Friday, 16 December 2011

A mother's thought processes

Scene: interior of a bright, sunny, cluttered house. The radio and TV are both going and there are toys everywhere. Enter MOTHER and BABY.

Mother: Time for snoozies! Snoozy time! Yes it's snoozy time for my special little guy!
Baby: it? I was sure I just HAD a nap last week....
Mother: Oh yes it is! It's snoozy woozy time! Beddie-byes for the little guy!
Baby:...well if you say so.....

Baby is put to bed.

Mother: now to....
Mother: hush hush hush snoozy snoozy snoozy
Mother: zzzzzzzz zzzzzz zzzzzzzz pat pat pat
Baby....okay maybe I am a little bit tired... *shuts eyes*

Mother does a little Snoopy dance and wonders how many chores she can get done in the usual 40 minute nap stretch.

Mother: Shower. Dress. Dishes. Prepare bottles. Prepare dinner. Washing in. Washing out. Tidy bedroom.
Mother: shhhh shhhhhh pat pat pat more snoozies please
Baby: mmm okay I will give you a break today *shuts eyes*

Mother does another Snoopy dance and sits down with coffee and magazine.

Mother: There's a world out there apparently. What are all these cafes and restaurants being reviewed that I have never heard of? Who would wear THAT? That is a cool nail polish colour. I bet Baby would love that on me.

Mother: Holy shit. I've read this whole magazine. No noise from nursery. OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD
Mother: Oh thank fuck.

Mother: Maybe I should wake him. He won't sleep tonight. No I won't wake him. I'll get some more chores done. Or maybe I should rest. Catch up on Downton. No, chores. Right making baby food....weeding garden.....wrapping Christmas presents. Still no noise.
Mother: This is weird. Maybe he isn't well?
Mother: I am undecided.
Mother: Well they all say not to wake a sleeping baby. I'll take it as a bonus and treat myself to a second magazine. Gosh what a lucky Mum I am.....

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Stupid things I have done #1: Join the Brownies

Back in 1987 when I was 8 and impressionable, the sight of the older girls in their cute brown pinafores with a jaunty yellow t-shirt underneath meant I began the process of whinging to Mum that I wanted to join the Brownies.
I really wanted that uniform. I don't think I had much idea what Brownies did - I certainly wasn't the type of girl to help a little old lady across the road or learn how to tie a clove hitch in a piece of rope on a quiet afternoon - but I really wanted to stand out.
Much whinging later (Mum was demurring because she remembered her own whinging to her Mother - that she wanted to quit Brownies) enrolled I was.
That year the Guides Association upgraded all their uniforms, and instead of my cute little pinafore I had a hideous green and white spotted shirt that was too tight around the collar, a pale brown tunic and a sash, that I immediately spilt yoghurt on and never cleaned off.
It was the beginning of a lot of disappointments when it came to Brownies.
First of all there was the initiation. Everyone made a big fuss and you were the centre of attention. You pledged undying loyalty to your Brown Owl and then walked around the toadstool a few times and looked into the 'fairy pool' to see the special fairy who lived in there. Gibbering with excitement I leaned over, only to see a mirror and my own disappointed face staring back at me. The first nail in my coffin went in when I grizzled to Ms. Owl that it was just ME and how BORING. I was forever an outcast.
I got maybe 3 badges - unlike the rest of the girls who had badges sewn into the soles of their shoes. I was teased for having the 'new' uniform. I was never singled out for having the shiniest badge, even after my Sixer showed me how to polish it to a high shine on the soles of our rubber shoes. She must have taken a liking to me because she chose me as her Seconder, which meant I had an extra badge!! on my sash - sewn on wonkily and immediately stained.
The beginning of the end came with Brownie camp. The fear of God was put into me when a Brown Owl stated that if anyone lost any item of clothing or personal belongings they would have to sing a song in front of the entire camp. Of course on the first night I lost my watch. Sleepless nights ensued. A hunt around the camp had the watch turn up on a side table with a Brown Owl's belongings. Did she know it was mine? A furtive snatch and grab and a guilty conscience later, I never had to sing in front of everyone.
I did however have to dress up as a lion tamer and whip a girls' butt. Yes the big event of the camp was a Circus. We were given our roles before we left for camp and for some reason Mum decided I should wear a friend's school uniform as an outfit. This friend was also a boy. So wearing grey shorts and a grey shirt - an outfit that screams Lion Tamer if ever I saw one - I met the girl who was going to be my lion. She was all gung-ho and practising her roaring. We practised our routine for about 5 seconds and as we entered the ring I realised I had no idea what to do. My lion looked at me expectantly. I raised my wand and walked around. She immediately got into character by pouncing on my wand and rolling on the ground kicking it with her back paws. Happy to leave her to the limelight - her mane of brown knitting wool was striking - we did a couple of circuits around the ring - it was deathly quiet as I remember - and made a quick exit. I could tell my lion was not pleased with me. Where were the flaming hoops and her chance for a really good roar?
I couldn't have cared less. After a couple more half-hearted Brownie meetings - we went to some old lady's house and picked up rotting grapefruit off her lawn for our 'Do a Good Deed Every Day' - I suddenly realised I could actually be at home eating Krispies and drinking Raro and watching telly.
And that was that. I lasted a whole year and I still have my sash - yoghurt stain and all.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

BATM learning the interwebs

Dad: I got this email the other day. From my friend in England. It was an Irish joke, it was so funny.
Me: Oh hm?
Dad: Yes, I have a friend in Ireland. I’m going to FORWARD it to HIM! Because he’s Irish.
Me: *facepalm*
Dad: But I can’t find the Forward button. Can you show me?

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Brain fog

So today I have packed up my grumpy little son and taken him to the doctors to be injected with vaccines and inoculations in both little legs. To him this must have seemed like the biggest indignity. He gets extra hugs and cuddles from me and Rich. At the doctors the nurses coo over him and he has more big cuddles with Mum. Then whammo, he gets stabbed in the legs with a horrible stinging liquid. That's gotta suck. No wonder he's been rather fretful since we got back. I am sure he'll thank me for it one day.
Today's non-baby activity has been to buy the items needed to make my Christmas Cake. I normally make it in September so it has lots of times to get nice and mature, but you know, I was rather busy in September. The plan is to make it this weekend, in between feeds and sleeps and settles and washing and naps. Here's hoping it actually gets done! I use the recipe from the place I bought my cake box from - It always tastes really nice but last years was quite undercooked, so am going to cook it for an extra hour this year. I like having traditions and I hope making my cake becomes a good tradition in our family. It's funny cause I don't even like fruit cake but my step dad and father in law are both  big fans so it always gets polished off.
We recently discussed what to get Stan for Christmas this year - seems a bit ridiculous as he won't have a clue what's going on. So we decided we'd just put some money into his savings account and maybe get him a couple of shiny things - my car keys or something - and wrap them in Chrissy paper so he has something to chew on on Christmas morning. We are having it at Rich's parents this year, and with Stan being their first grandchild, I am sure he will be getting spoiled ROTTEN. Lucky little guy.
Speaking of which, I hear a squawking from the nursery...the overlord calleth.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Back in the saddle

So last night I was reading my blog archives for the first time in ages. It was strange, and sad, because I used to LOVE to write and if I may say so myself, some of that shit was fun-nay.
I've said it before that Twitter has compromised my ability to make my thought processes longer than 140 characters. So instead of racing off a well thought out, witty tweet (yes they're exactly that, all the time) I'm going to mull it, and hopefully instead turn it into a blog post.
The reason for this is that at the moment, my life is baby. That's all there is. Baby when I sleep, baby when I wake. Baby when I'm happy, baby when I'm sad. I love love love my baby, more than I could even begin to explain, but I've realised that it's unhealthy to think about babies ALL THE LIVE LONG DAY. So at least one part of my day is going to be some kind of writing. About babies, who knows. Could be about cooking. Or my garden. Or that black furry creature who lives with us (not Richard). Or about the state of the youth today. Because in my day, we didn't wear underwear as outerwear (Madonna clones excepted).
I'm also going to re-connect with my blogging pals and get reading and commenting like I used to.
Until then, here's a pic of my special little guy, being ultra cute as always.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Do Not Operate Heavy Machinery

Scene: dimly lit house interior. Random objects are scattered on every possible surface. Dinner is defrosting in the microwave. Enter AMY: dishevelled, in milk spattered feeding top, ripped leggings (not in a fashionable way) and slippers; and RICHARD: hollow-eyed, in work clothes that are also spattered in milk.

Amy: I can't find my wallet
Richard: *stares uncomprehendingly*.
Amy: My wallet. You know, the purse I keep my cards in? I can't find it.
Richard: What does it look like?
Amy: It's green. And stripy. And.....*gestures with hands*
Richard: *stares uncomprehendingly*
Amy: When did we last use it?
Amy: What day is it today? What did we do yesterday?
Richard: Did we leave the house?
Amy: What did I last buy? Have I been to the supermarket?
Richard: I'll check the car.
Amy: *empties nappy bag - nothing - and packs it up again*
Richard: Nothing.
Richard: Have you remembered where you last used it?
Amy: Was it Saturday after lunch? We went to the TAB to put a bet on the rugby? Who paid for that?
Amy: *empties nappy bag again*
Rich: *checks car again*
Amy: *opens nail polish bag of tricks that hasn't been used in weeks - finds wallet*
Amy: I found it.
Richard: Oh.


Thursday, 15 September 2011

My birth story

The day of Stan's birth was a lovely one. I had slept in, gone to my yoga class where I promised everyone I'd be back next week, headed to the Mount and got a takeaway salad and juice from Pluto where I joked with the lady that the extra pineapple in the juice might send me into labour ('Ha! I might see you tomorrow with a buggy!') and sat on the beach looking at the waves. It was a very cold day but brilliantly sunny. 
Heading home I had a hot bath and listened to my Rainbow Relaxation CD and lay in bed for a bit, then made a massive dinner of spag bol. All well and good.
Richard at this stage was sleeping in the spare room because I hadn't been sleeping well at all, so he kissed me goodnight and I settled down with my book and hypno relaxation white noise application on my phone. Braxton Hicks. Braxton Hicks. Ouch, Braxton Hicks. I read for a couple of hours and started looking up at each BH as they were starting to kinda hurt.  The tightenings kept coming and I decided to start timing them. They were 8-10 minutes apart lasting about 45 seconds. I kept reading and could feel my nerves starting to jangle. Was this it?

It was. They quickly went to 3-4 minutes apart, still lasting about 45 seconds. At 12.30 I woke Richard who was very calm indeed. He got into bed with me and we tried to watch a DVD (Steel Magnolias!). We didn't get past the opening titles as the pains were starting to require some good deep breathing and I was getting uncomfortable. We laughed at how cliched this was, having to call the midwife in the middle of the night. She said to leave it another couple of hours and call her back when it gets worse. I was happy with this as they weren't that bad and my breathing and visualising had them well under control. 
We drew a bath and I hopped in, with my mating-whales music on. This was lovely and relaxing and helped to pass the time. I think I was in there an hour or so. When I got out the pains ramped up, requiring loud breathing and I had to lean on a wall or the side of the bed to get through them. In between we watched MTV Classic, and I remember watching Jay-Z doing H.O.V.A., which gave me an ear worm that lasted throughout the entire labour! We called the midwife again at 3.30 and she came over to the house to check me. I was terrified she'd say I was making the whole thing up and I had hours to go yet, so it was a relief to hear her call the student midwife and tell her that I was 'rocking and rolling and ready to go!' The baby's head had already descended so far down that she couldn't feel my cervix so I never knew how dilated I was. 
We ran about the house putting last minute things in the hospital bag (I put my phone charger in my toilet bag, WTF! couldn't find it for days) and getting the car ready. It was such a cold night the windscreen had totally iced over so I had to sit in the car having contraction after contraction while Rich tried desperately to defrost it. I had about 6 billion contractions on the way to the hosp, another 4 billion in the carpark, and countless more walking to the delivery room. 
Luckily the nurses had started filling the pool before we got there so I just had to get nude (didn't give a toss funnily enough) and get my mating-whales music going and the lights down. Getting into the tub was gorgeous, suddenly felt weightless and nurtured. I think I stayed there a good 2-3 hours, during which time I was mostly rocking on my hands and knees, either breathing through a contraction or resting my head on the side of the tub. Rich would feed me a straw to drink water or a barley sugar, but apart from that no-one made a sound. I would come to every so often and realise I had 3 people watching me in the tub which made me a bit self-conscious. I think I let this get to me a bit and felt like I should hurry things along so I decided to get out of the tub. 
The weight of my tummy when I got out felt like 10 tonnes. I had to go to the loo and finally had my first show. I put on a hospital gown and leaned over the bed, doing everything I thought I would want to do in labour. The contractions were now strong enough for me to moan through each one. I was keeping my mouth open and moving my jaw side to side to remind me not to grind my teeth. I was finding it was hard to keep my legs straight and was getting a bit shaky. My midwife was monitoring the baby's heartbeat and it was coming back up fairly quickly after each contraction, when I thought I had the urge to push. So I did. Turns out this was bit of a mistake. The midwives were unable to feel my cervix and were going on other signs that I was ready to push, but it turned out later that I was only about 8 cm still. The pressure of my pushing caused a small haemorrage from my placenta and the baby's heartbeat dropped, and didn't pick up again for a whole minute. 
From here on in it's a bit of a dream to me. I was put onto the bed on my back which actually felt WAY more comfortable than leaning on the bed. I was given oxygen and what felt like 50 people came flying into the room to check the baby. I was stabbed with 2 IV lines and my midwife put a scalp monitor onto the baby. Richard went blue and had to sit in the corner with a barley sugar. I remember whimpering - actual whimpering on the bed and saying I'm happy to have a c-section, just get the baby out. 
Then everyone left and it was quiet again - I still don't really know what happened - and Marie told me that she had to break my waters which she did, and then could tell I was only 8 centimetres. I had to pant through the last 2 centimetres before I could push. However my body was pushing on its own. It was the queerest feeling, like I was lying there and my body was doing it all for me. Having to try to stop pushing was super hard, so my midwife suggested some gas. This was the first pain relief I had. Talk about a duck to water - I couldn't get enough. It removed me far enough to able to concentrate on what they were saying to me and following their instructions. 
This went on for a couple of hours apparently, and finally Marie said I could start to push the baby out. She and Rich helped me curl over my tummy, with my feet pushing into student midwive's hips. I was really screaming by now, off the gas, and determined to get the baby out. Rich was getting really excited, telling me he could see the head crowning, which would then go back up. I had to keep the pressure on during the breaks, and all of a sudden I could really feel everything down there streeeeeeeeetch. It felt like someone was poking the entire area with needles or sharp nails. There was suddenly a big pressure release and the head was out. Rich was gibbering like a loon, and I lay back thinking I had to get the energy to do the shoulders but again my body did it for me and, like giving birth to a warm squishy bag of walnuts, I felt his little body slide out and the pressure relief was the BEST FEELING IN THE WORLD. 
At 9.27 a.m. on 18th August 2011, Little Stanley was put onto my tummy and I was howling with relief and happiness. He took a while to breathe but coloured up nicely and was put onto my boob and stayed there quite happily. I could not believe it. He sneezed and coughed and looked around and IT WAS A BABY, my baby. 

I kinda want to stop writing here because up until this time, everything was perfect. I got my natural birth, I had a healthy baby that was a boy which we had hoped for. But what happened next happened, and it was all part of the journey.

At this stage he was still feeding on me and was nice and warm. I was stitched up with the help of the gas (only 3 stitches, no episiotomy). I was ecstatic and ready to party, waving the gas around and offering it to all and sundry. After an hour or two it was time to do the tests and weigh. Stan was weighed and he was only 2690g, or 5 pounds 15. Alarm bells should have started ringing for a full term baby. My midwife came back after inspecting my placenta and said that it looked like the placenta of a heavy smoker (not since Uni days!) or a very overdue baby. So he hadn't been getting very good nutrients in the womb. I wasn't taking anything in because I was utterly exhausted. I had a shower and we went back to the ward and settled into a bed. 
It seemed that 40 different nurses came in to check on us and all had different ideas on what to do. He looked a bit cold, so they put him back on the boob, skin to skin. We were left alone, and I looked down and noticed that he had stopped responding and was turning a yuk grey colour. We rang the bell and all sorts of things happened and basically my baby was wheeled away from me and my husband, and sent down to SCBU (special care baby unit).
It turned out he had low blood sugars, due to having no reserves from a low birth weight and a bad placenta, and hadn't been feeding properly off me. They force fed him every hour down in SCBU and gave him dextrose gel, and he came right.

I visited Stan in SCBU and tried breastfeeding but he was just too small to get much off me. He was tube fed for 5 days and bottle fed plus boob for one then we were allowed home.

He's now being breastfed and bottle fed plus I express after every feed, so it's been a baptism of fire.
But we reckon he smiled the other day, and it made my heart soar.


Stanley, born 9.27 a.m., on 18th August 2011. Pretty much 4 weeks ago today. I still can't believe it and am still paddling frantically to keep my head above water, but as people have said over and over, it does seem to be getting easier! We love him to bits and are so happy to be a family.

The only person not happy? Basil the cat....Stan squawks....Baz runs out the cat door :)

Monday, 8 August 2011

Joining the technological age, starring BATM

Scene: Large, noisy appliance store, with sale signs plastered to every available surface and 37 different stereos playing different songs - from the soft-porn genre that is Rihanna and Britney.

Enter stage left, AMY, heavily pregnant and resembling a puffer fish, and BRUCE, with a cell phone attached to his belt (says it all really).

Amy: Okay, so these here are the laptops.

Bruce: *wanders off to look at dryers*

Amy: *sighs heavily*

Amy: Now because all you want to do is check out golf tee times at the local club, you don't need anything flash.

Bruce: why does this keyboard have numbers up the top AND on the right?

Amy: Just because.

Bruce: So the lid on this closes by pulling it DOWN, I see.....

Amy: They all do that.

Bruce: And does this one have that maps thing you were showing me?

Amy: Google Maps? Yes.

Bruce: Does THIS one?


Bruce: *seeing one within his budget* I'll just get that one.

Amy: Good choice. Now you need an Internet Provider. How do you want to connect to the internet? Broadband? With a stick thing? Dial up?

Bruce: *blank look*

Amy: Well, how does your girlfriend connect to the net?

Bruce: *mimes typing on a keyboard*

Amy: Oooooookay.

Bruce: Show me how I can Google on this. What do you call it. Googling?

Amy: Well, just pottering around is really called Surfing the Net. Using Google. Which is a search engine using a browser.....*sees she lost him* Anyway let's just get this and then you can visit Telecom and sort out your internet connection.

Bruce, thinking: But I want my pony NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW!

Amy, reading his mind: It's not an instant need to get the connection sorted THEN you can Google all your golf results.

Bruce: Humph. Can you come over this weekend and show me stuff?

Amy: Sure, if I haven't, you know, GIVEN BIRTH TO YOUR GRANDCHILD BY THEN.

Bruce, thinking: always with the excuses......


Monday, 1 August 2011

If anything can bring me out of a blogging hiatus, it's BATM*

My father lost his mother 18 months ago (not like lost her in a mall, she died) and I think has become somewhat aware of his own mortality since. I have seen more of him in the last few months than I ever have - and we live in the same town. Don't get me wrong, I think it's great. I've said it before and I'll say it again....he's a unique individual.


Me: Hello?

Dad: It's your father.

Me: Oh hey Dad, how was Aussie?

Dad: Oh I got back ages ago. (last weekend). What are you doing tomorrow? Do you need any trees chopped down?(my Dad is OB-SESSED - I cannot state this enough - with pruning trees. It wouldn't surprise me to see him on the news for chopping down trees in a municipal park if they were blocking sun).

Me: Ah no. We've had all our trees pruned already.

Dad: silently hurt.

Me: BUT! We are tidying the washing line area - do you want to help out there?

Dad: I'll be round tomorrow afternoon.

Upon his arrival, he directs the truck delivering river stones and fusses around the unloading of them. This takes all of ten seconds. He then wanders around the garden checking things out.

Dad, all disappointed: It's really neat and tidy!

Me: Sorry. You can waterblast the fence if you want to? We want to paint it.

Dad: *visibly brightens*

Me: let's have a cuppa.

Settled with a cuppa and a slice, Dad proceeds to give me a blow-by-blow account of yesterday's Steamers game vs Wellington, or someone.

Dad: "......the ball went forward....this wing out of try I'd ever seen....."

My mind: "bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz"

Me: "so my bestie had her baby on Friday....."

Dad's mind: "bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz"

Me: Do you want to see the nursery?

Dad: sigh. Okay.

He spends 10 minutes admiring the buggy and its ability to move the baby around on wheels.

Me: I made this blanket.....this was a present from a friend.....aren't these booties cute...

Dad: So how does the capsule click on? What does this zip do? Does this hood move?

Me: What do you think of this cot mobile I made from paint charts?

Dad: I really want to buy a computer so I can look at my golf stuff on the internet. Can you meet me next week and help me buy one? Then give me lessons? Say, an hour a day?

Me: Um. Well, I'm gonna be kinda busy soon, but I definitely can help you buy a computer.

Dad: Excellent. Well, best be off.

*When Dad was asked what he wanted to be called for his Grandfatherly title, he thought for 2 seconds and said 'Brucie at the Mount'. My sister giggled and said, no really, what. Poppa, Grandpa? He repeated, 'Brucie at the Mount'. So Brucie at the Mount it is.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Bump Watch - 14 weeks

I wish I could say I'd had a large breakfast before Richard took this pic but alas, it's all bump.

Things I am enjoying so far in pregnancy:
  • ORANGES. Sweet, juicy, navel oranges all the way from the USA. The food miles even taste good.
  • The way I lose the ability to walk once sitting down, meaning Rich has to fetch me my orange/iceblock/knitting/remote/phone/cat.
  • The moments where I remember all of a sudden that I'm Pregnant! There's a wee baby in my tummy! I'm gonna be a Mum!
  • Being able to peruse baby clothes and equipment without feeling like a crazy person. I'm ALLOWED.
  • No hangovers.
Things that I'll already be glad to see the back of:
  • The bathroom. I am either heading in there, heading out, or thinking about getting out of bed to go because by the time I actually make my mind up, I'll need to go anyway.
  • The crushing fatigue. Those moments where you have an afternoon of house admin all planned and you get one thing done and that's it - COUCH/REMOTE/ORANGE.
  • Aches and pains. Lower back - yip. Hips - yip. Sides of tummy - yip. Can't get comfortable sitting down - yip.
  • The conflicting advice. Most books say to stop Folic Acid at 12 weeks as it doesn't do anything after that, but a leading pregnancy vite says to take it over the 2nd and 3rd trimester as 'that's when you need it most!' Who do you trust?
In other news we went on a lovely bushwalk this weekend - to here . It was stunning. We're hoping to make a habit of it as long as I can do it - will put some pics together and call it a blog post.

Aims x

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

A different way to give my liver a break

When I was about 8 years old, I was walking home from school. I saw a car pull up in a driveway, and a guy got out and quickly went to open the passenger door. His wife got out carefully, and they both fussed over the removal of one baby seat and very new baby from the back. They slowly went into the house, watching the baby like a hawk the whole way. It was a very special moment.

When I bought my home in 2007, I thought about that moment, and I pictured doing the very same to a baby at this house. I was single, had no real life plan, and had no idea that in 4 years time, I would be doing just that with my own husband and baby. Isn't it funny the way life turns out. Or maybe I am just super-psychic.

The last few months have been focussed entirely on my reproductive organs, and I'll warn you right here that this post involves way too much over-sharing and TMI moments, but I know I love to hear other people's journey to parenthood so am guessing I am not the only one. However if you do not and prefer to believe a stork came down the chimney or your Dad found you in his beer, go look at because it's funny.

Wanting a child hit me like the proverbial tonne of bricks over a year ago. Halfway through a cycle I announced to Richard that I was throwing out my Pill, and we would just have to 'see what happened'. Surprisingly, he was quite happy to go along with this. I just felt that if I didn't start preparing then and there, something would go wrong.

Funnily enough a month later we were engaged. Perhaps we both had this 17th century belief that if we had a child out of wedlock it would never gain the throne of England, a pox on ye, so we started using contraception. I believe the correct term for these are 'raincoats'. (As an aside, Rich has a UK passport, meaning as his wife I can apply for the same, as can our children. BUT - if we had a child out of wedlock, it would not. How outdated is that?) Now I don't know about you, but raincoats in a loving relationship do not a happy sex life make. We had conversations like this.

"Where are they?"
"In your bed side table."
"I can't find them!"
"Christ....turn the light on."
"I still can't see them."
"They're right there! In front of your face!"
"Ahh. Right so. Let's do this!"
"I don't feel like it now."

Suffice to say it was a relief when packing for our wedding/honeymoon to remove every box of Durex in the house and ceremoniously throw them in the bin.

Note - this is where things get really disgusting, but I knew NOTHING about this before 'trying', which I can't believe but there you go.

During this time of limbo, I read a fabulous book - Taking Charge of your Fertility by Toni Weschler. I spent the entire time reading out bits to Richard, who often went a bit green around the gills. Did you know that when you ovulate, your body produces cervical mucus that looks like egg white? I NEVER KNEW THIS. I have never been so fascinated with my own body. I took my temperature every morning and ascertained that I had a 30 day cycle and ovulated on Day 16. So I knew that to get up the duff, we had to have sex a few days before and after Day 16.

Here's the issue. Sex when you're up for it and a bit pissed and feeling adventurous = good times. Sex when you're bloated, zitty, in your pyjamas, knackered, arguing over who put the rubbish out last = not so good times. Note to future self - husband does not respond to exciting discoveries of egg white. Having to have sex every day eventually becomes a chore. You say to yourself, oh one night off won't hurt. Then you start thinking - but what if tonight's THE NIGHT? What if it's OUR ONLY CHANCE THIS MONTH? (An egg only lasts 18-24 hours). It's a miracle anyone gets pregnant at all with all the horror stuff you read. So you man up and do it anyway.

After one month, my period arrived right on time. I was pretty gutted, but everyone says it takes about a year of trying before conceiving, on average. A year seemed like a freaken lifetime. I should say that whenever I decide I want something, I have to have it right then and there if not yesterday; I'm all about the instant gratification.

After two months, I started getting very sore boobs. I had lots of saliva. Period was one day late. I tested - negative. Two days late - negative. Three days - very, very faint line. Started to get excited. Tested again - still faint. Could have been my imagination. After four days I told Richard because I couldn't bear it anymore. He couldn't see the faint line. On the fifth day I woke up with a bad headache and gut ache, and sure enough, period had arrived. I cried for half an hour then moved on. I still wonder about this - was I pregnant? I had never been late in the past. I had the symptoms. But it was so early.

Anyway we got back in the saddle. This was in the lead up to Christmas - parties, parties, parties, drinkies, drinkies, drinkies. Boozing lowers your fertility rate by up to 50%, I kept reading, so I took it easy. Because I cannot keep a secret and am a booze hag, everyone knew that we were trying.
One day, about 2 days before my period was due, I had light-pink spotting. GODDAMMIT I thought. After all this, my cycle is deciding to go up the spout. However the next day, it had gone. Googled implantation bleeding. Might be, might not be. Not quite sure what to think, I do a test. It was negative. Surprisingly I wasn't that disappointed as we had Rich's work do that day, and Christmas coming up, and my parents were laying on the Moet. So to my surprise it gets to 5 days overdue. I make a pact with myself to test in the morning. I buy some Discover tests which apparently will show if you're pregnant even if you're a virgin, they're that sensitive.

6.30 a.m. Alarm goes off. I sneak out of bed. Pee on a stick. Within 10 seconds, the second line comes up, clear as day. My heart starts yammering. I grin stupidly and I think I laughed out loud. I go into the office where I find a brochure procured from work, titled 'Congratulations on your New Baby', produced by the Inland Revenue (NZ Tax Department). I get back into bed, and poke Richard.
"I've brought you some bedtime reading."
Snuffle snuffle. "What the..." He sits up and squints at the brochure. "Are you PREGNANT?"
"Oh my God oh my God."


That was 2 months ago. Since then we've told parents and friends; listened to the heartbeat;seen baby kicking on the ultrasound; discovered the joys of no hangovers on a Sunday; discovered the horrors of fatigue so bad it means you cannot lift your head from the couch; discussed prams, cots, sterilisers and onesies; cried at every Animal Rescue programme on the telly.

I'm due August 20th and am loving every minute of this. Oh yes, and I haven't had any morning sickness whatsoever, go ahead and hate me.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Learning to Drive

Every morning on my way to work, I pass a line of cars waiting outside the AA Driver Testing Centre. Sweaty, nervous teenagers, hair brushed for the occasion, fretty Mums drilling them on the give-way rule. I always give them a smile as I well remember those days of learning to control 2 tonnes of metal whilst trying to look super cool.
In New Zealand you are allowed to sit your Learner's license at the age of 15 (the Road Code is a popular birthday present). You must pass a theory test to do so. The questions are somewhat easy. Green light means what? kind of thing. Then, you are allowed to be taught to drive by an adult. Once you pass a practical driving test with an instructor (see nervous sweaty teenagers above) you are then on your Restricted license for about a year (no driving at night, no passengers) and graduate to a Full license after that. Theoretically, you could be on a full license by your 16th birthday, which, now that I am 32, seems insane.
However. The transition from theoretical learning about driving, and actually driving a car has to be one of the most stressful times for a parent/child relationship. Some background.
My father is a sales rep, and spends 90% of his time on the road. He can drive from Napier to Taupo with his eyes closed. He knows all the secret passing lanes, the best roadside cafes, how to unplug a speedometer, and all the hand signals to convey to other drivers that he is the best driver on the road, and they should therefore get out of his way.
My mother forgets that her car has six gears and often will not get out of second. She rolls through stop signs, brakes with such force as to give you whiplash and will sit at an intersection with a queue behind her trying to remember where she wants to turn.

Is it any wonder they divorced?

Having these two teach me and my sister to drive had its consequences.
Dad: 'Okay pull the clutch out slowly. Good. We're moving. Nowdon'tforgettocheckyourmirrorhowmanyrevslookoutforthatcarhe'sturningwhatgearisthis?LOOKOUTwhatareyoudoingTHERE'SACATpulloverI'MDRIVING.'

Mum: 'Okay go.' Silence. 'How do I go?' 'Just....go!' And so on.

It got to the point where I was so terrified to drive - I was a shocking bunny hopper, something that you don't get these days with all these automatics on the road - that I didn't drive a car anywhere for 6 months.

Then Mum met Colin. Nice, calm, car-nut Colin. He took me down to his daughter's horse paddock and sat me in his airplane carrier Rover. 'This is the brake. This is the accelerator. Practice going from one to the other very quickly in case of an accident'. Logical things like that. 'Let's try a hill start - on a flat piece of road. Listen to the engine. Take the clutch out - slowly! Hear the car start to strain? Let the handbrake off gently. Little bit of gas - you're off!'

After a few weeks I was reverse parallel parking on a hill and have never looked back. Although about 6 months later I backed up our driveway and slammed into his new 745 BMW, but that's another story.