And sadly, this particular fat lady can’t seem to find her voice. I had hoped to report on the arrival of a child over the festive season, and in typical me fashion, even without an actual birth, I was writing the post in my head – remarking on the fact that it was a lovely early/late Christmas present, that I had known all along I’d go early (HA!) and so on. Unfortunately, as time has ticked on, all those lovely thoughts have been consigned to the scrapheap, and it’s a case of playing the waiting game. (more…)
Archive for the ‘Pregnancy Diary’ Category
I had hoped that this week’s post would be about my lovely new house, maybe recounting some amusing anecdotes about boxes or bubblewrap, maybe having a little moan about the toddler’s inability to settle into her new room, but essentially full of the joys of finally having a place to live.
Unfortunately though, we’re coming close to complete pregnant mammy meltdown. Instead of moving a few roads away, with all our belongings, to our dream home, we have gone all the way down the M50 with a couple of suitcases, and set up camp in my parent’s. Hardly ideal – especially not for my parents, who though they have made us very welcome, must be feeling their nerves fray as the toddler asks to be read the same story for the 150th time.
To be fair, the move out went well. The movers were great, and all our worldly possessions appear to (haven’t opened all the boxes yet) have survived the 250 metre trip. The toddler walked away without a backward glance (mainly because she was walking into her beloved granny’s arms – the words I have heard most over the last few days are “Bye bye Mammy, I stay with Granny”) so it’s not all bad. But, there is no escaping it… The dream home is still a long way away from making the pages of Home and Living magazine. At this stage, my biggest fear is that this baby is going to arrive without a home to go to. I know we’d cope, and my parents would be great about it, but that’s really not how I’d like it to be. To boot, we haven’t got the hospital bag packed, we haven’t located where the Moses basket is, all the babygros (from tiny baby to big bruiser) are all lumped together in one bag – and I don’t know where that is. So, each time I feel a little ache, or have a practice contraction, I think… “Oh, no! This is it!”. I have a few weeks still to go, I know, but the toddler made an early appearance, and also, I have spent months willing the time to pass, hoping that 40 weeks doesn’t become 41 or 42, and I can’t help feeling that the Gods would think this was a nice little present for me… Along the lines of “Be careful what you wish for….”.
And being 8 months pregnant, it’s not the best time, physically or mentally, to have my plans thwarted in any way. I did warn the husband to expect fireworks combined with waterworks when we began this process, and so far I haven’t disappointed on either count. He’s being admirably patient, making lots of soothing noises etc. but my tendency to become apocalyptic is getting worse as the days without a finished house pass. Our builders are doing a fantastic job – I can say that in the clear light of day, as I am breathing nice and deeply, sitting at the pc. But when the husband and I did a recent nocturnal visit, in the freezing cold (the heating doesn’t work yet), getting covered in a film of grey dust as we stepped over planks, I failed to see the huge progress, and started mumbling incoherently and tearfully about eating Christmas dinner in a hard hat. Next year.
But, if you exclude comments about hard hats, and tears, and the toddler now commuting to creche via the M50 – I think we’re coping fairly well. Or the husband is. And, I must keep repeating this, the end is in sight. There is no more talk now about foundations and roofing, but plastering and tiling have entered the discussions. I am hanging out for the words “finishing touches”, “snag list” or perhaps more relevantly “final payment” before I get too excited… But maybe next weeks post will be called “Moved”?
Since the early stages of this pregnancy, and certainly since I have started this blog, there has been an elephant in the room that I haven’t spoken about. It’s been on my mind and the tip of my tongue, but I just haven’t been able to bring myself to sit down and write about it. Well, the elephant has stood up, and has started to dance the lambada, so I can ignore it no longer.
We’re moving house next week…..
It’s not that I don’t want to move, I love our new house, I am really excited about having a place of our own again. We’ve been renting since we moved home from the UK, and it’ll be great for the toddler to have her own room, complete with Peppa Pig/ Dora / Barney (or whatever character is in toddler vogue) accessories. I’m looking forward to choosing my own curtains and light-fittings – for the last number of months I have been staring in part amazement, part horror at the ones in our living room, wondering did someone pay real money for them, were they given free, or better still, was the landlord paid to take them?
It will also be great to settle down somewhere. Since this millennium kicked off, I have regularly piled my belongings – which initially fit into a battered red suitcase – into various forms of transport and taken off to a new home, crossing the length of India, the Irish sea, and even the Liffey to do so. It has been really exciting, and I wouldn’t change a thing, but as well as picking up lots of shoes on my travels, there is now a husband, a toddler, a house full of furniture, and all manner of other “essentials” from candlestick holders to smoothie makers, which need to be transported. Moving has become harder every time – the period of chaos before and after has extended each time, to the point that I feel that I have only just got over the last move (March) and now we’re off again. So I am pinning my hopes that this is the last one – that the husband and I have found our forever home, and that we will settle down to a life of domestic bliss and smoothies in the candlelight there together.
But before we can kick off with the domestic bliss, we need to get through the move with our sanity and our marriage intact. I’m almost 8 months pregnant, and my ability to see both sides of an argument deserted me about 6 months ago. The toddler, who has a similar approach to me on arguments, can best be termed as “change-resistant”. (She doesn’t like a new type of pasta, just how she will react to a new home is anyone’s guess). There are builders in situ in the new house at the moment and while they confidently insist that it will be habitable next Friday, I am dubious – I suppose it depends on the definition of habitable really, doesn’t it? And of course, there is a baby on the way. I want the baby to come, preferably a little early, but I want the house to be ready, and looking just right, before it does. When I first articulated that hope it sounded reasonable, but as the time approaches it has become obscured in packing materials and builders’ muddy footprints.
On the plus side, even though we are only moving about 3 roads away, we are getting movers in. Previous moves have involved the husband and a van, aided by whoever he could coerce / bribe / threaten. He feels that to pay for professional movers is crazy, when there are able bodied males around who can do the honours. I listened to his arguments (or pretended to) while remembering the way that my Waterford crystal got handled the last time, and patiently pointed out the hidden cost of doing the move himself. Namely, divorce. Quotes were swiftly obtained, and funnily enough, the movers are all booked in now. It pays to be pregnant in some cases.
So if I block out the mess, and the fact that I won’t be able to find the hairdryer/ potato peeler until next May, and the poor toddler feeling disassociated, I can start to look forward to the first of many Christmases in our new home. At least until we get itchy feet again…
Many are the new parents who will say that they only started to appreciate their own mother and father when they had kids themselves. And, from the early stages of my first pregnancy, right through to now, this has continued to hit me with increasing force. I like to think that I have always got on well with my Mam and Dad. We had the wilderness years of course, when I spent my time listening to Pearl Jam and cursing anyone over the age of 23 (for some reason when I was 17 or 18, 23 was a mythical age, the point when all the questions were answered, and after which everything went downhill. I was wrong on both counts naturally and thankfully). But it really is only since becoming a parent, or more accurately realising that I was expecting, that I understood exactly what their job was with me, and how much harder it was than I had ever given them credit for.
Over the last two and half years this realisation has dawned at many and varied intervals – whether it’s been swigging from my bottle of Gaviscon at 3am (and realising that my mother had to do that times four), to cleaning up toddler vomit (times four again!!!!), to delivering the toddler and equipment to them one wonderful Friday morning and returning to a happy, safe and well-fed toddler on the Sunday afternoon. This weekend was another prime example – as you all know, I am 32 weeks pregnant, and my mood is, errrr, a bit iffy to say the least. The husband took himself off to Berlin with the lads, his last hoorah – and while I was glad for him to go, I was deep green with envy and struggled hard not to be bitter and miserable. So, to cheer ourselves up, myself, the toddler, and my bad mood booked into my parents house for some TLC.
I’m a changed woman since – it’s amazing what a well-cooked meal, a happy toddler and some extra sleep can do for a girl. The toddler loves it over there, the relationship between kids and their grandparents is lovely to watch. When I rolled out of bed at 10am (yes, 10am. Between 3 and 5 hours later than usual!!!) Sunday morning, I looked out the window, to see a small child holding her granny’s hand and pointing at the “doggie inna window” – a dog belonging to a neighbour and a favourite attraction at Granny and Grandad’s. I had a shower in peace, without having to sing nursery rhymes / shout warnings or stop mid-suds to extricate the toddler from some mischief, and wandered downstairs to a cooked breakfast and a nice cup of tea prepared by my Dad. Heaven.
Of course it’s not all perfect – parenting ideas have changed somewhat in the last 25-30 years, and sometimes advice given, even with the best intentions, isn’t well received. But when I see a rash on the toddler, or feel strange myself, or just need someone to tell me that it’s normal to feel bewildered at this parenting lark, it’s to my Mam and Dad that I turn. It worked out nicely this weekend for the husband too. When he arrived home, a little tired and emotional himself (maybe the beds in the hotel weren’t that comfortable or something?), he was a little unsure whether his pregnant wife would be welcoming. But he was met with a lovely reception, a relaxed and happy mother and child, the picture of familial bliss – so much so that he is talking about a weekend in Spain with the lads next year!
There was a time, not too long ago, when I was all in favour of the clocks going back. It meant an extra hour in bed, of course, and involved much entertaining discussion about whether the pubs would serve for an extra hour. (No, by the way, they never have and they probably never will). The week after it was good too… waking up too early, and snuggling back down under the duvet for a power snooze. (I always intended to get up and go to the gym / for a swim / into the office early, but somehow a little doze always won the day). The extra sleep, or even the illusion of it, took the edge of the descent into dark Winter.
Believe me; I have gone right off it! And I bet most people who live their lives in the shadow of a small child feel the same. All hell has broken loose chez CaTyn this week because of a measly 60 minutes extra in the small hours of last Sunday morning. The toddler has always been an early riser – the husband and I know this is the price we have to pay for getting her into her cot in time for us to have dinner in peace. But there’s early, and then there is just plain inhumane. Toddlers don’t do hour changes, they don’t do explanations of hour changes, and they certainly don’t snuggle back under the covers for a power nap when they wake up a little early.
Until I got caught up in this motherhood lark, I didn’t really “do” tired. I mean, I got tired, but seemed to manage on limited amounts of sleep, and caught up whenever there was an opportunity. Oh how lucky I was, and how little I appreciated it. Even my first pregnancy didn’t faze me too much – the usual things affected my ability to get 8 hours; heartburn, limited bladder capacity and naked fear, but, in spite of the broken nights, I managed to function more or less as normal. I first realised that my number was up when the toddler was a few days old. It dawned on me that there was to be no chance to catch up, and that I was getting my first taste of this awful exhaustion I’d been warned about. Since then, there have been brief tastes of a proper night’s sleep (on the rare nights we went away without the toddler – instead of painting the town red, we opted for a very pale pink and were tucked up by 11) but on the whole, it’s been a case of general tiredness punctuated with periods of absolute exhaustion – usually coinciding with illness, or teeth, or on a couple of occasions, our neighbour’s teenage sons throwing a huge party.
But none of this prepared me for this week. There is something about starting the day at 4:30am (and not having a plane to catch) that brought my craving for sleep to a whole new level. The husband and I know that, until the toddler decides to resume normal service and sleep till about 6, the solution is to go to bed after Eastenders, but we just can’t seem to do it – there’s dinner to be eaten, phonecalls to be made, Facebook to be checked….
I know I am going deep into the realms of self-pity here, (I don’t care), but added to the early starts are; my ever-diminishing bladder capacity, which has me up every 2 hours, and the occasional burst of heartburn – (although in fairness that’s greatly improved, thanks to some magic tablets from the doctor).
I know that someday, somehow, I will start getting some proper sleep again. I just don’t think it’s going to be for a while. And, with my tendency to think ahead, I am already dreading next year’s hour change, when there will be two little bodies wanting to kick the morning off at the same time as the last Nitelink leaves. We will cope, I’m sure, but I can’t believe that there once was a time when I looked forward to the clocks going back…
One morning, not so long ago, the husband went in to get the toddler up. As usual, she was treating us to a rendition of “Incy Wincy Spider”, one of her favourites at 6am (or earlier). Her version goes like this “Incy Wincy BIDER, climbs up the water BOUT, along came the WAIN, and washed poor Incy OUT!”. The last word is loud enough to be heard from 4 houses away I’m sure. Our poor, poor neighbours. But anyway, in he goes, one eye open and mumbling something about times when 6am was a late night rather than an early morning. I curl up and get ready to go back asleep for an hour or two (we take the 6am shift in turns). Next thing there’s a big roar out of him, “there’s blood everywhere!” he shouts “c’mere!”.
I duly hoist myself out of bed and waddle in. Sure enough, the blanket, the toddler’s pjs, her hair, and even the side of her face, are covered in blood. But there’s not a bother on the toddler herself. After a thorough examination, we find no cuts, and conclude that it’s certainly not toddler blood everywhere. The husband starts investigating. There’s blood on the cot, and streaks of blood on the door handle, so it’s apparent that a nocturnal visitor did the damage.
Leaving Hercule Poirot to it, I take the toddler into the bathroom to wash her, and happen to glance in the mirror. My entire face is streaked with blood! I have a look at my hands, they’re fine, but there’s a little bit on my wrist and up my arm. But I have no cuts anywhere? I go back into the bedroom and turn on the light… yes, spots of blood on the pillow and duvet. I summon Hercule, who still didn’t notice the blood on my face. (If he is to continue his career as a detective, he’d want to hone those observation skills). Once I point it out to him, we begin to piece the story together….
Like many pregnant women, I need to make regular visits to the loo at night. I have got so good at it, that I don’t even need lights, the whole process from leaving the bed, to handwashing, can be done with my eyes more or less shut. This is good, as lights cause two problems, firstly they can wake me up more than is necessary, so I get back into bed and start thinking about my credit card bill, and secondly they have the potential to wake the toddler… not often, but the fear is there.
Anyway, Hercule and I concluded that I had a nosebleed in the middle of the night. Nosebleeds, along with most other minor medical calamities that can befall a person, are a symptom of pregnancy. I must have woken up mid-bleed, and trotted to the loo as usual. When I got to the landing (wish we had an ensuite!) I must have veered into the toddler’s room to admire the sleeping child. While doing this, I bled all over her, her blanket, etc. etc. Then off I went to the loo. Washing my hands removed the blood from them, but my face and arms retained traces. I took myself back into my bloody bed then, and, due to the fact that no light woke me up properly, nodded quickly back off to sleep, until the dawn chorus of Incy Wincy BIDER a few hours later.
The other alternative, of course, is that some sort of injured ghostly phantom made its way into our home, and leant over the pregnant woman and child, leaving the husband alone, before heading back to whatever hellhole it came from. Possible I guess?
Since I’ve started this weekly pregnancy diary, I’ve always known at the end of each week what I’ll write about next, and have enjoyed thinking of bits and pieces I could include. Last week was no exception. Unfortunately, however, the idea was as far as I got. Instead of coming up with things I could write as I sit in traffic, peel potatoes, or “listen” to calls in work, I have spent the week in a flurry of activity and mild panic.
Yes, it has been one of those weeks. It started with a broken washing machine, and ended with cramps so bad, I thought this baby was making an early appearance. Fortunately, order has been restored – the baby remains safely inside where it should be, and the laundry mountain has been reduced to manageable levels, so I can hit the keyboard at last.
So, to begin at the beginning – the washing machine…. Like most homes with a toddler in situ, we have a lot of washing to do. It’s not just her clothes; it’s the fact that she puts her mucky paws all over me and the husband – and anything else in her path, so there’s no chance of anyone’s jeans getting two outings before they hit the laundry pile. An evening with the kitchen resembling a Paddy field, a week without a functioning machine, and days spent in fruitless attempts to track down a man with a spanner – while the clothes piled up, have meant that my nerves, never the best while pregnant, have taken a real hammering.
And then there’s work. It hit me – and, more importantly, my boss – this week that I have only 6 weeks left. Now, I wasn’t planning on throwing everything onto his desk, running for the exit, shouting “it’s all in there, am sure you’ll sort it out” (well, only in my daydreams), but I certainly underestimated the amount of work involved in finishing up work. What began as a simple “One on one” meeting with my boss, ended with a task list as long as my arm, and my hopes of a nice easy run up to maternity leave fizzling out in a haze of handover conversations and organisation.
Then, just to spice things up a bit, the toddler came down with a cold. The poor little mite started with a runny nose, but quickly began coughing as if she has an 80 a day habit. She has a touch of asthma, and we’ve increased her inhaler dosages as instructed – to say she is unimpressed with this development is putting it mildly. Much time has been spent chasing her from room to room, alternately promising, threatening and cajoling as we wield the inhalers and the nebuliser. We go through a similar, more muted, variation, whenever we need to blow her nose, and another when we need to give her any type of medicine. I’ve run miles and miles around my own house this week. Thankfully, she’s improving, and with luck, the requirement to sprint after her will reduce soon too.
And, last but not least – the cramps. Maybe I’m a wuss, and maybe also a wuss with amnesia – because I don’t remember anything of the sort last time. They passed in time – but not before I had time to call the husband howling, (I was a bit ashamed of my histrionics afterwards but didn’t let on of course) – and all is well since. Apparently this baba is upside down, so I’m hoping that the pains equated to an energetic (slow!!!) somersault?
With all these shenanigans, everything else was placed on the backburner, and my mood has been apocalyptic – to say the least. As the laundry pile decreased though, my sense of perspective has returned, and if this was a bad week – then I haven’t got a lot to complain about, have I? And even better, I still have my idea for next week’s post!