Thursday 28 January 2010


I’m on hoof duty.

Another seldom spoken of characteristic of late pregnancy is the inability to remove one’s own footwear. Several times a day I have a heel thumped onto my thigh with the command to ‘take it off’.

Thankfully, this week’s beauty parlour session included a pedicure, so the trotters that I am faced with the task of undressing are fine specimens. I suspect the pedicure was only thrown in to distract ET while the landscaping crew were changing shift, but I’ll take all the help I can get.

This role has enlightened me, made me wiser. I understand now that the term ‘barefoot and pregnant’ is not an indication of status, but rather an sign that the lady in question couldn’t convince anyone to drop to their knees at the flash of a hoof.

The putting on and removal of socks, slippers, and shoes all fall under my remit, none are tasks to be taken lightly. Pitfalls are many, and traps are easy to plunge into. You pull from the band, not from the toe. Socks must be ‘unrolled’ onto the feet of the fire breathing incubator. Any other method risks the unseemly catching of cotton and toenail, and guarantees your head will be slammed against the side of the desk.

The symbolism of the stance that is taken to perform these duties is not lost on me. Man taking position at a pregnant woman’s feet, adoring, serving, and obeying, but mostly terrified of getting a flat heeled shoe to the temple.

This little piggy patrolman fears for his well being.

2 weeks, 6 days.

Quick, time is ticking, if you haven't pinned your pink or blues to the mast, do so here.

Monday 25 January 2010


Over the past few years, ET has become accustomed to being, let’s say, ‘looked at’ quite a lot.

As embarrassing as such events always were, she has always been brave and willing, not to mention she always ensured everything was well maintained.

Of course, as they are wont to do, time and circumstance take their toll.

Keeping things in order down there while heavily pregnant seems to be about as easy as trimming the fringe on an nervous monkey while blindfolded.

As a result, nature has taken its course, and reclaimed the territory previously tamed by the hand of man. This in itself isn’t an issue, it’s a matter of personal taste even, it can be worn as a symbol of one’s German-ness, or as a badge to signify membership of the 1970’s pornographic motion picture society fan club.

What is an issue of course, is modesty. Not to mention the fact the poor child would be in serious danger of strangulation when it pokes its wee head through my wife’s great life-giving portal. We’d need a team of Australian bush firefighters in the delivery room to clear the child a path to safety.

So, partly because I am the greatest spouse that ever existed, and partly because she ordered me to, I gifted her a session at her favourite massage, beauty and Enya’s-greatest-hits-playing parlour.

There she would avail of the ‘Mama Massage’ for women about to blow, something not to be confused with the ‘Big Mama Massage’ available up the road in Amsterdam for men about to blow. More importantly, the session is to include a certain amount of personal foliage landscaping, where the good ladies of the establishment in question would don protective eyewear, then hack and battle their way through the excess undergrowth of the most Amazonian of undercarriages.

I was admiring this mental image, as you do, when another one bossed its way into my frontal lobe. What would the scene be like, if my heavily pregnant and amnioticly blessed wife’s waters should break right there and then?

Some poor beauty college graduate, herself wearing only the finest of cosmetics, would be half way through her masterpiece, sawing and waxing, hacking and trimming, when all of a sudden she gets a face full of foetaljuice.

Assuming she knows how to swim, would she finish the job? Would the gift voucher remain valid? Would the half cleared emergency exit be deemed a fire hazard and force the hospital to opt for a C-section?

Would this child ever just get out here already?

3 weeks, 2 days.

Join the masses of the weird and wonderful, if you haven't pinned your pink or blues to the mast, do so here.

Friday 22 January 2010

Pool party

It is time.

No, not for her crotch to explode and spray human shrapnel everywhere, but it’s time for a pool.

A pool which will decide who is the wisest amongst us all. You tell me how you think things will pan out, and I’ll eventually tell you who the smartest bugger in town is. Maybe.

Today is 3 weeks and 5 days to the official due date of February 17th. ET is five feet tall. The baby has measured ahead ever so slightly on in all areas so far except for leg length. As for possible inducing or delaying factors; she occasionally eats Thai or Indian, doesn’t often stand on her head, and any sexual advances on my part would certainly be greeted by the blow of a bedside lamp to the jugular.

The bump is very much concentrated around her, er, belly.

That should be more than enough for you to go on, a complicated system of weighted scoring and points allocation will be applied to the values you assign to each of the following.

Date of Birth:
Time of Birth:

Stick them in the comments, and the winner will win my everlasting respect and the envy of all useless guessers everywhere.

You have, let's say, 1 week-ish , go on, go.

Wednesday 20 January 2010

Commie bastards

Today’s word of the day is; Kraamzorg.

It’s not a planet from an episode of Battlestar Gallactica that you missed.

Neither is it the battle cry of a borderline extinct sub-Saharan tribe of bushmen warriors, nor is it a brand of industrial weed killer.

I can’t guarantee you that it will never be the name of a Geldof child, but I can tell you what it is in the here and now.

Kraamzorg is the Dutch system of after-birth care for mother and child.

It begins when the mother and child return home after the birth. A nurse comes to your house daily for a week or so, to tend to the recovering mother, help with every single aspect of the first days with a new baby, perform light housework of cooking, cleaning , & laundry, and if necessary, tend to other children in the home.

When you return home with your bundle of joy or red faced screaming rage, give them a call, and a nurse will be on your doorstep, in your kitchen, wiping your new child’s arse, and peering between your wife’s legs –all within an hour.

The cost of the care in an average case(49 hours) is over two thousand euro, with even the most basic of insurance cover paying more than 90% of that. This means that the actual cost of a week’s care and guidance to new parents would be somewhere between one and two hundred euro.

Damn you socialist communist sympathising bastards for robbing us of the freedom to pay through the anus for quality health services and just providing it for us. Damn you to hell.

All this was relayed to us last Monday when the Kraamzorg came to our house to get introduced. She sat at our kitchen table gulping coffee and walking us through all the details. Being a firm believer in the adage that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is, I waited for the downside to come.

It came.

It seems our bed is too low.

In order for the nurse to carry out her duties, she needs the bed to be about 70 cm high. All manner of tricks were devised to avoid having to do it but there is no escaping the fact we need to find an extra 30cm of bed height from somewhere.

It was then that she gave us the details of where we could get the ‘klossen’ (bed raisers) for free.

Damn you backward universal health care system for thinking of everything, robbing us of the freedom to freak out over every detail. Damn you to hell.

4 weeks exactly.

Monday 18 January 2010

Life of luxury

Other than the emergence of a snubby nose or chubby fist from her nether regions, ET has experienced one of the last big signs that the time is nigh.

Maternity leave.

No more alarms, no more waddling across snowy car parks, and no more trying to work out how to reach a keyboard that is distanced from your wee fingertips by the length of the gut projecting out of you.

Until sometime in July at least.

She’s now a lady of leisure, and can focus on a little baking, some pottering, but mostly embroidery. Or watching repeats of Law & Order, whichever suits.

The greatest little recognised advantage of maternity leave is of course, post. No longer will I have to spend evenings trawling up and down the street trying with a postman’s illegible note trying to find the parcel that he dropped off with some random neighbour, our post shall be delivered.

The downside of this is a tad more practical. Up to now she has been drinking tea, using toilet paper, and consuming electricity all at the expense of her employer, but now her Cleopatrian lounging will thrust us into financial disaster with soaring toilet paper bills and tea-bag shortages.

Maternity leave, another one of life’s ill thought through concepts.

Thursday 14 January 2010

Big head

Bless her.

My poor wife has been in denial for quite a while.

For months ET has been emphatic about how this child will be small. She herself is petite, and I’m rarely in danger of obtaining head injuries in doorways. Regardless of how rounder and fuller she became, she seemed insistent that the child would be a tidy target 6lbs.

Big enough to be healthy, small enough not to dislocate a pelvis or shatter a hip.

The wise head that I am, I’ve been reinforcing the idea that the kid will be significantly more than 6lbs, a view she refused to entertain, regardless of the evidence that was, quite literally, in front of her.

Last Tuesday, the midwife put paid to her fanciful notion of birthing an elfin child of some sort and informed us that the bellydweller is heading for an above average size.

Holding in the giggles, I converted her 3500 gram estimate to a delightful 7lbs and 11 ounces. I believe she also said that the child already has teeth and pointy elbows, although I may have misunderstood that bit. Or imagined it. Or made it up entirely.

Either way, it seems my dear wife’s love tunnel will be accommodating the transport of her 6lb baby as expected, just with 33% extra free.

The good news for her is that it has just 4 weeks and 6 days left to grow. . .

Monday 11 January 2010


On Saturday, bundled up from head to toe, we slowly and stiffly trudged into town like a couple of spinal injury victims. Our goal was as simple as it was significant; integration, conformity, and keeping up with the Van Der Joneses.

One of the nicer Dutch customs surrounding babies, albeit a relatively recently developed one, is ‘geboortekaartjes’ – birth cards.

Geboortekaartjes are cards sent to family, friends, colleagues, and pretty much anyone else you feel the urge to nauseate to announce the eviction of the wife squatter. They will have an original and unique cutesy design, carefully chosen from a limited selection of predefined original and unique cutesy designs.

Usually, geboortekaartjes display all the relevant details of the vagina wrecker’s arrival; date & time, weight & length in indecipherable mainland Europe metric measurements, total number of stitches required, and of course its name.

Its name.

There and then, looking around us, with an almost embarrassed whisper, we committed the bellydewller’s name to print. Or a print-person at least. ET said the child-to-be’s name-to-be to the thankfully-very-good-at-written-English lady, and she repeated the name-to-be back to us.

The first time we’ve heard the baby’s name being said by someone else, and it sounds pretty nifty.

Design and text agreed, deposit paid (presumably in case we change our minds about having the child after all), and having received very James Bond-like instructions on how to arrange the finalisation of the order and pick-up after the birth, we wrapped up once again and shuffled off into the afternoon snowfall like we were headed for rehab.

ET, myself, and baby *****....

Wednesday 6 January 2010

January 5, 2010, 7:17pm

It was around a quarter past seven yesterday evening when we hurried to the hospital.

Within an hour of arriving, we were in a delivery room. More than six weeks before we expected to be.

I could only stand beside the still empty Perspex baby cot and watch, as the assistant peeled the wrapping from various rubber tubing, plastic bits and pieces, and rolled a set of scissor-like instruments out onto the bed.

ET grimaced as it was explained what they would be used for, all the while hoping it wouldn’t come to that.

We were nervous, more nervous than we had been since the IUI itself. Nervous, and excited.

Just like the 10 other couples beside us.

The expectation was almost tangible among the parents-to-be at the hospital’s open night last night.

Met with tea & coffee, we listened to a handful of speakers talk us through how the hospital runs their obstetrics department. Relaxed and efficient is the only way I can describe it.

Now, I’m not the one about to have my crotch mutate in such a way as to facilitate the emergence of another human from my gut, but if I was, I’d be very happy about doing it there.

They were clear and concise about when to call, where to park, the fact you can have free lemonade but not cola, and having an epidural can delay your going home by an hour or two.

There are 5 fully equipped private delivery rooms with all the trimmings, TV and music, baths and showers to help with the pain management, and drugs on tap should they be required. ET can even have some if she wants.

They spoke about the practicalities of getting there, various pain reliefs, they had a lactation specialist there to support with and advise on breastfeeding, they even show you how to install the bloody car seat.

With every convenience on hand, the focus was still on letting it be as natural an event as it can be, with a very real possibility that we will end up with a baby without having seen an actual doctor since just after the IUI.

They were confident and relaxed, and best of all, contagious.

6 weeks exactly.

Sunday 3 January 2010

Spring clean

It’s a lovely round number, 2010.

Neat and tidy, not missing any bits like 2009 and without the scraggly unwanted bits we’ll have with 2011.

It crept in nice and quietly, sneaking in hidden amongst the debris of Christmas, and before we saw it, it had settled on the sofa with its feet up on the table.

3 days in and we are about to return to work after the holiday. Normally the last day before going back to work is reminiscent of Sunday evenings when we were at school, watching the evening get darker and listening with dread as every theme tune on television counted down the minutes to bedtime and a new school week.

Not this time.

Today, and tomorrow, and the whole week, will be another cross on the calendar, another day closer.

I feel like channeling the great George W. by saying 'bring them on!'.

Upstairs in the attic, two clothes horses are covered with freshly washed and drying clothes. Tiny clothes. Vests, t-shirts, hats, pants, suits, and jackets, that all seem like they should be adorning a cabbage patch kid, not a human.

The socks are so small they have to be carefully balanced on the rails. Sneeze and you would knock them off. I did.

Tomorrow is the first Monday of the New Year, and all the hustle starts again, but for now it’s completely silent and our child’s laundry is hanging up to dry.

6 weeks, 2 days.