Monday, 28 July 2014

Horrible Itchy Disease

Woman in the last days of pregnancy is not a pretty sight.

I, for example, have just thrown up the sole thing I have eaten today-a fried egg sandwich-and after three hours sleep it's all I can do to move off the sofa in order to search the cupboards for stray crisps.  That is, if I can allow myself to eat anything at all, as I have also convinced myself that I have a terrible liver condition which is slowly poisoning the baby.

It all started last night.  I had been itchy, on and off, for quite a while, but last night's itching was on a whole new level.  My mother had kindly given up her bed and allowed me to sleep in her double while she suffered in the single bed which for reasons of storage has two mattresses and lives in "my" teenage bedroom, but it was all to no avail.  I tossed and turned, scratching away and peering at the internet on my phone in the darkness.  Unfortunately, Dr Internet's diagnosis was that I had something called obstetric cholestasis, and that my baby was going to die.  There was even an accompanying article from the Daily Mail about someone this had Really Happened To, to prove the point.  It took until 3.30am for me to finally get to sleep, only to awake at 6.30, just in time for me to confess my fears to Mother before she went to work.  Mother has now taken to addressing frequent stern grandmotherly rebukes to the baby within, urging him that it is "time to come out now and meet your grandmother."  I'm starting to think that's why he's staying in.  It was all I could do to point, sobbing, to the relevant section in What to Expect When You're Expecting and wail, "Mum, I have this.  And the baby is GOING TO DIE."

And what if the baby did die?  What would I do?  How would the news be shared on Facebook?  How would I go back to work and face all the puzzled teenagers wondering what I was doing there?  How would I put myself through it all again?  And some people actually have to do that.  It's too hideous to contemplate.

Anyway, I have spoken to the midwife this morning and they are going to do some tests today to establish if I do have This Horrible Itchy Disease.  Hopefully the results will be quick.  And at least the baby won't be premature.  Which is pretty much all I have to comfort myself with at this point, given that EVERYONE in my antenatal class (even the ones who weren't due until mid-August) has managed to miraculously pop out their babies already, leaving me as the bottom of the class loser who's a bit slow and holding everyone else up.  All I have to feel smug about is that hopefully, if my baby is born alive as planned, he will be so advanced that he'll probably walk straight out of the womb and off to university, and I'll never have to worry about getting the hang of breastfeeding, weaning or toilet training as he'll pretty much already be a fully formed adult.

I wish the Internet had never been invented.

Friday, 25 July 2014


Baby still not here and predictably I am going crazy checking the Internets every five minutes for flimsy "reassurance" (which is not very reassuring when sites about "stillbirth" come up).

My mother is going frantic and worrying, and people are ringing up every five minutes asking if I've had the baby yet.  Meanwhile every time I have a hint of lower back pain I start kneeling on the floor and rocking back and forth just in case the long-awaited moment has finally arrived.

The good news is I did at least do something productive today.  Yesterday I had my hopes up as I could feel the baby pushing down and I had very mild but persistent lower back pain (cue ridiculous trying out of all the labour positions from my antenatal class, pacing around the house incessantly and complaining about lack of sleep) but it turned out that this was all a folly, and nothing happened.  Not even the faintest whiff of a contraction.  Today I had an appointment to see the midwife for a sweep, which was nowhere near as bad as the Netmums forums would have one believe, but which the midwife didn't seem to hold out much hope of being successful, explaining that most first time mums needed several and she'd see me again next week for another one.

NEXT WEEK!  I don't think I can cope with another week of re-reading What to Expect When You're Expecting yet again.  Meanwhile, all but one of the other people from my antenatal class have now had their babies, despite the fact that I was due third (out of seven)  Admittedly I didn't want a premature baby, nor did I want an emergency C-section following all manner of terrifying complications, as some of them endured, but still, WHEN IS THIS BABY COMING OUT????

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Baby seems to be keeping me waiting...

No, baby has still not arrived, and I am officially "overdue."

Cue prophetic warblings from my mother about how I am going to take after her and be ten days late, and mass hysteria on Netmums as I trawl through other people's appallingly written posts about how they have tried everything and baby still hasn't arrived, and is this normal?

I, for the record, have not tried everything.  I have not, for example, tried castor oil, which sounds both pointless and disgusting.  I have also not tried either "sex" or "nipple stimulation," even though these are slightly more amenable to me, purely because of lack of help in that department.  I mean, what am I supposed to do; put out a message on Facebook asking if anyone will take pity on me and sleep with me to get my labour going?  Anyway, surely if any of the multitude of other things that supposedly start labour-curry, pineapples-were in any way effective surely they would be used in hospital inductions.  One friend of mine has even quit eating pineapples for the duration of her pregnancy just in case it leads to premature labour.  I have defiantly continued to eat pineapples, in blatant disregard for the opinions of the good people of the Internet, with zero effect.

Anyway to cut a long story short, I am sat here wondering what to do with my life until the baby is born.  I feel as though I should be sat on a beach somewhere with a cocktail, enjoying my last days of freedom before I am forever tied down to a life of drudgery, but there aren't an awful lot of beaches around here, unless one counts the Severn Estuary where one is likely to disappear into the quicksand, and I'm pretty sure going on holiday when about to give birth is considered a bit of a no-no for insurance purposes.  Also the only cocktail I am likely to be drinking is a Virgin Mary, which kind of negates the point as surely one should be spending the Last Days of Freedom enjoying a life of wall to wall debauchery and hedonism, rather than self-sacrificing teetotalism.  Perhaps I should just spend all day sleeping, as this is something that will doubtless be in short supply over the next few months (years?  Oh God perish the thought.  What have I let myself in for?)

At least I will be able to drink again soon (assuming it IS soon).

Monday, 14 July 2014

Hurry Up Or I'm Going To Lose the Sweepstake

No the baby has still not emerged.  And tomorrow is 15th July, which is the date I predicted in the Baby Shower Sweepstake (no financial prizes, just the joy of winning), so it looks like I am going to have to take some drastic action to make the baby be born by the end of the day tomorrow.  Several members of my antenatal class (whose babies have come early) suggested vigorous housework, but things aren't that desperate yet.  And never will be.  Instead, I have decided on walking.  For a long time.

The only problem with this is that I tried it yesterday and it didn't work, possibly because I needed to sit down roughly every ten paces.  Added to this is the fact that I cannot go anywhere too remote, due to lack of toilets.  It's not so much fear of giving birth in a field that stops me, but fear of needing to empty my bladder in such a location; therefore any potential walking site will have to be within easy reach of pubs, cafes and other urban amenities.  Also I will be wearing flip flops for the duration of this walk, as these are the only shoes I have, so no trundling through muddy fields.

Anyway, it doesn't look as though any walking will be taking place in the near future anyway as my brother and erstwhile walking partner (don't want to be walking alone, just in case the plan is a bit too successful) is still in bed.  At 11.31am!  How the youth of today live!  I, meanwhile, have had an incredibly productive morning which consisted of cooking and eating an omelette, spending several hours on the internet researching what is supposed to happen at 39 weeks pregnant (answer: a load of waiting around) and watching the Jeremy Kyle Show, which I had to switch off after Jeremy unexpectedly changed the format mid-show from fighting imbeciles screaming obscenities at each other over one or more of the contestants' failures to get a job/see their children/admit to having children/remain sober to Jeremy himself "confronting his fear" of insects by being presented with a glass box full of cockroaches by two radioactively tanned people posing as psychotherapists.  It's all become very American.

Other than that the last few days (weeks? months?  I'm losing track.  How long has it been now?) have passed in a blur of being quizzed by relatives about what I am going to call the baby and why do I keep changing my mind and don't forget to tell us as soon as there's any news (I can just imagine the entire extended family turning up at the hospital with cameras ready to record the happy event the moment I go into labour, only to watch me being turned away as I'm zero centimetres dilated), and my mother trying to convince me to move to Bristol with claims about how it is so nice here as you can just get on a bus or train and be in Weston-Super-Mare quite quickly.

I thought about this and then decided that a) Weston-Super-Mare is rubbish and you can't even see the sea from there, and b) where I currently live I can "just get on a bus or a train" and be in most of the nation's premier attractions within half an hour anyway, so the likes of a donkey ride on the beach and severe eye strain from trying to see the sea at Weston-Super-Mare hold very little appeal.

Although come to think of it, a donkey ride seemed to get the Virgin Mary's labour started pretty effectively, in fact to the point of needing to seek emergency shelter in a stable, so might be worth a try.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Baby Still Not Here. I Feel Sick. Probably Because it's my Birthday

Summary of my day so far:  Got up, realised it was my birthday, threw up, returned to bed.

That pretty much says it all.  Thirty-four just has such a great ring to it.

Just exactly what last night's mushroom omelette and chips were still doing in my system ten hours after they were eaten is anyone's guess.  Does food just never get digested anymore?  Does being pregnant mean that one no longer has intestines and food just sits there in the stomach, gradually congealing forever?  The levels of acid reflux I am experiencing would suggest that it is so.

See, I told you this blog would be a veritable goldmine of Too Much Information.

In other news, the baby shows precisely no signs of wanting to come out yet, but then this is probably a good thing, since one would hardly want the prediction of one of my Year 11s "but miss, what if the baby comes on your birthday?" to come true, since that would mean never having a birthday ever again, but being condemned to spend own birthday in perpetuity stone-cold sober, trying to direct children's birthday party complete with overpriced party bags and screaming hordes of other people's children baying for cake.  Even at 34, I'm not sure I'm ready for that kind of self-sacrifice.

Also, mercifully the fact that the baby has not come yet has allowed me some time to prepare.  Preparing in this case means trekking to London and picking up piles of baby clothes, along with the few remaining threads that I can fit into, and organising an appointment with the midwife here in order to change hospitals, which I am feeling much better about now, as nobody within the NHS has sent out a lynch mob just yet.  My brother has amusingly referred to the whole process as me being like a salmon, returning to the land of its birth in order to breed.  Hopefully this doesn't mean I will not at some point in the future get away again, rather than be trapped forever as a house guest in single bed in my teenage bedroom which still has pink shelves on the wall which I adorned with glitter, and a door which, in a moment of arbitrary teenage madness and overexcitement at opening of local Ikea store, I painted purple, and which most tellingly of all still bears the blu-tac scars from the eighty-three pictures of Alessandro Del Piero I once festooned upon it.  At least the pictures themselves-lovingly cut out of the pages of the Gazetta Dello Sport no less-are not still there.

Where exactly the baby is going to sleep at this point remains something of a mystery.  My mother has kindly purchased a Moses basket, so he may well have to sit in it in the middle of the room like a bit of furniture or a suitcase no one quite knows where to put.  Alternatively there's his car seat, which I have to admit looks very comfortable from where I'm sitting.  Many's the time I've been tempted to park my expanding posterior in there, but I doubt I'd ever get out again and I'm not sure the safety tests are quite rigorous enough to see if the contraption will withstand overexcited parents trying to climb in with the-probably erroneous-belief that it might be more comfortable than a trip in the front seat with a neck pillow.  Come to think of it, babies do have pretty nice lives.  My brother has even expressed an interest in borrowing some of the Little One's clothes, although quite how he will look in a woollen sailor onesie from Le Petit Bateau is a matter of some debate.

Lastly, the only other noteworthy thing that has happened (it's been a slow day) is that according to the ancient scales in my mother's bedroom, I have lost three pounds.  Either that is an error on the part of the scales or I have stopped expanding and this must mean that the baby is ready to be born, right?

Watch this space.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Missing Work Already....

I'm writing this on my mother's home computer.

This means two things:
1.) I may be discovered and
2.) I'm not sure if that is good or bad.

I mean, it's not like anyone reads this blog due to the extreme veil of secrecy surrounding it.

Oh well.  Today is my first official day of maternity leave, and with the emails coming thick and fast from work, with content such as "Milly burst into my classroom as I was speaking to another student, shouting "English is rubbish at Key Stage Three anyway!"" and "Lionel kept saying repeatedly "I ain't doin' no detention for this," as I wrote the detention in his diary"* I have to say I'm missing it terribly.  About as much as one misses the proverbial hole in the head.

Meanwhile, I have been concerning myself with annoying beaurocracy that would put the European Union to shame, courtesy of the NHS (apparently it's not the done thing to be changing hospitals at 38 weeks, and everyone from hospital porters to the Health Minister is up in arms).  It's enough to make one want to dispense with hospitals entirely and give birth on their own, on a barge (I once read an article in the Guardian about a woman who had done exactly this.  I think she lived on the barge though.  In my case it might be a nightmare scrabbbling around at the last minute trying to find a canal and then an unlocked, unattended barge to sneak onto.  To be honest it might actually be easier to stick with the original plan, i.e., hospital.  Plus now I have a car seat they might let me out again).  Yes, I have an actual car seat and, despite my pronouncements of frugality and enhortation to my family to purchase-and I quote-"the cheapest one that is actually safe"-as though car seats in baby shops might be divided into two sections marked "safe" and "unsafe" and then priced accordingly so that you would pay considerably less for the ones that would be completely ineffective in an accident scenario, my mother bought the most expensive one, i.e. the one I actually like.  My brother has since been engaged in merry japes such as attaching it to the car, admiring it, taking it out of the car (my mother and I thought it might get stolen.  My brother seemed to think that such things only happen "up North" for some reason, as though "Up North" was some sort of lawless rogue state, while Down South exists in a constant state of utopia) and attaching it to the pushchair, the latter of which took about two hours.  I can now pretty much categorically guarantee that unlike my own mother in the eighties, I will not be a dab hand at running for the bus, tucking a toddler under one arm and folding a double buggy simultaneously.  To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure I'll even be able to remove the rain cover without assistance.  Still, I have been told that these things are instinctive, right?

*Names have been changed to protect the guilty

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Not a very yummy mummy....

Well I don't mean to sound ungrateful but I have to admit I am feeling less than enamoured with my physical appearance at the moment.

Today I actually discovered that I have fat feet.

Fat feet!  Perish the thought!  Cue visions of obese people squeezing their bloated plates of meat into too-tight ballet pumps, flesh spilling out over the top, ankles obliterated.

This is now me.

Anyway, at least my maternity leave is almost nigh.  Tomorrow is a training day, so today was basically my last day at work.  As much as it surprises me to say it, I actually felt quite sad.  To be honest this had more to do with the fact that I felt I was being usurped by younger, keener models and would return washed up, knowing no one and more bitter than ever, repeating endless soliloquies about how it all used to be better in my day, rather than emotional desolation at the thought of leaving the place.  Apparently I am already so old that I have actually taught one of the new teachers.  It's just as well I'm in the process of creating a new generation as clearly my own time on Planet Earth is now obsolete.

Fat, bloated and past it.  That's pretty much the shape of things to come.  YAY.