Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Maternity leave manifesto

Everyone else seems to be writing manifestos at the moment – so I thought I might as well write one too. Luckily I don’t have to worry about the country’s debt, how on earth to overhaul the education system or whether or not Trident is really necessary – no my concerns are far more frivolous, but no less important (in my mind anyway). So this is my manifesto - a maternity leave manifesto if you will – spelling out my intentions for the next five weeks.

I will sort out the wardrobes and donate all the clothes we haven’t worn in ages to charity [Note – I may or may not include Mr Jones in this – his wardrobe needs a serious detox and his presence might hamper proceedings somewhat.]

I will weed the front garden – getting rid of a particularly offensive dandelion which mocks me every time I leave the house with is bolshy yellowness amid my blue, white, purple and pink colour scheme (maybe I should give up having a colour scheme? Should gardens have colours schemes – discuss)

I will rejig the kitchen cupboards to make room for all things baby….and get rid of packets of things that have been haunting the depths of the kitchen for months – possibly years.

I will plant things in the veg patch and encourage the cats to find somewhere else to sleep that is less muddy.

I will clean the oven – because clearly it is abhorrent to oven repairmen

I will scrub the hall floor back to it’s pristine Victorian gloriousness and then I’ll wax it and buff it before returning the floor buffer to Mrs Norman (I’ve had it in the loft for the last year and the poor woman hasn’t been able to buff her floors – though I have to say she hasn’t complained)

I will listen to my hypnosis for birth cd at least every other day, take my raspberry leaf tea capsules and invest in some clary sage.

I will buy a decent camera and learn how to take proper pictures just like this fabulous woman does

I will get our wedding and honeymoon pictures printed and framed

I will pack my hospital bag

I will eat breakfast outside

I will go to a café and enjoy just being on my own

I will talk to Baby Jones and maybe take him/her to the sea

I will finish the telling of our love story

The final bump pic

32 weeks

28 weeks

20 weeks

Here it is, the final picture of my bump as taken by the talented Ruth Jenkinson. She has very kindly offered to come and taken pictures during the birth(!) - which is something she used to do for Pregnancy & Birth magazine.

While this would allow me to give you a blow by blow account of the birth, which I'm sure you'd all be desperate to read (no? you're sure?), somehow I just don't think it's right to have your friend and colleague down the business end with an SLR. So instead she's going to come and take pictures of Baby J once he/she has arrived - which will hopefully be a whole lot more pretty.

The bump has grown and is only going to get bigger over the next six weeks. I looked in the mirror the other day and wondered just how I'm still managing to stand upright.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Essential kit for every pregnant woman....a screwdriver

Today is my 30th Birthday - this morning Mr Jones told me I was old and fat. When I protested he asked me which of those statements wasn't true - I had no answer. He won't be 30 until July. I keep forgetting it's my birthday - baby's appear to take over everything - I'm told this is what happens when you have children.

The day hasn't passed completely without celebration. On Saturday night we went out for the yearly cocktail binge (non-alcoholic for me). I wore my hair down for the first time in eight months. We went to Browns as always. We'd been there scarcely 10 minutes when Baby Jones gave me a quick kick in the bladder and sent me scuttling to the loo. The cubicle was tiny and brick built (no windows, no airy gaps under the door or walls), there was nowhere to put my handbag and I cursed myself for bringing it.

That was until I tried to open the door. The lock stuck fast. I jiggled it, tugged at it and frantically clawed at it to no avail. I got my phone out of my bag and glared at the flashing "sos" where the signal should have been. The sweat started to pour and panic ensued. I banged on the door calling out to anyone who could hear. "I'm locked in can you get some help please" I shouted - trying to sound calm.

"Oh dear - of course" came the reply from a fellow loo goer - "Just let me wash my hands". I let out an exasperated sigh as I felt the walls start to press in on me, the temperature jump by about 10 degrees and a river of sweat begin to meander down my back. "Oh there's no paper towels - I'll have to use the handdryer" said my potential rescuer.

"Knock yourself out" I thought. "Why don't you give yourself a hand massage while you're at it, maybe a manicure - meanwhile I'll stand here trying not to pass out in the world's smallest toilet cubilcle while my unborn child - evidently sensing my panic starts its own rebellion in my stomach."

The door to the loos opened and closed and I was left in silence. A minute later a voice asks "Are you ok?"

"Er no - I'm locked in, I'm 34 weeks pregnant, I'm hot and I really would like to get out" I manage before bursting into tears.

"Hang on I'll get some help." and I'm left alone again. I check my phone and I have signal. I call Mr Jones' work mobile - no answer - I can't believe he's left it at home, it's usually permanently enscounced in his pocket. The signal has gone.

"Hi, I'm here to get you out" says a male voice. "What's happened to the lock?"

"It's jammed" I say - in a voice that clearly suggests that it's blatantly very obvious what has happened to the lock. And dissolve into tears again.

The signal is back - I call Mr Jones' personal mobile. He answers with a tone of panic in his voice. I've been gone for about 15 minutes. "I'm locked in the toilet" I sob. He sends my mum.

I hear her arrive and imagine her glaring at the male in charge of rescuing me when he suggests she move along to another cubicle. "That's my daughter in there and she's eight months pregnant - get her out," she demands.

I can hear rattling and jiggling. I keep trying the lock in the hopes that it will move. The door opens inwards, the cubicle is tiny. I try to work out where I could possibly position my huge self should the door need to be knocked down to aid my exit. By now I am shaking and I'm impossibly hot. I'm surprised I haven't fainted.

"Er - I've dismantled the lock from this side but I can't get it to move," says the male. I let out a sob. "I'm going to pass the screwdriver under the door and I need you to unscrew the lock from your side." Thankfully there is a tiny gap under the door which just fits a screwdriver. There is just space enough for me to bend down to pick it up.

It's a flat head, the screws are Philips. There are six of them. My hands are soaked with sweat and are shaking manically. Trying not to get hysterical I painstakingly unscrew each screw and throw it on the floor in disgust. The lock is painted to the door frame, I stick the screwdriver behind it and wrench it off onto the floor. And I'm out. There's a waitress clutching a glass of water with a straw, a concerned looking restaurant manager and my Mum. Everyone looks thankful that I haven't gone into labour in the loo. Sweaty doesn't even come close to describe me - I look like I've been treking in the Amazon and my "worn down for the first time in eight months hair" is now fluffy and goes straight back up. I say thanks to my rescuers and escape as fast as I can.

Mr Jones looks gives me a big hug and hands me a mojito complete with rum to calm my nerves. Baby J was created in a mojito fueled week in Zanzibar so we figure one won't hurt. I cross my legs for the remained of the cocktail fest and force my sister to check out the loo at the restaurant for safety before I dare use it.

I am considering carrying a small tool set where ever I go to ward off the likelihood of similar incidents. I wouldn't mind but that's the second time in my life that I've been locked in a loo. The first time was in a cocktail bar in Corfu when I was 14. Maybe I shouldn't go to cocktail bars.

The weekend improved from there. We have a good meal and on Sunday I was surprised with a Baby Shower - organised by Mrs Everard, my mum and my sister. Baby J now has loads of very cute clothes and some very handy bits and bobs to make looking after him easier. I feel very spoilt and grateful of all the fuss. So thanks to all involved.

Just a quick note - there have been requests for the next installment of Snakebite and slushes - I promise to get on to this next week once I'm on maternity leave - so keep checking back. If you're following my blog I'd love to hear from you - or you could become an official follower - just click on the link on the right. If you're reading this on facebook you can log on here .

Monday, 19 April 2010

Babies, babies everywhere...

....but not mine quite yet. Mine is still wriggling about in my stomach, turning my feet a weird shade of purple and making me jolly hot. I won't tell you what I'm wearing as I write this - but it's not much and I hope the window cleaner doesn't pop round!

Other babies though are starting to make their way into the world. Mr Jones and I have been going to NCT classes - if you're pregnant sign up now - they are brilliant, hilarious and very reassuring. And they're a fantastic way to meet other couples who are expecting their first baby. There's nothing quite like discussing the contents of a newborn's nappy, practising labour positions or learning about the "purple line" (google it if you want to know more!) to bond a group of seven couples.

The girls meet at least weekly for cake or lunch and the boys have managed a curry night. It's all very handy because we can talk about baby stuff without the fear of boring people who truly couldn't give a monkeys about the whole thing. And so far two of our NCT babies have been born. First came little Daisy Mae four weeks early and then two weeks later out popped Noah - making us all very jealous. One of each so far - prompting much discussion about which bumps are boys and which are girls. Mr Jones' cousin Anna has also had her baby Elia a few days early too - another healthy baby girl.

I'm the very last due date and I still have 7 weeks to go. The others are all very nearly there and we're all popping the raspberry leaf tea capsules, hoping for an easy birth and wishing hard that we don't go overdue.

All being well Baby J should weigh about 4lbs now - which is good because I've finally started to steadily gain weight. Perhaps the most disturbing thing about all this is that at almost 8 months pregnant I weigh the same as I did before I started losing weight for the wedding - who knew I was that fat?

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Feeling fat

Today I feel humongous - in fact I am slightly surprised that my arms extend far enough in front of me for me to actually reach the keyboard so that I can type this. All of a sudden I feel heavy and big. There I was feeling all smug, coping with the mild leftover vomiting, not feeling breathless or swollen or too achy and then bam Baby J decides that I've had it too easy for too long (at least a week) and here I am feeling fat and grumpy.

At times it feels like the little monster is trying to wring out my insides. It keeps poking its bum up under my belly button and kicking the desk with its little feet. My stomach keeps doing marvellous displays of acrobatics and I'm struggling to heft myself out of chairs. I move like an arthritic old woman - and I've still got 8 weeks to go.

Last night I was treated to niggling period pains and twingy back ache that got steadily worse. Mr Jones googled it and found various causes from stretching ligaments to the early stages of labour. I took two paracetamol and went to bed. It was still there this morning. I had a bath and shaved my legs - just in case - if I could reach them I probably would have painted my toenails too. I put on a wash of baby things in lieu of an early arrival - then on the way to work it occured to me that if Baby J does put in an appearance all the clothes currently residing in the washing machine will be far too big anyway - so that was a waste of precious energy at 6.40am this morning.

I emailed my mother and she is now in panic mode and feverishly planning to start knitting tiny baby clothes. She told me to quit work immediately and spend the next 8 weeks lying down. Mr Jones went doggedly off to Stoke this morning until Friday promising me that he'll keep his phone with him at all times. I sent him a text earlier - he still hasn't replied.

In a fit of hypochondria I have of course googled it all myself and I have decided that the pains are probably down to a baby growth spurt - or constipation! So I am preparing myself for another 8 weeks or so of feeling humongous and I'm upping my intake of fibre.

Monday, 12 April 2010

It's been a while

Well I just typed a big old entry and lost the lot - so this will be an edited version - tsk.

I've been busy - or perhaps just lazy - probably lazy because my thighs have started to go a bit wobbly due to too much time spent lying on the sofa. Baby J has been active enough for the both of us - much to the amusement of anyone watching my stomach convulse, wobble and generally contort into the weirdest of shapes. I am yet to actually see a foot or a hand - but I can certainly feel them - and legs, elbows and even its little back - all very odd.

On friday we went to the hospital and waited an hour and a half in the hideous hotness. Then the midwife chased baby J around trying to track down a heart beat - eventually she found it and then wished me luck with what is one of the most active babies she's ever seen - how comforting.

I have now added iron supplements to the long list of pills I'm taking to ensure the safe building of baby J. This will hopefully stop the fainting episodes I've been having when I get too hot. The last of these took place during a tour of the maternity unit at the hospital. As I slid down the wall in a sweating heap six other couples looked on no doubt thinking "ah bless her, she's so terrified of giving birth that she's just carked it" - honestly I'm not scared at all - I just can't take the heat - literally. Thank goodness Baby J is due before proper summer starts.

In other news Mr Swift won Come Dine With Me. After feasting on mushrooms on toast, roast pork with delicious balsamic roasted potatoes and onions and tiramisu a la Mrs Swift we watched the video of scores. It was quite frankly hilarious - mainly due to the drunkness of the boys. The scoring was at times dubious, the words slurred and the lighting suspect - but it was well worth the effort.

Mr Jones and I have decorated the nursery - Mr Jones shouldn't be left in charge of a roller - he makes patchy paint work. We have been collecting baby stuff in a panic after the first baby amongst our NCT friends popped out a month early. Miss Penny has taken a liking to the pram and to sleeping on my bump. I have just three weeks left at work and it can't go fast enough. Baby J is due in 8 weeks - 8 looooooong weeks.
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