Monday, 29 June 2009

Baby or Braxton

I know we pregnant women love to complain (hey - you try being sober for 9 months and still keep a genuine smile on your face), but I have to wonder if the baby would be complaining in these final stages too if given the chance and cerebral development to put thoughts to words.

I had recently put a comment on Becoming Sarah who happens to be due around the same time as me and is also feeling the physical drain of these last few weeks. My proposal is to wage a war against biology. Maybe create a Union, get some organized protests going, because I cannot believe that the process in which we maintain the population of our species SUCKS THIS HARD.

But then it dawned on me, that while us pregnant ladies are complaining about aching bones, night sweats, and (a new sensation for me to add to the list) the feeling that I am being anally raped with a dull instrument from the inside out by a little evil leprechaun that lives somewhere near my tailbone, that maybe the baby isn't having so much fun either.

Where as in the beginning I could feel tiny little flutters, like a goldfish happily turning somersaults in my belly, which then gradually moved on to the feeling of little tiny fists punching my bladder and the occasional horse powered kick under my ribcage, I now just feel these shifts. These uncomfortable shifts where her butt slowly migrates from one side of my belly to the other, stretching my skin and causing my stomach to tighten. They're getting to where it is difficult to distinguish her movements from the Braxton Hicks contractions, as these too cause my stomach to tighten. It's not like she's got a whole lot of room in there anymore and I can't imagine it's too much fun.

I'm sure she'll be an easy recruit in my war against biology. I might even make her Treasurer if she comes out soon enough.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Pregnant Night Owl

It's is 2 minutes past midnight and I'm still up. I don't understand this - the other pregnant women I have met told me they end up crashing around 9:30-10pm. I get up 3 or 4 times a night now to pee or open a window or run my wrists under cold water. I'm up relatively early, between 7:30 and 8:30 in the morning and make a point to keep my days fairly active with lots of walking and still I keep crawling into bed most times after the Frenchman has given up and the T.V. has gone smutty.

I guess it's good that I'm able to function on less and less sleep - preparing for soon to be drastic lack of shut-eye - but shouldn't I be taking advantage of these last few weeks where I can sleep? Lord knows everyone who has children tells me to sleep while I can, to have a lie in with my Frenchman and be sure to tell him to remember how this feels, the ability to laze around in bed without a care in the world, because that feeling will never happen again once our bassinet is filled with a little pink person.

Alright - it is now 12 minutes past midnight and I guess I should call it a day.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Jungle Baby

Don’t know if I’ve mentioned it, but we’ve gone for a jungle theme for the baby’s room, giant leafs and bamboo wallpaper – lots of green, a color I’ve been very drawn to while pregnant. I wanted to do a jungle theme because I’ve never been one for equating girls with pink and boys with blue, and I’m sure any offspring of mine, be they male or female, will have a tiger’s roar in them and a big bear’s beat. I was also inclined to go towards the jungle theme because Walt Disney’s The Jungle Book was, and to be honest probably still is, my favorite film.

My father took me to see the movie when I was four and at the end of the film everyone erupted in applause, everyone except for me. I was crying. My father, thinking I had enjoyed the movie was quite shocked by my tears and asked me why I was crying. I told him I was crying because I was so sad that it was over.

As this story comes from my father, I’m sure huge parts of it are exaggerated, but never the less, I love hearing it. Mowgli, Baloo, and even Shere Khan hold a special place in my heart. My mother also used to read me Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories, which furthered my love of jungle creatures big and small. In fact my parents are convinced the baby’s name is going to be Bagheera.

One of my favorite songs from The Jungle Book is My Own Home, the song the little village girl sings, enticing Mowgli out of the jungle away from his friends and into civilization to start a new life. It is by no means one of the more popular songs to come from this Disney movie, but it’s a song I have always sung to calm myself, one I would sing to kids I was babysitting, and one I am singing with as much clarity as I can muster to my growing belly.

So I guess you could say My Own Home is one of those songs that has followed me through life.

When I was in the hospital with appendicitis, before they were even sure that I had appendicitis, they booked me in for an ultra sound to rule out any other internal problems. I was scared and in a lot of pain, I had to be wheeled from the maternity ward to the ultra sound department – in too much pain to walk myself. The Frenchman and I sat there in the waiting room to be seen, trying not to think about what a potential operation could mean to me and our baby. He squeezed my hand, and just before we were called into the ultra sound room, a nurse walked by humming My Own Home. And then I knew. I didn’t say it out loud as it seemed too fragile an idea, but somewhere I knew that me and the little one inside me would be ok.

My own home, my own home
My own home, my own home

Father's hunting in the forest
Mother's cooking in the home
I must go to fetch the water
'Til the day that I'm grown
'Til I'm grown, 'til I'm grown
I must go to fetch the water
'Til the day that I'm grown

Then I will have a handsome husband
And a daughter of my own
And I'll send her to fetch the water
I'll be cooking in the home
Then I'll send her to fetch the water
I'll be cooking in the home

Saturday, 20 June 2009


Now I know I have four more weeks before the due date, but can someone please tell this adorable little beast in my belly that her birth is not a party she needs to come fashionably late to; in fact, if she were to come early I'd even give her extra cake.

My partner in crime is sure to leave me, what with the charming way I have been treating him. He can do no right in my eyes now that my days are filled with the weight of HIS offspring on my urethra. In fact, today when he asked me (politely I might add) to try and be a little bit nicer to him, my response was: If I don't yell at you I'll end up crying all day, so you tell me which one you'd prefer.

If he doesn't know it already, he's a lucky, lucky man.

Friday, 19 June 2009

My teeth or yours?

I finally have the ever coveted NHS dentist. Previously I was down as a private patient, which was fine, as it meant only paying a few pounds more and still having the same dentist as the Frenchman who is more than a little dentophobic so that we could make appointments together and I could be sure that he actually went.

In the UK, you no longer have to pay for dentistry while pregnant and for the first year of motherhood. So, wanting to jump on this, I made an appointment. I mentioned on the phone that I was 8 months pregnant, but the receptionist said as I was on the economy plan I was not entitled to free dental while pregnant. I think they need to review the name "economy plan".

I kept the apt. regardless, got the all clear from the Dentist and when I asked about being an NHS patient instead of a private patient, he said not a problem, scribbled some stuff on my forms and said "this is now free!". I then asked about seeing the hygienist (Unlike in the states, you don't automatically get your teeth cleaned when you see the dentist, you book and pay for a hygienist separately). The Dentist said not to get my teeth cleaned until after I've seen him in 6 months time because getting them cleaned could "mask" problems he would need to see. Mask? or FIX the problem. Don't get me wrong, I am very grateful to now have an NHS dentist, but it's differences like these between UK and US dentistry that make Austin Powers' bad teeth gag feel closer to the truth than one would like.

Once at the receptionist she told me that that would be £16. I told her the Dentist had just said that it was free.... She then asked what makes me exempt from paying. I stood on my tip toes to show her my belly and said I'm pregnant. Everyone laughed and I was waved out the door without paying a pence.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

The thin black line

You get warned of all the lovely side effects of pregnancy, many of which I have had. The nausea, the back ache, the swelling of feet and hands (just starting to get this), the insatiable hunger, the odd cravings (ice cream!!!), the irrational crying at the drop of a hat (for me it's the bath that brings on the tears - I tend to sing to her while taking a bath, sometimes I'm fine, other times the thought of soon being able to hold her and see her little pink face as I sing Tender Shepherd to lull her to sleep makes my heart swell and the tears flow), the need to pee every 5 minutes, the hot flashes, the stretch marks...

And then there are the side effects of pregnancy that they don't tell you about, the pregnancy farts and the extra lubrication your body now cruelly produces, the extra hair - not just on your head, but everywhere, and my favorite, the one I have been secretly hoping for, La linea negra. A dark vertical black line that appears in the middle of your belly. There's something so primordial about this black line, like we're showing our true primate origins.

And now I have my own linea negra that goes all the way up to my sternum of which I am very proud of - the only pregnancy symptom I'm enjoying, because it makes me feel part of something bigger than me, part of something ancient and yet new.

ps. The photo is not of me. What with my appendix scar, and the purple stretch marks that have congregated around the scar, I thought it best to spare you.

Monday, 15 June 2009

First day of maternity leave, I've already mentioned on my facebook status that I'm bored, so really I have no excuse for not updating my blog.

My birthday was on the 4th and we had a great couple days away. Met the Frenchman at the train station after work and went to sunny Birmingham (hour train ride from Nottingham) to stay at the Hyatt for two nights. We settled in, went for a quick walk and a drink (café pour moi, watered down pint for him - it was a Wetherspoons), then back to the very plush hotel room 1111 overlooking the Birmingham canals for roomservice and an early night. Unfortunately my meal was inedible -cajun chicken that was drier than sand, we called to complain and got the meal comped and a free club sandwich (much better).

The next day we went to Sea-Life after having breakfast on a little canal boat. We strolled around the aquarium, dodging adorable little English kids in their school uniforms holding hands in the buddy system, cooing over the frisky otters, laughing at the box fish (little cubes that can swim!) and squeezing each other in fear in front of the giant electric eel we first mistook for a log.

Back at the hotel we went for a swim - my first swim since I've knowingly been pregnant. It was great to float around, be able to lie on my stomach and get some exercise. The Frenchman got to try his first jacuzzi and we enviously looked at the couple joking around with their 4 year old daughter in the pool.

Tapas for dinner, then breakfast in bed the following morning while reading The Guardian.

Walking in the rain to the train station to head back home we passed one of those impromptu sing-a-longs that are being used in adverts. A whole crowd of people singing Valerie with gusto under their umbrellas.

The train ride back to Nottingham held a weighty significance. We were leaving our last holiday as a childless couple, two selfish adults meandering from place to place and previously beer to beer, with no responsibilities. Moving towards a life as three. This train from Birmingham New Street to Nottingham felt like a train to parenthood. There's a slight sadness about what is being left behind but reassurance too, like when all of a sudden you realize that you've left your book in the hotel room and you're upset with yourself for having lost it, but relieved that you know where it is and feel comfortably resigned to never seeing it again.

The next time we'll be on a train there will be three of us. A little person made up of me and him and her own will and heart and soul.

And I ache with the thought of the first time she holds my hand, or makes up a story to keep us entertained, or asks if I can kiss her goodnight one last time.

Monday, 1 June 2009

You just said what?

Had a rough time this weekend, spent a few hours at the public house and towards the end felt like I was being barraged with inconsiderate comments (from mainly strangers) about the size of my bump. They ranged from the relatively mild "really? 2 more months? You look like you could go into labour any day now" to the so beyond socially acceptable there should be a new word for it "I'd hate to be your partner with the amount of expletives that are going to come out of your mouth while you're pushing out that giant baby".

After a good rant to the important woman folk in my life I'm feeling better and have certainly loved the advice on how to respond.

"I bet your mom shouted expletives too - after seeing your face!"

"You can take my bump and suck it"


Tell em you're not having a baby, you're just fat. That'll shut em up. Then ask them if they have any chocolate.

Instead I just laugh along, pat my belly, then waddle off home to cry. So I'd love to hear more advice - whether used or not, it feels very therapeutic!