Sunday, 30 October 2011

31 Weeks

MUMMY

Often as I sit down to write this, I wonder quite how honest I should be about the low points of being pregnant or how I feel generally about things if it's less than positive. I have this debate with myself at appropriate times because when things are not great, sometimes I think I probably shouldn't tell my Mummy everything because it only encourages her to partake in her favourite hobby of worrying but then again, it is important to me that I keep an honest account of things as this blog isn't only for my family and friends, it is also for other Mummies-to-Be and I want to share the experience as it really is. Even if that means sharing the not so good stuff too.

So, it should be apparent then that this hasn't been a great week either in terms of how I am feeling physically and I fear it may continue like this until Shrimpy enters the world. I'll start with the physical lowlights.

Essentially, the biggest issue for me at the moment is lack of sleep. Now, I know that this will continue when Shrimpy arrives and I will no doubt be even more exhausted then but I am suffering with night after night of very little sleep - often only a couple of hours - and with commuting in to work in the week and being extremely busy at work on top of that, well, I'm really struggling. In truth, I wasn't expecting to feel this tired with just over 8 weeks to go and, in hindsight, I really wish I had opted to start my maternity leave a few weeks earlier as there are still 5 weeks to go and that is going to feel like an eternity.

I decided I'm going to have to talk to my boss very directly tomorrow and just ask if I can work from home at least one more day a week. I'll just end up being off sick if I don't do something to change the current status quo as each week, in fact each day, is becoming harder and harder for me. I've been very strongly hinting for weeks now that I would like to work from home more but it has become clear that the direct approach is required. Cutting out 4 hours of travelling for another day a week will make a huge difference I think as my job itself is fine, it is just the commuting and the being physically around all the donuts I work with that I find so difficult. We'll see how that goes.

Added to the tiredness, which can make me feel really quite sad and emotional, I continue to be really out of breath all the time and very achey on the feet and legs. Everything feels very swollen and actually, this week, I have had to start taking my watch off fairly regularly as my chubby wrists are now too big for it! I am slowly turning in to the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

The second worst thing at the moment is the heartburn. This started about two weeks ago and used to happen when I ate big meals but it has gradually got worse and worse to the point where it is virtually constant. It was already not much fun at all going out for drinks but now even going out for dinner is starting to become less fun as my heartburn is so painful afterwards that it is the making it even harder to sleep at night. It's a very unpleasant sensation and, as always, I did a bit of research about it to make sure it was all normal and expected, which it is. It happens for a couple of reasons in the last trimester particularly - better explained here.

Finally, and definitely the worst pregnancy ailment for me at the moment is the need to go to the toilet ALL THE TIME! I literally need to go about every 20 minutes at the moment and if I can't go, it becomes very painful. This makes me a little anxious about doing most things as there are lots of situations I encounter where it simply isn't possible to go to the toilet. It's made me not really want to do anything but stay indoors within a ten metre radius of the bathroom! This is sucking a bit of buttage right now.

So, generally, I'm feeling pretty uncomfortable all of the time and wondering how much worse it is going to get in the remaining 8 or so weeks. Let's just say I understand what all the fuss about the third trimester was now!

Enough with the ailments and time to mention work briefly as it wouldn't be a blog post without a bit of b1tching about work. As mentioned last week, I'm particularly busy at the moment as I have been recruiting for my three replacements, supervising two of the newbies and continuing to try to find the main Natalie 2.0 on top of doing my usual workload. The saga continued with my main replacement as my genius managers decided that they couldn't afford my rather clever friend and remain convinced that they can find someone who has all of my skills and will do my job for an 11 month fixed term at the same salaried rate I get paid. I truly despair at the ignorance of the management team where I work. I tried to explain that they are suggesting the worst of all worlds to someone. They are expecting someone to work for a fixed period and not have a job at the end of it (fine - that's what contracting is all about), earn far less than the normal contract rate (not so fine) and even worse, get none of the benefits that a permanent employee gets - you know, contributory pension, BUPA, paid annual leave etc. etc. I just don't understand where they think they will find this person from. Anyway, so after turning my friend down, they then got on the blower to me asking me to continue the search. This made me very angry. I told them they simply wouldn't find what they were looking for at the rate they were willing to pay and if they thought they could, then they should take on the search themselves as it is hugely time consuming and frankly, at the moment, I could do without it! I have left it there so we'll see what happens when I return to work tomorrow. I suspect I'll just end up going on maternity leave without a replacement organised and they will end up panicking later.

On the plus side, I allegedly won some kind of award. I say allegedly as I don't really know anything about it as I was never informed personally and the award wasn't actually any kind of physical award that came with any kind of actual real prize, it was just my name read out at a meeting I wasn't present at so as awards go, fairly poor, but fairly in line with how my department works. What was genuinely nice about it though was that it was an award I was nominated for by my peers - one of the two types of people at work I actually care about (the other being the 'customer', whoever they may be) - essentially, I care about everyone at work except for the management team so it was nice that my hard work was recognised by my peers.

Anyway, after just one day at work, I b*ggered off to Venice for a little trip with Ron and a number of people from his side of the family. I did find the trip extremely exhausting and I think Ron did too as he was still recovering from his very recent surgery but we had a fabulous time. Venice is an amazing city and it was great to spend some more time with Ron's family. It's a very unique place and whilst there, I made some observations:

  • It isn't very pushchair-friendly (I saw very few young children actually now I think about it) due to all the very many bridges
  • It isn't at all wheelchair-frendly for the same reason (what on earth do disabled people in Venice do?)
  • Being a bin-collecty-type-person looks like a really cr@ppy job (same thing - all the steps and bridges)
  • It feels incredibly clean due to the complete lack of any vehicle other than a boat
  • It is very relaxing and calming due to the water everywhere
  • It is very easy to get lost in (every street looks the same to me and ends with a bridge and some steps!)
  • There are some very talented musicians that live there (Interpreti Veneziani were simply amazing - what a treat)
I highly recommend it as a European city destination but would advise caution if there is any reason at all why you wouldn't want to walk up and down a lot of steps to get anywhere. This was pretty tough for me at almost 8 months pregnant so bear this in mind! Here's Ron looking pretty dashing and suave if I do say so myself:

Supermodel
and me, looking slight less suave:

Me and Globetrotting Shrimpy
On the subject of this picture actually, it does highlight one of the things that is going in my favour in some ways and not so much in others - my bump is actually not that big! Sure, it feels huge to me but compared to most ladies who have just 8 weeks to go, it's pretty small. I have decided this is due to one of two reasons:
  1. My Peter Andre-esque abs are holding Shrimpy in (this may be wishful thinking but it's a nice theory)
  2. I have enormous child-bearing hips
My Mum tells me it is definitely the latter and that, like her, her mother before her and no doubt the many mothers before her in that line, we are built for making babies. One could interpret that as us just being a little on the 'wide' side but I prefer 'child-bearing' as a term. The problem with bump being not that huge though is that I think people forget how nearly full term I am and don't understand how little I am capable of at the moment - particularly at work - but in all aspects of life really and I'm no Superwoman.

On the plus side, I would probably feel even worse if my bump was bigger but then again, it's hard to say as just because it isn't huge on the outside, I can assure you, the inside of me, like all the organs and stuff, are incredibly squished so maybe if it was bigger, maybe I wouldn't have lungs the size of peanuts?

I was thinking a little this week also about what kind of Mummy I will be. I have always thought I will be quite a good Mummy but my biggest concern is that I will spoil my little man too much. I fully intend to be quite disciplined with him and not give him everything he wants because I want him to appreciate things and get rewarded for hard graft but anyone who has witnessed how Boog has me wrapped around her little 'fingers' would have cause to doubt my intentions. One look at me with her big, green, soppy eyes that say, "Wood, I am so hungry, starving in fact, and you haven't given me any treats for at least 5 minutes and, oh, I feel weak" and I give in and give the little fluffball some more cheesey treats. How could anyone deny that little face though, I ask you? Anyway, this concerns me. I am going to have to work on this area of things with a real live Srhimp.

So, that's pretty much it this week. NCT classes start next week (they actually started on Saturday but unfortunately we couldn't make the first one) so I'm looking forward to meeting some other Faversham Mummies and Daddies and hope they will be super smashing people.

Oh, and Shrimpy continues to kick and punch me VERY hard VERY frequently. It will be very strange to not be winded from the inside constantly actually!

Current Symptoms:
  • A bladder the size of a garden pea
  • Heartburn
  • Swollen everything
  • Bleeding gums
  • Shortness of breath
  • No contact lens wearing

DADDY

Daddy has been in recovery and will, as previously, write if he can. He says hi.

BUMP

I'm about 41½ cm tall at the moment and continue to grow at a steady pace. I learnt this week that actually every single one of my organs is ready for the outside world except for my lungs. These would probably be OK with a little extra help but all of the others are fully functioning so I'm basically just maturing in here like a fine wine.

This week, I discovered a new form of exercise known on the outside world as 'Tai Chi'. I'm doing it for a couple of reasons really, partly to become big and strong like Daddy and partly because I find it quite relaxing and it takes my mind off my entry to the world (which I am becoming more and more worried about as the days go by - apart from being squishified, what's it going to be like out there? A whole new world). Mummy appears to be joining in as every time I do one of the big outstretched kicks or punches, she makes a noise - like a noise of encouragement I think so that's nice. I'm getting pretty good though and even though there is less room to move, I find if I just punch and kick a little harder, I can still outstretch fully and actually, the increase in tension due to the lack of available space makes me even stronger so it's working out well.

For fun, I use the squidgy thing I was telling you about last week as a trampoline. I love it!

I got another stamp on my passport this week as well. Mummy and Daddy took me to a place called Venice which I understand is in another place called Italy (a place within a place - what's that all about?). They took me on a lot of boats and my land legs were more than a little wobbly at times but it sounded like a very beautiful place so I am looking forward to seeing it with my own eyes! I heard some beautiful music this week as well - I think it was Vivaldi - stunning.

I don't think I've got much planned for next week - oh, that's right, lazing about in here 'maturing' - so I'll let you know how that goes.

Oh, just one final thing. It did make me chuckle this week. Mummy's brother reckons he has sussed out my name (based on the very loose clue of it being quite an unusual name and the name of a character in a film). He is convinced it is 'Ferris'. Ha ha ha ha ha, as if Mummy and Daddy would call me Ferris! I wasn't sure whether to put him out of his misery or leave him thinking he had it right. I'll leave that to Mummy I think.

Monday, 24 October 2011

30 Weeks

MUMMY

This week, I find myself composing my blog entry from the same hospital I am intending to have Shrimpy at - William Harvey Hospital in Ashford - all things going well of course, only today I'm not here for myself, I'm here waiting for Ron to come out of surgery.

It's not been a particularly pleasant week this week on the whole and waiting for Ron to wake up is hopefully the last of the nastiness for the week and things will improve next week. I've been quite worried about Ron's operation (I didn't tell him that of course as he was already very worried himself about the general anaesthetic). The surgery itself is fairly minor but obviously there is always a risk with any operation and after watching my favourite Moto GP rider being killed yesterday (God rest your soul Simoncelli), reminding me how fragile life can be, and sitting here waiting for Ron to reappear, I've had a chance to think about how precious he is to me and how I can't even comprehend how I would carry on without my little flower as he means everything to me. I'm sure he'll be fine but it's always good to take time out to appreciate your loved ones, especially when things are as hectic as they have been for us lately.

I have been feeling particularly tetchy this week due to being incredibly tired and really quite uncomfortable so my tolerance levels have been even lower than normal (and they start from a pretty low place) so I probably haven't been that easy to live with which makes me feel even worse with poor Ron's operation that he has had on his mind. He even told me I "could be very bossy sometimes" this week. Outrageous! I did explain to him that perhaps if he tried doing what I told him to more often then he wouldn't find me so bossy, but he didn't think this was a very fair compromise!

I've been feeling generally low this week and have also found myself feeling quite disappointed with my 'friends'. Part of this I'm sure is hormones and tiredness but after spending pretty much my whole life putting other people first and running around to see them entirely at their convenience, I am a little disappointed that now I need other people to make the effort with me as it's so so hard commuting for 4 hours every day with this enormous bump and going out in town and meeting at other people's convenience is just too much for me at the moment, some people just don't seem prepared to put themselves out and even for my baby shower, which I was quite reluctant to have but my wonderful friend Meave really wanted to organise for me, some people have been pains in the @rse and made it a little about themselves when for one of the rare times in my entire life - and probably the last time I can really do this (i.e. before Shrimpy arrives), I wanted this day to be all about me! And then, some of my friends, I haven't even heard from since I've been pregnant as I stopped being the one to always get in touch first with having other things on my mind and such, so that's a little sad too.

Thankfully though, I also have some friends who have been amazing and these are the ones I will take with me always and am very grateful for and maybe when I am feeling less emotional and rubbish, I'll feel like making more of an effort again with the slightly more rubbish ones.

All this, really, is just to demonstrate how fragile and needy us pregnant women can feel at times and how much we need our buddies - even if we are too stubborn to say so!

So, now I've set the tone for this week's entry (i.e. not the most cheery of posts), I'll get down to the specifics.

Work was hell this week. I was dreading this week as two new chaps were starting to do half my job and I literally had to spend pretty much all of my week with them (perish the thought my boss might try to help out) and yet I was also expected to continue recruiting and interviewing for my main replacement AND do my normal job, including the start of a new project. This probably would have been a lot for me to cope with at the best of times but at almost 8 months pregnant - the most tired and uncomfortable I have been so far - well I would have to be Superwoman to not find this week really tough. I carried on regardless, however, and did so without poking a single colleague in the eye - that was probably the hardest part of it all and I totally believe I deserve a medal for this!

So, after interviewing yet more duds for my role, I managed to persuade my boss to interview my friend Trish who I have worked with before and, frankly, is probably about the only other person in the world who could competently do my job. My manager agreed that she was great but on telling the glorious senior management team that we should go ahead with this person, they tried to offer her (a very experienced and skilled contract tester) the equivalent of what they would pay me over the year! I was flabbergasted at their extreme ignorance of how the contract market works and have officially told them I won't be doing any more recruiting. If they want to hire a school leaver to do my job and think that is appropriate, I'm afraid they will have to find them themselves!

On Wednesday evening I met up with some work colleagues from a previous job. They always remind me that some work colleagues can be great to work with and not completely mental and quite stupid and it was a really lovely evening so it was a shame that Ron and I got caught stuck on a train just one stop outside Faversham for an hour with no announcements whatsoever before we decided to get off and order a cab to get us home. We later found out a gunman had been spotted on one of the carriages of the train and was being arrested by the armed police but after another really late night home and being £20 lighter than necessary, frankly, I was p1ssed off and feeling very sorry for myself. These kind of things are making me not want to meet people in town at all anymore, which is sad, as I enjoy seeing most of my buddies but I'd just much rather go out in Faversham of an evening at the moment as getting back late and getting up so early for work in this condition is pretty much undo-able for me anymore.

Thanks goodness for Aquanatal on Thursday evening. That perked me up a bit but I'm still a teensy bit annoyed that the midwife who takes the session hasn't brought jelly babies with her for weeks now. How rude.

Thank goodness also that the weekend was much more enjoyable than the week had been. We started with the second of the two NHS antenatal sessions and, again, this was really good and I found it very interesting. This one was focused on the what happens when you bring baby home. This is the bit most of my friends have found the hardest as you spend 9 months thinking mostly about the birth and very little time preparing yourself for the bit after. And this bit, well, this is the bit where you have another little needy person who desperately wants you to get this bit right - not that there is a right or a wrong way - but I think a lot of new parents feel that way. It was strange sitting with all the ladies at the class who were all a few weeks ahead of me as I actually felt quite tiny bump-wise compared to them. This worried me a little as, as I have mentioned, things have started to get really quite uncomfortable and with another 9 weeks to go and much more growing to do, I'm wondering just how uncomfortable things are going to become and thinking I might have to shake off my hardcore demeanour a little.

By far the biggest change in the past couple of weeks has been the even greater need to go to the toilet. Shrimpy must have moved in to a position where he is constantly sitting on my bladder as I can't last more than about 20 minutes without being desperate for the loo and this can lead to quite a bit of anxiety if you are somewhere where you can't necessarily access a toilet immediately. Even when I have just been to the toilet, I often feel like I need to go again just minutes later, even if I don't actually need to. If this continues to get worse as Shrimpy grows it is going to get pretty unbearable. I'll have to ask some of my friends whether it does actually. I am praying not,

Then, the other thing which has got worse is my swollen feet and legs. Blimey, it really does hurt to be on my feet, which, again, makes me even more fed up as I continue to stand on the tubes seething inside about my evil fellow commuters.

Anyway, sorry, back to the more positive stuff (I apologise - it's just been one of those weeks so I'm not feeling positive at all), so, after the antenatal class my parents arrived for the weekend and this was very pleasant. Sometimes, when you're feeling really fed up, the only person in the world who really understands and puts up with you is your mum so it was nice to be a bit grouchy and moany to someone who will always tolerate me as she is biased and loves me no matter what! Thanks, Mum, I felt much better after getting a few things off my chest. We had a lovely day in Canterbury where I bought some giant knickers (which has been a  well overdue Godsend - granny pants rock and 'full briefs' are so the new 'thong' in the sexy underwear stakes) and then on Sunday we went for a lovely little walk around Faversham. Ron and I showed my parents a bit more of the Faversham weirdness, as well as the beautiful countryside we have just round the corner.

As I continue this final piece from home, I can report that my little angel woke up safe and sound from surgery and apart from being fairly dazed and a little nose-bleedy, Ron is doing well and I am so relieved and happy to have him back at home. The poor lad, he now has a little less than 2 days to recover before we fly to Venice for a big family reunion where Nurse Wood will be insisting that Ron takes it easy as he really must. He's a stubborn little fecker so I know he will want to disobey me but I'm afraid I won't be budging on this one.

So, this week should be much more enjoyable, mostly because I am not in the office for a whole week and this is always a super wonderful thing. I'm really looking forward to a few days in Venice as well with Ron, his middle daughter and a few of his other family members - some that I have met and some that I haven't - and am just hoping my poor little feet can keep up with all the oldies that will be there!

Current Symptoms:
  • Ever increasing need for toilet stops, day and night
  • Swollen ankles
  • Very sore feet
  • Bleeding gums
  • Shortness of breath
  • A touch of heartburn
  • No contact lens wearing

DADDY

Again, Daddy has had a lot on his plate so no entry at the moment but will write if he gets a chance. Mostly this week though, Daddy will be in recovery.

BUMP

Ah, this week has been great. I found a squidgy thing to sit on and bounce on. It's like one of those space hopper things that were around 30 years ago or so (or so I hear). Mummy was moaning about it being her bladder or something, but I don't care, bouncing is fun - in fact it's the best fun I've had in here for months!

My hair is getting pretty long now. I've been able to experiment with different styles and am currently working the slick back look. They say (you know, those people who say stuff), I look a little Italian, which is appropriate as Mummy and Daddy tell me I'm going to Venice next week!

Also, this week, I've grown a set of balls! Well, apparently they were always there but they have finally moved from inside my pelvis to outside of my body and have come to rest next to my little pecker. It's really weird actually having little plums rattling about between my legs but I guess I'd better get used to it!

I'm head up at the moment and keep knocking my head on Mummy's ribs but I am starting to think about making that turn as I know I need to get in to a head down position in a few weeks. I'm avoiding it slightly as I don't want all the blood to rush to my head but I probably should start turning before I get too fat and run out of room. I feel almost as fat as Mummy at the moment, and she's pretty fat! Whilst I am still head up though, I have been practising something I hear is called Irish dancing. Mummy and Daddy were joking about someone / something called 'Stavros Flatley' when I was dancing away this week. I don't know who these two clowns are but, apparently, it felt a little bit like they were me, or I was them, or something - bear with me - my brain isn't quite fully developed yet and half the time I can't work out what Mummy and Daddy are jibbering on about. It made them chuckle anyway so that's nice!

Anyway, I'm doing well in here and generally it's been a good week so long may it continue ...

Monday, 17 October 2011

29 Weeks

MUMMY

Phewie, what a busy week and weekend - hence the rather late blog update.

Work is starting to really ramp it up another gear now.
A.N. Other: But shouldn't it be the other way round, Wood, you know, slowing down a little with you getting bigger by the day and stuff?
Me: Well, one would think so in a perhaps more supportive environment but no, no, for me, it seems to be quite the opposite.
Essentially, what has happened is, despite me prompting my boss for weeks about my maternity cover, nothing was done until the last minute and I have had to do all the leg work to find the three people who will be doing my role while I am on maternity leave. Interviewing is incredibly time-consuming at the best of times but trying to find someone even a third as good as me has been no mean feat, I can tell you!

Two thirds of my replacement started today so it's going to be a particularly busy week bringing them up to speed and supporting them and then I am interviewing for the main me who will supervise the squadrons as well as take over my Excel wizardry and general testing functions. After interviewing a couple of duds, I've managed to persuade my boss to interview a friend of mine, Trish, as she is the only person I can think of who will be able to fill my size 7s (currently size 7½s - your feet grow by half a size when you have a bun in the oven and my shoes are feeling the strain) competently. I hope she will still be my friend when she invariably gets the job and meets some of the fabulous people I work with! Oh, and a new project started today so I'm getting going on that and sheesh, not a single moment for anything personal at work from now on me thinks. Unacceptable.

So, other than work, as I may have mentioned, I have moved firmly in to the third trimester. I had been wondering what the big fuss was all about but I can now see why people kept reminding me to enjoy the second! Literally in the last week, I have noticed a real shift towards the uncomfortable with the two most prevalent ailments being sore feet and even more constant trips to the loo.

I am finding now that being on my feet for more than about two minutes is pretty uncomfortable. I have to shift from side to side on the tubes now, whilst standing, beaming my dirty looks on to the Metro reading "Priority Seat" occupants to ease the throbbing (this doesn't make them get up but I am convinced that karma will bite them on the @rse so it gives me a little warm feeling inside imagining bad things happening to them) and have had to invest in some big furry boots to help ease the pressure. These have made me unfashionable, but less waddle-some - it's a compromise I'm more than willing to make.

The toilet trips used to only really be a nuisance at night-time but I appear to now need to go to the powder room about every 20 minutes or so, which can make things incredibly uncomfortable as this isn't always possible. I saw something recently on Dragon's Den - a 'Bog in a Bag' - I wonder whether I should invest in one of these for those awkward moments when you are in a particularly large meeting and don't want to cause a scene by leaving halfway through?

Other than these two irritations though, the rest of the pregnancy symptoms are pretty manageable - well, currently anyway.

So, this week, I met up with an old friend of mine who I have actually known since she was about 5. Our families have been skiing together for many years and she just so happened to get pregnant at pretty much the same time as me so it's great to know we can take our little bundles skiing together in the future. It was quite funny actually, we had booked a table at Pizza Express, which was fortunate as it was full when we arrived, but as luck would have it, our table for two was behind a very large bollard / column and the only way to access the table was to squeeze through a gap literally about 20 cm wide. Kate and I looked at each other and then looked at the waiter trying to rush us in to our seats and were like, dude, are you serious?! Do we look like we could fit through there? Alternative arrangements were made!

Anyway, it was great to see Kate. She is another one of my friends who is very much like me and a 'just get on with it' kind of person (my favourite kind) and seemed to share very similar views about the whole pregnancy / having a baby thing and agreed that some people really seem to make a meal out of it. She said something quite interesting, which I totally agree with, about how she thought it helped that we were both quite 'hardcore' (her words, not mine) and had Dads that pushed us to fend for ourselves rather than doing everything for us and being over-supportive / protective. Kate's Dad is the kind of Dad that made her carry her own skis at 2 years old and mine is the kind of Dad that would tell me to get a second job when I phoned him crying from university about how I didn't have any money. Now, fortunately for me, I also had a Mum who I would then phone crying and she would slip me a fiver and tell me not to tell my father - and, until today, I have kept that promise - but anyway, my point is that my parents were great at being there for me when I really needed them to be but very keen to give me the tools to fend for myself and be self-sufficient. And I thank them for that, as I think, like Kate, both of us are very relaxed about everything and just going with the flow as we are people who just get on with things and get them done. Good luck to her anyway - due on Christmas Eve - I wonder whose little bundle will drop first.

So, the weekend was busy but pretty interesting too. Ron and I went to one of the NHS antenatal classes on Saturday morning, the first of two, and I have to say, I was very pleasantly surprised. I wasn't expecting much from the class and only really went along to meet other couples in the area and when I walked in and saw that it was my midwife taking the session my heart sank even further. I don't know what had happened to her this week though - she was like a different human being! She actually came across as someone who cared and I learnt quite a few things that I didn't know (mostly about pain relief options - not that I want to plan any kind of pain relief before I know what kind of pain I will need to react to but it was good to know what the options were). A lady after my own heart, she even agreed with my opinion on birth plans, and generally seemed, well, more on my wave length. Perhaps I will see her in a whole new light when I go for my next appointment. The people were really nice too and my donation of a pound for juice and biscuits got me a lot of biscuits! Ron was saying that despite having been there three times before, he even learnt some things at the class that he didn't know.

Then, Saturday evening was one of my favourite nights of the year in Faversham - Faversham Carnival! I particularly enjoy watching the beauty queens for all the towns in Kent as they roll through the town centre in their carriages made from tractors. I was slightly disappointed this year though as having built Miss Sittingbourne up to be something of a spectacle to Ron, this year's entry was actually not too much of a munter. Shame. I jest, of course, I'm not really that cruel. Mostly, I just love these Faversham events and they always make me very glad to live in such a wonderful place. I bought some sweets to celebrate.

Sunday was a day full of painting and decorating from start to finish. I hate painting at the best of times but when my feet are becoming a little more painful, it was particularly weary. We painted the nursery and apart from some final touch-up jobs we still need to do, it is pretty much finished, so that's one more thing off the list. My arm is still aching now from the painting. I mean who actually gets the painting 'bug' I hear about? What possible enjoyment is there to be had?!

Finally, this week, I'd like to just say a few words about baby brain. I was convinced this was in fact completely made up but after increasing incidents of the afore-mentioned 'condition', I went in search of scientific facts! I came across this article, which seemed to suggest it was a load of b0llocks and I tend to agree with it in terms of there being nothing scientific that happens to your body that makes you so forgetful but what it is, is that being pregnant causes a huge reduction in sleep and this in turn then makes you forgetful, just as you would be if there were any other reason that you only slept for 3 to 4 hours every night, night after night. Anyway, I am much more forgetful than usual and regularly find myself staring in to an open cupboard wondering what the hell I opened it for, getting very excited about something then opening a browser to look in to it further and as the cursor eagerly flashes at me underneath the bright letters of Google not for the life of me being able to recall what I was so excited about, spelling things very badly, putting things down and forgetting where they are etc. The list goes on and I don't like it! I am usually super on top of everything and can juggle many balls at once but I think I may have dropped some over the past few weeks, I just can't bl00dy remember where I was when I did!

The only other moment of significance this week was when my Mum sent me some dungarees that I used to wear when I was about 20. I have ordered so many pairs of dungarees and jeans now from the interwebs, all to no avail and finally, I have some that, with some minor adjustments, will just about house my thunder thighs and Shrimp bubble a little better than my other current casual clothing offerings.

Anyway, let's see what this week has in store as I approach the 'having just ten weeks left to go' milestone!

Current Symptoms:
  • Toilet stops through the night
  • Swollen ankles
  • Sore feet
  • Bleeding gums
  • Shortness of breath
  • No contact lens wearing

DADDY

Daddy didn't make it to blogland last week after all and has very little time to do anything outside of working and commuting for 5 hours a day. He will try to write an entry this week if he can but I won't promise him to it this week. He'll continue to drop in and out where he can.

BUMP

I am almost 37 cm tall now from head to foot. I learnt this week that my brain has grown so much that it has gone from being all smooth like a baby's bottom to having folds and being a little wrinkled like what we are all used to brains looking like. It's filling up fast with all the things I need to be prepared for the outside world but I still get a chance to float here and ponder sometimes, you know, reflect on life. I like to ponder. One day, I hope to have a beard to stroke as I hear that makes the whole pondering experience more enlightening.

I'm getting in to more of a routine now with my workouts and sleep but just like Mummy, some days I am more tired than others and I just feel like chilling out. I don't kick Mummy much at all some days but I try to give her ribs a tickle at least once a day so that she knows I'm still OK. There are no phones in here so it's my only real means of contact. I know Mummy appreciates that.

I was listening to the lady speaking at the antenatal class that Mummy and Daddy went to. They talked a lot about being in the right position for the birth and it sounded like my head could get pretty squished if I didn't play ball so I am going to do my best to start getting in to a good position for Mummy in 6 weeks or so. Apparently, I need to be head down and try to have my back facing Mummy's tummy. I hope I can work out which way is which, sometimes it is hard to tell in here.

Anyway, I don't have a huge amount to share this week and I am feeling a little sleepy tonight so I'm going to have a snooze and think a little bit more about how to make my entry in to the world as trauma free for myself as possible!

Monday, 10 October 2011

28 Weeks

MUMMY

Well, this week's been a bit of a nothing week really. It hasn't been terrible but it certainly hasn't been super awesome either.

I haven't seen my special boy as much as usual the past week which is always a bad thing but also, the week was largely overshadowed for me by feeling utterly exhausted all week and that's why the blog entry is running a little late to press again. Generally, pregnancy-wise, I'm actually not feeling too bad, probably better than I expected to by this stage but the key thing that has been affecting me is lack of sleep (and yes, I know there will be more of this to come as people keep reminding me, but that doesn't mean I should find it easy to live on very little sleep right now as well!). The problem I have primarily is that I am a useless sleeper. I don't like being useless at things but I've been suffering with this my whole life and have tried every possible cure that has ever been written about. Anywhere. Unfortunately, once I'm awake, I find it very difficult to go back to sleep again and seeing as I wake up 2 - 3 times per night to go for a wee and sometimes more with severe leg cramps (normally when I have rolled on to my back in my sleep) and then with poor old Ron snoring away, I normally don't make it back to sleep again much at all after 3am. This catches up with you in the end and despite working from home Tuesday and Thursday already last week (the extra day due to a midwife appointment, I'll get to that shortly), I still ended up being off sick from work on Wednesday after a night of virtually no sleep at all.

Still, I thought, Wood, don't fight the night-time toilet trips, you need to find a way to make the whole experience more enjoyable. To that end, I decided to go for some mood lighting so that I could at least set the atmosphere for my night time tinkling - that and of course it makes it a bit easier to find the loo in the middle of the night when it's pitch black and my eyes are half-closed.

Atmospheric Tinkling
The other thing that happens though when you get very little sleep night after night is that you get a little emotional and there were a few things this past week that seemed to be so obviously upsetting to me but sometimes other people couldn't understand why I was getting upset about them, and that can be hard, as you feel a little like you are going mad but mostly, I just needed a little more TLC than usual (I always like a bit of TLC, mind). Still, I'm feeling slightly better today and hopefully I'll sleep better this week.

So, I saw the midwife again on Tuesday last week - an experience I have come to find rather weary and it seems that she feels the same. I know I have said it before but it never fails to amaze me how incredibly disinterested she is about, well, anything pregnancy-related and doesn't seem to even try to hide the fact that everything she does is purely to make sure if she was audited, she has ticked all the boxes (she pretty much said this to me this week in slightly different words).  She did the usual taking of blood pressure, ticked some boxes, arranged the next appointment and then asked if there was anything I wanted to talk about. I said, well, yes, there's still this being really out of breath all the time thing and I also need a letter from you for when I fly next month. She simply said that being tired and out of breath was all part of being pregnant I'm afraid and that she would see if she could find time to write a letter for me but if she didn't get time, I'd have to get one from the doctor. Useless old bint. I'm really not sure why she ever became a midwife, she doesn't seem to enjoy her job at all.

The thing that I find concerning about the midwife though is that it's fine in my situation that she is entirely disinterested, doesn't follow up health issues, delve in to any of the psychological issues or divulge any information at all about what steps we should be taking, at what point etc. as I'm generally fine health-wise and mentally and am very thrifty with the old internet so manage to find information very easily but I've no doubt there are lots of ladies out there with far less thrifty fingers, a much lesser general support network, who are feeling far more anxious about the whole thing than I am and if the midwife's job is just to tick boxes, what's the point if she's still going to miss giving the extra help and support to someone who really needs it?

Following on briefly from what I was talking about last week as well, the more I know about the pregnancy services and the people involved in them (such as my lovely midwife), the more I feel like the whole thing is badly designed to increase anxiety about being pregnant rather than reduce it. For example, this week, my midwife asked me if I was feeling the baby move yet (I already told her I could at the past two sessions but I don't think she remembers one patient from another), I said yes, she said, at least ten times a day? I said, oh, goodness, I don't know, I've never counted, possibly not that many, is that bad? She just passed me an NHS leaflet and said, here's more information about monitoring your baby's movements and moved on to the next box. I read the leaflet when I got home and it talked about counting the number of times your baby moves and writing it down daily and I thought, jeez, talk about yet another thing that could make someone feel anxious! As if most people, especially those of us who are still working very hard and will be right up until near the end, have the time, the energy or the memory capacity to write a note every time the baby moves. That just sounds like another thing to panic about to me. People didn't used to incessantly monitor how many times per day their baby kicked so why should they now. All I know is that each time Shrimpy gives me a boot, it reminds me that the little fella is still doing just fine and I move on to doing / thinking about something else.

On the subject of kicking, Shrimpy really seems to be getting in to full swing now! Sometimes, it almost winds me from inside! Yesterday, and I've no idea what position he was in, there were about 4 different places simultaneously being kicked / punched really quite hard! He must have been in a star shape or something. Sometimes he sticks his little tootsie up in to my ribs as well and as a good old poke about - that can be quite painful even now so I can't even imagine how uncomfortable that will feel in the last couple of weeks!

The weekend was a little disappointing as well really. I had booked in a pregnancy massage but the lady had to cancel at the last minute and this was then followed by a trip to the local NCT Nearly New Sale, which I would advise anyone who isn't in an extraordinarily aggressive mood to avoid like the plague! I couldn't believe it. There were some great bargains there if you could get anywhere near them but I have never seen so many vultures in such a small space in all my life! I could barely get in to the room and once in, was sort of stuck being herded round in a pack and then every time I went to reach out for something, another Mum would grab it out my hand! It was a very bizarre experience. I don't have the kind of nature to fight that hard for a £2 outfit so I left very promptly and went home to await word of when I could go round to visit my friend - which never came - and by the time Ron came back really late, I was feeling terribly sorry for myself to be honest. In fairness, I've had some great weekends recently and there are quite a few to come but this wasn't one of them. Sunday, I spent a lot of it in bed feeling particularly tired so I was quite glad last night to say bye bye to the week and start with a new one. So far, not so bad.

Anyway, on the whole, I'm feeling very relaxed about the rest of the pregnancy, the birth and having a mini-us screaming away. I probably should be a little more nervous about some of it, particularly the birth part but the way I feel about it is very similar to how I've always felt about some of the crazy running events I have done in the past, like The Grim Challenge (a ten mile run in the height of Winter through deep puddles, under cargo nets and over various objects, which last year a few of us decided to do in full old lady fancy dress with virtually no training). Here's us eagerly awaiting the start of the last one (Ron was supposed to join us but had the perfect excuse of spending the day with his middle daughter instead!).

Old Ladies Jogging
The point being that when one of these events is coming up, I know I will hate the actual running part (as I despise running and find it a real challenge) but I always feel very elated and proud of myself as I cross the finishing line and I love picking up the medal and free t-shirt at the end. In the case of Shrimpy entering the world, the labour is the running part and he is my medal and free t-shirt - only he will be so much better than a free t-shirt!

Then, the having a little person in the house screaming, pooping, feeding and occasionally sleeping, well I'm not too nervous about that either but I think that is because my expectations are set fairly low. I think the reason people find it such a shock is that they are expecting something very different. I expect it to be extremely tough for the first few months and when I joke about swanning around the house baking, painting pictures with my feet, laying back and watching The Judge, I really am joking. But we'll see, perhaps it will be way harder than I imagine and I can blog all about it then but until then, I'm certainly not going to worry about it - life's just too short for that.

So, let's see how this week pans out. I'm meeting a friend of mine I have known for a very, very long time on Wednesday who happened to fall pregnant three days before me right after both of us came back from a skiing holiday in early April so it will be great to compare notes and just generally catch up and see how she's getting on.

On the plus side, my bum doesn't hurt anymore, so that's nice! Oh, also, this week I learnt that babies can turn their head a full 180 degrees! How bizarre is that?

Current Symptoms:
  • Toilet stops through the night
  • Swollen ankles
  • Sore feet
  • Bleeding gums
  • Shortness of breath
  • No contact lens wearing

DADDY

Daddy has had an extraordinarily tiring and busy week so he will be blogging but will add in his post when he gets a couple of minutes to himself, poor Daddy ...

BUMP

Curled up, I am now about the size of a large butternut squash (but hopefully less pear-shaped - I'll leave the pear-shape impressions to Mummy I think). Generally, I'm just all about the laying down fat these days and getting these bones all firmed up.

I learnt this week also that it is around about now that I start developing my first stool! Wow, 12 weeks of effort will go in to this, I tell you, it's going to be some stool (I shall call it 'The Stool of Perfection') - something for Mummy and Daddy to look forward to!

So, this week, I started thinking about the birth - my entry in to the world. It seems that Mummy is totally relaxed about the whole thing but she should try walking a mile in my shoes! All she has to do is squeeze something out of a hole. Try being the thing that needs to get squeezed through that hole! Talk about traumatic. I hear my poor little skull will go all cone-shaped like Daddy's to help it fit through the hole and I just hope that, unlike Daddy, my head goes back to normal head-shape soon after. I have to breathe air for the first time when I've become very accustomed to breathing fluid and I have to have my life support cut off and start going it alone. And I have to do all this without attending a single support group! I tell you, there's just no justice in the world.

Anyway, let's just say I'll be glad when it's all over. No wonder little people like me scream for weeks after being born, it's probably post-shock syndrome.

Other than being a little terrified about my entry though, I'm doing grand and can't wait for my first cuddle and of course the hat with silly ears.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

27 Weeks

MUMMY

They say you can never have too much help or support in life. I've been thinking a lot this week about that and generally, I disagree. I think, in all walks of life really, when people are supported too much, it can make them dependent on people and groups, less capable of doing things themselves, lacking in confidence and generally anxious about things that they really don't need to be anxious about.

I started thinking about it this week when I posted something on my facebook profile, purely in jest, as most of my posts are, about how I had watched an NCT DVD and it had dawned on me that I wouldn't be able to just sit around the house on my @rse watching Judge Judy which bizarrely encouraged streams of comments and then messages about how hard breastfeeding was and yes, I should definitely get myself down to one of those support groups pronto (as in now, months before I deliver our baby and try to feed it) and I just sat there and thought, WTF?!!! How on earth did an update about the awesome Judge lead to discussions about breastfeeding (and of course yet more advice - my favourite thing). It was very strange. More to the point, why on earth would I want to go to a support group and get support, help and advice on something I don't even know is going to be a problem yet?! So, I can sit around and worry about it for three months and invariably make it a problem in some kind of self-fulfilling prophecy? How about I just wait and see what happens and if I need one of the many support groups there are out there, I'll very gratefully use them at that time. Anyway, it got me thinking and chatting to a few of my non-advice giving friends about pregnancy / having babies etc. and we were discussing how it seemed like years ago, women really did just seem to get on with it a lot more than people do now, and of course thousands of years ago, women even managed to deliver babies and look after them without NCT classes and 'experts'. Having so many support groups out there for pregnancy and beyond almost convinces people that they must need them or else they wouldn't exist. Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting for a moment that they aren't very useful and are probably invaluable to people who are genuinely struggling and need the extra support but I do think that too many women now see these as essential. I would personally just rather go with the flow, let my body tell me what it needs and if I want to know something, my friend Google normally tells me what I need to know and I move on.

It's like all these people who keep telling me that I MUST write a birth plan and that I really should do it soon. I'm thinking, why must I do that? The moment you write down a plan of what you want to do, you open up the gates for something 'going wrong' as people seem to virtually never follow their birth plan. It seems like just another thing to worry or get anxious about to me, personally, but hey, what do I know, perhaps I'll change my mind after my 'unplanned' birth!

Anyway, I concluded that too much support was not necessarily helpful (in all aspects of life) and went back to my cream cake.

Whilst I am not a fan of talking about all the bad things that can happen all the time, I am a fan of being prepared generally for things and, in that guise, stumbled across a pre-packed maternity hospital bag on the interwebs this week which I ordered and which promptly arrived and I have to say, whilst it doesn't have 'everything you could possibly need' in it, as it claims to, it's a great bag and has a lot of things in that I will need. Best of all, it was half price and I love a bargain. I highly recommend this bag to other mums-to-be anyway.

So, it's been a good week actually. For some reason, I really felt like I had turned a corner at work this week and could finally see the finishing line (well, the water stop station anyway) approaching. I wouldn't go so far as to say I actually enjoyed going to work this week, as that would never happen, but I didn't hate it and I actually don't remember feeling like throwing anyone off a bridge once this week. Progress.

There have been quite a few pregnancy-related things this week, starting with a class I went to mid-week at the lady who does aquanatal's house. It was a class about water births predominantly but generally went through the whole birth thing as well. I was slightly disappointed as, for all the reasons I mentioned in my initial rant, I'm more a fan of just letting things happen than knowing too much about them, so I had only really attended to meet some other mums-to-be and this was difficult since I was the only person who turned up, but hey, I took the opportunity to learn a bit more about the whole process and to consider whether I wanted to try for a water birth (I say try because things often don't go the way you plan and ultimately, I'll be happy to give birth just any which how that makes sense at the time). Apart from the idea of fishing poops out of the pool (as women often cr@p themselves during birth - nice!), I decided this might be a nice option actually.

I've been able to catch up with a few more friends this week as well, some of my oldest and most favouritist (yup, I know that isn't a word by the way) and well, I am very happy that I have such lovely friends and after a particularly fabulous weekend with one of them finishing with a lovely day down at Broadstairs food festival, I'm feeling on a high and all ready to see what next week brings.

The Bump is coming on well. Generally, yeah, my feet ache and it can be pretty uncomfortable and tiring at times but it's all to be expected and I'm just trying to enjoy it all when things don't ache and get on with things when they do. The bump continues to grow and has really expanded upwards this past week - here's a picture of me and Shrimpy at Broadstairs - you can only see the top of his head I'm afraid:

Me and Shrimpy at the Seaside
I've also bought numerous more items of clothing for Shrimpy this week that he really doesn't need! I feared this would happen when we started buying clothes for him which was why I wanted to delay it and I'm afraid it has indeed opened up the floodgates. Every time I see something  tiny, and obviously incredibly cute, I just can't help myself. Partly, I think, because I want to spend my very hard-earned money while I am still earning it on the little guy but mostly just because small things are very lovely. I need to stop or with all the little outfits I'm sure my Mummy will buy for little one as well, he will have too many things to be able to physically wear before he grows out of them.

Oh, and one more thing, I am officially now in the third trimester! How very bl00dy exciting. It is staggering how quickly time flies when you're making a person!

Current Symptoms:
  • Toilet stops through the night
  • Swollen ankles
  • Sore feet
  • Sore bum
  • Bingo wings (ah, cr@p, I actually had these before)
  • Bleeding gums
  • Shortness of breath
  • No contact lens wearing

DADDY

Erm, Mummy here still. Daddy is very tired this week and is going to take a week off from blog-writing but he wanted me to tell all his fans that he promises to be back stronger and more interesting than ever next week. If you tuned in just for Daddy's musings, sorry folks, you're stuck with me and Shrimpy this week.

BUMP

I am a mighty almost 37 cms tall this week and have been told that I have actually doubled in size over the past month! Blimey, no wonder Mummy looks so lardsome.

This week, I grew eyelashes! These are particularly useful for stopping womb dust from blowing in my eyes as I continue to blink, eyeballing my surroundings in the hope I will actually be able to see something one of these days. I imagine I look very handsome with my new eyelashes (I have to imagine since Mummy didn't install lights or mirrors in here) and I'm wondering what colour my eyes will be.

The hair I told you about quite a few weeks ago, I think it is called Lanugo, that covers my body is actually starting to disappear now. I understand this will pretty much have completely gone by the time I enter the world, unless I come early that is. On that note, if I were to pop out of Mummy now, there is a really, really good chance that I will be fine with just the teensiest bit of medical intervention so I feel quite comforted by that.

Other than that, these neurons in my giant brain continue to fire on all cylinders making me in to a little smartie pants.

Anyway, I'm off to footy practice ...