Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Socks and the city...

A lovely surprise in the post today - some little socks! Now that's something I'd totally forgotten to buy for the baby!

How can I be scared of something that can fit its feet into those?

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Trying to escape from the Big Mother house?

The McBaby was VERY active yesterday. Very. From about 5pm right through the night until I fell asleep at about 4am. At first I thought it was great, but then I started to worry that he or she was trying to escape via my left leg where I had the most intense pain. Intense of course, in the context of not having yet had the baby. I am taking the opportunity to embrace any pains I get as practice....

Friday, 26 August 2011

Projectile poo....

I met some mums (all with babies of about two months old) yesterday and am surprised I got any sleep at all last night! Some of their stories made my eyes widen so much, I wondered if these are all myths invented to scare pregnant people, for a laugh!

Tales of projectile poo that hits the wall on the other side of the room, numerous boob scare stories and babies that won't sleep! I have never been in such a hurry to get back to work!

Thursday, 25 August 2011


Not sure why I scheduled a doctor's appointment for 8am. Seemed like a good idea at the time - to "maximise my day", but less appealing at 7.50am. I'd been dreading the 25 week appointment with the GP after the last time I met him, but it went very well.

! The doctor asked if I was feeling well, which I heartily agreed with, as I am. However, MrM, who'd agreed to accompany me, TOLD ON ME!!

He reminded me that in the night and when I've been exerting myself with carrying, running or swimming, that there's a bit of a tender feeling in my groin. Apparently this is normal. As are headaches, vomiting, blurred vision and swollen ankles - none of which I've had a sniff of luckily.

The doctor then took my blood pressure which was normal, and then measured the bump which is 24cm which is also about right and asked about my urine which I had left at home, placed carefully next to my notes so I wouldn't forget them. Ahem.

He then looked at me and said: "Has anyone mentioned to you that there's two in there?"

He didn't appear to be joking and I was struggling to take it in. "No, you're joking," I finally spluttered. We all dissolved into laughter but MrM and I were absolutely taken in for a millisecond! The funny thing was that I was thinking "Oooh, a ready-made family! I need only go through this once!"

I'm getting better at relaxing!

I remember on my 30th birthday, my sister and I went to Champneys for a day of pampering. At one point, we were just chilling out in the sunshine by the pool. "What time are we going to stop relaxing?" I asked, not realising how ridiculous this sounded until I saw the look on her face.

I just find it so hard to switch off and to stop the million voices roaring, singing and laughing in my head.

So it was with great pleasure that I nearly fell asleep during last night's relaxation session. It didn't get off to a great start, as I'd decided to meet my friend and go to the cinema and had underestimated the length of the film. At 7.55pm I was pegging it up the road (not very relaxing) when my phone rang, with the organiser apologising and saying she wasn't quite there yet and hoping I wasn't waiting outside.

Amazingly, I wasn't the last to arrive. There were five of us; the couple that are incredibly relaxed and inspirational (as an aside, I bumped into the lady last week in the supermarket. MrM and I were en route to a festival so I'd loaded up my basket with booze for him - not a good look on a pregnant woman); a lady I'd not met before and a lovely lady who I'd met at the NCT group a couple of weeks ago.

She is very much like me. Not only do we do similar jobs, but her sense of humour is the same and she also finds it impossible to relax! We were told to visualise ourselves sailing down a river in a boat. The river meanders and ends up in a lake where we are hoping to see a beautiful flower, which we eventually find and it turns out to be even more wonderful than we'd realised. It's meant to represent the trials and tribulations of pregnancy (and indeed life) and culminates in seeing the baby for the first time. I find this kind of visualisation very helpful, except I am far too easily distracted by idiots driving past at speed outside. I did have to stop myself falling asleep at one point, so I consider that a successful relaxation session!!

Wednesday, 24 August 2011


Oh my goodness, people are so lovely!

Met my friend for a coffee this morning and she gave me two baby blankets that she'd bought me. So thoughtful! I've also had offers of a Moses basket, clothes, a car seat and a bath.

At a recent NCT meeting, one of the ladies said: "As a first-time mum, you'll want everything new". Not me!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

The pain, the terrible pain...

..of trying to change an ante-natal appointment....

MrM can't make it with me to one of the birth skills classes that we've booked on, so I decided to call the hospital to see if I could change it.

I spent an hour on the phone in a queue, got cut off twice and then tried to get through on a different number. I finally got through to a lady and asked her if I could change the date.

"OH MY GOD! I don't know how to do that. Hold on"
She returned and asked: "You want to cancel the class?"
"No, not cancel it, would it be possible to change the date please?"
"When do you want to change it to?"
"Er. I don't know! Whenever there's another class on!"
"Sigh". She gets someone else involved. I hear her tell the other person that I want to cancel the class. The other person says that it's a pain when people do that. I grit my teeth and think about all the tax I've paid.

She asks my name. I spell it for her twice. She ignores me and says she can't find me on the system. She asks for my address. I tell her and she says that I've spelt my name wrongly.

She then says that the class is in two parts and if I want to change one, I must change both. I say that's fine and think that labour will be a doddle after this....

Kick, kick, kick!

For the past couple of weeks, MrM has been saying goodbye to the baby in the morning as he leaves for work, and the bump always gives him a kick by way of reply!

Everyone knows that cats need to give birth undisturbed in a dark, secluded place - perhaps preparing a softly lined box in the darkest corner of the furthest room underneath the bed. And everyone who knows about cats understands that you must never disturb a cat in labour or a newly delivered cat and her litter of kittens. Otherwise the cat's labour will stop or she may reject her kittens. Everyone knows this.

But just imagine that one day, quite a long time ago, a group of well-meaning scientists decided that they wanted to study how cats give birth. So they asked anyone who had a cat, that when she went into labour to bring them to their laboratory - a brightly-lit, noisy, modern scientific laboratory where scientists could study them, by attaching lots of monitors and probes, surrounding them by strange technicians constantly coming in and out with clipboards.... In the laboratory, the labouring cats could hear the sound of other cats in distress, and there were no private dark corners for them to retreat to, but only rows of brightly-lit cages under constant scrutiny of the scientists.

And the scientists studied the labouring cats in their brightly-lit cages for many years, and saw that their labours were erratic, how they slowed down and even stopped, and how heart-breakingly distressed the cats were. Their mews and their cries were terrible. They saw how many of the the kittens were deprived of oxygen and were born shocked and needing resuscitation. And, after many years the scientists concluded: 'well, it seems that cats do not labour very well'.

Then, because the scientists were caring people and wanted to help the poor cats, they invented lots of clever machines to improve the cats' labours, to monitor the oxygen levels in the kittens; they invented pain-killing drugs and tranquillisers to ease the poor cats? distress, and drugs to make labour become regular and stop it slowing down. They even developed clever emergency operations to save the distressed kittens' lives.

The scientists wrote scientific papers which told everyone about the difficulties they had observed and how cats do not give birth very well, and all about the clever feline birth technology they had invented. The newspapers and television spread the word, and soon everyone started bringing their cats to the laboratory in labour, because of all their clever feline technology and of how many kittens? lives they had saved. Looking round at all the complicated technology, people were heard to say: ?This must be the safest place in the world for cats to give birth in?.

Years passed, and the workload at the scientists' laboratories grew busier and busier. They had to take on new staff and train them in their feline labour techniques, and slowly the original scientists grew old and retired. But sadly the new up-and-coming technicians didn't know about the original experiment; they didn?t even know it was an experiment. They had never seen cats giving birth in softly-lined boxes in the furthest, darkest corner of the furthest room ? why, what a dangerous idea! They were absolutely convinced that cats do not give birth very well without a lot of technical assistance - why, think of all the years of scientific evidence they had collected - and would go home at night feeling very pleased with themselves for all their clever and good work in saving cats' and kittens' lives.

Sadly most midwives and doctors working today have trained and worked for most of their lives in that laboratory: and in that laboratory ? which is of course, a modern consultant maternity unit - childbirth is in a mess.

In this day and age of evidence-based practice, we talk so much of the importance of evaluating every intervention, and yet no-one is saying that we desperately need to evaluate the biggest intervention of them all ? asking women in labour to get into their cars and drive to a large hospital where they are cared for by strangers.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Home birth

I think we've finally persuaded MrM to go for a home birth! I dragged him along to a local meeting last night where he got answers to most of his questions and concerns.

We've even pencilled in a booking of the birth pool for the due date and unbelievably I am actually excited about the birth rather than fearful as the home environment will be so much more relaxing for me than driving 30 miles to a hospital.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

More relaxation

I went back to the relaxation class, this time without MrM. This time, we used a different relaxation technique, based on picturing your favourite place in nature. I used this (although the first picture isn't the most appealing!)

I went there in real life about 10 years ago with a friend and the place was as close to perfection as you could ever picture. My friend was hilariously funny and one adventure involved us being flown onto the island under the names Mr and Mrs Lionel Blair, which made me laugh as I recalled it, instead of relaxing.

The visualisation technique was to picture yourself vividly in this location with the sand between your toes, the sun on your skin (and the pina colada in your hand!) to relax you when you have contractions. Easy now, and very relaxing, but who can say how effective it will be in three months' time!

There was another couple there who were very sweet and due in exactly a month's time. The husband told me earnestly that these lessons were extrenely useful as he was now much more relaxed, while I looked to his wife to see if she felt the same way....

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

More placenta praevia

I had an extraordinary phone call from my colleague today. Last week, I called my mum to ask her if she'd had this placenta praevia thing, where the placenta is low, just to see if there was any family history of this. I am a very discreet person, not one of those people whose private conversations are conducted for all to hear. I was not hysterical about it - I just asked her if she'd had it. Not only did she say no, she said she'd never heard of it. (She was a nurse, quite worryingly!).

Anyway, this morning, my colleague phoned and said that she'd told her husband about my conversation and he'd said "it was nothing". I am very reassured that she passed this onto him and for his feedback. Is he a nurse? No, he's a plumber.


Suppose you're in labour for 48 hours, and suppose that you have parked in the hospital car park - that would cost £60 at our nearest hospital. Could I face catching the bus when in labour?

Home birth is sounding better and better!

Sunday, 14 August 2011

"Bump on board"

Pregnant women always complain about people touching their bumps without permission, and to date, this hasn't been something I have experienced. However, MrM and I bumped into two old friends at Cropredy Festival at the weekend (looking resplendent, I have to say...Mrs was wearing flowers in her hair, cute floral wellies and a dress to match, while Mr was wearing a magnificent top hat with flowers on it, a long pink coat and purple trousers), and both of them saw the bump and placed a hand on it to congratulate us with big smiles and a hug.

I felt that this was a lovely thing to do and was not in the least put out. The baby seemed to like it too, and moments later seemed to be dancing to the music. Probably safest not to mention that the band we could hear was UB40....


MrM and I attended a talk on exercise in pregnancy at our local health club, which we listened to with much interest while stuffing our faces with biscuits (were these put out to test us?!).

I have woefully neglected my exercise for fear of hurting the baby, so doing lengths of lengths of breast-stroke has been my only redemption. However, when we were invited to ask questions, the first one was: "I've heard that breast-stroke is bad for the baby as it causes you to overstretch?"

The other query was over cycling. Whenever I have a journey of less than 5 miles, I also cycle, so was a bit worried to hear that this is not recommended - the only person in the room who didn't think this was a concern was from Holland, where she said such a worry would have been laughed at.

Anyway, the upshot is that I have signed up for specific classes for pregnant women -and stopped eating biscuits....

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

and it begins...

....I have already exposed my little one to the joy of marketing simply by signing up for a parenting website.

I got a letter through the post this morning from a certain insurance firm asking me if I'd thought about what would happen to the baby if I died. I have actually already given this some thought, but I'll deal with that in more depth after I've removed myself from any websites that see the lil one as a money making machine.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Bumps and babes coffee morning

Is there anything more terrifying than a roommful of mothers feeding their babies. I promised myself that I would go to as many pre-natal activities as possible to meet people and get advice.

However, when actually faced with all these new borns and no sign of a bump like mine anywhere, I nearly ran a mile in the opposite direction. However, the group organiser, a lovely, friendly lady called Sue, physically took me by the hand and made me sit between another bump (which was very well disguised and actually bigger than mine) and a newborn called Samuel with his mum.

There was a talk on baby swimming and then the chance to chat. I was given some information that I didn't know eg, that there is an NCT prenatal class and there is a birthing centre in Wallingford (which is much more intimate than Reading or Swindon), and had a really nice time. I can't believe that, not only did I survive, but I am going to meet some of these lovely ladies again!


Friday, 5 August 2011

"Comparing all my problems to the size of a cow..."

I could have sworn I looked normal yesterday. Today, I caught sight of myself in a mirror in town and I look like an elephant!

Fortunately, my friends and family never take pictures of me (I've just been looking through FB and any pictures are mine), so this look is not saved for posterity, but goodness, that crept up on me quickly!

I have bought some slightly bigger underwear as one of my pants succombed last week and the knicker elastic pinged. MrM happened to be sitting with his hand on my bump and thought it was the baby kicking....

In other news, I believe the baby can hear now which is unfortunate as MrM went all Hugh Grant at the beginning of Four Weddings and a Funeral and let out a barrage of abuse at a piece of electronic equipment. Don't know if the baby heard it, but the French exchange lad we've got staying with us at the mo certainly learned some new vocabulary!

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Relaxation, visualisation and affirmation

Despite my stressing, I thoroughly enjoyed yesterday's relaxation session! I find it extremely difficult to relax. I always do about three things at once while thinking of 20 more and have this strange philosophy that a moment not doing/making/thinking, is a moment wasted!
We arrived at the session and met another couple and a woman; the two women's bumps were quite big as it was only a month to go for these two. I'd spent the day feeling very fat and very conscious of my huge bump, but when I met these two, I felt tiny and had my first experience of bump envy - mine is at the stage where it could be considered just a bit too much chocolate!
Then into the class which is organised by a lovely lady who arranged us around the room; interestingly, the men in the comfortable chairs and the ladies on upright school chairs. She introduced herself and then talked us through a very effective relaxation technique involving gazing at a spot on the window.
This was wonderfully effective, even for me. However, I did have to fight the "chatter" in my head. "Relax...Go compare! Did I copy Jeremy in when I sent that email earlier? I must get a photographer booked for the 20th August. What was the name of the guy on the radio this morning? Robert. Robert what? Robert A? Robert B, Ah, I was meant to be relaxing. Man, this chair is uncomfortable. It began with a W Robert W...."
However, I'll keep practising and I think this will work wonderfully - I did notice that it wasn't a bad first go as my breathing had slowed right down and all of us in the group had tingly fingers which is a sign of relaxation!
We were then taken through quite a long relaxation process where we concentrated on our breathing and on visualisation - this time of the birth itself and some of the feelings and things that happen. I had trouble staying still, and nearly laughed out loud when I heard my husband let out a little snore showing just how relaxed he was, but it was very interesting as there was info in there that I'd never heard before.
We then finished off by reading a couple of affirmations which were a great short way of focussing the worries and realising that you can overcome them. Mine were perfectly suited to my concerns:

I breathe deeply and I am calm.
My body is perfectly designed to give birth.

MrM and I were thrilled with how helpful this was and can't wait for the next session!

Wednesday, 3 August 2011


Someone just sent me an email saying this: "And I know you will be a fantastic mum. Beautiful, clever, witty, intuitive, innovative, loving."

Not sure I believe it, but lovely to hear it as not many people think so!

In other news, I'm off to my first relaxation class and nerves are stressing me out!

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

A teddy bear and a pillow...

I've just spent an hour on the phone booking some appointments for ante-natal classes. I was on hold for ages before a surly woman shouted "APPOINTMENTS" at me and asked for all my vital info (no apology for keeping me on hold for nearly an hour). Despite being told to book for week 28, the woman on the phone insisted that it was week 32, so it's not until October, but I've booked in for "preparing for birth" and "infant feeding" although she seemed to be reluctant to let me have two different classes with these covering; "breathing, different birth positions, choices available to you on the NHS (HA!), coping when birth doesn't go to plan, how to look after your body and feeding the baby."

I had to keep reminding her that I don't do this every day of the week, as she seemed to think I had the answers to all of her questions and that I would know without being told where the classes take place. I didn't even know where I was having the baby and assumed I would discuss this later with the midwife. "Nobody has discussed this with me yet," I told her. "Your midwife will have told you", she insisted. "She hasn't told me ANYTHING!" I kept saying.

Apparently I am having the baby at Reading, although MrM will not be happy and nobody had told us this (therefore there's every chance I would have turned up at the wrong place). I actually wanted to have it at home to save driving through the snow in the winter and to save on parking costs!

For the two workshops, respectively, I need a teddy bear and a pillow....Easy!