You know you are a new parent when….

  • You rock chairs, cribs, buggies and trolleys and yourself, even when the baby is not there.

Our Squirt’s last weigh in put him at 11 pounds/ 5 kilos at 6 weeks old. This little porker loves to be bounced and rocked. Tired muscle memory takes over and you find yourself repeating these movements even when it’s not necessary. What’s more is it feels wrong not to.

  • The prospect for a 3o minute nap can make your day.

Squirt has settled into kind of a routine. And yes, I realize that in saying this he will immediately no longer follow said routine. but hey ho. We try to do bath and bed around 8pm, he often eats then sleeps around 9 then gets up to eat every four hours, around the same schedule as I pump milk. We found some free white noise apps for kindle and WW’s smart phone which have been invaluable. There’s a great one called Baby Soother which activates white noise when he cries. So WW is getting a little more sleep and I’m much the same, sleeping for 3 hours and pumping for 1 throughout the night. But remember, I used to easily sleep for 10 hours straight, so it’s been an adjustment.

  • You can’t leave the house in under 90 minutes.

We start getting ready 2 hours before we have to leave the house, and we leave the house at least an hour before we have to be anywhere. We are laden down like we’re going on a 2 week holiday every time.

  • You bolt down every meal on the run.

Squirt has a sixth sense when it comes to his mummies eating. The minute any food is ready he wakes up and starts demanding attention. So now I eat my food at speed to avoid eating one handed and unsuccessfully trying not to drip any on him.

  • Your pet seems to be suffering from depression.

We were a little apprehensive as to how The Monster would take to being usurped from her spot as our only baby. The first day she came running every time Squirt cried. Now she’s over it. She barely glances anymore, occasionally sniffs his toes as she passes and instead occupies her time looking sad and neglected in the corner. Both WW and myself make an effort to fuss her when we pass but there’s no getting around the fact that Squirt is a little more demanding of our time. We did spend over an hour picking ticks off you the other day Monster, we show our love like apes.

  • You spend more time on your baby’s appearance than your own.

Squirt’s clothes get changed if they have spit up on them. Ours do not. Yesterday I changed his outfit 3 times trying to find the cutest one. I wore the first thing that came to hand. My jewelry was rejected on the basis that it might scratch him. He is described as ‘cute’, I’m described as ‘mumsy’ or ‘knackered’.

  • You measure your success by how much expressed milk you have in the fridge/freezer.

I’ve come to terms with exclusively expressing and given up on the breast feeding after several more failed and painful attempts. It works for me and makes me a lot more confident to get out and about when I know we can pack a few bottles and feed him wherever and whenever. I’m lucky my boobs are hard workers and can keep up with Squirt’s greed hunger.

 

 

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got milk? 10 liters excess in the freezer. finally a purpose for big boobs.

  • Poop is a regular topic of discussion with your partner.

Did he poop today? Was it normal? Oh my god, this is going right up to his belly! How many times has he pooped? What colour was it?…..Has the Monster pooped today?etc….

  • You secretly feel sorry for other people because their baby is just not as cute as yours.

We all do it, right? Nope? Just me? Well maybe that’s ‘cos my baby is cuter than yours 😉

TTFN x

PS. Squirt’s heart check up went OK. We met with a supremely unconcerned cardiologist who acted like he didn’t know what we were worried about, pointed out that Squirt is the picture of health and yes he still had a VSD (hole in his heart) but it obviously wasn’t doing him any harm. We will have another check up in a year and if that is OK not again until before he goes to school. He told us it may yet close by itself but if it doesn’t he could live unaffected by it for the rest of his life. We were given the all clear to fly, got home without any difficulties and will be seeing the Drs here soon for his 8 week vaccinations. I will be interested to see how they deal with his VSD compared to the NHS. I’ll keep you posted.

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Wrapped around the finger of a five week old.

Hello all!

So much to update…where to start? Well as this is an egocentric blog lets starts with me :-).

I’ve been through a lot of changes since I got back from hospital. Again this is probably going to contain instances of overshare but you’re used to that by now.

The first few nights I experienced an unprecedented level of sweatiness which, coming from a Scot normally resident in Bangkok, is quite something. I woke up several times every night in soaking wet clothes. Plus I had a few nasty spells of the shakes. I’m not talking ‘Brrr- it’s a bit chilly’ shakes but rather ‘OMG, do I need to go to hospital, my whole body has been shaking uncontrollably for 45 minutes’ shakes. According to the midwives I was sweating out excess pregnancy fluid and shaking out excess breast milk as my ‘engorgement’ was pretty intense.

In hindsight it seems pretty obvious that if you push an 8 pound 9 baby out of your snatch you’re going to experience a little discomfort but no one warned me how long this might go on for. I had the one week mark in my head from somewhere but that was sooooo not my experience. It was fine when I was lying down but when I sat or walked I felt like Squirt’s entire weight was back pressing on my stitches. It took me 3 weeks to be brave enough to look down there. It’s not as bad as I feared, thankfully. It took me a month to not wince when I peed. If I was straight I’m not sure I’d ever have sex again. At one point I convinced myself something was wrong and went to see my GP:

‘And how would you like me to check that?’

‘Well, as far as I know there’s only one way….’

It felt very odd, like I was forcing him to check out my vag. Not something I suggest for kicks, really. His verdict:

‘Yeah, having a baby will do that to you.’

 

 

It was a joy to no longer be peeing every 10 minutes or swigging Gaviscon like it was water in a desert but the money saved was diverted to sanitary towels. I was told a few times to keep one eye on the blood loss and read something somewhere which used an analogy of a leaking tap and how much water that could quickly add up to. I had a little scare when the blood loss tapered off and then returned with a vengeance on the 10th day. A panicky call to the midwife was met with the telephone equivalent of a shrug and advice to ‘keep an eye on it’. I wasn’t really sure what that meant but I didn’t bleed to death and it stopped around day 14 so I guess it’s OK.

I bet you’re all dying to hear about my bowels :-). It took 2 weeks for that to normalise and become pain free but I’m happy to report it wasn’t anything like as bad as that first time in hospital. My pregnancy farting hasn’t dissipated though. But now I can blame the smell on Squirt, who takes after his mother in the trumping department.

And now the boobs. By far the hardest thing about having Squirt has been the breast feeding- or lack thereof. I was told by midwives in hospital, midwives at home, the health visitor and a lactation consultant that there was nothing wrong with either Squirt or me and we could and would successfully breast feed. Despite this my nipples did impressions of moles disappearing into holes every time his gaping mouth approached, he sucked maybe five times before giving up and either falling asleep or screaming blue murder and I have never seen him swallow or get any milk. I freaked out, got frustrated, cried and felt like a failure before I made the decision to give up and continue solely expressing my milk. When we first came home I was pumping every 3 hours, which I switched to every 4 hours a few days later. I’m pleased to say my big boobs have come in useful for something and I am consistently expressing much more milk than he needs. After a month I have maybe 8 or 9 days additional milk stored in the freezer. Which is satisfying but depressing as I have no way to get it to Thailand still frozen and will have to sacrifice it.

I have sailed close to post partum depression on a few occasions mostly as a direct result of this issue. I beat myself up because breast is best and I feel like I’m not doing my duty as a mother. I beat myself up because I spend more time hooked up to a pump than I spend feeding him and I’m not convinced we’re getting the bonding time that we should be. I beat myself up because I feel like I didn’t try hard enough and the experts are telling me I should be able to do it but whenever I even think about trying again I feel panicky and tearful. I beat myself up because I can’t face dealing with nipple confusion, latching positions and attempting to breast feed every three hours plus pumping every four. And I am tired. Dog tired.

So I push thoughts of attempting to get Squirt back on the breast and all my qualms about pumping away and focus on the positive, like:

I’ve dropped from 14 stone 2 pounds to 12 stone 5 pounds in four weeks and I’m still eating bread, cheese and CAKE!

I have an amazing wife who happily gets up to feed and put a gassy Squirt back to sleep during the night while I’m hooked up to the breast pump.

I have been staying with my parents who have been amazing, keeping Squirt late in the evening and early in the morning so we can get a few hours uninterrupted kip and taking him when we need a break.

For the most part Squirt is a relatively easy, happy and healthy baby.

 

And now onto the little man himself! Squirt recovered quickly from the jaundice as soon as he started drinking proper quantities of milk. I say proper quantities, I should say huge quantities. The midwives told me he should have regained his birth weight by two weeks. At 10 days he had surpassed that by 6 ounces. We are waiting for his 6 week check up to get his next weigh in but I’m sure he’s gained a ton and grown a bunch. The kid does nothing but eat. All my visitors think I’m crazy as my most commonly asked question is ‘When did he last eat?’ because a: I can’t remember ANYTHING anymore and b: He only cries for more than a minute or two if he’s hungry.

He barely cries but he does suffer from gas which can elicit some yelps and grumbles. In the beginning he rarely burped during feeds. I hoped this was due to the cleverly engineered Dr Brown’s bottle’s we were using but suspect it was more likely our ineptitude at burping. After 3 weeks he started struggling and went from a quiet, happy baby to a grumbling, yelping, red faced, straining baby. He farts unlike any creature I have ever encountered before, including myself. The midwives showed us how to gently push his knees up to his stomach and elicit whoopy cushion sound effects. He also enjoys sitting on people’s laps and straining for 15 minutes before letting fly a sharty (shit/fart) explosion. Heaven help you if you hear gas while his nappy is off as the poo can and will come flying out of his bottom like lava out of a volcano. Plus he likes to pee on people. And himself.

He also gets hiccups several times a day and has pretty spectacular instances of spit-up fountains. My poor, gassy boy. I have eradicated all of the usual suspects from my diet except dairy. I’m praying it’s not the dairy and waiting to see what the Dr says at his 6 week check-up. Please don’t let it be the dairy. In the meantime we’re squirting Infacol down his neck before every feed which seems to help the gas pop up…and down with much more ease. Dr Google recons babies just sometimes need some time to sort their digestion out. Hopefully it should resolve itself soon.

Squirt has changed a lot over the last four weeks. He now has long periods of being awake and has found his voice, shouting and making sweet baby noises when he feels like he’s not getting enough attention. He has also gotten strong. He can now lift his head high for quite long periods of time and enjoys nutting unsuspecting cuddlers. His other new favourite past time is increasing people’s heart rates by using his legs and torso to throw himself about when you’re holding him only under the chin while patting his back to burp him. No one has dropped him…yet. I’m not sure about the smiles vs gas debate yet. His grandma recons she’s had a few real ones but she also has entire conversations with him so may not be the most reliable source.

Routines, especially with regards to sleep are pretty much non-existent. He tends to wake up during meal times. I think he hopes to catch some of the crumbs I tend to drop on him while attempting to eat with one hand. He also like playing possum with everyone, feigning deep sleep during cuddles but springing awake and protesting the minute he is put down. He tends to eat every four hours. Except if you warm milk round the four hour mark, then he’ll sleep for five or six. But if you don’t he’ll wake at four hours to the second and scream like he’s being tortured until someone shoves a bottle in his gob. He tends to drink 90mls. Except for the times he wants 150 or 60. He likes to keep us on our toes.

I think he enjoys causing us to worry. I thought I turned to google often before but that was a drop in the ocean compared to now. If you’re finding the search engine slow recently it’s probably because I’m clogging it up every 20 minutes with searches like: should my babies poo be green? How often should a three week old fart? Should babies strain while pooping? What does infant diarrhoea look like? Etc.

On the worry vein he had a hearing check as he failed while in hospital. He needed to be asleep for the appointment so, of course he slept beautifully all morning and woke up and freaked out when they started poking him. In fairness I’d scream too if someone rubbed patches of hair off my head, sellotaped electrodes to my skull and shoved noisy things in my ear . Plus, after 10 minutes of red-faced, flailing armed freak out he let rip with a spectacular shart, so that might have been part of the issue. Anyway, after a 45 minute trauma he passed with flying colours. His heart check-up is not until next week. We are cautiously optimistic as he seems fine and dandy. But I still worry.

But he’s totally worth it, just look at him!

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A bumpy start to motherhood (birth story part 3)

Sunday:

I was exhausted after a night in the high dependency ward, being disturbed every 15 minutes from my cloud 9 drug coma so they could check I was still alive and kicking. Sometime during the morning I was declared OK and moved to the regular ward, a cramped room with 8 beds closely surrounded by curtains. Between the still very numb legs, the IVs and the catheter I was bed bound, struggling to change Squirt and failing to breast feed, despite lots of help from the midwives. The new grandparents arrived for visiting hours and left shortly after. The day passed in a quick haze and I had a reasonably good night’s sleep, only waking a few times to change and fail to feed Squirt.

 

Monday:

The morning doctor checks declared me reasonably fit and well but the nursery nurse said she though Squirt was jaundiced. A paediatrician later confirmed that he was jaundiced, although not enough to require treatment…yet. By late afternoon I was released from my bed and my pee tube and able to take possibly the most enjoyable shower of my life and hobble around in a way which made me miss my pregnant waddle. I was still failing to feed Squirt and had been told it was important he fed every three hours to recover from the jaundice. Neither myself nor the midwives had been able to get an increasingly sleepy Squirt to latch on successfully so it was suggested that I express and cup feed in order to meet his demands. My first attempt produced a paltry 11mls which was celebrated by the staff, apparently anything over 7 is good in the first stages. That night I expressed every 3 hours and laboriously fed Squirt with the cup, glad he was finally eating, even though he only drank a few mls before he fell back asleep.

 

Tuesday:

Again the doctors informed me I was fine but Squirt was still had an air of tumeric about him. I continued to express, with my enormous boobs finally proving their worth with their production impressing the midwives and leading to jokes about me being a wet nurse for the whole ward. I was still cup feeding but became quite stressed when the Dr told me he should now be having 30mls every 3 hours. He never had more than 10 before nodding off again. This led to a day and night of hourly feeds with my 45 minute opportunities to sleep being thwarted by one of the many noisy, colicky babies on the ward. It was quite interesting to ear-wig on the other patients around me. There were lots of members of staff passing through and they all, almost always said the same thing about the babies. Squirt was always called gorgeous, bonnie, cute or handsome (naturally), the kid to my right ‘has a great head of hair, hasn’t she?’ (I heard at least 6 people say exactly that) and the baby opposite ‘was very long’. I also enjoyed watching and listening to the new mums and dads interacting with each other. It was a little like watching a dramatic, hormone intensified soap opera. I had to find some way to entertain myself between feeds when my kindle battery died.

 

Wednesday:

By this point I felt like I had boulders in my colon and was terrified of going anywhere near my stitches. I had heard horrible stories about women’s first poop following childbirth and I can whole heartedly concur. Regular readers will be aware that I occassionally have a slight tendency to overshare ;-), but even I cannot bring myself to share this experience. Suffice to say I would rather give birth again than go through that ever again.

Squirt was still jaundiced and his levels were still rising. I was now failing to meet the required 50mls every three hours and starting to struggle with the week of fairly extreme sleep deprivation and a flood of hormonal emotions. Eventually I tearfully explained my predicament to the nursery nurse and she told me to use bottles rather than the cup to feed. I almost lost it when Squirt immediately gobbled down the required 50ml in 3 minutes flat. Why the hell didn’t anyone tell me before? I was convinced that he would have recovered from his jaundice already had I done this immediately. I had no idea I was making life more difficult for myself by trying to cup feed. After he started receiving proper quantities of milk Squirt perked up considerably, happily farting away and filling nappies at such a pace that I went through a whole packet of wipes and half our nappy supply in one day. I had another sleepless night, disturbed by a 10 pound, inconsolable baby next door who SCREAMED for long enough for my tired and uncharitable self to being making mental suggestions involving open windows, while my own little cherub whimpered for less than 30 secs when he was ready for another feed.

Thursday:

Again I was pronounced fine (although I was quite shocked when I caught sight of my wan, drawn complexion in one of the few mirrors on the ward, and every midwife who came to see me asked if I was always pale- answer: no). Squirt was still jaundiced when the doctor checked. She seemed to be taken longer than normal when she was using the stethoscope. She gently told me she could hear a murmur and I disintegrated, post-partum hormones, stress and sleep deprivation finally getting the better of me. I sobbed through a huge, snotty bout of ugly crying while she gave me a wealth of information I wasn’t really capable of absorbing. Sometime during her explanation WW arrived with the beginning of visiting hours and so the doctor started again. The gist was it was common and could be nothing or it could require surgery and she was booking us in for an echo cardiogram as soon as possible. We had the scan done, little Squirt continuing to be on his best behaviour, not wriggling or protesting at all. Later the doctor confirmed that the scan had shown a Ventricular Septal Defect, a hole between his ventricular chambers that was supposed to have closed after birth and hadn’t. It could eventually close by itself or it might require surgery to close it. We are booked in for another appointment with a cardiologist in 6 weeks and were told we can’t fly back to Thailand until he has been checked in case the change in pressure affected his heart. I continued to breakdown on and off all afternoon, unable to sleep for worrying. WW stayed late with me and minutes before my dad arrived at 10pm to take her home we got our first piece of good news: Squirt’s jaundice levels had finally plateaued and we could go home. After I checked there was no immediate risk because of his heart condition there was no way in hell I was risking my remaining sanity by staying by myself trying to hold my shit together over another sleepless night. So I jumped on it and started a two hour fight to get discharged, calmly listening as they suggested it was a too late and I should wait until morning, then firmly telling them I was leaving regardless. We eventually escaped and arrived home at 1.30am, with WW taking over for an evening so I could concentrate on just pumping and sleeping.

Now our life as a new family could finally begin.

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Hurry up and wait (birth story, part 1)

(Written 30th July)

So I’ll start by saying that this post is being written at 12.20am on the back of a sanitary towel disposal bag in hospital, where I have been for the last week. Needless to say it might not, therefore be the most compos mentis post I have ever penned. Also this is a birth story, guts and all in my usual style so go ahead and have a big, fat TMI warning.

My story starts on July 22nd, my due date and also my next midwives appointment. Despite cleaning, ironing, fast walking, muttering ‘Get out! Get out! Get out!’, spicy curries and other techniques Squirt was defiantly clinging on. At the midwife appointment my belly measured small again and worryingly unchanged from the last measurement, 2 weeks ago. She also felt a drop in fluid around the baby. Her concern led to another scan in hospital and an induction booked for 9.30pm that evening. Swings and roundabouts, thought I. Not what I was hoping for but at least it would mean no more waiting, which was slowly driving me, and everyone I live with insane.

So that night I checked into hospital, nervous and bummed to be spending the first night in 3 years without WW. I had a not very nice digital examination (not the nice, technological kind of digital but the fingers-up-the-mole-hole kind. Fingers, plural) and a pessary was deployed. I was declared 1cm dilated with a thick posterior cervix and left to sleep, an absolute impossibility due to the racket made by people coming and going, groaning, moaning and vomiting all around me. Then the cramping started.

By morning I was tired but positive. I used the hypnobirthing techniques to breathe through the pain, was skewered by another set of fingers and was informed I would be heading up to the labour suite to have my waters broken. I was a heady mix of excited and have-I-just-pooped-in-my-pants terrified.

Upstairs in the labour suite WW and I discussed all my crunchy granola requests with the midwife who seemed happy to accommodate me. I was especially excited to be told I could drag my stretching vajayjay into the pool almost straight away. Then more fingers, a lot of extraordinary guddling about, my third membrane sweep… to be informed actually they weren’t able to break my waters yet and I was kicked, unceremoniously back downstairs.

Then followed two more torturous days, 2 more pessaries, 4 more digital examinations (the worst of which was delivered by a male doctor using his enormous, hairy fingers to make a motion similar to that which you’d make if you were trying to quickly bung something in a hole and stop a leak, while muttering ‘gently, gently’…..and I was informed I was still thick cervixed and 1cm dialated.

My crunchy, granola plans were dropping by the hour. By the second day of no sleep and constant useless contractions the drugs cabinet was starting to look good. I escalated quickly from paracetamol to codeine to diamorphine as tiredness robbed me of my ability to do the bullshit breathing techniques and visualisations. Diamorphine was AWESOME and I was finally able to get a little, guilt-ridden rest.

By Saturday morning I was tearfully considering asking the next person with their hands in my vagina to yank the bugger out or get slice and dice happy with a scalpel and my tummy. The Docs were a step ahead and a ‘Ah, fuck it. Let’s get this show on the road’ consensus was reached. Back up to labour suite we went, amidst some parental tension as to whether then was an appropriate time for my dad to squeeze in a quick round of golf. Apparently, despite maternal disapproval, it was :-).

 

To be continued….

Am I almost there yet???

Hiya,

 

I have escalated procrastination to new, higher altitudes and this blog has been one of the many things to suffer neglect. Also on my abandoned to-do list: washing, cleaning, packing hospital bag, cooking and freezing meals, making a start on the baby book, etc etc.

But I’m still here and still pregnant, with slightly over two weeks until my due date.

We had a little scare last week. I met with the very busy midwife for the first time. We were there for almost an hour trying to bring my previous care into line with the NHS’ requirements. She was very friendly, if somewhat unorganised. I had my second belly examination and quickly saw a cultural difference. Thai people, in general tend to be very gentle in every way. I rarely hear a harsh tone, the pat-downs at the airport are soft to the point of ineffective and the gentle prodding I received at the hospital left me ill prepared for the NHS.

‘Is that your pelvis or still trousers?’

‘Actually, I think that’s my spine!!’

After poor Squirt was manhandled the Midwife announced herself unhappy with my measurements, my belly fibbing that I was only 32 weeks along when , in fact I was 36. She booked me into the hospital for a check with the doctor four days later. She also stressed WW out by announcing his heartbeat was too fast for him to be a boy and maybe we were in for a surprise.

So last Friday was WW’s first eye opening experience of a British hospital. We arrived early and were sent away as they were ‘running a little behind’. When we returned I was immediately plopped into a curtained off area and hooked up to the monitoring machine. The lack of privacy was a little shocking after Thai private hospitals. We listened in silent horror as the woman in the curtain opposite had a little break down as she received bad news about the development of her twins. WW’s eyes almost popped out of her head as we listened to another woman grunt and moan her way through a few contractions (‘She’s not going to give birth in here, is she?!’).

After 45 minutes a harassed nurse reappeared, looked at the readings on the monitor, muttered ‘Damn it!’ and disappeared again without further elaboration. Queue my anxiety levels taking a drastic hike upwards.

After another half an hour or so I was unhooked and then a further 20 mins later I was ejected from the curtained area to the waiting area outside. Another 45 mins later and the frazzled doctor appeared, had a quick chat, abused Squirt and advised an ultrasound. We were told we couldn’t do the ultrasound for another 2 hours. We waited, ate passable food from the cafeteria and then had the ultrasound. Again the differences were quite shocking. I had no idea how far ahead the fancy Thai hospitals were. Without the technician pointing things out on the tiny screen I wouldn’t have been able to tell what anything was, despite that being my 6 or 7th (8/9th?) ultrasound.

Anyway, after about 7 minutes of looking the tech told us she was happy, everything was normal and he was measuring a couple of days fatter than average, so no worries about size, or fluid. She couldn’t give us a definitive weight because the head was buried deep in my pelvis and not going anywhere.

Apparently the head being low, me being tall and my strong stomach muscles (who knew?!) can all contribute to me seeming small, but it was nothing to worry about. Phew.

So after another quick check back with the doctor we were dismissed. 5 hours after our original appointment time. Wow. Wait times or not it was still very reassuring to be in a hospital where I understood everything that was going on and I am happy to be back in the NHS system. Plus we didn’t have to settle a bill on the way out.

So now we’re just waiting. I’ve been feeling a little PMSy the last few days, very light cramps, a little back ache and a difficult to shake grumpiness. I’m really impatient to meet Squirt and get this next bit out of the way. I’m also starting to feel a little stir crazy. Since the first week the weather has been a bit crap so we haven’t been out much. Plus I’ve caught a cold so we haven’t even been strolling around the hills near us. It’s also driving me mad not being able to plan anything because we don’t know when the wee one will be putting in an appearance. Why can’t I use some tracking website to forecast his arrival??

 

My days pass with a lot of reading and soaking in the tub. I think I’ve read 8 books so far. I’ve also watched countless hours of ‘Come dine with me’ , ‘Deliver me’ and ‘Bringing home baby.’ And I’ve been eating. Mmmm, cake.

I have to battle with two variations of British-ness this coming weekend. My parents and brother are going down south for sibling’s graduation, leaving me 1 week from my due date and without a driver if Squirt decides to put in an appearance. So I have to either face the prospect of making a fuss and calling an ambulance should I go into labour or I could overcome a shyness by introducing myself to the admittedly friendly neighbours, explaining the situation and asking if they’d mind being my emergency lift. I think I’ll just keep my fingers crossed that I avoid sod’s law and make it through the weekend without any developments.

If anyone has a crystal ball/spirit guide/magic wand and would like to tell me when the grand finale will be it would be much appreciated!

 

TTFN X

You take the high road….

Did you see that article in the newspaper about the woman who gave birth mid long-haul flight? Well it wasn’t me 🙂

We rocked up to the airport 3 hours early, I made doe eyes, stuck my belly out and politely asked if it might be possible to upgrade. The BA lady said sure…if we paid for it. Damn. There goes my last chance to rub shoulders with the hoitytoity. C’est la vie.

The flight was OK. The first 8 hours were easy but my legs couldn’t decide if they’d rather mimic elephants or sausages for the last 4. I also pissed off the bitchy flight attendant with my numerous requests for water. Yes, I was drinking a half litre an hour but I did drag my pregnant ass over to them every time, rather than push the button above me like the alcoholics wine lovers a few rows down. I was a bit underwhelmed with the airline all in all. The food was horrid and few and far between. We took off at 11am, were fed around 12.30 (chicken and rice) and not again until around 8.30pm our time (a different variety of chicken a rice). Luckily I came prepared with WW’s brownies, crisps and apples so I didn’t have to resort to cannibalism. I will be flying with a different airline next time.

We then arrived in Heathrow and faced a four-hour wait until our flight to Glasgow. After 2 hours I went to the bathroom (again) and was gutted to see that two BA flights to Glasgow had been delayed. WW checked 40 minutes later and hurried back to tell me our flight was now listed as closed. Que a 250 yard 8 month pregnant sprint through Heathrow. WW was just getting started blaming my pregnancy brain when we encountered 6 other people at the gate who had seen the same message. Again the staff were pretty unhelpful and unfriendly but luckily were able to put us on another flight which was boarding right then. We were assured our bags would make it on with us but of course they didn’t.

So, after 24 hours of travelling we were very glad to benefit from my cousin’s hospitality in Glasgow, catching 3 and a half hours sleep before jet lag and Scottish summer woke me up. We were able to get our bags from the airport at midday and then had a 3 hour car ride before finally arriving at my parents’ house in deepest, darkest Scotland.

Only it wasn’t so dark! Miracle of miracles the sun shone for three days straight. Temperatures soared to 26 oC, we went on some lovely walks in the countryside and I got sunburn. Of course it has been 16 oC, overcast and showery spells since then, but summer was nice while it lasted :-).

We’ve been here over a week now and have gotten into the swing of things. We risk the clouds and threatening rain to complete a 2 mile walk every day, which I can now complete without having to stop for a break. Well, I rarely make it round without a pee break but I don’t need to rest any more. I’ve gotten quite adept and fearless about peeing in fields. Thus far I think only the local wildlife has been treated to views of my big, white ass flying high in the skyline. Later we watch some TV or get frustrated by he crappy internet signal and non-existent phone service. And then we cook dinner. Or rather, WW cooks dinner while I offer moral support and tasting expertise.

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Pregnancy-wise things are definitely getting more uncomfortable. When I sit or lie down  I feel like there is not enough space in my chest for my ribs. When I stand up and start walking it takes me a few steps to stop looking like a Old-Age-Penguin. I have constant gaviscon breath from swigging a pint a day to keep the fires from hell at bay. But I do feel healthier and am sleeping better with all the exercise and fresh air.

I had a chat with the local midwife and am seeing her for the first time this afternoon. She used phrases like ‘if you’re happy with that’ and ‘ if you’re comfortable’ three or four times during our conversation which was a new, somewhat thrilling experience for me. Actual choices and the option to refuse a medical professionals requests? Golly. I’m still expecting to get a hard time about my diet. There has been a lot of cake. A LOT of cake.

My boss emailed me to say that my maternity leave starts the day I give birth, not from the first day of the school term, like I thought, which is a bit of a blow. Now I am torn between feeling uncomfy and wishing Squirt would vacate the premises and praying he’ll overstay so I don’t have to go back until mid November.

Well I think that’s enough slaverin’ for one day.

TTFN x

 

We are a go!

Hey,

 

The Great Thai Birth Escape plan is finally happening. On Wednesday I had another checkup and was handed the much lusted-after ‘fit to fly’ paper. Flights, transfers and connections are booked. It doesn’t sound like a particularly fun journey but I’m happy regardless.

There were a few times during the week when I thought it wasn’t going to happen. I spend Monday night lying awake trying to decide is the pains in my stomach were gas, braxton hicks or actual contractions. Still not sure, but I’m leaning towards gas.

Wednesday saw me slip going down the stairs at work and bump, inelegantly down the last few on my ass. Squirt dealt with this rough and tumble by bouncing and hiccuping his way through the next hour, which was a relief. He was fine. My ass was not. WW and Dr Porn both told me I need to be less clumsy. Seriously? It’s not like I chose to chuck myself down the stairs or smash a bottle of gaviscon or drop the Monster on her head.

Then during my appointment I was hooked up to the monitoring machine for the first time. They placed two sensors on my belly and gave me a button to click every time Squirt moved. The nurses were shocked when I recorded Squirts near constant movements for the first 20 mins. I think one didn’t believe me and looked surprised when she put her hand on my belly and felt the dance party for herself. I guess he wore himself out, though as then there was nothing for the next ten minutes. The nurses’ really crap poker faces had WW and I worried for a while but Dr Porn assured us everything was normal, no contractions and my cervix was still locked up tight.

So I am dragging my fat, swollen, aching ass through my last day at work, WW is packing and the Monster will be staying at her doggy hotel this evening and for the next two months. Tomorrow we fly at the very reasonable hour of 11am, but you better believe I’ll be getting there three hours early with my fingers, eyes and toes crossed for that magical upgrade. C’mon BA, be my fairy godmother!

TTFN X

32 weeks…33 weeks..? Whatever, really frigging pregnant!

Hiya,

Has anyone seen where I left my….brain? Seriously. I thought the baby brain was bad before but we are reaching new heights of stupidity this week.

It’s end of term which means exams and grades time. You’d think this wouldn’t be a big deal seeing as the kids I teach are age 3-11, but you’d be wrong.

I had about 5 emails over the weekend from a frantic mum, insisting their kid ‘couldn’t read a word and doesn’t know ANYTHING’. I tried my best to put out the fire and felt extremely validated when the kid got 90% with no help from me.

Another parent emailed me because apparently I can’t count to 25 anymore and I docked her son 5 points for no reason at all. Oops.

With the eldest kids all this stress is behind us, thank Budda. Instead they have been tasked with creating a 5 min presentation on a subject of their choice, which has led to conversations like this:

Kid: ‘Miss Emz, what is a slut magnet?’

Me *splutters*: “A what?’

Kid:’ A slut magnet.’

Me: ‘Where have you heard that?’

Kid: ‘On this website about my game I’m doing for my presentation.’

Me: ‘Which game?’

Kid: ‘GTA’

Me: ‘Grand Theft Auto? Isn’t that game about stealing cars, beating people up and…. *thinks*- prostitutes?’

Kid: ‘Yeah.”

Me: “Uh huh, you can’t do it on that.’

Arguments ensue.

 

The creepy ‘bleeding from the eyes’ kid informed me that soon the doctor would have to ‘use a really big knife and cut from here *indicates chin level* to here *indicates pubic bone* so he can pull the baby out. It’s gonna hurt real real bad!’

One of her peers suggested, in very broken English, that he could punch me in the stomach and then I could vomit out the baby. I must say, his suggestion appeals more than any other typical method for giving birth.

 

 

I  have been getting loads of exercise walking up and down the stairs as I arrive without resources or am forced to retrace my steps to figure out where I’ve left things. I open containers 3 times in a row, when there wasn’t anything in them the first time. I call kids by the wrong name all. the. time. I have a massive brain fart mid-sentence and have no idea what to say next. Fun times. Kids keep asking me to spell stuff. ‘Nuf said.

I think it’s because the blood normally supplying my brain currently prefers pooling around my calves and ankles. Especially around midday. The sexy puffiness is really accentuated by my waddle. WW keeps asking ‘Why are you walking like that?’ Not for shits and giggles, my love.

Otherwise there’s nothing major happening but I do feel a bit uncomfortable in my body, with back ache, occasional abdominal twinges and tightening.  The bath helps. Specifically an hour plus soak in an almost cold bath while watching Extreme Makeover, Weightloss Edition, and calculating that even at the end of their ‘transformation’ the contestants often weigh more than me right now, helps me feel a little less whale-like. WW complaining about her tiny muffin top does not.

Burping, farting, frequent urination and pooping remain constants but the heartburn has slackened slightly. My rings are still on my fingers and my ‘innie’ bellybutton has not become an ‘outy’ yet. No stretch marks and my boobs have remained encased in the same bra without attempting to break free, for a couple of weeks.

We have finally bought a car seat and a play mat for tummy time. WW ordered some extremely campy sailor and suit outfits, and was a bit put out when I giggled excessively. We have been gifted a few gorgeous baby grows and t-shirts. In short I feel like we are almost prepared and the rest will come back with us from the UK. I have to wait until Wednesday to see if I will be given the OK by the doctor, to fly. Fingers crossed.

Similar to this. I cannot bring myself to put one of those hats on my sons head, sorry WW.

The pregnancy app continues to amuse. I have stopped filling in my weight as I am frighteningly outwith the recommended weight gain chart. The fruit size comparisons stress out WW, as the fruit here is often much larger than the ones they are using. It is also throwing up some words WW, as a non-native English speaker, has not come across previously:

Me: ‘It suggests that we do a perineal* massage now that I’m in my third trimester.’

WW: ‘Maybe you can get one at the massage parlor on the main road.’

Me: ‘Um…’

 

TTFN X

 

*apparently the wordpress dictionary has never heard of a perineal massage either.

 

She’s pregnant? Has someone told her??!!

Hiya!

So, I’m still plodding along, here in Thailand. Yes, the ongoing political unrest has resulted in a military coup. We are safe and well, in case you’re concerned. To be honest it has had very little effect on our lives except for the fact that a very tired pregnant lady got a bonus day off school on Friday (whoop whoop). From what I gather the biggest hardships being experienced here are a lack of bad Thai soap operas since the military cut all TV and radio and people being unable to satisfy their midnight munchies, as 7-11 is closing at 10pm in compliance with the 10pm-5am curfew. I was in bed, asleep last night at 8pm and would rather put pins in my eyes attempt to watch the soap operas, so I remain unperturbed.

Anyone who knows me is aware that I am normally ridiculously uninvolved in political goings on, especially when I am in countries where my opinions don’t matter one jot. However, even I have been sucked in by the complex situation going on here. It’s really interesting to be receiving international news whilst experiencing the full story at the same time. When you are reading on the BBC about a tiny, middle class minority rising up and demanding an end to democracy it sounds a little terrifying. Furthermore when you hear that the military has come barging in and removed a democratically elected government and chucked the constitution out of the window. The situation is a lot more complicated than that.12 million people live in Bangkok. 300 people were protesting the coup yesterday.  This silly little blog about farting and vaginas isn’t really the place to get into it but I will say that I feel a lot more safe with the army on the streets than when the police were trying to stop the violence.

Plus you get hilarious photos like this:

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Land of smiles…and selfies.

 

Anyway, lets return to scheduled programming.

The title of this post is in reference to a conversation that was relayed back to me earlier in the week. I have found my patience to be wearing a little thinner than usual lately, as witnessed by a colleague who saw me teeter dangerously close to the edge during a difficult lesson with her difficult class. I came as close to swearing as I ever have in five years of teaching and had to stop, mid-sentence, close my eyes and count to 20 before I trusted myself to open my mouth again. After this my colleague had a little chat with her kids:

‘Boys and girls, you have to be good with Miss Emz because her baby is almost ready to come out.’

Student (whose own parents have nicknamed ‘water buffalo’, a pretty offensive name to call a Thai, meaning stupid) ‘What?’

Collegue: ‘Miss Emz is pregnant. Didn’t you know? Didn’t you see her belly?’

Student: ‘Oh my god! Has someone told her? Does she know??!!’

 

Apart from a very short fuse I haven’t been feeling too bad. Squirt is as active as ever, happily kicking, punching and rolling away…until someone comes at him with an ultrasound wand. Then he hides.

We had our 31st week check-up a few days ago. Dr Porn was happy to report that everything is still normal and on track. Squirt’s weight has slowed slightly and he is now a more average weight, rather than pushing the high end of average, which is a relief for the orifice from which he is intending to exit but a slight, niggly concern for the part of me that has watched too many documentaries and knows that a drop off in weight gain could mean problems. Dr Porn was extremely unconcerned so I am trying to be too.

Squirt has been lying head down, like a good little boy for the last few scans and using the opportunity to invade my rib space with his ‘long, beautiful legs’. After a quick check of heart, brain, fingers, toes, cord and a few long bones we moved onto the 4D, ‘let’s get the money shot’ of his face.

Last time we did this you might remember Squirt was showing us his gymnastic skills by sleeping with his feet above his head and doing his damnest to hide his face. I guess h’e’s too cramped for that so instead he used his arms and hands. We had 20 mins of prodding, jiggling and a carton of OJ to get him to rub his nose and then cover his face again. Then an excited nurse rushed in to tell the doc another patient was delivering down the hall. We were dismissed for 20 mins to walk around and try and wake up Squirt. Sure enough, the minute I stood up he started swirling around and the minute I lay back down he went back into his coma. More jiggling, prodding and a piece of cake and we got the shots below. I was so over it by then I didn’t really mind. I’d rather a 30 mins- ‘yup, he’s healthy’ scan than a 2 hour ‘Wakey, wakey. Show us your face,’ scan.

Dr Porn told me I’d hit my 9 month pregnancy weight gain already so I’m back to trying to be very good. I was doing really well until we got a birthday cake order and I had to try a few cut-offs of WW’s scrumptious chocolate cake. Mmmmm. But I did have uber healthy, cream-free, home-made vegetable soups for dinner every night this week. I also have mostly managed to avoid salty, fried crap and pizza. I must say it has really helped with the heartburn. But I miss cake. And it hasn’t helped with the stinky farting, as WW and the The Monster will attest to.

I still think I’m getting off lightly with this whole pregnancy malarkey. Other than some heartburn, grumpiness, slight back ache (which doesn’t hold a candle to the pain I’m usually experiencing a few times a month) and some uncomfortable kicks, things have been good. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. I think I might miss the little bugger when he’s not using my bladder as a pillow any more. And not being able to blame my big belly and cake consumption on pregnancy!

That’s all for now, folks!

 

TTFN X

PS. Ultrasound pics after the jump.

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No, my dog doesn’t sleep in a crib.

“A water please.’  says I in one of our favourite Thai restaurants.

‘Water? Not beer today?’ asks the friendly waitress.

‘Haha,’ I offer, hoping I understood the Thai.

…a little while later….

‘Oh I haven’t seen your friend in so long! She has really changed. She has gained so much weight!’, the friendly waitress tells WW.

‘Uh, she’s pregnant.’ WW replies.

‘Really? Wow, I didn’t even know she had a boyfriend!’

Awkward silence and smiling.

…a little while later….

‘The Monster didn’t come with you today?’ asks the waitress.

‘No, she is at home sleeping.’ says WW.

‘Who does she live with, you or your friend?’

Awkward pause. ‘Me.’ replies WW.

 

I thought I was out of the ‘fat or pregnant?’ phase but I guess not. Further emphasised by WW’s conversation with our cleaner* earlier today. First I’d like to share a pic of the baby-to-be’s room so you know what I’m talking about:

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I got crafty  with the decorations to save a little cash. 50 quid for a mobile? You’re havin’ a giraffe.

We’ve been adding things to this room for a while but today was the first time our cleaner (name-  translates to Little) has seen the crib. And her question for WW?

‘Is that where the Monster sleeps?’

 

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A crib would be lovely, thanks!

 

Now, I know to her (and most people) the Monster probably appears to be quite a spoiled and privileged little pooch but even we are not that crazy. P’ Little cleans around her cage in the hall every time she comes. She also gingerly vacuums around her ratty dog bed. It really made me wonder what she must think of us. Plus she sees me, belly, tits and all, every week. Hasn’t she figured out I must be pregnant? In her defence she also dusts pictures of our civil partnership ceremony and wedding cake so she might have realised we are lesbians and presumed, in the Thai way, therefore we will not be procreating.

‘So did you tell her I’m pregnant?’ I asked WW after I stopped giggling.

‘No. I just said ‘No, the Monster doesn’t sleep there’. I think it will be funny when we come back from the UK with a baby. Maybe she will think we bought it.’

Oh my god.

So I am going to post a couple of rare pics of my belly so you can get a good mental image of people’s ‘fat or pregnant’ dilemma. Now, before you recognise my face and think I’m dead famous I will warn you that I have skilfully photoshopped in an alternative visage. It’s one thing having your colleagues and relatives reading about your gas and vagina but quite another having the parents of the kids you teach stumbling across this and realising who you are. Although if they’ve run through 3 or more pages of thai-lesbian-pregnancy por.n to find me, I’m not sure I’m the one who should be embarrassed.

10 weeks to go!

TTFN X

 

 

*Yes, I work part time and we hired a cleaner, go ahead and judge. In my defence, I am clean freak, it’s 40 degrees here and aint nobody got time for that and furthermore at 10GBP for the whole house SCRUBBED from top to bottom,  it felt criminal not to.  But you can probably tell I am experiencing some middle class guilt about the whole thing.

 

 

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