Friday, 30 May 2014

What if I don't love the baby?

Cannot believe it is now getting on for 2pm and, following an inadvisably large breakfast, I have done literally nothing.

Well, nothing except perusal of the internets, searching for such useful advice as "What if I don't love my baby?"

Well, what if I don't?  What if his constant wailing and not sleeping really pisses me off?  What if life as a single mother is miserable?  It probably will be a lot of the time.  I feel like I probably shouldn't be worrying too much about the future, as surely it's better to be mindful and live in the moment, but I can't escape the feeling that I am jumping off a ledge into the unknown, an unknown where there may well be storm clouds gathering and where I am no longer "glowing" with the joys of pregnancy and where people no longer compliment me for merely being able to walk around with relative ease ("You're doing really well-you're not having trouble walking or anything!" as if pregnancy was a debilitating condition-which I suppose, for some unfortunate women-it is).

Anyway, I suppose all I can do is take one step at a time, which at the moment means that everything seems unduly focused on the birth, which is all well and good, but surely the most important part is what happens after that, when I am lumbered with a tiny mewling creature who I have to try not to accidentally kill, and who is going to be around for THE REST OF MY LIFE.  Aargh!

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

On the hunt for a Vivienne Westwood birthing dress

Today I am mostly panicking about: baby positions.

That's right, it turns out that there is an optimum position for Baby to be lying in for the most desirable, Call the Midwife-style, two pushes and they're out form of childbirth which I am hoping to emulate.

And this, despite my jubilation at being told at my 28 week appointment that the baby was "head down," is not the position that Little One is currently adopting.  Although he is probably head down, it seems that he is also what is known as "back to back," meaning a more difficult and painful labour could be ahead.

I blame myself.  Apparently (so saith the Great Sage of Childbirth, the Internet) this is because nowadays we spend all our time lolling on sofas watching TV and surfing the internets instead of behaving like proper women and getting down on all fours to spend hours scrubbing floors.  I have probably never felt so guilty about my total lack of interest in cleaning.  Apparently the remedy for this is to spend as much time as possible on all fours, crawling about the house or sitting on a "birthing ball," something which I had up until this point considered a totally useless and co-ordinated flat decor-ruining item.

In other news, not only do I need to be getting around the place via the medium of crawling from now on, but I also need to be eating foods high in iron, as I am anaemic and so far my efforts to extract a prescription for iron tablets from the NHS have been farcical (twice I have been to the GP surgery only to find they have no record of my prescription request.  Thank God I'm off work this week.  In other work vs. NHS horrors, I am supposed to go for a repeat blood test at the hospital in a few weeks, but cannot make an appointment as bizarrely you just walk in for a blood test, although it has to be between the hours of 1pm and 2pm, which is of absolutely no use whatsoever when you have an employer who wants to see evidence of every appointment.  What am I supposed to do, take a selfie in the clinic?)

Lastly, the other main news this week is that I am surprisingly fussy about what I wear in bed, especially if that outfit is likely to be seen by the masses in hospital.  Usually I don't wear anything in bed, which is why it surprises me that I have suddenly become so fussy, but given that the likes of my mother and brother probably don't want me strutting around their house in the buff when I am staying with them after the birth (well actually my mother probably doesn't care, given the amount of times she has brazenly wandered around naked, causing my brothers and I to start screaming and covering our eyes-even now when we are supposedly sensible adults.  My brother, on the other hand, definitely will care, especially given his reaction to my bump-flashing the other day, when he shrieked "EWWW!  What is THAT???" at my bloated belly button).

Due to my need to buy some pyjamas for giving birth, breastfeeding and generally not frightening the horses, I spent much of yesterday trawling around Westfield, where I managed to buy a grand total of nothing-except a thermometer.  A must-have, according to the teacher in my antenatal class.  One thing the bloated belly now does, entertainingly, as well as provoke reactions from random passers-by "Ooh how cute!  What are you having?  When are you due?  Ooh, SOON!" is ensure that whenever one enters Mothercare, one cannot look at an overpriced pushchair for even a nanosecond without being pursued by over-eager salespeople swooping in like seagulls around a sandwich.  Anyway, back to pyjamas.  Why is it that they are either too big (M&S), too wintry (giant bunny onesies.  Why?  Also awkward to get out of when giving needing easy access for giving birth), too see-through or too chavvy (thank you La Senza for the latter.  I didn't realise that budding Katie Prices could still actually buy fluffy sequinned leopard print Ugg boot slippers with leopard print velour hotpant and T-shirt sleepwear combos for those all-important "just got out of bed and couldn't be arsed to wear proper clothes" paparazzi shots).  When my brother heard I was looking for an outfit to give birth in, he may have unwittingly identified a niche in the market with his comment, "What are you looking for?  A Vivienne Westwood birthing dress?"

Please make one Viv.  I can only imagine how brilliant that would be.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Attempts to Turn Baby Into a Genius: Part One

Following reading an article on the Guardian website about babies' intellectual development being boosted by their parents talking to them, I have just spent the last ten minutes giving Foetus a running commentary on What I'm Looking At On The Internet.

This included reading some articles on things I thought he might be interested in (the new Postman Pat film.  The Guardian gave it two stars and called it "inappropriate" so I decided we would give it a miss), my own personal comments on Christina Aguilera popping up on Facebook to use Mother's Day in the US to plug her new perfume ("bit shameless, that") and the latest on the search for MH370 ("they still haven't found it").

Foetus responded in the same way as usual-by saying nothing and wriggling about a bit.  I wonder if he's listening.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Sudden Panic at Actual Realisation that I am about to become Really, Really Poor


This pretty much sums up how I felt when I saw how much (read: *little*) I am going to get in maternity pay.  Seriously, it's so bad I almost considered having Little One adopted.


I am literally terrified.  Why am I not married?  WHY WHY WHY?

OK, need to calm down now.  Things could be worse.  I could have terminal cancer, for example.  Or I could be one of the kidnapped schoolgirls in Nigeria.  Or I could be Madeleine McCann.  This really isn't all that bad in the great scheme of things.  I haven't been kidnapped by Boko Haram, or burnt at the stake as a witch in medieval times.  I don't work as a prostitute in Whitechapel in 1888 and consequently Jack the Ripper poses no risk to me at all.

I might need to start working as a prostitute though if things get really rough.

It'll be OK.  It'll be like Pretty Woman and I can prance about in thigh-length boots and court gentlemen who are extremely wealthy and not at all seedy.

Everything is going to be OK.  I just need to breathe.  I'll just master the art of self hypnosis and mindful breathing and everything will be fine.

Went to my first NCT antenatal class last night.  Hilarious.  Some of the men were asking very silly questions about birth.  Men are silly.  I don't need a husband.  No, not at all.  I, on the other hand, was a total swot, showing off my knowledge about all things birth related to the assembled clueless marrieds.  I've read a few books on this subject you know, I'm practically a midwife.  Anyway, all was good until the end, when we had to work in pairs with our husbands (HA!) and do some dancing.  It was at that point that I could tell the woman running the course felt sorry for me as though I was some sort of Abandoned Wife.  It could have been worse to be fair, as when she first said we needed to work in pairs with the partners I thought for one horrifying moment that there was going to be a discussion of perineal massage.  PERINEAL MASSAGE, ladies and gentlemen.  It's ACTUALLY A THING!  The hypnobirthing book has an entire chapter devoted to perineal massage, that's how much of a thing it is.

Anyway, I'm going to get into the bath now and try some breathing techniques to calm myself down.  Hell, I might even engage in a spot of perineal massage while I'm at it.  It's supposed to reduce the likelihood of tearing.  Lovely.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

My Wild Night of Smoking and Drinking

Apparently Katie Price is pregnant with her fifth child.

Now despite my concern at the alarming prospect that the world may be being single-handedly repopulated by Katie Price (possibly with help from Kerry Katona), there is some grounds for hope here.  After all, Katie Price is older than me.  And at my age, anyone older than me being pregnant is grounds for a celebration.  I am not over the hill.  I am not the Oldest Mother-to-be in The World.  Maybe I even have time to marry someone and have another child after this one, despite the ever-lengthening odds.  There is hope.

In other news, as I may or may not have already said, I am now in the third trimester, which is obviously brilliant.  I never thought I would get this far, and Little One is poking me from the inside pretty much constantly, which is also brilliant.

Went to my second hypnobirthing class yesterday, and practised some deepening, relaxation, visualisation and affirmation techniques.  I'm not sure how helpful either of the latter two in particular are likely to be, but I have stuck some visualisation pictures up in my bedroom-one of an opening flower that is supposed to represent the cervix and vagina opening to let the baby out; and the other is a drawing of a baby in the womb, in the correct position for birth.  Hopefully visualising positive things works better that the many times I have visualised negative things and they have not happened, such as being on a plane plunging into the sea from a great height; or being attacked and robbed of my house keys on the way home when desperate for the toilet (number twos).  Not that I'm disappointed that neither of those things have so far come to pass, obviously.

As for the affirmations, all I can say is that I have to believe that chanting "I am ready to birth my baby. My body is designed perfectly to birth my baby in the easiest way possible" is going to be useful when the time comes, otherwise the whole thing is a waste of three hundred quid that could have been spent buying a Michael Kors tote to use as a changing bag.

Just put the TV on.  First thing that came on was snooker.  Snooker.  On a Sunday night.  This is an outrage.  Why isn't Downton Abbey on?  Who watches snooker anyway?

Anyway, last night I had a wild night of smoking and drinking.  It was just like the old days.  Well, OK I didn't really smoke even in the old days, but last night I was sat perilously close to a barbecue, and there was smoke coming off it, which I'm not sure was great for the baby, as I had to occasionally cough and bat the smoke away with an extremely ineffective hand flourish.  And also I wasn't really drinking (unlike the old days), but I did have an enormous wine glass filled with fantastically wine-resembling soft drink Shloer, which I believe prompted more than a few disapproving glances.  I can't wait to drink again.  I wish I was drinking now.  Although obviously I also wish that drinking was completely safe and had no detrimental effect on babies or their mothers.  I suppose that's a bit like saying I wish no bad stuff ever happened, ever, though.