Monday, 28 December 2009
Thursday, 24 December 2009
Monday, 21 December 2009
Tuesday, 15 December 2009
Thursday, 10 December 2009
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
Friday, 4 December 2009
Tuesday, 1 December 2009
Saturday, 28 November 2009
Monday, 23 November 2009
Tuesday, 17 November 2009
Friday, 13 November 2009
Monday, 9 November 2009
Thursday, 5 November 2009
Monday, 2 November 2009
Wednesday, 28 October 2009
Monday, 26 October 2009
Slowly and unsurely the baby’s room is taking some shape. That makes it sounds far more intricate than it really is, the reality being that it just needs some bloody painting.
So Saturday morning that’s what I did, or attempted to do at least. By the time lunchtime had come around I had managed to scald myself on the radiator and roll paint onto the blinds.
Neither of which I particularly advise or encourage, but I’m going to put those mishaps in the battle scar category.
One more coat and the kid will have its own room decorated in a colour that can only be described as along the lines of something you’d find in a used tissue. Paint companies find ‘sea green’ a preferable term to ‘snot’ though.
That afternoon we went for a 3D/4D ultrasound. Getting to have another gawk at the kidlet is enough to put a smile on anyone’s paint spattered face.
The technology is simply fantastic. The views and insights into what the child is up to in its own little bedwomb world are amazing.
We saw clear images of full cheeks, lips, nose, eyes and ears. We were able to see the child leaning into the placenta on one side like a pillow. We watched it put one hand into its mouth and play with its ear with the other. Sucking, kicking, and stretching for us while we peeked in on it.
More than once the baby spread its bizarrely long fingers open wide, raised its hands, and gave us the biggest wave from inside its own hidden little world.
I’ll probably be able to stop looking at these sometime soon.
Thursday, 22 October 2009
It tells us that in 3 weeks or so, vaccinations will begin at our general practice for the H1N1 virus.
The 'Swine flu', or delightfully accusatory 'Mexican flu' as they call it here, has been fodder for breaking news headlines in the UK and Ireland for months.
Not so much here in Holland.
The level of awareness is high, and the practical everyday precautions are promoted and supported. People are encouraged to stay home if they feel ill, which to be honest isn’t exactly a foreign concept to the Dutch anyway.
Even with all this taken into account, the Dutch are rolling out their first wave of vaccinations to the public in November, starting with their target or ‘at risk’ groups. As a woman past 13 weeks of pregnancy, ET is in this group.
Which poses the inevitable dilemma, to get the vaccination, or not.
It’s hard to separate the facts and reality from the flashing yellow headlines that do more to scare than inform.
Our scanning every story of another death attributed to the virus is annexed with searching for the term ‘underlying medical condition’. More often than not, it’s been there.
The vaccine is simply untested in any significant quantity for its effect on the unborn. If I’m wrong and there is something somewhere, anywhere that says otherwise we’ll gladly read it.
In one of the most densely populated countries in the world, there is a very good chance that we have been exposed to the virus in some shape or form already.
ET is healthy. Irritatingly so if you must know, with her perfectly smug blood pressure readings et al. In other words, no ‘underlying medical condition’ annex here.
Those who are informed in, and involved with the care and support for pregnancy and pregnant women, yet not connected or motivated via association or financial gain, have not promoted the receiving of the vaccine. Midwives have spoken frankly about the pro and cons of both options, pointing out that in the worst case scenario where ET would catch the virus; she would most likely be no more affected than any other winter flu.
More interestingly, of all the women in her antenatal class, all of whom who have been given the same letter and possibility to receive the vaccine, none of them are taking it. Not one.
All this helps to support our initial reaction, to not receive the vaccination, but of course it’s not that black and white.
What if she doesn’t take it and something happens? What if she does take it and something happens?
We still see the flashing yellow breaking news stories, so we still don’t know what is for the best, and the letter is still on the kitchen table.
Any constructive or informed opinion is welcomed.
Monday, 19 October 2009
I say 'proud' without being absolutely certain, but I'm taking its stoic silence as a sign of quiet pride.
I've decided that I can't let its host and mother rot its developing brain with whatever jingle separates episodes of 'girls of the playboy mansion', and so I'm piping in the tunes.
Whatsit's remaining life in the womb will be like strolling around Tesco or hanging around a petrol station forecourt, without knowing it, it will be subliminally educated in the sounds of Nina Simone, Jeff Buckley, The Beatles, Christie Hennessey et al.
And maybe some others who are actually, well, alive.
The headphones themselves are big comfortable belly spanning padded things, which if they are actually over the baby's ears, it means we have one hideously odd shaped child on the way. In reality, there is probably one earphone on the kids forehead, and another sending Chrissie Hynde vibrations right up its arse.
It's a secret hope of mine that ET falls asleep with them stretched across the bump so I can draw a face on her gut with permanent marker.
I'm choosing to ignore the blatant possibility of the opposite being true, but due to the way it kicked up a storm 30 seconds into the opening beats of James Morrison live in concert last night, I'm of the firm belief that the kid likes a bit of music.
That's what I'm using to justify spending more on the baby's headphones than I did on its new wardrobe. A fact which is much more indicative of the quality of the wardrobe than the headphones.
Anyway, all suggestions for decent (i.e. not Canadian) tunes for the bellydweller will be greatly appreciated.
Wednesday, 14 October 2009
Taking into account the very real possibility of a translation error we are hoping it’s an antenatal class she's gone to and not motor maintenance or HTML for beginners.
What do they actually teach at these things? I’ve only ever seen what the occasional sitcom has to offer and that usually ends in one of the characters being horrified at the thought of what lies ahead.
I hope she doesn’t come back horrified.
I hope she’ll learn all kinds of wonderful things like how to push a human out of herself, how to not need stitches, and how to behave like a lady at all times during labour.
I hope she comes back able to huff and puff and blow the house down like they do on the telly, with a whole new vocabulary of purposeful ‘uuh-uuh-uuuuuhs’ and ‘aah-aah-aaaaahs’.
I hope she comes back with a healthy glow and a perineum that could strangle a small woodland animal.
I hope she comes back with a set of lady muscles that could beat me in an arm wrestle.
Most of all, I just hope she finds the bloody place.
Monday, 12 October 2009
She had already been feeling movements for a couple of weeks, squirmy, twisting feelings. They have become more and more frequent, and following a pattern.
Last weekend she called me downstairs to announce that she had felt the baby move again, but this time, from the outside. I stood there with my hand pressed to the spot for God only knows how long, only to be left kick-less.
The following night we tried again, ET lay in bed announcing every time she felt something and I’d swiftly grab my pound of flesh.
I decided that if the mountain wouldn’t kick for Mohammed, then Mohammed would jiggle and poke the mountain, while shouting rude names at it.
With my palm flat on ET’s lower belly there came what I can only describe as a bubble rising to the surface. It wasn’t a pointed kick or jab, just a soft rounded mass coming close to the area of skin on skin.
Our first high five.
‘Well, hello kid.’ It does me well to imagine you come when I swear at you.
Throughout last week the movements have continued, and increased. Quiet during the day at work, and lively in the evening when ET gets home. She is not overly impressed with the idea that the kid only seems to get jiggy when it is at home with me wobbling, poking, and roaring at it.
Twenty and a half weeks was quite early to feel a first movement from the outside, but the midwife has explained why.
It seems the placenta is not between baby and belly, but rather behind the baby, leaving the belly dweller‘s movements one less obstacle to be felt through.
How cool is it that my child is wearing its placenta like a cape, not an apron?
With a look that would get it community service and a suspended sentence if it were to try it 20 years from now, kidlet is living out its days as a wee naked uterine superhero.
Thursday, 8 October 2009
That is not, I repeat not, an enormous penis posing for the cameras on the ultrasound picture.
Genitalia fatter than our arms is not a family characteristic. A fact which allows the female members to breathe a sigh of relief. And walk in straight lines.
That is not to say that there is, or isn't, a normal sized one tucked away in there somewhere, curled up just waiting to be a source of shame and embarrassment for the child, and probable hilarity for everyone else.
Meanwhile, back on the ranch, yesterday marked 21 weeks.
It's been a week in which we laid 20% of a floor, we chose a colour I previously never knew existed, and we finally brought home a drawer that the baby could sleep in, if it were able to assemble flat-pack furniture.
Under the heading of 'you couldn't make it up', ET's pregnancy brain made her adamant that somewhere in the house we have chocolate covered Doritos.
We don't. Thankfully.
Tuesday, 6 October 2009
Weeks filled with parading around in flip-flops, swigging orange Bacardi Breezers, donning airport sunglasses, dodging sexually transmitted diseases, and publicly showcasing your questionable fashion sense.
That was how they went in the past, at least. Not anymore.
Now you are wallowing in maturity and impending fatherhood, filled with responsible notions and a sense of familial protection. In other words, you’re screwed.
It starts on the way to the airport. Or to the train station. Or bus station, rik-shaw rank, swinging-vine terminal, or whatever your chosen mode of transport happens to be.
Your lady friend is visibly ‘with child’ so there is no way on Lucifer’s lush planet that she can be seen carrying anything heavier than lip balm or a mobile phone in your presence. That leaves you lugging three suitcases up escalators, on and off two wheeled trolleys, and heaving their slippery-from-your-own-sweat masses up onto the check-in belt.
Should she even look in the direction of a suitcase handle, you will be struck down by the evil eye of public shame.
When you arrive on the other end, you must repeat the same physical abuse lest you become the recipient of ‘foreigner scorn’. That’s worse than normal scorn because it’s scorn with an accent, tan, and good teeth.
You then proceed to spend 7 hours of each day searching for the nearest acceptable bathroom, followed by 3 hours standing outside it, holding bags filled with maternity bras and trying desperately not to look like someone who should be reported to shopping centre security.
When you are finally out of the accusing glare of mall pervert-cam, you get your holiday reward.
You are free to walk the streets hand in hand with her of swelled belly fame, and nothing quite beats that.
Granted, it’s not a Piña Colada, inflatable donkey or a sombrero you are dragging behind you, but it is your entire family. Your whole family wrapped up in amniotic and uterine goodness. Safe and cosy inside a bump, drawing sheepish half smiles from the people you catch looking from face, to bump, to face.
Orange Breezers always tasted like piss anyway.
Friday, 2 October 2009
I discovered that if there’s ever a good time to yank out one of your wife’s rogue subterranean hairs, right before she sees her unborn baby is it. She just can’t stay mad.
With the gel squirted over her belly like something from cheap German porn, the tech fired up the ultrasound.
Boom. There it was, kidlet in full high definition with a heartbeat in stereo. It was big sized, baby shaped, and swinging its arms akin to an overweight drunken uncle fighting with the best man at a wedding.
It was stunning to see a real big baby in there, not just a shape.
The tech went about her business, zooming in on the brain, heart & other organs, legs and spine. It took two sessions for her to see all she wanted to check, with everything looking and measuring just perfectly.
There was one single negative point in the whole thing though, it appears that we, two shortarses, are having a shortarse baby.
Screw you Darwin.
It’s not easy to see what the ultrasounds show when zoomed in, we spent 2 minutes cooing at our baby’s cute face which we thought was staring right at the screen only to be told we were actually ‘ooohing’ and ‘aaahing’ over its kidneys.
Bloody cute kidneys though.
Then came the money shot, the declaration of pink or blue, the choosing of a flavour, boy or girl.
The tech peered between the baby’s legs long enough to make Gary Glitter uncomfortable before passing on the good news.
After years of people knowing far too much about this wee thing even before it existed, it can stay as secret good news, for now at least.
Wednesday, 30 September 2009
Hopefully, with a little luck we are hurtling safely over the Atlantic about now, and not bobbing about in it, clinging to a KLM catering trolley and waving up at CNN helicopters.
That would make for a very dramatic movie of week, but for a lousy birthday.
Today I turn 32, and that just makes me realise how miserable the last few years have really been. 30 and 31 had nothing to offer beyond disappointment and doubt.
Now all that is turned on its head, and this birthday is the first full of expectation and excitement since those in the days of single digits and Knight Rider.
Unsurprisingly, the scut in the gut is upstaging me again. Today ET turns 20 weeks, a point we couldn't even imagine one year ago. From here the weeks are counting down instead of counting up.
I can't wait for Friday for another good look at the kidlet, to have a look at who is squirming around inside ET, at who has been shoving their arse into her bladder and making my holiday a continuous search for the nearest bathroom.
A happy birthday indeed, 20 weeks.
We are half way home.
Friday, 25 September 2009
I'm not one for wanting holidays to end, but I just want to fast forward the next seven days.
Monday, 21 September 2009
It’s 10am. Or 4am. I’m not so sure anymore.
The gut is waking up.
The television is on and some over enthusiastic Chinese man is trying to convince me to pick up the phone and buy something that I can’t possibly live without at 4:30am. It seems dead of the night TV is the same on both sides of the Atlantic.
The gut has just hopped up from the bed thanks to a leg cramp.
ET’s belly made two significant ‘pops’ at 12 and 16 weeks, and it seems that now, at almost 19, it has popped a little more.
We can’t be certain if it is just rumbling intestines or not, but she has been feeling flutters and movements. Very noticeable when cycling, and settling when she has eaten.
The gut has just announced she thinks it’s awake. Not a bad way to start a holiday.
So that’s all three of us with our European body clocks, wide awake in Montreal at 5am.
Any Montreal Monday morning suggestions for me and the mutating mammy?
Friday, 18 September 2009
No thanks to IKEA and their oversized furniture, nor Ford and their undersized cars for that matter, this poor kid doesn't have any furniture, nor a floor to put it on. Don't mention painted walls or strollers, and he couldn't even sleep in a drawer because we just don't bloody have one.
Yet I've been disproportionately concerned about about the belly dweller's musical exposure, especially live.
I refuse to acknowledge the pub racket it had to put up with just 10 days post conception, and I'm not going to give Bono the satisfaction of being his first musical outing either. The way I see it, if he didn't have ears, it didn't count.
The child that is, not Bono. Bono has ears unfortunately, otherwise he couldn't wear those sunglasses.
Regardless, I forge on, and tonight the kid will feast his fledgling ears on the one and only Ray LaMontagne.
There's nothing that can kick start a holiday quite like an introverted manic depressive hermit who sings through a hole in his beard.
What I am really curious about is what will he hear in there, deep in the amniotic waters of ET's mutating gut? Guitar? trumpets? vocals? a Dutch audience who won't shut up?
From what I've read in those books, you can replicate what it sounds like for the wee thing...
Turn up the volume, click play, and put your head in the toilet.
Monday, 14 September 2009
Some women who are with child have a tendency to occasionally change their mind.
By 'a tendency' I mean 'an unstoppable raging urge'. 'Occasionally' is also probably better described as 'all the bloody time'.
Work it to your advantage by making your own preferred suggestions a week in advance. They will be shot down immediately as the fodder of a buffoon, but later presented back to you as almost angelic ideology which must be implemented without further delay.
Pregnant women snore.
They snore with such thunderous force that Sri Lankan fisherman flee inland, Gazelle raise their nostrils to the dusk sky before galloping into the undergrowth, and Californian office workers dive for cover under their desks.
As fear inducing as that may be, there is no scale, Richter or otherwise, that could measure the darkness of the scowl that is unleashed should you indicate your yawning is in any way related to her nocturnal soundtrack.
Nipples take on super powers.
Some days those things can work their magic through woolly cardigans and overcoats. Forget about cutting glass, you could blow a hole in the front door of a Catholic church with one of those things when the time is right.
Unpredictable and dangerous, keep an eye out, or they'll take an eye out.
Pregnant women make life and death decisions.
About your life, at least.
A pregnant woman may take offence to the tired ramblings of a husband who thinks he's funny, but isn't really, and she may decide to slit his throat while he is indulging in his nightly 2 hours of sleep. Then again she may weigh this up against the holiday that that is finally just around the corner and content herself with the knowledge that she will be patting her bump in a Montréal cafe within a week.
Husbands are for life, not just for insemination.
Thursday, 10 September 2009
Free to cross borders at will, so long as the grump with a bump doesn't offend any immigration officials.
This liberty will be short lived. In 23 weeks or so, our spawn will be born unto the world, into a country it is not a citizen of.
Current citizenship laws of Ireland and the Netherlands are in tandem, and place of birth does not automatically qualify you for citizenship, parentage does. Therefore, when the wife squatter makes its appearance on the Dutch landscape, it will be an Irish citizen by default.
All nice and dandy.
Except when we want to leave the country. With Holland being marginally bigger in area than a Tesco's car park, leaving the country is not uncommon.
Up until 2005, Irish children could travel under the passport of their parents, but since then they are required to have their own.
In short, if we want to take the fruit of my loins, laboratory mix-ups aside, back home for a weekend, they need a passport. Should we need to get to Ireland in an emergency any time from next February onwards, the kid needs a passport.
This includes a passport photograph.
How do you take a passport photograph of someone who can't hold up their own head? Sellotape?
How do you specify eye colour on the legal travel documentation of someone who even if they did keep their eyes open long enough for you to check, you'd see they don't have any bloody colour?
How does an immigration official compare the actual appearance of a 1 year old with their passport photograph taken as a 3 week old while still coughing up bits of umbilical cord?
Do ultrasound pictures come in passport size?
Monday, 7 September 2009
Regardless of the inner turmoil and my fear of promoting miss-categorisation, this tip shall be deemed a secret.
Simply put, don't laugh at her. Ever.
You may well find it amusing that she is sobbing into her pizza over Grey's Anatomy, which incidentally is being shown 5 days a week with back to back episodes. Thank you NET5 for that. Bastards.
But don't laugh.
You may even find it hilarious when the grump with a bump is sitting distraught on the side of the bed in her underwear, having tried on and discarded both her normal clothes which are too small now, and her maternity clothes which are still a bit too big.
You may almost run the car off the motorway from shaking with stifled laughter when she phones you on your way to work in floods of tears because she can't find her shoes.
She knows how to grow new arseholes, so will quite happily tear you a new one.
Thursday, 3 September 2009
The name? Don't ask, I don't know.
While it sounds like the setting for a Stephen King novel, or some sort of shrine to infant excrement, it is simply a baby goods store.
The kind of place that would have made our faces explode just 4 months ago, it still felt more than uneasy walking around there, but we had a scouting mission to complete.
Eye opening, to say the least.
Did you know that you must have 154 different types of baby seat/bassinette to attach to a stroller?
You need one kind to carry the kid to the car, another for in the car, another to remove him from the car, another to bring him back in home, another to rock him to sleep in, another to have him actually sleep in, another for Tuesdays, another if you need to go to the supermarket, and another if you plan on coming home again.
All of these need different adapters to connect to the one Über stroller that you will have remortgaged your house to buy.
You didn't know that? Idiot.
Each of these seats come with their own colour coded set of accessories too. Rain covers, sleet covers, snow covers, fog lamps, alloys, bear traps, fire extinguishers, and flick knives.
All available in midnight magenta and sea-surf blue, all essential enough to make not having them akin to child abuse, and all costing a day's wages.
Then you have the mini sleeping bags because blankets are just so passé, and you never know when your stroll in the park could turn into a trek across the arctic circle.
We left with half a dozen brochures and no idea about what we might need or not need.
What the grump-with-a-bump and I did learn is that transporting nuclear waste is less complicated and expensive than taking a baby to the post office.
Monday, 31 August 2009
Whoow-Whoow, Whoow-Whoow, Whoow-Whoow.
David Hasselhoff's genius car in Knight Rider. The laser would Whoow-Whoow back and forth on its bonnet, and you knew something brilliant was going to happen.
For hours after every episode it was commonplace to repeat the sound until my face hurt. Whoow-Whoow, Whoow-Whoow, over and over with the accompanying facial expressions of a randy goldfish.
Even today, twenty or twenty-five years on, I catch myself making that sound. Whoow-Whoow.
Today, I heard a very similar sound. Noticeably faster, and with no pauses, and no full-stops.
Whoow-Whoow, Whoow-Whoow, Whoow-Whoow, Whoow-Whoow, Whoow-Whoow. Over and over again.
A heart beating. Our kidlet's heartbeat. Fast, constant, and strong.
ET, the midwife, and I, respectively lying, standing, and sitting. All three of us holding our breath with instinctive silence, listening for the first time to someone who didn't even know we were there.
Eavesdropping. Broadcasting its first unwittingly audible movements to an outside world it knows nothing of. A pre-natal pirate radio, that we were privileged to hear for a few moments.
The sound has been going around my mind ever since. After a quarter century I finally see the sound of the Knight Rider as outdated.
I'll still mimic the sound in my head, only from today on it will be noticeably faster, with no pauses, and no full-stops....
Wednesday, 26 August 2009
Some are serious and full of biology lessons for the men who can only deal in facts. Why they turn that colour, why those smells like that, and why you will never ever get to do that again.
Some are aimed at the metrosexual, or the new age man, full of ways to support and encourage the earth-mother to be, bursting with suggestions for sounds of the rainforest soundtracks, and reasons why you should be delighted if she decides to give birth alongside badgers in a ditch.
Some are oh-so-funny for the knuckle draggers who aren't quite sure how they ended up in this predicament. Full of jokes and anecdotes about clumsy, dopey, yet ultimately endearing fathers-to-be. Brimming with all the appropriate lies to tell the shed sized woman yelling and waddling around your house.
All of these variations have some worth. All are accurate in their own way. All reflect the truth under the right light.
Whatever angle they take, they always revert to the image of the curled-up-on-the-sofa couple, or the oversized scarf wearing, hand-holding in the park couple, where everything is just about a palatable shade of bliss.
None of them tell you the one thing that every man should know. None dare to pull the rug from under the feet of the poor expectant father and land him on his arse on the hardwood floor of reality.
You can not, and will not, EVER win an argument while your partner is pregnant. In fact, my guess is most poor bastards won't for the 6 or 12 months that follow.
Forget it. Totally, utterly, and completely forget it.
She will never have to do anything if she doesn't feel like it, meanwhile you can never refuse to do anything you don't feel like doing.
'Well I am busy growing a human', 'but the baby wants it', and the more accusatory 'I'm carrying your child you know' are all just variations on that theme which will see you running around like a blue arsed fly for the foreseeable future.
Whichever flavour of father-to-be you are, everything boils down to - you're screwed, dude.
Monday, 24 August 2009
Or is it peas and queues? I never did understand that phrase.
Regardless, it's time to pay heed to what gets said around here because apparently the kidlet can now hear.
I seemingly have to watch my tongue because the 3 ounces of baby squatting inside the wife has the ability to listen.
I'm supposedly safe enough for a week or two because it doesn't yet understand what it hears. It just hears. Me too buddy, me too.
If it's a girl I'm probably safe for the next thirty years or so because I'm yet to encounter one that pays any attention whatsoever to what I say.
The idea of it weighing 3 ounces is worth a chuckle. 3 ounces is barely a house party.
Occasionally these books supply me with a titbit that make all the drivel about grapes and pineapples worthwhile. This weeks one is about the kidlet's skin.
Apparently, it's translucent.
Yes folks, like just like Atari 2600 joystick I had 20 years ago, or the special edition Xbox that lends its very name to this domain, little Fitz is bloody transparent. Veins, arteries, intestines, and organs are all on display inside its wee body like custard creams and lemon meringues in a bakery.
I'm not a fan of using this word, but how cool is that? How cool would that be in a grown up? You could watch the 4 cups of morning coffee work their magic, you could see the tightening of a colleague's anus when your boss yells at them, you could watch your uncle's liver change colour throughout the course of your cousin's wedding day.
Here we are, on the cusp of 15 weeks, and on our hands we have a 3 ounce ball of transparent kid. Listening to every f-u-c-k-i-n-g word we say.
Thursday, 20 August 2009
Armed with nothing more than a puffed chest, retracted shoulders, and a fledgling sense of direction, he came to win.
Fresh from the trials of being launched at breakneck speed, washed, spun, and launched again, he emerged victorious.
The first, and only to reach the summit of the tallest mountain in the promised land.
There he did feast, make merry, deliver his genetic cargo, and in his wake left the beginnings of another leaf to the great tree of humanity.
In that very spot, now grows a human. Feet and ears and forehead and ribs and future wobbly bits.
In that very spot, he or she sits and grows and waits.
in that very spot, he or she listens and watches.
My question is, what does it see?
More to the point, what does it see when ET loses control of her passions and has her wicked way with me?
Does it float there, gumming on its little fist, watching all-too-infrequently deployed shoals of man-milk flurry aimlessly around its environment?
Do little groups of sperm mange to find their way through the cervix and up into the kidlet's playground?
Is it sitting there with an incomprehensible sense of déjà vu as it watches hundreds of replays of its own previous adventure?
Is the wee one aware of the genetic genocide taking place just millimetres away?
Are there dozens of redundant sperm warriors sprayed across its amniotic sac like insects on a windscreen?
Will we even need to bother with 'the birds & the bees' lessons?
Cold shower time, methinks.
Monday, 17 August 2009
I don't like reading old entries, most of them at least.
They are usually bad attempts at humour, or full of cringe worthy naivety, or plain and simply painful. Those are the worst, the ones where I can read what seems to be someone else talking about hopelessness, seemingly endless.
One year ago today I wrote:
That was our 17th cycle. 10 more failed attempts followed that one.
One year further on, one wedding anniversary further on, we are standing somewhere that feels like the centre of everywhere.
Last year we celebrated our third anniversary with nothing. Sour taste, looming shadows, and no way out.
Next year, our fifth, we won't be alone. Someone else will be living in our house, someone else's clothes with be in the cupboards, someone else's stuff will be cluttering up the hallway.
Can you believe that?
As much as we worked to get here, and even with as much time as we've had over the years to prepare, I still don't really believe it. Every week brings something else that makes my stomach drop just a little. A sign that I'm slowing 'getting it'.
I'm slowly and gradually believing it.
This year we are sitting here, marking our anniversary quietly. Full of expectation in every possible sense of the word.
I'm full of disbelief at how just much disbelief I find myself in. The changes from last year, the changes to next, and the here and now.
Here and now, the centre of everywhere, the spot from where we have the perfect 360 degree view.
Thursday, 13 August 2009
For a dozen reasons Holland is a great place to be based. One of which, while not very important in the grand scheme of things, is my favourite.
We have always been able to see the best gigs, in great venues, not half an hour away from our front door, and all for ridiculously little money.
Autumn and Winter see the best shows roll into Amsterdam, and I always keep a beady eye on what's coming up.
One in particular ET asked me to arrange tickets for, The Swell Season at the end of November.
Bearing in mind a progressing pregnancy, that would have been as good a time as any to see them. Tickets were bought, and plans were made
Until today, when a taste of our future concert going abilities popped into my inbox.
The concert is postponed. Until February next year. Falling delightfully on ET's birthday, but less delightfully 6 days after her due date. The irony of The Swell Season coming to town at the height of her own swelling season has not gone unnoticed.
An abrupt stop to our gallop, cheekily reminding us that our time isn't our own for very much longer. Oh well petal, this will have to do you.
I'll try and pick you up a t-shirt, okay?
Tuesday, 11 August 2009
We have half a dozen of them and check them nine times a day, but they are full of rubbish none the less.
By all accounts, and I would dearly love to know how they know this, if you were to touch the kidlets palms right now, it would close its fingers.
Likewise, a tickle to the soles of its feet would make its toes curl.
Has someone, somewhere found a way to tickle the palms and soles of 13 week old foetuses?
Basically, its all made up to make fools like me buy books. It works a treat mind you.
More irritating than being conned into dropping 20 quid a time to be fed a load of unfounded nonsense, is the fruit comparison of the week. Little Fitz is the size of a peach.
Peaches give me the creeps. Fruit should not be furry. Humans should not be likened to furry fruit. Not to mention that Roald Dahl wrote a book about a boy called James having adventures in a giant peach. That's just creepy.
The idea that my son or daughter is being compared to something furry, supposedly edible, yet large enough to host a mischievous boy is far too psychedelic for me to handle on a Tuesday morning.
Shudder. And breathe.
In better news from the land of useless information, the kids face is looking more human, and its ears are in the 'right place'. I'm not sure where they were hanging out before now, but either way, there'll be no Lord of the Rings cameos for this bundle of joy.
Its kidneys are secreting urine. I'm not even remotely ashamed to say that I find it very amusing to think of the baby piddling all over its mother.
Also, kidlets neck is now strong enough to support head movements. This is very reassuring, because if there is one thing this kid of ours is going to need, it's a tough neck.
Oh, and, thirteen weeks tomorrow. Yikes.
Thursday, 6 August 2009
I know that those of you still struggling to conceive must regularly want to embed a stiletto heel into my windpipe, so just for you, I'm going to irritate other expectant couples.
Yesterday we hit 12 weeks.
In those 12 weeks not one fluid ounce of vomit has passed ETs lips. We had one single day flirting with nausea but other than that ET has felt great.
She could stake a claim for a medal in many Olympic sleeping and urinating events, and occasionally her mood has swung more than your average middle class English couple on a dirty weekend away, but all in all the first 12 weeks have passed without a hitch.
Therefore, I was ready to give the whole human harvesting experience to date a B+.
That was until yesterday.
Yesterday, on the stroke of 12 weeks, she 'popped'.
I came home to find her hiding behind a bump. One serious looking bump. In the absence of photographic evidence, I can only best give an indication of how much of a bump it is by saying that I think the kidlet wants to be born in November.
Maybe it's thinking of the tax benefits of an early appearance, maybe ET is part sheep, or maybe my uber man milk is so potent upon direct application that it has initiated the gestation of a superhuman.
Today, she was planning to inform specific colleagues at work about the pregnancy. The bump saved her the bother. The most recent report I received from her was that she had just been brought ice cream.
Regardless of how she seems to be mercilessly taking a confectionary advantage of the situation, the stealthy manner in which the bump has appeared makes me award a last minute A- to the first 12 weeks.
Now, anyone know how I can have a door widened?
Tuesday, 4 August 2009
Somewhere, hopefully in mid February next, we'll grab a bag and head off to the Mcternity ward and pick ourselves up an extra value happy kiddie meal.
What am I rambling on about? Dutch births is what.
Yesterday we met with a midwife for the first time. To be technical, she was a stand-in midwife, but a mid-wife none the less.
We will be dealing with a nice local practice, which oddly has the most steep spiral staircase I've ever seen leading up to it. Lets just say I won't be walking up them behind ET once her balance comes into question. I'm convinced many a male partner has met their fateful end at the bottom of those stairs, the last life breath flattened out of them by a combination humongous pregnancy bulk and unsuccessful attempts at defying gravity.
The practice has 4 midwives, all of whom we will be meeting in the coming 6 months, so that we are all familiar and happy with each other. When the big day comes, it could be any of the four that throws me dirty looks and tells me to grow a pair.
Our first session was an overload of information, things we must do, when we must do them, things we could do, and when we could do them. Our choice is for a hospital birth, which remarkably is not the most common choice here in Holland. Home births are first choice, coffee shops are the second favourite location, with among the tulips and canal births joint third preferred birthing venues.
I may have made some of that up.
There not being a medical reason for being at the hospital, means that we will really only be using their space, drinking their coffee, and messing their bed linen instead of our own. The midwife will be there of course, but all going well, there will be no appearance from a doctor whatsoever.
In fact, if all goes to plan, the first time a doctor will attend to this kid will its first snotty nose, or its first bar fight injury, whichever comes first.
Ironic really, considering the number of medical professionals who've taken a spanner to ET's undercarriage just to get us to this point.
In one way I find this a little freaky, but I'm surprised at how calming the Dutch approach to pregnancy and birth seems to be.
Of all the things I learned yesterday, the coolest of the cool is that if there are no complications, we would all be home again within two hours of the birth.
We are going to a bloody baby drive through!