Sunday, 30 December 2007

Who's Snoring?

It's not raining, it's not pouring, and it certainly isn't the old man that's snoring - it's me!

I've never snored before, maybe the odd soft grunt when I have a cold, but never anything that could be described as snoring. Now I gently rumble my way through the night, not loud-keep-the-neighbours awake wood chopping (as RD would put it) but definitely snoring. I even snore on the settee when taking a nap! All made worse by the fact that since RD has given up smoking he hardly snores at all*.

I would have been mortified in my previous life, but now, well hey, it's just one of those pregnancy things...

*I know he's meaning to give up for ages, and the baby was just another reason, but aside from the fact that he is still a serious-social-smoker, and in his head I think he will aways be a cool rollie smoker, I'm really proud of the fact he gave up the evil-weed months ago. What bigger gift can he give his daughter?

Thursday, 27 December 2007

It's all over

The turkey has been eaten; the presents unwrapped and seasons greetings exchanged - Christmas is now well and truely over.

My Christmas was filled with love from my family, mostly provided by my four year old neice Hayley; I don't think I've ever had so many cuddles or had someone look forward to doing painting with me so much that it's the last thing on their mind at bedtime and the first, first thing in the morning.

I spoke to my Daddy for the first time in years, I saw my Grandparents, Auntie Cherry and Uncle Bob and my cousins, including Alfie who I'm ashamed to say I hadn't met before and he is now 18 months old! And I saw my best friend Jenny and her lovely family too.

Bobette was loved too, pats and rubs from her Grandma and presents! Even I bought her a present: a lovely edition of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.

A real family christmas filled with lots of love - isn't that what it's all about? (Oh, that and the presents too.)

As I type this RD is enjoying a pint (or 7) with with his mate to recover from all this family business and I'm drinking Gaviscon from the bottle to calm serious indigestion. Who knew all this love could be so uncomfortable.

You could call it a hunch, but I'm guessing next Christmas will be very different for us - we'll be parents!

Saturday, 22 December 2007

Say Cheese

I swore I wouldn't; I was adamant I had far better things to spend money on for the baby; RD wasn't overly fussed - said it always looked like they had been stuffed into a pint glass. But, we did it anyway.
We went for a 3D scan (4D if you count movement). And as excited as we were to see our baby girl again, RD was right, it does look a little bit like she has been stuffed in a pint glass...

(The reason you never see her forehead is that it's nestled deep in my pelvis, and she is snuggling up to the placenta, using it as a pillow.)

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Does my Bum Look Big in This?

I know, I know, it’s not the right question to ask a boy, but as I am now the heaviest I have ever been it was inevitable I would start to panic.

Yesterday morning it was the sight of my backside in a green woollen dress that caused me angst, and I just had to ask RD the dreaded question: ‘No’ was the response I got as he continued to stare blankly at his laptop.
‘You didn’t look,’ I protested
‘I didn’t need to, I know what your bottom looks like,’ came the reply.
‘But I think it’s grown, look now,’ I said, predictably.

Of course he said no it hasn’t, but he has to say that doesn’t he? And I’m sure my knickers are getting a little snug.

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

T'is the Season to be Jolly...

And I’m certainly round enough to say ho, ho, ho.

I love Christmas, I really do. My tree goes up on the first of December, I was 2 days late this year and I think the street thought Christmas was cancelled.

This year I’m not feeling quite so festive: I normally wrap my presents sitting in front of the fire, with a good old Christmas movie on the tele and a Whisky Mac in my hand. This year it was a hot Ribena but it wasn’t the same, even wrapping presents sitting on the floor proved tricky, although my bump did prove to be a handy place to keep the sticky tape. I’ve been so disorganised I haven’t written any Christmas Cards.

And worst of all, I haven’t been to any, yep not ANY, Christmas parties. My two most festive moments so far are the festive lunch I held at mine, complete with candles, crackers and board games, and my favourite busker playing Silent Night on his acoustic guitar. (Oh, and I may have slightly over indulged in Quality Street at work on Monday – does that count as festive?)

RD is a reluctant season jollier and is determined to make the most of the last Christmas he can Bah humbug his way through, that is before he has to enjoy the festivities for the sake of our daughter. I’m sure Christmas will once again be magical when seen through a child’s eyes. Will we really be parents this time next year?!

Now where did I put my Father Christmas beard?

Monday, 17 December 2007

1, 2, 3 ...

Yesterday I forgot how to count.

Well, that’s not exactly true, sitting here I could merrily count my way into the millions (okay, I may not be so merry in the end, in fact I’d probably be asleep by the time I got 500), but my numerical skills definitely failed me. Not good for someone who is allegedly a qualified accountant.

I cooked lunch for 9 and found it challenging to multiply the ingredients of 6 person recipes by 1.5; it took a lot of concentration (I think I even had to stick my tongue out at one point) and in the end there was a query as to whether I’d got the amount of chilli in the chocolate pudding right!

But the most humiliating thing of all was the struggle with which I laid the table: first I counted the place settings, then I wasn’t sure I’d counted that right so, I counted the wine glasses. When dishing out pudding I also kept loosing my place, but luckily my willing assistant Gary managed to count to 9 without using his fingers.

But I didn’t forget to enjoy myself (and it wasn’t just because my team won Articulate).

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Orange Fizz

As an old bird at 35, I have had to have a couple of extra tests, the combined Nuchal test for Downs syndrome (showing a 1:3600 chance which was cool) and now a glucose tolerance test. Apparently, as I have just turned 35, I am more at risk of developing gestational diabetes, which could have many implications including a very large baby.

So, Friday I went for my GTT. According to many mumsnetters, this test can take many forms but all ending in the drinking of lucozade. My test didn’t involve fasting, or restricting sugar. I simply had to drink 250 mls of Original Lucozade an hour before my appointment. They said they could provide the Lucozade but then I’d have to wait an hour, so I though best to get my own.

It had to be the original bright orange drink you were force fed as a child at any hint of poorlyness. I think I’d forgotten about the taste and only remembered the duvet-on-the-sofa cosy feel that accompanied being poorly as a child. The Lucozade was foul; I was pleased to leave the remaining 100mls in the bottle.

Then came my second disappointment: I was quite excited to be meeting a midwife from ‘my team’ for the first-time, as I have said before I thought your midwife was meant to be your best friend throughout this journey. This midwife was nice enough, she was efficient but showed no interest in really discussing anything beyond doing my blood tests, blood pressure, feel baby etc. I tried to ask some birth questions about birthing pools but she really didn’t want to chat, so I left with an odd shaped bruise from the blood test and no reassurance at all about the care I’ll get in labour. Oh, she did tell me I was too early for the birthing centre they are opening in April! Time to accept that it’s not how I thought it would be…

On the plus side, since being pregnant, my blood pressure has been the healthiest it has ever been; RD says this isn’t an excuse to stay pregnant forever.

Friday, 14 December 2007

I Heart my Mini

I may have said good bye to my toes but I will not, I repeat, NOT, bid farewell to my Mini!

It's true, I started a love affair on Valentines day 2004 and it's still going strong. I fell in love with my Mini; it was built to my specification, even down to the target on the roof, and paid for with my cash. And it still makes me smile.

I don't need a people carrier (thank you Chris), nor a stretch hatch (estate), I just need my Mini and a pram that folds up small.

After a Christmas shopping trip when we found that my niece's fairy toadstool wouldn't fit in the boot, even RD has started on the we-need-a-more-sensible-car bandwagon. If he wants a bigger car, let him buy one!

Many things in my life are about to change, just not my car!

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Dawn Chorus Line

I’m not sure if it’s because I’m a wake I feel her, or that I’m awake because of her, but at 5am it often feels like I have the whole chorus line from the Moulin Rouge in my tummy. There is kicking, and spinning and every now and then there is even a Fame style leap, well that’s what it feels like to me. Perhaps I should buy her some leg-warmers…

RD just laughs and moves his hand away in case it’s him she’s being cross at. I have pointed out that I think she just wants to play, especially as we have discovered that if you slightly jiggle my bump she kicks back. I think she’s inherited her father’s shake-your-bum-on-stage gene (he does do it so well), she is a little performer.

Monday, 10 December 2007

It's all Educational

Having devoured books, I’ve switched to slightly cheaper ways of fuelling my pregnancy information addiction. I read (and occasionally comment on) Alpha Mummy in The Times on line; I’m trying to join in with a virtual ante-natal group on Mumsnet; Babycentre is a mine of information and I love getting my weekly updates on what is happening inside my tummy. Away from the net, beside my loo, my saucy magazines have been replaced with Pregnancy and Birth. And then there are all the blogs…

I must say it’s all quite an education, but not always a happy one. I’ve been terrified about labour (I’m over it now – I just choose to not think about it yet); enlightened about Placenta Previa; and many other pregnancy complications. Generally though it’s nice to hear other people’s experiences and to know where to go if you have a slightly odd question to ask – it’s amazing how easy it is to get personal in the virtual world! On the plus side I’d not heard of Group B Strep until I read about it in P&B, and now I’m adamant I want to be tested for it. It’s a virus that a mother can have, without realising it, and pass on to her baby and it can be fatal for the baby, but they can do something about it, they just don’t routinely test for it so surely that’s money well spent even if I have to go private for the test?

Generally, I must say, without wishing to be smug (but obviously sounding smug anyway), I feel pretty lucky to be enjoying the pregnancy as I am with only a few minor aches and pains.

My Baby takes the Morning Train...

Everyday I commute into the city for work, it’s not a pleasant experience but it’s not the worst commute in the world. Generally I head for a slow train so I am guaranteed a seat, if I’m in a rush and end up on a fast train it can be hit or miss as to whether I get a seat or just get studiously ignored. Then at Waterloo, I change for the Waterloo and City Line, or the ‘Drain’ as it is affectionately called; this can involve up to twenty minutes queuing (well standing in an enormous crowded being shuffled around) to get on the platform and then a mad crush to get on the tube. The tube only takes 6 minutes and I’m actually more likely to be offered as eat on this crammed sardine-can of a train than on my over-ground journey.

This morning my journey to work started badly: I missed my slow train by 30 seconds (because my hold-ups decided to fail me on the way), so I waited for a fast train (with a look a kin to a fat Nora Batty); this was slightly delayed and already jam packed. The doors opened and I was shoved in from behind. For the first time ever, I turned around and in a very loud voice said ‘Do you mind not pushing as I am seven months pregnant and do not appreciate having my bump used as a battering ram.’ There were a few blushes, and even more ‘it wasn’t me’s it was behind me’s’. I had now made the decision to get off the train at Richmond and catch the slower underground to Monument. This was just as well, because despite being vindicated by the guard on the train, I was embarrassed to have turned into a nasty shouty Monday morning commuter.

Such a great start to the week, I'm counting down the commutes - less than 30 to go.

Thursday, 6 December 2007


I have recently said goodbye to my toes, and therefore other more personal areas are certainly out of view from above. As I’m normally quite meticulous in my maintenance of these areas I thought I would overcome the various logistical difficulties and hand over the tending of my lady-garden to the professionals. I left my pruning for a week or so in preparation.

I’ve been waxed and had laser treatment before and, other than a sensation I would rate above discomfort, all has been well. The beautician warned me that it can be ‘more sensitive’ than normal when you are pregnant, and proceeded to inflict the most pain I think I have ever had in my life. In the end she had to say ‘I think this is all you can take’; my wincing, flinching and tears in my eyes had given me away. My thorough waxing left me feeling smooth but slightly nauseous for some hours afterwards.

I think I may have to become like Mary, Mary, quite Contrary and leave my garden to grow with ‘silver bells and cockle shells, and pretty maids all in a row’.

I Forgot

On Monday I forgot my house keys; on Tuesday I did the same, but when I left work early to get home before RD went out I forgot my shopping. I went back to office to get it, and I think they thought I forgot to go home.

I forgot my friend’s son’s birthday, which is indeed a terrible sin.

But worse of all, this morning I forgot my jingly Mayan Ball; I feel naked.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Don't drink, don't smoke. What do you do?

Some days I do feel like I’m glowing with being pregnant. I marvel at how my body can not only support me and my daily routines, but can grow a whole other little person too. On these days I’m proud of my bump, I can flaunt my cleavage with glee and I can smile confidently at the world and the world smiles back. Guys on trains even offer their seats to the ‘pretty pregnant lady’, and then I definitely glow.

Other days I feel like a big fat Buddha who has lost his ability to bring luck. I’m lumpy, bumpy and round. I’m no longer the last to leave but I look forward to my bed; I don’t get silly tipsy and stay in the pub talking rubbish to the wee small hours; I’m dull and boring and can only talk about being pregnant.

I wonder where I’ve gone and is this a taste of things to come?

Monday, 3 December 2007

The Other D Word

Darling Daddy has been doing DIY for his, undoubtedly, delightful daughter. Yes, the other D word is DIY, and RD is becoming a pro. Armed with an electric screwdriver, a scarily large drill borrowed from next door and the right drill bit, he can tackle anything. The wrong drill bit led to much swearing and questioning as to ‘Why I am doing this?’; I’m not sure my response of ‘because I’m nesting’ was quite the right one, but he couldn’t really argue with it!

The tally so far is: 3 bookcases; 4 curtain poles and 3 blinds. Now what else needs doing….

Sunday, 2 December 2007

This Little Pig...

Like the little pig I seem to be going ‘wee, wee, wee, all the way home’.

Now, I know getting on and off the scales is not the best form of exercise, but surely running up and down the stairs 5 times an hour to go to the loo must make me a fitter mum-to-be?

I’ve tried the rocking to move the baby off the bladder trick and I still need to go. I’m sure she is sitting on it like Little Miss Muffet on her tuffet and nothing will make her get off it.

A Culture Rich Day?

Saturday Bobette went to her first Springboks rugby game (I obviously went too).

It was in fact very much a day of mixed culture (in the loosest sense of the word). We started the day by cooking Boere (BoereworsSaffa sausage that they are very proud of) on the Braai (barbecue to the rest of the world that isn’t from SA) for RD’s Uni friends. Then we headed to Twickenham to watch the world-cup-winning Springboks loose magnificently to the Barbas. (Bryan Habana played but, disappointingly, didn’t run and the less said about the score line the better as far as RD is concerned.)

We had fabulous seats on the half-way line, not that Bobette could see much, but the English side of the day begun in the second half when the clear blue sky yielded rain! From the rain onwards it was English traditions all the way: Off to the pub for a pint (of water for me); over the road for a curry; then to our local bar for another pint where I succumbed to half a pint of Fruili.

My daughter may be being raised in England, with English manners and an English education, but she will also know about where her father is from. SA may be a mess politically and RD may be happy here but SA is still his home, and I hope we will take Bobette to see it many times as she grows up so she can get to know her South African relatives and heritage too. (Yes, and I quite fancy a trip too!)

But, she will probably learn French or Spanish not Afrikaans; and she will say ‘Yes’ not ‘Yah’!

Friday, 30 November 2007


I'm feeling a little blue, a little down-in-the-dumps.

I'm not sleeping properly and I feel like I've been pregnant forever.

In the words of a song, 'every silver lining has a cloud, each piece of good fortune must be paid for by the pound...'

Humph, think it's time to put on some tunes and dance.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

In vs Out

My inny is becoming an outy. My tummy button is making a quest for freedom; after years as an unremarkable dimple in my tummy it is trying to broadcast it’s status as an important bodylogical (yes, I know I’ve just made that word up) landmark.

I’m not sure I want the world to know I have a tummy button, (not a belly button; my mother always taught me that pigs have bellies,) but as my skin stretches over my rapidly increasing bump, it is there for all to see. It started it’s quest for liberation many weeks ago and I think it is almost there.

I do hope it goes back in again.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Days and Counting...

It’s 628 days since RD first kissed me, at romantic Earls Court Tube Station (it was the first day I worked with him too!)*; 167 days since we conceived Bobbette, in the more romantic setting of The Wellington Hotel, Ventnor (not Parkhurst Forrest as RD would have you believe); 38 more working days before my self-funded (with help from RD) maternity leave; and most importantly of all…

99 days until D day!

*For the mathematically minded, if the baby is four days late, it will be 2 years, to the day, since that first kiss.

Monday, 26 November 2007

Agent Provocateur

Hooray, I've found something else in the oh-so-virtuous world of Gentle Birth that I can follow: Dr Gowri Motha has helped Agent Provocateur design their maternity and post-natal underwear.

So, not only am I justified in the name of sauce for spending £70 on a bra, but also in all that is the natural, red tent way of birth I'm being good to my baby.

Everyone's a winner, even RD.

Sunday, 25 November 2007

A Lovely Sunday

I have just had a lovely Sunday. Days always start better with a lie in and a cuddle, although Bobbette managed to land a few well aimed kicks on RD’s arm as he snuggled up behind me, so he repositioned himself to avoid the ‘abuse’. (I think she was less disgruntled at his arm positioning as more wanting to play, but more of that later.)

Then I had my photo shoot. Well, RD took some pictures of my bump, it was quite fun really and made me feel a lot better about the changes that are happening to my body; it’s always good to know you are still worth taking pictures of. And, I must confess it lead to a return to bed! I’ve already warned you that I feel saucier than a bottle of HP, and we haven’t had to change position too much, yet.

After chores, this evening was spent on the sofa where I demonstrated to RD how Bobbette plays; gently wobble my bump and she’ll kick back! As much as RD smiles and plays, I’m not so sure he finds this quite as fascinating as I do!

She still makes me smile as I commute, and that’s no mean feat.

Saturday, 24 November 2007

A Wider Stance

My bump now touches my thighs when I do roll-downs in Pilates; wing-mirrors on parked cars make an uncomfortable hazzard; and it gets in the way, slightly when I put on my socks.

I think the time has come to adopt a wider stance.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Fun and Games

I have just spent a blissful half an hour playing with my baby. Yes, you read correctly, I've been lying on my settee playing with my wriggly and giggly bump.

You know what? I think she's been playing back.

I was so excited I texted RD, who's in the pub watching the footie. He'll play too tomorrow; maybe we'll try the light game, apparently she'll respond to light being shone on my tummy.

I'm excited.

Great Skin

I have a theory as to why you have great skin when pregnant, and it's nothing to do with hormones.

It's because you are never too drunk to take your make-up off.

Monday, 19 November 2007

Tired and Windy

I had two heartening pieces of news today. The first came from my consummate-party-girl friend, she announced that she was going organic as she was feeling tired and windy (my paraphrase), and she’s not even pregnant! So, we are planning nights out to Organic restaurants and Art Galleries instead of just the pub; a relief to a tired and windy Mum-to-be.

With my obsession with my weight gain, (gain which will, hopefully, be slowed by my joining in with the healthy plan of party-girl), I asked my yoga-bunny friend how much she gained during her recent pregnancy. As she is a fit, half marathon running (yes, while pregnant), yoga bunny I was almost dreading the answer, but this is what she said:

‘I do think every day or two about the stone and a half I still need to shift and how my running mate gave birth and only was 4lb over her pre-pregnancy weight and then I reach for another biscuit and give Harriet a cuddle and I couldn't care less about it!’.


Saturday, 17 November 2007

From Afar

It seems that they do things better oveseas. Look at Bobbette's pretty play gym from France (ok, I got it from Amazon) - not a Disney character in sight.

This lovely vest came all the way from South Africa, it has a whole new view on the world...

an Africa centric one. This is thanks to RD's family, I'm sure they'll teach Bobette all about SA one day.

Friday, 16 November 2007

Farewell to an Old Favourite

A very sad thing hapened to me today. I wore my favourite red-over-the-jeans-dress for the last time for a while.

It's always been my favourite and I thought it would be faithful to me throughout my pregnancy, but alas not...

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Fidget Widget

If you think my widget fidgets (see bottom left corner) that’s nothing compared to the motion in the ocean that is my tummy. Bobbette is an active girl, tumbling, stretching and hiccupping her way through the day and night. Quite often at the oddest of moments I’ll feel her; I could be trying to put forth a controversial point of view in a meeting and suddenly the bouncing in my tummy will make me giggle, or I’ll be chatting away and be kicked, rather rudely, in the ribs.

I love the fact that she is always reminding me she is there; it’s a comfort to feel her, and know she is growing, and growing. So, I spend hours each day with my hands on my bump, stroking and rubbing her, trying to work out where she is. I even read that she will recognise RD’s touch and I can’t wait until she kicks him while he’s cuddling me (us) as we sleep.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Pregancy Ache 57 (or there abouts)

Okay, so I concede that pregnancy does some funny things to a girl's body: I expected the morning sickness, I'm dreading the stretch marks and swollen ankles. I was a little surprised by Symphysis Pubic Dysfunction, but hey, a girls pelvis is bound to take a battering eventually in this saga and luckily my aches and pains haven't been that bad.

But who would expect Carpal Tunnel problems?!

Yes, you read correctly. The other morning I woke up with excruciating pain in my wrist and no sign of a sprain. Luckily I braved Pilates and Chris suggested Carpal Tunnel. I looked it up, and apparently it's quite common in pregnancy - who'd have guessed it. Luckily my lovely Osteopath Tom has now added this to my treatment list!

I know pregnancy does cause some weird aches and pains but I still love it.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Nearly Week 24

Actually feeling rubbish today. Felt sick and dizzy on the train despite being comfortably seated and having had a slice of rye toast before leaving home.

I think its time for a lifestyle change, too much angst, too much socialising and not enough Pilates, exercise and relaxation. These days my only form of regular exercise is the 4 escalators I scale on my way between Monument and Bank tube stations and getting on and off the scales each morning (we all know that ‘getting on and off the scales is not the best form of exercise’)! Oh, I do have bi-weekly sessions with Chris my Pilates teacher.

The escalators leave me out of breath, and so little Pilates is not going to help. And I bought a maternity swimming costume especially. I was determined to be a fit, healthy and glowing Mum; I can’t be tired before the baby arrives…

Monday, 12 November 2007

Party Animals

Yesterday we went to our first first birthday party.

I think for the first 20 minutes or so we were in shock. Not just at the babies and how quickly they grow, (although the thought that we will soon have one of our very own is always a little surreal,) but also at the baby proofing activities at force in the house: the stair gates that amuse babies (they like cage rattling or so it seems) and prevent inebriated (not me) adults from reaching the loo; the rubbery things on doors to stop, or at least reduce the risk of, little fingers being caught in them during a game of how-hard-can-I-slam-this; and the kitchen cupboard security doofries that provide even the heartiest little boy with a challenge of strength. (Not to mention the toilet proofing activities undertaken by RD’s other friend in order to save her tooth brush.) Of course none of this will prevent all mobile babies trying the table cloth trick or a game of hunt the fullest, unattended glass of red wine. (I’m exhausted just typing this.)

RD spent the afternoon drinking beer and talking to his mate, the pretty party girl’s proud father, about work, golf, children (and the possibility of building a side-car to combine the last two), the universe and everything. By the end of the afternoon, a tipsy RD had decided he was moving to the Amazon and couldn’t be contacted for the next 18 years! Me, I did what’s expected of pregnant girlfriends; I talked to the mothers about prams, breastfeeding (some were still doing it one year later!) Gymboree, and Little Acorns music group. And, actually, I quite enjoyed it.

Things I learnt: I was surprised at the cost of Gymboree but maybe it is worth the money as the children were, by varying degrees, playful, friendly and angelic. I also learnt that Zara has cool (i.e. not pink and frilly), little outfits for little girls that cost little pennies. And that you can get environmentally friendly nappies (more of this in another post) cheaply through the NCT. (Okay, these may not be life changing but are becoming scarily interesting.)

One familiar thing about the party was the carnage of empty wine bottles and beer cans that was left in the kitchen, what was unfamiliar was that the party ended at 5, well before any normal party would have begun, and that I was sober. I suppose this is the shape of parties yet to come…

Sunday, 11 November 2007

D Words

Perhaps RD isn’t quite so reluctant anymore. I have definitely noticed the D word slipped into sentences with increasing frequency, the D word being ‘Dad’. I must say I like it, I think he’s going to be a great Dad; a doting Dad, she’ll have him wrapped around her finger from day one because he’s a sucker for a pretty girl, and if she’s our daughter she’s bound to be (not that we’ll be biased of course). He’s busy coding up his photo blog so he can present his beautiful baby to the world. ( He has also made another unaccompanied purchase – a baby sling, so either he is getting used to the idea or there is a pretty sales assistant in Mamas and Papas.*)

The other D word is Daughter, as I said before this is a whole different ball game to ‘baby’. This one always brings those prickles in my nose and tears to my eyes. I mean a baby is kind of a thing, but a daughter is a little person, a lifetime responsibility and, hopefully, joy.

* We were looking at the Baby Bjorn which is pricey but looks very good and highly recommended, but then I noticed the Mamas and Papas one looks equally as good and is nearly half the price. Unfortunately the gorgeous guy wearing the sling on the website doesn’t come with, not even to show you how to put it on. I did try on said sling and I think it is definitely an item to practice with – it’s very confusing, the instructions don’t help; it needs a DVD – hopefully presented by the cute guy or my equally good looking RD, of course.

Friday, 9 November 2007

Baby Books

I am an avid reader, I don’t really like to go anywhere without a book, so for me one of the natural reactions to being pregnant was to log onto Amazon and see what books I could order. It wasn’t so much that I was worried about what I didn’t know, but more because I was excited and this was a way of adding to my enjoyment of impending motherhood.

Having been pregnant before I already had one book, and until the danger of miscarriage had passed I didn’t allow myself to buy anymore. My technical book of choice was ‘The Pregnancy Bible’ I love the way it is written: the fold out pictures of what is happening to my body and the graphics of the baby. It’s sensible, down to earth and helpful. (We did have ‘What to Expect when you are Expecting’ but gave it to a charity shop having decided it was too much like a text book and certainly not pretty enough.)

The Fat Ladies Club was a collection of mildly amusing stories about being pregnant, but it didn’t really do much for me. Maybe it’s because I think my girlfriends’ stories are funnier.

The next book I read was Jo Frost (Supernanny) Confident Baby Care, and I loved this book. I love the fact that she sees a parent’s role as being to show the baby how wonderful the world is, she made me excited to be a Mum. I have said if there is one book RD reads it should be this one, it will teach about technicalities such as nappy changing and swaddling but also about the joy of being a parent. Her advice is realistic and practical but loving at the same time.

Next I read a book I knew I’d hate, Gina Ford. I had to read it to make sure I wasn’t dismissing something out of hand without really knowing what it was about. I hated it. I like the fact the baby is quickly in a routine – who wouldn’t (and some of the bedtime advice might be useful), but it made me feel like being a Mum was only going to be a chore, not a thing of joy and wonder like Jo. I wanted to burn this book.

Having watched ‘Bringing Up Baby’ (and sharing the national Clare-Verity-should-be-burned-at-the-stake opinion) I did buy Dr Spock, but I haven’t read it, it looks like another text book.

On the recommendation of my Pilates teacher I have just finished reading Dr Gowri Motha’s Gentle Birth Method; this is where he had picked up the visualisations from. While I’m not entirely convinced thinking of waves will make labour easier, I thought it worth adding to my arsenal. Dr Motha has excellent credentials; she is a disillusioned obstetrician who decided that there must be a gentler approach to birth that would benefit both mother and child. Her pregnancy diet is strict – I don’t think I could give up my cheese and marmite paninis, and there are lots of herbal remedies, but as someone who believes in the strength of meditation and whose spiritual side likes to tap into the power of Reiki, the idea of visualisations and self-hypnosis to help calm and reassure does appeal. So I’ve also bought the CD. (I’m not so sure about the vaginal stretching; I know it makes sense but …)

I have a couple more baby books on my bedside table; I’ll let you know when I’ve read them.

Thursday, 8 November 2007


The day after we discovered that we were soon-to-be parents of a daughter we went and purchased a suitable carriage, we bought her a pram. This must be the single most expensive purchase that will be made by a soon-to-be-parent.

I know many Dads pour over technical specifications as if they were buying a car; we didn’t really do that. We had two criteria: it has to fold up small enough to go in my mini (which I refuse to swap for an estate car anytime this millennium), and have a proper carry cot i.e. be a pram not just a buggy. I’m an old fashioned girl who wants to see her baby slumbering peacefully in her pram in the fresh air while I am, obviously, a serene together lady-who-lunches (look a girl can dream).

Armed with this criteria I felt my choices had been limited to the over-subscribed- celebrity/Richmond-accessory the Bugaboo and the Quinny. The Bugaboo, as much as I hate to admit it, is a great pram hence it’s popularity, yes it’s expensive but it is good. The Quinny seems to be gaining in popularity with it’s nifty hydraulic self-rising thingamajig, but is heavier than the Bugaboo, although slightly cheaper and much simpler to operate. Okay, so it was these two choices that I introduced to RD while sitting outside a pub by the river; it was a sunny bank holiday and every configuration of these two prams went by. RD managed, between pints, to feign some level of interest. I briefly flirted with a much cheaper, third option a Nippabout which is sold in one of the only independent nursery shops near me, Happicraft (to be honest I nearly bought it simply because of the shop’s independent status). All these fitted in the boot my mini.

Considering his distinct lack of interest, imagine my, and his, surprise when RD came home from town one day and announced that he had seen a good looking pram in the window of Mamas and Papas. I felt it my duty to investigate an option that had actually grabbed his attention. So a couple of Saturdays ago, we braved Regents Street on a Saturday and went to look at said pram – the Ziko. It’s cool, it’s green, it’s light, has a tight turning circle (a must in Victorian terraced house) and it’s a pram. Best of all, Mamas and Papas do a car seat in which the baby can lie down when it’s not in the car, i.e. when it’s on the pushchair or free standing. This is a big plus for someone whose journey home to visit her grandma would take longer than the 2 hours recommended for sitting in a car seat (it crushes their diaphragm apparently).

So we bought it, we bought it all, but because of superstition all we have to show for our investment is a receipt! (It’s believed that to have the pram in the house before the baby is bad luck.

RD has since made another, unaccompanied, baby purchase: we have a cool Baba Bing! nappy bag, chosen because it has labels on the pockets so he knows what to put in them.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

23 Weeks Pregnant

I think I might have to succumb to being 23 weeks pregnant. I keep filling my diary with evening engagements and my weekends with long-to-do lists, brunches, lunches and nights out. But, as much as I am loathe to admit it, I’m tired!

I love the fact that I have a life; I’ve made sure of it, in many ways I’ve been busy just to prove that I shouldn’t be written off from the social world, not yet anyway. I know my life is going to change, for the better, but please, please remember I want to have fun too. Yes, I’ll be a Mum but I’ll still be me won’t I?

So, perhaps being busy 5 nights of the week is a little over-the-top so I’ve decided to spend my weekday evenings, mostly, swimming and chilling. Good for baby and good for me – especially as I’m started to gain weight and girth.

As with all well intentioned regimes, it will start next week; I’m out for dinner tonight with my BFF, and then, tomorrow, I have a hot theatre date with RD (box seat tickets at the sold-out Macbeth no less)…

Sunday, 4 November 2007


When I was a little girl I had a favourite book, it was so much a favourite I can even remember the bookshop where we bought it, not the name or the place but just the shop, I know it was on the mainland and it had been raining. I still have the book, 'Come Back Amelia Bedelia'.

I loved this book so much that as soon as I was old enough to think about having children I said I would name my daughter Amelia, not Amelia Bedelia but Amelia Millicent (after my maternal Grandmother). As my friends and family have also always known this they dutifully resisted naming their own girls Amelia.

Now I'm having a baby girl but she won't be called Amelia. As I have mentioned, earlier this year I had a miscarriage and both RD and I, independently, believe that that child would have been a baby girl, and in my head she is Amelia.

At 10 weeks I may not have known much about her, but she's not forgotten, she's at the seaside where we were when we lost her, and she's called Amelia.

Saturday, 3 November 2007


Today I spent a very rewarding hour with another man in my life – my Pilates teacher Chris, from Pilates on the Green. I’ve doing Pilates for about 10 years now, some years more earnestly than others, and recently it has been less earnest, but during some of my darkest times Pilates has helped. Yes, I know it sounds strange to say that a form of exercise can see you through, but I love it, I don’t really know why I don’t do it more often.

Anyway, back to Chris. I used to attend Chris’ classes at the gym but now I have one-to-one sessions as well. I try and see him every fortnight, especially as I get ready to have this baby. Chris seems to specialise in ante and post-natal Pilates and today, as my bump is definitely more pronounced, he started some work on breathing and visualisation. This, hopefully, should help me during labour. Chris has a very soothing voice and it was actually a wonderfully relaxing exercise. Although, let’s face it, I’m trying hard not to think about labour too much, and I doubt it will be so relaxing then, but every little helps.

Another strange thing happened today, I was doing stamina pelvic floor squeezes (RD will be pleased) and as I did so Bobbette started exercise classes of her own. I realised this was the first time I’d done Pilates since I really could feel her move; I guess my bouncing pelvic floor was like a trampoline for her! Our exercises weren’t always complementary and I must say it’s a very odd sensation something inside moving independently from your outside.

In the bath this evening I could actually see her move, as well as feel her. RD seemed quite please on Thursday when he felt her for the first time, I’m sure he’ll be fascinated by seeing her too.

Friday, 2 November 2007


The shopping has begun…

I seem to have overcome my issues with buying things for the baby. As you can see she has a bumper haul…

Dresses from Next; babygros from Baby Gap (note to self: let these be gifts next time); essentials from Blooming Marvellous; bedding and towels from Mamas & Papas; books from Tate Modern (RD bought these)… And so the list goes on… and on…

Not to mention the goodies that came over from South Africa with RD's Sister...

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

It Brings Tears to my Eyes

I think I may be a little hormonal.

Someone on the rather over-crowded, worse than a sardine can, Waterloo and City line gave up their seat for me: cue prickles at the top of the nose and tears in the eyes because the world is full of such nice people.

Bored at work: cue prickles at the top of the nose and tears in the eyes because work is so meaningless.

Another one of those confusing conversations with RD: cue prickles at the top of the nose and tears in the eyes because this isn’t how it’s meant to be.

A lovely text, from a very dear friend: cue prickles at the top of the nose and tears in the eyes because I love my friends and they love me.

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Rant about the NHS

I’m afraid I’m going to have a rant, and I’m not going to blame it hormones, I’m going to blame it on the NHS.

In the post yesterday morning I received what I believe should be called my notes. For some reason I had to wait until my Anomaly Scan to receive these notes, but due to new staff they weren’t ready for collection on Friday. So, I opened a big brown envelope containing a plastic folder, which is, apparently, meant to be my bible through my pregnancy. These notes simply contained the details I provided at my booking appointment; not the results of the Nuchal Scan and blood test I had at 12 weeks – the 1 in 8600 chance of Downs Syndrome wasn’t mentioned, only the 1 in 250 that is due to my age.

They did inform me that I wasn’t due to meet a member of my midwife team until 32 weeks! A member from another team conducted my booking-in appointment and as yet I have not seen a midwife, luckily I have a cool doctor who at 17 weeks indulged me and let me listen to the baby’s heartbeat.

I’m disappointed; I thought a midwife was meant to be there for support and to answer questions throughout this sometimes baffling experience. I know I’m not the first and I certainly won’t be the last to person to have a baby, but I am surprised by the little contact with the midwife team that there is, isn’t this the time to build the trust relationship that you want to have with someone who is, supposedly, meant to help guide you through one of the biggest events in your life?

(Yes, we’ve joined the NCT, but our classes don’t start until January; and yes, I am lucky to have an ex-midwife for an aunt, but so what? What’s the NHS for?)

Friday, 26 October 2007


What a lovely evening, what a marvellous day. Good night, sleep tight.

Sugar and Spice...

and all things nice...

It’s a girl! Sorry, that should be she’s a girl!

Yes, this morning we had our anomaly scan and I must say it was amazing. Even from the opening shot of her spine and ribs (so detailed, so tiny, so perfect) through to the news 40 minutes later that 3 white lines and the absence of an appendage meant she’s a girl, it was fantastic to see that she is a proper-little-person, who could, apparently, fit into my cupped hands. Even RD was moved.

Even better still is that she is a fantastic little person who has all the bits in the right places, is the right size for her age (right word?). It’s fascinating what they can check: the way the blood flows through the valves in her heart, how her placenta is working, the circumference of her tummy and the size of her head, all these things and more; and she passed with flying colours. Once we could get her in the right position that is.

Something else we learnt this morning is that she is a little camera shy, and while incredibly active she definitely has a favourite position: head down facing my spine, with her feet using my liver as a hot-water bottle. After 40 minutes (double the normal time for the scan) we were sent for a walk and to have some chocolate to see if a sugar rush would alter her position, it did. We came back, the tests were completed and we finally saw her beautiful face (not that I’m biased).

So, no longer a smudgy little bean, more a proper little person who needs to grow a little more before this little bun is cooked. I must say, I can’t wait!

(I’m sure we would have been just as excited if it had been a boy, I think it’s the knowing that’s exciting.)

Now I’m off to meet RD to celebrate…

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

She Shall Have Music Where Ever She Goes...

RD bought me (and the baby) a little gift, a silver mayan ball. This is a little silver ball to be worn around my neck, and as it bumps against my bump it chimes. It’s a bit like the noise a Chinese medicine ball makes, although thankfully it isn’t as heavy, each one is individual and it is, supposedly, meant to be soothing for the baby. RD’s friend certainly believed the one she wore is part of the reason she has such a cool, chilled out little boy – she’s not biased, he is a cool kid.

And it is meant to warn off evil spirits – an all round winner.

I love it, and I’ll wear it every day.

Project Baby

I recently read an article (I can’t remember where, maybe The Guardian) that discussed the difficulties of being pregnant in the workplace. It talked about hiding your morning sickness, and having work colleagues who are indifferent to your impending joy, amongst other things.

I have been incredibly lucky, unable to hide my joy I told a couple of my closest work mates; equally unable to hide the fear of another miscarriage I told my very understanding (male) bosses. Everyone has been fantastic, especially considering that I am the lowest of the low, a contractor on a Finance IT project. The sight of me pale and nauseous after my morning commute was always greeted with a glass of water a few quiet moments, exactly what I needed.

Once I’d had my 12 week scan, and all was well, I was outed during a weekly team meeting and the response was fantastic: members of senior management hugged me (a big surprise from a career driven female boss) and my baby scan picture was stolen and copied and looks at me everyday from the project social notice board.

As a member of the dragon boat team I still took up my oar with pride and the team was urged by our captain not to capsize as a pregnant person was onboard! We were nearly disqualified for having 19 (including Bobbit) in our team but we went on to win! My only difficulty that day was stopping my lips turning blue when waiting for our next heat – everyone else had booze to keep them warm, but I was well looked after.

Basically I’ve been made to feel like this is a project baby, scheduled to arrive just after Detailed Common Design – perfect timing, not so sure if it will be on budget. Next is a sweepstake on the date and time of the birth, someone did suggest that the prize would be to name the baby. Hmm, I’m not so sure about that one.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

One Less Surprise

We are very excited RD and I, (well he is in his own special way,) because on Friday we have our next scan. I will be 21 weeks pregnant tomorrow and so this will be our 20 week Anomaly Scan. It’s not just the fact that we get to see our baby again, a flash of reality in a sea of surrealism, but because we will, hopefully, find out the gender of our baby.

I am nervous and I’m not sure why; I believe the baby is healthy, and that I have no preference as to whether I have a boy or a girl. Sometimes I think one would be best and other times the other. I don’t think RD has a preference either. So, why am I nervous – I have no idea?

I have been much surprised by the strength of reaction I have received to the fact we intend to find out the gender. The whole pregnancy has been a surprise, and I’m sure having the baby will be, even more of, a surprise, so we figured this surprise was one we could manage without. I have felt positively vilified for being so intrusive, a shock to me as in this day and age I thought nearly everybody found out! (I know some hospitals refuse to tell you because of the possible cultural repercussions of not receiving the news wanted, but I don’t think we fall into that camp.)

We have also promised not to discuss names with anyone anymore, not only because I don’t think you can name a baby until you see it, but also because every time we discuss names we loose one of our favourites: it’s always someone’s middle name or the name of their dead dog, it all kind of ruins it. I think the name will be a secret between he and me (if it happens to be one I’ve mentioned before, don’t be surprised!).

Monday, 22 October 2007

The Snake who Swallowed a Football

Last week I read a column in the Guardian, written by Zoe Williams. Zoe has just had a baby and while her column isn’t necessarily a take on that in particular, it’s more her take on the world, this particular one rang home; she was writing about, and celebrating the fact that Milla Jovovich piled on the pounds when pregnant. I never thought putting on weight in pregnancy would worry me, I definitely thought it was a time to blossom, eat healthily and not worry about my weight, but I’ve found the opposite is true. More than anything I am verging on , but not quite, neurotic about it.

As I’ve said before, it’s not like I was a skinny, figure proud, super-model before and maybe it’s the whole carb issue, but I weigh myself daily! And it’s not looking for signs that my beautiful baby is growing, it’s more about making sure I can get back in my jeans once Bobbit arrives. Sensibly, I know that I had some excess to spare before so I really don’t need to put on more than a stone or a stone and a half at most, and so far I have put on about four and a half pounds – not too bad for 21 weeks. It’s just that there is little carb tyre that I have acquired, which my mother says will dangle under my bump – that’s what I don’t want. It’s not that I want that celeb look of a snake that swallowed a football (as RD puts it), but I want to be proud of the fact that my bump is baby not pies! Don’t get me wrong I’m not dieting, I’ve always eaten healthily and I have been known to have an extra biscuit ‘for the baby’ of course, it’s just that I am super aware of my weight gain.

I don’t think it’s pressure from the press, and as for peer pressure, there is only one person I worry about being compared to, and I really shouldn’t because she isn’t that important or that special; and my little sister only put on a stone and she had a beautiful 7lb baby. I guess I don’t really know where it’s come from and I’m sure I’m not alone in my desire to have a beautiful pregnancy.

(Please don’t think RD has anything to do with this either, he really doesn’t seem to mind my bump at all; his ardour doesn’t seem to have waned. And he soon stopped calling me ‘Tubby’ and has moved onto ‘Preggers’.)

Maybe I should just chill, make a cup of tea, and have a biscuit - for the baby of course…

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Green or White?

This weekend presented an interesting sporting dilemma: what colour rugby shirt will Bobbit wear? (Yes, I know it’s early days but the question arose.) You see, RD is South African, a Saffa and me? Well, I’m English through and through.

Rather diplomatically, we thought, I watched the Rugby at my mothers (who I must say surprised me by knowing all the actions to Swing Low Sweet Chariot – yes the rude ones; unfortunately she wouldn’t do an encore so I couldn’t video it for Youtube). RD, predictably, watched at the pub. We all know the end result of the match, but credit to RD he hasn’t gloated at all.

Bobbit was very active during the game, obviously sensing my excitement and kicking harder and more frequently than Johnny (or is that Percy).

(The answer to the earlier question is probably both, although next time I’m sure the white one will be the winning one!)

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

The Favourite Pregnancy Topic

No pregnancy diary would be complete without a discussion of Morning Sickness, so here is mine.

I think I was relatively lucky, actual incidences of vomiting were few and far between; for eight weeks or so I felt like I had a hangover – a bit of a shock as I had gone off booze before I discovered I was pregnant, in fact this was one of my clues. I felt light headed and nauseous, just like you do if you go running on an empty stomach. The only solution seemed to be to eat frequently and blandly, and my ideal supper became fish finger sandwiches and oven chips, quite a shock to a carb avoider, and RD who likes to cook more aesthetically pleasing suppers. (Everybody you meet will tell you to have ginger nut biscuits – yes this does work, but it isn’t what you fancy, oops sorry I’m pregnant, I mean CRAVE.)

This and my food aversions – mainly coffee, chocolate and alcohol – seemed to come to an end at around week 14 when I also started to feel more normal again, in fact so normal I sometimes wondered if I was really pregnant anymore (this is, apparently, normal). I do have one food funny now and that is apples; apples make sick, physically sick.

Oh, and there is always the heartburn…

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

My Cup Runneth Over

Literally. Since I found out I was pregnant my breasts have grown, and grown into a bountiful beautiful, yet still pert bosom. I love them so much if I was ever to have a boob job, this is how I'd have them. Every day I rub some Mama Mio Boob Tube into them to (hopefully) prevent stretch marks and keep them from heading south.

No complaints from RD, he's taken some arty boob pictures for posterity. (They are arty and I'm quite proud, but I will spare you.)

It's not all boob love though, large breasts have not been without their difficulties. In the early days of this pregnancy I decided that swimming would be a good way to keep fit. My lane in the pool proved very popular with the male swimmers, and they were very friendly and always smiled as they approached me. It took me a while to realise that this was because my healthy size 12 swimming costume could no longer contain my ample bosom; my cup was, literally, running over.

So, I’ve packed away that costume in favour of a Topshop maternity costume with ample cups.

Now underwire or not to underwire, that seems to be the big question for bras in pregnancy. The books seem to say ‘no’ to underwire as it is potentially damaging to developing milk ducts, but many blogs say, as long as they are fitted properly, underwire is fine. (My sister wore underwire all through her pregnancy and she breastfeeds like a pro.)You see, I struggle with maternity bras as I dislike having my F-cup boobs strapped flat to my chest or tucked under my armpits. I’m proud of my new-and-improved cleavage, and it distracts from my growing tummy.

My solution: I’ve splashed out on the one maternity bra that seems to flatten the least, a quite pricey nursing bra from Agent Provocateur. (I know, I know it’s not mumsy, but as a saucy bird I’ve always had a few sets of their undies in my arsenal and I’m not prepared to give that up yet.) Some days I wear these and on others, well, it has to be a good old fashioned balconette to provide that up-and-at-um cleavage. Everything in moderation, even underwire.

Monday, 15 October 2007


Yes please! For breakfast, lunch and dinner.

It’s true, I’m feeling saucier than a bottle of HP and woe betide anyone who tries to deny me!

Actually, I can’t complain, Reluctant Dad has never been a reluctant lover, let’s face it that’s how we came to be in this pleasant pickle, but even he is struggling to cope with my demands, and, I’m almost ashamed to say, molestations.

For some unreasonable reason he seems to think that at least once a day should be enough… I know, how dare he deny my hormones?!

Saturday, 13 October 2007


Now, most of my friends and famly will tell you that I can shop for Britain, and I thnk most would be equally surprised to know that I have not yet bought everythng this baby needs for the frst 3 years of it's life. But I have bought hardly anything.

I strolled merrily into Baby Gap to buy dresses for my nieces, I could have happily bought everything in the shop for them, but when it came to picking out something for Bobbit, well I couldn't. I was like a rabbit caught in the headlights: routed to the spot and unable to breathe.

So, all I have bought for Bobbit so far is this very cute vest:

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Wriggled and Jiggled and Tickled Inside Me

No I haven’t swallowed a fly, but I do have a baby in my tummy and, I can feel it moving! It’s such an amazing feeling. The first time it happened I was lying in bed and within the gentle dome (ok, bulge) of my tummy I felt a fluttering and a bubbling that wasn’t my dinner, and I was still enough to notice the difference; the books aren’t lying when they say it feels like butterflies.

Now I feel it in the most unlikely places. Bobbit obviously likes trains, I have finally found something on my morning commute that makes me smile (well, flirting opportunities dwindle somewhat when you are pregnant). The first time this happened I’d stood for 10 minutes then I finally got a seat at Clapham, and as I sat down the wriggling and jiggling and, I like to think, giggling started. I sat with my hands on my tummy smiling; such a silly smile that I’m sure people must have thought I was wearing battery powered knickers!

I knew from the first scan Bobbit could do rolly-pollies, but now I can feel them!

(yes I know it looks like a snail, but Mummy loves Bobbit)

Monday, 8 October 2007

More them than me.

I did do something very grown up today: I went to look at a nursery for Bobbit. It breaks my heart to think about it already, but I am self-employed and will need to return to work when Bobbit is still a wee babe. I have a mortgage to pay and no-one to pay it for me. (Well, RD will help, but he isn’t in a position to fully provide, not that I’m really sure I’d want him to right now.)

RD and I approached the nursery with some trepidation, neither us had a clue what we were meant to ask, it was like going out in your parents shoes when they are 5 sizes too big for you. How on earth did we end up being old enough to have a child?

I have read the OFSTED report, and at Teddies the babies seemed happy, the staff seemed organised, and what ever routine I manage will be followed by the nursery. But, I still wish my child didn’t have to spend more time there than with me.

Happy Birthday To Me!

Today is my birthday; I have celebrated it with high tea at Sketch and a lovely supper in Ma Cuisine, my lovely local French bistro. High tea was, of course, accompanied by a glass of champagne – just the one mind.

My party was Saturday, my first ever sober birthday party (first since I ever started drinking that is). It broke my heart to cover my glass as the waitress in Lounge Lover came round to top it up with yet more pink champagne. But, that meant there was more for my giggly friends who were smiling and chatting around the table. I did party, and after celebrating in style at the cocktail bar, we (all 14 of us) headed to 93 Feet East to dance, and dance, and dance. With my bump proudly clad in my lovely purple party frock I danced on the stage until 2, at which time I was glad to find my carriage awaiting to whisk me home to bed.