Tuesday, 23 September 2008

24 weeks 6 days

It's not that there hasn't been stuff to record about my burgeoning belly over the last few weeks - just that some fairly major work activity has coincided with a busy social calendar. Any free weekday evenings and the odd hour at the weekend have thus been taken up with eating, sleeping, trying to find some clothes that fit and generally trying to relax a bit. And for those of you who know me, and have perhaps found it a touch strange that I haven't even so much as mentioned the advent and launch of this year's SCD onto our TV schedules this autumn, never mind hyperventilated about it as much as I did last year, rest assured there will be much of that to come in later posts.*

So, bump news. Well, it's getting bigger. Ali hasn't taken a pic for a while but I'll post one up soon. A dread which now occasionally occupies me is whether my inny will become an outy, as apparently this can happen, and it's certainly a lot, erm, shallower than it was. Bambino is also kicking quite a bit more, something that's more noticeable in the wee small hours of the morning - I'm not 100% sure if it has actually kicked hard enough to wake me up yet, but when I have dragged myself into consciousness at aroud 5.30am in readiness for the alarm to finish the waking up process 25 minutes later, I am feeling some pretty hefty whacks.

Purchases have finally commenced and the bank account floodgates have been breached. We were up in Hawick at the weekend seeing Ali's folks and there is the most fantastic baby shop there, far and away the best one we've been into in terms of stock and helpfulness of staff (but sadly without its own website). The Nursery Shop in Abingdon is just a glorified present-buying emporium in comparison. So we went along, and looked at prams, prams, and yet more prams. Even those extortionately expensive Silver Cross ones that look like they should be pushed by Wendy Craig in an episode of Nanny in the early 80s, and which you presumably can't buy unless you're Victoria Beckham and live in a mansion with door frames wide enough to accommodate them. It was invaluable to be able to test different ones and get advice on what we needed. So we ended up with a Quinny Speedi, along with the carrycot, car seat etc. Very exciting! We haven't made any other actual purchases for the baby as such, although we did also get a new (secondhand) car last week, a 6 year old Golf with 5 doors (very important) so I don't have to drive the Polo for much longer. It'll be a shame in some ways to see it go as I've driven it about for about 5 years now, but it was on its last legs and it's only a car for heaven's sake anyway, not something to get sentimental about. I also got a snazzy new Dream Genie pillow from Amazon, bizarrely made by a company in Steventon, which is only 2 villages away from us, but dispatched all the way from the Amazon warehouse in Swansea. Hey ho. It's quite a contraption until you get the hang of it but means I'm not waking up in the middle of the night with pins and needles and cramp any more due to sleeping on my back and it can be used as a feeding pillow after the baby's born. I think I might need to get the sewing machine out and make a sturdier cover for it at that point though. While I'm on the subject of sleeping, my dreams have taken a rather disturbing turn. They've been more vivid since I became pregnant, but last night was weird in the extreme. I dreamt that Carlisle railway station was suffering a major series of explosions, and all I can remember from the dream is the raging fires, screaming people and fire hydrants exploding and killing random folk. It was a shocking and frightening experience (in the dream I was watching all this from a distance) and I imagine that driving past Carlisle twice on the way to and from Hawick had a good deal to do with why it cropped up as a dream location, but why I should have conjured up such scenes of panic and bloodshed I do not know. I hope it wasn't a manifestation of any deep seated fear of giving birth.

Final bit of pregnancy news is that I have been travelling in style (well, ish) on the train home from work recently by plonking myself down in First Class. As I get on the train at 7am in the morning I usually have my pick of seats and am generally the only person in the carriage until Reading - so I haven't bothered availing myself of the upgrade. But now I'm 25 weeks and due to pick up my MATB1 form from the doctor on Friday, I'll be applying for my pass to sit in First Class until my maternity leave commences. Nobody's challenged me yet on whether I am entitled to sit there (given that I don't actually have said pass yet) but generally there aren't many seats available in standard at around 6pm at Maidenhead, so even if I did run across a particularly stern train manager before I officially get my forms sorted, I'd be able to hold my ground and look righteously indignant if they suggested I move.

* Though this year, so far anyway <whispers> I'm not really that excited yet. The men are a bit boring, except for Gary Rhodes who is just hideous in a car crash ohmygodmustwatchbuthatemyselffordoingso sort of way. The women look as if they're all rubbish based on the group dances on Saturday, but I have an early soft spot for Christine Bleakley, as she seems very warm and genuine and also is dancing with Matthew Cutler who is lovely. Other than that I wait with anticipation for it all to hot up, after all who knew the gorgeous Gethin last year would end up being quite so wonderful and Alesha so brilliant?

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

diverting widgetness

This seems to be spreading rather quickly at the moment. A viral marketer's dream, I'm sure...! It reminds me of drunken eveings playing games of the 'daddy or chips' variety (mainly involving 'would you shag xxxx from I.T. or xxxx from accounts' type of questions sadly enough). Have a go - it's the black box on the right.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

22 weeks 6 days

Had a lovely lunch yesterday with my friend Lynsey, mother to Lily who's 5 months. She's on maternity leave at the moment and it was great to catch up, indulge in some work gossip and listen to her experiences of motherhood and recommendations for prams and the like. Currently I'm indecisive between the Quinny Buzz and a Bugaboo, but to be honest I haven't really test driven either properly or even looked at the alternatives so it's still very much up in the air. Lily was a sweetie at lunch, good as gold with some winning smiles and gently hiccuping at one point. Apparently you can tell if the baby's hiccuping inside you but the movements I can feel are still quite indistinct and irregular so it's hard to tell. Funny, though.

Bump has grown a bit, though miraculously (to me) I'm still finding some people I see every day who still hadn't realised I was pregnant. I am actually now exactly the same weight I was this time last year, before I started to cut out the mid-week alcohol and too much bread, except obviously the weight was previously distributed in plenty more areas than just mid-belly.

A decision has been made about the spare room too. We're not going to bother re-painting (or rather, we can't be arsed). Its current blue is a lovely colour and if we have a girl I'm sure she'll get given enough pink fluffy things to make it not matter in the slightest. Our bigger priorities at the moment are a) getting me a new car that has 5 doors rather than 3; b) sorting out some furniture for the baby's room as well as some proper curtains and c) getting the ground prepared at the end of our garden and slabs put down in preparation for a new shed. After all, less than 4 months to go now! <drums nails on table nervously> and there's nothing a baby needs more than a good shed, obviously :)

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Yet more silly names

Great news that Andy Murray is through to the semi-finals of the US Open. Slightly less good news that he's facing world #1 Rafael Nadal, as unless he produces a mighty mighty upset, he'll be out. However, all this pales into insignificance when you look at the guy Rafa beat to get to the semis. US player MARDY FISH???!!! Phenomenal! I'm assuming 'mardy' isn't used as a term of mild abuse in the US like it is over here but as names go, it beats Bershawn hands down.

Monday, 1 September 2008

21 weeks 5 days

I feel very lucky that as symptoms go, I haven’t yet succumbed to any sickness, excessive wind, weird rashes or even some of the more alarming ones like symphisis pubis dysfunction. Now there’s a scary one to contemplate. By writing this it’s tempting fate that my body will develop something nasty and debilitating by 24 weeks, but til then, currently I don’t even feel very pregnant, apart from the infrequent little internal kicks and the thickening waistline (‘thickening waistline’ is a phrase I’ve always wanted to use, with its prim Victorian overtones as if I'm some kitchen maid who’s been compromised by the young lord of the manor. Of course since Ali and I are disgracefully living in sin and have no plans to get hitched any time soon, especially not given ‘my condition’ (another good one), maybe I deserve all the prim Victorian-ness I get).

However I have had low haemoglobin levels since a nasty bout of anaemia in my first year of university, and so after my 10 week blood test confirmed this, I was urged by my doctor to increase my consumption of iron-rich foods. I don’t like taking iron supplements as they irritate my stomach, so now my diet contains a much higher proportion than before of red meat, leafy green veg and eggs, washed down with orange juice to aid the iron absorption. Yesterday’s meals consisted of a brunch of poached eggs and sausages on toast, a bit of ginger cake in the afternoon, and a Sunday dinner of a huge rib-eye steak, mounds of broccoli and new potatoes. The ginger cake is not, as far as I’m aware, full of iron, but the other small side effect of pregnancy has been to make me far more receptive to the idea of eating sweet foods than before (and hence, eating them). Life before bump was a very savoury affair – I’ve never been one to have chocolate, biscuits, cake etc around the house and if someone offered me the choice between a tube of Pringles and a bar of Dairy Milk the crisps would win hands down. I wouldn’t say I’ve had any proper cravings yet but certainly walking round the supermarket the other day, while Ali loaded up the trolley with a wide selection of bottled real ales and I briefly considered and swiftly rejected a bottle of Waitrose own label ‘low alcohol cider’, I did veer towards the cakes and sweets aisle and slip a packet of Bendicks Bittermints into the trolley.

I’m also loving the Lime and Lemongrass cordial by Belvoir Fruit Farms, a bottle of which, mixed with fizzy water, lasts me a week and seems to be doing a great job of preventing me reaching for the 4 bottles of Westons Organic Cider that were in the house at the point I discovered I was pregnant and which have been banished to the back of the cupboard ever since. I just hope they’ll last til next January...