Monday, 28 November 2011

35 Weeks

MUMMY

Another slightly late post I'm afraid and sincere apologies to those of you who sit around every week twiddling your thumbs until the next post comes in to brighten your day (poor Liffey) but jeepers, last week was such an incredibly busy week and by Sunday evening I was utterly pooped and didn't want to rush a post out feeling as tired as that so I thought I would wait for today - my first day of maternity leave (hoorah!).

So, last week was my last week at work, a week I had been waiting for for about 8 months and it's a very strange feeling when you approach something you have been looking forward to for so long. It's human nature to notice the bad in the things you have got and the good in the things you haven't got sometimes I think (well, it's my nature anyway - perhaps some other people are lucky enough to be all round positive, happy beings all the time) and  actually, as the end of the week approached, I was starting to think (a little - and don't tell any of my work colleagues), hmm, I'm actually going to miss this quite a bit. I do genuinely enjoy working and I like what I do for a living. I don't always like the company I work for or all the people I work with but on the whole, they probably aren't as bad a bunch as I have been making out and, actually, I very much enjoy being a smart @ss and bossing them all about and just generally being the person everyone comes to when they don't know how to do something. Their stupidity bothers me considerably on a daily basis but then, if they were smarter, I wouldn't get to sit around feeling smug about how smart I am so I suppose that has its pluses too. It won't be anywhere near as satisfying feeling smug about being smarter than my little boy!

As it approached the end of the week, everyone at work was being increasingly nice to me and I think they are genuinely starting to realise all the things I do there and are keen for me to go back and on Friday, my last day, I felt really quite emotional at how nice everyone was being from start to finish. I had the very unusual experience of a seat being given up for me on the tube on both journeys (which gave me a warm feeling inside) and then when I got to my desk, my lovely colleague, Linh had decorated my desk with baby pics...


... I had a pleasant lunch with my colleagues and then I had some lovely presents and nice words at my leaving gathering around the desk thing so, all in all, I was very touched (and I also love presents!). I felt sad leaving as I went home on Friday but, in some ways, I am quite glad to know that I will be going back to work so it is only temporary (even if I don't end up making it back to the same job, I will definitely go back to work). It's obviously weirder at the moment because I don't have a baby to occupy me and am just sitting at home so I've no doubt I will feel differently in a few weeks but today, on my first day of maternity leave, I feel ever so slightly strange and a little, hmm, what the hell am I going to do with myself. Already this morning, I have opened up my good buddy Excel just to stare at its little ribbons and feel at home! What spreadsheet can I create, I thought, and then realised that everything I own / know about / want to own or know about is already contained in some sort of list in an Excel document that I have created and I fear I may have exhausted all list avenues. Just look at it - what a thing of beauty.

Excel-ent (do you see what I did there?)

I just hope I still have room in my heart for Shrimpy!

As equally as people sometimes find it easier to see the bad in what they have got, as I say, the same is true but in reverse for thinking what we don't have is better than it really is. I realised today as I watched Jeremy Kyle that it only seemed like a treat when I have watched it before because it was such a rarity to be able to do so but now that I can watch it whenever I like, I have realised it is utter b0llocks! Damn, even The Judge might not seem as good when I catch up with her later - how terrifying that it might be the case that daytime television is really not actually very good!

All that said though, I am starting to feel so uncomfortable and exhausted that I really don't think I could have carried on commuting in to London and working for even one more week. Last week, whilst more pleasant than most weeks at work, completely finished me off (particularly the long commutes) and I think it will take me all of this week to recover. Also, I actually have heaps to do before the little Shrimp arrives and lots of Christmas shopping to do as well having not even thought about it yet (I am normally so organised that my Christmas shopping is done by the end of November) so it will be nice to be able to focus on that properly and once I have got over the shock of not being at work, I'm sure I will be wondering how I ever had time to fit a job in around all the other stuff.

I have to moan briefly about my midwife again I'm afraid. I saw her on Tuesday (when I was exactly 35 weeks) and she really excelled herself this time in uselessness and I left feeling incredibly angry with her and wondering whether I really should be considering asking to switch to a different midwife. She, as ever, did the absolute minimum that she is required to do (take my blood pressure, check my urine and listen to the baby's heartbeat) but this week, she barely even spoke to me as she had a work experience pupil in with her (a 15 yr old girl) who carried out these three essential tasks. They looked at my blood pressure and my midwife wrote something down in my notes and I was like, erm, excuse me, hello, I'm just over here - is it possible to tell me what my blood pressure is? She said it was a bit low but from her memory my blood pressure was quite low before when she first checked me out so she thought it was probably OK, so that instilled me with confidence. She then got the student to feel my tummy and she asked the girl if she could feel which way round the baby was, to which the girl nervously giggled and said no (I wasn't asked if I minded the student doing my checks at this late stage of pregnancy by the way) and I said, well, can you feel and see because I would really like to know if the baby is in the right position. She said it wasn't necessary as there was plenty of time for the baby to move around still and that she would check at my next appointment. I was shocked! Yes, the baby can move around but my next appointment isn't until 38 weeks, which is right in the baby coming early period and to think I might not even have any clue until then which was round bubbs is is frankly really annoying as there are lots of exercises I could be doing if Shrimpy isn't head down. As ever, she then stood up and asked if there was anything else she should know and I said, well, I guess nothing other than the usual pregnancy aches and pains. She didn't ask what these were and said, OK, good, see you in three weeks and noted that we had discussed aches and pains in the notes and I thought, well, hardly! So, I was very miffed from Faversham on Tuesday.

On to those aches and pains then. I continue to become more uncomfortable by the day generally. As previously mentioned, the main symptoms just carry on but get a little more severe. The leg cramps are so bad sometimes, one of the episodes I had last week has left me limping a little ever since and my whole body is so swollen now that I can't wear my watch anymore and even my face looks like a big chubby beach ball so I am feeling probably the most unattractive I have ever felt. The most unpleasant of all the symptoms for me throughout, the being short of breath all the time, continues on as my little stomach continues to get more and more squished and I definitely started to feel pretty fed up with it all towards the end of last week as even eating isn't fun anymore and I kind of just feel like lazing about on my @rse all day long. Of course, the need to go to the toilet every ten mins also carries on and I am just hoping that this 'lightening' I hear about when the baby drops down lower in to your pelvis, which is supposed to make your lungs and stomach feel much less squished, happens soon. Shrimpy has definitely dropped down, I can see that clearly, so hopefully any time now I'll be able to have a meal without feeling extremely uncomfortable and a little faint.

I was discussing with some other new Mums at 'Bumps & Babies' this morning the whole pregnancy thing and how people, rather annoyingly, always tell you to enjoy every moment of it, and we were saying that, as it isn't a particularly enjoyable feeling for most people, this just isn't possible (and enjoyment of something isn't really something you can control, you either enjoy something because it is pleasant, or you don't because it is not!). I was saying that people seem to confuse being happy about being pregnant with enjoying a pregnancy when the two things are actually very different. I am overjoyed at being pregnant and have felt very blessed to have the little Shrimp baking away in my tummy and do feel very close to him already even though he is just a foetus but on the whole, no, I haven't enjoyed pregnancy as it hasn't been a particularly fun thing to go through. I haven't been able to do much exercise, which is very important to me, I haven't been able to drink with my buddies, go out for nice meals and enjoy them, go for long walks in the countryside with Ron, clip my toenails / shave my legs without extreme discomfort etc. etc. and I will be quite pleased to have my body back in a few weeks to tell you the truth. So, I say all of this because I think it is wrong for people to put pressure on you to 'make sure you enjoy your pregnancy' or make you feel bad if you aren't / haven't when, for some people, pregnancy is very tough. I have found it hard and mine has been far easier than it can be for a lot of ladies. So, I'm just saying, if you're reading this and you're not enjoying or didn't enjoy pregnancy, don't feel bad, it sucks major buttage a lot of the time so why should you enjoy it?! Just do what I do and poke people in the eye who tell you to 'make sure you enjoy it' (there are a lot of people in Faversham and London who wear eye patches now but I hear the pirate look is 'cool' anyway so I'm sure they will thank me eventually).

Moving on to the weekend now, I had my baby shower this Saturday and whilst I was utterly exhausted from work and wasn't sure if I had the energy to have guests in the house, it was so fabulous to see all my friends that came along and I really enjoyed catching up with them. I haven't been able to do much on the social front for a few weeks now and am normally quite a social butterfly so have been feeling very hermit-like for a while now. All the girlies that turned up had made such an effort and most of them had driven an hour or two to get to me and all had brought such lovely and generous gifts (I was very pleased that they had all chosen to ignore the section in my friend's email inviting everyone stating that 'bringing a present wasn't essential' - phew) so I was very touched by their efforts. I got some great little outfits for Shrimpy and a particularly unusual gift from my friend, Amber, who bought me a pregnancy bump casting kit - something I had never come across before so I'm quite looking forward to doing that, although I have no idea what we will do with the cast of my bump and boobs when it has been cast (fruit bowl?)! A huge thank you to my special friend, Meave, who took the time to organise it for me.

On Sunday, we went to meet my brother, his wife and two daughters in Bluewater as it was our last chance to see them before Shrimpy pops out and actually the first time I have seen them since having a bump. It was lovely to catch up with them all and it still made me chuckle that my brother is convinced he has guessed Shrimpy's name. I still can't work out whether he still thinks he has got it or whether he has realised he has picked the wrong late 80s film. I feel like I can have some fun with this for a few more weeks though! Here's me with my brother and his little munchkins:


And then, here we are, as I approach the 36 week mark and realise I potentially have just a few weeks to go. It is starting to dawn on me that Shrimpy is going to turn in to an actual living, screaming being and I'm getting pretty nervous about it all and suspect I will continue to right up until I see his little face for the first time. I still can't believe we're going to be holding our son soon. Scary veg!

This is going to be a very strange week as Ron is off to Russia early tomorrow morning for work and I won't see him until late Friday evening, which is by far the longest we have spent apart since January when Ron went to New York with work for a week. I am going to miss him desperately, which I think will be exaggerated by not being at work, but I am going to use the time to get as much sleep as possible so I am not as grumpy when he gets back. Poor lad, he is a saint putting up with me. Hurry back, flower, and don't get too cold in Russia!

Current Symptoms:
  • Sciatica
  • Braxton Hicks contractions
  • Tiny bladder
  • Heartburn
  • Swollen everything
  • Bleeding gums
  • Shortness of breath
  • No contact lens wearing

DADDY

No Daddy post again for now for the usual reasons but he's doing very well and is much more relaxed than me about a baby arriving. He'll write soon when he can and sends his love.

BUMP

I'm about 46 cm tall now and just getting a bit porkier by the week really. I noticed this week that all the hair that was previously covering me and most of the gloopy white substance I had all over my body has pretty much all gone now. Of course, all that cr@p is just floating about here in the fluid bubble and I keep swallowing these bl00dy hairs though, most uncomfortable. Apparently, all that hair, sticky substance and some of the fluid I keep swallowing accidentally will all come out in some pretty nasty poops over my first few days of 'life on the outside'. Ha, that will serve Mummy right for giving me so little room in here AND forgetting the flashlight, home entertainment system and spirit level.

In fact, speaking of entertainment, the only entertainment I get in here, seeing as I can hear pretty well now, is constant, constant Christmas songs! I have heard Mummy say to a number of people that as her Christmas has been sort of cancelled on account of me popping out and stuff, she is trying to celebrate it early so has put up the tree already and is going to play Christmas tunes from now right through to Christmas Day! Woman, it is not even December yet. I don't know how many more times I can listen to Mariah Carey belting out what she does and doesn't want for Christmas. I hope Daddy's music taste is better than Mummy's or I've got no hope.

Anyway, I am 'fully baked' as they say and pretty much ready for the outside world now so I'll give it a few more weeks to plump up I think and then start making my way down the little tunnel to freedom. I haven't decided yet exactly when I'm going to make the exit but I think I'll know when the time feels right. Until next week my friends...

Sunday, 20 November 2011

34 Weeks

MUMMY

I felt like last week's blog post was the dullest post in the world but not much had really happened last week and I only had about an hour to come up with something before leaving for holiday so apologies for that. Fortunately, this week, I have a little more to say and a little more time to write as I find myself posting from our beautiful balcony in Gran Canaria as we near the end of a wonderful holiday.

Firstly, might I just say that it has been lovely not being at work for a week. I feel terribly relaxed and have hardly been irritated all week (of course some things still irritated me, I wouldn't be me without a few minor irritations and I'll get to those later, but most of the irritations aka 'work colleagues' did not feature in my week). I have had some time this week to think a little more about not working for the first time in about 20 years this week and it dawned on me one day as I lounged by the pool when I was hit by a slight pang of panic about not working exactly what it was that I would miss. Excel. Oh, how I love Excel and creating over-complicated spreadsheets that are beautiful in both form and function and do wonderful things at the click of a button and I realised that I'm going to have very little need to create such spreadsheets whilst not at work, unless ... unless I can somehow come up with a way of keeping this dirty little habit going. I've not yet come up with a foolproof plan to do this so, in the meantime, as a favour to me, please send all your spreadsheet requirements to natalie@ilovecreatingovercomplicatedspreadsheets.com and I will be very happy to work my magic for you. For free.

Back to this week then. Well, what a glorious week away we are having. We are staying in a resort called Anfi, rather cleverly designed and built by Norwegians, and it really is just what we needed. I had never heard the term before but these final holidays before the chaos of a little one arrives are apparently called 'Babymoons' and what a great babymoon it is. My parents bought a form of timeshare a couple of years ago here and I berated them both for being so incredibly foolish at the time but I must admit, whilst I still wouldn't enter in to such an agreement myself, I am grateful for their foolishness this week as Ron and I are benefitting from one of the weeks that they 'own' and very nice it is here. Thank you very much Mum and Dad.

As I think I have probably mentioned every week, things have been so hectic with work, DIY and generally preparing for the little Shrimp, we just haven't had time to relax and enjoy each other's company as we would have liked to and we deliberately haven't made any plans this week to allow us to do this so mostly it has just been chatting, slowly walking around (very slowly - I'll get to this shortly too) and lounging by the pool in the glorious sun. It's the kind of holiday I didn't think was really my cup of tea as I normally prefer to be more active but at the moment, it's so exhausting doing pretty much anything at all, it's been perfect. Mostly, I've been particularly happy here as I'm so uncomfortable with this enormous bump and the only time I feel , well, normal, is in the water and happily, I've been able to be in the water for most of the day almost every day this week. I have a new found respect for water actually and can really see why this water birth thing is becoming more and more popular. It's an amazing pain reliever and when I am in the water, I don't feel any pain or discomfort at all, I feel pretty good actually. It has strengthened my desire to try to deliver Shrimpy in the water so I hope he will allow me to do so.

So, a little bit about the pregnancy symptoms this week as there have been some distinct changes since I last wrote. Firstly, my bump seems to have popped out again and I currently feel absolutely enormous. I feel fit to burst and even my maternity clothes no longer fit me comfortably (I'm not sure they ever did but this is a new level of skin-tightness). I refuse to buy any more clothes with only just over 5 weeks still to go  and with only one week left at work and the very real proposition of sitting around in my PJs at home for the next 5 weeks, it just seems like a waste of money but I feel pretty undesirable on the whole right now and must apologise to anyone I see between now and Shrimpy arrival time. Here's a picture of me and Shrimpy in the morning (when my bump is at its smallest) ready for a trip to the pool.

Me and Shrimpy on the Balcony
Other than everything getting a little more uncomfortable (even more trips to the toilet, throbbing feet, being swollen all over etc. etc.), this week, I started getting Braxton Hicks contractions. For some reason I thought I was going to avoid these, I guess I thought they would have started by now, and when we went to the NHS classes where all the ladies were a few weeks ahead of me, only one out of about eight ladies thought she had been having any but my, when they come, you certainly know about it! These are supposed to be practice contractions for the real thing and differ from the real thing only really in that they are irregular, apparently can stop if you change your position (I have sadly not found this to be true) and are slightly less painful than the real ones. I've no doubt they are less painful than the real ones but ouch, they are really quite crippling still. I started getting them at the airport and thought, ah, cr@p, I'm going to end up having Shrimpy in the air and I only know now that they aren't real contractions as they haven't been followed by Shrimpy coming out. It is very hard to describe how they feel (I always thought this was a bit ridiculous that no one could really describe them but I now see for myself that they are indeed very hard to describe) but you are left in no doubt that they are happening. Basically, your whole tummy goes rock hard on the outside and on the inside you can feel your whole womb sharply contract and it almost feels like the baby is on his way out. When they happen, it literally stops me in my tracks and I have to stop (hence the walking very slowly on holiday), I can't really breathe through them and sometimes I double over a little. They have been very frequent and strangely they always occur where we are walking along the promenade by the sea to get to the restaurants and shops. It is almost like Shrimpy senses he is near his true home and is trying to make for a quick getaway. Anyway, I just hope these don't get increasingly worse over the next few weeks as I'm in for a rough time if they do. Body, I am well-practiced now so lay off a little how 'bout.

Other than that as I say, all symptoms are just very much the same just a little more severe!

We have noticed some strange goings on whilst being here and are wondering if they are cultural or just things people feel it is OK to do on holiday. There are very few Brits here at the moment and it turns out that it is school holiday time in Germany and Norway and the resort is awash with both. The thing we have found a little weird is the constant staring. Both sets of people quite obviously stare at both Ron and I everywhere we go and they don't even try to hide it, even when we look back at them, they just carry on and sometimes nudge their partner and point at us! Now, I don't know if it is just that having spent years living and working in London, I have learnt that it is far safer to walk around looking at the floor as if you catch the wrong person's eye, you're likely to get your head kicked in, or whether it is just that British manners are a little different but I find it really rude and uncomfortable. What with the constant ogling at Ron's tattoos and my bump, we are both feeling a little like part of a freak show at the moment. I tell you, next time someone ogles at me, I'm going to poke a dirty stick in their eye. This leads me nicely on to my current list of Top 5 Pregnancy Irritations (I'm not happy unless I'm complaining about something so I had to slip something whingey in).

  1. Waiters / waitresses constantly trying to fill my wine glass for me despite me asking them not to (politely at first, getting increasingly less polite towards the end of a meal) - I find this highly irritating. I have hardly drank anything over the past 8 months but every now and then I like to join Ron in a cheeky glass of wine and it is kind of critical really that I know exactly how much I have had and that my glass isn't filled up without me noticing. This kind of behaviour annoyed me even when I wasn't pregnant (like I can't fill up my own blinking glass, you irritant) but I find it infuriating at the moment and it happens a lot. Please, waiters / waitresses, particularly if a lady is pregnant and even more so if she has asked you not to, stop filling up her glass with wine!
  2. People staring at my bump like I am an alien - for all the reasons already stated. This happens at home a little as well as here and I find it staggering, for something that so many people go through at some point, that people still stare like it is unusual.
  3. People touching my tummy - this just isn't cool all round. Anyone who has been pregnant will say the same, it's really no different from someone stroking your @rse and saying, ooh, look at you. I can just about tolerate this from family and VERY close friends but it's certainly not something I enjoy so if you have a sudden urge to grab a pregnant woman's belly, just don't!
  4. People saying I must be nesting when I am doing a spot of housework - this is another weird one where whenever you mention to anyone you happened to do some hoovering or dusting, they are like, ooh, look at you, you're nesting, how lovely! It's like, nesting, why on earth do you call it nesting just because I am doing my usual weekend cleaning chores because I happen to like to have a clean and tidy home? So, I'm not nesting people, I'm just cleaning my house. Just like I do every weekend and have done ever since my Mum rather annoyingly stopped doing it for me (when I moved out of home, of course)!
  5. There, I can actually only think of four things that currently really irritate me so I must be mellowing as I approach motherhood, oh, no, wait, another one has just popped in to my head, yes, that's a good one, people sharing their labour stories with me! I have noticed that people who have had a nice labour never share their stories with me, only those that have been rather horrific. This is of course about the last thing in the world I want to hear about when I am fairly close to going in to labour myself so, people of the world, if you didn't enjoy your labour experience, how about keeping it to yourself, especially when around your mates who are pregnant.
There, I think that's this week's moan out the way. Ah, that feels good.

Pregnancy dreams, wow, these are weird. Barely a night passes where I don't have some messed up dream that is almost 100% of the time either about something strange baby-related or Ron leaving me. Last night, I dreamt (for the second time actually) that Shrimpy came out looking exactly like one of those little troll things with the crazy brightly coloured sticky up hair and this time, he had really bucked teeth as well. I looked at him as he popped out and thought, damn, boy, you ugly. I wonder if this is because I am always making fun of other people's ugly babies (not to their face of course and obviously I wouldn't think that about any of my friends' babies - honest guv) and it would be karma's way of slapping me in the face for my evil thoughts. I hope not. Sorry karma, I promise, I won't make fun of anyone ever again for having an ugly baby if you just make sure mine doesn't look like one of those trolls.

Anyway, it's time to slope off to the pool and enjoy my final day on this wonderful holiday with my boy.

I'm dreading next week as it is going to be super hectic at work and I have to go in nearly every day but by the end of the week that will be me done, so, hoorah, I'm looking forward to that and grateful to then have some downtime to finish getting ready for Shrimpy (as I feel nowhere near ready at the moment).

Oh, you'll be relieved to hear that I still have an innie too. I don't think it will turn in to an outtie now so well done belly button, excellent work holding on to your inwardliness. You have done me proud.

Current Symptoms:
  • Sciatica
  • Braxton Hicks contractions
  • Even tinier bladder
  • Heartburn
  • Swollen everything (I can't even wear my watch anymore with my chubby wrists!)
  • Bleeding gums
  • Shortness of breath
  • No contact lens wearing
And now, I'd like to introduce a special person who has been missing from the blog for a few weeks. I can't promise he'll be back every week but at the very least for this week, it's ... Daddy!

DADDY

Hello again everyone! It's been quite a while since I've been able to write here; It's been a crazy time! As Natalie has mentioned, we've had a week away and since I've been able to completely ignore all things related to work and DIY and all the other time consuming (and stress generating) things that have kept me away from the blogging keyboard, it's nice to be able to jibber on about my thoughts now that we're getting into the final stretch.

It's been a hectic travel time recently, hectic in a good way though with going to Venice with Natalie and my middle daughter to visit my side of the family and now in Gran Canaria with just the two of us. I think we've really needed this pre-birth break. I was actually scheduled to go to Moscow for work when I got back to the UK on Tuesday, but that has been pushed back a week now so I'll be able to acclimatise a bit more gently to the freezing weather over there by suffering the freezing English weather first.

I'm particularly happy about being in the UK on the 23rd though since it's my oldest daughter's birthday. It's amazing for me that my first little baby is going to be 18; legally an adult. It's such a landmark and such a weird psychological thing as I vividly remember when she was born, trying to imagine what she would be like when she was "all grown up", and here we are! It really does seem like no time at all - but then like all the time in the world - being a parent is a crazy mixed up thing.

It's a bit scary starting this all over again but it's such a rewarding thing too that I really can't wait. From now on it's all about getting ready for the birth and all the sleepless nights and dirty nappies and crying and ... hmmm - being a parent is an odd thing. I'm actually looking forward to all these things that are generally unpleasant as well as seeing that first smile, first step, first laugh and watching him growing into a wonderful person. It's so amazing and I'm so happy to have the chance to do it all again.

So just as my oldest baby is becoming an adult, my youngest baby is becoming a person and I'm a very lucky man indeed.

BUMP

I'm about 45 cm tall now and continue growing at a steady pace. I am quite relieved this week actually as I heard Mummy explaining to Daddy that by now, my little body is mature enough that it is actually ready for the outside world and if I was to make an early exit, I would almost certainly be OK! Phew. That's not to say my lungs wouldn't benefit from a bit more practice but I'm pretty much there.

I gather I'm in yet another country this week and I have sensed I am near somewhere very close to my little Shrimp heart - the sea. I can actually hear the waves crashing from in here and it makes me feel very calm and relaxed. It makes me want to come out and see it for myself too but I know it's better to wait for a few more weeks and just continue 'maturing' in this ever decreasing space. It's cramped in here my friends, really cramped. I stretch regularly but I'm getting a little fed up with it as I want to properly stretch out in a star shape and I'm upside down the whole time so the blood is going to my head a little too (I'm wondering if I made the 'turn' a little too early now but I think it is better to be safe than sorry).

I think Mummy has been lazing about in jacuzzis again as well as it's been pretty bubbly and shaky in here. I quite like it though, it's just always a bit of a shock when it first starts up and when I'm sleeping, it's a little annoying.

There's not much more to say again, I'm just starting to play the waiting game really. I'm pretty bored on the whole so I'm really looking forward to seeing the world with my own two beady eyes (after the horrible labour bit anyway) so I'll just keep cooking away.

Weird, I noticed my hair was getting really long and sticky uppy. I wonder what that's all about ...

Sunday, 13 November 2011

33 Weeks

MUMMY

It's been another weird week really. I guess a good one on the whole but I'm really quite uncomfortable now all the time so I'm kind of ready for the little man to pop out which is a little concerning there being over 6 weeks still to go!

Work was so much better this week as I was only in the office Monday and Friday. This made a huge difference as it is getting harder and harder commuting in by the day and even just going in for two days was exhausting. I think my colleagues are genuinely getting a little worried about me leaving as my supreme testing skills will depart with me. I've spent the second half of the week handing over to my replacement, sorry, cover, who seems like a nice guy, but I think he is finding it all incredibly overwhelming and I have barely even touched the surface of what he is going to need to know. I don't mean to be pessimistic but I think the poor lad will struggle a little to work anything close to the same pace as I did and was getting stressed with the number of emails he was getting already and he was only really getting the company wide ones! Still, I'll do what I can to help him. I'm not completely mean.

Friday at work was particularly weird. I actually had quite a good day! Everyone was being nice to me, not too annoying and one lady even said she'd missed me (I had only been out of the office for three days). Then I had my end of year review with my manager who basically said all good things, well 99% good things. Of course, my brain being the way it is, I didn't really hear all the good stuff (I was like, yeah, yeah, whatever) and focused on the 1% bad (which made me a teensy bit angry) but it looks like my very overdue promotion could finally be on so I guess we'll see what happens when I'm not there to keep pestering them about it. Ultimately, it will have a huge influence on whether I decide to go back there so we'll see what happens.

We went to another NCT session in the week which I really enjoyed and I am very sad to say that that was the last session we can make. There are two next week while we are away and I'm a little gutted to be missing them as I was only just starting to get to know some of the ladies. I really hope we can continue to get to know each other outside the classes though as some of them definitely seem like my kind of people and it's a very useful thing to have people around you that are going through exactly the same thing as you at the same time. The classes have been great actually and I highly recommend doing them. It seems expensive (I think it was £168 for 6 session) when you book but from a social and emotional point of view, it has been really worth it, despite only making it to half of the sessions. The information has been useful too but meeting people in the same happy predicament has been the really important thing for me.

Some of the handouts are quite amusing. There was one in the pack about the various recommended positions for labour. They are all so terribly undignified, like this one below.

Hey, where's her face gone?
So, I'm really looking forward to having someone's face in my @rse. Nice!

I don't feel like I have much else to report this week. It's been all about work really for me and getting ready to leave. It's strange, I am desperate to finish work and I think it's clear I'm not the biggest fan of my current work place or colleagues and I'm always very quick to say I won't miss it one bit but as it is coming to a close, I've started thinking I probably will miss it a little. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely won't miss my work colleagues or department but I will miss just generally working and feeling like I am doing a good job. I was thinking the other day that this will actually be the first time I haven't had a job since I was about 14 years old and that is going to be a very strange feeling. Some people would be very happy to never work in their whole lives but I actually like working. I like using my brain, I like trying to teach other people to use theirs, I like the self-confidence it gives me and I like being able to support myself so I don't feel at all comfortable about someone else supporting me as I'm normally a very self-reliant person. I like having something to moan about too! So, I know I will be going back to work (whether it be to that same job or not is a different question) but that doesn't mean I am not going to enjoy a year of not working.

Again, as I've said before, I'm not suggesting for a second that bringing up a child isn't hard work, I know it will be really tough but it will be tough in a very different way and seeing as most of what I find so frustrating about my current job is working with stupid people, I don't think I'll be anywhere near as frustrated as I'm not expecting Shrimpy to be a genius instantly - that's going to take at least 6 months I reckon.

Symptom-wise, it's very much more of the same really. The sciatica has increased and sometimes it can be quite debilitating. I'll just be walking along and then get this shooting pain that completely stops me in my tracks. It really has become hard to walk for more than a few minutes without being in quite a bit of pain now. The lack of space inside is getting worse too. I continue to be really out of breath all the time and now eating anything more than a small snack makes me feel grossly full and a little faint. It's almost put me off eating all together but I still find room for the odd cream cake here and there. I'm enjoying having Shrimpy inside my tummy on the whole but I won't deny I'm looking forward to having my body back as well and I'm a little worried about how just bad the discomfort is going to get as I know I am going to get much bigger in the next few weeks.  I took a picture of my bump for my friend today and it's still really not that big in comparison to most people at the same stage even though I feel enormous already.

Wow, it looks a bit like I've lit my own fart. I actually haven't!
As I think I mentioned, I only have two more weeks left before I finish work. The really great thing is that for one of them - next week - I'm going on a much needed holiday with Ron. We're off to Gran Canaria in the morning. It's actually our first proper holiday together would you believe. We've had a few long weekends away but we've never been away for a week together so this is our first and last holiday as a couple rather than as a family. This week is very special to me and I am determined to make the most of every minute away with my special boy as it's going to be a while before we can do something like this again. I can't tell you what a relief it is to be having a week off and best of all, a week with no plans other than relaxing by the pool and taking each day as it comes really. I think we both really need it before the chaos of Shrimpy arriving.

One final thought for this week. I was talking to an old school friend today and she was saying she couldn't believe I was going to have a baby in just a few weeks and I was like, mate, me neither! It occurred to me that the whole thing still feels incredibly surreal. I'm totally used to the being pregnant thing now and can barely remember a time when my body wasn't this shape but the actually having a baby and being a Mummy, well, I just can't imagine it at the moment. I'm sure it is the same for every new parent but until I see the little fella in my arms, I don't think I will quite believe he is real!

I still can't wait to meet you little one, so hurry up the next few weeks!

Current Symptoms:
  • Sciatica
  • Tiny bladder
  • Heartburn
  • Swollen everything
  • Bleeding gums
  • Shortness of breath
  • No contact lens wearing

DADDY

Daddy as ever has had very little free time but he'll try to write a little something while we're away.

BUMP

I'm almost 44 cm tall if I I was to stand up straight and look a little like a honeydew melon all scrunched up.

I've started having dreams this week, at least, I think that's what they are. Only last night, I dreamt I was being chased by a giant gun-wielding ice cream cone and managed to escape by jumping in to an enormous bowl of caramel sauce! Weird, huh. It woke me up with a bit of a startle. I kicked Mummy of course to let her know. Phew, I was glad to wake up!

I'd just like to share with you all my relief as well that during the week it seems as if that idiot Frankie Cocozza got thrown off the show that Mummy likes with all the singing so I didn't have to endure the same horrible sound again this week of him allegedly singing. So that was nice.

I think I'm still head down. It's so hard to tell but there's very little room left in here so I've made what I think is' the turn' and I guess me and Mummy will find out in a few weeks whether I've managed to get this little manoeuvre right! This is harder than parallel parking for women, I'm telling you!

Anyway, I'm getting yet another stamp on my passport next week as it sounds as if I'm off on a plane abroad again. Hopefully Mummy will eat some nutritious food for a change while she's there as I'm finding all these carbs a little bloating. I swear, when I get out of here, I'm going on a milk-only diet.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

32 Weeks

MUMMY

I am ecstatic to report that I actually have some positive things to say this week and whilst my body is feeling pretty rubbish, and is expected to for the remainder of my sentence, I'm feeling much better about a few things.

Let's start with the not so positive though. Work, of course, being the main culprit. It started off really badly again this week and I continued to feel very under pressure with everything I have to do in terms of handing over, supervising the new dudes (who are lovely but interrupt me literally every two minutes to ask if it is OK to get a coffee / go to the loo / make a call to their company etc. etc. and every time I am interrupted, I lose my flow so it's a little irritating) and trying to get testing on this new project. I had hinted so many times to my pair of genius managers that I really needed to work from home more often and neither one of them had encouraged me to do so and after a particularly difficult day on Wednesday when I had stood on the tube for a change both ways, stood for some of the train journey and then discovered both of the toilets were out of order (which is critical when you need to go every 20 minutes), by the time I got home exhausted, with a very painful bladder and feet the size of hot air balloons, I decided enough was enough.

The next day, I decided to call in sick and emailed my two managers and stated very clearly that I had to work from home for most of the remainder of my time at work and that I had to bring my maternity leave forward by a week or I would end up being off sick and not being able to work for any of my remaining time. This was agreed to and I can't tell you what an enormous weight off my mind it was - particularly the bringing my leave a week forward. I had been reluctant to do it as I kept being reminded that the project deadline for the release of a project I am working on was the 2nd December and I needed to make sure I got everything done before then but I am so glad I decided to put myself before the stupid project. Ron would be able to tell you but my personality has completely changed since agreeing all of that (well, actually, it has reverted back to how it was before I went back to my current evil workplace) and I finally feel more like myself again - i.e. less angry and frustrated all the time. It is clear that this particular job and these particular people are not good for me at all and I find it actually quite poisonous so I will be thinking long and hard before deciding whether or not to go back there.

So, I'm ecstatic about finishing work on 25th November as it now gives me a whole month until the due date so time to chill out, get some Christmas shopping done and finish off this pesky DIY before the little Shrimp arrives which feels so much more doable. Obviously, everyone is different and some of my friends have been able to work until a week or two before their due date but I really would urge anyone who gets tired easily, has a long commute or a particularly stressful job to think about taking a little more than two or three weeks leave before the due date as towards the end of this pregnancy thing, believe me, it gets pretty tough!

The only other negative thing I want to talk about this week is my current pregnancy symptoms really. My friends had warned me about the onset of sciatica which is extremely common in the latter stages of pregnancy and is generally caused by the baby's head putting pressure on the sciatic nerves. I had hoped I was going to escape this as nothing had happened thus far but it started about two days ago and blimey, is it painful?! It's a very odd sensation. It usually only affects one side and this is the case for me also and basically, I get shooting pains starting in my lower back, going through my right buttock and down the back of my right leg and then my leg goes all numb like it does if you get a dead leg and kind of gives way. On Friday night when this started, it was happening probably about every 20 minutes. This is going to make travelling on the tube even more of a killer so it may be time to insist on asking people in the priority seats to move for me, which I HATE doing and really shouldn't have to but it became apparent some time ago that relying on the good will and manners of London commuters was not going to get me anywhere.

Other than the sciatica, everything is really uncomfortable at the moment (completely expected and as per the norm though) and my body continues to inflate more and more each week and I also noticed this week that I could actually feel my pelvis separating and extreme pressure being put on all of the joints. One of my weekly emails told me I would probably be waddling by now. You weren't wrong Mr Huggies, I most definitely am waddling! My rib cage appears to have been pushed out as well. Essentially, at the moment, I feel enormous!

I keep bumping things with my big fat @rse as well which is a little frustrating. You know the first time you drive a van when you are used to the dynamics of driving a car and you normally have a little bump or few to begin with while you get used to the extra width? Well, that's what it is like for me at the moment. I need to learn to give myself a wider birth but I regularly hugely under-estimate the size of my posterior. This can be embarrassing.

I saw the midwife again this week. It was the usual disinterested state of affairs but I did ask her if she could feel which way round Shrimpy was (obviously I didn't call him Shrimpy to her) as I had heard that some babies start making the 'turn' around now. She said she couldn't be sure but she thought the baby's head was at the bottom, his back was on the right side and the legs and arms were on the left side. This is good, I was convinced Shrimpy was still head up from all the random kicking and punching pressure points but I think he must just be punching upwards (well, downwards if he is upside down) or learning to headbutt like the Glaswegians.

Now, on to the good stuff.  NCT classes started this week and I have now been to a session with Ron where all the couples were there and a girls only one later in the week. I am pleased and quite relieved to report that everyone in the group seems super smashing lovely. The NCT classes were very important to me from a social point of view as I don't know many people in my area and was really keen to find some other local Mummies to hang out with. I am pleasantly surprised to observe though that the sessions are already becoming a bit of a therapy session for me, which has provided far more comfort to me than I realised I needed.

Having attended the NHS two session course and now two classes of the NCT course, I can see they are geared up to achieve very different goals. The NHS course, which was really good, was very much about the information only. It was fairly intense and there was very little opportunity to talk to anyone else in the group at all and really just went through the fundamentals of labour and the essentials of what to do when you bring baby home. The NCT classes, however, go in to the details a little bit more but significantly they go more in to the emotional side of things so it's not just about what happens, it's about how you might feel when it happens and how things might affect relationships with various people - your partner, your own parents, your friends etc. I have been so busy with work and DIY that I hadn't really taken time out to think about these things so I am finding it a very well spent £168 so far! It's a relief to know that pretty much everyone has the same fears and worries, is going through the same things as you and basically, that no one has a clue what they are doing or how on earth they are going to cope being responsible for a little being! Most of all, I'm looking forward to getting to know everyone at the class a little more.

The week continued to get better and better and Ron took me out on Friday to a wonderful restaurant in London called La Cuisine and afterwards we stayed at the Waldorf Hilton which was really quite amazing actually. I felt like a VIP and am so grateful to Ron for arranging this for me as it was much needed and very precious given we won't be able to do anything like that for a while (at least not in the first few months of Shrimpy's life). We had a lovely time and were able to take some time out from the usual rushing around working and DIY'ing.

On the way back from London, we decided to pop in to Build-A-Bear in Covent Garden to make a special bear for Shrimpy who would become his first friend! I had been very excited about this as it seemed a very special and momentous thing to do. After selecting the type of bear, getting it stuffed, putting in a beating heart and a couple of keepsakes of mine and Ron's and selecting some appropriate clothing (just a hat as it turns out), we then went to create the bear's birth certificate. We had to type in the name of the recipient of the bear and it was the first time I had written down or really said Shrimpy's real name out loud since we decided upon it (which feels like months ago) and I found it all incredibly overwhelming seeing the little man's name in print and burst out crying like a baby. I turned round and Ron was crying too! They weren't tears of sadness, they were tears of happiness but I guess it was just weird thinking about Shrimpy actually being here rather than being just an in-built kickboxer and it made me come over all emotional! It was very embarrassing as the shop was full of screaming kids and there I was being comforted by Ron as I sobbed like a child for quite a few minutes before I could compose myself enough to pay. The t0sspot at the till then spoke to me for a good 5 minutes as though I was actually a 5 year old, so I almost punched him over the counter but other than that, it was a very special experience that I don't think I will forget. Who would have thought a trip to Build-A-Bear could do that to a grown adult?!

Anyway, meet Shrimpy's first friend, who we also decided to call 'Shrimpy' (as Shrimpy won't obviously be called Shrimpy when he enters the world and I didn't want to forget this special part of his life - the bit where he was being put together and becoming so special):

Shrimpy's BFF - 'Shrimpy' - travelling illegally without a valid train ticket

We also picked up the pushchair, car seat etc. from Mamas & Papas yesterday so the house is becoming more and more cluttered but we are well prepared and almost have everything we need now so even if Shrimpy decided to enter the world super early, it wouldn't be a disaster.

Today, we have spent the entire day painting and decorating and whist it has been exhausting, it is looking great and it's one more job ticked off the list.

Most of all this week, I'm just so ecstatic to have put my foot down at work and now feel so much more relaxed. I wish I had done this earlier like some of my friends urged me to but it's done now so happy days.

Next week brings a busy week at work - but most of it working from home - more NCT and no doubt a few more aches and pains. Most of all, it brings me one step closer to meeting my little man, and that makes me very happy.

Oh, yes, I think I mentioned that I'm enormous. Here's the proof. Ouch, you can almost hear those joints straining can't you?!

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

DADDY

Daddy as ever has been working his little socks off but will write if he can. He says hello again.

BUMP

I'm about 42½ cm tall now and weigh not far off about 4 lbs. The most significant thing this week is that I have turned head down. At least, I think I have. It's hard to tell in here as there are no spirit levels but I hope I've got it right as that's the way round I have heard I need to be for an easier exit (if there is such a thing).

I've been getting a little miffed this week as I am totally running out of space in here so exercising has become more difficult. I persevere though and use whatever little space there is to stretch out.

I've got a full head of hair and yeah, I think I look pretty good. I can't be sure as it's pitch black in here but it feels pretty well styled anyway. I can't tell you what colour my hair is as I don't know but I can feel that it's there and mostly now, I'm just going to keep getting fatter just like my Mummy.

I continue to hear things clearer and clearer and last night, Mummy and Daddy were watching something that I think they referred to as 'The X-Factor'. On the whole, most of the songs weren't bad but there was this one guy - I think they called him 'Frankie Cocozza' - God, he was bl00dy awful. What utter sh1t! Listening to him actually hurt my newly formed semi-circular canals. I gather it's an elimination type process so I hope and pray he will get voted out this week so I don't have to endure such a horrible sound ever again. If I do, I'll just have to keep kicking Mummy until she presses the mute button!

Anyway, folks, see you soon and I'll fill you in with any more interesting goings on next week.