Monday, 30 March 2009 a galaxy not so far from here...

Monday, 30 March 2009
I’m a planet. It’s official. Such is my girth, I deserve at least one moon and maybe some stylish rings or something. I got to work this morning and when I took off my coat (and consequently adjusted the air pressure in the office) a couple of the girls sing-songed at me, ‘You’re getting bigger!’ I’m all: I KNOW! GAH!

It seems I've had an overnight growth spurt. I’m convinced in and of myself that it must be some kind of karmic reimbursement for what I did to my poor unborn child yesterday: I took it swimming.

Not exactly run-of-the-mill cruel and unforgivable torture you might think, but lemme tell you this: I don’t have a maternity bathing suit, and such was the spontaneity of the activity that I hadn’t ample time to go and get one. So, I squoze (if that’s not a real word, it should be… SRSLY…) my baby belly into my normal bathing suit, DESPITE its clever ‘tummy control’ panel. Is this morally objectionable? In 14 weeks time will I deliver a squashed-up baby, or one with a wonky head like Stewie from Family Guy? I shudder to think.

Besides that, the consequence of my belly taking up 80% of the room in the bathing suit was complemented by my boobs being dragged about 3 inches south of where they should have been. You know those holes where you’re supposed to put your breastesses? Yeah. You know what I’m talking about. Rrrrreally sexy.

Maybe I better bite the bullet and fork out the £15 and buy a new bathing suit. Because -- oooooh baby was it ever lovely to be all floaty-like and weightless in that water yesterday. Retrospective apologies to any of my readers who may have happened to be at Killingworth Leisure Centre at approximately 1 o’clock yesterday afternoon; that glazed-over lady with the rapturous (and probably very dorky) expression on her face was me. I floated on my back… I floated on my front… I made Jason hold my feet while I floated half sitting up… euphoria. In the last week or so, I have been experiencing a little bit of an achiness in the small of my back -- the microscopic army of tiny gnomes that my body has employed to chew on the nerves of my spinal column there were like, ‘What the hell’s going on? Is she dead, or what?’

£15 therefore sounds a reasonable investment. If, for nothing else, than to outfox those pesky gnomes.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Only Child to Big Brother in 111 Days Flat!

Monday, 23 March 2009
So I’ve only got 111 days to go.

That’s only just over 3 months!

Or 9,590,400 seconds (roughly) for the pedantic amongst you.

(Not that I’m counting!)

A quick update before I talk about something that has been on my mind this week: we went to the midwife last week, and things are looking a-ok. My blood pressure is textbook normal, there is no more protein in my wees (hurrah!) and the lovely Lynnette says that I have a ‘good sized bump’. The top of my uterus has grown to approximately 3 centimetres above my belly button. I borrowed a Dictaphone from work so when Lynnette got the Doppler out to listen to the baby’s heartbeat, we were able to record it.

Techno-nerd that I am, it wasn’t long before I digitized the heartbeat and attached it to some ultrasound pictures, for your viewing and listening pleasure, you will find it attached.

Lynnette was a bit more ambivalent this week when faced with the usual barrage of questions from me about the baby’s sex. As if my very persistence is somehow a magical key to her psychic ability to see through my skin, my tummy insulation (aka flab) and my uterine wall to radar in on what may or may not be between the baby’s legs!

She humoured me and said, ‘After 34 weeks is a really good time to judge the heartbeat.’ Dammit, Lynnette! That’s like… 2 months away! Or 5,443,200 seconds!

(I’m seriously SO not counting!) Anyway; time will tell I suppose.

So, like I said – this week I have been thinking a lot about Ben and how he will effect the transition from only child to elder brother.

He’s not a baby anymore... far from it; he is 4 and a half going on 44, so we’re lucky I guess in the sense that most things we explain to him, he understands. On the face of it, he really seems to be very excited about the whole thing. He always asks me how big the baby is, and knows he is going to move into the other bedroom to make room for the baby, etc. He is absolutely adorable at times; talking into my belly button, asking the baby questions, e.g. “HELLO BABY! IT’S BEN!” he always shouts, to ensure he has the baby’s full attention, I’m sure! “DO YOU LIKE CHOCOLATE MUFFINS? WOULD YOU LIKE MAMMY TO EAT ONE?” What a useful ally he is! What other new and exciting ways of justifying cravings will I discover in the coming months, I wonder? Ha ha.

Inevitably, reliably... the cynic in me makes herself known now. I confess that I am more than a bit wary – should I be more worried about how he will react when the time comes? He’s not very clingy at all... in fact I would describe him as fiercely independent but I just don’t know how he will adjust to such a big change. Should we be doing more to prepare him?

The other day, I picked up this great book from Amazon, and it tells a story about a kid who is going to be a big brother, and how the new baby is special but the brother is special too, etc. He really likes it, and it’s phrased really well (except for a few Americanisms like ‘Mommy’ and ‘diaper’ which we change when we’re reading it...).

Should I just take things on face value, or is this the calm before the storm? Is there anything else I should be doing to prepare him for the new arrival? It’s a veritable minefield out there; lots of advice on the Internet about how to handle the situation, but then there’s a little part of my brain which gets paranoid about making too much of a fuss about it, and consequently creating an issue where there may not have even been one. Eeesh! It’s enough to drive a woman to chocolate.

At any rate, we’ll have to do a bit of thinking, see if we can gauge the situation a bit more accurately once the countdown hits the more reasonable double digits, I suppose.

We’d be grateful of any advice!

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Don't Come Around My House After Dark

Wednesday, 11 March 2009
Some say that it was stitched together in the ninth circle of hell, by a bitter tailor cursed to eternal damnation.

And that its power is so violent it can deflate even the most severe of erections from 2 blocks away.

Some say they have heard it to be known as ‘The Passion Killer’.

I call it The Smock.


The Smock is sexless, it is shapeless, it is unflattering, it is unfashionable. Checking the label, it is 100% combed cotton and made in Brazil. Imagine the most dreadfully baggy of sweatshirts... extended. Gloriously unstylish, it’s basically a really long black sweatshirt which goes right to the floor, with two pockets in the front. Some weeks ago, my Mum happened upon The Smock in a department store in Canada. She phoned me on her mobile phone from the shop and said, “I think I may have found you something to wear while you’re pregnant, “ and described the fleece monstrosity that was coat-hangered before her. I won’t post a picture; it would surely be swiftly removed from the Internet on grounds of ‘offensive content’ for causing the human form to be brought into disrepute.


Now – a point of clarification... I’m not what you would necessarily call a ‘girly’ kind of girl. Don’t get me wrong; I have standards most of the time; for example, I won’t leave the house (under any circumstances) without mascara and a bit of lip gloss. Even if I was just rolling out of bed to go to the newsagents on a Sunday morning. Even if I was HUNGOVER rolling out of bed to go to the newsagents on a Sunday morning. I’m much more at home in a nice, worn-in pair of jeans and my Chuck Taylors than stilettos and fishnets, and I have more than once looked on in equal disbelief at girls who either make no effort whatsoever and also their higher maintenance counterparts.

Make no mistake; I like getting occasionally dressed up to the nines as much as the next girl, and I do enjoy looking nice for my husband, but whoooooooooooooooa baby... do I ever love the nightly ritual of getting in from work, hanging up my work clothes and putting on my ‘comfies’.

I’m proud to say that The Smock has been very quickly promoted up the ranks to ‘Comfy-In-Chief’ status. All my other lovely pyjama bottoms and preferred t-shirt combinations have been thoughtlessly strewn aside to make way for it.

It’s a love affair, it really is. All pregnant ladies: get thee to the Smockery. You won’t regret it.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Cool as a Cucumber

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

So, yesterday we had our mid-pregnancy ultrasound scan.


I wonder if there have been big technological advances in sonogram technology since the last time I was up the duff, but I don’t remember it being so clear! The technician was an absolute doll; she did all her necessary measurements first and everything looked really good. She said the baby was lying in a perfect position, so she had a good ‘ol root around and let us see all kinds of things… a close-up of the heart pumping away; two perfect little footprints from underneath; little fingers and other bones. The best shot (picture attached) was a full frontal facial shot. Call me kooky, but I am convinced in and of myself that I can see a resemblance between this baby and its elder brother. Mental or what? The little shadows of the facial proportions are just like Ben!

So now I’m in official ‘excitement’ mode. I have spent these first months in such a haze of exhaustion, nausea and general feeling-sorry-for-myself-ness that there hasn’t been much room for that giddy exhilaration of being excited about it. If I wasn’t absolutely certain it would make me look like a total knobhead, I could actually see myself taking weird pleasure in stopping random strangers in the bread aisle at the supermarket to say, ‘HEY! GUESS WHAT? You never will so I’ll tell you… I’m pregnant! AND… THIS BABY LOOKS LIKE MY FIRST BABY! I can’t wait to meet it! Seriously; I’m so excited – can you stand it?!?! NEITHER CAN I!!!!’

I’m a gnat’s willy’s length away from being one of those ultra-hyper mothers-to-be who indiscriminately whips out the pictures from the scan and shoves them under the noses of uninterested people in random social situations, forcing them to ‘oooh’ and ‘aaah’ over the blurry silhouettes and indistinguishable blobs on the paper.

Good thing the nature of my character makes me naturally this cool and composed, eh? Ha ha ha.

OH YEAH! We almost found out the sex as well! We didn’t, but what follows is not only an precise transcript of the conversation which occurred but also a pretty accurate assessment of the depth of my affection for my husband:

Sonographer: So, did you want to find out the sex of this baby?

Nicola: (accusingly) I do. He doesn’t. Although… (slyly beseeching, fluttering eyelashes in a cute and lovable manner) … is that your final answer?

Jason: (with maturity and calmness… and a slight hint of defeat) Well... you decide. Do what you like, I don’t mind.

Nicola: (demure and with integrity) Ah, no. I know you really want to keep it as a surprise, so let’s keep it as a surprise after all.

Aren’t I lovely?