Sunday, 23 March 2014

Almost 23 weeks and apparently still irresistible to malingerers outside Wembley Park tube

The hypnobirthing craze continues.

I have just purchased a set of five hypnobirthing classes.  They are in Hounslow, which is not the best location, but pretty much all the classes I could find were based in the so-called "Nappy Valley" area of South West London which stretches roughly from Herne Hill to somewhere just short of Kingston, and the one in Hounslow was the closest I could find to a normal-read, "dreary"-place.  And even that had to boast about its close proximity to Twickenham.

I fully expect the class to be full of middle class marrieds and I shall be cast out like a hopeless singleton.  Or worse, given pitying looks by smug marrieds who think I have been tragically abandoned by the baby's father.

I'd better start perfecting my early nineties Princess Diana tragic-yet-brave wronged wife face.

Anyway, speaking of abandonment, today I was astonished-nay, flabbergasted (the very highest form of astonishment.  The longer the word, the greater the shock) to be chatted up by an idiot outside Wembley Park tube station.

I could tell that he was about to start berating me for simply looking awkward and not wanting to answer his questions, rather than coming across all coy and flattered that he had deemed me worthy of being approached, as these idiots who chat up women in the street invariably seem to think we will all react, when I pulled out my trump card; "Er, I'm six months pregnant."

I had never seen someone disappear so fast.  It was AMAZING.

Admittedly this was after I'd had to endure the usual idiotic questions, which invariably start with "Where are you from?"

I really do not understand this question.  I mean, what are they expecting me to say?  That I just landed from the planet Zyborg 300 and are there any good bars round here?

Also, how is one supposed to answer, with a full life story outlining all the places one has ever lived?  Or does one simply answer with the obvious, the obvious being "England."  I chose the latter, which for some unknown reason seemed to be a surprise, despite the fact that we were most definitely in England at the time, and I do not look remotely foreign, nor speak with an accent that could be described as in any way exotic or unusual for the location we were in.

The fool commented that he was surprised by this, as I apparently look like I am from "Australia or New Zealand."

Meaning what, exactly?  That I am white (as are roughly 90 per cent of the population of the UK, so not sure how this was such a shock)?  That I look like I've just stepped off a surfboard on Bondi Beach?  Unlikely, given that I was wearing a fur coat at the time.  That I look like I'm about to throw another shrimp on the barbie?  Also unlikely, given fur coat situation.  In fact, having just whizzed through every stereotype of a person from the continent of Oceania, I'd say I don't fit any of them at all. Least of all the ones that involve liking rugby, being a bit outdoorsy or wearing a hat with corks attached.

Honestly, I cannot believe that anyone seriously thinks that a) hanging around outside a tube station hoping to pull is likely to succeed or b) that "where are you from?" is a decent chat up line.  Nor do I understand how these fools think that us women are going to be flattered by someone walking up to us when we are trying to get home and giving us unwanted and frankly intimidating attention on the street.

When my boy is born I think this may be the very first fact of life I need to teach him.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Hypnobirthing a Giant Baby

I have just officially become a New Age Hippy Earth Mother Type.

Well, perhaps not quite.

I bought two books on hypnobirthing today, then decided I was going to get properly into it and try all the suggested "exercises," unlike with the normal self-help, self-improvement tomes which I just read, nod head occasionally whilst maintaining high degree of cynicism, then toss to one side and ignore (hello that book How To Be a Man Magnet which I once inadvisably bought and which then remained hidden under the bed for the next five years before I finally smuggled it into a charity shop.  For the record, being a "man magnet" involves wearing a white blouse undone to a critical point and tossing one's hair at every opportunity).

I have just "woken" from my hypnotic state after listening to a 33 minute long recording of someone giving soundbites such as "trust your body" and "relax" over and over again in what I call the Voice of Yoga Nidra.

Yoga Nidra is something we had to do on that yoga retreat that I went to in Ireland last year.  It involved lying very still and trying not to laugh while the Voice of Yoga Nidra told us we were variously walking through a forest, diving into a lake with a giant crystal in it and finding our inner goddess.  Needless to say I spent most of it intermittently shaking with laughter and fighting the urge to scratch various parts of my body when I was supposed to be staying still.

Fortunately, this time I was in the comfort of my own home, so didn't have to keep up appearances in front of a room full of people who were all Taking It Very Seriously.  I was even able to reply to a text message halfway through.  I'm pretty sure that's not supposed to be allowed.

Anyway, the text message was from my mother.  Somewhat symbolic, I'd say, since she has spent the last thirty years telling me I will "definitely" need a Caesarean, and I'm now trying to undo those thirty years of negative messages about my body's capabilities via the rather pathetic medium of listening to a download about relaxing and trusting my body.

Anyway, my mother may be right if the calculations of various random people at work about the size of my bump are anything to go by.  It seems that not a day goes past without someone commenting about how big I am.  This is usually followed by a concerned look when I gleefully tell them that the sperm donor was a 10lbs behemoth.  Still, not much I can do about that now.  Except possibly stop eating and maybe take up smoking as a food substitute, but I don't think either of those are recommended.

Just have to "trust my body" I suppose.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Gender Stereotyping for the Uninitiated: i.e. Babies

Oops.  Ordered a sandwich with goat's cheese in it today only to remember that goat's cheese is not allowed in pregnancy.

Admitting to previous incidents of this nature has resulted in open-mouthed abject horror from other pregnant friends and/or mothers.

I am already a terrible mother.

To make up for it, I decided to buy the baby a Moomin toy and Moomin babygrow.

The Moomin babygrow was blue.

Now, I am a fan of the colour blue.  I like the blue of the sky, the blue of the sea, and many other varieties of blue.  What I do not like, however, is that there appear to be only two colours that it is considered socially acceptable for babies to wear; these being namely blue and pink.

These are literally the only two colours available.  It leads a liberal, Guardian-reading feminist mother such as myself to wonder how I am expected to dress my child in a way that will avoid the tyranny of blue and pink.  The few things I have seen that were neither of these colours let themselves down quite spectacularly by being emblazoned with offensive slogans which suggested one or more of the following:
1.) Babies are little princes/princesses who rule their parents with a rod of iron.  This may well be true, but Mini-Me is definitely, DEFINITELY not allowed to know it, much less proclaim it to all and sundry via a babygrow.
2.) There are a lot of baby articles which are reflections of parental boasting, even about such mundane and unimpressive feats as being married.  For evidence, see the slogan "My mummy married her Prince Charming and had me."  Well done Mummy.  Also what is this, the 1400s?  Sadly, I have yet to see any babygrows with the words "My mummy gave up on men, bought some sperm on the internet and had me,"even though, in my own humble opinion, this is at least as impressive (and expensive) as finding a white dress to flounce about in pretending you're an untouched eighteenth century virgin and ending the night dancing to cheese whilst networking with Auntie Maureen who you haven't seen since 1994.
3.) Boys are tediously and unimaginatively expected to harbour a desire to become a footballer from the age of 3 months even when they don't know what a football is and would probably try to eat it if they happened to find one, whereas girls wish only to grow up and do virtually non-existent made-up jobs, such as princess or Tinkerbell from Peter Pan.  Probably whilst eating cupcakes.  Oh and only boys are allowed to like dinosaurs, even though it is patently obvious that no one can fail to like something with a name like Triceratops, regardless of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation.

The most offensive babygrow slogan I have seen so far was a (pink) item that proclaimed "When I grow up I'm going to marry Prince George."

I am considering purchasing it for my son.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Oh God. It's started already. I've just been caught boasting on Facebook


All appears to be well with Little 'Un, at least according to the 20 week scan.

Of course, now that I'm home I'm fretting again due to backache and lack of movement and am thinking maybe the scan machine killed it with hitherto undiscovered toxic rays.

Not it.  He.

Yes, it's a boy apparently.  Or an "XY," as the sonographer put it.  It took me a second to work out the technical jargon.  Although that was after I had already spotted what I thought were the requisite XY "bits" and yelled "Is it a boy?  I think I can see the bits!"

This was the least intelligent question I asked.  I think I impressed the trainee sonographer who did the first part of the scan by enquiring if my cervix was OK.  He looked at me, baffled, and asked what I meant.

"I mean, it's not shortening or anything?"

"Er no.  Have you had problems with that before?"

I am officially insane.  I bet no one else goes in there and asks them to check whether they have an incompetent cervix, "just in case."

I answered no, and that I was just a bit paranoid.  And the sonographer asked me if I worked in healthcare.  There you go, a bit of googling, a quick read of What to Expect When You're Expecting and I am officially an Expert on all things baby-related.

I made the official announcement on Facebook today anyway.  I realise I am now incredibly irritating to all people who either do not or cannot have children, who are probably wishing me dead right about now, but the lure of getting loads of "likes" was just too great to resist.  It has been noted that so far none of the likes are from ex-lovers.  Hopefully this means they are all jealous.  Or repulsed by this startling window into my uterus.  Who knows?  Who even cares?

I'm off to check if I have any more likes on Facebook.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Eagerly anticipating the birth of the Messiah

20 week scan tomorrow.

Obviously this is terrifying, and I will not go into the list of horrific ailments that could be detected at this point, all of which I have googled multiple times.

Anyway, my bump is continuing to grow at a somewhat alarming rate, and now I even have backache (hopefully this is not a sign of impending doom.  Have googled that as well.  I also read all the bits in What to Expect When You're Expecting which were marked "Do not read unless diagnosed with...THIS WILL ONLY SCARE YOU" in bold letters).

Basically, I am now an expert on:
Placenta praevia
Placenta accreta
Placental abruption
Cord prolapse (someone had this in Call the Midwife yesterday, and they had to have a caesarean.  A caesarean!  In Call the Midwife!  Judging by that programme, in the 1950s usually it was three pushes and the baby's out so it must have been serious.  I do hope it wasn't Miranda Hart doing the operation).
Eclampsia (this is what Lady Sybil died of in Downton Abbey.  See, I'm an expert).
PRROM (this is my current Number One Thing to be Scared Of, having recently taken over from Incompetent Cervix, mainly because I discovered that it might be caused by having bleeding gums, which I often do at the moment).
HELLP syndrome (apparently this is an actual thing).

Anyway, at least the students at work are helping to play their part in ensuring a safe pregnancy by trying to minimise my stress in the classroom.  For one Year 11 student this apparently means offering to give out sheets and carry unusually heavy objects, such as a tin of glue sticks, around the classroom for me, and for one particularly charming Year 9, it includes clearing a path for me in the corridor by yelling at fellow students "Out of the way!  Pregnant lady coming through!"

Meanwhile, others are taking a more hands on approach, wanting to touch my bump or suggesting preposterous names for the baby (Nevaeh.  It's Heaven backwards, see?)

Oh, and it looks like there might soon be a rumour going around that I am actually the Virgin Mary, and expecting the future Messiah, since a student ran into the detentions after school on Friday yelling "Did you know Miss is pregnant?  But she HASN'T HAD ANY INTERCOURSE!"

Don't ask.