Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Fifi's Birth 013


Fifi's Birth 013
Originally uploaded by superlori.
It seems my daughter was just too impatient to wait until Friday, she arrived at 11.42 this morning, weighing in at a strapping 8 pounds 5. No complications whatsoever, both her and Mummy are doing great, and both doing their best to keep Dad busy.

There are a few more pictures on our Flickr site, I'm sure Lori will upload some more shortly.

Oh, I suppose you'll want to know the name too....

"Fifi" McFarlane.

I'm off to collapse now. Laters.

Monday, January 29, 2007

For the Record...

I just want to refer to the above pregnancy ticker and state for the record that I do not have either hemorrhoids or 'the runs'. Thank you.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Baby Shower

Saturday was my baby shower, organised by the lovely Cheryl. It was seriously such a great party. I felt so incredibly touched to have had someone think to throw me a shower and then to have so many people show up.

Cheryl's mum hosted the shower at her beautiful home and provided tons of gorgeous food. There were crackers dressed with cucumber, cheese and sausage, vegetables and dips, crisps, scones with jam and clotted cream, tea and cold drinks. My sister-in-law also brought a dark chocolate mousse cake and some cookies, and I made an angel food cake, complete with fresh strawberries and cream.

Baby Shower cake

(I wish I had a picture of Kate's chocolate cake. Oh my, it was heavenly.)

Cheryl organised several games, including 'Baby Bingo', a baby anagram, 'Pass the Parcel', a memory game (in which I got to keep all the items I remembered) and prediction cards where everyone predicted the baby's name, weight, time of birth, etc. Whoever ends up being closest gets a special present from me and Scott... that is, if we can find the cards, as they are currently MIA. Oops.

I also got loads of gifts. Opening presents in front of people now that I'm an adult is far more embarrassing than it was when I was eight. Luckily, I loved everything I got so there were no awkward embarrassing moments where I had to fake a reaction. Everything was lovely. I got mostly gorgeous clothes, but also a few really special items like a clay hand print kit, a 'baby keepsake capsule' and a hand-knitted jumper. It was all so thoughtful and wonderful.

You can click on the flickr set from the shower. Why I needed to post all the pictures, I don't know, as they mostly all look the same, me looking like a big stripey whale sitting in a chair making really terrible faces. I think maybe it's the variety of terrible faces that made me put each picture up. Or maybe laziness in not wanting to go through and choose the best (or worst) ones. At any rate, feel free to just look at a few and you'll get an idea of what the shower was like.

Also you can see my last week bump pictures. I'm sure I'll take some pictures before the birth and when I get to hospital and all that, but this is the last official week of my pregnancy... unless for some horrible reason they put it off and make me wait until Monday or something... oh my goodness I will die if I have to sit in a hospital over the weekend waiting to have this baby. Anyway, no dwelling on that, we'll just all assume that by this time Friday (9pm) I'll be cuddling my darling baby and all will be well and good.

I can't believe I only have three more days in my home to get ready. Notice the To Do list though... it is definitely dwindling!

Life In A Far Away Land

I've gotten pretty well used to be being far away from my family, and while I hate missing out on family get-togethers, I've learned to live with it. It's a part of life, albeit a sad one.

So what a surprise when I came across this and this on my sister-in-law's flickr! My grandmother celebrated her 80th birthday last week, and I was sad I wouldn't be there for it. But like I said, it's just part of life now, which I have no choice but to accept.

Thanks, Kristen, for posting those pictures of my Mamaw and Papaw. It made me very, very happy.

(In other news that I've been dying to announce, I mopped my kitchen floor! I know!)

Friday, January 26, 2007

Five A Day

I know this is the sort of thing I should've been keeping up with throughout the whole pregnancy - throughout my whole life really - but I was keenly reminded a couple of weeks ago during a talk about nutrition how important it is to get your five fruit and vegetables a day. The talk was good in that the girl showed us how much a 'portion' of different fruits and veggies is, which has always been a bit baffling to me. So since then I've been motivated to get those healthy buggers down.

I've mostly been doing fruit, because it's so much tastier, which I know isn't exactly how it's meant to work. This girl said, 'If you eat 50 different foods a week, you're bound to be all right.' Easier said than done! So I bought blueberries, clementines, bananas, an avocado, carrots and several cans of peas. I looked at the broccoli, which I usually like, and couldn't bring myself to put it in my basket. It just suddenly seemed so vile. Oh, and fruit juice. One glass of fruit juice can count as one portion (but only one, as you don't get the fibre).

I've been doing all right with it. Last night I made fettuccine - not the healthiest pasta in the world - but I loaded the rest of the plate with roast chicken, peas, carrots and avocado. And for breakfast this morning, I sort of overdid it by adding blueberries and banana to my Red Berries Special K and drinking a glass of orange and banana juice. I feel a bit sick.

For lunch I'll eat the other half of my avocado with whatever I decide to make and I'll maybe peel a carrot too. For dinner, we're having meatloaf (again, not the healthiest, but I'm working on this 50 different foods a week thing!) with a side of roasted courgette (zucchini) and probably another carrot. And maybe canned corn. Oh and new potatoes, which don't count as a fruit/veg, but are still healthy in their own right.

But no matter what kind of healthy eating kick I try to go on, I will always treasure my bedtime snack of ice cream. (At least until I've had the baby and this craving for ice cream 24/7 turns into an extreme dislike.)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

To Do...

...before next Thursday. You know, when I'm admitted to the hospital to have my baby on Friday.

Yes, like, a week tomorrow.

I'm going to be a mum a week tomorrow.

OH. MY. FREAKING. CRAP.

The list I made last night now actually needs to be done.

1. Get carseat base fitted.
2. Phone Tots Bots about delayed order.
3. Email Pollywog Baby about where my nursing pillow is.
4. Vacuum living room, bedroom and baby room.
5. Get Christmas tree (already boxed at least) and old computer into loft.
6. Set up crib and baby changer. Put in our bedroom.
7. Tidy baby room for big day.
8. *PICK WORSHIP SONGS* for Sunday evening and phone Gordon to let him know.
9. Dishes and laundry.
10. Lanolise wool cover. *IN PROCESS*
11. Pay credit card bill.
12. Clean out car (before getting carseat fitted, preferably)
13. Call landlord to remind him about shed.
14. Learn how to use new video camera.
15. File four months of mail that has piled up on table. (No kidding, they date back to October.)
16. Get groceries.
17. Wash bathroom floor mat.
18. Wash nappies when they arrive.
19. Finish packing hospital bag.
20. Mop kitchen floor... if I can be bothered. (I spilled strawberry juice all over it last night, so really, I should.)

I'm putting this list on my sidebar so I'll be confronted with it often (because, yes, I like to go to my website and just look at it sometimes...)

Oh yeah, and
21. Go to Fiona's house to give her baby gift. If I can be bothered. And
22. Go to my baby shower on Saturday! (And bake angel food cake for baby shower to say thanks!)

The Hosptial - My Second Home

I have yet another hosptial appointment today. In case you haven't been talking to me personally, let me just sum up the visits I've been having to make: a 35 week scan, a 36 week scan and consultant appointment scheduled for a Thursday but cancelled due to snow and scan rescheduled for the Friday, a 37 week scan yesterday and chat with obstetrician, and consultant appointment rescheduled from Thursday to today. I feel like I'm never out of there.

In interesting developments, but developments not interesting enough to make a difference, my placenta has moved a significant amount, but not significantly enough to change the necessity of a cesarean. In medical terms (because I'm totally down with it now), from a mainline view, the placenta is 3cm away from the os, but from a rightside view, it is less than 2cm. Some experts say 2cm is enough for a vaginal birth, but unfortunately, in my situation, the placenta is still wrapped around the baby's head somewhat, and though the bit that is less than 2cm away is thin, 1cm from that is a cotyledon which would be very bad to rupture. The obs said they'd be happy to keep doing weekly scans if that's what I want, but he also sort of implied that there probably isn't much point. He was a good doctor; both Scott and I really liked him. I trusted his opinion, as he very clearly showed us how it would all work, by indicating how far the cervix would dilate in vaginal labour, where the head would be engaging and by labeling the scan pictures with all the necessary terms for us to take home and to show the consultant. He also explained how and where the cesarean incision would be done, which was helpful to me. He gave me some grave facts about how the cesarean would take place, but those are the kind of facts I've been wanting someone to give me.

My midwife will be attending this consultation with me today. I'm very grateful, as Scott has to be at work. My midwife is great and seems to be in agreement with me and Scott about all the decisions we're having to make. I'm really, truly glad we hired her. I may not be getting my homebirth, but I could not have asked for a better carer throughout my pregnancy and beyond. She'll be around after the baby is born too to help me with breastfeeding and post-natal care. She's great. I highly recommend her.

So anyway, if a date ever gets decided upon... well, I was gonna say I'll let you know, but I might not! I don't know if I'll want to keep it to myself and close family and friends or not. But you WILL know when the baby is born, complete with pictures, because Scott won't be allowed to stay at the hospital with me all day, so blogging will be one of his many chores while I'm laid up with a big slice in my gut. That and washing the nappies I send home with him everyday from the hospital.

At some point, for anyone who is interested, I plan on posting my birth plans (the one I had for vaginal delivery in case I should need to deliver in hospital and the one I have for my cesarean) somewhere on my site for anyone who is thinking of writing a birth plan themselves but don't know where to start. Obviously our plans will be different, but maybe mine will help someone get started. Allison (my midwife) said my birth plans were excellent, and then we both chuckled at the thought of the doctors reading them. They'll probably just laugh. But who cares? I'm going to make a pretty sign to hang on the wall above my bed stating the most important parts of my plan so any nurse/midwife/doctor who comes to my bedside will be sure to know what I do and do not consent to. :) I'm going to be a PAIN. It's my right, after all.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

May Experience Tek-nik-el Difficulties

Don't be surprised if you see some funny stuff on here today. I'm changing the website for two reasons: 1) Frames are soooo last century and get on people's nerves and 2) Because I blindly paid for another year with our current webspace provider who doesn't support... uh, something that apparently we need for using better blogging services... so we are stuck with Blogger for the time being, and Blogger has moved to a 'new! advanced! wicked cool!' version which freaking sucks if you try to mess with their prescribed skins WHATSOEVER YOU HORRIBLE PERSON.

So, I've been messing with their prescribed skins for a few days on a 'tester' site, and it all worked out great... until I tried to copy the same code into the real site and found for some reason, Blogger wasn't down wi'dat. So... like I said, funny things may happen here today (or for a few days, who knows!). I apologise.

For the record, Scott told me to leave the blog alone until he was around to help if something goes haywire. I'm kinda... uh... not submitting to my husband. But I mean, really! If I wait til he's around, I'll never get a shot at the computer! He's trying to level up to 70 with his druid!

Ciao for now.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Nesting and Egg Whites

My midwife was here this morning. The baby's head is still not engaged (probably because of the placenta) so that means, for the purposes of this post, that I am not going to be going into labour anytime soon.

Which explains the lack of 'nesting instinct'.

Sure, I got out the broom today and swept the floors, which I don't make a great habit of doing on a regular basis, but that was only because Allison was coming over, and I don't want her to think I'm a complete slob. Which, these days, I am. And I did my daily load of laundry and dishes, which is becoming second nature now (hurray!). But folks, there are no clean baseboards or cubbards in this house.

However, I'm baking an angel food cake right now. Why? For what event? No reason, no event. I just wanted to see if I could make an angel food cake. You know, from scratch. I'm a bit dubious; I don't think this one is going to turn out so well, as I sort of messed up at one point. And all ya'll Martha Stewarts out there know how fickle egg whites are - they are not to be messed with. So we'll see if this cake turns out or, well, in.

So I'm now wondering - could the nesting instinct take its place in the kitchen? Do some women go on baking crazes before the baby's born instead of cleaning ones? I kinda hope not, at least not for me. Because seriously, the house could use a crazy hormonal spring clean.


[UPDATE]
The cake turned out pretty good! I might've left it to bake a little too long, so next time I'll chop off about 5 minutes or so (I had to cut off some burnt edges). But the consistency is perfect - and it tastes good too!

Angel Food Cake

Monday, January 22, 2007

Lori Likes To Talk About Books Too Much

There are a lot of things I really miss about being a University student. Aside from all the fun stuff outwith the coursework itself, I miss learning new things and discussing them with other interested people, being introduced to books I might not otherwise have encountered and being forced to discover new ideas through assignments such as essay writing.

But one thing I love about not being a student anymore is the freedom to read whatever tickles my fancy. As an English major, I was always too swamped with the reading in my three or four English courses I'd be taking during any given semester to find time to read for pleasure. Often the reading I was assigned did end up pleasurable, but it was still not my own choice. And trying to read sometimes three or four different books all in the same week often did take the joy right out of reading.

At University I always claimed I loved classic literature, but deep down I was a bit afraid that maybe I only loved it because it was all I had the opportunity to read. What if, when all this is over, I realise I actually really enjoy chick lit? What if in reality, I'm totally into sci-fi? This was actually a real worry.

But I've happily discovered it is not so. I have actually tried to read a few 'lite' books, and honestly, I always have to stop after a couple of chapters (or pages) from total distress and boredom.

At first, I just reread some of the books I'd been assigned that interested me but I'd not been able to fully enjoy. Then I started buying books that I'd heard about in class but never read. I started discovering real preferences. I started developing my own taste. Shockingly, I've found that 18th century literature is my favourite. Who knew?

So, basically, I say all of that as an introduction to telling you that I just bought two new books that I'm so excited about, I can barely decide which to read first. And I can barely make myself finish the one I'm currently reading before I delve into those. They are Jude the Obscure (Thomas Hardy) and Nausea (Jean-Paul Sartre). I'm giddy just thinking about them!

And to ramble on further, along with classic lit, I really, truly enjoy reading books on theology. Again, I wondered at one point if it was just a fad or if I just liked a certain few, but no, really, theology makes me as giddy as the classics. Unfortunately, it's harder to pop in the bookstore and find a quality theology book, so my repetoire and collection in the theology department is more scarce than I'd like it to be, but between my collection, Scott's collection and the books I steal from my dad, I've had enough to read. Right now (maybe I already mentioned this somewhere?) I'm rereading In the Face of God (Michael Horton) and am picking up on bits I'd missed the first time. I'm also feeling a bit more leisurely with it, since I've read it before, so I've been taking my time looking up his references in Scripture and googling other theologians/authors/books he refers to.

So it's confession time.

Though I don't like publicising my true arrogant reading pride, I've come across a book that I'd like to read... but can't bring myself to purchase. I want to read it solely for the sake of interest, not because I endorse or believe or agree with anything the book is about. If we had a proper library that might possibly have it on the shelf, I'd simply check it out. But we don't (that I know of), and I'd be a bit horrified to have this book sitting on my shelf with all my other books. As I noted today on a gift card in WHSmith, 'A man is judged by the books he reads'. I don't want someone clever coming over, perusing my bookshelves and seeing (here it comes) Fire From Heaven: The Rise of Pentecostal Spirituality and the Re-shaping of Religion in the 21st Century (Harvey Cox), for that clever person might think I'm - gasp! - a closet Pentacostal!

I think, however, maybe I should get rid of our copies of Wild At Heart and Captivating before getting too self-congratulatory regarding our reading collection.

And maybe, if I can find Fire From Heaven on Amazon for super cheap, putting it on the shelf between Spurgeon's sermons and Patterns of Reform (James Kirk) will exonerate me.

Right. Okay. Enough about books and my tastlessly pretentious narcissism. I bought a book for Schmooker. It's better than my whole collection put together:

Calm Down, Boris by Sam Lloyd

Boris is a hand puppet that kisses you with his tickly face!

Who's Coming With Me?

I've officially crossed over to the Morrison's side from having been a loyal Tesco shopper for over two years. (Groceries are really the most interesting thing you could possibly want from a Monday morning post, right?) Not only did I fill my cart (with many things NOT on the shopping list) and still spend about £20 less than I would have at Tesco*, I found waterproof drawstring washbags for 99p! Ya'll, I have seriously looked EVERYWHERE for some waterproof drawstring bags to put dirty nappies in when out and about. I ended up having to order a couple from Tots Bots for like £4 each. And then, right in the middle of the toiletries aisle... there they were. And in different colours! I bought two - pink and purple - for the baby, and I'll use one of the boring navy blue Tots Bots one for myself.

Myself, you're asking? Please be warned - if you are male, squirmish, my brother or any combination of the above - SKIP THIS PARAGRAPH. Yes, myself. I'm going to start using washable menstrual pads. Ahem.

I've also fallen for Morrison's because they made finding cream of tartar so darn easy.

Unfortunately, though, Tesco is reading over my shoulder, and in an effort to lure me back, they've dropped an envelope full of vouchers and ClubCard points in my letterbox. Dang it. Well, they might win this battle, but they will lose the war! (Oh gosh, what on earth am I talking about?)


*This might be due to the fact that Morrison's doesn't sell baby clothes, and had I been at Tesco, there's a fair chance that £20 would've been spent not on groceries but tiny pink onesies.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Mexicans Would Be Scratching Their Heads

Scott and I went out to a Mexican restaurant for dinner tonight. The couple next to us ordered a burger and a Philly cheesesteak.

Um...??

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Blueberry Cheer



Each morning I wake up deciding I'm going to be happy today. So far, I've not been highly successful.

I stayed up late last night reading Pollyanna - you know, the children's book by Eleanor H. Porter, which was also made into a movie. It made me quite cheerful (and tearful!), and I slept well. This morning, however, I was up early to head into Glasgow for a funeral. The funeral was really sad, one of the saddest I've been to.

I came home feeling down but not depressed. Scott was already away for his LAN party ('Losers And Nerds' party as Cheryl aptly puts it), so I had the house to myself. I wasn't really sure what I was going to do with myself all evening, but I was happy to have the quiet and solitude of an empty house. Our overhead lighting in the living room is acting up right now, so we only have lamplight. During the day, with the blinds up, it was fine, but now its dark and moody. I like it.

I read for a little while (I'm now rereading In the Face of God (Michael Horton)), then decided I was hungry. I've been craving blueberry muffins, but Scott has the car so I couldn't pop into town to get a mix. I considered making cookies or pudding because I have all the ingredients to make those from scratch when it occurred to me I surely had the ingredients for blueberry muffins too! So I googled a recipe and found this. When the recipe's author titled them 'To Die For Blueberry Muffins', she wasn't just tooting her own horn! They really are to die for.

I've already eaten two. I am afraid I'll eat the rest. So I'm taking them to a friend's house tonight to pass them around and get rid of the glorious temptation. I'll get picked up in about an hour and a half for a 'girlie' night, where we gaming widows will congregate to complain about how much time our husbands spend playing computer games. It ought to be a good laugh.

(However, speaking of computer games, I shouldn't make too much fun at this time. When Scott was testing the expansion of World of Warcraft - yes, my husband is so 1337, he was one of the testers - he showed me the new features for creating characters, and for fun, I created a total hottie character I named 'Sexy Smith'. In order to 'bond' with Scott - because if you can't beat 'em, join 'em - I created a real character in the game and had Scott show me how to play him. I've actually leveled up 'Smithe' (all forms of Sexy Smith were taken, oddly enough), the Blood Elf paladin, to Level 8 and have enjoyed it. Smithe is a blacksmith and a miner, but most importantly, he's totally hott. Soul-patch and everything.)

Anyway, so back to the main point, I've had a good day so far, in spite of the funeral. Quiet and solitude can be quite healing to the soul, or something like that. And when you add homemade blueberry muffins, you can't help but be a little bit more cheerful.

Friday, January 19, 2007

I've been so seriously overwhelmed this past week. While I can feel Schmooker moving all day long (she likes to dig her little heels into my side), I don't feel like I'm about to have a real baby. We had another ultrasound scan today, and the tech let us see a really lovely view of her face - her little eyes and nose (even the nostrils!) and her fat little lips - but it still doesn't feel real. I worry about why this is.

I can't picture the birth at all. It all seems so surreal. And also so far away. Maybe it's just been a surreal week, with Scott off work and me being exhausted and over-emotional and all the baby washing done. Maybe time feels like it's stopped a little. But I just feel very un-ready for all this to happen. I don't feel like I can do this. I'm tired and worn out and depressed and stressed out and I can't imagine adding a human baby to the mix. Scott's not feeling anything like I am so he's finding it hard to relate to me. He's very ready to meet his daughter and become a daddy. I'm lagging behind, mostly just feeling apprehensive and unprepared. Not to mention ridiculously emotional, which he can't get his head around at all.

It's not just the pregnancy that's stressing me out. I feel like the whole world is too much to handle right now. Yet when I try to ennumerate all the things I'm concerned about, they fall the floor in only a tiny pile of useless scraps. There is nothing major or pressing in reality that is causing me such exhaustion, just small things that feel bigger than life. Well, that's not really being fair to my situation. I DO have several things on my plate right now that really are a big deal and not trivial at all: getting a mortgage, trying to find a house and coping with the deaths and illnesses of people I care about. But then, on top of that, I feel flooded with the everyday tasks of simply existing: making dinners, keeping house, trying to sleep, maintaining relationships...

The way I'm talking, you'd think I was in transition!

However, the birth is still very far away. Or very far away as I see it. And nothing has been officially decided - there's been no date set for the section and because of the section, I've dropped the habits I'd taken up of preparing for labour and anticipating it. So it all feels like the pregnancy has stopped. The climax will never come. The watching and waiting is over. My body is in the hands of doctors, and it no longer has a job to do.

Of course, I know in my head that it continues to grow and nurture a baby, but the feelings that before accompanied this beautiful knowledge no longer comfort me. Instead, I trudge tiredly through each day, crying over everything and feeling alone and powerless. No doubt my mom would tell me to 'buck up', but if she did, I'd probably, you know, cry some more. I don't know how I'm going to cope for the rest of this pregnancy and when I've suddenly got a helpless baby to keep safe, comforted and alive. I want to give up.

But Scott tells me that's not an option. I wish he could take this on for me, just for a few days. A good night's sleep and a large gin and cranberry would do me good.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

So yeah, I've officially had ENOUGH of pregnancy. I feel the size of the Titanic, and I'm just about ready to sink.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Gales

Here in Greenock we get what Scott called 'the shadow effect' (or something). There are hills on one side, hills on the other side and a river in between. This means (something like) the moisture from the river evaporating into clouds gets trapped between the two ranges of hills and thus the rain stays inside its little 'valley'. This is why Greenock gets so much rain.

I do not, however, have any really interesting explanations for why we get such strong gales at our house except that we are on the top of the hills which protect the 'valley' below from these gales.

I do, however, have an interesting picture of the effect of said gales.

Wind Damage

Fortunately we didn't have much in that shed. But the neighbours' outdoor cat is pretty bummed.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Birth, Death and Everything In Between

My friend Fiona had a baby girl yesterday - 8lbs 13oz!

My friend Jamie's father passed away the day before yesterday - not an old man.

My previous boss from the University of Arkansas also passed away about a week ago - also not an old man.

About three weeks ago, I saw two kids get run over by an SUV. One was around 9 or 10, the other around 15 or 16. They thankfully survived but suffered major injuries.

My husband's wonderful grandmother has been diagnosed with cancer.

I'm having a baby in approximately three weeks.

It's hard to comprehend that death is a part of life. They sound like opposites. But everyone starts with birth and ends with death. Life can be so unbelievably overwhelming.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Practice Makes Perfect

How To Fit a Mamabless Wool Wrap
How To Fit a Wool Wrap
By Sir Quackenbush III


Step 1: Prepare the Changing Mat
Step 1

Step 2: Lay Naked Baby on Nappies
Step 2

Step 3: Fit Nappy
Step 3

Step 4: Fit Wrap Around Nappy in Impossible Way
Step 4

Step 5: Be Impressed With Horrible Wrapping Skills
Step 5
If Step 5 cannot be achieved, repeat Step 4 over.

Step 6: Make Sure the Back Part Is Right
Step 6
If Step 6 has not been achieved, repeat Steps 4 and 5 over and over and over and over.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Best Laid Schemes...

Since before I was even married, I knew I wanted to have a waterbirth.

Since before I was pregnant, I knew I wanted a homebirth.

Since I've been pregnant, I've researched, learned and made decisions very important to me about the childbirth process and beyond. I've made decisions about labour and delivery, breastfeeding, vaccinations, babywearing, co-sleeping and diapering. All the decisions I've made have been carefully considered and are deeply important to me.

I've been preparing for this point in my life to take place for a while. I've visualised it all - from contractions starting to birthing my beautiful daughter in a warm pool of water in my living room and putting her to my breast for the first time. I've looked forward to experiencing this drug-free, embracing all of it, no matter how hard and painful. I knew this would be a defining moment in my life. I wasn't scared; I was excited. I cherished the idea of a gentle birth with no one around but me, my husband, my midwife and my baby.

All along, however, I knew there was a possibility that things wouldn't go as planned, but I remained optimistic. My pregnancy has been great, aside from the usual aches and niggles. I've had no big issues like high blood pressure, swelling, bleeding or anaemia. I've been in good health. My baby has been in the optimal foetal position for weeks now, despite the anterior placenta. I've had no reason to be concerned that things might not go as planned.

Except for the low lying placenta. At 20 weeks, I was a bit nervous but was assured from all sides that these things are common and usually don't interfere with the labour at full term. Always the optimist, I took that on and didn't worry myself.

Three weeks ago, the placenta was still low, but it was uncertain how low. Again, I didn't worry too much. At that point I was only 32 weeks along, with time to spare, and again an optimistic outlook. I continued to plan for the homebirth, with a few precautions. I held off on ordering the birth pool 'just in case' but kept up with the other things I knew were important. I signed up for aqua-natal. I pumped up my birthing ball. I started a list of essential oils and teas and other labour accessories that I wanted to purchase before the big event.

But... 'The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men/ Gang aft agley'.*

My scan yesterday confirmed placenta praevia. At 35 weeks, the placenta is still on the edge of the os (internal cervical opening), meaning there is no real chance it will move the necessary 2cm or so in time for the birth. If left to give birth naturally, the cervix would start dilating, and the placenta would then be in the way of the opening. The baby would start bearing down, causing the placenta to rupture and, well, as dramatic as it sounds, we'd probably both bleed to death. So we can all do the math here: I won't be having my homebirth.

This news, while upsetting, wasn't surprising. I knew all along it was a possibility. But now that the possibility has become the reality, I have a lot of issues to come to terms with. A lot of those decisions I made, which are so important to me, have to be reformed. Probably the most difficult will be seeing my baby's umbilical cord cut immediately. It was one of the most important parts of my birth plan, to keep the cord in tact until it stopped pulsating and the placenta was delivered. It is my strongest belief that the blood in that placenta belongs to my baby, with all its antibodies and oxygen. When confronted with the possibility of having a cesarean earlier on, I'd decided to speak to the surgeon about this beforehand and insist on the placenta being born with the baby, cord in tact, like a lotus birth. It was one of those things that made a cesarean seem a little less awful.

The scan, however, reveals that the placenta is anterior - in laymen's terms, it's in the front of the uterus. In order to get the baby out, it will be sliced through. As you can imagine, this means lots of blood, which means the absolute necessity that the cord is clamped as soon as possible to keep both of us from hemmoraging.

I feel powerless. I feel gypped. I feel like a failure. I feel ashamed. And I know in my head that all of these things are silly, that not a single one is true. Yet deep down, I can't help the utter disappointment presenting itself in these ways. It's a relinquish of control that feels too hard and too unfair. There are feelings of sadness, regret, loss and wounded pride. I feel grieved that I won't get to experience this birth the way I planned it. I feel unempowered. I feel downright selfish.

But it's also so important to explain that I feel thankful. I feel really, really rescued. I keep coming back to the realisation that, were I living only 150 years ago, me and my baby would be living our last days. We would have died. My husband would be left alone to grieve the loss of the two most important people in his whole life. When I think on this, all I can do is praise God for what He has allowed us to learn in the past century! Because of His grace and mercy and love, my baby and I have a chance to live. How can I feel gypped when faced with a truth like this!

Yesterday, I did a lot of crying. I won't say that today I am completely over it, but I can honestly say that I am more at peace with the situation. I will be having a cesarean. I will be having our baby in the hospital. I will have to give up many things that were important to me. But I will have my daughter. My husband will have his wife and child. In the end, the birth of our daughter takes place in one day. While I wanted that first day to be special and gentle, it is only one day. We will have the rest of her life and ours to love her and care for her and assure her that we will always treasure her. In the end, the way she comes into the world is not what counts. I'm coming to terms with the truth of this. I feel okay about being disappointed, but I won't be consumed by it. God has given us the special gift of this child. I'm looking forward to meeting her. I thank God that He does not relinquish control.


*Or, in other words, 'The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry.' (Robert Burns, 'To A Mouse')

Monday, January 08, 2007

Maternity Leave



Today is the official start of my maternity leave. It feels so good knowing all my workmates are back at work today, and I'm sitting in a stripey t-shirt and yellow sneakers trying to decide if I should shop first, shower later or shower first and shop later...

Should probably shower first, huh? I could dry and straighten my hair and feel fab, then go for a coffee...

I need to buy milk and ice cream (essential), pick up Scott's prescription and pick up some more of these comfy t-shirts at Primark for £3 each.

I am going to phone up the physiotherapy centre at the hospital to register for aqua-natal, starting next week. Wish I could start tomorrow, but tomorrow is my scan and midwife appointment.

I'll probably do a bit of tidying. I need to wash the cover on the baby mattress, and this week I'm going to start washing the baby clothes and sheets so they'll be fresh and ready for the arrival of Schmooker. I'm doing my best not to fall for all the consumer traps like special sensitive skin baby laundry detergent and what not. Did mothers back in the medieval times have special sensitive skin baby laundry detergent? Did their babies all die? I'm trying to keep some perspective on this whole new-parent thing. Perspective being something I need when you look at how bananas I've gone with buying stuff.

Speaking of stuff, a friend of mine, Cheryl, is throwing a baby shower for me! She's married to a Canandian so she was aware that baby showers were big in 'North America'. So she asked if I wanted one. I was tickled pink! The idea that someone would throw me a baby shower is so touching. For those not in-the-know, baby showers aren't really done here. A lot of people think it's bad luck to buy stuff for the baby before the baby actually arrives. And many, if they do buy ahead, won't keep the things in their home until the baby arrives. If that's the case, then that explains all the morning sickness, backache and heartburn I've experienced throughout my pregnancy, because I've been buying baby stuff since I saw the two pink dots!

Still on my To Buy For Baby list (consumer trap warning!):
- some newborn prefold nappies (for those first few meconium days, so I don't ruin my beautiful shaped nappies)
- a room thermometer (I know! Medieval mums didn't have those either, but I can't help but be convinced that my baby is going to sweat and/or freeze to death in our temperature-unstable house.)
- my sling (I've been saving up for this thing for months)
- my nursing pillow (I've been assured by internet and real life friends alike that this pillow really is the best)
- the pram/carseat (which is being purchased by my mother and father-in-law. I'm going to go for a three-part travel system with an infant carseat so I can put off buying the real carseat a bit longer. It's something I have yet to research, and I'm actually pretty terrified of the carseat research process, because I don't know what I'm looking for.)
- the bedside cot (which I'll get when my mom gets here)

Ah, maternity leave. It's bliss.

And as an interesting (?) sidenote, I've lived in Scotland for almost 2 and a half years, and I don't know the radio frequency numbers for a single radio station. Radio 4 is starting a series today on the perils and pitfalls of working from home... and I don't know where Radio 4 is.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

"Getting Out of Bed" with updates!

Oh, speaking of empty boxes for packing, did I not say we're planning on moving? We don't have a house yet, but we have a mortgage application in process and will be putting in an offer on a place when that is all sorted.

Yeah, we aren't going for that place anymore. The valuation came back (I hate paying money for valuations), and the house needs about £10,000 worth of vital repairs. Um, no.

Today, I'd like to see the kitchen cleaned.

Someone did it! Someone named me!

And I'd also like to see the rug in my bedroom hoovered...

No one did that though.

Frozen pizza, frozen fish or grilled cheese?

I went with grilled cheese.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Getting Out of Bed

So far, this maternity leave has not been as productive as I planned for it to be. I know maternity leave prior to the baby is meant to be relaxing and chilled and a chance to catch up the sleep you won't get for the next 15 years, but I still imagined myself waking up with Scott, sending him off to work with a pack lunch and diving into household chores.

Snicker.

I've gotten up with Scott once this week, dropped him off, then came back home and slept on the couch until 11.30.

Mostly I just sleep in until I feel so guilty that I get up, I make breakfast (as in, pour a bowl of cereal) and then sleep on the couch some more. I haven't really 'tackled' any household chores in their entirety.

I have managed to somewhat tidy up the Christmas mess. Now, the only things lying around the living room are last night's dinner dishes, some used napkins, several books I managed to move from the bedroom to the living room (but not quite to the bookshelf), a blanket on the couch, my birthing ball, the hoover and several pairs of shoes. And a big garbage bag full of wrapping paper that hasn't made it to the bins outside yet. And several empty boxes for packing and the boxes full of Christmas decorations that will need to go back into the loft but probably won't.

Oh, speaking of empty boxes for packing, did I not say we're planning on moving? We don't have a house yet, but we have a mortgage application in process and will be putting in an offer on a place when that is all sorted. If that place is gone by then, we'll just find somewhere else. I know the baby is due in, you know, six weeks, which is about how long a mortgage takes to go through, so potentially we could be moving house around the same time a baby is pushing herself out of my body, but we'll just see what happens. I haven't packed anything yet. I need more boxes and a stronger belief that we really are moving first.

Today, I'd like to see the kitchen cleaned. I don't know who's going to clean it, but it would be nice to see it done. And I'd also like to see the rug in my bedroom hoovered, but I need to empty the hoover first... and really, I seriously doubt I can be bothered with that either. We'll see when evening comes how much I've ended up achieving.

But first on the agenda is lunch. Frozen pizza, frozen fish or grilled cheese?

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

40 Questions

I did these last year. Maybe I’ll do them every year.

1. What did you do in 2006 that you’d never done before?
Got knocked up.

2. Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions and will you make more for next year?
According to these very notes, I resolved to get fit and organised. I did neither of the sort. I will not make a resolution for this year; the plan is to simply get through my first year as a mummy without losing all my hair.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
My best friend Devon and her husband Robert had their first baby in the summer. Sarah and Jonathan had their first baby in the spring. The rest of my mummy friends are due in 2007.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No, no one close to me. Scott’s grandpa died, but we’ve never met him.

5. What countries did you visit?
Just the United States, twice. I don’t believe I even ventured out of Scotland besides that.

6. What would you like to have in 2007 that you lacked in 2006?
A baby. :) A new house. Less clutter.

7. What date from 2006 will remain etched upon your memory?
I don’t remember the date, but I will never forget the morning I woke Scott up to show him the positive pregnancy test. And then he woke up half an hour later and asked if he’d been dreaming.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Funnily, last year it was 'not getting pregnant on a NFP method'. This year, it’s getting pregnant. I’m also pretty proud to have been Devon’s maid of honour and to have gotten my British license.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Getting three points on my license after having it only a week.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I fell down the stairs of a bus and had to go to Accidents and Emergency.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
My midwife, Allison. And Scott’s Bopit. And my CHI.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
Once again, Scott gets the prize. Each year, he becomes a better man and husband. This new year will be exciting as I watch my husband become a father.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
Again, it’s inappropriate to say. This is definitely a question that I’ll probably never answer out loud on my blog.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Besides the overwhelming majority of our income going straight back into bills, I’ve probably gone a little overboard with buying baby stuff.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Besides getting pregnant (which really is the answer to just about everything), I was very excited about Devon and Sarah’s babies and very excited to be in Devon’s wedding.

16. What song/album will always remind you of 2006?
I’m afraid I can’t think of any.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
happier or sadder? a lot happier.
thinner or fatter? much fatter!
richer or poorer? a bit richer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
I wish I’d been to more football games and done more travelling.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
I wish I’d spent less money on things I don’t need.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
I made chocolate gravy and biscuits for breakfast, opened presents with Scott, then slept until 6pm when we went to Scott’s folks for dinner and presents.

21. Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?
Definitely my mom.

22. Did you fall in love in 2006?
Very much. With a little foetus called…

23. How many one night stands in this last year?
Thankfully, zero.

24. What was your favourite TV programme(s)?

That 70’s Show

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Other than a few teachers at the school who this year made themselves rather unlikeable, no.

26. What was the best book(s) you read?
Apparently (according to this last year), I read The Chrysalids by John Wyndham at the beginning of the year, so that. The Face of God by Michael Horton was also a great book.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
That song ‘Parklife’ by Blur. Just discovered it a few nights ago. I know, it's a million years old. But I was in America...

28. What did you want and get?
Pregnant.

29. What did you want and not get?
Organised.

30. What were your favourite films of this year?
March of the Penguins and Snakes on a Plane

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 24 and met up with some people at the pub for dinner.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
If Jonathan and Sarah hadn’t moved away.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2006?
Maternity.

34. What kept you sane?
Knowing that soon we’ll have our baby in our arms.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Chris Burke (Rangers)

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
I haven’t paid much attention to politics this year, but I’m finding the presidential nominations in the US interesting – the Mormon guy, in particular, or rather, the ‘religious right’s’ response to the Mormon guy.

37. Who did you miss?
My mom and dad. It’s hard not having my mom here going through this with me.

38. Who was the best new person (people) you met?
Lynda at work, and while I didn’t exactly meet them this year, the people at my church that I’ve gotten to know this year are really, really great.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2006.
Put your family first and yourself last. (Of course, I actually believe we should put God first, then family second and yourself last, but I’m not trying to spiritualise this. I just learned how great marriage can be when you begin to make your spouse the priority over yourself.)

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year?
‘It's got nothing to do with vorsprung durch technic, you know, and it's not about you joggers who go round and round and round.’ (Blur, ‘Parklife’) Okay, so that sums up nothing but I’ve had those lyrics in my head for the past few days, and it’s all I can think of.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Holiday Round-Up

It's a bit hard to get motivated to do anything these days, let alone blog, but I suppose it won't kill me to knock out a few lines (not to mention a few dishes). Scott and I are mostly over our illnesses. I'm still rather stuffed up with a highly attractive dying-elephant cough, but at least we're able to function again. Oh, except for the whole I'M TOO PREGNANT TO MOVE thing. Actually, I'm not that big, I'm just that tired. I feel like I've been sleeping for weeks. In fact, between Christmas and New Year, I have without a doubt slept at least three times longer than I've been awake. That is, except for at night when I'm supposed to be sleeping. That's when I get up every hour to either pee, blow my nose, turn over (which takes several steps), get a drink of water or all of the above. I can't remember the last time I was this exhausted. (Oh yes I can, early pregnancy.)

So today the plan is to get some stuff done. The house still looks like Christmas morning, wrapping paper and gifts bags still lying about, gifts still piled up on the table and floors, plus all the glasses and tea mugs scattered about which lend evidence to the fact that we have indeed lived in this house for a week without cleaning up after ourselves. So I'm gonna do my best to get the house looking respectable again. I imagine I'll also nap a lot. Which is what maternity leave before the baby comes is for, right?

We had a good Christmas, by the way, aside from the flu-like aches and runny noses. Scott got me a CHI hair straightener, which rocks my socks off, and I got him, well, nothing that good. Just some CDs and t-shirts and stuff. The great gift his parents got for us, which we've been very excited about, is a digital video camera for capturing every last gurgle Baby McFarlane makes. I got a total of four new kokeshi and the Felicity Season 4 DVDs. Scott got about a million £s worth of GAME vouchers, on which I hope he intends to spend on a Nintendo Wii.

For New Year, we had absolutely NO plans. This wasn't exactly ideal for me, as this year was kinda gonna be the last free New Year for, like, forever, but no one was planning anything. A few friends were booked to go to a meal and ceilidh in Largs, but tickets were £30 a piece and I couldn't really see any point in spending that kind of money when a) I wouldn't be able to drink and b) I wouldn't be able to ceilidh dance (at least not without permanently damaging something) and c) Scott hates ceilidhs, so we opted out. The weather was atrocious on the night, so we didn't even go down the road to our friends' house who invited us up just to watch TV. Scott and I snuggled up on the couch to watch March of the Penguins and drink tea. That's when we got the call. Our friends had to cancel their ceilidh plans because the coast road was flooded, with waves crashing up over the cars. They'd decided last minute to instead meet up at one of their houses and eat pizza, so they invited us out. Though the weather was miserable, and this was an unfortunate turn of events for them, I have to say I was selfishly delighted to now have Hogmanay plans. So Scott and I put on clothes that didn't resemble pajamas (too much) and trekked out into the storm. It ended up being a really fun night, and I managed not to cause myself too much bodily harm during my spontaneous 'Eye of the Tiger' dance routine.

Other highlights throughout the week include PlayStation2 SingStar at Matthew and Cheryl's, viewing a potential house and the annual steak pie with the family on New Year's Day. Lowlights include the hospital, our unwell gran and my witnessing two kids get run over by a car, the latter two which I'd rather say nothing else about.

It's been an eventful week for someone who slept most the time.