Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Out of the mouths of babes

Tee hee. I said Mrs T would have some questions from her class, and I was right. Again. That's twice I've been right recently; I must be on a roll.

"Are you having your baby tomorrow?"

"How are you going to get your baby out of your tummy?" (To which she gave the inspired answer, "I don't know , Oliver, I haven't done that bit yet.")

And when she mentioned that the baby wasn't ready to come out yet, and had to stay in for a while yet because it wouldn't survive "outside", one child asked, "because it hasn't got any shoes or clothes?"

Don't you just love 'em?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Cat's out of the bag


(Oh rats: I just typed a nice long post and blogger quit on me. I've seen others complain about that but it's the first time it's happened to me. Here we go again...)

Mrs T's first task today was to go around the school telling all the staff she's pregnant. She of course got a wonderful reception to our news, including our first "I knew it!". I guess there had to be at least one response like that. Apparently her colleague had noticed that Mrs T was getting "chesty" (which hasn't escaped my attention, incidentally). At the end of the day the children in her class were given letters from Mrs T for their parents, letting them know she would be going on maternity leave after Christmas, and that she will be sorry to leave their children part-way through the school year. A couple came straight back to the classroom with congratulations; one said she had to read it several times to check it said what she thought it did. I expect tomorrow she'll have a few more comments, and may have to answer some questions from the children, too!

I popped up to school early, partly to use the car, but mainly because I wanted to wander around and see what people's response was like. I had lovely greeting: many congratulations, several hugs, and one who jokingly asked, "how did you manage that?". I gently took her to one side and explained that when a mummy and a daddy love each other very much, they have a special cuddle...

There was a big meeting a church, so I guess the news will have got round there pretty quick, as we have phoned quite a few from church over the last couple of days.

We've been told by no end of people that we'll make "great parents". Quite what they base such an assessment on we've no idea, but it's very encouraging to be told such a thing!

Reactions (3)

I’ve been really enjoying these last few days, as we’ve started to let the news out and watched or heard people’s reactions. I had said to Mrs T that we’d need to be ready for people to ask whether it was planned or not, but she couldn’t imagine that people would be so presumptuous as to ask such a personal question. For once, I was right! I think she’s been really surprised at the sort of questions people have asked.

My brother (he of the “No WAY!” response) asked straight away whether we’d been ‘trying’ for long, and wasn’t satisfied with my (rehearsed) response of “sort of” and pushed for more. He specifically asked when we stopped using contraception, and I mistakenly let out “well, that was about five years ago” which surprised him. I’ve since persuaded him – I hope – that we were “open to the possibility” all that time, but just wanted to see what would happen. That is the gist of what we’re telling people, but in his case I expect he’ll try to get more details as time goes by.

Several others have asked about whether it’s “planned” or not, and our stock responses of “sort of” or “the time seems about right” seem to suffice for most. One friend I told last night said “It took you long enough!” to which I replied that we thought we ought to get to know one another first.

Award for the best questions so far go to Mrs T’s youngest brother. His first response to the news: “Are you just having the one, or are you going to have more after that?” which is perhaps getting just a touch ahead of us. (Though for the record I ought to mention that we won’t be planning to stop at one.) His next question floored us: he asked if was mine!

(He has since claimed it was a joke, and I think we can believe him.)

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Reactions (2)

My Mum's not up to driving too much at the moment and the two-hour journey to us would have been pushing it a bit, so I went across to collect her after work. On the way back we somehow got on to the subject of how babies are brought up nowadays compared to in her day, and though I was grinning inside I managed to keep quiet. It was half eight by the time we arrived home, so I didn't leave it too long before asking how she fancied being a grandmother again. I had predicted she would say "I want to cry!", and indeed that is exactly what she said! Hugs all round once more.

We were going to leave phoning brothers until the next day, but I couldn't wait any longer, so got straight on with it. First, my oldest brother. I chatted for a while, and he eventually asked, "to what do I owe this honour?" (for it's rare for me to phone just for a chat) so I told him. "No WAY!", he exclaimed. He was utterly gobsmacked. In fact he told me that just the day before he and his wife had been chatting about the family and concluded that they've "always known" that we would never have children. Nice to be able to surprise them! By chance they've been visiting my youngest brother so I was able to speak to him, too, in the same call. I think he was pretty surprised to, though less emphatically so!

Mrs T then phoned her brothers. I can't really recall what their reactions were so I'll have to post again later when I've spoken to her after the weekend (once the Mums have gone!).

Anyway, enough for now. We've had some interesting questions, but I'll leave them till later. For know, here's something I found on the wonderful YouTube (to which I have developed something of an addiction).

Friday, September 22, 2006

Reactions (1)

I often appear in amateur productions in our local theatre. With a full house that’s over 500 people who’ve paid good money to be entertained. And let me tell you this: I get nervous. My stomach and chest tense up, my breathing gets shallow, my mouth goes dry, the works.

So why was I feeling as nervous as that last night?

Because we were about to tell Mrs T’s Mum that we are pregnant.

Her train arrived on time and Mrs T went to pick her up from the station while I finished preparing the dinner. We chatted, drank (made sure she got a glass of wine inside her!) and had our meal then relaxed just as we would any other time. Mrs T and her Mum can talk for ever, and I wondered how she was going to bring the subject up. Would she just casually drop it in? Would she mention it in passing and see if her Mum picked up on it? No, of course not: at a slight pause in the conversation (they do happen occasionally) she said, “I know the main reason for this weekend is to celebrate T’s Mum’s birthday” (for that is what we’ve told them) “but what would you say if we told you we are three months pregnant?”

A short gasp. then silence. A lovely silence, full of excitement and disbelief. Hands clasped firmly over mouth, eyes wide and bright, with a glisten of tears. She eventually said “I don’t know what to say!” and we all stood for a hug. They both cried – with joy and with some sadness because of how much Mrs T’s Dad would have loved to hear the news.

And then we talked about little else until bedtime.

Mrs T also told her boss yesterday lunchtime. She’s been very tired (her Mum recalled it as “a tiredness like no other”) and her friend J, who’s just returned from Maternity leave, persuaded her to let the head know. She reacted well, too.

And tonight? My Mum’s turn…

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


We arrived at the hospital in good time, and once we'd found the clinic (having walked right past it once on the way from the car park) were checked in and had to wait our turn. The wait wasn't too long, thankfully, as Mrs T was bursting for a wee having filled her bladder as instructed.

The Radiologist checked our details (a little confusion over our records because we started at one hospital and have now moved to this one) and then got started. He found Flicker very quickly, and Mrs T breathed a sigh of relief once again. She'd got really pretty nervous during the morning and whilst waiting. Almost as much as she does waiting to see the dentist.) I was surprised to see Flicker's movements. I must have read about it but for some reason I'd just expected a much more static view. It wasn't moving a lot, but flexing arms and legs occasionally was plenty.

By now Mrs T was pretty uncomfortable, so he let her pop out to the loo, and then found Flicker again to take the measurements. We are exactly a week further on than we'd thought (so I must read Mrs T the next chapter from Kaz Cooke's book tonight).

I gather that an experienced Radiologist (and his badge did say "Senior Radiologist") would be able to tell the sex by now, but we didn't want to know so we didn't ask. I think we're assuming it will be a boy (the genes in my family seem to favour boys), but I'd still much rather wait and see.

Sorry about the poor quality of this picture;
our scanner is playing up so I've taken a photo of the print!

After the scan one of the nurses (midwives? I didn't check her title) went through the paperwork, gave us the official date based on the measurements (and no, we're not going to bribe her to change it - regardless of your comments), and talked us through what happens next. Blood samples were taken for various tests and we made an appointment for the next scan (6th November, if you're taking notes).

We asked about the future plans for the antenatal provision, and yes, there are changes afoot, but they're way too far away to affect us. Before they can close down the delivery suite they've got to build a new one elsewhere. All in all a very positive experience and we're pleased to have made the decision to use the hospital even if is a bit further away. (It's still only a 15-20 minute drive.)

PS: thanks for your comments on my last post, folks; I was beginning to think only Alli was reading!

Quick update

Just a quick update from work… Scan fine. Everything as it should be; saw that lovely heartbeat again and even some movement. Our date was wrong, but in fact we’re a week further on than we thought: due date now 20 March 2007 (so no chance of nine months maternity leave).

Will give more details from home this evening. And update ticker!


Another curious food thing: Mrs T adores apples, but she's hardly been able to eat them for a few years as they are one of several things that give her nasty heartburn because of a Hiatus Hernia. But over the last few weeks she's discovered that she’s able to enjoy them with no problems. It’s one of the few things about pregnancy she’s pleased about.

Scan today! God, I hope everything’s all right.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Looking ahead

Out to dinner with friends on Saturday (friends who know), and conversation turned to a couple of things that might affect us.

First of all, due dates. Our date calculated from Mrs T’s cycle is 27 March. On Wednesday we’re going to the hospital – our chosen one this time rather than just the nearest – for a scan, at which they’ll give us the “official” Expected Delivery Date (EDD). Of course we knew all this already, but what we hadn’t heard is that the Maternity Leave allowance changes next year: if our EDD is on or after 1 April 2007, Mrs T will qualify for nine months Maternity Leave rather than six. Here’s hoping that the official date is at least five days later than we’d thought…

Unfortunately the other thing that grabbed our attention relates to the hospital. We mentioned that we’d opted for a hospital other than our local one, and it seems we may be out of luck. NHS cuts are leading to huge reduction in services at our chosen hospital, including stripping the maternity care down to the bare minimum. When we go on Wednesday we’ll have to ask them what’s going on – and when. We may well end up at our local one after all. Another option is to travel in the opposite direction to an even better one that’s always been Mrs T’s ideal choice but is nearly an hour’s drive away rather than five minutes to the local.

Friday, September 15, 2006


Mrs T's gone off chocolate.

What is the world coming to?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Doesn't time fly?

Have I really left it over a week? I was hoping I'd be here more often with updates now that something exciting is actually happening.

I've been reading quite a bit. Our main reference has been Kaz Cooke's excellent Rough Guide to Pregnancy and Birth (published as Up The Duff in Australia and A Bun in the Oven in the USA). I've read through the whole thing - twice now, because I did it first time around, too - and I'm reading it to Mrs T a week at a time so she gets an idea of what might be coming up. (Mind you, Kaz has been saying "the nausea should be wearing off about now" for about three weeks now and there's not much sign of that happening so I'm not sure how much believe!). Each week she gives a brief summary of what should be happening to both Mrs T and Flicker, followed by extracts from her own diary of the week and then more details about some of the issues raised. We both get a bit squeamish when we read about how big Flicker should be each week, and how well developed.

I've also enjoyed Marcus Berkmann's Fatherhood: The Truth, which I bought for my eldest brother when he was expecting. It looked good so I've got hold of a copy for myself. I've nearly finished reading that to Mrs T, too.

Worst of all was the Royal College of General Practitioners' attempt at a light-hearted look at pregnancy, Emma's Diary, kindly supplied by the NHS in our pack of information when we registered with the GP surgery. The factual stuff is fine, but the 'diary' part is so awfully written and obviously contrived that it was painful to get through. Mrs T gave up. I can't say I blame her.

We're still keeping quiet apart from our few 'insiders', and I'm quite enjoying it now, though itching to let the cat out of the bag at the same time. And I'm very glad that Mrs T has now mentioned some people that she's actually looking forward to telling. Well, we are Godparents to their two. In fact we were out the other day at a restaurant when she whipped out a pen and paper to make a list. "Oh no," thought I, "not another bloomin' list." (For she is queen of lists.) But this one turned out to be okay, as she said, "Okay, who are we going to tell and when?"

Both Mums arrive next weekend and they'll be first to find out. Then, over the following week we visit or phone other family members and close friends, before going completely public at the end of the week. There are quite a few connection between Mrs T's school and our Church, and even my office, and we don't want to risk school finding out until Mrs T has formally told the staff, but once the news is out at school it's free to be shared anywhere.

And I for one am looking forward to it.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Don't talk; just eat

Despite what I said earlier, Mrs T is actually managing to eat a full diet. It's just the thought of food that's making her feel queasy. This evening I started to ask what she fancied, and she couldn't come up with anything. When I started to suggest things, ("If I made X, do you think you might want to eat it?"), she just cringed and said "Don't talk to me about it; just make me something and I'll eat it."

And sure enough she did.

Smells and food

One of the more bizarre side-effects of pregnancy, according to some of the books we’ve read, is the increased sense of smell. What, exactly, is that all about? Mrs T can most certainly attest to it.

I mentioned earlier that I was doing all the painting in the utility room because of the fumes. She pops in occasionally to see how I’m doing and it’s clearly hard work: she has to hold something over her nose and looks like she’s about to throw up. (Perhaps she just doesn’t think much of my painting.) And thanks, by the way, to those who suggested that she should also keep well away from detergent, vacuuming, and pretty much all housework for the duration. We’ll have to see about that…

Her sense of smell is also evident in the kitchen. She’s rarely fancying anything much in the way of food, and even thinking about it makes her feel queasy a lot of the time. Thankfully I do most of the cooking anyway, but it’s been getting hard trying to find things she can cope with at the moment. (Porridge every morning!) It would be great to get through this bit.

She’s back in the classroom today, with a couple of stacks of biscuits hidden away for when she need to nibble on something. I hope she copes.

Eleven weeks tomorrow!