Sunday, 31 May 2009

Bump Pic 32 Weeks

So, finally, here is an up to date pic of my ever expanding belly. This was taken today so it's 32 + 2.

We were trying to take all of these pics in the same place - in front of the wardrobe doors in the bedroom, but have had to relocate to the spare room for this one as our bedroom got flooded on Thursday! No, it wasn't my waters breaking, it was the neighbours poorly plumbed in washing machine. So we are in a bit of a state of chaos in the flat at the moment, tho luckily only the bedroom got wet and we've got good weather for drying stuff out. Smidget had better not get any ideas of turning up early tho, we were just starting to get organised and it's all gone a bit to pot for the moment.

Anyway, back to the point - here is the picture!


Monday, 25 May 2009

Bump Pics

I haven't put any bump pics on here in a while and I suspect that the only reason some people come on here is to see me getting good and fat so I thought it was time for an update!

Before: to prove I haven't always had a huge belly! Well not quite before, as unknown to me I was already a wee bit pregnant at this point. These were taken on holiday in Spain.

2-3 weeks

24 Weeks: Right then jumping forward a bit, but back in Spain, this time Tarifa for our last pre-baby holiday.

(I thought it was only fair that there should be a pic of Fred on here too)

27 Weeks: These ones were actually done for the blog, but it's taken me until now to post them (sorry) I think the bump looks a lot smaller than it really was at this point, being held in by the now rather tight rugby shirt I think. This was taken post match (hence me looking a bit rough) - just as well it was nearly the end of the season really, I don't think the shirt would have held out much longer!

Mighty Quins bump!

30 Weeks: Again not taken specifically for the blog, but you get the idea, bump looking a lot bigger now (tho the fact that I'd just eaten a big pie may not have helped!)


Friday, 22 May 2009

All Together Now: Ommmmmmmm

Get us - actually posting stuff on the blog regularly!

As mentioned a couple of posts ago, I've started pregnancy yoga classes. I'd been doing a general yoga class, but got frustrated at not being able to do all the poses (standing on your head not recommended apparently) and did myself a bit of an injury over-stretching in one move (the hormone relaxin, released during pregnancy to make everything stretch, makes you feel a whole lot bendier than you really are). So, following a week hobbling about like an elderly cowboy after a particularly arduous cattle drive, I decided it was time to opt for something a bit more tailored to the current situation.

I am now attending pregnancy yoga classes in Soho, which has been great, if faintly ludicrous. Basically, imagine a trendy, minimalist attic containing 15 women with bumps ranging from "might just have had a big lunch" to "she can-nay take much more of this cap'n she's gonna blow!", on all fours, waving their backsides to and fro as if they were ponies with particularly luxuriant tails. In addition there is a lot of careful stretching, some of it moderately strenuous and the inevitable pelvic floor exercises (I told you EVERYONE wants to talk to you about this)!

We then arrange ourselves carefully (I'm using the c word a lot in this post) on our left sides (the recommended pregnancy lying down position) with a series of cushions and foam blocks and the instructor says something calming and slightly daft about golden light bathing our eyes or something. I can't be more specific on the talky bit as by this point I am generally either A: mostly asleep or B: trying not to giggle as Smidget has totally missed the point of this relaxation business and is doing a polka against my ribs.

Anyway, I come away feeling calm and less achy than before so it's worth it and I often use some of the movements when my back, hips etc etc etc get stiff at other times. However, I am yet to try the "tail swishy pony" move at work, a lab floor is not really the place the get in touch with your pelvis and I suspect the health and safety man would have a heart attack, but give me a few more weeks and I may decide to risk it!


Wednesday, 20 May 2009

"There's nothing more to life than stereotypes"

As the birth draws ever nearer we are buying more and more things for the baby. There's easily enough to justify blog post titled "How can such a small person need so much stuff?" And as we buy all this stuff, it is noticeable just how much it conforms to and reinforces gender stereotypes. All the girls' clothes are pink and all the boys clothes are blue. It's very hard to find things in neutral colours.

Before you stop reading because you think I'm being terribly PC, please give me the benefit of the doubt. First of all, I'm well aware that there are differences between men and women, which probably go beyond those required for producing a baby in the first place. Second, I'm not saying that men and women should all dress the same. Like most men, I don't wear dresses (ok, there was one time...) and I wear my hair short. Like most people I conform to stereotypes too. And although I wear pink shirts or ties, even then I am conforming to a different stereotype, one which is explained without any hint of irony here.

It's not the colours themselves that are the problem, it's how people react to them. Researchers interested in this question took two groups of mothers and asked them to play with a toddler who wasn't known to them. The mothers with the beautiful princess dressed in pink behaved very differently than the second group with the little tike dressed in blue. The "blue baby" group encouraged the toddler to explore, to experiment with toys and be adventurous. The "pink baby" group were far more protective of the child. As you've probably guessed both groups of mothers were playing with the same baby - only the clothes had changed. It's frightening how something as simple as a colour can cause parents to start reinforcing stereotypes: teaching boys to take risks and girls to be timid.

The colours aren't the only problem. The pictures are worse offenders. Boys clothes have tractors on them. Girls clothes have fairies on them. And it doesn't stop with clothes. Almost every piece of baby equipment, from changing mats to lamp shades, can be gendered. Kirsty, as a scientist, was particularly offended by the dinosaur wall stickers that were only listed in the boy section of one baby catalogue. We wouldn't tell children what they should and should not be interested in based on their hair colour, so why do it based on their gender? If our baby wants to be the next Ellie Satler, why shouldn't it?

Another group of researchers had the bright idea of giving a troop of young chimpanzees toys to see what happened. The toys they used were dolls and cars. The female chimps chose the dolls, leaving the male chimps with the cars. So if chimps display gendered behaviour from a very early age, perhaps it is a genetic trait. There is a good evolutionary reason why female chimps should prefer the dolls: female chimps that want to play with infants (imitation or otherwise) are more likely to bring up their own infants successfully. The same may apply to baby girls. But an evolutionary pressure to be good mothers doesn't justify choosing clothes that encourage all baby girls to grow up wanting to be ballerinas.

There is of course a much more practical reason to despise gender specific baby clothes. If we have more than one child, we want to be able to hand down the clothes from the first one to the second. Perhaps I should start a baby shop specialising in white, beige, yellow and green.

Monday, 18 May 2009

First Do No Harm

Ah, the good old NHS can't live with it, can't get MRSA without it.

Actually I may have said this before, but I think the service we've had from the GP practice and hospital has been really very good. The medical staff have all been great at medical things, tho the organisation side can be a bit chaotic!

Two good examples of this came in the same week as my ear infection saga. Starting with our visit to the maternity facilities at the hospital. I think the idea of this was to reassure expectant mothers; it really didn't work! First there was the long and complicated explanation of where to go when in labour, this went something along the lines of:
Midwife: So, if it is a Tuesday, Friday or bank holiday Monday, between the hours of 3pm and 11.57pm you should go to A unless there is an R in the month then you should go to B, unless it's after 9pm, then you should just go to A&E, if it's a Monday, Wednesday or the Queens official birthday...
Pregnant lady: Er, can you just tell us where to go when we're in extreme pain please?

Then we had the tour of the facilities, to be fair these all seemed very good, clean and bright etc. The hospital has a midwife only unit next to the medical unit and all being well we hope to go there, the main benefit being that you and your partner get to stay in your own room together for up to 24 hours after the birth, at which point you can go straight home. No wards, no new Dads being kicked out. Problem is there are only 7 of these rooms:
Pregnant lady: So, does it ever get so busy that there isn't a room available?
Midwife: Well yes! We're very busy you know, we delivered 7000 babies last year (yada yada yada)
PL: Riiiiight, so would we be sent to another hospital then?
MW: Well yes! There are an awful lot of people having babies in London you know (yada yada yada)

At some point after this the MW spotted the look of panic on our faces as we all imagined long ambulance rides through London traffic (is there any room at the inn?). She then desperately backtracked, saying it was very rare not to have space etc. But I think the damage was done by then! All in all I felt less reassured after the visit than I did before (hence subsequent panic and much use of relaxation CD).

The second hospital visit was for an antenatal physiotherapy workshop, this was very helpful - when the poor physio could get a word in over all the pregnant ladies bouncing on giant gym balls discussing where to buy maternity bras (amazing what happens when you put a group of pregnant, total strangers in a room together). We talked about looking after our backs, getting the baby into a good position for birth and (inevitably) the good 'ole pelvic floor muscles (seems everyone wants to talk to you about that!). The only problem was I missed the first half hour of the class as I was sitting (as directed by the NHS text message reminder) in the physio unit reception. The mistake only came to light when the physio receptionist called her Mum, who was the antenatal receptionist, who told her the class was up there! Apparently everyone else had had paper letters, which said on them to go to the physio unit, but the physio in charge had crossed this out and written go to antenatal instead *rolls eyes* .

Hopefully only one more hospital visit now before the main event. In a couple for weeks I'm going to a talk on pain relief, I just hope I don't need gas and air to get through that experience!


The Home Straight

On Friday I hit the 30 week mark which means I'm now well into third trimester territory, (tho exactly when that started seems to vary depending on who you ask). So it's probably time to face up to the fact that this is going to have to end at some point and that point is gonna have to be me, giving birth, to an actual baby! In preparation for this event I have done a number of things:

1- Stuck my fingers in my ears, gone la la la la la and not thought about it
2- Realised that isn't really going to help
3- Panicked slightly
4- Bought and used hypnotherapy pregnancy relaxation CD, giggled the first time but then felt much calmer (I can recommend this a lot actually sounds all a bit hippyish but it's lovely and calming if only because it makes you sit still and relax for half an hour)
5 - Visited hospital birth center*
6 - Panicked slightly
7 - Sobbed at Fred, used relaxation CD, felt better
8 - Started pregnancy yoga classes*
9- Joined the NCT*
10- Actually bought some baby stuff*
11 - lots more relaxation CD, yoga and intermittent mild panicking

*I think points 5, 8, 9 and 10 warrant some expansion, but as this is a lot to catch up on and I don't want to turn this into an enormous and even more waffly than usual post, I'll split it up into separate posts. If I were a good blogger and had kept up to date with this it wouldn't matter, but clearly I'm not!

I also promise to put some more pics on soon, honest!


Thursday, 14 May 2009

Baby video again

Right - I've tried to get the video quality better - does this work?

Stuff The Midwife, Someone Send For Sigourney Weaver!

I should probably confess that I've never actually seen any of the Alien films in it's entirety. I tried once but I'm a wimp about that sort of thing and had to turn over, but I think I get the jist. Anyway, our little alien is certainly making his/her presence felt now and all manner of odd bulges and wriggles can now be seen (and certainly felt). I keep getting a little lump near my (rapidly vanishing) belly button, which when rubbed feels a lot like a foot and tends to be tucked back in when you prod it, tho occasionally it kicks back, which is very odd! I'm pretty sure Smidget isn't planning to make his/her entrance to the world by bursting through my abdomen, but I do wonder what on earth he/she is up to in there sometimes!

Hmm, I seem to be feeling less inclined to refer to Smidget as "it" now that "it" is feeling a lot more real. But as we don't know if it is he or she, perhaps I shall adopt the policy of pregnancy books and websites and alternate the gender for each post from now on, hope this doesn't confuse anyone!


Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Baby video

After a lot of toiling with various different bits of free video conversion software, I've managed to convert our 4D scan video DVD into a form suitable for posting on Blogger... I think. Please let me know whether or not you can view this.

Friday, 1 May 2009

How To Make a Baby

Thanks to Dean for this one, it made me giggle.

Don't worry this isn't rude! But it is quite cute and frankly puts my efforts with the blog to shame. The geekier amoungst you (which is probably most people I know) will probably like the how it was done bit under the video window too.