Tuesday, 29 June 2010

How he arrived....

Those of you of a squeamish nature might want to look away now - for here comes the story of Baby J's birth.

I'll start at the very beginning - and for those of you who like to dabble in the whole - "things that bring on labour" nonesense - here is a run down of my actions in the 24hrs before I went into labour.

On Wednesday afternoon I had a "show" - if you don't know what that is you'll need to google it because there are some things I'm just not describing. It happened at Mrs Medds house and she is very cross that I didn't tell her about it. Given that Baby J had already messed me about quite a bit I didn't get too excited - but I text Mr Jones anyway.

That evening we went to the Tobie Norris. I ate a pizza topped with green pesto, goat's cheese and parma ham and I had half a glass of rose - shock horror!

In the morning I ate a mango full fat activia yogurt with some flaked almonds and a glass of freshly squeezed orange and grapefruit juice - the same breakfast I've eaten for the past two months. I had another show.

Then I did some gardening. I pruned the roses, spread bark, thinned veg seedlings, and put down some gravel around the patio.

For lunch I had a cheese sandwich and some Walkers Sunbite Sweet Chilli crisps. Then I laid down for a nap. I started to have contractions every 20 minutes. Mr Jones was working from home. But I didn't tell him anything was happening for about four hours.

When I did let him in on the action he said: "Do you think I can still go to football tonight?"

So after a dinner of pasta and sauce Mr Jones went off to play football with strict instructions not to mention the contractions to anyone for fear of jinxing it all. I watched The Young Victoria on Sky (a fairly good film) and my contractions started coming every 15 minutes.

By the time Mr Jones came in from football I was having a relaxing bath - and not shaving my legs - again for fear of putting Baby J off. The contractions were coming every 10 minutes.

We got ready for bed and all of a sudden things sped up - the contractions were coming every four minutes and were lasting for 40 seconds. I was getting pretty uncomfortable so Mr Jones broke out the tens machine - and faffed around with it for a good 15 minutes trying to work out how it functioned. Meanwhile I clutched the end of the bed and tried not to get annoyed or point out the fact that I had on several occasions suggested he familiarise himself with it.

After an hour or so of this we called the hospital and were told to come in. I was surprised because although I was in pain, it wasn't unbearable. So off we went - both hoping that I'd be 8cm dilated and that it would all be over in a few hours.

Mum was beside herself with excitement and met us at the hospital. The midwife took one look at me and said - "I don't think you're ready yet". Grrr.

"Are you familiar with the stages of labour?" asks the midwife

"Yes" - says Mr Jones proudly. "We've been to NCT classes"

"Oh god NCT - aren't they all a bunch of hippies?"

Mr Jones launches into a defence of the NCT while I look at the "I'm preparing for brith with Natal Hypnotherapy" sticker on my birth plan and think that this probably isn't time for me to break out the essential oils and soothing birth music - this midwife clearly isn't a fan of the natural approach. (Not helpful).

I pee in a cup, have my blood pressure taken and then the cow of a midwife checks to see how dilated I am. 1cm. Grrrr.

We're sent home. So we go back to Mum and Dad's because it's closer. We get back into bed. The contractions are still coming every four minutes and are lasting between 40 seconds and a minute. I listen to my hypnosis cd on repeat and become attached to the boost button on the tens machine. I do this for the next four hours - and the pain steadily gets worse.

Then the vomiting starts. It seems pain makes me sick. Mr Jones and I retreat downstairs to watch tv and I slump over a footstall. At 5.30am I get in the bath and it helps me cope a bit with the pain. By now my whole stomach is clenching with each contractions and I'm in some serious agony. We call the hospital again. The cow of a midwife listens to me having a contraction over the phone (by this point I'm making a fair bit of noise!). "That sounds more like it - come on in" she says.

It's 7.30am and mercifully there is no traffic. I insist on having the air con on full. Mr Jones loses the feeling in his fingers.

We get to the hospital - I pee in yet another cup, have my blood pressure taken and am delighted to discover that after all these many hours of pain and vomiting I am a staggering 2cm dilated. The hospital usually don't let you stay until you're in established labour - 4-5cm dilated. But clearly I need pain relief so they relent and let me in.

As luck would have it (someone, somewhere was smiling on me at this point) the cow of a midwife was going off shift and was replaced by two much nicer midwives who were a lot more supportive. They hooked me up to the gas and air and before long I was quite literally, to put it politely, off my face. It was wonderful. I slumped over a bean bag and sucked on the mouthpiece as if my life depended on it. The pain ebbed and all was bearable.

Time at this point becomes a bit blurred. I remember bouncing on the birthball to try and get gravity to help the baby out. I remember peeing in lots of pots and having my blood pressure taken a lot. I remember the relaxing birth music and sniffing lavender essential oil. I remember being told after what seemed like another day that I was 3cm dilated.

Then I was sent for a walk - to get things moving. The gas and air was taken away and I was left to march the hospital corridoors with only the tens machine, Mum and Mr Jones for support. I managed half an hour before being violently sick and demanding to be taken back to the gas and air.

I asked for an epidural. "But I've seen your birth plan - you don't want one" says the midwife (who I'm now thinking is less nice). "Ahh yes - but I've changed my mind."

"I think we should try a few other things first,"

"Really, do you, well I actually don't - I'd like an epidural."

"What about a shot of meptid?" (a pethadine substitute)

"Will that take the pain away?"

"Well, no, but it'll make you care less,"

"Hmmm - and if I have that can I still have an epidural?"

"Errm - you'd have to wait longer for an epidural if you have the meptid - but you might not need an epdicural - it might be enough."

"No, no - I just want the epidural"

It all goes quiet and I'm left to retreat back into my gas and air haze.

Next up we try a bath. Someone else is in the birth pool - I can hear her screaming (soooo not helpful) - but apparently she's at the pushing stage. Lucky sod. When the bath is suggested I agree on the proviso that the gas and air comes with me. They get me a portable tank of the stuff.

Mr Jones gives me his hand and splashes my bump with the warm water. It helps to make things bearable. I crush his fingers with every contraction and in the few pain free moments in between each one he feeds me tiny bits of cheese roll. By this time I've been in labour for 24hours - but not in the sort of labour that counts (apparently!).

The gas and air canister is nearly empty - much to the shock of the midwives. It's no longer taking the edge off the pain. I burst into tears and start to beg. "I'm sorry, I wanted to be brave and do this all naturally, but I think I have a really crappy pain threshold. I just can't take anymore. I'm so tired. I just want the pain to go away. Please let me have an epidural."

The begging works. After another check I'm 4cm dilated and I'm finally allowed an epidural. I remember walking from the midwife led unit to the delivery ward, held up by my mum. "How did you do this twice?" I ask through tears. "I promise you it'll all be worth it when you have that baby in your arms." she says.

All along, before and throughout my pregnancy, I steadfastly told anyone who would listen that I didn't want an epidural. The whole procedure terrified me. I hated the idea of not being able to feel my legs, I hated the idea of having things injected into my spine. But I will say this - it was the single most wonderful thing in the entire world at that moment. I felt a coolness spread down my back and it was gone, every little bit of pain wiped from my body. It was blissful. And I slept. - after asking the anaesthetist to marry me - he said his wife probably wouldn't be too happy about it.

And then my contractions stopped. I think my body was just too tired to keep on going. But after a short sleep things started up again. By now I was hooked up to various monitors to keep track of my contractions and the baby. I was lying on my left side with the monitors all behind me, looking at Mr Jones and my mum. Each time I had a contraction the baby's heart rate would drop - I could hear it on the monitor - but I could also see the panic in their faces. They did well to hide it, but I could still see it. The midwife called the consultant.

I was still between 4-5cm dilated (depending on who was doing the checking!), we weren't getting anywhere fast. The consultant mentioned a c-section. Mr Jones looked at me with concern. Along with the epidural - c-sections were on my - "er - no way, I really, really don't want one of those" list.

However - in my gas and air and exhaustion addled brain I started to process all the information. A c-section - major surgery yes - but over in under an hour. No more contractions, no pushing the baby out. And IF - and it's a big IF - we're ever to have another baby that doesn't come in the box from some third world country - I could then elect to have another c-section - at 39 weeks. There would be no waiting for the baby to arrive on it's own, no sweeps, no mind games and no God Awful painful hours of labour to endure first. "Fine by me" - I say.

But the midwives want to try and get me there naturally first. "Really - truly - you want to keep this going?" I think to myself. They give me a dose of Syntocinon - an oxytocin substitute which helps to speed up contractions. It worked and I started to have three contractions every 10 minutes. But the baby didn't like it. It's heart rate kept dropping everytime my stomach started clenching.

They left it half an hour before calling in the consultant again. The next thing I know Mr Jones is getting gowned up for surgery and another anaesthetist has arrived to top up my epidural. The surgeon gives her five minutes. If it doesn't work in that time I have to have a general anaesthetic and I won't be awake when my baby is born. This is something I really don't want. The anaesthetist boost the epidural and then starts spraying my stomach with ice cold water and asking me where I can feel it. It's terrifying - if I misjudge the feeling I will either feel the surgeon cutting me open or end up being put under. Luckily I get it right.

The whole c-section is painless - I just feel my tummy being jiggled about a lot. Mr Jones can see everything and is quite shocked at the effort required to get the baby out. (See 20 stone surgeon on one side of my stomach and his assistant on the other - both pulling in opposite directions with all their weight - nice). I hear crying. There's a bit more pulling and the surgeon holds up the baby for Mr Jones to tell me the sex. "Come on" - he laughs - "It's not that difficult".

Mr Jones is just staring at the baby - "It's a boy" he says "And it has an enormous willy and really big balls!" We all laugh. Mr JOnes admits to a moment of panic because the baby looked black when it was first pulled out of my tummy - and he was conceived in Zanzibar! But a quick clean up reveals him to be white and my virtue remains intact!!

He's handed to us and we gaze at him, both in tears. He's so perfect. He's not squished and funny looking because he hasn't had to travel down the birth canal - he's just gorgeous. We spend the next 10 minutes debating which of the two boy names we should choose. We finally settle on Rufus Anthony Jones. Anthony for Mr Jones' dad who sadly isn't here to see him.

Granny Sue is given Rufus to look after while I'm stitched up, checked over and wheeled into recovery. She is beyond chuffed and even gets to put on his first nappy. I can't move from the chest down and I'm so dosed up with pain killers that I can't really move my arms either. With some help from mum and Mr Jones I manage to wriggle onto my side so that I can feed Rufua for the first time and give him a cuddle.

Unfortunately for me and Rufus the cow of a midwife is back on shift - we're left in her "care" until we're transferred to the ward. But we survived despite her lack of bedside manner - and thanks to the power of arnica capsules (I'm sure they've helped me recover faster - I had to cling onto something natural) we only had to spend two nights in the very hot and noisy ward before we escaped to the refuge of home. To start being a family.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

One week old

Rufus is one week old! (Well nine days actually but I didn't have time to do this on Friday). And it's been an amazing week. He's so good - we're wondering if it will last. But after eight months of sickness, making us wait and wait and then a marathon labour - perhaps he will be a good baby. So far he's sleeping for four or five hours in a stretch at night and Daddy is managing to get a good seven or eight hours sleep a night! We're hoping it'll last.

Even at two o'clock in the morning I still adore him and I can't stop looking at him. He's just so perfect.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

He's Here

Just a quick note to say that Baby J arrived - 10 days late - and by emergency c-section no less! But he's here and he's gorgeous and perfect and worth all the trouble he's caused. I will of course bore you all with the full details at a later date. In the meantime here is Rufus Anthony Jones - born 18th June 2010 at 7.50pm weighing 8lb 4oz to a very proud Mummy and Daddy Jones.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

D-Day + 8 - oh the faffing

So the attempted "sweep" didn't work - as was expected. So as instructed I called the hospital this morning to book my induction:

"Hello this is Rebecca Jones, I'd like to book an induction please."

"Err are you a midwife"

"No - but my midwife did a sweep yesterday and told me if it hadn't worked within 24hrs to call and book an induction."

"Right - hang on...."

Much muttering on the end of the phone. "I'm afraid you can't do that - the midwife has to call us."

So I call my midwife - who isn't in - the woman I leave a message with seems surprised that the midwife should have to make this call on my behalf, but says she'll get someone to call back as soon as possible.

Two hours later she calls to tell me that she's called the hosptial and that on Sunday I am to call the hospital myself at 4pm and if they have a bed free for me I can then be induced. Great.

I asked - again - if I can have another sweep on day 10 - my midwife refuses to do it and says I can try calling the hospital myself. But as we've already gathered - they only want to speak to midwives unless your baby is helpful enough to try and come on it's own.

So there we go - no hope of another sweep to kick start things naturally. And a possible induction on Sunday. Whooo hooo - this is all so much fun - anyone fancy coming for a run?

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

D-Day + 7

So I've had my sweep to try and get labour started - well the midwife attempted it - but, without going into too much detail, it seems that things didn't want to be swept, so it's unlikely to work. The next course of action is an induction on Sunday if the baby doesn't decide to come on it's own in the mean time - something the midwife also said looked unlikely! Grr.

Looking on the bright side at least the end is in sight, on Sunday things should be on their way. But I can't help but feel a bit disappointed, ok actually, make that a lot disappointed.

For me this isn't just about getting the baby out. Yes I want to meet my baby, and I want my body back - but I was really, really hoping for a natural, intervention free birth. If I'm induced I can't have that. Both me and the baby will have to be monitored, we're unlikely to be allowed on the midwife led unit with it's lovely rooms, bean bags and birthing pool.

This might not sound like a big deal from the outside (I think even Mr Jones struggles to grasp why I'm bothered about it), the end result is the same, of course. But after a pregnancy that has been so far removed from the way I'd imagined it, I was really hoping to have the birth I'd planned for. Or at least for it to start off the way I wanted it to (who knows if I'll be ultimately begging for an epidural and throwing my natal hypnotherapy cd and selection of essential oils across the room).

I suppose this is just another lesson to add to the big old long list of lessons I've had to learn in the last nine months - with pregnancy and babies you are so not in control it's unbelievable. You can't really plan for anything to be as you'd like it to be. Which for a control freak like me is a really uncomfortable experience.

Maybe after all this I will have an Angel Baby who sleeps through the night and does everything perfectly - or maybe not.

Please everyone cross your fingers and make a wish that Baby J decides to come out of his own accord before Sunday - just so I can at least try out the bean bags.

PS to cheer everyone up and to save it for posterity - here is a picture of Mr Jones' beard. I still think he's handsome.

I'm fine thanks.....

I never thought I'd get annoyed with people for asking me how I'm feeling - but I have to say that it's starting to drive me slightly up the wall. So to all of you lovely people who have sent me text messages and emails and the like in the past few days - thank you. Thank you very much for caring - but please - please, please, please, please, please forget about me for at least a week.

Please assume that all is well and that I am very fine unless I tell you otherwise. I promise to tell you the very minute I push that baby out (someone even suggested I Twitter my way through labour - but I draw the line at that!! No one wants to know the status of my cervix every three minutes - even me.)

It's very lovely knowing that so many people care, but when your entire life is based around waiting, having to deal with everyone else's expectations starts to get a bit much. I'm bored of talking about it - so do text, email or call about anything else. Whinge about your husband, tell me about your wedding plans, tell me what you ate for dinner last night or what your cat has been doing this morning - just don't ask me how I am or whether or not I've had the baby yet.

Monday, 14 June 2010

D-day + 6

Dear Baby Jones,

You are now six days overdue and are still showing no sign of coming out -humph - everyone is getting impatient - especially your Grannies,

Yesterday Miss Penny - your sister cat - thought she'd bring you a present to try and encourage you to appear. It was a live pigeon and I wasn't impressed. It had a broken wing so we think it must have flown into something first, because, bless her, she lacks the wileyness required to catch a pigeon. It was 5.45am and she bought it to me while I was lying on the sofa trying to coax myself back to sleep.

I skrieked for Daddy, but he was fast asleep so I had to haul myself up, climb over both sofas (I didn't want to walk on the floor in case the bird came at me - I don't like birds) and run up the stairs. If you've ever seen a nine months pregnant person try to run upstairs and climb over sofas you'll know that it was not pretty.

Daddy picked up the bird and put it outside and we then wrestled with Penny for a good hour to stop her going out and finishing it off. She's so naughty. She spent the rest of the day in disgrace.

Despite all of this excitement you still didn't appear. So we went to Homebase and bought paint for the shed. Then we tried to tempt you out with a MacDonald's, that didn't work either. So we came home and painted the shed cream - which looks lovely.

Today I have been to see the midwife and she is coming to the house tomorrow to perform a sweep in an attempt to kick start labour. Apparently it works in around 50 per cent of cases - so fingers crossed. If that fails then you'll be induced at the weekend - so by early next week at the very latest you should be here - hurrah. Granny Sue is very pleased about this because it means she can still go on holiday to Chicago - not that I think she should stay behind even if you do come much later.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

D-day + 4

Dear Baby J,

You're still in there. It's 4.30am. I've been awake since 3. I'm bored of watching re-runs of Scrubs and Two and a Half Men.

Yesterday we went to the hospital. I had a headache that wouldn't shift and the midwives wanted to check for pre-eclamsia. We had to go to the delivery ward where a very attractive midwife called Sally gave us a thorough check up. She was far too young and good looking and I felt all fat and lumpy. Daddy was hoping she'd induce labour and get you out - but no such luck. The headache was just a headache. We were home by lunch.

A marathon trek around the grounds at Burghley cleared my head, but did little to encourage you out. I'm getting pretty sick of people giving me baby induction tips. None of them work. The other day a girl told me to drink hot chocolate because it bought on her first labour. She then went on to tell me that her second baby was induced. I was very tempted to suggest that like everything else perhaps the hot chocolate was just a "coincidence" and that her baby was ready to come out on its own - but I managed to be polite.

Daddy is growing a beard until you show signs of arriving. It's perhaps the most amusing beard in the world - it's all patchy and is full of gaps where the hair won't grow. He's beginning to look like a tramp.I'll take a picture of it today to show you what a state he looked before you were born.

I've started snoring! I woke myself up yesterday during an afternoon sofa snooze - I was mortified. Still it's payback for Daddy - whose snores have symphonic range and keep me awake frequently - I'm afraid you're going to have to learn to sleep through them.

Today we might paint the shed - we need to do something to pass the time.


Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Snake bite and slushes - a love story part 9 - the final installment

So Mr Jones and I loved each other. But uni days were coming to an end. We’d both be going home and although we didn’t live very far away, we’d only see each other and weekends. And of course Miss B lived where Mr Jones did.

The only thing we ever argued about was Miss B. I hated the fact that she didn’t know that Mr Jones and I were together. But he didn’t think she could handle the truth. I begged him time and again to tell her and get it over a done with. He steadfastly refused.

Uni ended in a whirl of exams, balls and street parties. Mr Jones and I stayed until the very end, eeking out our time together. The union put on a music festival and we sat in a damp field eating weird veggie curry, drinking snake bite and black (Mr Jones) and vodka slush (me) and watched the Dum Dums play their penultimate gig. We danced to Army of Two – completely unaware that eight and a half years later we’d be dancing to it on our wedding day.

Then we went home. I got a temping job and Mr Jones planned a trip around Europe with his friends. He was leaving on a Sunday in August and I was due to spend the Saturday night with him and wave him off the next day.

I woke up early that morning and switched on my mobile phone. Text after text started to arrive. Each one was full of expletives, accusations and vitriol. They were all from Miss B.

In a panic I tried to call Mr Jones – but it was about 6am and he didn’t answer. Some how Miss B knew about me and Mr Jones. I felt sick.

I finally got hold of him about two hours later. He’d been out with his friends the night before to say goodbye before his travels – he’d had a few drinks. Miss B had been out too and had been causing her usual trouble – asking him why they weren’t together and begging him to take her back. She’d insisted that she was coming to see him the next day to say goodbye before he left for Europe.

Mr Jones went to send me a text – it said something like this:

Can’t wait to see you tomorrow. Miss B might be coming over at some point, but we’ll sort it. Love you lots xxx

The thing is, I never received it. Miss B’s name was next to mine in his address book – and he sent it to her.

Of course it did not go down well. What followed was by all accounts an almighty row. Mr Jones was screamed at until he told her everything. And I was sent a score of text messages and voicemails all of which blamed me for bewitching him.

Feeling utterly terrified I made my way to Mr Jones’ house. He was still going away and I still wanted to say goodbye. We were both bombarded with texts all day long until eventually his mum made us turn off our phones.

The next morning we were woken by a knock on the bedroom door. It was Mr Jones’ mum. “Um, Miss B is downstairs and she wants to speak to you,” she said to me.

I’d just woken up, my hair was all over the place and I looked a state. “I need a shower first,” I said. “I’ll be down in a minute.” I washed my hair and got dressed and made my way to the kitchen.

There she sat dressed in jeans and a baby pink hoodie. I was wearing black – the colour of all things evil. She glared at me.

How could you? I can’t believe you lied to me. I can’t believe you stole my boyfriend. We’re supposed to be friends,” she spat.

“I wanted to tell you from the very beginning. I don’t like lying,” I said. “I didn’t steal him, we didn’t get together until after you’d split up. I never wanted to hurt you.”

“I don’t understand how you’ve done it, how have you turned him against me, just because your relationship was over it didn’t mean you had to ruin mine. I always worried that you two got on to well, but I never thought you’d do this to me…..”

“I haven’t turned him against you – you can’t help who you fall in love with. If he still loved you he’d still be with you.”

Oh he still loves me. This is my family and you’ll never be part of it. We’re going to get married and be together forever. He doesn’t really want you he wants me,” she insisted.

“I’m not with him for his family, I love him for him, but ok, whatever you think – far be it from me to stand in the way – if he wants to go back to you that’s fine,” I said, realising that it was pointless to argue with her.

For the next 10 minutes we covered the same topics over and over again – how evil I was, the fact that Mr Jones still loved her, that I’d never take his family away from her, that they would get married one day and that I’d be left by the wayside. Mr Jones’ dad was stationed in the garden keeping an eye on us through the kitchen window in case things got nasty.

Once she’d had enough of shouting at me she sent me away and demanded that I send Mr Jones in to speak with her. I hated that she seemed to have all the power. I found Mr Jones with his mum and Miss B’s sister who had discovered her gone and followed her. She’d parked her car at the end of the drive to stop Miss B driving off in a rage. I thought this was all getting a bit too dramatic.

Mr Jones suffered a similar grilling in which he repeatedly told her that they wouldn’t be getting back together and that he loved me. Eventually she gave up. Mr Jones’ mum was dispatched to get me. Apparently Miss B wanted Mr M’s number. Reluctantly I sent him a text and asked him if it was ok if I gave it to her. He said it was. Handing that number over was one of my biggest mistakes.

You’ll remember that Mr M was rather apt at lying? He knew exactly what had happened and when between me and Mr Jones. He’d pretty much watched it all unfold. But when he spoke to Miss B that all seemed to slip his mind.

He told her that as far as he was concerned Mr Jones and I had been having an affair for months before that fateful New Year’s Eve kiss. That we’d cheated on them both time and again, making them look like fools. Of course this was what Miss B was desperate to hear – so she believed him – and to this day she still thinks that that is the truth.

Mr Jones left for Europe the next day – escaping the country for a month. I was left behind to deal with text after vitriolic text. I didn’t reply. To Miss B (and weirdly, to a lot of our "friends" and plenty of outsiders) this whole thing was my fault. Mr Jones was a seemingly innocent bystander. By some form of witch craft I had conjured him away and made him mine.

I was the adulteress who should have known better. I was the friend who had committed the ultimate betrayal. I was the other woman that you read about in books and magazines and hate because she’s ruined a relationship that to everyone on the outside seemed perfectly happy.

I will hold my hand up and say that I never thought I would betray a friend. I always thought friends would come first – but in truth, a friendship will never be a match for true love.

It is my firm belief that if your relationship is strong, and you truly love each other, you will never look anywhere else for love. It’s only when the relationship is broken and crumbling at the edges that eyes start to wander.

Miss B – if you ever read this please know that Mr Jones and I didn’t become a couple until we’d already decided that our previous relationships were over. We didn’t have an affair. I didn’t steal him and I never set out to hurt you. I can’t help that I fell in love with him and he fell in love with me.

None of our closest friends were shocked when we got together. Most people said it was about time. They’d seen for years what Mr Jones and I – and clearly Mr M and Miss B – had not seen. Two people who were meant to be together.

We’ve had our ups and downs. We lived apart for years – me in London, Mr Jones up here. I used to get mad at him for not calling me enough and he’d shout at me for being too clingy. But we knew we couldn’t be without each other.

All of this happened over nine years ago now and we’re still together and still in love. Mr Jones didn’t marry Miss B as she predicted, he married me instead. And now we’re awaiting the very imminent arrival of our first baby.

I cannot imagine my life without him in it. That New Year’s Eve kiss – although naughty – was one of the best things that has ever happened to me. If it hadn’t happened who knows where we’d be right now? I’m guessing we wouldn’t be as happy.

D-day + 1

Dear Baby J,

So you weren't born yesterday - oh well nevermind. Maybe it will be today. It's still raining. The oil is still spilling and the country still has no pennies. There have been no more updates on Sam Cam's wallpaper.

I didn't go to see Sex and the City 2 at the cinema - the weather was too grotty and I didn't want to get wet waddling to the car. Instead I watched Anne of Green Gables - ahhh Gilbert Blythe. If you're a girl baby I shall teach you to fall in love with him too. If you're a boy I'll still make you watch it.

We went to Pizza Express for dinner to celebrate your due date. They're doing buy one get one free on main courses this week - yum.

Then your Auntie Lauren called to tell us that she is engaged and is getting married in Hawaii on October 4th! So that at least made your due date special. When she called, Daddy, jokingly, told her were at the hospital and she nearly stopped breathing - a baby and a rock in one day would have been too much. But being the considerate baby that you are, you decided to spare her that excitement - aren't you nice? Uncle Jon proposed using Alphabetti Spaghetti - it took him three tins to find all the letters to spell it out. We're all very excited.

Today I am going to cook a chickpea curry - a spicy one. And I'm going for reflexology to have all points that get babies out pressed. Let's hope it works. If possible, I'd like you out before Sunday so that I don't have to miss the Grand Prix - pretty please.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

D- day

Well I couldn't let this day pass without comment. Today is Baby J's due date - the hallowed 8th June 2010 - the day he's supposed to be born on.

If I was a midwife I think I'd tell all the pregnant women in my care that their baby was due two weeks later than it actually is - it would help to preserve their sanity.

So Baby J - if you are born today (which I doubt because I think you're staying put so that Daddy is off work during the world cup and Wimbledon) I thought I'd let you know a few things about the sort of day it is.

It's raining - hard - and the back lawn is flooded, despite the fact that three days ago it was desert dry.

BP are still letting oil spill into the ocean.

The coalition is asking us all how we think they should save the country money? I say tax the bankers bonuses, give all the lazy freeloading slackers in this country a smack and get them back to work and perhaps hold off on the "renovations" on No.11 Downing Street - the Cameron's have a perfectly nice house in Notting Hill and Sam Cam doesn't want to live in Downing Street anyway - so why should we pay for her wallpaper?

Miss Penny - your sister cat - has discovered that wet paws and the kitchen floor = slippery and seems to be enjoying crashing into the cupboards.

Mr Jeremy - your brother cat - has assumed his usual position and is asleep on the spare room bed. This afternoon he will no doubt get up and move to his armchair in the sitting room.

Mummy is trying to decide if she can be bothered to drive into town and go to the cinema to watch Sex and the City 2. The first film was rubbish - but it might be the last time she gets to go to the cinema in a looooong time.

Your Pop has hurt his knee valiantly trying to cycle 100 miles for charity - he stubbornly carried on until mile 50 in utter agony. Mummy and Daddy hope that those determination genes make it to your generation - because we'd have given up at mile 10 when it started to hurt.

I'm sure many more exciting things will happen today - but it's only 10.36am so we'll have to wait and see. Perhaps you'll even be born - here's hoping.

Saturday, 5 June 2010


That would be the colour of my mood at the moment - I feel awfully guilty about it, but I just can't seem to shake it. Maybe it's normal and is just another one of those pregnancy things that no one tells you about - or maybe all the emotional aspects of being pregnant, which I have so far avoided, are coming out now.

In the past eight months and three and a half weeks I haven't cried. Once. Even when I had my head in the toilet for what felt like 23 hours a day, I didn't cry. I've cried so little that my tear duct in my left eye became inflamed and sore through lack of use. But in the last two days it's had a workout.

For some reason I just feel angry and resentful. It all sounds hideously unmotherly, and if I was writing this in the Daily Mail I'd expect thousands of letters from women who think I'm perfectly horrible - so don't worry if this all grates a bit. I completely understand that what I'm about to say probably won't be understood or go down well with a lot of people.

But I want my body back, I want this baby out and it's not because I'm desperate to meet it (quite the opposite in fact - I'm quite terrified that I won't like it, or that it won't like me), but because I want to not be pregnant anymore.

If I'm truly honest with myself and with everyone else being pregnant has been a huge disappointment to me. I wanted to love it, it's all I've thought about for years - being pregnant, having a baby, being a mummy. But the reality has been a long way from the dream. I wanted to be one of those women who glow the whole way through. Who keep on going to the gym and have tonnes of energy. I wanted to eat wholesome, nurturing food that was ideal for my growing baby and I wanted to rock up to my due date in blissful happiness awaiting the arrival of my perfect baby.

But it hasn't been like that and now that I'm nearing the end I think I'm finally accepting it - and it's hard to admit that actually I've really struggled with the last nine months - and the longer the baby takes to come out the harder it's getting.

I feel resentful about all the things I've had to give up. Every Thursday when Mr Jones goes to play football I get a kick of jealousy in my gut. I miss exercise and feeling energetic. When he looks at his belly and complains that he feels unfit it takes all my will power not to scream at him. To point out the fact that my legs that were nicely toned are all wobbly again, that my bingo wings are back, that my backside is dimpled and my stomach - which while full of baby is nice and taut - before long is going to all Reubeneque and floppy.

I miss being able to eat what I want to eat - I'm sick of eating shortbread biscuits and ice cream because they're the only things that make me feel ok. I want to eat a salad and feel satisfied, I want to eat an apple without worrying that it's going to make me sick, I just want to eatlike a normal person and be able to have a glass of wine with my dinner.

I still feel incredibly lucky to be having a baby and I still love to feel it kick and wriggle - so please forgive me if I sound like I'm being ungrateful. I do feel incredibly guilty for feeling this way - which in a way makes it even harder. But I'd like to feel like I'm in control of my body and my life again. Not knowing when the baby will arrive is killing me. I'm a planner, I like things to be organised and I hate not knowing how much longer I have to wait.

And at the end of it all I'm utterly terrified that being a mum won't be what I've dreamt of either. What if I can't cope, or I don't love my baby? I'm hoping that feeling this sad now will mean that when the baby finally arrives everything will be ok.

PS I've written this not because I want everyone to tell me that it will be ok, or because I want attention or anything like that. I've written it becuase I want to be honest. I will hold up my hands and admit that in the past I've been incredibly critical of women who have whinged about being pregnant. I always thought they should think themselves bloody lucky when so many women in the world can't have children. And believe me no one is more disappointed that I'm not still "sucking it up" than me. But being pregnant is hard for some people, not everyone gets an easy ride. I hope that for you it is easier and that you never have to feel this way. Please forgive me if reading this has been upsetting for you or if you find it offensive - I wish I didn't feel this way - but I do.

Friday, 4 June 2010


I currently loathe going to Waitrose - usually I love it - but for the past nine months, not so much. Today I heaved myself and my trolley round the shop, weaving in an out of the millions (quite literally) of pensioners who seem to think that they own the place and have no regard for your knuckles or the fact that you are quite clearly heavily pregnant as they barge past you to get to the yogurts.

I waddled back to the car and loaded the boot. Then I stood back and surveyed the silver peugeot that was parked about 30 centimetres away from my drivers side door. I sucked in the bump and squeezed myself down the gap sideways to open the door. But no matter which way I tried to position my bulk it just wasn't going to fit.

I scrabbled in my handbag for a pen and couldn't find one. So I stood for several minutes coaxing my hormone addled brain to memorise the number plate before waddling back into the store. Two tannoy announcements later and an elderly couple appear at the desk:

"I can't believe this," says the old man to his wife. "I bet some idiot has run into the car, we'll have to claim on the insurance, it'll cost a fortune, I can't think what else it could be, I haven't had the lights on, you come out shopping and some cretin crashes into your car in the carpark...."

Wife makes soothing noises. Old man keeps tapping his chest over his heart as if he's about to suffer cardiac arrest at the stress of it all.

The woman at the desk points at me. "You've parked too close to her car - and as you can see she's pregnant and can't get into it."

"Oh I thought someone had crashed into it, thank God," he says, giving his heart another reassuring pat. He turns to me, "I'm ever so sorry, I didn't think - my wife had to climb over to my seat to get out of the car." I wonder how she did this - being about 75 and not looking all that flexible.

I smile calmly. "It's not a problem - I'm sure if I was my normal size I'd have been able to squeeze in, but unfortunately this doesn't squidge," I say, pointing at the bump.

Next comes a long discussion about just how we're going to move his car and get mine out (apparently it was more complicated than him just reversing out of the way so I could get in my car and drive off). I am posted to watch his front end and there is much discussion about full locks and whether his wife was watching the trolley.

Finally I am free and the old man parks back up and heads back into the store where his wife awaits him to say something along the lines of "I told you you'd parked to close didn't I...." in a nagging voice.

This all leads me to question whether or not I could get away with parking in the parent and child spaces? I clearly have a child - it's just not out yet - would that stand up in court I wonder?

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Patience is a virtue....2

It seems that everyone else is eagerly awaiting the arrival of Baby J. In the last coouple of days I've had numerous emails, texts and phone calls asking me if he/she has arrived yet - as if I, of all people, could have possibly had the baby and kept my mouth shut about it!

So I thought I'd share with you some statistics - 20 per cent of first babies are born before their due date. A very timely five per cent arrive dead on time. That leaves the remaining 75 per cent of heavily pregnant, very uncomfortable, hormonal women who are finding it hard to sleep, sit, walk, eat and talk nicely to people, waiting and waiting up to two weeks past that hallowed date that we've all been anticipating for the past nine and a bit months.

Now Baby J isn't due until next Tuesday - so I could still be one of the lucky "early" ones. Now I'm not a betting woman, although I do like a trip to the races in a nice frock and a good hat, but I wouldn't be putting a bet on the little monster popping out early or even on time - I don't like them odds. I'd say the safe bet is that he/she is going to be late.

So in the interest of my sanity please, please, please don't ask me if the baby has arrived yet - rest assured that after what can only be described as the longest and hardest nine months of my entire life, when he/she does come out I will be the first person shouting it from the roof tops, boring you with details, pictures and anecdotes....be prepared.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Patience is a virtue....

....and one I don't possess very much of! Lots of things make me impatient. People who stand for ages in a supermarket checkout queue waiting to be served for example, only to spend five minutes ferretting about in their handbag for their purse once they get to the till - what's that about?

Or people who continue to whinge about the coalition government and bewail the fact that Gordon has gone back to the highlands. He had his chance for 13 years, he muffed it, get over it.

Or those calls I keep getting from a man in India - who I'm sure is very nice and is just doing his job - offering me an upgrade on my broadband.

But perhaps the thing testing my patience the most at the moment is Baby J's arrival. One week to go until my due date. I've been having many conversations with the little monkey - explaining that we do like to be prompt in our household and that tardiness really isn't appreciated, but it seems to be falling on deaf ears.

Perhaps the most interesting thing is how impatient Mr Jones is. He is, usually, so laid back that I sometimes worry that he'll just not bother to breathe. But he is desperate for the baby to arrive. He keeps pressing on its little bottom in my tummy and yelling "Get out!!". Everytime I have a twinge he's sure it's a contraction, while I pass it off as a stitch or backache due to overzealous gardening. I quite like this new side of him - he rarely gets excited about well anything really.

I have decided that Baby J is a boy. It was my gut reaction when I got pregnant and after a good six months of hoping the bump is a girl (not because I particularly want girls - but because girl baby clothes are soooooo much nicer) I have now decided that it is actually a little boy. I also think it's going to be about eight and a half pounds. Hopefully it won't be long before we see if I'm right.
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