Tuesday, 31 May 2011

After L, A and S, comes baby T!

Well, he was worth the wait.

Baby T (actually M but 'T' still amuses me and I've just given birth very fast so I'm entitled to be indulged).

His official time of birth is 4.29 pm. He weighs 7lb 7oz (3.38 kg) and measures (ish, clearly) 51 cm (they didn't tell us that in inches). He has dark hair and blue eyes and looks remarkably like L did.

He is obviously the most perfect baby boy ever to have been born.

What a difference a day makes! (One for the playlist, I feel)


After posting this, I realised that this week's Gallery subject was "I am grateful for...".  This post was obviously not written for the Gallery, but I couldn't miss the opportunity.  Click here to see what everyone else is grateful for.

Not a birth story

I know I said no more "waiting" posts. But then I hadn't planned for this.

It is 4am. I am in hospital. I am still pregnant.

I am bleeding. Not much, and not from, I am told, anywhere worrying ("oh, right, but then where is it coming from?") It started at 3 am on Sunday morning with a big clot (sorry if you're sensitive) and a dash in here. Eight hours and lots of monitoring later we were home, having abandoned the girls with, successively, a neighbour, my brother-in-law and B, once it became obvious that whatever was happening I wasn't having a baby.

Then the same on Monday night. 3 am. Blood. Ring. Dash. This time my mum was there, having left my dad with ten minutes warning and enough pills and ready meals for four days.

And, oh, the welcome pain! Contractions, real contractions, at last, after days of threatening and wondering. I am 4cm dilated. "Your baby will be here by 11.30" says the midwife as she puts in the cannula I need just in case (previous c-s again) and gives me the gas and air.

I will be examined again at 9 and if appropriate my waters will be broken.

It is 10 am. Time has a looser meaning in the NHS. My contractions have stopped. A new midwife will not break my waters because she thinks (the first disagrees) I am not ready. Nor will she give me gel, or a drip, or even another sweep.

I am moved off the labour ward to await a scan to see what is causing the bleeding.

And oh! More pain! I say nothing, willing it to stay, to worsen, to progress. I can't hide my silences every three minutes from B. We say nothing, hope nothing, pretend it's not happening.

Three hours later we are right. It is not happening. I cry. Huge heaving sobs of self-pity and disappointment. B reminds me that all this means is "not today" but I am lost in the irrationality of dashed hope.

I am scanned. All is fine. I am admitted for overnight observation. Others come and go. Off to labour ward and the arrival of their babies. B leaves to relieve my mum.

I wait. I will the pain to return. I sleep. I wake at three again. Sleep is elusive, contractions intermittent and merely uncomfortable.

I will be going home in the morning. I will have my baby, but I will still not have met him. I am, even while knowing how lucky I am, how I will, whatever happens, meet him in the next eight days, how this is merely a delay and a disappointment, fed up.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Dear So and So - the bored now edition.

Dear Baby,

Come out? Please?

Mummy x


Dear S,

Just because you can climb out of your cot, doesn't mean you should.   And 3 am is never an acceptable time to get up. Ever.

Mummy x


Dear Baby,

Please come out.

Mummy x


Dear A,

Yes, ok, you've understood, and you stay in.  Very clever. Well done. Thank you.

Still no excuse for being filthy during the day though.

Although when you look at me like that I can forgive you pretty much anything.  But that works for your sisters too.

Mummy x


Dear Baby,

Come on!

Mummy x


Dear L,

I said I'd never say it, but...

Life's not fair. Sorry.

And being told off for something you did wrong has absolutely nothing to do with fairness, equality or the state of the world economy, it's just what happens.  Tough.

Mummy x


Dear baby,

What do you want?

I've walked, I've bounced, I've drunk endless cups of raspberry leaf tea. I've eaten curry (Indian and Thai).

I've even resorted to leering suggestively at your father.

Is it pineapple? Because I can get pineapple...

Mummy x


Dear builders,

You're doing a fantastic job. You really are.  I'm so pleased. Just do you think you could do it slightly quicker?  Would be lovely to have somewhere to put this baby... Oh, and a kitchen would be nice too.



Dear medical professionals and random women in the supermarket,

Yes, I know I should be resting. Yes, I know that the baby won't come if I'm not relaxed (actually I think that's nonsense - if I don't relax for 22 months does that make me an elephant), yes, I know I should get lots of early nights, but have you seen what's going on in this house?

My mother is 350 miles away and caring for my father, my mother's help is on holiday, my children are refusing to sleep, the builder needs to know whether I want the lights "here" or "here", and you want me to rest?
Yours grumpily

Kitchen-less woman, ex-pat (sort of) daughter, and mother-of-three and a nearly.


Dear friends,
I've known only a few of you for more than a year, yet I am overwhelmed with how kind you are being. I have a list of names and numbers, and I know that whoever I ring, at whatever time, will be here like a shot.

Thank you all so much. I am doing everything I can to ensure that this baby arrives at a civilised hour. 
Sadly, that's nothing, but it's the thought that counts.

Harriet x


Dear self

Shut up. He'll come when he comes.

Bored now.

Me x


Dear readers,
Sorry if I'm getting slightly tedious on the subject of waiting, but consider it a tiny insight into the inside of my head.

I promise though. No more waiting for the baby posts until he's here.

And head over to Kat's for more postcards.


ps Oh, and if you were to fancy voting for me....

Thursday, 26 May 2011

One in twenty...

...babies arrives on their due date.

Looks like mine is one of the other nineteen.

Friday, 20 May 2011

On love and labour

Being in labour is like being in love.

If you have to keep asking yourself: "Is this it?", it almost certainly isn't.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

No child born to die

I'm 39 weeks pregnant today.  If this baby doesn't decide to make his own way into the world before then, they will break my waters for me on 8 June.  If that does nothing, I have been told they can't induce me (because of my previous c-section) so I will be going under the knife on 9 June.

Whatever happens I will, in three weeks' time, be a mum of four.

And there's nothing I can do about it.  It is going to happen. So I've got to that twingy, twitchy stage, where every niggle, whether it be in my pelvis or my patella, feels like a sign of labour. And where I'm starting to worry about all the stuff that can go wrong, all the stuff they can't scan for, all the stuff over which I have no control.  The stuff that might do awful things to my baby. Or to me.

But the thing is, I, and my baby, are so lucky.  He is going to be born (hopefully, unless it all happens very quickly), in a modern hospital with all the advantages of western medical care.   If I have to have a c-section it will be in a clean operating theatre, with modern anaesthetics and a highly trained surgeon.  I hope to breastfeed, as I have the others, but if I can't, the water I will use to make up his formula will be clean and germ free, and even then I have electricity and a kettle with which to make doubly sure.

His chances of survival at birth and in his first week are 992.4 in 1000.  His chances of getting to 1 are 995.5 in 1000.  His chances of getting to 14 are 99,988 in 100,000*.

This is not the case were he born elsewhere in the world.  Worldwide, 955 children in every 1000 reach their 1st birthday.  In Angola, only 720 children do.  That's 180 children in every thousand who don't make it to the age of one.

Every year, more than 8 million children under five die worldwide from diseases that we know how to treat or prevent, such as diarrhoea, pneumonia and measles.

How can we not be doing everything in our power to stop this?

In January, Save the Children launched its most ambitious campaign to date, No Child Born to Die.

Save The Children is focusing on the provision of vaccinations and healthcare workers to save those 8 million children. In June there is a meeting in London hosted by David Cameron and attended by other world leaders. Save The Children aims to make as much noise as possible to ensure the funding shortfall for vaccinations (4.7 billion) is met by all the donor countries - to fully fund vaccines for every child in the world.

So why am I writing this? Because you can do a little bit to be part of this campaign.

Please sign the petition and consider joining in the crafty meme – :

1. Ask your child/children to draw a picture of themselves either now or in the future and add it to the blog hop below.  L did this picture at nursery.  I know because they've entered it (and presumably lots of others) for some national competition.  The only problem?  When I showed it to L (because, quite frankly, I thought it was much too good to be hers) she said "Oh no, I didn't do that.  The other L did".  So this might be L, or it might be the other L.   It's a good picture anyway.

2. Blog about it and include details of the campaign and the petition. But be quick! The petition closes on 29 May.

3. Tag 8 friends.

That's it.

Like Muddling Along Mummy, who tagged me, I know that tagging and memes can feel like one of those things you really don't have time to do (and I apologise here to anyone who's tagged me in the past and I haven't got round to doing anything about) but memes really can build awareness in a short space of time for important causes like this one.

No child is born to die.

And with that, I tag (and you may already have done it, in which case, apologies):

Pants with Names
Mum's Gone To
Motherhood and Anarchy
Notes to Self
Modern Dilemma

*All taken from the Office of National Statistics Statistical Bulletin Childhood, infant and perinatal mortality in England and Wales, 2009.   I can't say I enjoyed reading this, but it was sobering to compare it with the global...

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Oh my goodness! How to make a very tired woman's day!

To my indescribable astonishment and delight, I am one of the five finalists in the best pregnancy blog category of the MAD awards 2011.

Thank you so much to anyone who nominated me, and if you did (or even if you didn't), please do vote for me too!  Although if you want to check out the competition, here are the other blogs:

You can click here to see all the nominated blogs in all the categories, and here to vote.

Oh, and just in case you want to refresh your memory, you can click here to see all my pregnancy posts.

On having two pairs of hands.

My life has been changed.  Transformed.  Made do-able again.

I have an extra pair of hands.  Fortunately they aren't attached to me, because that would look odd, and make buying clothes that fit even harder than it currently is. (I realise I'm three weeks more pregnant than I ever got with the girls, but honestly I can't be that big, can I?  I'm told, after all, that I'm measuring small.  So why am I constantly flashing either belly or lower back?)

But anyway, my extra pair of hands are attached to Carol, and Carol is my new favourite person in the world. 

She is coming three days a week, from 8 until 6.  We are only on day three, but oh! it's wonderful.  Suddenly you realise that a load of washing doesn't take all day, because suddenly when a war of attrition breaks out over a scooter while you're trying to hang the laundry up, somebody else can wrench them apart, so you don't find yourself soothing injured pride and sore heads, and forgetting what you were doing and then coming in once they're all in bed to find partially dried, irredeemably crumpled clothes on the floor where you dropped them in your haste. 

Suddenly, you can drink a whole cup of (raspberry leaf) tea before it goes cold.

Suddenly you can take L out for a walk while S and A nap and come back to find that the supper is on, the ironing done, and the girls have woken up and are having a story read to them.

Suddenly coping with four children feels like it might be possible.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Forgetting how to count to nine and other side effects of a third pregnancy.

A conversation.  End of March 2011:

"Golly I'm exhausted."
"Well, my love, that's not surprising, you've been working all day, you've got three children under four and you're seven months pregnant."
"No I'm not. I'm about five, maybe six."
"Erm, I don't want to disagree with the pregnant woman, but you're having a baby at the end of May. It's now the end of March...."
Only it's now the beginning of May.  I am (or will be tomorrow) 37 weeks pregnant.  Officially in the zone, and completely in denial.

This pregnancy has been utterly different from my previous two.  I loved being pregnant both times before.  I felt so special. I felt as though I was, first time, the only person who had ever had a baby; and second time, the only person who had ever had twins.  I was probably incredibly dull to be with, because I suspect I thought, and dreamed and spoke about nothing other than the miracle(s) that were growing inside me.  I cherished every movement, I analysed every scan, test or illegible comment scrawled in my notes, I fretted and worried, and ate well.  I planned and prepared.  I was pregnant.

And now? Well, now I'm pregnant. But I keep forgetting.

A small list of things I have forgotten in the last thirty seven weeks:

How to count to nine.
That climbing ladders is not recommended when eight months pregnant.
That I can't fit through that space.
Or that one.
Oh, no, that one's not big enough either.
That having a baby car seat, crib and baby clothes in the attic is not the same as having them downstairs, washed and ready.
That chocolate is not a food group.
To get a MAT B1 and fill in the form for the maternity allowance.
That they have yet to design a pair of maternity jeans that a) stay up and b) look good.
That you have to pack your hospital bag, and not wait for the pregnancy fairies to do it for you.
That you are supposed to read your notes.
That maybe going to a hen night 350 miles away the weekend before my due date is not entirely wise. Even if the bride is a medic.
That there is a reason I am tired, emotional and irrational.

A smaller list of things that, despite the above, I have not forgotten:

In somewhere between three and five weeks' time I will have another baby.
It will probably hurt.
It will, once more, change my life forever.
I will never be pregnant again.

And it is the last that I must keep reminding myself of.  This is it.  And as I sit here, typing away, my tummy visibly rolling about like a sailor recently returned to shore, I must remember how privileged I am to feel like this.  To feel the indescribable sensation of someone else's hiccoughs, deep inside.  To watch as a tiny foot pushes against me, so fast that you wonder if you imagined it.  To have L, and S, and A, dolls shoved up their t-shirts, put their cold, cold hands on my bump because they want to feel their brother.

I have hardly any time left to be pregnant.  I need to remember to cherish it.

I am going to write that on the to do list.

The Gallery - April

April?  April?  What can I say about April?  Particularly now that it's May...

Well, April 2010 has been about picnics and birthdays and Spring finally being round the corner, and castles and walks and visitors, and builders and a new roof, and an ever growing bump, and a world tour of Kent, and Easter and chocolate and eggs, and suddenly getting the point of the Easter Bunny, and endless cups of raspberry leaf tea, and apple blossom, and only having one working loo between five of us and all the builders, and scraping the car again, and discovering that S is scared of ladybirds, and a new wendy house, and picking the spiders off the paddling pool, and some people getting married, and realising it's not as warm as it looks, and tulips and daffodils and deadheading and weeding, and blinking and you missed it and you've got the whole of the Summer stretching before you and a new baby very nearly here.

But that was April 2010, and this is just April.  Because however old she gets, and however much she doesn't need me any more, April will, for me, always be about one thing. My first born. Because it is her month, even four years on.


Click here for more Spring-like (and not so Spring-like) pictures in the Gallery