Saturday, 25 February 2012

"Baby Brain"

Auntie giving a cuddle (while Mama wanders vacantly through rooms  with no sense or purpose)

Baby brain.

That dreaded state of mind wherein you are forced to operate with the mental acuity of a baby chimp...with learning difficulties.

I found myself giving myself a severe talking to the other day whilst calmly observing my right hand pouring water from an ice cold jug into my newly made mug of tea.  Given that I was juggling a sleeping newborn in one arm at the time (you try it and see how painstakingly slow the process becomes) I don't know which bothered me more:  the fact that my brain thought it was milk OR the fact that I'd have to dump it and begin the whole process again.

That's not all though.  I find myself throwing dirty laundry in with freshly laundered clothes...adding eye make up remover to my bath...and wandering aimlessly around rooms wondering what on earth I've come in for??

Nearly three weeks in and the lack of proper nocturnal slumber is starting to have an effect.  Whereas with our first (and occasionally with our second) child, the husband would jump out of bed to the sound of relentless crying and deposit a weak with hunger infant to my breast - now, he somehow manages to sleep through all the racket (or he's doing a bloody good job of pretending) and it's up to me to answer the call of the never satiated mini-wildebeast.

But what a darling little beastie he is...and so enthralled with the delight of having a newborn around again, I scarcely mind.  But talk to me again in three months and it may be a different story.

Egg and Dumpie are devoted and adoring brothers.  Dumpie religiously gives the 'Nu-Guy' a kiss every morning before he slips off to school, and Egg is always asking to hold him - and even sticks his beloved bear Bacon in his arms for a cuddle now and then.

This morning at breakfast they even beseeched their father for 'one more baby' - a request that was met with a blank and frozen stare from Dada and a chuckle from me.  However, the conversation as an entirety was shortly curtailed forthwith when Egg asked whether, during the process of the sperm shooting seeds into the egg, it 'hurt' a lot.  Gulp.

Anyway, I'd best sign off and go and do something which I know is very important and which desperately needs to be done.  At the time of this writing, it's true, I have no precise idea what it is that I'm meant to be doing, but am confident that a quick spin through the downstairs rooms will clarify my purpose and 'refresh' the page my stuttering brain has frozen on.

I hope.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

"Rings Of Joy"

13 days old...
There are few things more likely to put the sparkle back in a new mother's eyes, than being flirted with by a young man behind the latte counter who has no idea that a week and a half ago you resembled a dying cow and were groaning in agony while being virtually torn apart.

Having been housebound with a nasty infection for the past several days, I had no choice but to venture out this morning sans newborn, given that I had an important interview at the passport office which I could not afford to miss.

Having nearly failed the question/answer period (I had to come clean about being awash with hormones, as there was no real excuse for why my mind went blank and I could not name a single mortgage company we've been with in the past ten years!) I decided to indulge in a celebratory non-decaf latte at the station on the way home.

The young man behind the counter at Pret went to take my money, then did a double take, smiled and said, "You know what?  This one's on me" and refused to take my proffered twenty pound note.  With a spring in my step, I exited the shop, secretly pleased that despite three children, I had clearly still not succumbed to either the dreaded 'Mum-Bum' or the matronly, hard put-upon air that trails so many new mothers.  Result!

And so to celebrate that massive boost to my lately faltering ego, I decided that nothing short of a dozen (okay fine - a double dozen) Krispy Kreme Donuts would do.  Further justification was not needed, but had it been, I silently told myself that me and my still bruised undercarriage deserved a wickedly sinful calorific treat - as did Dumpie whose play date got cancelled today and shares his mother's affinity for anything sugar-coated.

Of course the irony is that if I polish off too many of those uber-sweet rings of joy currently waiting patiently for me in the kitchen, then I shall likely never ever get given another free latte or free anything for that matter.

What the heck.
rings o' joy...calories be damned

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

"Guy Nouveau" (Or 'Big Red' as I like to call him...)

So I've officially been a mother of THREE BOYS for one week now, and so far, so good.  Saying that, the new guy (hence the husbands tres amusante moniker of 'Guy Nouveau') is hardly any trouble at all...and if he is, well we don't notice as we're too busy cooing over how adorable he is and documenting his many comical facial expressions.

Yep, we're smitten.  Utterly and totally.  He is everything a new baby should be:  scrumptious, sweet smelling (well, most of the time), gurgling and cuddly.  The vast majority of his life thus far has been spent cradled in various arms, being passed around from auntie to auntie like a much desired pass the parcel present.

If his first week's behaviour is anything to go by, we've possibly lucked out.  He only gets annoyed when he's:

a) cold
b) getting changed (and hence chilly)
c) hungry

When this happens he turns bright red (hence my nickname) and does this sort of arpeggio squeak which climbs two octaves and for all intents and purposes sounds like Sesame Streets' 'Count Dracula' "Ah-ah-ah!"

He wakes only once in the night for a post-bedtime snack, and then will sleep happily till at least 8 a.m....what's not to love?

But if you're thinking it's all been smooth sailing and I'm the luckiest girl on the planet, let me assure you that it's not been completely textbook.

Turns out my body decided to repeat it's trick performance of crippling me with a painful uterine infection several days after a fairly straightforward birth.  Saturday night found me cajoling the cash strapped NHS into making a home visit to determine whether I needed to be hospitalised for what I was realising was a fast developing infection.

A doctor who very much resembled the musician Seal came into our front room and found me prostate on the sofa clutching my lower abdomen and pleading with him to prescribe me antibiotics because there was no way in h___ I was going to check my newborn and myself into hospital on one of the coldest nights of the year and be strapped up to an infernal I.V. (NO BLOODY WAY I might add, given the whole reason I have put myself through the torment of natural birth three times has been due to my pathetic needle phobia!)

The doctor looked dubious but agreed that I could probably get away with home care and instead prescribed me two hardcore antibiotics which in conjunction with painkillers, might get me through the worst of it.

So here I sit, at home, still not 100%, but infinitely better than I was on the weekend, and contemplating a 'dry' Valentine's Day.  So much for a lusty glass of dark red wine over dinner.  It's going to be strictly water for me I'm afraid, but given that the alternative might have been a reheated ready meal in a busy ward - I'm not complaining.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone, and may today see your respective others showering you with well intentioned trinkets (which do NOT include teddy bears, 'petrol station petals', or cheesy sex cards....), a nice meal, or a proper cuddle.

As for me, I suspect Valentine's Day 2012 is going to consist of a three-way cuddle with the new guy - who despite our best efforts - refuses to spend even a minute in his moses basket and instead sleeps contentedly night after night, with the husband and I.  A position I suspect he's not going to give up without a fight :)

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

"With a Stitch-Stitch Here and a Stitch-Stitch There..."

In hindsight, it was probably my insistence on clearing out the entire giant pomegranate display at Sainsbury's yesterday morning after my midwife appointment that was to blame.  The midwife had shaken her head ruefully after probing my swollen belly and declared, "Only 5% of babies actually arrive on their due date...I'm going to book you in for a sweep in one weeks time because this baby hasn't moved all the way down yet".

So after struggling across the common with three heaving bags on the half hour walk home (silently thinking how in trouble i would be if the husband or one of my sisters saw how much i was carrying) it's safe to say that the last thing I imagined I would be doing later that day would be squeezing out an 8 lb 15 oz(!!!) baby from a place nothing that large should ever exit from.  Nuff said.

Late afternoon found me in a bath, over confident that there was no way this baby was coming anytime soon.  Then the weird little inside pains started...and I began to wonder.  So infrequent were they, and so varying in length, that I felt a little stupid mentioning them to my sister.

"Call your husband and tell him to come home" she demanded.

"No" said I.  "These are FALSE labour contractions - I'm sure of it."

"But ON your due date?" she quizzed skeptically.

So against my better judgement I rang the husband, disturbing him mid-meeting, and mentioned that he might want to think about coming home a tad earlier than normal.

To his credit he returned in record time, noting with alarm that I was by this time having somewhat regular contractions but yet still in full denial that it might actually be the real thing.

Luckily my sister had her sensible head on and insisted I finish packing my hospital bag and call a cab.

We didn't get there a moment too soon.  The 25 minute cab ride was spent bending and twisting the husbands hand out of shape whilst clenching my thighs in panic and trying to ignore the Sikh cabbie who was making lame small talk and driving a touch too slow given the circumstances.

As we stormed into the hospital at 6:40pm (I recall clocking glorious Big Ben) I was finally beginning to accept that the likelihood of me being turned away due to false labour was decreasing at an exponential rate. Yep...this was happening.

Ensconced in a birthing pool an hour or so later, sucking for dear life on a tube of gas and air, I found myself in the depths of hell, feeling for all intents and purposes as if I were being crucified from the inside out (anyone who has gone through natural labour will wince in acknowledgement).  Yes I was in a birthing pool, but let's face it - that's about as useful as skydiving with a broken parachute when it comes down to it.

At that point I had no idea that I was about to give birth to an oversized baby with a giant head.  Several agonising stitches later, whilst high as a kite on gas and air would put paid to that but at the time I just remember thinking that death would be blessed relief.  Thank goodness it was relatively sweet wonky midwife with her bowl cut and a toothy grin had just enough time to deliver the little guy before her shift ended at 8:20pm.

So bish-bash-bosh.  A day which began with a pomegranate binge and ended with me sipping sugary tea in a private room overlooking Big Ben and gazing adoringly at the sweetest little boy in the world...who would have thunk it.

Welcome to the world little man...x

Friday, 3 February 2012

"An Angel Descends..." (Or 'Auntie to the Rescue')

Some might question the wisdom of undertaking major home renovations a mere three days before the supposed birth of ones third child...but not us.  Nope...despite our lounge and dining room currently resembling a building tip (dust sheets, dust, nails, screws, paint, get the picture) our hearts are light.

Why you ask?  Well my sister, the monster's much adored 'Auntie Ba' arrived from Canada yesterday, and descended like an angel for the next several weeks, to lay selfless love and much needed help on this shambolic household.  Egg and Dumps have been besides themselves with glee over the impending visit, and we've had to endure a daily 6am countdown of "Auntie Ba is coming in _____ more days!"

On the way home from school yesterday Egg even did an exuberant countdown of "100 more yards...", "70 more yards..." etc. until we reached the door and the boys went running into her outstretched arms. It was like Christmas all over again...bless.

I was even able to indulge in a half hour uninterrupted late afternoon bubble bath because the monsters were sequestered in the guest bedroom with their auntie, refusing to leave her side for even a minute and fighting for her attention.  I peeked in, clocked Dumpie emptying the contents of his little pockets on her bed, and ducked out unseen.  Better her than me.

As for telling my sis before she came what she was walking into (ie. attention-starved little boys and a dodgy building site) okay fine, maybe I neglected to mention anything.  But frankly, the current horrendous cold spell has left more of a negative imprint I reckon than even the 12 hours a day of banging hammers and smell of paint fumes.

It is so cold it hurts and I found getting out of bed this morning an exercise in sheer determination.  Auntie Ba is of the opinion that the new baby is going to freeze in here, and she may be right.  I blame the four stories, high ceilings and killer drafts.

At any rate, I have at least found a purpose in life aside from crazy pregnant lady cupboard cleaning.  I now spend my days making endless cups of tea, snacks and meals for the workers.  They are incredibly grateful, and unlike the monsters who grimace and groan at mealtimes, these fellows extoll the virtues of my domestic projects (yesterday it was a homemade pistachio and almond cake) and I get to while away the time indulging in one of my favourite pastimes without ingesting great amounts of calorific treats - which let's face it - at this point are only going to ensure that I give birth to a giant round mega-baby topping 12 pounds or something.

Anyway, I'd best be off.  Auntie Ba requires fortification in form of an extra strength cappuccino to prepare for the arrival of the monsters, and my builders are about to be treated to a batch of my infamous gooey dark choc chip biscuits.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

"It's STILL not here yet?" ( bloody well isn't)

I am in the unenviable position of having to not only cart my heavily pregnant self out in public (trying my damnedest not to waddle or do that cringe-worthy ridiculous lope of the 'close-to-birth-brigade' know the one) but also to fend off enquiring eyes being raised every time I show up at the school gates STILL not with child (on the outside that is).

Maybe I brought it on myself by saying that I thought I'd pass my due date with nothing happening save dire acid reflux and up to a dozen loo visits a night.  But secretly, yes, I still hope that every twinge is 'it' and that I'll soon be facially impaled upon a gas and air tube at the hospital.

At least I've finally managed to 'almost' pack my hospital bag.  I don't know why I'm deliberating.  Part of me can't be bothered, half thinking there is every chance that I might give birth in the bathtub here at home or in the back of a minicab en route.  Or maybe it's just sheer exhaustion brought about by the senseless need to purge every single crammed cupboard in our home in an attempt to put the place to rights before the baby comes.

On Sunday I spent 8 hours (well I am a beauty product junkie) sorting through the contents of three huge cupboards in two bathrooms, doing an organisational job that would have had Martha Stewart weeping with envy.  As a result I've spent the past few days blithely flipping open medicine cabinets each time i pass, just to observe the beauty of my handiwork.  What?  You think I've lost the plot?  Oh bugger off you're just jealous.

Speaking of which, I have a kitchen cupboard just begging for a 'pregnant lady seeing to' fact it's taunting me behind my back...I can feel it.  There is every chance that when I open the doors, the contents will come cascading all over my head.  But then again, the shock might bring on labour.  So bring it on I say.