Sunday, 20 April 2014

Week 135- trapped wind, straddling Shetland ponies and groaning like a grandad...

Right. That's it. I'm done being pregnant. 

It's T minus three days until the due date and I feel like if I grow a millimetre more, I'm literally going to explode.

I remember reading somewhere, and I'd like to say it was in The Guardian but was more likely to have been on Facebook, that if a normal person's internal organs were as crushed as a pregnant woman's, then they would probably be dead. 

I can totally believe it. 

I Googled this completely unsubstantiated fact but was redirected to a forum discussing what would happen if a man's testicles got crushed.

Lovely stuff.

I've worked out that I could have bought a large bottle of Chanel No. 5 with the amount I've spent on Gaviscon over the last nine months, which, in itself, is depressing beyond belief.

I definitely look like I'm about to give birth any second. 

The waddle is a clear giveaway. I'm walking like I'm straddling a Shetland pony. 

And the difficulty in getting up from the sofa is something else, now.

The noise I eject has cranked up from a relatively inoffensive grumble, that wouldn't be out of place in a nursing home, to a full on belting groan, a bit like the world's strongest man pulling a ten tonne truck.

I ventured onto London Road the other day and every shopkeeper, bar none, went on about how pregnant I looked. 

This was starting to wear a bit thin, especially when I only wanted to buy some maternity pads and was questioned at great length by the woman behind the counter about how scared I was about going into labour. 

All I could think was, you're the one who should be scared, love, this is the furthest I've walked in about a month, I'm sweating to death and my hormones are going bananas.

There were some advantages to this unwanted attention, though. When I popped into a coffee shop and asked if I could use their loo without buying anything, the barista took one look at me and responded, 'Oh my God, of course,' virtually throwing the key at me. 

The thing is, although I have a fully grown baby inside me, I'm not sure how ready I am to meet him yet. 

Now, I realise that this is going to happen imminently. 

In fact I started panicking my face off when I thought we were all systems go in an NCP car park the other day. It turned out to be trapped wind, but that's not the point.

It suddenly dawned on me that, possibly before we've finished the four pints of milk that are in the fridge, we are going to have a second child. 

And that sounds very grown up. 

On top of that, I feel like I've forgotten absolutely everything about looking after a baby. 

A two and a half year old, no problem. 

But if I try and cast my mind back to what it was like when Nancy was a newborn, it's like attempting to remember a conversation with someone after five pints. You know it happened, but it's all a bit of a fug.

I think I haven't really got my head around the fact that I've spent the best part of the last three years adapting to being a mum of one. 

Striking a balance between parenting/work/having-a-stab-at-a-social-life. 

Now we're rewinding to the beginning again. 

It's like your sense of identity is completely thrown into question. Your world, once again, becomes the size of the activities you can do with a newborn baby, but this time, there will be a toddler who needs to be entertained as well.

When we brought Nancy back from the hospital we spent the best part of two weeks staring at her in wonder and terror, trying to absorb the information that we'd created a brand new human being. 

This time, we will bring our son home, and 'normal' life will have to resume immediately, because there will be another small child who still needs looking after. 

So maybe I shouldn't wish away these last few days but should put them to some good use. 

Like scanning through some of the stacks of unread baby books we bought three years ago. 

Or practising my breathing. 

Or checking I've packed the world's most unattractive nightdress in my hospital bag (the ultimate wear once and bin on the way out item of clothing).

Or maybe I'll just finish watching House of Cards and eat all the emergency supply of Twirls. 

I have got at least a whole three days to kill, after all. 

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Week 135- Babs Windsor, cracked nipples and facing up to the inevitable...

There comes a point in pregnancy when you don't think you can a) get any bigger or b) get any more tired.

I think I am at that point.

It's like being an absolutely massive wind up toy.

I headed into town yesterday full of plans to buy oral arnica for quick healing bits after labour, got as far as the high street and then ground to a halt.

Literally.

I could see Holland and Barrett.

I knew that 50 metres more and I'd be at the shop.

 But I couldn't convince my legs to move.

If someone had offered me a sit down on a rusty-nailed chair for five hundred quid at that very moment, I would have said, 'yep go on then, put it on my tab.'

So I just stood there.

Panicking a bit that I might have to wait until Ben finished work two hours later and ask him to pick me up from the side of the road.

I then spotted that the electronic sign on my bus stop said 2 minutes until the 5B.

So I crossed over, waddled onto the bus and headed home, disappointingly empty handed.

I don't know what's worse.

The fact that I am wheezing like a 40-a-day smoker from just standing up.

That my stomach is now so huge that the elastic cummerbund designed to give my bump support has been under so much pressure that it now pings off unexpectedly when I'm out, like an obese Babs Windsor.



That the acid indigestion from my internal organs being so squashed is now at a stage where I'm double dropping Gaviscon and Rennies on a half-hourly basis.

Or that all of this will end soon to be replaced by cracked nipples, sleepless nights, a fanny that could probably hide the Titanic and hair loss in all the wrong places.

I was having a bit of a lie down as my brain was going a tad mental with it all, contemplating the now and anticipating the very near future.

When something ace happened.

Nancy came into the bedroom, climbed over my Everest sized tummy, asked if she could 'rest with me' (I'm still unsure where she's picked up these period-drama style phrases) and wrapped her very sticky arms around my neck.

At the same time, Tiddler woke up and started beating seven bells out of me from the inside.

Nancy accused him of 'kicking her in the face,' but said she didn't mind as she loved her brother, and wanted to know exactly when he was coming out so she could show him her plastic Grandad Dog.

And I thought, two children is going to be the hardest thing we've ever done.

It's going to put a strain on everything we currently know.

But maybe it's also going to be a little bit fucking brilliant.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Week 134- puking, playgroups and pelvic floor exercises...

One of the benefits of having a cold that makes you feel like everyone is talking to you underwater, is that you have no idea how rank you smell when you're half covered in vomit. 

We'd been having a good week, all things considered.

I've started walking like I'm carrying a watermelon between my thighs, but that's to be expected now I'm full term. 

This baby also feels like the only thing that's holding it in is good will, and that a powerful sneeze might see him being born in record time in the middle of Card Factory. 

But again, I accept that as a product of a second pregnancy and also being able to count on one hand how many times I've done pelvic floor exercises. 

Nancy and I had gone off to a popular playgroup where you have to be queuing outside from 9.20am at the latest, the doors open at 9.30 prompt and by 9.31 there's a piece of paper stuck to the door to say that the group's full.

Nancy had been kicking around with Ebba, pushing a range of ethnically diverse plastic babies round the room in buggies, and I'd been making the most of the free tea and biscuits. 

I think it's only meant to be one custard cream per parent, but whose going to argue with a women who's walking like a sumo wrestler?

Nancy had been playing happily for the best part of an hour before she complained of a sore throat. 

And 30 seconds later she'd done the mother of all voms all over us both.

Now, the only thing worse than seeing a tiny person wide-eyed with distress as they throw up their breakfast, is watching it all happen in front of a church-hall full of other parents. 

And then realising that not only do you not have a change of clothes for either of you, but you also can't bend down to clear anything up as a humongous stomach makes it virtually impossible to get up again. 

Thank God for brilliant friends. 

With two women quickly wiping us off with wet-wipes, we were virtually presentable.

The thing is, with a bump the size of a beach-ball, I can only see what's going I as far as my belly button. 

Anything below is a mystery. 

And it was only when I stood up that my friends realised that the bottom half of my stomach and crotch were saturated with sick. 

There are times in your life when both dignity and self respect go out the window. 

Having your groin wet-wiped down for the 'biggest chunks' is one of those times. 

And I owe those two friends more than I own for doing that.

So. We both stink. I know that. 

Not because I can smell anything. 

But because everyone on the bus can. 

Bonus number two. 

We have cleared a relatively large space around us on a very crowded bus.

The only other bonus to a little person being poorly, is that all they want to do is cuddle you, which is a rarity at age two.

I had our afternoon planned out. 

I would lie on the sofa. Nancy would sleep on me. And I would catch up on a bit of House of Cards on the telly.

But first I'd give her a bit of Calpol using one of the squirty, syringe things they come with. 

Having not used them before in favour of a spoon, neither Nancy nor I knew how they worked. 

Unfortunately Nancy sealed her mouth shut just as I got it working and managed to squirt the whole lot into her eye. 

I don't know what was worse. 

The adrenaline-filled panic as I washed it out. 

Or the fact that Nancy kept repeating through sobs, 'Daddy's going to be so sad that you've broken my eye.'

Bring on baby number two. 

This parenting lark is a piece of piss.  

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Week 133- best friends, birthing balls and beautiful mums...

It's Mother's Day. 

I've been given a handmade card by Nancy/ the childminder. 

And Nancy's just whispered in my ear that I'm her best friend. 

I'm feeling pretty pleased with myself. 

A rare Waltons moment. 




Nancy, Ben and I head down to the park to have a quick play before going for lunch. 

I'm pushing Nancy on the swings, which is no mean feat with a bump the size of a birthing ball. 

And Nancy looks at the woman who's also pushing her daughter on the swing next to us.

She's titchy, in skinny jeans and super cool trainers. 

Her hair is piled up on her head in a, 'I threw it up while doing the washing up but try to copy it to go out and it'll take you all evening,' kind of way.

Her daughter is dressed equally coolly. 

And she's pushing her daughter higher than Nancy.

Nancy looks at her, strains round to face me and declares loudly, 'I'd like a mummy like that,' pointing at her, just to make totally sure we're all clear who she's talking about. 

Never let it be said that you will get above your station with a small person around.

Happy Mother's Day. x

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Week 132- chocolate fingers, One Tree Hill and sitting off in your pyjamas...

So that's it. Work- done. Telly- on.

Bring on 9 months of sitting round in my pyjamas, watching reruns of Poirot.

I even started to dream about who I might develop a daytime crush on this time.

When pregnant with Nancy, it was Luke from One Tree Hill.


 


But that was then.


He's so 2011.

I'm now ready for another mildly irritating, unobtainably attractive 20 something to entertain my hormone-addled brain on a daily basis on some weird digital plus one station.

As I was alphabeticalizing our DVD collection for viewing ease, it dawned on me.

I will also me looking after Nancy.

Those days drifting into nights, punctuated by breastfeeding and eating entire packets of chocolate fingers are a first child luxury.

Nancy isn't going to stop wanting to be fed, clothed or bathed, just because I've had another baby.

In fact, I can imagine that everything taking at least twice as long as normal to do, is going to be a cause of great friction.

The tantrums have already cranked up a notch in the last few weeks since I haven't been able to lift Nancy up or give her a piggy back.

They are of the kind you used to see pre-children and think, 'I'd NEVER let my child behave like that.'

Then suddenly that is you.

You're in the library with a small person lying down in the audio books aisle, beating tiny fists on the floor and screaming themselves purple and you're faced with the, 'shall I leave her there for a bit and pretend she's not mine or attempt to pick her up like a rugby ball' conundrum.

So. I've got to reassess my TV viewing/ lying in a bath until I look like I've been pickled/ relaxing time.

Because I've already earmarked several boxsets and recorded a load of stuff off the telly.

The baby's due in 4 weeks.

Nancy is still with the child minder 3 days a week.

Now, I'm no Carol Vorderman, but if I approach this with the commitment and hours of normal job, so 9-5 with a lunch break of about 30 minutes, I work that out as approximately 22.5 hours a week for the next four weeks.

Surely that's more than enough time to watch the last 2 series of House of Cards.




Just everything crossed that this little guy doesn't come early.

Because is would be AMAZING to squeeze in series three of a The Killing as well
if poss...

Monday, 17 March 2014

Week 131- breast pads, newborn nappies and having a breakdown in big Boots...

I'm standing in the big Boots in the centre of town, clutching a pack of newborn nappies, and I'm crying.

Proper, ugly-faced, nose-streaming sobs.

Because the penny has just dropped that a small person is going to be wearing the nappies sooner than some of the stuff in my fridge will go off.

And I'm shitting myself.

I know I thought I'd got a grip on proceedings a couple of weeks ago. 

But turned out that was phase one of general melt down.

That was the, 'you're not going to be working for the rest of the year and no one over the age of 3 will really be listening to what you have to say until at least 2015,' realisation.

The Boots breakdown, as it shall be known, came as I realised that this is all ACTUALLY going to be happening very soon. 

Like countable days away. 

And that I need to do some stuff before he comes.

So. I'm in Boots. 

Nancy is fast asleep. 

I've picked up some posh shampoo I neither need nor can afford, and think, right, now would be the perfect time to get some things for the new baby. 

I hop in the lift up to the baby floor, which I know aisle by aisle like the back of my hand. 


No problem. 

I'm cruising past the stretch mark cream. Easy. And I'm thinking I'll be out of here and home in time for a quick kip myself before Nancy wakes up. 

I put some breast pads in my basket and start to feel a tightening in my chest. 

Probably just acid so I down some Gaviscon and continue. 

Pick up some maternity pads. And let out a small whimper which appears to rise from nowhere. 

Perhaps  because baby shopping so far has involved collecting disposable pads for every soon to be bleeding/ lactating orifice. 

But then I grab hold of some newborn nappies. 

And here it comes. 

The tidal wave of emotion. 

The uncontrollable, shoulder-shaking, eye-scrunching tears. 

And I can't stop it. 

The 0-60 hormone injection is uncontrollable.

So I just let it happen. 

Beal my face off like a teenager who's just found out her favourite boy band are splitting up. 




I'm not sure how long I was there for. 

Long enough to develop walrus snot and for most of my mascara to wash off.

Long enough to get pins and needles in my feet from standing still for ages. 

So then I give myself the, now frequent, 'man up' pep talk, take a deep breath, wipe my nose on my sleeve and go and pay at the checkout.

On the plus side, turns out that little lot had earned me over a quid in Boots parenting points. 

If I keep this up, I'll have enough for some Chanel blusher before I know it.


That's going to be my mantra next time I feel another Boots breakdown coming on. 

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Week 130- Vivienne Westwood, climate change and getting the wrong bus home...

Today I have listened to some fantastic women. 

I mean seriously awe inspiring. 

I went to the Women of the World conference at the Southbank with my sis.
There was something so positive and calming about being at a nearly all female event. 

And there were loads of women. 

Swarms of us. 

And the person I was most excited about seeing was Vivienne Westwood. 




In another life, I only wear Westwood. 

I'm super successful, with long mermaid-length hair, fantastic with money and live in a house with an open fire, where I cook from scratch and grow everything, whilst juggling a job of huge national/ international importance.

As it stands, I have one Westwood necklace of the globe, bought from eBay with questionable authenticity.

But I digress.

Hearing someone speak with absolute conviction can take your breath away. 

Vivienne Westwood is one of those women. 



She fights like a warrior for human rights and climate change. 

She doesn't use fancy language, or dazzle you with facts. 

Just raw passion.

There was a collective intake of breath from a room full of hundreds of women, as she took to the stage all grace and elegance with her familiar Derbyshire accent. 

Her hair cropped short, having shaved it two days beforehand to highlight climate change.



But the thing that struck me more than anything was that she gave a shit about people. 

Genuinely.

Vivienne Westwood is a woman who need never work another day in her life. 

Who's name is synonymous with beauty and style the world over.

Yet here she is, in her 70's, fighting for what's right in the world with the same energy as I imagine she did when she opened her first shop on The Kings Road all those years ago.

When it came to the audience asking questions, the first women started, 'I know you from campaigning...' and I'm ashamed to say I inwardly groaned as I thought, here we go, a poor attempt at try and be bessie mates. 

But VW, in a flash, responded, 'I recognise you, weren't you dressed as a mermaid last time I saw you?'

And the last question from the floor came from a child of about 6. 

Who asked her, 'what can children do about climate change?' 

To which she told her, 'same as grown ups. Children should never be patronised, you can fight the same as grown ups. Find the thing that's important to you and fight for it.'

I left the day with my head a buzz with ideas. 

Ideas about the world I wanted Nancy to grow up in. 

How I wanted her to see me. 

How I wanted to view and be viewed by other women.


And how fucking brilliant woman are. Full stop.

I was so struck by the gravity of it all, I got on totally the wrong bus in the opposite direction, so the journey to Brighton took over two hours longer than expected. 

And I completely missed Nancy's bedtime.

But I guess Rome wasn't built in a day.