Happy Together…

March 31, 2008 at 5:55 am (Life gets in the way...) (, , )

The Kiss by Rodin

The Kiss by Rodin

Today marks eight years since Dale and I first got together. Eight years since our first date and our first kiss (although we swapped phone numbers and started texting and calling each other a week before that).

We actually met about two years prior to getting together. We were both seeing other people so, despite feeling a great attraction, neither one of us did anything about it (having both been cheated on in the past, we knew how despicable a betrayal that would be of our partners). Shortly after that first meeting, I moved to a different town for a year and a half and, on returning, started dating an old boyfriend, but it really wasn’t  going anywhere at all – that didn’t last long.

My sister mentioned she had seen Dale working in FAS and, as I was looking for a new pair of trousers and they sold the ones I was after, I thought I’d go along, get some trousers and say “hi” at the same time. Completely out of character for Dale, he asked for my phone number and gave me his. He sent half a dozen texts and then called  me to ask if I’d like to go out for lunch the following weekend. Of course, I said yes!

We went for a very nice lunch at Lauders (a bar which is, sadly, no more!) and got on so well that we decided to go out that evening for a few drinks. That was that. We were together from then on.

A month later we decided to start looking for a flat together and a month after that we moved in. Many people thought we were moving too fast but we just knew it was the right thing for us and went ahead anyway. A year and a half later, I proposed (on his birthday) and eleven months after that we got married. The rest is history!

The last eight years have been the happiest of my life – and I have Dale to thank for that. Soon we’ll be three (when Tadpole arrives later this year).

I just wanted to say, happy anniversary, honey – I love you.

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14 weeks in…

March 29, 2008 at 10:10 am (Baby) (, , )

14 weeks pregnant

Foetus at 14 weeks

Isn’t time flying? All of a sudden I’m 14 weeks pregnant and into my second trimester (which, apparently, is usually the easiest of the three – hurrah!). It’s true, I have been feeling a lot better over the last week or so – I’ve hardly had any nausea (just a couple of evenings late on, which I’m putting down to tiredness), and I’m no longer feeling tired all the time, although I do still feel that I tire quite quickly. I also had the joy of seeing Tadpole for the first time this week at my first scan – it was the most amazing experience seeing this tiny creature kicking and squirming about and yet be completely unable to feel it (yet!). For the first time in my life, I’m feeling rather maternal and, yes, quite broody! I can hardly wait to meet this little  person who is currently residing inside me (a fact which still amazes me – how on earth did that arrangement come about in the first place? I’m not at all religious, but it does seem rather miraculous!). I used to be terrified of the thought of giving birth, but not I’m finding that I’m actually looking forward to it,despite the fact that I know there’ll be a fair old bit of pain and a lot of hard work involved – I just can’t wait to hold this baby in my arms and see the look on Dale’s face as he holds Tadpole for the first time!

Some interesting facts about being 14 weeks pregnant:

  • Tadpole is now 3.5 inches long from crown to rump (yes, another half inch in the space of a week!) and the body is now growing faster than the head (which is a good thing, otherwise Tadpole would end up a bit of a bobble head!)
  • Hair and eyebrows are beginning to grow
  • Tadpole can now grasp, squint, frown and grimace, and may even start sucking a thumb (which I suspect was what Tadpole was trying to do while we were watching on the screen!)

Important dates coming up:

  • 10 April – 16 week blood work appointment (I’m going to get stuck with a needle – wah!)
  • 13 May – 20 week scan (can you believe it’s so soon?!)

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That’s one talented kid!

March 27, 2008 at 8:09 pm (Baby) ()

Thank you

I got a gorgeous “thank you” card in the mail today that said:

“Dear Mummy,

Thank you for looking after me in your tummy till I get bigger. I enjoyed having my picture taken on Tuesday. Tell Daddy I am not a splodge!

I love you.
Tadpole.
xxx”

What puzzles me is how did Tadpole manage to buy, write and post a card? That’s one talented Tadpole!

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Tadpole’s first photograph

March 26, 2008 at 9:03 pm (Baby) (, , , , )

Tadpole’sfirst photograph

Tadpole’s first photograph (head to left of picture)

Yesterday we went to Aberdeen Maternity Hospital for Tadpole’s first scan, which was kind of exciting and very, very surprising! You see, we were expecting a blurry image of something vaguely blobby, with no discernible features. What we got was a pretty good look at something distinctly baby-like!

But let’s start at the beginning…

First off, we got to the Maternity clinic and handed over my appointment card whereupon I was handed some paperwork to give to the nurse. As we were waiting, a woman was called in and her name had every full-bladdered woman in the place desperately crossing her legs ni the hopes of not wetting herself with laughter. The woman’s name was Heidi Ho. We all waited till she was in the doctor’s office before sniggering amongst ourselves and congratulated ourselves on having not shouted out “Hi-de-hi!”* I swear – you couldn’t make this stuff up!

Shortly afterwards, I got called in and asked if I’d brought along a urine sample. I was a bit confused as I had been convinced the Midwife had said I would need a sample at every appointment except the scans as I would need a full bladder. However, I was told they could get the sample after I’d had the scan and, after checking the details on my paperwork were correct, they sent me down to the scan department.

A short wait later and Dale and I were ushered into a darkened room. I hoisted myself up onto the ludicrously high hospital bed and did the “pull your top up and your trousers down so your fat belly shows” act. My trousers were then pulled just a bit further down as, at this stage in pregnancy, Tadpole is very low down in my belly. I then had a couple of paper napkins tucked into my clothes and had some freezing cold gloop squirted onto my quivering belly. Then the fun began.

I never realised how rough they would be with that scanner! They really do prod at you quite firmly in order to move things around till they can get a good view, and that’s exactly what we got! The problem is, Tadpole, it seems, doesn’t like being prodded (but then, who does?!). Every time the scanner was at the head, Tad would curl away from it. Each time the scanner prodded the feet end, Tad would start kicking like a mule (honestly, I have the Karate Kid in there!). The kicking was so violent that I was surprised I couldn’t feel it all going on! I only wish we’d managed to get a picture of Tadpole kicking, because the picture was so clear at that point that we could see toes!

After a bit more prodding and moving around, we had four pictures and the idea that I may have a very small fibroid on my left side, but I was told not to worry about that, as it could very easily smooth out as Tadpole grows and stretches my womb. I figure Dr. Scanner knows what she’s talking about, so I’m choosing to believe her and not worry needlessly over something I can’t control.

Then it was back upstairs to the clinic where I handed over my paperwork once again and was finally able to relieve myself. Have you ever tried to pee into a small sample bottle? If you’re a guy, you might not have a problem with that, but if you’re female and you’re bursting for a pee, you’ll soon discover it’s kind of difficult to aim without getting it everywhere. Fortunately, I managed not to soak the cubicle or myself and promptly stuck the freshly-filled bottle in my pocket.

When I was called into the Nurse’s office, she tested my sample and discovered I had a tiny amount of protein in it (but nothing to worry about), and, despite all the water I manage to put away in a day (I manage my eight glasses easily and often drink several more than that!), I was slightly dehydrated! I was flabbergasted! How on earth I manage to be dehydrated when I practically drink our water cooler dry on a daily basis is beyond me. How much more am I supposed to drink? Is Tadpole really a Frog?

Then I got sent back out to wait to see the doctor who was just adorable. He told me not to worry about the protein or the dehydration, as it really was the tiniest amount and I otherwise seem to be in good health, as well as having excellent blood pressure (high or low blood pressure is a problem I’ve never suffered – I always seem to be spot on!). I asked a few questions that were specific to me, as I’ve been watching a lot of baby and birthing programmes first thing in the morning and they always make me think. For example, I heard the other day that a side effect of an epidural can be a drop in lood pressure. The thing is, when my blood pressure drops, I pass out, therefore, would it be advisable for me to avoid an epidural or would it be OK if I required one? Also, I have a very slight heart murmur – would that affect my ability to use a TENS machine for pain relief? The lovely Doctor said he would get hold of my medical notes from all my 12 years of testing (which has yet to turn up an answer for why I pass out) and review them to see how they would affect me, but that he really couldn’t see a problem at this point. I choose to believe that he’s another professional who knows his business and so I will believe what he says. We’ll find out at my 20-week scan what bearing my medical history will have on my birth options.

And so, that was that. We headed home clutching Tadpole’s first photographs and feeling a little shell-shocked that there really is a baby in there and that I didn’t just misread the test or imagine the whole thing.

And to top it all off, we had our Estimated Due Date revised. We’ve moved from 3 October to 27 September – the day after my birthday. If Tadpole is anything like me, we can expect an early appearance and an extra special birthday gift for me – but we shall have to wait and see!

*Anyone who grew up ni the UK in the 1980s will recognise this as being from a twee sitcom called Hi-de-Hi. A camp leader called Gladys would start each morning by greeting everyone with, “Good morning, Campers! Hi-de-hi!” To which everyone would reply, “Hi-de-ho!”. Yes, it was naff, but the memories stick and that poor woman must have to live with it on a daily basis!

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13 weeks in…

March 26, 2008 at 6:57 am (Baby, Life gets in the way...) (, , )

13 weeks

Foetus at 13 weeks

“Hang on!” I hear you cry, “Didn’t that last week pass just a little too quickly?”

You’d be forgiven for thinking I’m jumping the gun a little here, but according to the scan I had yesterday, I am now 13 weeks and 4 days pregnant with a revised Estimated Due Date of 27 September, so I’m skipping ahead to the next developmental stage in my ongoing pregnancy log (I’ll post later on about the actual scan, which was WAY cool!) .

Some interesting facts about being 13 weeks pregnant:

  • Tadpole is now about 3 inches long from crown to rump (so there’s been an inch of growth over a single week!)
  • The unique fingerprints are already in place (so, no life of crime for Tadpole!)
  • If Tadpole is a girl, then she will already have about 2 million eggs in her ovaries (although this will drop to around 200,000 by the time she’s 17)

I’m not getting as much nausea now and am not quite so tired, although I still feel that I tire very quickly. Still looking forward to the energy boost I’ve been told to expect!

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Double Standards?

March 24, 2008 at 3:39 pm (News) (, , , , , , )

Scarlett

Scarlett – Raped and murdered

I have to admit, I tend to avoid the news as much as possible as it invariably either depresses me or makes me angry and, to be honest, I don’t have time enough in my life for either of those emotions if I can help it at all. However, there has been no escaping certain news stories and once again, my blood has been heating up till it reaches near boiling point and it’s all because of the seeming double standards of the press.

Case 1: A family on a foreign holiday leave their three year old daughter in an unlocked hotel room with her two younger siblings whilst Mum and Dad go off for dinner down the road. The three-year-old disappears. After much speculation, people start to wonder if the parents may have been at fault in some way and accusations fly. The parents end up winning libel damages for thousands of pounds.

Case 2: A single mother on holiday abroad leaves her fifteen-year-old daughter in one area whilst she and her boyfriend move on to another area. The daughter is raped and murdered. The mother is accused of negligence and is currently in hiding over fears over her safety.

Now, in both cases, I believe the parents have done some wrong in leaving their children alone in a foreign country, no matter how nearby they are. But there are differences here:

Question 1: Would you leave your three-year-old daughter and her two younger siblings alone at home, with the door unlocked whilst you went to the shops?

Question 2: Would you leave your fifteen-year-old daughter alone at home, with the door unlocked, whilst you went to the shops?

I can guess that your answer to question 1 would be a resounding “No way! That would be irresponsible!” and that your answer to question 2 would be “Yes, I think that at 15 my daughter can be trusted for a short while to look after herself.”

In case 1, the young daughter would not have been able to go missing if she had not been left alone in that room. In case two, you can be any age and get raped and murdered, irrespective of whether you are with people or alone.

Once again, I will reiterate that I don’t agree with the actions of either set of parents, but the double standards shown in the press coverage of these stories really gets my goat. Could one of the main reasons be that Maddy’s parents are professionals and Scarlett’s mum is a Single Mum who lives a bit of a hippy lifestyle? Neither of those circumstances should have any bearing on the perception of the cases. If one family gets it in the neck for being negligent enough to leave their child unattended, then so should the other – and none of them should be awarded money for anything said about them.

And of course, it goes without saying, that none of them should ever be up for “Parent of the Year” awards.

Madeleine
Madeleine – Missing

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The right to live / the right to die?

March 22, 2008 at 11:24 am (News) (, , , , )

Chantal Sebire

Chantal Sebire – suffering from esthesioneuroblastoma (ENB)

It’s a subject that causes much discussion, heated debate and outright argument the world over – euthanasia (assisted death or “mercy killing”). It’s not something I’ve ever had the misfortune to have to (or need or want to) consider, either for myself or anyone close to me, but I can see what the effects of such decisions are and how deeply it can affect those who have to live with such a decision.

There has recently been news coverage of a French woman who suffered terribly with an horrifically disfiguring and extremely painful malignant tumour. The French courts rejected her requests to end her suffering by ending her life. She was found dead just a few days later (the cause of her death has not, at this point been established – at least, not to my knowledge).

Looking at the picture of her (yes, that’s really her in the picture above this post) and hearing of how she has lived in pain for many years as her face became horribly distorted (so badly that children would scream and run away in fear at the sight of her – absolutely heartbreaking!) saddened me and made me wonder, when is euthanasia right, if ever?

Consider this example – Moss was riddled with inoperable cancer. She was suffering and the pain she felt could be seen in her eyes; could be felt coming off her in waves. She was much loved and adored her family. She was assisted in her death and the look in her eyes as she slipped away was one of relief and gratefulness. Moss was our family dog.

When animals are suffering and cannot be helped in any other way, they are humanely put out of their misery by a professional in animal medicine – a Veterinarian administers a drug which very quietly sends the creature into the eternal sleep. This is seen as being kind. Should humans have that same right? Should people be able to choose when they have suffered enough and want to put an end to it all? Should they have a say in how they end that suffering?

It’s a difficult question to answer, because then you have to look at all those people who can no longer make that choice for themselves. What about Alzheimer’s patients? Are they “suffering enough” to warrant ending their lives even though they are past making that choice for themselves? What if they have left a “living will” that says once they get past a certain point they want to die? There have certainly been cases where people have assisted Alzheimer’s patients to die and there has been both a sympathetic outpouring and a massive outcry about the “right to live”.

But what about the “right to die”?

Then there are patients that are in comas. What if the doctors say they will never wake but will live on and on in a permanently vegetative state? Should the plug be pulled rather than having that person remain, unaware of all that happens around them and taking up valuable medical resources used in keeping them alive? What about those people who wake up after many years in a coma? Could any of those who were “allowed to die” have woken up at some point in the future if they had been kept alive?

These are questions I cannot answer. I don’t have enough information, whether medical or personal experience, but it really does make one stop and think – what would I want if I were in that position?

That’s another question I can’t answer without experiencing it for myself – which I hope I will never have to do.

My heart goes out to all those who are in that position, whether considering it for themselves or for a loved one.

Chantal Sebire - before

Chantal Sebire – before ENB

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12 weeks in…

March 20, 2008 at 9:54 pm (Baby, Life gets in the way...) (, , )

Foetus at 12 weeks

Foetus at 12 weeks

Hooray! Tadpole is now officially entering The Safety Zone!

I know, logically, that disaster could strike at any time during a pregnancy (Gods forbid!), but the general consensus is that the first twelve weeks are the biggest Danger Zone and I’m sure that many Mums-In-Waiting breathe a collective sigh of relief as they slip past the twelve-week mark. I know I am.

My first scan is next Tuesday afternoon – I’ve been desperately awaiting that event, as until I see that little blob on the screen and hear the heartbeat, it won’t seem quite real – after all, I could have misread the test and have psychosomatic symptoms of sickness, exhaustion and ballooning breasts and belly. It’s not terribly likely, but still, it’s a vague possibility!

I’m still getting a lot of the tiredness, but not so  much of the sickness these days, although evenings can still sometimes be a little dodgy for me. I did, however, actually manage  to get through my evening class this Tuesday, which was a major achievement for me, seeing as how I missed the previous two classes! (And I realised I was coping better than I thought I was, and was actually almost completely caught up – hurray for me!).

Some interesting facts about being 12 weeks pregnant:

  • The baby is now two inches long (yes, it’s grown half an inch in just one week!)
  • If I get poked in the belly,  the baby will squirm (I guess nobody likes getting poked at!)
  • The liver is now making bile and the kidneys are secreting urine in the bladder (just don’t take a leak yet, Tadpole!)

Although the first trimester isn’t technically over till I’ve reached thirteen weeks, I thought I’d also add these little bits of personally-discovered “wisdom”:

 

Things I Have Learned During The First Trimester of My Pregnancy:

  1. Wearing a wireless sports bra and big knickers in bed, then jamming a pillow between your thighs, is not sexy – but it’s a lot more comfortable than NOT doing that.
  2. Bounding down the stairs willy-nilly becomes a thing of the past and is replaced by carefully walking down them, clutching the banister in case of accidental falling.
  3. Never leave any place with a bathroom without first visiting the aforementioned bathroom, as you can guarantee that halfway to your destination, you will desperately need to pee right now!
  4. Boobs like watermelons are not much fun for the person who has to carry them around all day (I’ve always been ample in that department, but really, it’s already getting ridiculous!). Your partner, however, may disagree and it is next to impossible to convince him that it sometimes hurts like hell if he touches them (or even if your clothes move against them!).
  5. Bras for boobs like watermelons are not meant to be worn with low-cut tops – even the pretty, lacy ones almost come up to your chin. It’s depressing when you have now got the most impressive cleavage since Dolly Parton first graced the stage!
  6. It is never wise to get up too quickly – dizziness can strike unexpectedly at any moment. Even bending over to tie your shoelaces can be an experience you won’t be eager to repeat in a hurry.
  7. It is possible to make several midnight trips to the loo without opening your eyes – providing you’ve taken the time to remove all obstacles before you go to bed.
  8. Even if you go to the loo immediately before going to bed, you will need to get up at least once to have what seems to be the longest pee in the world. More often than not, you will need three trips to the loo for these monstrous wee-ing sessions despite the fact that you have not drunk anything since several hours before retiring.
  9. The ratio of juice-to-fruit, when making a smoothie, is of vital importance if you don’t want to end up eating your smoothie with a spoon. It’ll still taste delicious though and it gets a couple of your five-a-day into your system at the start of the day.
  10. Pregnancy is a whole body experience. Not only do your belly and boobs get bigger (and much sooner and faster than you expected), but your butt does too! I have come to the conclusion that this is to counterbalance the extra weight in front. If this is the case, I’m going to have a butt the size of Texas by the time I’m ready to give birth.
  11. People who know you are pregnant will tell you that you look fantastic even when you are a nasty shade of puke-green. Obviously they are lying, but it’s nice to hear it anyway.
  12. Even the little things that never used to bother you are supremely frustrating, and things that used to get you just a little riled up are now going to turn you into a wailing wreck. There is nothing you can do about this.
  13. Either wear waterproof mascara or ditch the stuff completely – it will run when you cry and you will look like a panda. It also makes it very obvious that you’ve been crying and you’re going to want to hide that as much as possible so your friends, family and colleagues don’t get too worried about you. A discrete sniffle in the toilets is a lot easier to cover up than sitting in a puddle of tears next to the photocopier because it’s jammed for the millionth time.
  14. Get outside as often as possible, even if it’s just for five minutes, no matter what the weather is like. Taking a walk at lunch time can clear your head and really set you up to be able to face the afternoon at work – plus the fresh air and exercise will do you good.
  15. Forget getting anything done on the weekends – all you are going to want to do is sleep.
  16. It is possible to feel horribly sick and terribly hungry at the same time.
  17. Reading hundreds of books on pregnancy fills your head with (usually conflicting, invariably confusing, often irrelevant) information.
  18. Maternity trousers with the band that comes up over your whole bump, although very comfortable are not cute or sexy and will make your partner laugh hysterically every time he sneaks up behind you and pulls them right up till the top of the band comes up to your bra.

 And on that note, I’ll finish this entry!

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I’ve been Tagged!

March 16, 2008 at 11:46 am (Memes) (, , )

Tag!

I’ve been tagged by the wonderful Sarah over at This Closet Isn’t Big Enough (if you haven’t already become a regular reader of her blog, go and have a look immediately – you don’t know what you’re missing!).

So, here goes:

Four films I’d watch again:

  1. Amaedus (because it’s superbly written, cast, directed and performed)
  2. Dangerous Liaisons (because it’s quite the most sumptuous adaptation ever)
  3. So I Married an Axe Murderer (because it never fails to make me laugh)
  4. His Girl Friday (because of the perfect comic timing and fast-paced dialogue of the leads)

Four places I’ve lived:

  1. Ashington, Northumberland (north east coast of England, just south of the Scottish Border)
  2. Portlethen, Aberdeenshire (north east coast of Scotland)
  3. Kirkcaldy, Fife (not far from Edinburgh)
  4. Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire (north east coast of Scotland)

Four TV shows I watch:

  1. NCIS
  2. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
  3. Battlestar Galactica
  4. The Unit

Four things to eat:

  1. Really good, strong Cheddar cheese (there’s nothing quite like it!)
  2. Lots of fresh fruit (especially strawberries and raspberries)
  3. Potatoes (where would we be without the humble apple of the earth?)
  4. Home-made chickpea and chorizo soup (which is delicious, if I say so myself!)

Four places I’d rather be:
I’m quite happy where I am, so, like Sarah, I’ll list my four dream holiday destinations instead:

  1. Egypt (a Nile cruise would be just the ticket)
  2. Rome
  3. New York City
  4. A trip on the Orient Express

Four people to tag:

  1. Suzie at Inspirational Rainbows
  2. Kylie at Kylie’s Book Nook
  3. Jen at The Redneck Romance Writer
  4. Karen at Breathe In, Breathe Out

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11 weeks in…

March 13, 2008 at 8:35 pm (Baby, Life gets in the way...) (, , )

11 weeks pregnant

Foetus at 11 weeks

Well, here we are, I’m officially eleven weeks into my pregnancy. Still getting some sickness (though nowhere near as much or a bad) and loads of tiredness. Actually, as of last Tuesday, I thought I had the nausea licked – since switching to eating little and often (on Jan’s say-so), I had been feeling heaps better (although still a little sickness in late evenings, but I put that down to being tired more than anything), but this Tuesday I felt dismal all day and missed my evening class for the second week running. A bit of a shame, as I now haven’t a clue what I’m doing in that class and don’t feel I have the energy or concentration to get going with it again. I swear, if I had paid the fees myself, I would have dropped the class, but as my employers are paying, I just don’t feel I can do that.

Anyway, Tuesday I felt absolutely horrid. I was just about to leave for work when the nausea hit. It subsided after about 15 minutes, so I thought I’d get some fresh air (read, “walk to work”!). Well, I got there in one piece, but spent the whole day feeling dire and left at 4pm. Once home, I totally crashed out and did not get up again till about 6pm. So, no class that night!

Since then, I’ve been back on top of things (mostly), but the tiredness is getting, well, tired now – I’m sick of feeling exhausted. I keep waiting for this fabled “burst of energy” that I should expect at any time between 12 and 16 weeks. I’m hoping that it’s not some colossal in-joke that mothers tell pregnant women and then laugh to each other, “Ha-ha! She thinks she’s going to get that energy burst, but in reality she’s going to feel like a lethargic lump the whole way through – what a hoot!”

So, interesting facts about being 11 weeks pregnant:

  • The baby is now approximately 1.5 inches from crown to rump (so how come my belly has grown way more than that already?).
  • The baby is now kicking and stretching (although I won’t feel anything for a few more weeks yet).
  • The baby now has all its parts (they just have to grow and mature for the next 29 weeks or so).

Things I’m now beginning to consider:

  • Hiring or buying a TENS machine (apparently they’re a great help with labour pains).
  • Asking whether our local maternity unit has a birthing pool (I’m not sure I want an actual water birth, but again, it apparently helps a great deal with the pain).
  • Birthing balls too (apparently they really help take the pressure off and help the baby get into the right position for an easier labour).
  • Pain relief (do I want an epidural? I think I’d prefer to go as natural as possible, but I’m not so naive that I don’t know that could change in an instant once the labour starts, and I may well start screaming for them to pump me full of drugs!).

So, that’s me now heading into my twelfth week – almost at the end of the first trimester already!

Now, I can hardly wait for this “blooming” phase to start!

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