Archive for January, 2010

40+1

Things I did on my due date yesterday:

– Cleaned out the fridge (nesting? Or just trying to convince self that I’M NESTING I’M NESTING, THE BABY IS ON THE WAY!…?)

– Went out for lunch with two women from my antenatal class (with their babies. Very sweet, but not my baby)

– Made two fish pies for the freezer.

– Ate three hot cross buns

– Went out for dinner (we’re using up our meal-out quota for the next, oh, three years) and possibly mistook ‘too much pizza’ for ‘baby is coming’

Things I did not do on my due date:

– Go into labour

– Have a baby

I know that most babies are born after their due date. But I was secretly hoping that the Bean would be born on the day. Not just because I want to meet her and am very much over the waiting (am now quite grumpy- but I believe this is one of the times when grumpiness is not just allowed but practically the law), but because it would have satisfied the geeky side of my personality. I do like to do things in textbook fashion. And given that only 5% of babies are born on their due date, I quite liked the idea of being one of the 5%. Not that there is a prize or anything- apart from the one in my head, which has always counted for something in my world.

In my heart I know that it matters not when the Bean gets here (or indeed how: by caravan, cross the desert like an Arab man, whatever!), but that she gets here safe and sound. I’m just aware that time is pressing on and there are certain dates looming in the Bean’s diary- Daddy starting a new job, Grandpa moving to the other side of the world- which make me want her to born sooner rather than later.

Still, thanks to some excellent counselling from my nearest and dearest,  I think (touch wood) I have crossed the threshold from Slightly Mentally Unstable, to Common Garden Fed Up, which is good news.

So all is well, really.

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Hello, I’m still pregnant

People keep asking me if I am, and I don’t mind, but rest assured that we will inform the world at large when I’m not. The due date isn’t until Friday, so I’m not holding my breath. I am going a tiny bit mad though.

The truth is, I’ve been feeling a little wobbly. Having been very upbeat and uncharacteristically un-anxious throughout the pregnancy, the past week or so has seen me dissolve into terror. Not of the birth- I’m still remarkably cavalier about that trifling matter!- but of the bit afterwards, you know, the baby bit.

I’ve had depression in the past, so I’m concerned about that reoccurring post-baby. And I have worries (which I’m assured are normal, but don’t always feel that way) about bonding with the baby- not least the big falling-in-love moment which is accepted as what just happens when your baby is placed in your arms. The thing is, I’m not one to fall into things quickly, be it a decision or an emotion. And my head at the moment feels so clouded with anxieties about caring for the baby and life with the baby, that I can’t imagine feeling so carefree as to be able to fall in love in an instant.

I have a lot of support, and in that respect I’m very lucky. And I know that however I feel, I will be committed to doing everything that the Bean needs to be happy and comfortable. And that is without doubt the most important thing and my top priority. Which shows, I suppose, that I already do love the Bean.

But there is an awful lot of pressure to feel the right way- too much pressure. It makes a person feel guilty for even worrying about these things. It’s actually quite scary to put myself out there and write about it. But though I’m told that lots of women have these worries, nobody ever seems to say them out loud. Perhaps they should.

Ready when you are

Dear Bean,

For months I couldn’t understand it when women in the late stages of pregnancy would sigh and puff and say they couldn’t wait to not be pregnant any more. “What’s not to love?” I would wonder, skipping lightly about feeling very much in love with my portable and petite bump. “This is the most magical time of my life!”.

Now? Eh…. Look Bean, I’m not saying it’s not magical to have you inside my belly, with your cute pokey feet and your pelvis-drilling skull.  And I still think that tired old refrain “I just want this baby out”, which you hear many a pregnut uttering, is a bit harsh. It’s a baby after all, not a bag of rubbish that keeps getting forgotten by the back door.

But apparently you’ve been fully cooked for nearly two weeks now (it’s rather unfair that women are told that 37 weeks is full term, in my view. I’ve been on tenterhooks for a week and 5 days. Much better to tell us to expect the baby at, say, 41 weeks- then anything sooner is a nice surprise). So any time you feel like making an appearance, that’s just fine with us. Can you hear Daddy honking “come out come out come out!” at my belly on a thrice-daily basis? He means it. Come out, do! We’re ready.

Your clothes are washed and folded- and I promise you, between generous family and friends you have quite the snazzy wardrobe, worth making an appearance for (including a fake fur gilet- a baby gilet!- from Auntie A, which we’re you’re going to love). Granny has sewed a fancy frill for your moses basket; Great-Granny has knitted a beautiful shawl. Mummy has had her hair cut and is shaving her legs regularly, so as not to embarass you post-partum.

Everybody is so looking forward to meeting you . Even Mummy’s ten-year-old cousin asked plaintively in the background of a phone call today “is the baby here yet?”. And if ten-year-old boys care about you bring born, Bean, you must be important.

You’ve been in utero for 38 weeks and 5 days.  It may be nice and comfy in there, my Bean, but believe me, there is so much waiting for you out here. If you’re not ready, don’t rush- you’ve got a couple of weeks to play with. But it’s going to be fun when you’re out, I promise. Just sayin’.

Love,

Mummy

x

Feathering my nest

I’m tired and it’s past my bedtime. But sleep is not the joyful oblivion it used to be. The thought of building my nightly ballustrade of cushions and pillows to support my various body parts is more tiring than the idea of just staying here, on the sofa, with laptop-glazed eyes. As is the thought of having to rearrange this construction at least four times in the night, as I switch between the two sleeping positions I can now manage; and each wakening provokes a tweak on the bladder from the Bean (I’m sure she’s grabbing with both hands and giving it a good wring in there) which sends me waddling loo-wards again; and then, roused by all this activity from mother, she decides now would be a good time to dance a hornpipe against my ribs; and throughout it all my hips and my back are creaking from the strain of supporting the bump…. Well,  I may as well sit here all night and blog.

Apparently at this point- 38 weeks- I should be nesting. But between a lot of zealous baby preps from both of us quite early on (baby clothes are ironed; nursery is painted; even the laundry basket is virtually empty, for the first time in years), the fact that we are both at home being jobless and loving it, and the endless efforts of G in meeting the every need of me and the house, there isn’t a great deal to actually do.  I don’t think I’m experiencing a domestic nesting instinct, just as I never really had cravings (not for anything much that I wouldn’t crave anyway).

But I am experiencing a nesting instinct towards myself, if that makes sense. When the pipes froze last week and we had no bath or shower, I was gripped with panic that I would go into labour with dirty hair and hairy legs. This simply would not do! Not because I was embarassed about people seeing me like that in the hospital, but because I wanted to feel nice during and after the labour and birth. The same goes for my fingernails, feet and other extremities. I want to be groomed. I want my favourite maternity pyjamas to be folded away in my hospital bag ready to don after the birth- never mind that it means I can’t wear them in the mean time. I’ve  manicured my nails, and toyed with the idea of shelling out for a pedicure. I’ve booked a hair appointment for tomorrow and I’m going for a blunt fringe again, never mind that it’s going to get sweaty and tangled and probably not be washed or styled for weeks post partum. And never mind that the only people actually seeing my at close quarters these days tend to be very close friends and family, who have all seen me at my worst. It’s strange.

Call me naive- new mothers are forever bemoaning the fact that personal grooming goes out of the window (maybe I jsut want to get a head start, then), and I’m quite sure that my personal appearance will be the last thing on my mind when I’m actually in labour. Call me vain. But I would argue, technically, that since I am currently a nest for Bean, my “nesting instinct” does in fact make sense.

Full term

37 weeks today, I don’t believe it! The baby is officially “full term”- aka fully cooked- though of course I’m well aware that she could stay in there for another 4 and a half weeks if I go overdue. I would stay put too, in this weather.

So am I ready? Emotionally and practically, pretty much. But I’m not mad keen on the idea of having to ski to the hospital in -10 temperatures, or bringing a baby home to a house in which the pipes have frozen. It would be good to hang on for a couple of weeks until this crazy deep freeze has thawed out a little. Plus G’s sister has spent months organising a baby shower for me which takes place next weekend.

On the other hand, I really am starting to go mad cooped up in the house. I still don’t want to risk going outside on my own- it’s slippier than ever- and as a result haven’t left the house in over two days. G has been working these past couple of days, and it’s tough at home without his company/arm to hold on to so I can go outside.

So perhaps it wouldn’t be so bad to go into labour. And as my Mum (who is conveniently also a midwife) pointed out, it wouldn’t be the end of the world if I had the baby at home. Apart from the frozen pipes thing.

But I gather that I don’t get to choose when the big event happens. So the thumb twiddling begins in earnest…

New arrival!

No, silly! Not that kind of new arrival. Just a cute little snow-chap who appeared overnight at the end of our washing line, during the heavy snowfall of Mon/Tues. Isn’t he lovely? (NB we did not make him, he is a naturally occuring phenomenon). He looks sort of stoical I think, sitting there waiting for something.

Sadly he had melted by nightfall yesterday, but the city is still covered in a thick layer of the white stuff. I’ve never seen snow like it in sludgey grey Manchester before. It’s magical. I feel like I live in Canada or similar. Though it isn’t helping in my bid to fill the empty hours of maternity leave, as it’s still pretty treacherous going outside. Having said that, yesterday I managed, after a snowy walk (and only one tumble) to snooze on and off from 2pm until bedtime, and then to sleep all night more soundly than I have done in weeks, with only two wee-breaks- a miracle! So perhaps filling my time isn’t going to be such a mission after all.

Today’s activities? Ordering a bouncy chair and baby monitor online (done), and taking down the Christmas decorations. I’ll definitely need a nap after that.

Suspended animation

I like to think of today as the first real day of my maternity leave. Everyone else went back to work, but here in our workless household (G’s new job starts in Feb), the holidays trundle gently on. Today I spun out one hospital appointment and lunch with my Dad- a fellow member of the no-work club on account of being retired- for pretty much the whole day.

To be perfectly honest, I’m wondering how I’m going to fill the last few weeks before the babe arrives. The pavements are like an ice rink out there (nice of the virtually unprecendented Big Freeze to descend in the winter that I am heavily pregnant), so I can’t potter about the shops trying not to spend money. We’ve spent the past few weeks gorging and have tins of mince pies and florentines and christmas chocs coming out of our ears, so days spent baking in suitably motherly style are out of the window. The car died last week (brilliant timing), so I can’t go very far, especially not considering said icy pavements. And, well, I’m the size of a rhinoceros, so I can’t do very much even if I had the means to do so.

There’s no point starting anything major or planning anything big- that’s all going on inside my body (Bean’s head is 3/5 engaged and she’s the right way up- good baby). All I can do is sit in my centrally-heated cocoon of a house and wait.

As a result, I have the very odd but not unpleasant sensation of being suspended, floating in time- like the petals in a perfume distillery, or perhaps more appropriately for my current appearance, a pickled egg.

It’s curious. I hope this isn’t how madness starts.