Friday, 12 December 2008

Underwater Afternoons

Friday, 12 December 2008

Even when not pregnant, I have a 2-3pm sleepy pocket most afternoons. The girls at work know that if they need to schedule a meeting with me, this is my preferred window as around that time I always have to force myself to get up, move to a different room, have a change of scenery, etc. otherwise I slip into a bit of a hazy slump.

As I type this it’s 2.37pm and I feel like I’m underwater, I’m so tired! Everything’s in slow motion and even taking a nice, fresh deep breath in is ridiculously taxing. To make matters worse, I didn’t sleep very well last night, and I was putting my make-up on this morning I caught myself wondering how realistic-looking a fake eye I could paint on my eyelid, instead of my usual eye shadow, such that I could sit at my desk with my eyes shut and no one would notice. Trickle of corner-mouth drool, occasional snore-snorts and sleepy mumbling notwithstanding, I may have got away with it. Maybe I’ll try it next week.

I wonder, am I actually more tired and more nauseous with this pregnancy than I was with Ben? Or was it so long ago that I just can’t remember what it was like? For most of this week I have been struggling with feeling quite nauseous. Usually it goes away if I munch on something, but today it has been quite relentless! The experience of feeling nauseous and sick is referred colloquially in our house as:

pronunciation = /spyoon/
noun: sickness at the stomach, esp. when accompanied by a loathing for food and an involuntary impulse to vomit.
adjective: advance warning pertaining to likelihood of discharging the contents of the stomach through the mouth; vomit. “Jason, I feel very spewn.”

(Does everyone use made-up words for silly cute things with their husband, or am I just weird?)

Anyway – today I do feel very, very spewn. Spewn and tired. Well, only 2 or 3 more weeks til I’m in the 2nd trimester and should start to pick up a bit.

Bring it on!!!

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Drugs, Glorious Drugs

Wednesday, 3 December 2008
When you get pregnant you start forward-planning like crazy. I like to think I’m a fairly organised kind of gal, but there’s nothing like the pending arrival of whole new person into the world to really map things out for you. At the minute, ask me what I’m doing in February 2010 and I’ll be able to tell you!

Pregnancy is the multi-tasker’s wet dream: perpetual lists start forming in your head; myriad ‘what-if’ scenarios of varying eventualities start working their way into your subconscious. And with the luxury of hindsight, I am finding my second pregnancy has already thrown light on a whole host of issues, currently filed under ‘Things I Will Do Different This Time.’

Things I Will Do Different This Time: Chapter 1: Labour
Woah, MAMA… is this ever going to be different this time. When I was having Ben it was less than ideal; everything that I didn’t want to happen, happened. It was long and drawn out, I started pushing far too early, I had an unspeakably gruesome episiotomy and Ben was delivered by forceps. 39½ hours (actually, no… it deserves to be not abbreviated…) THIRTY-NINE AND ONE HALF HOURS from start to finish; needless to say it was no picnic. Don't get me wrong... it was all worth it in the end, but now that I've got the chance to do it all again there are a few things I will change.

I found that because it was my first baby, because I really had no idea what to expect, despite all the advance research and preparation, I was somewhat ill-equipped to make proper informed decisions while going through it all, because I had nothing to measure it against.

This time I’m going to get out of the bed, walk around a lot to bring things on nice and quickly, listen to some cool tunes to take my mind off the contractions (I've already got a few ideas for the track listing!) … somehow in all the hustle and bustle of my last labour I forgot that it was my body, and that I was in control of what happened to it. I just stayed in the bed, and took everything the midwives said to me as read.

I feel that I had my epidural way too early – of course, not knowing how much worse the pain was going to get, I wimped out really close to the start – which really slowed things down.

And the biggest thing: I am going to wait until I get that uncontrollable urge to push, before I actually start pushing. Sounds pretty obvious but it really is funny – when you’re pregnant with your first baby, you read all sorts about how when the time comes you will get an ‘uncontrollable urge to push.’ Let’s just analyse that statement a moment:

  1. ‘Uncontrollable’: yep – totally know what that means.
  2. ‘Urge’: mm-hmm… yesiree, I get that one as well, I’m down with the urge.
  3. ‘Push’: check – opposite of ‘pull’. Thunderbirds are go!

But nothing -- and I’m sure my fellow Mummy friends will agree – nothing actually prepares you for the ‘uncontrollable urge to push’… it totally took me by surprise! I actually had no control over the pushing my body was doing! And I know you’re probably laughing right now – duhhh… Nicola, you idiot – but honestly, your body just does it! You have no say in the matter at all! In fact, in my gloriously euphoric pharmaceutical haze I remember having a drugged-up battle of wills with myself at the time:

Normal Nicola: “Don’t do any more of those silly pushes… you’re bloody exhausted! Just have a rest this time! Sit this one out, come on!”

Labour Nicola: “Great idea; I’m glad I brought you alonnnnnnnnnnnnNNNNNNNNG! Grunt, grunt, groooooan!”

Normal Nicola: “Hey man! What the hell are you doing? I thought we agreed?! Gimme five minutes, I just need to catch my breath.”

Labour Nicola: “Okay, okay, okay. You’re right. I’m sorry. Honest, I'm really sorry. I’ll really try not to dooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo it againnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnNNNNNNNNNN!!!”

… and so on.

But the upshot of it all is, I really do think I started pushing too early. I remember the midwife (not the lovely Lynnette, I should clarify!) telling me when I was 4cm dilated, when I was 6cm and when I was 8cm. But I actually don’t remember her ever telling me when I was 10cm. What I do remember, is her asking me, “Do you feel like pushing?” A reasonable question, without a doubt. But I thought she meant, “Do you fancy having a go at pushing?” to which I replied, “Sure! I’m not really doing anything else at the moment, why not?” but what she actually meant was, “Do you have that ‘uncontrollable urge to push’ yet?” and I totally didn’t.

What I think happened was I started pushing before there was adequate room for Ben to make his grand entrance, and I just aggravated the ol’ bits and pieces 'down below' by trying to make things happen before they were naturally meant to.

Our bodies are pretty smart – they’re constantly in communication with us, letting us know how things are going, and this is probably never more important than while in labour. Now that I know what this 'pushing-babies-out' game is all about, I’ll go into the whole thing with a little less ignorance, with a lot less despairing, and most certainly a little more confidence.

Oh – and a much bigger appreciation for all the marvellous drugs.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Can Coughing Dislodge My Baby? HACK! HACK!

Thursday, 27 November 2008
Wow! Lashings of apologies for not posting sooner, all 4 of you which are following my blog. I have been near death with a chest infection, which was ghastly… I think my body was too busy with all the baby-building to help fight it off!

But I’m definitely on the mend, and everything is as it should be. Despite a small flutter of panic over the last few days wondering if there was any possibility that the severity of my horrible cough could somehow ‘dislodge’ the baby – yes, it was that bad – we are moving along quite nicely. I am feeling a bit ropey at the moment, the nausea is coming and going but I haven’t actually been sick yet… which is encouraging; I didn’t puke a lot with Ben and I’m hoping to be the same with this one. I’m also in the funny phase where I’m tired alllllllll the time. I could sleep anywhere, anytime, on anything at the moment. But all this is totally normal, and thankfully I have a very accommodating and understanding husband who has let me come in from work and just relax, while he runs around like a lunatic sorting out Ben, and baths, and laundry and meals. Bliss! What would I do without him?

We have been to see the midwife – the wonderful Lynnette. She was the midwife I had with Ben, and a kinder, more accommodating and helpful woman you will not find. First, a bit of background for the benefit of those across The Pond – here in the UK, people having babies are all handled by midwives, who work at the hospitals in partnership with obstetrics staff. My understanding is that in Canada, if you elect to use a midwife it’s still sort of seen as an ‘alternative therapy’ kind of thing, completely separate from regular hospital and family doctor. But here, it’s the norm.

And yes, the lovely Lynnette, Jason and I had a good hour together on Monday 17th November, filling in forms, etc. According to Lynnette, the baby will be due on 11th July 2009, but sometime during the week between Xmas and New Year, I will have my first ultrasound scan, at which they will measure the baby’s bits and pieces and decide, from how big he/she is, how pregnant I actually am. And then they’ll give me a definite due date. Lynnette took a gazillion phials of blood from me, which I wasn’t too keen on. But she was very gentle and complimentary (she said, “Ooh, haven’t you got nice veins?” to which I replied, “Er… thanks – I really like your hair!” Ha ha.)

So, basically we’re looking forward to the dating scan…which typically happens somewhere between 11 and 13 weeks. I remember how magical our first glimpse of Ben was – and I’m really looking forward to having a peek at this baby. Also, I’m waiting for my Maternity Exemption Certificate to arrive… here in the UK, while you’re pregnant and for a year after the baby’s birth, you get free prescriptions and dental care. Whoo hoo!! So needless to say, I have booked an appointment at the dentist for late January. There’s nothing like free treatment to take the sting out of dental work!

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Wednesday, 12 November 2008
Ben will be four years old in 3 days’ time. He’s a pretty bright kid, though I say so myself, and I think he’s pretty much grasped the idea that he’s going to be a big brother, because Mammy has a baby in her tummy.

Thankfully, we haven’t been posed with what I’m sure are the inevitable questions about how the baby is going to get out (yet!) but I think he ‘gets’ what’s going on, he is pretty perceptive.

Yesterday we were rolling around on the floor having a bit of a tickling session, and he got a bit boisterous so I said, ‘Mind the baby in Mammy’s tummy; be careful not to squash it too much.’

‘Can I see the baby?’ Ben asked, wide-eyed.

‘Not yet, ‘ I replied, ‘It’s still very, very small.’

‘But can the baby hear me?’ he wondered. ‘Can I talk to it?’

I said, ‘If you like…’

Without further ado he lifted up my t-shirt, but his face to my belly button and yelled, ‘HELLO BABY! MY NAME IS BEN!’

I laughed my head off; he seemed really keen to talk to his baby brother/sister.

Then he said, ‘Mammy, open your mouth wide.’ I dutifully obliged, only for him to peer inside and shout again, ‘HELLO? BABY? MY NAME IS BEN!!!’

Sunday, 9 November 2008

We Need a Bigger House!

Sunday, 9 November 2008

So, our baby is smaller than a tadpole, and already I'm fretting about where the hell I'm going to put stuff (or should I say, people) when he/she arrives.

Our bedroom is a little weird -- smack bang in the middle of one wall is a jutty-outy bit... it kind of looks like a column. For ages I didn't know what it was, and I presumed it was holding pipes or wires, etc. but then I realised it is the chimney flue for the fireplace in the living room directly beneath it downstairs. At the minute, there is enough room between this jutty-outy bit and the footboard of the bed to pass through, but as I get pregnant-er and pregnant-er, I won't fit through the gap. So just before I went to bed last night, I said to Jason, "We're going to have to put the bed on the opposite wall in a few months."

"Eh?" he said, creasing his brow. He didn't say anything for a second or two, and I thought he was formulating some feng-shui excuse to get out of it like needing to have his feet facing the river when he's asleep, or similar. "But then we'll have to move the shelf that the telly is on to the other wall."

"Yes, I know," knowing the thought of any DIY or household alterations give him hives, "But pretty soon I'm not going to be able to fit around my side of the bed."

And it's true -- I won't. I was looking at some pictures of myself from my first pregnancy last night, and I was giant. We're talking medicine-ball-stuffed-up-my-shirt giant. From the side, I looked like the prow of a ship, my bump jutting out at gravity-defying angle... and if I get another one of those, I am likely to wedge myself between the bedposts and the chimney.

Hilarious/horrific mental images invade the mind... the emergency services would have to be called. Maybe a local news crew would arrive. A crowd would gather.

"Put some butter on her sides!"

"You pull, I'll push!"

"Breathe in... and HEAVE! HEAVE! HEAVE!"

Ye gods! Sounds like labour!

Probably just safer to swap the bed around the other way, hm?

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Week 5

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Well, aren't I sneaky? Here I am starting this pregnancy blog and publishing it for all and sundry... and yet we haven't really told anyone yet. We found out on Sunday that we are expecting Baby Number 2 around about 12 July 2009.

How did that happen, you say? Well... we have been sort of half talking about it for a while, and then in the last month or so, we realised that we were facing a pretty big age gap between Ben and his would-be brother/sister, so we thought we better get a move on. Ben is going to be 4 in two weeks (yeah... I'm not sure how THAT happened either!) so by the time Baby 2 comes he'll be almost 5, and that's just a good gap, I'd say.

So, we thought we'd give it a 'go'. I'll spare you the details, but needless to say we didn't exactly expect it to happen on the first attempt! Along comes Sunday morning (2 Nov 08) and Ben and I head off to Tesco to buy a test. I had a little feeling it might be positive, but I we bought a two-pack, I suppose as we were officially 'trying' it's better value for money, donchaknow. Anyway...
I did the test (pictured above) when we got back from Tesco and sure enough, before too long there came a plus sign in the window. I carried it into the bedroom and said to Jase, 'Well, I needn't have bothered wasting money on a two-pack.'


Yep. So Jason told Ben, 'Mammy's got a baby in her tummy!' to which he furrowed his little brow, mashed his hand on my right boob and declared, 'Well, I can't feel any baby.' Heheheh... then asked if it was a girl baby or a boy baby, and we tried to explain to him about how we weren't sure, we didn't know, it's only the size of an apple seed and too little at the moment to tell, etc. etc. Then he said, 'I don't like girl babies. I'm a boy, and boys should have brothers. I want a boy baby called James.'

Well, we'll see about that! I'd like a little girl this time around, and I really want to find out the sex before he/she arrives but Jason doesn't want to. I guess I've got another 4 or 5 months yet to try and talk him round. For the moment, nothing much is happening, I don't have any symptoms yet or anything, no nausea or puking, I'm not really very tired like I was with Ben at the very beginning, but it's early days yet I suppose.

So watch this space! I hope you will enjoy my pregnancy blog. Don't worry; I won't go into the gory details and describe the consistency of my vomit or anything, but I thought it would be fun to capture my thoughts and feelings this time round. When I was having Ben, I always meant to keep a diary but was seemingly too busy sleeping/feeling like sleeping/feeling sick to get around to it.

Until next time...