Sunday, December 30, 2007


Phyllis/Thomas mixture
Originally uploaded by
When we were considering having a child, Thomas decided to play about with gimp mixing our features to see what kind of child we might make. Strangely after seeing both our possible future daughter, pictured here (my face with Thomas's eyes and mouth) and our potential son, I still agreed to go ahead. I must have been mad or brave or both. Fortunately, Anna does not yet seem to resemble this freaky child!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Sunday, December 23, 2007


I saw Thomas had blogged the birth right the way through from the triage farce to the arrival of Anna. I thought I'd leave myself a day or two to get over the shock before blogging the same from my perspective!
We'd had a bit of a fraught 3 days where I monitored every twinge, mainly because Thomas's parents had flown in to meet the baby so we so desperately didn't want their trip to be in vain... Anna had other plans however. Finally on Tuesday, the date I had calculated from my period to be my due date, Thomas came home from work and mentioned an ex-colleague, Elspeth, had suggested a massage between my thumb and forefinger would do the trick. Laughing, he held each of my hands and rubbed them for 30 seconds or maybe less. An hour later, I sat down on the couch to watch Gordon Ramsay and felt my waters break! Coincidence, I suspect! It was 7-30pm. I monitored contractions thereafter. They were mild and infrequent and by 10pm I figured labour wasn't going to start till morning.

In bed I felt them become stronger and didn't manage to sleep. After midnight I felt things were becoming more imminent so I woke Thomas and my dad at 1am. In the 20 or so minutes I waited on my parents to arrive to babysit the others, I had frequent, painful but short contractions so assumed the birth would be like Pudge's and mentally estimated it at 10am.
On arrival at triage, a fairly grumpy midwife confirmed I was only 1 to 2cm dilated and insisted I lie on a bed hooked up to 2 monitors, one measuring contractions, the other, the baby's heartbeat for half an hour. This was sheer torture. Anyone who has ever been in labour knows lying on your back is on a par with lying on a train track watching the virgin west coast intercity hurtling towards you. Unable to lie still I watched these monitors slip all around my belly, not registering any of the contractions while the grumpy midwife waited next door, popping in flippantly declaring from time to time that I wasn't really contracting much... if I'd been within reach of a machete, Derek would have been defending me in court next week! Not bloody contracting? I was contracting every 3 or 4 minutes for a minute or more. Worse still the baby heart monitor was also slipping about, not registering, so looking like the baby was asleep, therefore confirming to the numpty nurse that my baby wasn't even noticing the contractions and therefore that I wasn't really in labour yet. She suggested returning home or sleeping overnight in an all-female ward while waiting for labour to start. I had been unable to sit in dad's car on the way in at 1-30, so I sure wasn't going to sit in a taxi back then in my dad's car again the following morning at rush hour. I also didn't believe I wasn't in labour as I couldn't stand, walk, sit, lie and was in excruciating pain. I quite believed it would take all night as I have always had 20 hour labours but I knew I was already in advanced labour.
We reluctantly opted for the women's ward. I was quite annoyed given the triage ward with its 3 or 4 beds was completely empty and Thomas was allowed there. He went out to reception, I went next door to another empty ward and they left me beside a hospital bed that was up as high as it could go in a room where all the chairs were at the other side of the room. I was in too much pain to try to adjust the bed, I was in too much pain to cross the room to get a chair. Between the next 2 or 3 contractions, I slowly crossed the room and walked a chair back, unable to lift it. I had been abandoned so couldn't ask for help. I sat down on the chair backwards leaning on the back and waited maybe another 15 minutes. I felt desperately sick and started to reanalyse my birth plan request for no morphine. Morphine makes me sick so I didn't want it but figuring I already felt like vomiting and potentially had another 8 hours ahead alone, I decided to attempt to cross the room to the buzzer and ask the midwife's opinion. It took ten minutes to walk the 10 paces to the buzzer. A new midwife arrived nonchalantly on the scene. I started to explain I was considering morphine for those reasons when I felt a great deal of pressure in my bottom. The midwife looked panicked and asked me to quickly jump on the bed for an internal because I wasn't acting like the 1cm dilated patient they had been told to expect and had been ignoring assuming she was tucked up in bed for the night.
She helped me on to the bed and put her fingers into me. I'm so sorry, she told me - I assumed that was to be followed by - you are still only 2cm dilated but in fact it was followed by: you shouldn't be here, you should be upstairs, you are nearly 7cm dilated and if you have dilated that far in half an hour you must be in terrible pain! I cancelled the morphine, realizing the degree of pain was actually in keeping with the degree of labour... and I wished once more for a machete..
Buzzers were pressed, wheelchairs ordered, Thomas found and we ran to the lifts to get me upstairs in a record 5 minutes. Within 10 minutes of arriving upstairs, I was fully dilated and ready to start the pushing phase. I remember little of the next 15 minutes. I know there were foetal heart problems and I was made to turn round while a monitor was fitted. I know I was given oxygen and it ran out which felt like someone was strangling me, so I had to scream at them twice that the tank was empty before they heard.
Finally I felt her head pop out about 30 minutes after arriving upstairs. The nurse, this one was lovely, as was the 2nd one, started to tell me not to push her out till the next contraction, but as I felt her shoot across the bed, simply fell silent. The heart problems, it turned out, were caused by the cord being wrapped around her neck.
Thomas tells me he cut the cord but to be honest, I was only vaguely aware of that, as I was still shaking in shock on the bed slowly coming to terms with going through 10 hours of labour in slightly more than 1h30!
I think they felt guilty at the cock-up because the usual 1 hour you get to spend together postnatally in delivery eating toast went on from 4-24am to 7am, in this case, leaving me time for a bath, some extra toast and also the loss of several scarily large bloodclots.

Saturday, December 22, 2007



I have now had 4 kids, all at the Queen Mother's maternity hospital in Glasgow. As the trance of birth, caused by pain or adrenalin or whatever wears off each time, I find myself slowly rejoining reality staring up at the ceiling where in the corner of each room is a socket and wondering what possible purpose a socket 3 metres off the ground can serve? Now, I didn't have any drugs the last 3 times so this is definitely not just in my imagination and to prove it this time I got Thomas to take a photo of it along with the many others he took of Anna that day... Answers on a postcard please!?


Today was a bit of an eye opener. At one point I mentioned that the baby needed to eat. Léon suggested 'tatoes. I replied that babies only ate milk at first. He went to the kitchen looking for a cup. I told him that I meant the milk in my breasts and he looked completely blank. Bearing in mind I breastfed Léon until he was 22 months old and stopped during our trip to Denmark this summer, and considering he is now only 26 months old, I was quite surprised he had no recollection of his beloved milk. After finishing a feed I noticed Anna had milk running down her chin. I dipped my finger in it and called Léon over. Lick this, I told him. He licked, screwed up his face and announced vehemently That's disgusting water!
I feel oddly sad!

Friday, December 21, 2007


After mentioning a few days ago that I'd have a comment to make if the baby should turn up on the due date predicted by my period rather than by my scan - well she did neither but my waters did break on the 18th...

Monday, December 17, 2007


Saw this last week - I thought I'd share it with you:

If pregnancy were a book, the editor would probably cut the last 2 chapters...

I can relate to that, in fact now I am past the end of the last chapter, I am beginning to wonder what the editor would do with the epilogue!

Sunday, December 16, 2007


I can't help but notice that poor Dougal has finally died and his stuffed body is being used ornamentally outside Silverburn shopping centre - who on earth thought a stuffed Dougal was in any way aesthetically pleasing or a positive addition to the Pollock landscape? Who decides what is artistic and what isn't, I wonder?

Saturday, December 15, 2007


This baby has my reputation in tatters - I have never got beyond week 39+ before and here I am sitting 1 day overdue with no more twinges or contractions than I was having back on November 30th. Now, I can think of two reasons: Is it the different genetic make-up that is causing this or is it the so-called advances in medicine? I mean all my other due dates were based on my last menstrual period plus 40 weeks, but this one was originally given to me as December 18th but changed to December 14th once scan measurements were taken, the hospital claiming that scans were much more accurate than the human menstrual cycle... If she does happen to turn up Tuesday, I know what I'll be saying about scans but that'll be cold comfort to Thomas's parents who flew in yesterday for 3 days to meet someone who, for now, is still cosily tucked up on my insides! Will attempt one last curry and raspberry tea tonight for their benefit but I don't hold out much hope :-(

Hope this posting answers the flood of email arriving in my inbox daily, entitled: 'You still here?'

Friday, December 14, 2007


In exactly 56 minutes I will be 40 weeks pregnant. I have never been 40 weeks pregnant before in my life. I am not a happy bunny. Forty seems to be becoming a more and more significant number in my life at the moment...6 weeks till I'm 40 years old, 40 weeks pregnant - as long as it doesn't also mean 40 hours in labour.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Have I moaned about our new kitchen? It looked fairly bland but functional when we first moved in - how wrong can first impressions be? Firstly, when there are 5 of you and 2 out at work, then the dishes take every free minute in the evening and leave you no time for DIY, family life etc, so number one priority had to be to buy a dishwasher we couldn't afford and have Thomas plumb it in as plumbers are too dear.
Then there's the built-in oven. Now if you bought a house with a dirty built-in oven - wouldn't you assume it had actually been used? Or would you assume John Wayne had been round with his cowboy mates building it in without actually linking it to the electric circuit, and worse still tiling over the cooker socket so you can't find it to reattach? A real electrician has since quoted us £250 to rewire it all the way to circuit board 2 rooms away...
At least the integral fridge and freezer are working... well kind of - I mean the light doesn't work in the fridge so I'm not overly sure it works at all and milk goes off every 2nd day because it isn't cold enough but at least there's nothing wrong with the freezer - well apart from the fact that the door fell off it last week so it suddenly didn't look so integral, oh and the fact that today everything in the top drawer defrosted suddenly without warning. Talk about bloody cowboys - it is just as well we were planning to install a new kitchen eventually anyway but it is so frustrating not being able to make anything at all oven based in the meantime - with kids constantly moaning about steak pies and pizzas and Yorkshire puddings... I just hope they didn't use John and his mates for the extension too!

Monday, December 10, 2007


For months now all we've been hearing about is global warming, carbon footprints and all that stuff. We're all supposed to stop flying and go back to holidaying in Largs, to work from home and recycle everything from our knickers to our beer bottles...maybe Al Gore hasn't driven through Newton Mearns recently - the true cause of global warming is here and on display for everyone to see - just beside the new expressway to East Kilbride! ;-)


Today, with still no baby on the scene, I have managed to gut the kitchen, find the tools in the garage despite the 2 degree temperature outside, sand down a chest of drawers and give it 2 coats of varnish, fix two antique lamps by taking them to pieces, then take the hoover to pieces and fix it, removing about 3 years of long hair entwined in its blades, tidy and hoover the living room and administer piriton to Pudge who seems to have developed an allergy to the sweets he was given at HCP's staff Christmas party yesterday, and administer paracetamol to Marcel who is running a temperature...Tonight I have a hospital appointment to check me over - if I can fit it in! Oh and I'm just back from the doctor who has ascertained the baby who was the right way round last week is now OP - grrrrrr!

Saturday, December 08, 2007


Now that I have resigned myself to the fact that baby wotsit is in no rush, I feel like I am finally getting somewhere. I decided to DIY. I started, gingerly standing on a chair and a toy chest so I could attach a row of screws above Marcel's window, so I could then attach a curtain rail and thereafter a pair of curtains. Neither the chair nor the toy chest broke under my weight - result! After that I decided to stain and varnish the toy chest, and after that I decided to repair a ceiling-height bookshelf and then stain and varnish that. Next on my list was starting to work my way through Pudge's room, sorting toys, throwing out pieces of ex-toys and trying to find the floor. I didn't quite get that task finished but hey - not bad for 39+ weeks pregnant, no?

Nesting instinct? Never...?


I read today with little surprise that Scotland's population is falling because we aren't having enough kids. (Ok, refrain from any comments on me myself)!
Now Scotland, if you don't know it, is a country where the average female graduate salary does not cover two simultaneous private nursery places for under 5s, where the average house price requires two salaries to pay it and where students aren't out of debt from their uni days till they are into their 30s... and they report people are having less than two kids but want more... hmmm - I know I'm no rocket scientist but come on?

Friday, December 07, 2007


Originally uploaded by viralbus
In the flat we have an all-in-one fridge freezer with the fridge on the top. I hadn't realized until the last few days quite how much less hassle that is with little kids. Here in the house we have a hopefully-soon-to-be-replaced built-in fridge and freezer separately under the worktops. Not only don't they work - milk goes off after a couple of days, but they are space-consuming and patently way too accessible! Two or three days ago I found yogurt on the living room carpet and on investigation found Léon had helped himself to yogurt he could reach but eaten it with his fingers given he can't reach the cutlery drawer :-(
Today took the biscuit though. I was busy in the living room. Everyone else in the family was upstairs... Léon was quiet... Léon was too quiet. He walked in and announced 'cheese' to me then walked up to Thomas and announced 'ost', and proceeded to sit down on his little red chair and munch his way through at least half a block of mature cheddar before I managed to salvage enough to put over everyone else's pasta!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


I had absolutely no intention of reaching my last day in the office, assuming, like last time, that the baby would be well and truly on the outside long before the end of last week, so to find myself still pregnant nearly a week after my cake is wholly unacceptable! I am now 1 day off reaching 39 weeks and starting into my 40th week - come on, what is going on?! Anyone would think it is warm and cosy in there compared to Glasgow in December... hmmmm, maybe she has a point... I wouldn't mind so much if I hadn't had to endure a week of contractions on and off, like the baby is taking the mickey...
I suppose if I was a betting man, my money would be on tomorrow... I am meant to be going to a funeral in the morning and Charlotte also wants me to go into school to take part in some Christmas-decoration-making activity for parents, not to mention my book club also expects me to make an appearance at 7ish, having finished some book I haven't had the energy to start because of all the contractions!
Failing that I'd go for Sunday - the date for the HarperCollins annual staff childrens' Xmas party - failure to attend that is sure to find me dead, knifed in my bed one morning given that it can be summed up as 2 hours solid free teethrotting sweets positively being forced upon them plus a free gift :-\


A sleepy sausage
Originally uploaded by PhylB
How can anyone fall this soundly asleep after a car journey lasting less than 3 minutes?! I guess someone had a hard day!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


Charlotte the hairdresser
Originally uploaded by viralbus
You may remember in the spring, Marcel was stupid enough to cut off his hair. At the time I thought I'd dealt with all the available stupidity in this family. This weekend Charlotte was at André's. When she comes back she usually has straggly hair falling in her eyes and we argue about the need for her to comb her hair, and put in a hair clasp. This Sunday though she returned with her hair combed and swept away from her eyes. On Monday after school, however I got a closer look, the crazy child had only gone and done exactly the same as her brother! They each have a cow's lick to the right of their forehead - and now apparently they have both decided to find out the hard way that simply cutting it short does not stop it from growing that way. The only problem is that where Marcel's hair could be cut short and regrow in a month or so, Charlotte's is supposed to be the same length all round - so if that 2 mm chunk is now to reach half way down her back - we are looking at a 3 year wait - silly girl. And why do that a week before I am likely to want to take a photo or 20 of her with her new sister. Give me strength!

Sunday, December 02, 2007


Mutton biryani
Originally uploaded by trudence
Today Thomas and I decided to go for lunch at the little known Village Curry House in Glasgow's Nelson street. It isn't at all expensive but uses some of the freshest ingredients you can get and really is worth the detour. Better still, because it doesn't serve any alcohol, it compensates by making what has to be the yummiest mango smoothies in the West of Scotland. Every time we go there, I make a mental note to myself not to go to any other Indian restaurants ever again. Please remind me next time.

(By the way, the curry didn't work, so I'm away to make another cup of raspberry tea...) :-(

Saturday, December 01, 2007


I have been unable to do any DIY all day - I've managed the washing and putting on the dishwasher and am now trying to psych myself up to hanging up the washing, but I did start the day intending to wash, iron, tidy, paint a toy chest, hang some curtains, get some Xmas shopping and pick up some furniture from the flat. Instead I have sat on the couch grumping like a large tired whale watching Gordon Ramsay swear at people - quite therapeutic. So I thought I'd google some natural ways to induce birth, figuring if I am too heavy with Bart on the inside to do anything useful, I need to get Bart on the outside. Julie did give me the raspberry tea mentioned on this list as a leaving present when I left work yesterday. Three cups on it has done eff all, though it is quite pleasantly fruity. I must say I find some of the suggestions more tempting than others, and haven't rushed for the castor oil yet. Maybe my best bet is to send Thomas out to buy me some new, expensive fancy pants before la Senza up at ASDA closes tonight...