Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Newsflash: Women's Breasts Apparently Not Designed For Men

Hallelujah!  Apparently the baby is "probably head down, although the head hasn't dropped into the pelvis yet."

Presumably this means he's already starting to gear up for birth.

Obviously do not want baby to be born immediately, but at least he isn't in a weird position.  At least not at the moment (probably shouldn't speak too soon).

So today I had another appointment with the consultant at the hospital, and the good news is, as long as everything continues to be fine, I won't need to see them again and can just continue to see the midwife.  Although they also told me to cancel tomorrow's appointment with the midwife as there's no point doing all the same tests two days running, so no lie-in for me, followed by a lovely breakfast at Pret A Manger and leisurely few hours off work tomorrow then, which had been pretty much what I had been looking forward to most this week, but instead I'll have to take solace in the fact that I missed an undoubtedly tedious meeting at work this afternoon instead.

Also, I feel I should report that there were fewer "how not to kill your baby" information videos on the hospital screens today.  Instead myself and the other pregnant whales (I swear I have never seen so many pregnant women in one room) were treated to such enlightening statements as "some people say your breasts are for men, but for me they are for feeding my child" from the breastfeeding information video.

Now I don't know if it's just that I am particularly highly educated (even if I do say so myself, thank you ladies and gentlemen, I'll take plaudits where I can) or if I have a particularly high degree of common sense, but it had not at any point occurred to me that the evolutionary purpose of my bosoms, such as they are, for I am not over-endowed in that area, are for any purpose other than feeding children.  I am not such a fool as to suppose that the highest point of all evolution is the ability to flaunt one's assets to the nation on Page 3 of the Sun, a newspaper I found lying around on the train on the way to work this morning and actually physically turned away and stopped myself picking up to read when I saw that it was that particular rag, and not, as I had at first assumed, a discarded copy of the Metro.  And yet the NHS must spend billions on this patronising claptrap.

Ironically, it was only last week that a good friend of mine, who has three children ranging in age from ten to seven months, told me that when she was breastfeeding her first child, she had been advised to wean at four months, and in the space of ten years that advice has somehow leapt up to at least six months.  Could it be that before long we regularly see eighteen year olds going off to university having one last tearful feed at their mother's breast before the final cutting of the apron strings?  My own mother was advised to stop breastfeeding me at three weeks, so it looks as though that could be the way things are going.  Or maybe we'll be caught in an eternal vicious cycle of Those In The Know constantly changing their minds and going right back to a policy of formula feeding for all.  Who knows?

Anyway, I'm off to practise my breathing again.  I thought I'd almost got the hang of it last night so hopefully by the time Little One decides to make an appearance I'll be a pro.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

The Many Manifestations of Breathing

First hypnobirthing session today.

This turned out not to be the hideous middle class smug married experience I had been expecting, for the simple reason that I was the only person on the course.

So no cheating with the breathing exercises then and slacking off half way through to scratch the many inevitable itches that suddenly break out all over one's body when forced to meditate.

Also failure to do homework will certainly be noticed.

"Homework" in this context involves practising breathing.  Obviously this is something I do all the time, just like every other living creature on this earth, but this is a specific type of breathing.  Three specific types in fact; one to relax you, one to see you through the contractions ("surges," as they are diplomatically renamed for hypnobirthing purposes) and lastly one to actually get the baby out.

This last one must be practised on the toilet, and I am happy to say that it has worked so far, if that's not a TMI overload.  Though of course one can never be sure whether it was the breath that did it, or the simple fact that I just really needed to go.

Anyway, I am knackered after all that breathing exertion, so am going to go to bed now and practise the "relaxing" one.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Musings on my Impending Poverty

What a lovely relaxing day this has been.

In fact, what a lovely relaxing two weeks this has been.  It's such a shame I have to go back to work on Monday and ruin it all.

Still, nine weeks folks.  NINE WEEKS.  Well, nine working weeks left anyway.  Nine weeks until I plunge into poverty and despair, as most of the pregnant people in the world are able to rely comfortably on their husbands' salaries at such a time as they need to go on maternity leave.  Either that or they are so rich and ambitious and driven that they can go back to work after three days and leave their offspring with a nanny.


Need to make self more ambitious and driven, possibly in the style of Karren Brady or Sheryl Sandberg, so that I can be provider and also feminist role model for baby.  Particularly important that I am feminist role model as baby is a boy and therefore presumably will need to be taught about the importance of equal rights as will naturally gravitate towards a sense of privileged male entitlement bestowed upon him by the patriarchy, rather than be enraged by a natural sense of injustice at being expected to play with toy carpet sweepers (which I was not.  I liked my toy carpet sweeper.*  It's just a shame that affection never evolved into a permanent enjoyment of cleaning in adult life).

Anyway, highlight of today was going to Starbucks, getting a nice decaffeinated beverage with my name on it-well, OK, a variation on my name, if my name was "Ereech"-and sitting blissfully in the shop, looking out at the rain and thinking about how I was not at work.  This is what it will be like when I am on maternity leave, I thought.  Except that I will not be able to afford the likes of a latte or a choc chunk shortbread cookie when I am on maternity leave, and will have to go into Starbucks and order tap water instead, while Baby has a breast milk babychino made by me.

If anyone has any suggestions for totally free things to do they will all be welcome.

*Carpet sweepers, for the benefit of anyone under the age of 30 who may be reading this, were a popular household implement that used to be used for cleaning one's floors before the invention of the vacuum cleaner.  GOD I AM OLD.  I LIVED IN A WORLD WHERE NOT EVERYONE HAD A VACUUM CLEANER!

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Bring Me The WIne

God I could murder some wine.

What is a lovely two week break away from work without wine?  The most decadent treat I can now give myself is a decaf latte.  Literally cannot think about life stretching out into the future with no wine.

Still, things could be worse.  According to the Internets, I am lucky that I haven't already given birth to a preterm infant and am not now sat in a neonatal unit looking into an incubator wondering whether my child will survive.

Or maybe I've just been googling "27 weeks pregnant" too many times and looking at the pictures that come up.

Also, on the Internets, everyone seems to be having some sort of drama.  Even on Fertility Friends (don't ask) everyone is complaining about having to go to hospital every five minutes because of bleeding, or being in excruciating pain with unpleasant conditions with names like "sympathetic pubis dysfunction," or something like that.  From what I can work out, this condition, the name of which I have almost certainly got wrong, is basically another name for "loads of pain around the pelvic area."  I feel as though it is some sort of miracle that so far (touch wood) I have not suffered with any of these terrible afflictions.  Still, there is plenty of time for all of this and worse to happen over the next thirteen weeks.

Speaking of which, the baby isn't moving much right at this minute.  Cue thoughts of imminent disaster.

Also, having children seems like quite hard work, even when one's children are pretty much the most charming and well behaved specimens that one could meet.  I cannot imagine the difficulty of having to cope with a badly behaved or disabled child, for example.  There will be no more frivolous buying of shoes, that's for sure.  No more impromptu trips to American Apparel.  No more dates with anyone ever (OK maybe that's not such a bad thing.  Am thoroughly sick of dating and all associated activities.  Such as trawling internet dating sites and talking about disastrous dates with friends.  Obviously not sick of the actual shagging.  Except when with reprobates, which usually is, so maybe sick of that as well.  Thank God I got it all out of my system during my wild youth).

Anyway, enough of this morose worrying.  Going to lie down and see if I can feel the baby moving.  I have discovered that this is an activity which always cheers me up, mainly as it reminds me that there is actually someone in there.  Bizarrely, I am never alone.  WEIRD.

Monday, 21 April 2014

So this is what it feels like to be, in the words of the bloke from Fat Families, a "Massive Fatty"

Today's most pressing questions:

1.) By having a baby with a sperm donor, am I inadvertently ruining the lives of the next generation, who will be destined to resent me and be forever miserable, and


With regard to the second one, I am currently lying prostrate on the sofa, unable to get into any position that could be remotely described as "comfortable," purely due to my having just eaten dinner.  It literally feels like my stomach is squeezed up underneath my rib cage.  Probably because it is.  O the joys of pregnancy, wanting to eat everything in sight and then being unable to contain it all in my squashed stomach.  This must be what it feels like to have a gastric band.  I promise I will never berate fat people ever again.  Honest.

Also, being fat must be bloody hard work.  I have only put on a stone (so far), and already I find myself having to use the disabled entrance at the tube station, lest I give myself a coronary by heaving my bloated body up the steps; a feat that now requires at least twenty minutes of recovery time at the top, clinging breathlessly to the bannister and panting deeply whilst clutching my distended stomach.  And I'm still only 27 weeks!  What will become of me in ten weeks time when I'm still having to drag myself to work and do a job like a normal human being who's not constantly carrying someone else?

Anyway, mustn't complain.  After all, being pregnant is basically brilliant, especially the little kicks and movements I am subjected to daily by the Little One, causing me to while away endless hours feeling bits of my belly and speculating on whether I can feel tiny feet beneath the skin.

I will try not to depress myself by reading the many angry stories from children of sperm donors that can be found on the internet, bemoaning their lack of normal parentage and making me think that it's only a matter of time before Little One rejects me entirely as the reprobate who denied him a father and messed up his entire life, and concentrate on the little tiny feet.

Friday, 18 April 2014

How Not To Balls Up Your Baby's Life Forever. Apparently.

Today is a momentous day.

Yes, today a stranger offered me his seat on the tube.

I am now officially a big fat pregnant woman, make no mistake.  And I am loving it.  The baby appears to enjoy putting his feet up by my belly button, so my new favourite game, as discovered last night, is poking him in the foot.  Not hard, obviously.  In fact, judging by his lack of reaction to this tonight, he probably doesn't even notice I'm doing it.  It must be very odd being a baby and being stuck in the womb, and then coming out all of a sudden.

I don't know why I just said that, I mean, I was a baby once apparently.  I've seen photographic evidence of this, even though I don't remember any of it.

The problem is, I've read so much informative literature on babies recently, that I've become very worried about the effect of all of my actions on the Mini-Me, particularly those related to after he's born.  For a start, I have singularly failed to do much talking to the baby in the womb.  Nor have I played him classical music, although I did play Saturday Night by Whigfield to him today, as obviously he will be very interested in learning about the days of my youth, in much the same way that I used to persistently ask my parents what life was like in the sixties, as if they spent the entire decade holed up in Carnaby Street with Twiggy and Mick Jagger, instead of going to school and getting pimples, like the ordinary teenagers that they were.

Anyway, I worry that my failure to teach Baby the joys of Mozart or provide him with scintillating conversation in the womb may have damaged him for life, in much the same way that I worry that if the  whole birth thing takes an unexpected turn and I end up being wheeled in for a caesarean, or with those giant tong things between my legs (forceps-urgh) then the baby will be traumatised for the rest of his life after having such a terrifying start to life, as my hypnobirthing books warn.

It seems a bit presumptuous though to assume that a difficult birth means a lifetime of trauma, given that I've never met a single person who can remember theirs, regardless of how euphoric or awful it was.  Mine, for the record, involved an emergency caesarean, and although I don't remember the "stress" that I was apparently suffering at the time, I do remember the glow of self-satisfaction I had when my mother told me that the first she saw of me I was all pink and cuddly and wrapped in swaddling bands, having been freshly laundered before before being presented to her, unlike all those natural-birth babies who first greet their parents as a bloody, screaming mess.

Anyway, I'm off to read some more information on How Not To Balls Up Your Baby's Life Forever.  By the time this baby is actually born, I'll be terrified to do anything at all.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

When does the nesting instinct kick in?

Yet again I am engaged in the deadly habit of procrastination.  Why is it that every time the holidays roll around I fool myself into thinking that if I do one productive thing per day-just one-then the entire day has been a success?  Today's "productive task" consisted of emailing some photos that I had promised to a friend; a task which, even at 26 weeks pregnant and rapidly expanding, was hardly taxing.  Well done me, I sent an email.  Meanwhile the flat remains in the sort of state that would have even the stars (contestants?  Victims?  "Stars" scarcely seems accurate) of the Jeremy Kyle Show ringing social services.

In fact, several of the participants on today's show had the accusation levelled at them that they couldn't be good parents (mothers.  It's always the mothers.  No one ever chides the men for being poor homemakers.  Not even Jeremy, who chides them for pretty much everything else) because their houses were "a tip."

Hmm.  I have the shattered remains of a cardboard box lying on the floor next to the dishwasher which formerly housed a piece of furniture I had delivered in February.  FEBRUARY.  Well, chopping it up into little bits so that it fits into the recycling chute requires effort.

Apparently, according to one of my books on hypnobirthing, just before a woman gives birth she suddenly develops a "nesting instinct," and runs fretfully around the house, cleaning and prepping everything in sight for the arrival of the baby.  I so wish this would happen to me.  At the moment I can't even be bothered to change the sheets on the bed (requires effort) and have been running the tumble dryer on repeat all day under the pretext that the clothes in there are not quite dry and so the washing machine cannot yet be freed up for cleaning sheets.  This is not because I don't want my sheets to be clean-everyone loves a clean sheet-but because I cannot bear the task of trying to stretch a fresh one over the bed, or worse, the horror of changing the duvet cover, the thought of which is enough to bring me out in a cold sweat.  This is why I need a husband.  I promise I will cook every meal he ever requires if he promises to change the bedclothes in perpetuity.

As my mother would say, in the verbal equivalent of shaking an accusatory finger at me, "You had better get this flat sorted out when the baby comes my girl."  

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Revelation: Having a Hangover is Basically Just Being Really, Really Tired

So apparently I should be relaxing and not overdoing it now that I am pregnant.

I also shouldn't be crossing my legs, as one person usefully reminded me, as I may "crush the baby."

I now feel infinitely guilty about all the times I have crossed my legs.

Also I must look massive, as at a friend's wedding on Friday, someone looked at me and asked "is there a midwife in the building?"  I should hope I don't need one at this stage, or we're in for a very long stay in the neonatal unit at best.

Anyway, at the aforementioned wedding I was delighted that I managed to stay up until 1am two nights in a row, AND dance to a great many tunes, feeling almost normal.  Until, that is, I went to bed and had to get up again within half an hour to be violently sick.

This is it, I thought.  I've got food poisoning.  I've got listeria.  OH MY GOD THE BABY IS GOING TO DIE!  Fortunately I was only sick the once, which I quickly decided ruled out food poisoning.  So the moral of the story is, a) don't stay up late and b) don't act as if you are not six months pregnant: i.e. by jumping up and down repeatedly and punching the air to the strains of Set You Free by N-Trance (what a tune.  It just doesn't age, that one).  If there's one thing I've learned from being pregnant, it's that sometimes you don't need to drink to develop the signs of a hangover, which I'm pretty sure I had the next day, although mercifully minus The Fear that comes upon realisation that you probably did something-or a great many things-that were bad the previous night.

Anyway, speaking of tiredness, it's now almost 9.15pm so definitely past my bedtime.