Blood loss stops.
24. 6-weeks baby smiles
25. 2 months - baby sleeps through the night (I'll have achieved this long before!)
26. baby can go swimming
27. Baby can go to creche at 3 months old.

'Life with a Newborn'

MrM and I went to an NCT event last night which was absolutely packed. Alarmingly, there were ladies whose due dates were after ours which was a first - that means when their baby is due, we'll already be parents - ARGH!!

The evening was extremely useful for both of us. All who attended were divided into two groups and given lots of cards with events such as "baby is weighed", "baby can go swimming", "you give baby its first bath", "you leave the baby with someone else for the evening", and "cord stump falls off". We then had to put these in order of time. I was most relieved to see that a lot of other people were as clueless as we were, and that we all totally underestimated how much happens in the first six months!

The next meeting is in a month's time and is a "pamper evening" - I still can't work out if that means a manicure and massage or an introduction to a certain brand of nappies!