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Posts Tagged ‘humour’

Apologies in advance for the rather odd, inevitably disjointed post today. I have had, approximately, 7 hours broken sleep over the last 2 days leaving me in a rather strange, slightly hysterical ohh look there’s a monkey holding my brain type mood. 

For those of you that missed my frantic, endless tweeting in attempts to stay sane over the last few days, here’s the deal. I recovered from my throat infection just in time for Kai to start crying. Something he has continued to do, on and off (though mostly on it seems), for the last 48 or so hours.

It started witha bit of a fever Tuesday morning. By evening every time he moved his mouth, or coughed or yawned he would yelp in pain. Trying to eat made him wail. He refused ALL breastfeeds AND banana. Those of you that know Kai well will know that these two things just.do.not.happen and are my two ‘time to sound the alarm my son must be dying’ indicators. ESPECIALLY the refusal to feed. Even lovely snuggly under the duvet just before bed type feeds. Something must be very, very wrong.

 At first I thought, generous mother that I am, that I had given him my throat infection but a trip to the doctors confirmed that his throat is fine and that it is, in fact, our old friends the Evil Torturous  Tooth Army, specifically the Diabolical Molar Division, in their unrelenting campaign to force their huge blunt edges through my poor child’s gums.

I cannot begin to describe the extent of his agony the last couple days. He has moaned, he has wailed, he has sobbed, he has hysterically screamed. He has NOT slept, except very lightly and for the first night only if being carried around in the dark in his sling. He has NOT eaten more than a few teeny mouthfuls and NOT fed apart from the odd very ginger little nuzzle. So consequently I am left in an almost catatonic state of exhaustion with a very sore back and boobs like frickin’ boulders.

Now I don’t know whether you, dear reader, are familiar with sleep deprivation (and no I don’t mean you with your child who wakes up a whole ONCE in the night who then moans to everyone about how they may just drop dead from exhaustion – you can go jump off a cliff) but SERIOUS sleep deprivation. I mean the kind of ‘being woken up at least every two hours and then getting up at the crack of dawn every single blessed day for over a year’ variety. Because after a while THAT kind of sleep deprivation starts doing some seriously messed up things to your mind.

Take last night for example. Kai had woken up again for probably the 8th time that night and having tried all other tactics to get him back to sleep (including my tried-trusted using breastmilk as a legal baby tranquillizer – I’m lost without that one),  I was now pacing my little route round the bedroom that I must have done 10 gazillion times before. And as happens when exisiting on such little sleep and pure adrenaline I found myself in a kind of waking dream having a conversation in my head with a loaf of bread. I don’t remember what was said. All I can remember is that it was the loaf of plain white Hovis I had brought that day and that it had arms and legs and a face and that in my mind we talked quite seriously for several minutes before I realised what I was doing.

This sort of thing happens to me quite a lot.

(I had also obviously been spending too much time on Twitter that day too because I distinctly remember later on in the night Kai waking up crying AGAIN and me absent mindedly looking for his ‘unfollow’ button so I could ignore him and go back to sleep. If only hey!)

It’s such a weird feeling. You’re awake, wide awake, with every sense on hyper-alert and yet you’re asleep at the same time, the barrier between your rational mind and your unconscious completely broken down. It’s exactly what I imagine being on some very heavy, trippy drugs must feel like. And you have to picture it too. It’s dark, completely pitch black apart from the eerie green glow of the digital clock. The only sound is either Kai moaning and crying, or if I’ve managed to settle him, the soft sound of his breathing or the little snuffling sound of him nursing, all accompanied by my lovely husband’s rolling rhythmic snore. Nothing but me and the thoughts in my head. For hours and hours and hours.

It’s no wonder I go a little nutso. 

Sometimes it’s conversations with imaginary bread people, sometimes it’s a line from a song in my head going round and round and round. Once it was thinking that the top of my head had come off and worrying my thinking might be too noisy and wake Kai up. One particularly bad night some months back I realised I had been muttering “I want to go home” over and over. I was home, obviously. Occasionally the crying, clawing, writhing thing in my arms in the dark has taken on monstrous proportions in my mind and I’ve had to switch the light on only to have a poor, confused Kai blinking up at me, reminding me there’s no monster at all but just an exhausted little boy who can’t get back to sleep.

All in all it’s not been a good year for my mental health.

Anyway I should go. The mother-in-law has returned from taking Kai for a nap and he’s looking distinctly grumpy.

Oh look he’s starting to cry again.

 And here, right on schedule, is the giant purple rabbit come to take me to a happy, silent place with white walls.

Thank god for that.

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First of all I have to ask. Which one of you has cursed my house? Because, as is fast becoming an almost weekly occurance in our family, we have been struck down by the illness fairy once again. And by ‘we’ I mean ‘me’. A throat infection, a low-grade fever and the weak-and-wobblies have meant Kai has once again had to be subjected to the bare minimum of parenting and opened the doors to my usual guilt-ridden worries that I am not doing ENOUGH.

Why is it a few days of feeling under the weather causes me to doubt every single one of my parenting choices, life choices and pretty much every other aspect of my self in one fell swoop? All I have been able to do this last couple of days is curl up in a ball on the sofa and moan faintly while Kai looked on bemused and tried to feed me various bits of half-eaten rice cake that he had squirrelled away in his toy box.

The killing blow (and ultimate salvation) came in the form of The Mom Blog. Not mine but other moms’. You see I’m fairly new to the world of blogging and although I didn’t think for a second my contributions to the bloggosphere were in any way different or special, I hadn’t quite realised just what a teeny tiny insignificant speck I was in the vast universe of the Mommy Bloggers until I started looking. There’s frickin millions of them. Which isn’t in itself a bad thing, until I started reading and found that the vast majority of the ones I came across were very obviously the work of neat, ordered self-congratulatory, self-important, taking-everything-far-too-seriously SUPERMOMS.

And reading them I was suddenly left feeling very small, very immature, very incompetent and completely unqualified to be a mother (or a blogger).

Because I am NOT, in any way, shape, or form a supermom. Not even close.

For starters I do not bake. I am in fact a dreadful cook. I have never made home-made soup or pasta sauce. My son often eats frozen fishfingers and ravioli from a can. My crowning culinary achievement lately was to mash pre-bought roast potatoes with a fork and grill them with sprinkled spring onion and cheese (was yum though). My cupboards contain tinned mince and dry spaghetti.  I don’t know what a ‘caper’ is. I don’t frequent deli’s, or buy organic unless it’s on sale (because I’m broke). I often eat chocolate for breakfast. Or biscuits.

I do not own a shining stainless-steel bedecked kitchen in which I wear an apron or from which waft the delightful smells of cookie dough or roast dinners. My kitchen is in fact this:

DSCF3376

Two square metres of cramped appliances and this morning’s washing up all of which smells of catfood and damp and may or may not have previously undiscovered forms of life making a cosy home behind the fridge.

I do not pray with my child, or at my child, or about my child (preferring to talk to said child himself, and my husband, and other REAL people when I have a problem). I do not attend a bible study group, or go to church, unless you count the very excellent church-run playgroup I attend but even then I have a tendency to mysteriously disappear when they start with the inevitable baby Jesus songs.

I do not have a ‘good’ child. He does not sleep on demand or without assistance. He is, I fear, a very long way from ‘sleeping through the night’. He is often lively, noisy, demanding and extremely separation-sensitive. If you are male and not in his immediate family you WILL make him scream just by looking at him. He probably watches too much tv. When tired, frustrated or over excited he bites and scratches. He is not particularly fond of vegetables.

My (mostly second hand) clothes don’t fit well and are not particular fashionable. I don’t have a personal style or have a skincare regime. I prefer to buy groceries than pay for expensive hair styles so my hair leaves rather a lot to be desired. If you were being kind you would call it ‘tousselled’.  I don’t own a single pair of heels (given my tendency to fall down even when wearing flats) but do own several pairs of well-loved trainers. I have yet to figure out how to make it through the day without getting covered in food, sick, poo or wee. I could count on one hand the number of times I have worn make-up in the last year.

I am not the social epi-centre of a trendy group of friends. I tend to be the one sitting in the corner looking tired, dishevelled, and coming across a little weird. I either talk too much or not at all. I laugh too loud, have a tendency to mix my words up and the awful habit of not finishing my sentences. In the last twelve months I have had two evenings out without the baby. Neither of which involved drinking cocktails or dancing. Both of which involved knitting and drinking tea at my best friend’s house 100 metres away.

I am not a measured oasis of calm. I do not bend in the wind. I have a tendency to be selfish and resentful. I frequently neglect my husband in favour of a little extra stolen ‘me’ time. I often fall apart, have meltdowns, cry, scream and then hurriedly put myself back together again before anyone notices.

I swear too much.

So no. Definitely not a supermom.

So bombarded as I was with tales of bible camp, and bake sales, and endless photos of shining, clean, perfect babies (who I’m positive slept like angels, the little sh*ts) and their shining, clean, perfect moms, I was left feeling pretty much like crap.

And there I probably would have stayed. Feeling like crap. Except thankfully I didn’t. Because I kept looking and I kept reading. And hidden in amongst the endless drivel I found my salvation.

Other not-supermoms. Yep. Thank the sweet Lord.

Other moms that swear and struggle and take the piss out of themselves and their lives and laugh at everything (that kind of slightly hysterical laughter that sounds a little like sobbing). Who have equally grubby, wild children and equally grubby, unkempt houses. Who choose blogging over housework and say that if you’re child is playing happily it’s perfectly acceptable to steal a little extra writing time.

I love these moms. Suddenly, being given free reign to eavesdrop on their lives and their mistakes and their mini-meltdowns, I felt sane again. It was ok to not be perfect. In fact, it was pretty cool. For all their shortcomings these moms were obviously intelligent, accomplished, successful, witty, and despite all their self-deprecation, completely and utterly awesome mommies.

I was happy to be in their camp. Well, happy to in the anonymous periphery of their camp. If I can ever manage to be even half as good a writer, comedian, social commentator or creative free-spirit as most of these women I will consider myself to have done very well indeed.

Screw you supermoms.

So here it is, for your enjoyment: my honour blogroll of the moment. Thank you ladies for restoring my sanity and giving me some much needed reassurance this week. For telling me it’s ok to find motherhood impossibly hard and ok not to take it all too seriously.

Not Drowning, Mothering

Naptime Writing

Bad Mommy Moments

I love you. Please keep writing.

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I am in total shock.

After our previous experiences with Kai and this sort of thing,  I had been anticipating complete meltdown at Kai’s 12 month booster immunisations today, packing all favourite toys to try and distract him and preparing for many hours of sobbing and cuddles. I even warn the nurse on entering that he has a tendency to be ” a bit of a drama queen”.

And guess what. He didn’t even cry. Not even a whimper. Just looked slightly confused then pointed at the door as if to say “right that’s that then. Lets go”. 

Who is this strange child and what have you done with my Kai?

The strange pod child is now home and playing happily with Mr Fireman #2, attempting a daring rescue of small purple elephant from my shoe. The dose of Calpol I prepared in advance sits redundant on the side.

Maybe I should take it? I certainly have a headache from all the stressing.

 

*POSTSCRIPT*

Phew! Within seconds of publishing the above, strange pod child took a tumble and gave his head the minutest of bumps. The agonising wails have only just stopped 5 minutes later (and that’s only because he’s having a get-better comfort feed as I type.) I think it’s safe to say that it’s the real Kai after all. Thank goodness for that.

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Ok, so it’s a normal morning in our house. Kai and I are playing, making all the farm animals kiss each other and the little construction people (yes I know, condoning bestiality to a one year old, good god my immorality knows no bounds – there may even been some bull on bull kissing action going on). We then get bored of all the kissing and decide to do some jigsaws instead when suddenly I have a LIFE CHANGING REVELATION!!! Yes. For once the capital letters and multiple exclamation marks are justified… (as is the dramatic pause… have you noticed I tend to do them a lot too?)

You see I’ve always been under the impression that I was a bit of a free spirit. My house is cluttered in a kind of hippy disregard for authority (and Pledge) kind of way, my clothes rarely match. I quite often go the entire morning not knowing what I’m going to have for lunch until just before when I will impulsively throw something together and go A-HA! Pizza toast! My friends would probably describe me as creative and pretty random, and I have always been rather proud of that.

But no. My revelation this morning proves that all this is but a facade, an illusion, and that beneath it’s dippy, slightly unkempt exterior lies a deeper, darker side to myself. One I am not so proud of.

I like order. And rules. And boundaries. And safe, predictable things.

I know. Isn’t is awful??

Yes, I know there were clues. The pregnancy file and labour sign were probably two biggies. As is the fact that I frequently spend my evenings doing mathematics FOR FUN as a way of preparing for my degree in the autumn, and that I mark my own answers with large self-satisfying ticks while saying things like “algebra really is brilliant you know”.

And yet this morning still came as something to a surprise to me when my ability to embrace all things chaotic and random was tested and found severely wanting. Not only was a perturbed, I was positively DISTURBED.

By what? Well, by the following:

DSCF3352

By all extents and purposes a harmless, fun jigsaw. But no. Look closer people.

First it lulls you in to a false sense of security. “Oooh shapes and colours” you say. “I understand. One of each shape and one of each colour. Just as it should be. Look Kai lets put the orange circle in the orange circle hole” (good pagan child that he is, the circle is his favourite).

Spurred on by the reassuring logic your brain keeps going. Shapes and colours, yep, and oh look! Animals and counting! Perfect!

Two cats, three zebra, four dogs, four rabbits….wait…that’s not right… we have two fours? And hold on a second, where’s one? Ok I’m feeling a little shaken but I’ll keep going.

And then five. Which cored me to my very marrow. Five…what the hell is this?? Five AMOEBA?

What kind of devil jigsaw is this????

Deep breaths Josie. It’s just a bit of a disordered jigsaw. And that’s ok. We like disorder!

NO WE DON’T!! WE HATE IT! I need to my child’s toys to be predictable and apply the rule of logic! Else where will it all end? Alphabet books that miss out the M and Q?? Madness!!

I’M SCARED KAI!! All my so righteously held convictions are crumbling around me!!

………..

Needless to say I’m ok now. Kai held my hand through my angst, we finished the jigsaw and put it away.

But I fear a part of me has been changed forever. The curtain to my soul has been tweeked aside and for a second I have seen the darkness within.

Perhaps this is only the beginning of a deeper corruption. Today crying over jigsaws, what about tomorrow? Ironing my jeans? Voting Conservative??

*sob*

WHO THE HELL AM I??

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Shhh…. I should be doing housework. But after a few halfhearted attempts I have given up. In the aftermath of birthday celebrations my (extremely small) house looks like a Toys ‘R’ Us, complete with the hyperactive child, harried looking parent and the evoctive smell of sick and wee.

We have a ball-pool. We have TWO play tents and a tunnel. We have a pirate-ship shaped helium balloon three times the size of it’s recipient. And we have several hundred toys that all play different annoyingly shrill sounds and/or songs. Pre-Kai we were always that smug childless couple who gleefully picked out the largest most irritating toy to bequeath on their friend’s offspring. I think it’s safe to say they’ve successfully got their own back.

When phoning our house at the mo you’d be mistaken for thinking you’d accidentally interrupted some kind of farm yard massacre. On a building site. Next to a railway line. With emergency service back-up. Interspersed with the profound and inspirational insights of Thomas the Tank Engine (“Number 1 always comes first”) and Small Digger Man #2 (“Let’s get DIGGING!!) you may also hear the soft thump thump thump as I bang my head repeatedly against the wall.

The fact that the toy manufacturers of most of these toys have mercilessly omitted an off switch is possibly the most concrete proof for the existence of the Devil (and so God) that I have ever come across. Can I hear you say ‘Ei I Ei I Oh?’

In addition to the new toys we also have, of course, THE TRIKE (assembled by AN ADULT of course – with absolutely no swearing whatsoever). Idol of worship, adoration and excitement. The most well received birthday present by a one year old in possibly the history of time. The epic tale of this boy’s love for his bike will no doubt be the stuff of poetry, ballads and multi-million dollar movies for centuries to come. If he had the strength, Kai would certainly have carried it up to bed with him for his nap just now and fallen asleep with his head nestled lovingly on it’s well assembled plastic seat.

When buying said trike however I forgot that we do not have a garage or a shed or any other kind of outside storage apart from a falling down out-house that is already full of washing machine. So we may have to start putting the trike in Kai’s bed cause to be honest I’m don’t know where the hell else we are going to keep it. Or the ball pool. Or the tents. Or the pushchair. Oh or the sand and water table – did I mention that one?

Sitting here and surveying the carnage I’m thinking some kind of Ikea-esque self assembly storage solution type jobby may be in order. Or possibly a new house.

Or a bonfire.

I shall leave you with some photos from Kai’s birthday celebrations, which I’m sure everyone who played some part in it would agree, broke all records for fun, excitement and pirate-related mayhem.

It’s been fab. Just a rather consumerist, halving the living space of my house kind of fab.

Has anyone got any aspirin?

birthday montage

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 So where was I? Oh yes, my contractions had stopped and started again. I had lost all hope of EVER having the baby and was sobbing for my mum, whilst simultaneously, in the future, I was sat eating Orios and watching something crappy on tv, while trying to ignore the incessant whining noise at my feet (i.e. the baby that, surprise surprise, DID come out in the end). So on we plod…

July 7th 6pm

Flashback: After pouring my heart out to my mum over the phone we decide to up camp and head off to chez Whitney-Cooper for some much needed TLC and a bath as ours is gnome sized and rather uncomfortable for those that are dimensionally challenged. We throw the labour bag in the boot just in case but I am seriously beginning to doubt that this baby will EVER be born. I’m serious. Maybe I just haven’t got it in me? Maybe my body just doesn’t know what to do and I’l be pregnant FOREVER? Ok, at least until they induce me/slice me open, neither of which I particularly fancy. Or worse – maybe I’ll just carry on having these (increasingly painful) contractions every five minutes for days and days and no-one will do ANYTHING?! (except tell me to have an early night and take some paracetamol).

We arrive at mum’s and I instantly feel a bit better. Mum runs me a bath, lights some candles, makes me a cup of tea and I have a long soak. I have to keep shifting position when a contraction comes though as lying on my back when one comes seems to amplify the pain by about a million. Ant sits on the loo and makes me laugh despite the pain and suddenly the world is all ok again. Did I ever mention I was a bit changeable in the mood department?

We make a deal. No more timing contractions. Well, me anyway. I had religiously recorded every one; doing nothing short of making a graph to plot their regularity (or lack of it). Time to relax a bit Josie. Time to recognise that maybe YOU’RE NOT IN CONTROL THIS TIME. I know. Shocker. And you never know maybe removing the giant stick up your butt might make room for the baby. Ant will surreptitiously keep track, but me, well I was just going to concentrate on riding this pain.

Because bloody hell. It’s hurting now. Hurting too much to stay in the bath. Hurting too much to do ANYTHING in fact although it’s becoming more and more difficult to keep still through out it all. I have an overwhelming urge to walk and change position and grind my hips in a kind of weird pregnant lady hula. Do you know what, I think I WILL have some paracetamol now…

So I walk, and lean, and contract, and do the hula. Shouting out “here comes another one” just as Ant mutters under his breath “any second now…”.

Is it just me or are they getting closer together?

Flashforward: I wipe up Kai after his tea. He has some pasta in his belly button (and, incidently on his hair/ears/neck/dad/cat – it was pasta bolognaise so our front room looked like something out of Saw 3) and it occurs to me… this is where he was attached to me. For nine whole months. And my belly button; that is where I was attached to MY mum. And so on, down the centuries in one glorious genetic chain of belly buttons. Every one before me a mother, everyone before me going through that same terrifying and wonderful experience of giving birth to another human being. Wow. I feel kind of special. I also can’t believe I’m having profound thoughts about belly buttons…

 

9.00pm

Flashback: Everything’s getting a bit blurry now. Pain seems to dance in front of my eyes and I realise I’m beginning to pant and groan more and more. My pacing and my hula hula dance is becoming more vigorous and rhythmic as I ride each new wave. Where on earth is that mooing noise coming from? Oh wait, it’s me.

I’m vaguely aware of mum and Ant whispering in the kitchen and periodically poking their head round the corner to ask if I’m doing ok. “I’m fine” I keep saying. “Stop talking to me” is what I’m thinking, just let me walk and moo in peace. At some point, they come to me and tell me that my contractions have been every four minutes for a while – maybe we should phone the hospital now? I nod and a quick phone call later and Ant is steering me into the car.

Time to go.

Flashforward: Kai is asleep for now and I sit surveying the twenty miscellaneous pieces of plastic and metal that should, with proper assembly (BY AN ADULT stresses the instructions – thanks for that) turn into Kai’s birthday Tricycle. I screw bits together, unscrew them again and turn them round, and screw them back together again.

At least making a baby didn’t require self assembly and an allen key. I have a feeling Kai wouldn’t have been half so well put together.

 

9.45pm

Flashback: We arrive at the hospital. Four minutes had turned into every three in the car (why why WHY did you have to live on a private estate with SPEEDBUMPS mother??! Did you not know that your heavily pregnant daughter would be contracting over every single one??). We park in a ‘do not park here’ zone and display my pre-prepared “Wife is in Labour” sign (no, I know what you’re thinking – it didn’t have an accompanying drawing or was laminated, I’m not THAT bad…).

The walk up to the ward seems to go on for miles but I’m determined to walk it. Stopping, SITTING, seems unthinkable. I just have to move move move. Finally we’re there. A bored looking midwife shows me into my room. MY room. The room on the midwife-led unit I had been so adamant to have, with it’s homely decorating and bean bags and Anne Geddes’ pictures on the wall. The room that I didn’t give two hoots about once I finally got there. It could have been a dingy back alley in the East End for all I cared as long as it had some gas and air.

At last some pain relief!!! Oh sweet Jesus thank you!  “You make yourself comfy dear” she tells me, “You’ve got a while to go yet”. Great.

Ant contemplates going back to the car for the bags but the midwife has disappeared and he doesn’t want to leave me, and pretty soon they’re forgotten. Relegated to the boot, my refreshing face spray and the rest about as useful in the end as that paracetamol I’d taken an hour ago.

The midwife finally arrives to examine me and to her surprise, and mine, I’m 8cm dilated. She tells me I’m nearly there but I don’t really hear her. I’m away on my gas trip. The room fades away and all that is left is my teeth on that cold, hard mouthpiece and the sound of mask as I breathe in and out, timing my gasps to take the edge off the peak of the contractions, coming fast and strong. I’m aware of Ant’s constant, calm reassurance, holding me through everyone but everything else just becomes a jumble of vague sound and light. I don’t think I’m even particularly conscious of the fact that my baby is coming. There is only this pain. This moment. All I can do is hold on.

Flashforward: I’m STILL building that frickin trike…

 

11.30pm

Flashback: At least I think it’s about that time, I’m having to rely on others’ memories now. I am pushing. The pressure has built to peak and now I’m pushing and pushing. My waters have finally popped with one huge gush. I moan and cry and shout and I don’t care. Even when that stupid cow of a midwife tells me I’m making too much noise I don’t care. Shut up b*tch I’m having a baby for Frick’s sake – just do your job and I’ll do mine.  After an eternity I begin to feel something slowly move down and push hard against me with each contraction, and finally, Kai’s head begins to crown. It is physically and mentally the most unbelievably hard thing I have ever done. What on earth was I thinking? Having a baby? Was I MAD? “I’m NEVER doing this again” I cry vehemently between contractions. Gas and Air is forgotten now, I need every bit of my concentration just to bear down and push. PUSH! With every contraction I push and push some more. Push so hard I think my back will break and my eyes pop out. Weirdly it’s not pain I’m conscious of. Just the sheer effort and physical endurance with the hot, burning feeling that only a 7 and a half pound babies head forcing it’s way through a MUCH smaller opening can produce. “Push!” Ant and the Midwife kept telling me “PUSH! You’re nearly there!”

Flashforward: I sit holding the small, hot form of my sleeping child. My head pounding and my body about ready to drop after nearly an hour of trying to get Kai back to sleep after his inevitable wake-up. Once again it is a mystery why he has woken up. Once again it is a mystery why he has so much trouble falling back to sleep again. It’s been a long day. It’s been a long year. A year of delight and joy and fun and laughter and more love and happiness than I ever thought possible. But also a year of incredible anxiety, and stress and frustration and sheer physical effort coupled with unbelievably little sleep.

The labour was the easy part, in hindsight.

But no matter what I said, I WOULD do it all again. A million times over for just one touch of my beautiful, precious boy. And not just the labour. Every broken night, every hour spent walking and rocking and feeding and coaxing Kai into some kind of sleep. Every minute of despair and hopelessness and doubt. I’d do it all. Naked. Covered in Bees (if only because it all seems to have gotten rather serious all of a sudden).

Because he is totally, irrefutably, worth it.

I gently lower him into his cot. He sighs and rolls over but thankfully is soon sleeping deeply again. Thank god for that.

 

July 8th 12.10am

Flashback: With one last almighty PUSH! I finally feel a release as Kai’s head comes out, pushing out the shoulders, and finally, with one long, glorious, blissful gush, the rest of him. He is lifted, red and crying and slippery and the most beautiful perfect sight I have ever seen, straight on to my chest where I hold him close and sob and laugh, looking up at Ant in relief and joy and surprise. My boy is here. My Kai.

I did it.

Flashforward: I roll over, away from the clock at which I have been staring, waiting, remembering. I listen to Kai’s breathing, slow and deep and peaceful. I close my eyes.

Happy Birthday Little Bear x

Two Hours Old

Two Hours Old

One Year Old Today!

One Year Old Today!

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7.00am

Flashback: I have been lying awake for two hours. Rather considerably bigger and fatter yet rather considerably less the woman I am today (in more ways than one). 40 weeks and 1 day pregnant. The size of an average sized whale (which I don’t know the dimensions of for sure but I imagine is rather large). No longer able to put on my own socks without assistance, or roll over in bed without making unattractive grunting noises and taking ten minutes to rearrange my huge nest of various shaped pillows. I have probably just hauled myself back in bed from taking my 32nd trip to the toilet of the night. I am lying here wondering if this squeezing sensation in my pelvis is the real deal and not another cruel bout of false contractions. Well they’ve been every 15 minutes like clockwork and if I had to describe the pain I would probably be using the word ‘wave’. Ooomph there’s another one. No, this is definitely different. Ow. Maybe I should wake Ant…

Flashforward: I sit and watch Kai smearing his hair with banana and laughing hysterically at the ceiling. I love you my odd child. How incredibly blissfully restful boring and empty my life must have been before you.

7.30am

Flashback:I wake up Ant and tell him that, although I don’t want him to panic, I think this may be it. He jumps up gleefully to phone work and tell them he’s not coming in today. Dosser – any excuse for a day off is a cause for celebration in Ant’s eyes. Haha enjoy it my dear, it’s the last ‘day off’ you’re going to get for a while. Say about 18 years.

Flashforward:I emerge from the shower to find Ant holding Kai like an unexploded bomb. “He smells”, declares Ant when asked what is wrong. Yes I imagine he probably does smell since he has just evacuated about a week’s worth of poo from his behind. Thank you for bringing this to my attention honey. Here, you pin him down/distract him by putting things on your head and  and I’ll try and clean him up quick before he  crawls off and covers himself/the bed/me in excrement. I suddenly fear I may have got the short end of the straw, or the messy end anyway. Do you remember when we used to have romantic long lie-ins and DIDN”T know what it felt like to be up to your arms in crap? No, neither do I.

11am

Flashback:Contractions coming good and regular now, 5-6 minutes apart and strong enough to take my full attention. It hurts but weirdly I find myself quite enjoying it all! When not breathing and rolling about on my birthing ball (which, I’ve decided is just a space hopper without the handles and the weird face – could have saved some money there, we have one in the loft), I dutifully consult the LABOUR section of my Pregnancy File, a self-compiled recepticle of knoweldge, complete with different coloured index tabs headed in my best writing. I had been pregnant for nine long months and I had been determined to be prepared. Notes had been made, checklists written. In different coloured pens and with drawings and everything.

Breathing. Check. Moving About and Staying Upright. Check.

In between contractions I also unpack and repack my hospital bag that has been sat ready for at least a month so is slightly dusty, checking on the essential items carefully planned and packed in advance.

Cooling face spray. Check. MP3 player with pre-prepared playlist of labour songs. Check. Snacks for Ant. Massage Oil. Check Check.

I phone the labour ward and they tell me I’m doing great, that that if I feel ok to keep going at home to do so, and phone again when I get to 4-5 minutes contractions. No problem Midwife lady! I’m fine! Ok it hurts a bit but I’ve been waiting for this moment for nine long months and god dammit I’m going to do it well – all is under control. I have my file!! Over-achiever? Me? Nooo…. but if I was then I would DEFINITELY get an A+.

Flashforward: Me and my best friend Helen buy the biggest chocolate cake we can find to take to our Breastfeeding Support Group to celebrate the birthday of our boys (who were born on the same day) and a whole year of successful breastfeeding despite many difficulties along the way. We feel this is extra symbolic in that chocolate is probably the only thing to have kept us both alive this last year and able to keep up with the demands of our respective milk monsters.

3.00pm

Flashback:Ok, this is REALLY hurting now. Ow. I lie bent over my footstool with a hot water balanced on my back and watch Bill Bailey DVDs to take my mind of things but it’s getting kind of hard to stay serene and calm. My breathing is getting kind of huffy. I may be starting to moan a little. I dutifully make a note of every contraction and am getting a bit discouraged to see that they’re STILL 5-6 minutes apart, shouldn’t they be getting closer together by now?

We take a walk, pausing every 5-6 minutes for my to clutch Ant and sway and do my moany sound. Poor neighbours, I must be quite a sight. It rains and we get completely drenched and decide to go home.

I’m a bit fed up now. And I think Ant is getting bored. Look he’s given up rubbing my back to go play Football Manager…

Flashforward: Me and Kai snuggle up for nap. His head is pushed as far into my armpit as he can make it go. I look at the size of that head. Bloody hell that’s a big head. I try not to think about where that head forcibly appeared a bit later, exactly one year ago. It certainly wasn’t my armpit.

4.30pm

Flashback: I don’t believe this. My contractions have stopped. I haven’t had anything for half and hour now. No. No No NO NO NOOOOO THIS IS NOT HOW IT’S SUPPOSED TO GO!!! Surely this couldn’y have all been false labour? I had endured 12 hours of pretty intense contractions. Was it all for nothing? Was I going to have to do it all again in another few days? DAMMIT I HAD MOVED ABOUT AND BREATHED AND BEEN SERENE (mostly) AND EVERYTHING!!!  Sobbing, I phone the Labour ward again, exhausted and defeated, and demand to know what the hell is going on and why why why have they stopped. A kind but slightly patronising midwife tells me I’m probably just experiencing mild (mild?? MILD???!) practise contractions and that this wasn’t established labour yet. Go take some paracetamol and have an early night she tells me.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

I sob and sob. My whole world has fallen apart. I am officially going to be pregnant forever. But, oh, OWW! that was another contraction, sob sob, god dammit stop playing with me baby!!!! Are you coming out or not?? Pretty soon the contractions are back to every 5 minutes but after the midwife’s assessment I have lost all confidence in them now and figure we might well be here for days yet.

That’s it. I want my mum.

Flashforward: Nothing particularly interesting happened…. sorry. Kai whinged. I think I ate some Orios?

To be continued…

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