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Babe: 3 years and 2 months
Babeling: 4 days

My milk ‘came in’ the day before yesterday. This event was easy to spot – my normal frontal arrangement was replaced by two rock hard, rigid comedy breasts three times the size of the old pair. If I didn’t have a big wobbly jelly belly to go with them, I’d look great.

I was just marvelling at it all in the bath when I realised I might be looking at an opportunity for a night out. Er, let me clarify. My plan was to get out the breast pump and express a whole bottleful so that babyfather and I could go out for a leisurely dinner one evening before the ganparents go home. There looked to be at least half a pint in each, and anyway, it might relieve that swollen feeling.

Lots of enthusiastic sterilising and pumping later, I had produced a total output of 10ml. Yes, that’s two teaspoons.

‘Your breasts are engorged with blood, not milk,’ said Ganny, which would certainly explain the attractive network of blue veins. What good blood might be to the babeling, I’m not sure. For relief I had to resort to the old cabbage leaf in the bra trick, except I could only find a red cabbage and I think it’s stained my bra.

Babe: 3 years and 2 months
Babeling: 2 days

Day 2

The babeling is perfectly healthy, weighs seven pounds twelve, and… he’s a girl!

Stay tuned for a blow-by-blow, pant-by-pant, push-by-push account of the birth. In other words, you might want to read someone else’s blog for a bit.

(By the way, she’s gorgeous.)

Babe: 3 years and 2 months
Babeling: 13 days overdue

I didn’t get anything to put in here

nothing here

because it’s still in here.

Bump

Today: Vigorous exercise, raw pineapple, gin & tonic.
Tomorrow: Hospital at 8am. Not allowed home til baby out.

Babymother: I’m going to hospital tomorrow to have the baby!
Babe: Is Daddy going too?
BM: Yes.
Babe: Why? Is he going to push the baby out?
BM: No, but he’s going to hold my hand.
Babe: And after that will you get married?

Babeling: 10 days overdue

Not ‘haven’t you had the baby yet?’ or ‘When’s that baby coming out?’ It’s always ‘You still here, then?’

Where else should I be? Do people mean in hospital? I don’t think so. I’ve decided it’s a more mysterious question than that. I might only be in hospital for a few hours and then home again with the baby, but when I came back I wouldn’t be ‘here’. I’d be ‘there’. The Other Side.

Therefore I am all set for a journey, with my disposable pants and nursing pads tied up in a red and white spotted handkerchief on the end of a stick. I am off to the land of Mother of Two and not expected to return.

I hope they have blogging there.

Babeling: 8 days overdue

*Yawn*

Actually, I don’t think I’ll bother having a baby after all.

Babe: 3 years and 2 months
Babeling: 6 days late

Let us distract ourselves with the babe’s thoughts, on the subject of food:

Babymother, forty minutes into the longest tea-time known to man:
This is a very slow and boring process.
Babe: Mummy, I’m not a process.
How true.

The babe, having nibbled on the healthiest muesli bar that money can buy in Holland and Barrett, and put it down firmly:
That’s enough protein now.

Babyfather: Try a cherry tomato. They explode in your mouth! Look!
Babe: *follows babyfather’s example but removes tomato with expression of distaste* I need a doctor.

Lazy Sunday

Babe: 3 years and 2 months
Babeling: Due yesterday

No, I haven’t had the baby yet, just too busy not giving birth to write my blog.

Ganny is here and babyfather is off work in preparation for what’s not happening, so we’re occupying ourselves with DIY and Christmas decorations. Chilled Mum and the kids were here yesterday to help with our shoebox nativity scene.

The question is, at what point in the Christmas story is our snapshot of the stable? Is it after the birth, in which case should our pipe cleaner Mary be sitting down comfortably, suggesting that she didn’t suffer too much tearing? Or is it during? If so, what position would she be in? Squatting, kneeling, or all fours, surely. The semi-reclined position was apparently invented for the benefit of Victorian obstetricians. Anyway, our Mary assumed her own position by falling off her cardboard hay bale, onto her side with one leg in the air. This too is a good birth position, especially if Joseph can help by holding up the upper leg.

Christmas is all a bit too close to the bone this year. If the woman carrying the Son of God had to unexpectedly deliver her baby in a barn after a frantic and unsuccessful search for somewhere comfy to bed down, what right do I have to not give birth on the A10? Or was the donkey to blame for bringing on the labour? That’s an idea to bear in mind…

We saw the Nativity Story this afternoon. It’s a great film to watch in pregnancy. I confess to crying in places. Mary and Elizabeth’s meeting was really well done, as was Joseph’s dream telling him to go ahead and marry his pregnant fiancée. I was even moved by the birth scene, despite the fact that Joseph whipped out a month-old baby Jesus from under Mary’s unsoiled clothing and held him aloft, all clean and shiny and miraculously free of an umbilical cord. Don’t let that put you off. Go and see it.

I was thinking how appropriate it would be to go into labour during the screening but God seems not to share my views. Everyone I’ve spoken to recently with kids says that all their babies came at the same time in relation to their due dates – Chilled Mum’s were both exactly a week early at 5.30am. The babe was 12 days late, and if the babeling follows suit, that takes us to… the 25th December, of course.

Babe: 3 years and 2 months
Babeling: due in less than 2 weeks

A whole herd of us have been pregnant together at my church’s women’s group. Week by week we swell up, one by one we disappear – and then return after a couple of weeks’ absence with a tiny infant in a car seat and a grandmother in tow. There are now two whole sofas dedicated to breastfeeding. The last but one has just disappeared and the last one is me.

I had been feeling ready for the birth. I’ve just read a book on Active Birth and it left me euphoric. I am a woman! With a uterus! Designed for the miraculous expulsion of babies! I will squat, pant, grunt and push this child into the world unaided, chew off the umbilical cord and probably eat the placenta. What pain? I will experience no pain – only power! Um – it was quite inspiring.

I expected the active birth class at the hospital to be the icing on the cake of my bullet proof attitude. They showed a standard antenatal video of a photogenic waterbirth without any blood or poo, and minus the sound, it would have been fine. It was just that towards the end this woman shouted ‘No no no I can’t do it!’ and it chilled my blood. It didn’t matter how much she cooed over the baby after the birth – all I could remember was the panic in her voice. I need to go back to the book again. (See how calmly I breathe: in through the nose, out softly through the mouth, too gently to blow out a candle, my cervix billowing open like a lotus flower.)

I think I’ve just finished the nesting phase. This took the form of an uncontrollable urge to finish the decorating in the hallway no matter what, and thanks to Ganny’s generous combination of childminding and painting, it’s done. I’ve had a whole month of extra energy for tying up all sorts of loose ends and now I am utterly exhausted.

Babe: 3 years and 2 months
Babeling: Due in 2 weeks

Bedtimes can be a bit emotionally fraught. For me, I mean.

It’s been a long day, I want my supper and a child-free evening, and any stalling on the babe’s part does not get a good response. I can hear myself talking to her with a mixture of sarcasm, frostiness and irritation, and somewhere at the back of my mind I’m thinking what a horrible way to talk to your child like you do when you witness an ugly scene at the supermarket. However, somewhere closer to the front of my mind I’m thinking but I’m entitled to be grumpy and I seem to be getting away with it so I’ll carry on…

One night, after much irritable parenting, I was barking at her about hurrying up on the toilet and she said:

‘Mummy I HAPE YOU!’

I was horrified.

‘Why did you say that?’ I whimpered with my eyes filling up.

‘I needed to say it! Because you hape me!’

I was utterly chastened, and said sorry for being cross, and tried to explain why I was cross, and we had a cuddle, and I let her run rings around me for the rest of the bedtime routine. Then I went downstairs and cried all over babyfather.

No-one has ever said they hape me before. When she’s a teenager and can say it right I’m sure it will hurt even more.

Babe: 3 years and 2 months
Babeling: Out next week, please God

I was with my parents and the babe in the Fenwicks self-service restaurant at Brent Cross when I was about six months pregnant. There was a Mediterranean-looking bloke waiting at the till, and when he saw me sliding my tray along the thing you slide your tray along, he was horrified. He rushed out from behind the till and insisted on sliding it along for me. Then when we’d paid he had to carry the tray to our table. I felt all feminine and Madonna-like (no, not that Madonna).

Where, I want to know, is my waiter now? If I am too delicate to slide a tray at six months, surely at nearly nine months I need help in lugging up washing from the basement to the airer on the first floor? Or climbing into the loft with huge sacks of outgrown toddler clothes? Or painting ceilings? Or, for that matter, skirting boards? What about picking up my two-stone daughter when she is inconsolable? How about just walking upstairs? I tell you, someone has messed with the altitude in our house and the oxygen is very thin on the top step.

In any case, he may be worrying about me. If you are that man, just leave your details in the comments section. Thank you.