Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Back To School

Today was a big day. I had my first NCT class.  NCT, for the uninitiated, is the National Childcare Trust that runs classes for expectant parents.

The general consensus from my friends who have done the classes is that the instruction is OK but really limited to the birth and leaves you a bit in the lurch about what to do afterwards. But their main reason for suggesting I attend is that it is an opportunity to meet other people in the area who are about to give birth who will form your support network during your maternity leave.

It has also been likened to Fresher's week, where you enthusiastically meet a bunch of people who are your best friends for three months and you then spend the next four years trying to shake them off.

The husband and I have just got back from the class and debriefed ourselves on our new 'best friends'. There were the pair with the celebrity couple names, the young couple, the guy we thought had a dry sense of humour, the one who looks like that DJ, and the ones who were most "like us".

You know whenever you go on a training course there is always one person who asks annoying questions and the rest of the group bond by rolling their eyes at each other whenever that person pipes up? I didn't see anyone like that - which leads me to conclude that I must have been that person.

The class was interesting without being massively ground breaking. There were a few myths debunked - apparently hospitals won't bar you from leaving with the kid if you don't have a car seat, which is lucky as we don't have a car, let alone a seat for one.

The main lesson learnt, from the model pelvis and ball exercise, was that I need to give birth standing up. Um ... ok then.

I'm quite looking forward to next week.

Sunday, 26 May 2013


Mr Bump

Mrs Bump

(Not so) Little Miss Bump

Tuesday, 21 May 2013


Viability is, for many, a huge milestone.

There is no set date when the fetus nestling in one's womb becomes a fool-proof survivor if kicked out early but – thanks to the wonders of modern medicine - there is a good chance of the baby surviving earlier and earlier.

At 24 weeks a premature baby has a 50% chance of surviving. From 26 to 27 weeks – assuming the baby is over 500 grams the survival rate is a staggering 90%. After that the survival rate doesn’t improve much until the baby reaches full-term. But this is less to do with the fact the baby is premature but those 10% who do not make it are likely to have underlying health problems that caused them to be born premature in the first place.

I am, today, 27 weeks pregnant.

Curiously enough I haven’t been hanging out for viability. I just haven’t had the feeling this baby is going to come early.

Don’t misunderstand me this doesn’t mean that I have been sailing through this pregnancy sanguine, confident of a healthy hearty baby. I’ve been petrified on numerous occasions.

The worst was Christmas day, not two hours after I’d sheepishly revealed to the womb mate why I’d decided against cooking a lovely rare joint of beef for lunch. I went to the loo and I was bleeding. There was nothing I could do, no one I could call so I went to bed for a couple of hours. It wasn’t a top ten Christmas but, thankfully the bleeding stopped and, well, here we are now.

My biggest fear is the baby just dies inside me and I have no clue that it has happened. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that this stems from last May when after loosing one twin in a torrent of blood the second’s heart just stopped beating with no outward sign, not even the cessation of morning sickness, to alert me to something being wrong.

This is one of the reasons I am absolutely loving feeling the little one having a wee wriggle. Early mornings, after lunch and late at night are her favourite squirming times. Which is ok at the moment but, once she is born I am hoping things change pretty sharpish as those are times I’ve mentally earmarked for her (and me) to be sleeping.

Of course there are points where I think I’ve not felt a little internal squiggle for a while and I start to worry again. I’ve been given a few different techniques to get her moving – the cruelest was the suggestion to have a hot bath followed by an ice-cold drink. I find however, sucking a sweet seems to give her the sugar rush she needs to land a healthy boot into my duodenum.

Which is, obviously, a trial.

Generally my fears are abating.

We’ve all heard people say they don’t care whether the baby is a boy or a girl as long as it has ten fingers and ten toes. (To which there is always some smartarse who expresses the hope that the baby has eight fingers and two thumbs, and then they usually do a little snort at their incredible wit.) Even this I am quite confident about - the scans have been so exhaustive that I am pretty confident any missing digits will have been spotted by now.

The only concern that has been raised at my scans has been the last one they said my placenta was low lying. I always imagines the placenta swaddling the whole baby. In actually fact it is more like a feeding bag attached to the belly button. Where it was at the last scan was essentially blocking the baby’s escape route. If it stays in this position then I will have to have a cesarean.

Even this isn’t unduly concerning me.

It feels like there is plenty of time for things to get into the right position – I’ll have another scan at 33 weeks to check where everything is.

Don’t misunderstand me, I don’t relish the idea of a cesarean in the slightest. I might be too posh to pronounce bath and grass exactly to my husband’s satisfaction (yes I talk properly, unlike the husband and his vulgar vowels - I'm more Downton Abbey whilst he is a touch Trainspotting), but I am not too posh to push. I worry about the recovery time, not being able to lift up my baby and let’s face it having a fairly major operation. But I am hoping it won’t come to that, so pushed that worry from my mind for the time being.

But despite viability not being a date I’ve been hanging out for it is quite nice to have reached it.

Now I guess it is just a case of feeding up the baby – pass me another sweet please.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Little Insights

It is rare for a wife to come home from a weekend away and be delighted when her husband tells her she "definitely looks bigger."

I quite like one of his new nicknames for me; 'Bumpy'.

I'm less keen on 'Chunk'.

In fact, if he continue to choose to use the latter then thank fuck we have two more embryos in the freezer because the lack of testicles that will result will mean these are the only two options for Doug to have a sibling.


A guy at work got a free stamp with a craft magazine he advertises with. He offered it to me to stamp on the baby when she is born.

I told him if there was one thing this baby could not claim to be it was "Homemade".


I was emailing a bloke at work who is relatively new and doesn't therefore know about my six weeks off in 2011 for IVF.

I'm practicing my best street slang. As one does when conversing wit da yoot.

He writes that I'm gonna be one cool mother.

I respond that it is a worry I can't read that without thinking he's calling me a motherfucker.

To which he says it is that action that got me into this state.

I paused, deciding eventually that this random guy didn't need to know that this baby wasn't conceived in the normal way.

See, I do have some kind of self control.


I've added a new word to my vocabulary.

I'm off on a wee trip this week. I thought it was a citybreak.

Three separate people have informed me it is a Babymoon.

Thursday, 2 May 2013


If I believed in a higher power I might start to think there was a one in one out policy. That the population is aging and growing would prove otherwise but I have often noticed a death in the family around the time a new family member makes themselves known.

My Grandad died this morning.

Rationally this is a good thing. He always told me that should he go “gaga” I was to shoot him. For the last six months or so he has been in an old people’s home and confused. I am not sure he recognised my sister and I when we last went to see him, but being bought up to be polite and an eminent bullshitter he bluffed his way through the visit.

Much as I would like to say I’d fulfilled his wishes I decided against shooting him, I value my freedom too much for that. So his death now, rather than lingering for years more in a retirement home is undoubtedly a good thing.

But it is still very sad.

I have very fond memories of my Grandpa. He was a proper old school country gentleman. Hunting, shooting, fishing, playing bridge and choosing to wear a twine belt rather than a leather one. One Christmas I remember him getting about six belts as presents from various members of the family. He still stuck with the string more commonly used to bind the bails on his farm.

I felt sorry for him at Christmas because it was also his birthday and I vividly remember him telling me one year, as a child, that his sister got more presents than him. This sort of anecdote had a profound effect on an eight year old and was another reason for me wanting a summer rather than a winter baby. My sister and I tried to compensate him for a few years celebrating his half birthdays in mid-June.

He loved to recite us poems as kids. The Jabberwocky was a particular favourite. As was Tweedledum and Tweedledee – though quite what inspired him to recite a poem about the two fat twins from Alice in Wonderland to the wombmate and I eludes me. Another poem he enjoyed reciting I warned him I would read at his funeral – an idea that delighted him:

Grandpa’s fallen down the drain
And cannot scramble up again
Now he’s fallen down the sewer
That’s one Grandpapa the fewer.

I’m not sure that I’ll have the guts.

He’d read us stories. The Saki ones stick in my mind. One very gruesome tale was about a hyena called Esme. The story was horrible but ever since I’ve liked the name Esme which was very near the top of my shortlist for girl’s names until I checked its popularity and realised it had had a massive spike last year thanks to a character in Twilight also having the name. (Also spell check has just suggested the word Semen instead of Esme, which has sealed its fate as a name I won’t use.)

He was a governor at a primary school I attended for a short while and I remember sitting at lunch with a friend one day when the girl next to me snorted with laughter. “Look at that man’s nose” she said pointing at the eminent visitors who were being shown round. Of course it was my Grandfather's large hooter that had set her off. It is odd really that his snozzle had caught her attention when far more impressive was the fact that he had a glass eye as a result of shrapnel in the second world war and wore a monocle as a result.

Once, no doubt having had a lesson about oral history, I tried to draw some tales out of my Grandad starting the conversation with an innocent “You never really talk about the war...” He turned to me (right round as I was on his blindside so it could be quite an effort to look me in the eye), “That” he said “I consider a very great compliment.”

In fact the only war story I remember him telling me was when he was first taken to hospital after his eye-losing injury; he was more exhausted and ill than he’d ever been in his life and slept solidly for almost 24 hours. When he woke the man recuperating in the next bed had drawn a sketch of him with a donkey’s head happily snoring through the day.

He did, as I may have mentioned, have an impressively sized nose.

He, like my Mum – but with a different spelling – was called Francis. Which adds more weight to the idea of naming the little one Ivy Francis. Maybe if she’d shared his birthday Ivy F. would have been a shoe-in.

Whenever I saw him and asked how he was he'd have a stock answer  "I can't think of anything to complain about."

Let's hope that is still the case.


Whenever I write about people I always send them what I am going to write first to check they are ok with it. In this instance I couldn't do that, but I have just checked with my sister's that they were happy this post.

The wombmate added:
"It's funny how we all remember different things, my memories are of the rain poem, collecting mushrooms and being taught to gamble."

And my older sister said:
"Counting cows and playing twenty-one with matchsticks."