Saturday, 27 March 2010

One born every minute

I'm feeling rather emotional after watching the first couple of episodes of a British documentary, One Born Every Minute, which follows the everyday goings on of a labour ward in a British hospital. These episodes showed a natural birth and two c-sections, and it was completely fascinating, and made me cry, of course. The very idea of the beginning of a new life, and therefore the start of a new family, makes me feel like welling up nowadays. I blame the hormones.

What I did think was interesting, however, was the behaviour of the Dads during birth. One kept playing practical jokes (including trying to lock his wife in the toilet during labour!) Another one just sat in the corner silently, and refused to go in for the c-section and let his partner's mother go in instead, and yet another just looked at his girlfriend with a rather blank expression as she faced her fears over the birth of their baby, which had a known physical disability. I can only hope that these men were acting this way to mask their true feelings - anyhow, it was uncomfortable to watch them. I know I'd be distraught if my husband didn't seem as focussed and involved in the birth as me - but then, everyone's different, I suppose.

We made an annoying discovery last week. It seems the way British passports are being processed in the Gulf is going to change at exactly the moment we need to get Bump's first passport. Instead of being printed here, ALL our documents (including both our passports) will have to be sent to Europe for a process which could take up to four weeks. Which of course is brilliant when a) You're a pilot and need your passport at all times and b) You are under time pressure from the government of the country you live in to get your child's residency sorted asap. Brilliant, eh?

My husband is therefore going to have to apply for a second passport (which we're told is at the discretion of the Embassy!) and we're also going to have to engage in a mad scrum when Bump is just days old to get the birth certificate (which takes a week here), a passport pic (that will be a cracker!) and then to the courier to send our docs off for the passport. Oh, and we're having to order new copies of our full birth certificates from the UK, because we need those, too. To say I'm annoyed about this would be an understatement. Just what you need when you've just had a baby, eh!

Anyhow, rant over. What watching the documentary certainly did make me think about is that I need to pack my hospital bag! I've got six weeks to go until Bump's due date, which incidentally is likely to be the day of the general election in the UK.
As one friend said to me last week, that gives new meaning to getting through the pains of Labour...

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

A year in the Gulf

I've just passed my one year anniversary of expat life. So much has happened since I arrived here. It's been one hell of a ride on a crazy rollercoaster, lots of ups, lots of downs. I'm not sure I'd like to do it again! But I AM proud to have done it, and I'm very proud at how well my husband and I have made it work, despite all the things life has thrown at us in the last few years - redundancy, infertility, moving continents, and a terrible bereavement. I'm glad we couldn't see any of it coming, I must say. Sometimes it's just better to live day by day.

It's also sometimes the small things that make life better. Today, for example, I managed to buy Marmite at the supermarket (clumsy pregnant me managed to break my last jar!!) and then a friend came round and brought me British cakes and chocolates her pilot husband had just bought specially for us on his latest trip to Heathrow. I was so touched.

Anyhow, one year on, and we're still here, about to become a family of three. It's an amazing miracle which we will never fail to be grateful for. I had a check-up this morning, and the baby's still breech (so what's new?!) but apart from that, things are fine. I am SO grateful for that. My husband took a picture of me at eight months pregnant which I put up on Facebook, and I was amazed by how many lovely comments people have been kind enough to leave! Clearly I don't look as much like a beached whale as I think I do...

One inevitability of being pregnant is that people will come up to you with all kinds of unsolicited advice. My mum has been feeding a lot of it to me via her friends back home. Yesterday, she came up with a real cracker. Apparently, someone she knows also had a breech baby, and had such a brilliant suggestion for how she managed to get her baby to turn, that I thought I'd leave you with it.

Apparently, she played loud pop music in her pants...

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Eight months

32 weeks. Wow. It's now less than 60 days until bump's due date. I'm feeling a mixture of excitement and nervousness. And I'm slightly overwhelmed by how much there is to do, both bump related and non-bump related, before then. I made a list yesterday and stuck it on the fridge. It made me feel a little bit better, a little bit more in control.

We still need to buy a buggy and a car seat, but have been waiting until we got a special cashback credit card before we make what will be fairly expensive purchases. The credit card has turned into a running joke in our house. First, the bank needed more proof of ID than they'd initially asked for (and we already have two accounts with this bank!) Then, they took over two weeks to actually print the cards, having said it would take 2 days. Then I went to try to pick them up, and the bank was closed because of an unannounced bank holiday (which happens over here quite a lot!) Then finally, I went yesterday and they were open. Hallelujah, I thought. But twas not to be. It seems I can't pick them up, despite the fact my name's on one of the cards, because I'm not my husband. His signature is required for them both, apparently. By this point I was losing my temper - I'd sat in traffic for almost an hour to get there in 30c heat, and I'm pregnant and tired. This was my second attempt at picking them up. I told the woman behind the counter that this is how I felt, but was just met by a blank, surprised stare. Hey ho, what can you do? I went outside and sat in the car with the a/c on for 10 minutes to calm myself down before doing battle with the traffic. Clearly the credit cards will have to wait until my husband can come to pick them up himself. One of the delights and general frustrations of living in the Gulf.

Bump is still breech. The doctors are telling me in one breath that there's still time, then in another they're also talking about scheduling a c-section, which I have mixed feelings about. Obviously it's surgery, and has a longer recovery time than a normal birth and I'd have to stay in hospital longer, but on the plus side, I would be able to schedule it for when my husband is definitely home. So, we shall see. I'm being realistic about it and have read up on C-sections as much as I can so I'm prepared.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Accident prone idiot

I seem to have been accident prone all my life, and now I'm 30 weeks pregnant it's starting to really annoy me.

Yesterday I managed to trip over in the office car park and fell onto the gravel on my hands and knees, instinctively protecting the baby. Although I knew I hadn't hit my bump, I was pretty nastily knocked around by it and decided that I should go to my now favourite locale, A&E, to get checked out.

After taking ages to find the heartbeat (WHY does that always happen to me? Apparently the baby's breech at the moment, and the heart wasn't where they'd expected it to be...) they told me that all was fine, but sent me to see a doctor anyway to get patched up. Consequently I arrived back at work with huge bandages around my hands. Such a great look. Honestly, I haven't had grit covered bloody knees since I was at school! I know they say pregnancy makes you clumsy, but this is ridiculous.

I honestly can't trust myself at the moment. I've been dropping plates and glasses, finding parking the car much harder than usual (I scraped it on another car a couple of weeks ago... I was infuriated with myself).

Not that of course this is entirely new. Somehow in the past I've managed to break my toe twice simply by stubbing it badly, break my foot by falling over in a boat on holiday (a whole month in plaster after that one) and I've lost count of the number of times I've burned myself whilst ironing, baking, and cooking.

Perhaps this is just something I'm going to have to live with! My mum has always called me Calamity Jane. Hopefully this won't extend to dropping the baby....!

On the pregnancy news front, as I said I'm now 30 weeks, and the baby's breech, but I'm told this isn't anything to worry about at this stage. We had a private childbirth preparation class the other day, which was good to do. My husband is about to approach the airline about trying to get a favourable roster around the baby's due date. Fingers crossed for that! If all else fails, I'm currently looking around for a doula who could be on standby to come and hold my hand if my husband is away for the birth. I feel better at least having a back-up plan...



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