Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Gemma Irene Brown

And so, at 38 weeks and 5 days, our beautiful daughter has made her arrival into the world.

Gemma was born at 16:08 on Monday 29th December (clever girl hanging in there til after Christmas!!) weighing 6lbs 8oz and absolutely perfect. We brought her home the same night and are a bit shell shocked but completely over the moon and so very, very happy.

There'll probably be a short blog hiatus while we are settling into life as a family of 3 but rest assured Gemma will get all the web space she deserves and more to accommodate the photos and updates we will put together. In the meantime here are some photos from her first few days in the world. She is just so wonderful and special.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

38 weeks

It feels quite odd to think that it's Christmas tomorrow. We are spending the day on our own, our last Christmas spent in that way for years and years (pending any baby action of course, more of which shortly) and have got some nice rolled sirloin in, a ham is cooking away on the stove top, there are nibbles and chocs galore about the house, and we'll be hunkering down to watch some Christmas telly later.

But I just had my routine 38 week appointment with the doctor, and he reckoned that I would be appearing in the local paper for having a Christmas Day baby, as Chewie's head is so far engaged now - he could barely feel it in fact, and could only really make out the shoulders. I don't feel in any way about to start my labour, it has to be said, other than I am feeling increasingly heavy at the bottom of the bump, and Chewie has, in the course of moving further down, given me a few breathtaking moments of pain as he or she rams into my cervix. So who knows. I could be posting a baby photo up in 2 days time, or still be hanging around in 4 weeks. Needless to say it's put the fear of god into Ali, heh heh. Lots of jokes about the Second Coming are flying around on SMS as well. Hmmm..

Anyway, in the absence of a baby photo here's one wall of our nursery, complete with monkey stickers. We have giraffes as well, on the wall behind the cot, but that's full of towels and sheets pending removal to our new blanket chest from Lombok WHEN they get round to delivering it; so once it looks a bit more normal I'll post a giraffe pic too.

Monday, 15 December 2008

36 weeks 5 days

(Warning, don't scroll down to the end of this post if you are at all squeamish)

In 2 days time my pregnancy will be officially 'at term' and should I go into labour first thing Wednesday morning, Chewie wouldn't be premature. It seems quite odd that the space of a day or two can alter where the baby is delivered and what monitoring etc they get after the birth - any time after Wednesday and I can phone up the Spires midwife-led unit at the John Radcliffe, with any luck get a nice room with the birthing pool, and give birth (fingers crossed) without too many medical interventions. Before then it's all very much more clinical. And after 42 weeks (21st January, yikes) I will probably need inducing - but that's waaaaayyy ahead.

Now I've been on leave for just over a week I'm amazed how much more tired I'm feeling. Last week was pretty busy up until Friday with various appointments (physio, midwife) nice days out (with Ali on Tuesday and Mum on Thursday, both involving very yummy lunches at the new Jamie's Italian in Oxford) and general chores and shopping and preparation for both Chewie's arrival and Christmas. Over the weekend my nights became more disturbed and for the last couple of nights my shut eye has been very on-off, as it feels like Chewie is growing more and more each day. All I can do is use the heavenly Blackthorn Body Oil from Dr. Hauschka on my belly in a last attempt to ward off stretch marks, catnap as much as possible during the day and hope that Chewie hangs in there for a bit longer. One thing I am doing, which has divided opinion among friends and family, is drinking 2 or 3 cups of raspberry leaf tea daily, which is supposed to make my uterus contract more efficiently in the labour and actually speed up the process. You're not meant to drink it before about 34 weeks as it can apparently bring you on early, but so far anyway I've read and heard more good than bad about it. It does taste pretty rubbish though, like every other fruit or herbal tea I've tried. They all smell so good in tea bag form and when steeping, but the taste is always so sour or bland or dishwatery. Luckily I have managed to make this tea a little more palatable with a hefty dollop of Winter Berry Cordial from the trusty Belvoir Farms, which has the happy side effect of making the tea taste like hot Ribena with a hint of mulled wine. Very festive!

Speaking of which we got the tree on Saturday, so at least our kitchen looks a bit Christmassy now; most of the presents are bought, and the cards were posted today. I think that's my lot for Christmas preparations this year. We're having a quiet one at home together, our last one on our own for years and years to come (unless Chewie makes an early appearance). I'm sure much festive food will be consumed but without the usual booze-fest we'll probably stuff as much chocolate down our faces as possible and slip into a TV and log fire induced snooze mid afternoon.

Ali took a new bump photo at the weekend with me standing in front of the Christmas tree so I'll post that when he's got round to sending it to me. In the meantime here's one from the previous weekend, when I was 35 weeks and 4 days. The friends and family we sent it to all freaked out slightly when they saw it - however it feels like it's even bigger now! Still measuring bang on target at my 36 week appointment though, at 36 cm. And 2/5 engaged apparently which is all good news. Apologies for the amount of naked flesh on display though - it won't happen again...

Friday, 5 December 2008

35 weeks 2 days

Last day in the office today - woo hoo!
It's actually a very odd feeling. When I left my last job, I handed over everything, went for my leaving drinks and then promptly let go of all residual guilt about workload, emails, projects etc. But now, as I know I am planning to go back in a year, I feel so much more responsible for whatever I hand over, and I want to make sure everything goes smoothly next year, mainly so I don't come back to complete chaos in 2010 of course... I actually feel very weird about the whole thing.

However come Monday morning when I don't have to get up at 5.50am and trek to Didcot in the pitch dark and pouring rain to catch that early bird train to Maidenhead - well, then, I can see I won't be quite so weirded out. With any luck I'll still be tucked up asleep until daylight breaks. Bliss.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

35 weeks

Final few weeks approaching now.

On the train home last night someone pulled the emergency lever and as the train ground to a halt there was a panicked voice calling for a doctor or a nurse on board as someone needed help. I don't know what the medical emergency was but it fair put the willies up me. Only 3 days to go at work so please please please let me manage to make it through another 6 journeys without anything like that happening to me should Chewie decide to make an early appearance.

We had our first NCT antenatal class on Sunday and it was really helpful, great to meet other couples in the same situation as us and learn some things we didn't know about the labour and birth and what to expect. The class leader was at pains to point out that most labours are not huge dramatic affairs like you see on TV and in films, and rarely happen very quickly; but the previous day I'd read a series of articles in the Guardian detailing transcripts of 999 calls, one of which had a woman giving birth inside half an hour from start to finish on her bathroom floor after being talked through it by the operator. It made me all emotional (well it doesn't take much nowadays). Having said all this I'll probably go overdue and end up desperate to get things moving come mid January. I'm carrying all my maternity notes about with me everywhere I go now though, just in case... But Chewie is still high up, the head isn't engaged (well it wasn't last Wednesday when I had my last midwife appointment) and I'm not even getting any Braxton Hicks contractions yet, although some of the women in the NCT class had been getting them and I had them early on so was expecting them to make a re-appearance.

3 lunches in 3 days before I go on leave on Friday and then it's sofa, roaring fire, knitting, reading and chilling out all the way before January. Of course that's the plan but no doubt an inconvenient nesting attitude will kick in or errands will insert themselves annoyingly to interrupt my supposedly idyllic 'me time'.