Monday, June 26, 2006


Things are slowing down, which is probably the wrong way around. I feel as though there's not enough time left in my life. Not enough space. Not enough of me left to last - and I'm slowing down, wasting what I have left, watching the days drip by, thing after thing.

All the things that have to be done are so relentlessly unappealing but all the things I want to do seem impossible, every demand on my time is like bamboo under the fingernails. I need to drift and be rudderless for a while but it's impossible, the course is unremittingly set. There's not enough time and there may never again be enough time.

and there's so much more to say.

Monday, June 19, 2006

The rocky waters of the nile...

At last, the winds of reality have struck and the waters of denial are getting choppy. With 10 weeks to go and no preparations made, D and I may be beginning to wake up to the fact that this is not just another shopping opportunity and that not only are we going to have to purchase one of those buggies we've been comparing but we may actually have to fill it with a baby.

Certain words are now guaranteed to bring me out in Braxton Hick's contractions... words such as 'nursery', 'antenatal', 'classes', 'car-seat' and 'layette' (not to mention 'taxes' another port on the long river of denial). I made the mistake of looking through a catalogue at the section devoted to babies the other day and the sheer weight of crap one is expected to buy is just mind-boggling. Bottles and sterilisers and travel bags and changing mats and nappy buckets and butt-cream and baby baths, night-lights and mobiles and sleep-bags and cushions and monitors and play mats and... well, basically, a long list of things that we've not got, we've not thought about and furthermore don't have room for either.

I have long been campaigning for the damp-proofing of our tiny little corridor of a cellar as I have this dream that I can convert it and have a box-sized, cosy little office down there. D has rightly ridiculed me for this however given the above, we do need a damp-proof storage space. So, I got a quote this week for the work and the resulting figure of £5000 has caused an enormous wave of reality to fling itself over our bow (ok this metaphor has had it) and we are suddenly in preparation mode.

What this means is that we have started scraping 100 years of damp and mortar accretions from the bricks in the cellar and painting them with a damp membrane. We do of course know that the effect of this will be that in about a years time this membrane will be hanging off the wet bricks like a rubber curtain but leave us to our dreams. The plan is to scrub everything, seal the bricks, paint the walls, concrete and seal the floor, install a de-humidifier and hope for the best. At worst, we'll have a dust-proof room down there and at best, somewhere to store all those things that once the blodger arrives will have no home.

So far, so good. It should take a couple of weeks, by the end of which we can celebrate with a fun-for-the-whole-family trip to Ikea to purchase some basement storage units, coat rails and other diversion tactics. After that, of course, we will have no excuse to put anything off anymore and will actually have to order that cot-bed, the car-seat and buy a few outfits (and some for the baby...).

That is, of course, if we don't end up in an episode of 'House' being diagnosed for some un-heard of disease that's been lying dormant in the old mortar of our bricks.

I've been having recurring dreams about 'House' recently - not, sadly, lascivious dreams about Hugh Laurie playing 'Doctor' - but dreams in which I'm strapped to a bed with loads of actors panicking around me, knowing that I'm about to die. Death seems to be appearing a lot in my dreams, I dreamed the other night that my corpse was being pulled out of a bog and before that, that I was dead and drifting alone in the void, surrounded by un-named horrors. I think this is like drawing the 'Death' card in tarot and, rather than some presage of disaster, is merely reality trying to get a look in and telling me that my old life is now coming to an end and a new one beginning.

And, before the bluebirds start twittering round my head and Louis Armstrong launches into 'What a Wonderful World', I have to add that I am terrified of this new life and only hope that when it arrives I will be able once again to drink vodka, play pool, ride my motorbike, have a conversation that does not center around the blob, bend over without running out of breath, sleep on my stomach without being surrounded by a nest of pillows, walk without my thighs rubbing together at the top or my feet swelling out of my Birkenstocks, drink real coffee, play poker without having to be two feet away from the table, stand up without my back aching, walk down the street without a hundred people staring at my belly, buy new clothes in a normal size, wear shoes with heels on them, eat yoghurt for pleasure not calcium and live my life without measuring it in weeks.

Because I tell you, I miss all those things a hell of a lot.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

feet the size of a planet....

There's not much going on at the moment. Not much at all. Not much of interest anyway. Things proceed as no doubt they are supposed to proceed. Everything is swell. More exactly, everything has swelled. My stomach, my feet, my wrists, my ankles, you name it, it's gotten bigger.

My feet have taken on a particular growth cycle of their own, not to mention mood swings. I have no idea when I wake up what is going to be attached to the ends of my legs. I sleep with my feet elevated most nights but only on some mornings have I managed to achieve a point where the bones in my normally scrawny feet are visible.

My feet, for all their problems, have been two parts of me which have always remained immune to the vagarities of my weight. Yes, they're big. Yes, my toes are freakishly long. Yes, I appear to have one more ankle bone than most people do - but one thing I have always been able to say about my feet with some accuracy is that they are thin. Skinny, in fact. Bony. And, for all their length and calcification, reasonably elegant. High, firm arches. Smooth skin. Slender ankles.

Not any more.

Somewhere along the line I traded in my old feet for a pair of balloon-animal feet. Feet which have creases at the bottom of their fat little toes. Feet where the skin is stretched so tight that it hurts the skin to move them. Feet with no visible bone structure. Feet which merge seamlessly into the calves with no visible ankle mechanism. Feet which take on the impression of whatever is laid next to them - shoe straps, sock patterns, other feet. Feet which hit the floor on every available surface - fat, swollen, arch-less feet.

Walking on these feet feels exactly how one would expect it to feel - like walking with a pair of balloon animals strapped to the bottom of ones legs. Shoes no longer fit. Sandals are stretched to their limits. Ship-builders are being contracted in to create land-based corracles to fit them.

The upshot is that I spend all my time with my feet in the air which helps only in as much as an ankle bone may begin to take shape under the skin but only for as long as the foot is up. This means that I am currently in the market for a house elf to do all the work for me. I haven't vacuumed in two weeks and the only dinners I am capable of creating come out of a box - or worse, a bag.

Poor D is performing his house-elf duties with remarkable forbearance however what I need is not help here and there, it's a full-service agreement with detailing. Foot massage, lymphatic drainage, total French waiter attention with icecream on top.

What I need most, however, is my old body back - it wasn't perfect but by god it did what it was told.

Oh, it's a lot of fun this pregnancy business. A lot of fun. It's a journey around one's own biology with a stop on a new continent every day.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

An organised collection of tubing

I begin to notice the transit of various substances through my body as being something outside of normal.

Take blood for example (although you'll have to queue behind my midwife). As there has been no time in my life since the day the first blood vessel formed that it has not been making it's way around my system, one would think that against the general panorama of strange happenings in the world of my body that my circulation would pass un-noticed. But no. No no no. There's more of it, you see. More blood. Meaning higher blood, pressure. Meaning either I can hear it pumping away or the sea has moved conveniently close to my house. While my 'BP' as the docs call it is still lower than most normal standy-uppy humans and not to be worried about, my previous condition as a vaguely anaemic person with blood pressure of little over nothing (combined with my new status as Hurricane Hormones) means that I am hypersensitive to the movement of blood through my system. No really, it keeps me awake.

But that's nothing. Think of eating. My digestion is slowing down so much that each stage is amplified. Swallowing. The stomach filling. Digesting. You can imagine the rest. Really, all this time I thought I was a body and I find out I am merely an organised collection of tubes and valves straining and popping away like some mad Victorian engine dreamed up by Terry Gilliam and Ralph Steadman after a night on the Wife Beater.

And swollen joints. Fluid taking a time-out from the general hurly-burly of circulation collects around my joints for a gossip meaning that movement of ankles is limited, rings have to come off, my watch doesn't fit - even my capilliaries are in revolt.

The blob is now inhabiting a fair percentage of the space between my hip bones and ribs normally reserved for minor organs such as my liver, kidneys, stomach, bladder and, oh yes, my lungs. While he's not taking all of the space (yet) there is a definite internal shifting, particularly notable during any manoevre that requires bending. While it's not an enormous displacement, the feeling that everything is being shunted around a bit is definitely there.

It's quite disconcerting, turning one's gaze from the surfaces of hair/skin/figure/nails/teeth to the inner world of plumbing, chemistry and engineering but it's increasingly hard to ignore.

3 months more of this and I shall be looking at myself completely inside out.