Thursday, 31 January 2008

Last Day

Today is my last day at work for at least the next 8 months, and being a contractor, even then I have no idea where I may end up working. While I am mostly glad to be leaving The City there are a few things I will miss:

I have been on this project for over a year now (and I'm leaving just as things are hotting up) and, personally, it’s been a pretty tricky year that has not been without incident, but I have worked with some amazing people and it is those who I will miss. I am the non-techy in a technical team and have resolutely stayed that way and no-one has held it against me.

I have rowed pregnant in the Dragon Boat team (and yes we won!) and enjoyed the team building - even if I couldn't join in on the bumper cars.


My pregnancy may mean I missed making the most of the after work drinks but it has still been a very sociable project to work for. Throughout my pregancy I have been surrounded by support and I have made some great friends who I hope I manage to stay in touch with. Maybe I’ll even work with them again.

I will definitely miss the chatty side of working in an office, I’ll miss the lunch choices that come with being in the centre of town and the ease of heading out for a night out and catching up with friends on my way home. I’ll miss the coffee shop knowing my order and having it ready before I get to the counter.

While I won’t miss this crush on the Waterloo and City line (even though I am let into the front of the queue these days), I will miss my favourite busker, Nigel on Wednesday mornings at Bank; he has brought ‘Here Comes the Sun’ back into my life and tear to my eye on more than one occasion. Yesterday, I not only voted for him on Buskear but I gave him £10 as I had no change. Like I say, he is a good busker.

I will miss the kindness of strangers I have experienced during my commute over the last few months. While my cape has on, very rare, occasions hidden my bump a little well, for the most part I have been well and truly looked after. When the train has been so packed I can’t make it down the aisle or because I’m getting off the next stop I have stayed in the vestibule, people have taken to forming a very protective ring around me, wishing me well and generally taking care of me. Everyone loves a pregnant lady – I was told on Tuesday that that is because we are making the world go on.

Maybe, just maybe, I’ll miss working.

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Hot Water Bottle

It’s a lovely winter’s day in London town, the sun is shining but there is a definite nip in the air, a good excuse for woolly hats and gloves.

I’m not cold because I have my very own portable hot water bottle; just resting my hands on my bump warms them up instantly.

And it’s my second to last day of my current life…

Monday, 28 January 2008

Meet the Godparents

One of the great things about being a bi-nationality couple is that we get to choose which traditions we adopt from which nationality. Here in England we would only ever have godparents if we had our children christened or baptised, but it seems in South Africa they have them anyway.

I like this idea, the idea of naming the people who you want to have extra special involvement with your child and to look out for her as she grows up; people who are so special in your own life that you can’t imagine them not being so to your little girl.

So, with all this in mind here are the wonderful people who we are tasking with helping us raise a happy, healthy, joyous and slightly mischievous little girl:



Jenny – I’ve shared everything with you since we met at High School, even the odd boyfriend. No matter how far away from each other life takes us, it’s always like we’ve never been apart. And now we can share the raising of our children too.



Chirsty – You just are you, and with your generous and adventurous spirit I know you’ll do anything and everything you can for our little girl (including clubbing into the wee small hours with her mother to keep her sane). I love knowing you are just around the corner.



Gary – It has been wonderful knowing you are as excited about the arrival of our little girl as we are and we couldn’t imagine not having you with us along this journey to tell your tales and impart your own special Fairy Godfather wisdom.

Gareth – I know you will protect our little girl from the big bad world as if she was your own.


But most of all, I’m proud of the people you all are and I hope you’ll encourage our little girl to follow her dreams and be whoever and whatever she wants to be. x

Sunday, 27 January 2008

Scatterbrained - Me?!

Despite the fact that it clearly says 'Brunette' on my shampoo and conditioner, I definitely had a blonde moment in the shower this morning.

My hair was washed, conditioned and rinsed, my body was cleaned and buffed, all that was left was my face.

I reached down for my lovely Elemis new-complexion-revealing face wash; I squeezed a small amount of this miracle promising elixir onto my hand....

and promptly put it in my hair.

Saturday, 26 January 2008

3 in a Bed

No, we haven't been indulging sexual fantasies, and I'm not counting Bobette (not yet anyway); no the third in our bed is my new pillow - a great big bolster pillow from The White Company.

I've been quite lucky, my memory foam mattress has cradled my bump quite comfortably at night, but now Bobette increasingly lets me know that I am encroaching on her space if I roll over too much.

So, every night I get my legover - no not always RD, but my big pillow.

Poorly Sick

I've been a bit poorly for a few days now, and as a result of sounding, feeling, and looking particularly unpleasant, bump and I have been banished to bed.

RD meanwhile is cleaning the kitchen floor, as the cleaner didn't come yesterday. Do I feel guilty? Not really.

But I do appreciate it, honest.

Friday, 25 January 2008

34 Week check

Hooray, today I met another midwife, that means if I was a midwife spotter, I wouldn't be particularly successful one, but I would now have two in the notebook I would keep in my anorak.

All went well with the check; although I answered no to swollen ankles and puffy legs but got home to find I have both. My bump was exclaimed as very 'tidy' and yet again I was reassured that I am not big, and neither is our baby.

She even asked if I had any questions, didn't just examine me and shuffle me out the door; typically I didn't have any - I'd asked them all at NCT.

(The midwife who I saw before was there too so I got two for the price of one)

Graduation Day

So we have graduated!

We are familiar with (if not quite prepared for) labourese; we have learnt the about the horrors(us) and the amazing things (the baby) that will happen in those first few weeks after birth. And complete with a new support network, we have been sent into the world of impending parenthood.

Yes, we had our last NCT class; and it made me quite sad. Alison (our teacher) has such a reassuring way of telling us the gruesome facts that is has been a great way to bring labour into focus. Yes, I even have a kind of plan, well list of preferences, in my head now. (Am a scared? More like a little bemused really.)

Not only that, as a group we have arranged our weekly meet up times. I'm quite looking forward to being a lady-who-lunches and not having to say goodbye to all those same size bumps just yet. Now just have to wait and see who pops (if only it were that simple) first.

Thursday, 24 January 2008

2 Things You Don't See Very Often...

On my way to work today I saw someone reading the Daily Express.

And there was an empty platform for the Waterloo and City Line.

What is the world coming to?!

(I am resisting having a rant about the baning of The 3 Little Pigs Fairy Tale, but I am wondering if they actually bother to ask the people concerned if they are actually offended?)

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Raspberry Leaf Tea

Now the floods have receeded we are sitting having a romantic evening on the settee: RD is coding his photo blog ready to show the world his daughter and I'm writing this post and toning my uterus with Raspberry Leaf Tea.

Yes, apparently drinking this tea can make my contractions stronger and more efficient, it may not be my favourite tipple but if it delivers, sign me up.

I'm not sure about drinking three cups a day though.

(Apparenty you can take Raspberry Leaf Tablets but they aren't as effective. But how does anyone know what their labour would have been like if they didn't drink it?)

Domestic Crisis

I do like a good paddle; you know a stroll along the sand with the waves gently lapping at your toes. I’m not so keen on paddling in my own kitchen when the waves have been created by a malfunctioning washing machine.

Yep, RD and I spent Sunday evening with our jeans rolled up, mopping up the kitchen floor.

I then spent Monday evening arguing with Sainsburys about their supposed 4 day delivery which actually means I get a new machine a week on Friday.

This evening I thought I’d just try the machine again to save us a trip to the launderette; I was poised to quickly set it to spin as I watched the machine fill up and start to motor, all looked good so I went upstairs. I came down to a flooded kitchen and RD came home to lots of wet towels on the floor.

So, another expense to add to RDs budget spreadsheet…

International Man of Mystery

South West Trains scuppered RD's rescue attempt.

Luckily the International Man of Mystery who lives next door showed up in time to carry my shopping and lend me my spare keys.

Note to self: Ensure both sets of neighbours have spare keys.

Monday, 21 January 2008

RD to the Rescue

Today I forgot my keys, again.

So RD is going to have to rescue me, again.

A Royal Pain in the Bottom

Oh, the indignity of it all! Not only am I having a bad hair day bought on by trying too hard to have a good hair day (you know, too much product not enough blowdrying); I think I have piles.

Yes, in the sprit of a no-holes-barred pregnancy blog, I am sharing with you the fact that my bottom is sore, very sore. If I think this hurts, how will I cope with labour?

So, back to beetroot and prune juice, for a softer pinker time.

Apparently pelvic floor exercises will help this too (something to do with getting blood circulating around the area). So here we go again… must squeeze pelvic floor more…must squeeze pelvic floor more…

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Baby Shower

Americans, Australians and, apparently, South Africans have a tradition of throwing a mother-to-be a baby shower. Being staunchly English this wasn’t something I would ever have thought about, when asked where we get our baby stuff from, I always answered ‘the shops’. I certainly didn’t want to spend the afternoon making storks or having people guess what the circumference of my tummy is, but then, once you get over the embarrassment of pressies and being fussed over – a party seemed like a great idea.

So RD sent out this invitation (which made me cry):

Zoƫ and I are having a few drinks - well, I am; she's driving - to celebrate the imminent arrival of our perfect little girl, and we would love it if you could join us.

And we partied on Champagne well past midnight, AND we were given presents (we were even sent some from RD’s Godson and his mother in SA, the stamps were as cool as the presents, so I've kept them too):

I loved them all for their softness, cuteness, general prettiness and for damn right usefulness.

But everyone’s presence was the greatest present of all. It was wonderful to know that everyone is as excited to meet our little girl as we are (especially Uncle Gary)!

THANK YOU x

(The thank you cards are in the post.)

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Her Carriage Awaits

Yes, you guessed it the pram has arrived, and while it may not be pulled by six white horses it does have the bonus that it doesn't turn into a pumpkin at midnight. So, here is our carriage fit for a princess:


A Pram for a little sleeping beauty.

A go-faster-sport-mobile for a girl about town (that reclines for when it's all a little much).*

I can indeed put it up with one hand, and execute a beautifully tight turning circle, but I have yet to practice putting the rain cover or putting the car seat in the car (I think both RD and I need to get to grips with that one).

* On a serious note it was the reclining car seat that clinched it for me as it can't be good for a little growing body to be scrunched up for too long.

Friday, 18 January 2008

Backseat Breastfeeding

Okay, so we went to Breastfeeding class. Yes, we both went; there was much triple checking about the boys attendance. RD wondered if he really needed to go to an evening of women getting their boobs out if it wasn’t for titillation and he certainly didn’t want to be the only boy there.

As it happened (and no surprise to me) there was no boob baring but it was explained that a supportive partner can increase breastfeeding success by a third! Anyway, it was an educational evening, key lesson learnt:

When positioning baby it’s Tummy to Mummy and Nose to Nipple. (If you are in any doubt as to the importance of this try this experiment: put your chin on your chest or shoulder and try to chew and swallow a malteser – it isn’t easy).

Also we learnt, amongst other things, that a little baby can lap from a small cup, various cures for mastitis, sore nipples and breast thrush!

I’m sure having RD and the other boys there was a good thing, but I’m not so sure that we haven’t just created some backseat breastfeeders.

(Poor RD, I think he needs beers to recover from all this information!)

Thursday, 17 January 2008

The Power of Suggestion Perhaps

Just in time for my NCT class on Breastfeeding this evening, I think my milk has arrived, certainly my first few drops.

I'm in shock.

So this cleavage really isn't just for show then?!

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Disappointing

I was hoping that this would be a post about my lovely new pram (yes, the one we bought in October); I thought I’d have pictures showing how I had proudly assembled a carriage fit for a princess (I was planning to use Paddington to model it for me, even though he could obviously never be as pretty as our daughter will be). I was going to practice attaching the car seat, and folding it with one hand.

But it didn’t arrive.

I waited all day (a day wages lost) and all I got was a car seat, a necessity yes, but not as exciting as a pram. (And even that came without instructions.)

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Light of Our Lives

As the title suggests, I am already guessing that our little one will literally light up our lives.

With this in mind, we decided our fairy princess obviously need suitable lighting in her bedroom; so we marched off to Camden and this is what found:

Pretty flower lights to add to the garden view;


butterflies, flowers and leaves;

Very cool coloured balls to light up her nights.

Monday, 14 January 2008

Zzzzz

Part of me is wishing my contract hadn't been extended to the end of Jan. Financially it's ideal as it does mean I can afford to have longer with Bobette when she's here, but physically I'm feeling the strain - I'm exhausted!

Last week I only worked 2 days and I actually felt ok. Today I'm shattered and it's only Monday. Maybe we'll have to manage on less cash so I can do just 4 days, we'll have to see.

Anyway, can't chat now, I'm off to the loo for a 10 minute nap...

Bump Horror

Since I returned to work after a 2 week break for Christmas I have got used to the exclamations as to how big my bump had grown. It was pretty understandable really, it had become higher and therefore, probably, was more prominent, not to mention that fact that I doubt people could remember how it looked before the booze and mince pie haze.

I wasn’t quite prepared to step in the lift and be greeted with: ‘You’re eeeeenormous; you must be having a big baby! My baby was big and was born 5 weeks early.’ This sent me into panic for 2 reasons: 5 weeks early is only in 2 weeks time and the Moses basket is still on the Isle of Wight with my lovely niece peacefully slumbering in it, the pram has yet to be delivered and I have 3 more weeks of work, which I need to be able to afford all that lovely time off with my baby (not to mention the baby free weeks before hand!); and secondly, giving birth to any baby is slightly scary and quite painful, let alone a ‘big’ baby.

Luckily I only had one day of fretting. The next day was the first NCT day, and I was surrounded by bumps of the same age and, more importantly, size as mine! Also, the nice NCT lady pointed out that the hardest bits of baby to get out are the head and the shoulders; now I don’t know about you but when I put on weight I may need new knickers but never a new hat.

Later that same day I had my 32 week check with my GP, and yet again I recounted my story. He said that I should be flattered because it meant I hadn’t put on weight anywhere else so my bump just stood out a lot; and then he measured me. Hey presto, my bump came in at 32.5 cm the right size for 32 and a bit weeks (it should be a cm for each week, apparently).

So, to all those bump horrifiers out there: like Mary Poppins I’m practically perfect in everyway, including the size of my bump!

Saturday, 12 January 2008

NCT

Yesterday was our first NCT (National Childbirth Trust) class, but I had to brave the first day on my own, RD unfortunately couldn't get time off as he has only just started his new job. Anyway, disappointment aside, it was actually ok.

People were cool, 7 couples all of the Bugaboo classes,all living pretty much across the street from each other with babies due within about 2 weeks of each other. I was a little intimidated by how successful and together everyone seemed to be, which, as usual, lead me to talk too much! Hey ho, it was good to meet people who are also a little shocked by the fact that they are about to have a baby.

Anyway, the day was good and very educational, I hadn't heard of 'transition phase' before (the in between stage where Jekyll turns into Hyde or vice versa). A lot of practicing birth positions for both first stage and 2nd stage labour (all upright of course); I couldn't really practice, although I paired up with the other solo girl in the group, our bumps got in the way somewhat!

I didn't realise how much labour was pressing on my mind until RD told me he couldn't come and then, as much as I tried to only be disappointed but understanding, I turned a little snappy.

Well, the class has at least got RD and I talking properly about the birth, even if he wasn't there. It's shattered my pre-conceived ideas about his pre-conceived ideas about his role in the whole thing. I thought he was just thinking of mopping my brow, holding my hand and saying 'there, there' as I lie on a bed. When I showed him all the position pictures, pictures of partners being physically supportive, he said that was what he was thinking too. I also didn't realise how much 'The Blokes Guide to Pregnancy' had taught him - he did know about the transition phase. I Judged him a little harshly, but I'm glad we've talked it through now. He's even going to cut the cord.

He does seem to be most taken with the 'What's in the Nappy' leaflet though. It's pictures of baby poos really. But then maybe his dream about our daughter having a poo obsession leading to poo castles and poo pictures, was more about him than her!

Thursday, 10 January 2008

How embarrassing?!

Even in the privacy of your own bathroom discovering that your bladder muscles can’t cope with a bit of retching is quite embarrassing. Surely all that Pilates should have meant there was never so much as a drop misplaced?!

Must squeeze pelvic floor more… must squeeze pelvic floor more… repeat after me…

(Another joy of pregnancy...)

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

8 Weeks To Go; Are We Fundamentally Ready?

I can't believe that it is only 8 weeks until this little one is due to join us in the big, wide, wonderful world. The thought that very soon I will hold my little girl for the first time fills me with tremendous joy, a little anxiety and quite a few tears.

In so many ways I just can't wait, in so many other ways there are things I would like to have done before she arrives. Not so much practicalities - we have most of those under control, I think - it's more fundamental than that. I want to ensure that my little girl is surrounded by nothing but love and cuddles, that she can be secure in who she is and where she is from. For that I want her to be born into a loving family, a family where whatever you do and whoever you are is just the perfect thing to be and do.

This is no mean feat: RD and I need to be secure in who we are and where we are to have any hope of being able to pass on the confidence and self-assurance we want our daughter to have. I know we will both love her with all our hearts, but we also have to love ourselves and each other to pull together as a family, a happy family.

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Not my Favourite Shopping List

If you have glimpsed a ‘what to pack in your hospital bag’ list you will know that it isn’t quite the same as packing an overnight bag for a saucy weekend. Instead of silk knickers it’s disposable pants (nice), instead of cleavage enhancing bra you need a nursing bra and matching breast pads. Then there are the mummy nappies - maternity sanitary towels for the delights of lochia (don't click the link unless you really need to know).

Basically it wasn’t my favourite ever Boots shop, even Boots points couldn’t compensate for having to buy a waterproof liners for my bed, they aren't not exactly The White Company. But it’s done.

Monday, 7 January 2008

The Stork

Something I should have mentioned about yesterday's grand tour is that we met a great midwife. She was just so damn enthusiastic and energetic - just how I thought a midwife should be, not jaded at all. My faith has been restored, although I didn't dare ask which team she was on, because I couldn't bear the disappointment that it might not be mine.

She was from South Africa and, as RD put it, Saffa's rock!

Sunday, 6 January 2008

The Gooseberry Bush

I promised myself that I would think about labour ‘next year’ (lets face it, it’s going to happen whether I think about it or not). Well, next year is finally upon us and I suppose I can’t put it off any longer.

So far ‘this year’ I have listened to my visualisation CD once (I only fell asleep for a couple of minutes, I have been assured it still goes in) and, more importantly, we took the grand tour at the hospital and I nearly cried.

It wasn’t nasty, it wasn’t scary, and in fact it all seemed better than I expected, but it was all very real. In around 8 weeks that is where we will go to have our baby; with birthing pools (hopefully), bouncing balls and gas and air, that is where we will finally meet our little girl.

So far our birth plan consists of:
Get to hospital
Ask for Water birth (big room and the only birthing pool)
Book private room – there are only 3
No pethadine, only because I believe it just makes you slightly stoned and also passes to the baby (perhaps RD will have my share!).
Otherwise I've ruled nothing out, yet.

Okay, so I am only just beginning to think about this, but as we start NCT classes on Friday, and then maybe, just maybe, I’ll start thinking about it a little bit more.

I have spent the whole weekend smiling with excitement and now I’m feeling a little overwhelmed. Are you sure I can't just fnd my baby under a Gooseberry bush?

Saturday, 5 January 2008

Cravings

I’m always being asked if I’m eating coal or having any other strange cravings, and I always say not really. But I suppose that’s the great thing about pregnancy, you can label any whim or fancy as a craving and it MUST be satisfied. I haven’t (yet) fully exploited this, but in the first 12 weeks I did eat a lot of fish finger sandwiches and oven chips, and it does give me a great excuse for those early morning cheese and marmite paninis.

There has been one strange addition to my diet – Beetroot. I’ve never really liked it before but now, well, I eat it by the packet, especially Waitrose Sweetfire beetroot in a sweet chilli marinade. (Spicy food poses no problem for me; it’s not eating that gives me indigestion.)

Nothing wrong with beetroot, but what goes in red, comes out red…

Friday, 4 January 2008

Loving the Bump

I promise I wasn’t bemoaning my bump the other day, because I really do love it. I could sit and quite smugly stroke it all day. And now I have the added fascination of not only being able to feel Bobette (Garylina) move, but I can see her too. The wild and somewhat freaky undulations of my tummy have distracted me from many a chore. (Right now she is mostly curled to the left, leaving my bump a little lopsided.)

As she always has her head firmly down in all the pictures and for all the examinations (like a good girl) I’m assuming she is like one of those break-dancers who spins on their heads flailing their arms and legs about; I don’t think she has all that much room anymore for full on Irene Cara fame jumps.

All this bump love doesn’t mean it is my most comfortable ever accessory; I now sleep with a pillow under my top leg to give her room to manoeuvre while I (try) to slumber in my usual recovery position and the other evening my bump became so uncomfortably painful and tight I didn’t know what to do with myself (a bath and bed seemed to do the trick).

I think the news of the bump tightening has her Grandma a little worried that she may be planning an early escape, but I am sure she will stay put for the next 5 and a bit weeks that take her to full-term and the following 3 weeks to her due date. In fact I think we will all be waiting for her!

(I am very excited now and, I think, so is RD; it all seems so imminent)

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Daddy Cool

RD started a brand spanking new job today; a job he looked for to provide for his daughter, but as the world turns the way we need it to, while the role is the same as he’s done before, it’s for a very cool media organisation.

What a cool Daddy is he?!

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Bumptastic

Over the last couple of weeks my bump has definitely changed it’s shape and, probably, it’s size!

My bump has moved into what my mother describes as a proper girl bump. It is now very high with little gap between it and my boobs. I think maybe it is it’s more prominent position that causing everybody to gasp at how big it’s suddenly got. Me, I’m just gasping because I find I get out of breath easily, I have indigestion more frequently, I get fuller quicker and I’m not tall enough to be able to find a comfortable sitting position, my desk is proving uncomfortable and I’m finding myself, more and more, sitting legs-a-kimbo like a boy.

And everyone keeps telling me it’s only going to get bigger – how big can it get in the next 9 weeks?

RD says I’m a proper pregnant person as I keep spilling things my bump; my excuse is that there is less lap to balance my supper tray on.

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

2008 will be Great!

I had a fabulous New Years Eve, I put on my party shoes, my skinny (maternity) jeans, clad my bump in a glorious purple number and with feathers in my hair headed for a cool local bar for a Moulin evening of giggles and gossip.

As it is a new year, here is an actual picture of RD and me, the first one taken since I was pregnant!


And here are the cool friends we spent the evening with, I think fun was had by all. (Although some had more fun than others - you know who you are!)



As usual Bobette had her fair share of attention, with loving rubs and name suggestions. If I recall correctly she is now to be called Garylina. The only thing that over shadowed her was my also rapidly expanding bust!


I think being a pregnant chick, in party shoes, nursing 2 glasses of champagne while the rest of the party gets merry, I did well to last until 2:20 am.


A fabulous midnight smooch with RD has set the tone for the year to come. 2008 is going to be a special year for us: it won't just be about RD, it won't just be about me, it will be about our baby girl and us as a little family. And it will be a happy one, hope yours is happy too.