Saturday, 31 December 2011

Christmas eating

And another Christmas! McBaby had two Christmases as we were invited down to a secret location to MrM's parents' house for a Christmas meal. The secret location was in fact MARGATE but McBaby, with great comedy timing, produced the loudest parps I've ever heard every time I said the name of the place.

I was a bit nervous about spending the day with the grandparents. Lovely as they are, they have a habit of saying inappropriate things from time to time. MrsM's first question to me after the birth was not "how is the baby?" or "how are you?" but "how many stitches did you have?"

She also made me laugh by telling me that she was psychic; she always knew it was a boy and she knew when I'd gone into labour. This might be because she called, regular as clockwork, at 12.30pm on Sunday and MrM ended the conversation quite quickly without telling her why!

However, I need not have worried. We had a wonderful day with them and little man was absolutely laden with fabulous presents. He's a very lucky boy who won't have to go clothes shopping for a while!

He was an angel in the car on the way down and back and also behaved impeccably when he had his last midwife visit. She weighed him and dispelled my fear that I had not been feeding him enough. Most babies add half an ounce in weight per day. McBaby had gained 13oz in 6 days.

So it's been a great end to 2011 and we're excited about what 2012 holds for us. Happy New Year everyone!!

Monday, 26 December 2011


Mr Baby is nearly a week old and is providing us with endless amusement. He is growing before our eyes, looks more like a baby than a mole and has started smiling. He has stopped doing his random movements where he suddenly jumps and then spreads his arms out, but has started filling nappies full of a substance that looks like Maille Mustard.

Our first Christmas with a baby in the house has seen MrM and I almost constantly blubbing. We both had calls from friends who were virtually in tears telling us what a special day we were going to have; I cried when I read MrM's card to the baby and cried when I opened a present from MrM to the baby. We've also been touched by the most incredible generosity; a lovely top for the baby from some friends, a hand-knitted cardigan made by MrM's cousin, a pair of Ugg boots from my mum and lots of beautiful Santa outfits from various friends and family.

Hope you had a lovely Christmas too!

Saturday, 24 December 2011

First night

My husband apparently heard me shout "I'm not dead" from the next room and came in to see if I was ok. After this hugely embarrassing incident, everything started to become more normal. The baby was checked over by a doctor and chose this moment to do his first proper poo in addition to the tarry like substance that he had also produced.

I had an injection and a cup of tea and we were told that an overnight stay was not in fact required. I was also reassured that I would have torn if I had given birth in the hospital and the home birth was not a contributory factor. In fact, being at home at kept me calm and relaxed meaning that our baby was extremely placid and content.

It was so wonderful to see my dad holding him too having driven up from miles away. Apparently the last bit through Reading had taken more than the rest of the journey though. Dad seemed impressed that the baby looked well filled out and not, to quote my sister, "like an old man or a bird". Or in less polite company, "like a testicle." He also told me about some interesting Josephs in our family tree including heroes of war and a bare knuckle boxer.

Then we were allowed home which hit me when the midwife called down the reception to let the security guard know that we were leaving with a baby. We drove home and prepared to put the little man in his crib. He. Would. Not. Go.

Now, we see that he can be quite persuasive and he spends the first night in the bed with us. Not even 12 hours old and we have failed our first test as parents.

Is there such a thing as too much gas and air?

During the birth I supped on gas and air to take the edge off the contractions. The key point here is that I only used it when I needed it. Now in hospital, surely the worst was over. The baby is here and I am being sewn up by a truly lovely lady. We had a lovely chat and she told me that she wasn't going to reveal exactly how many stitches I needed, but to relax and breathe in when required. When required. I ignored this and just used it as oxygen.

MrM took the baby into the next room and my dad arrived to meet the little chap who by now we have named Joseph.

I didn't feel any pain. In fact, I started to hallucinate. I recall drifting off to some music on the radio and then I appeared in 1986 which was the last time I used gas and air as a youngster at the dentist in Weymouth. I was back at the dentist and remember hearing the same music that was on the radio back then. I realised that my life had come full circle and that I had now died on the table under the lights, leaving a newborn son and husband.

There was a knock at the door. "Elle est morte" I heard the midwife say to the person who had knocked.

I SCREAMED. I then leapt off the table (still being stitched remember).

"I'm not dead!!"

The midwife reassured me and I pawed at her face to ensure she was real. "Am I in Weymouth or Reading?" I asked.

"You're in Reading," she said. "You've just had a baby and I am stitching you up".

"I'm not dead?" I asked 600 times.

I don't know who was more surprised, but she managed to calm me down and continued to stitch me, blood everywhere. "But you said 'elle est morte' in French" I squealed.

"No, I said 'It's Marta'. Marta was knocking on the door to see if you wanted tea and toast after the stitches".

She contined to stitch me up.

I decided not to continue with the gas and air this time.

Baby boy

After pushing out the baby and then the placenta, the midwives take me upstairs to examine me and then both look to each other to do the stitching. It emerges that neither of them does stitching, so they have to call another midwife.

While she's waiting, the baby is weighed (8lb 12) and all the checks are done. We've got a healthy baby and I just can't stop admiring his beautiful eyes. He really has soft skin, long, feminine hands with delicate fingers and long toes. All of these features are inherited from his dad.

Another midwife arrives and surveys the damage. Much like my house, which looks like a murder scene, things downstairs do not look good. Worse than usual in fact. Apparently I have a third degree tear which will involve being taken to hospital by ambulance and an overnight stay. I can't believe what I'm hearing as I feel great considering that I've just pushed an 8lb12oz baby through a part of my body I used to like.

I feed the baby and wait for the ambulance. Two lovely paramedics arrive, a lady who tells me not to keep giving birth to boys if you want a girl as it will mean that you end up with 6 children, and a man who keeps showing me his namebadge and winking when I say we've not decided on a baby name yet.

The baby goes in a car seat and he and I travel to Reading in an ambulance with a very worried MrM following behind in his car. The traffic is horrific, reminding me why I chose a homebirth in the first place, and I have my first sleep in weeks.

We arrive at the hospital and I'm taken into a room where I'm sewn up. MrM takes the baby into another room and what happens next deserves its own post as I am so embarrassed. I shall write it down so it's not in my head, send it out to cyberspace and try never to think about it ever again. See you on the other side!

Thursday, 22 December 2011


It had been going on for a while, but things started for sure on Saturday night. I got into bed and started having contractions which were bearable at first. After lying in bed for a couple of hour, they were worsening, so I went downstairs and filled a hot water bottle to put on my back before waking MrM up solely so he could time them as I had no idea how regular they were.

The answer is that they weren't very regular. They were all over the place - some 10 minutes apart, some two minutes. Some were bearable, some not so much!

I found the best way to deal with them was to bounce on my ball and breathe in and out calmly. This worked for about 22 hours but then I was convinced that I must be nearly fully dilated and that the baby was on its way, so MrM called the midwife.

And what a lovely midwife! Kate was immensely sweet and patient given that she'd arrived at 4am. She examined me and I was an enormous 1cm dilated. I felt ludicrous but apparently the cervix was totally effaced, so there was so gain for the discomfort.

Kate went home and I continued to bounce on the ball which gave incredible relief. Why bouncing around on a giant ball should make me feel better, I don't know, but it seemed to complement the breathing techniques well, along with MrM rubbing my back.

Mindful that our doula had raved and raved about how amazing and awesome another lady in our homebirth group had been, I felt like a bit of a failure first thing in the morning, but asked if the midwife could return and this time bring some gas and air with her as I was feeling tired and fed up and wanted to take the edge off the pain.

We chatted and she encouraged lots while making notes now and again. I've since read these through and they reveal such things as the banana I ate for energy at 9am and that I went to the loo an hour later.

Things were getting more intense with the contractions getting closer together. I recall staring so intently at the equipment that the supplier's phone number is etched on my brain. (It's 01707 652270 should you require any Entonox).

I remember they then became unbearable and I started shouting into the mouthpiece, trying not to think about how amazing other people had been while giving birth to 10 pounders. What a failure I am!

Then the midwife was replaced by another with the same name. It's now about 11am and I am listening to the radio to find out that Kim Jong-Il had died, causing me to make an inappropriate comment about reincarnation which did not please MrM one bit. Then there was a programme on about home births and your first night with your baby.

I was now saying that I couldn't do this and ready to strangle the amazing home birth lady. Bah.

Time ticks by, I recall another midwife arriving and also one of the midwife's husbands appearing at the door asking for a parking permit while I was grunting and thinking I must be imagining it. I wasn't!

I have my show and the midwife ruptures my waters as we're nearly ready to go. I grunt my way back down to the birth pool which is providing great relief but is starting to deflate quite badly giving me nothing to lean on.

Then the pressure starts. It's horrendous. I stop relaxing which I'd been trying hard to do and look to the midwife for advice. She's sending a text.

"HELP ME!" I scream. "Just do what your body says", she tells me. Hmmmm.

Anyway, I start to make noises like a zoo animal and wonder what the neighbours must think. Apparently on one side, they've left their front door open. Great.

The midwives chat about how busy it is in Sainsbury's and I start to make my complaint that I was promised drugs that never arrived. "You're so close now", they laugh.

Then, it happens, the head comes out. It's just awful - pressure and tearing pains. And that's just what I do to MrM's hand! There are two people giving me conflicting advice and I panic and give an almighty push which sees both of them nearly drown with a tidal wave of water and our baby torpedo across the pool. I am stunned although panicky that there's a cord around his neck.

But he's beautiful! His eyes are open and he looks happy, bizarrely. He's purplish, but perfectly formed and within seconds I see that he looks like my mum!

Welcome the world little one!

Friday, 16 December 2011


By the time you read this, I'll have gone. I'm off to a place where people don't cycle at you at speed when you're 9 months pregnant forcing you to leap into the road and into the path of a manic white van man. I'll be somewhere where a motorist doesn't wind down his window to call you a fat **** when you have the audacity to think he's going to stop at a zebra crossing and where women don't put their hands over their screaming child's mouth, telling them to "shut it" in the post office.

All of this after a night of no sleep and before 10am in the lovely town where I live.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

The last GP appointment...

....which is exactly what I called my previous visit..

After a night of thinking the baby was on its way as I had backache, stomach ache, leg ache and even hand ache, I just wanted to sleep but we got up and pegged it to get to the surgery for our 8.10am appointment - 30 minutes before the GP turned up, so lucky that we hurried...

MY tummy felt very tight, so I am still convinced it's imminent. The doctor says all looks ok but did however talk about induction without once mentioning the actual word. He asked me about my previous appointment with the midwife which didn't go too well and insisted that I see her next week. She had written "neg" in my notes. I asked if this was good and the doctor looked puzzled. " 'Negative' " is always good news, isn't it?" he asked. Since then, I've made a list of about 100 items where I do not want to hear the word "negative".

He wished us well and said he hoped all would go "swimmingly" and I went to make an appointment with the midwife - next available date? The 29th!!

This is my fault as I should have done this last time I was here, but I was certain that the baby would be here by now. How in touch with my own body I am!

Anyway, I left my number and she called a few minutes later when I was at the checkout at the supermarket ensuring that I got bonus loyalty points for reusing my own bag. She said that though she couldn't see me, I could drop in to the centre at "the Newbury".

"The Newbury?"
"Where's that?"
"The garden centre"
"It's in the garden centre?"
"No, it's near the garden centre"
"Which garden centre?"
"The one in Thatcham"
"You turn left at the roundabout and it's there."
"Oh! You mean the hospital?"
"Yes. It's called the Newbury but it's in Thatcham."

Will do....

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Christmas party

Last night was our office Christmas party. I was not invited, though the guy who started last week was, the girl who started a month ago and also a guy who left in April! Nothing like feeling loved, eh?

However, my grumbles about this subsided when I was lying in bed and felt a very strong contraction! That's odd, I thought. Don't they start slowly and build up? Yes, they do.

What I had felt was actually MrM rolling over and taking a bit of my pyjama top with him.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Off you go to work!

Quite helpfully, MrM's NEW phone has been playing up so when I call him, it goes straight to voicemail and he doesn't realise I've phoned for hours. Fortunately, nothing is about to happen that entails calling him urgently....

Anyway, it meant this morning that he'd used the alarm on my mobile to get him up at 6.30am. I felt terrible sending him off to work to earn a crust while I stay at home doing not very much. My constant trips to the loo and continual tossing and turning are keeping him awake. And while he's at work, I'm spending afternoons sleeping - I feel a massive conflict between resting (as I won't get much sleep in the next few months) and getting things done. But sleep is impossible when you're the size of a whale and can't get comfortable in any position at all. I can't seem to switch my mind off either. The dream I had last night where the baby was French set me off down a rabbit hole of existential thoughts - what makes a baby French? COuld our baby be French? Why French?

Yesterday afternoon, after wasting the day (although to be fair, the weather wasn't exactly enticing), I spoke to someone who said she'd never been at a birth. I am wondering now if she witnessed a preview as while we were chatting, I missed being hit by a speeding car by about an inch (I'm not as nimble as I used to be) and I unleashed a torrent of ridiculous language. I'm not very good at swearing.

Sunday, 11 December 2011


We were due to meet some friends at 6pm last night, so of course at about 5.30pm, I had a severe flare-up of SPD - so disabling that I couldn't get out of bed (I was having a disco nap!) and had to be rolled out in a most unladylike manner by MrM who managed to keep a straight face.

Perhaps it was just sheer laziness, as once I was out and had come down the stairs on my hands and knees, I seemed to be ok, although it took us a frustrating 20 minutes to walk the short distance into town. After a very amusing evening out, I was woken up at about 1am by again, what felt like period pains, which rumbled on, patternless, until about 6am. I felt really excited and really good about myself (after losing confidence in myself and the birth a couple of days ago after being let down, and stressed by someone to whom I'd paid £200 - half of a month's maternity pay - specifically to keep me calm!) - in fact the sensations were much easier to cope with than MrM's polyphonic snoring.

"I am going to meet the little one today!" I thought! And on its due date too! But by the time MrM woke up at 7am, there was no sign of anything at all. Perhaps I'd dreamt the whole thing? Or perhaps it was my dinner?

It then started again at about 9am (brought on, I believe by the list of name suggestions that my Mum sent me - I shouldn't laugh too much or be surprised at these given the appalling names that she and my dad came up with for me) but has petered out once again - but not before poor MrM felt the need to rearrange the dining room to make me comfortable. I think I've cried wolf too many times about it now - MrM is not going to believe me when it actually happens.

Friday, 9 December 2011

The power of a positive word

In a week where I've lost my faith in my ability to give birth thanks to being made to feel stressed and like a failure because I've only done a couple of hours' paid work while wonderwomen all around who are giving birth and getting top marks in their MBA/a Master's/an Open University degree, I cannot thank my friend enough for a simple text I got today which has lifted my spirits. It simply says: "You looked fab yesterday and very chilled about your impending arrival. You will be fine."

I bet she has no idea how much better that has made me feel. We pregnant women are very sensitive!


In its short life, my poor unborn child has been flattened by a speeding pavement cyclist, has fallen down some steps and today got electrocuted by our toaster (which is less than a year old). It let out a massive bang and sent a shock up my arm which made the poor little bean jump. I think it's fine though as s/he has been moving about ever since.

Normally when this kind of thing happens, I don't hesitate to visit to pay a visit to the fuse box. However, today, with uncustomary caution, I wanted to double check I was doing the right thing as it wasn't just me in mild peril, so I tried to call to MrM. He didn't answer, so I called someone else for their electrical expertise, not noticing that MrM tried to call me seven times during the course of the conversation. When I finally spoke to him, he was in the car on his way home, thinking (for the second time in 12 hours) that the baby was on its way.

Sorry MrM - from MrsM and the toaster xxxx

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

"You'll need a boy to complete your family.."

Apparently the inappropriate things that people say to you when you're pregnant continue once you've had the baby. I met my friend today (a mother of three girls - two of whom are twins) and moaned about the things that people say to me including today's selection:

Person 1: "Would you like me to be at the birth?"
Me: "That's a kind offer but I'm worried that I might swear at you without realising!"
Person 1: "You could perhaps try not to swear?"
Me: "Yes, I could! Good thinking!!"

Person 2 on 'chat': "I'm ringing you now."
Me - (9 months pregnant remember) - "My phone's upstairs. I'm not rushing up there as it always stops ringing when I get there."
Person 2: "Run, run!"

Person 3 - a friend who has greeted me thus every time she's seen me for the past few months: "You look MASSIVE!!!"

Person 4: "So do you know what it is yet?"
Me: "Interesting use of the word 'yet'. No, I'm not going to find out."
Person 4: "Is your nursery ready yet?"

Person 5 (a relative of MrM who previously asked me to find out if we were having a boy or girl so she could buy a baby hat in the appropriate colour): "Have you had the baby yet?"
Me: "I hand-on-heart hereby promise that I will call you when it's born. I will CALL you! Call YOU!"

But it won't end when the bean's here. My friend tells me that people constantly ask her if she's hoping for a boy next to "complete the set". Or they ask: "Were they conceived by IVF?" How that is anyone's business I don't know! Or "Are there twins in your family?" Or "are they identical?" Or "how do you tell them apart" - to which she replies, "by their poos."

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Stupid things I've done today.....

1. Got up early.

2. Went to Basingstoke.

3. Watched this episode of Peep Not recommended if you're 9 months pregnant.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

The shame

MrM: "Where's the van key?"

Me: "In my handbag"

MrM: "Don't get up, I'll get it....AAAAAAAAAARGH!"

Me: "What's wrong?"

MrM: "Someone's left a pot of wee in your handbag".

Ah yes, that would have been me. Oops.

Thursday, 1 December 2011


If the midwife who I saw this morning is the one who attends the birth then I'm pretty sure the baby isn't coming out.

For some reason I had a visit with the doctor and the midwife today -someone told me to book an appointment with both. The appointment with the GP was straightforward and it looks like the baby is 4/5 engaged. When I asked if that meant it was coming soon, the doctor seemed to find that hilariously funny.

"It's not going to be today", he laughed in between snorts of laughter.

He said that he'd spoken to the midwife and she is meant to bring pethidine with her so I shouldn't worry about it. Why do I not feel remotely reassured by that?

He asked me to create a sample since I hadn't brought one. I did think about it before I left the house, but the only thing I could see to put it into was a Bart Simpson mug, so I didn't bother. I produced one at the surgery and presented it to the receptionist who told me to take it into the midwife.

I did. She said she didn't want it. She did a test on it and then handed it back to me as if I'd offered it to her for Christmas. "I don't want it", she said.

She then said that I wasn't supposed to see the doctor today and that as I'd been to see him I didn't need to see her. Fine by me! "I didn't make two appointments just to annoy you, " I said - "someone told me to."

"No they didn't" she said.

"I've already apologised to the doctor for wasting his time", I added.

Talking to me like a simpleton, she said she would write down on my notes that I must only see the GP in two weeks' time.

"In case you don't understand", she said. GGRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.