Monday, May 29, 2006

A picture of my garden for my mother

And here's a picture from the garden this afternoon - Mum this is the cyanothus in bloom!

on the limbo travelator

Lots of things are happening in slow motion at the moment. I am aware that with only 3 months left to go that there's not much time left in which to do everything I want/need/ought to do and that there's simutaneously waaay too much time left in this pregnancy. To wish the time away would be to wish away the last remaining days of what I am referring to in my head as 'my youth', somewhat of an exageration given my years but let's just let that rest for a moment. To loll about selfishly enjoying them would be to waste what is left of the time we have in which to prepare.

Resultantly, we're not doing anything. This weekend is the last bank holiday weekend BP (Before Panic) and we had vague plans to drive around, to go to movies, to enjoy ourselves, you know the sort of thing. Instead, apart from see friends for dinner, we have done nothing. Nothing. Not 'nothing' meaning lying in bed feeding each other grapes or laying in the garden reading - no, 'nothing' meaning checking our emails, doing laundry and killing time stone dead with details and non-entity work.

In some way I feel really awful - listless, restless and vaguely uncomfortable, as if I'm on a long bus ride and I've just finished my last book. There are so many things I can't do, so many things I should be doing but don't want to do that finding something that I actually want to do and can do is too much effort, so I pfaff about. I can't go shopping for pleasure because where-ever I go I am reminded that I am huge, a monstrous blob who will be unable to buy anything new and lovely for ages - who will be unable to fit into anything new and lovely for ages.

D and I have had a demonstration of cloth nappies and are really keen to use them. This briefly galvanised us to plan a trip to a department store to test out some buggies and prams but we've done no more than plan. The problem is that after half an hour we'll be bored, I'll have to wee, then eat, then sit down and poor old D will have to squire me to the nearest restaurant and get indigestion in the name of his wife fulfilling her craving for natchos/grilled cheese sandwiches/icecream/whatever is next on the list. And, because it takes me ages to rouse myself in the mornings, by the time the bill arrives it's too late to go anywhere but home. Even when we do manage to go and see friends it takes ages to stop talking about the baby and get onto more interesting things and poor old D is just sick of it, I can tell.

I ease my cravings for baby contact with a group of other Mums-to-be online. It's good to know others going through much the same things at the same time but odd not to know them face to face - to worry about them, laugh with them and yet never see them. However this means I am online a lot which is another way of throwing stones in the general direction of time.

So, life goes on and on and on, much like the rain and I keep thinking 'What can I do so that in three months time I don't look back and say 'why didn't I...???''

The belly of the beast

Saturday, May 27, 2006

odd credibility

I seem to have achieved an unlikely sort of credibility with the young muscle boys who staff my gym, a combination of having ridden a motorbike and now, keeping up with my gym sessions while 6 months pregnant. It's very odd as a 41 year old woman to get such a warm welcome from a demographic which would normally ignore me if not dismiss me entirely - but no, they give me a big welcome when I show up at the gym - they ask about the baby, they ask about the bike, they gather around... it's very endearing and completely surprising. So, ladies of a certain age... it's not glamourous, it's not sexy but you can still have cred. Sort of like being the cool granny who still has a glass of wine and says 'fuck'.

On the baby front I've reached the 6 month mark and the sudden growth I had at 5 months hasn't slowed down much. I look like I have a duvet up my jumper and I am having trouble getting comfortable. When I sit at my desk at work it's like having a beachball in my lap and I can't bear the thought of the next 3 months... hence the gym and my desperate attempt to limit the actual fat content of all this new girth.

The world continues to be a nicer place however. Seats appear on tubes. Little old ladies smile at me. Also, I get much more enjoyment out of stupid things, like watching My Name is Earl and looking at the props. Which makes the world more enjoyable. Which helps. And, it's a bank holiday weekend.

Now if only I could get comfortable.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

strange cravings...

I notice that I seem to have a new craving - something that I wouldn't normally have anything to do with, something that I don't actually like, but something I can't seem to get enough of... What is it you may ask? Bleach? Coal? Pepperami? Nope, it's the act of talking about my pregnancy.

What a holy bore I've become - and the worst thing about it is that everyone indulges me, all the time. I can see my friend's glazing over - 'Here she goes again, blathering on about her ankles and her blood pressure - just indulge her'. They smile and nod, they ask polite questions about whether the baby is kicking and I hose them down with a waterfall of information about my digestion. I mean, really. I Must Be Stopped. And it bore me too - bores me relentlessly. All the questions. 'When's it due?' 'Are you excited?' 'Is it kicking?' 'Do you know... oh a boy, why did you find out?' Well why did you ASK?

So I make a feeble effort to turn the conversation away to something else but sure as eggs are eggs, back it steers. Hideous. I don't really want to talk about it - honestly. It's just that talking about it is easier than THINKING about it, which is really quite frightening. The list of things to do is looming and people are beginning to ask about it ("have you started the room/buying clothes/choosing cots/contacting nurseries yet?" "NO! Fuck off!")

As people become more familiar with the pregnant version of me, they stop asking questions and start commenting. "You'd better start planning for child-care now you know" "You're only going to get bigger, heh heh heh" "I wouldn't do that at your age for any money" "Where are you going to put all this stuff when the baby comes?" "That's it for your whole life now, I guess" "He's going to have to come out somehow" (really??)

It's like the grimy underbelly of this strange new universe I'm in where everyone is nice to me "Here, have extra for the baby" "oh no, you first" "Let me carry that" "Would you like my seat?" "Here, put your feet up" "Ooh, you really are huge now, aren't you?". A nice, comforting feeling of safety followed by a baseball bat of reality to the head - 'Ah yes', says the world, 'we're letting you enjoy the next few months because the rest of your life is going to be a BIG NIGHTMARE!!!! Moo ha ha haaaa!'

Ultimately, if I stopped talking about it, so would everyone else, but... well it's really hard not to talk about it. It's like dream-topping conversation - easy, instant, content-free. It's about all my brain can handle.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

The patters cometh...

Ah the Patters. Not, as you might imagine, the pattering of tiny feet but the patting of bellies. Of my belly, to be precise. Pat pat pat, there they go, the patters, patting away as if I have a big 'pat me' sign engineered to the enlarging mass of my midriff. I don't, I've checked. OK so I'm knocked up, bun in the oven, one in the goal, up the duff, preggers, hiding Larry in the haystack, in the family way, showing, blooming, at one with the mother goddess, pregnant. One would think by the way my tummy gets fondled by hands strange and familiar that I am single-handedly carrying the future of the human race.

The last two weeks have seen an influx of family, relatives and various friends, many of whom have taken the opportunity to lay hands on my elasticated waistband and make goo goo faces at me. Oddly, it seems the closer people are to me and the most likely therefore to have permission to actually lay hands on me, the less likely they are to actually do so. Perhaps they know that I bite. My parents, for example, possibly didn't lay a finger on the bump. My husband has to have his hand actively dragged to it. For others, however no such fear seems to exist. A few have gotten away with it on merit... notably my Uncle Peter, 'Peter the Patter' who by virtue of being a priest and therefore blessing the bump with each touch is allowed as many pats as he can handle - in fact I would install him permanently in the spare room if he wasn't needed by his parishioners in Canada, those pesky pixies. The majority, by which I mean work colleagues, have gotten away with it purely because social mores dictate that baring my teeth and hissing like an alley-cat in meetings would probably lose me my job.

They warn you about this, ‘they’, the pregnancy books, Those Who Have Gone Before (ie, half my friends), the magazines, they warn you that at some mystery point in pregnancy one becomes public property but it really is a shocker, not least because I have clearly passed the invisible line between public and private property, the line between 'chub ball' and 'pregnant woman' and pretending that this is just a temporary experience is becoming more and more difficult.

The other side effect of this is that every single woman (and I mean this Every Single One) who I know or work with who has had a baby - including some people I have only just met - have told me their birth stories. Every one. I can tell you how long the labour was, how many stitches and what they were doing when their waters broke for every Mother in my office, all my friends and a neighbour. AND, which is worse, the wives of nearly ALL of the Dads AND the friends of some of the non-parents. Seriously. People can't stop themselves. It's like this veil drops down over their eyes, their minds shut down and all they can think about is how amazing it is that a baby ACTUALLY fits through 'down there' and how I really must be warned because obviously I need to know. Seriously. I have been trapped in the corridor between two offices at least three times by women recounting their labour stories. Worse, on two occasions they were joined by someone else passing by who chipped in with their wifes/best friend's/own labour. Once, the person passing by was one who had stopped me already so I got to hear her story twice. I was in a meeting with 5 other woman and one man and there were technical troubles, and during the technical troubles I heard two new stories and the one I'd heard twice for the third time. I am deadly serious, it's like some sort of madness. Clearly I have to try to battle this urge should I successfully give birth and then encounter a pregnant woman or I will have to put myself up against a wall and shoot myself.

So that's it, no more to report. After nearly a month of visitors, late days at work and social functions I am officially knackered, worn out, scrapped, puffed and ready to collapse. The same cannot be said of The Blob who is a definite fidget-pants. He celebrated his last ordeal by scan by moving around so much that the doctors couldn't get a good look at him for ages. He is apparently looking as good as possibly and while anomalies cannot be ruled out (except the anomaly of having me and D for parents), all is well and he is, I am assured actually in there...

So, this is it. I'm pregnant. In three and a half months time, there will be a permanent appendage strapped to my every move. I will no longer be a single person, I will have parthenogenicised into two, no matter what the biology books like to pretend. It gives me panic attacks just thinking about it. My other half is dealing slightly better than I am by seeing this all as a marvellous chance to buy new things and find new bargains. I have no idea if he realises that those lovely cots he's been looking at will one day be full of squirming flesh, puke, shit, wee and baby clothes or if he just fantasises about a minimalist white room with a cubist cot in the centre, lit by a cunning lighting plan.

I know I don't. I have absolutely no belief that at the end of this there will be a baby.

wait and see...