Wow, it’s been a long time!

September 18, 2009 at 2:37 pm (Life gets in the way...) (, , , , , )

Months and months, in fact! And such a lot has happened that I’m just not going to have the time to put it all on here, so I’ll just mention the main ones:

1. As of last week, I am a Stay-At-Home-Mum! Yes, I decided that working part-time just wasn’t working for any of us (Xander started refusing to nap, Dale didn’t get any rest and I got no quality time with Xander at all, even though I was only working afternoons!), so I quit and am now much happier, even if we are completely broke. I’d rather be on a very tight budget and happy than having a tiny bit extra cash and being miserable. It’s true what they say – money can’t buy you happiness! Besides, I figured nobody ever lay on their death bed saying “I wish I’d spent more time working!” did they? No, it’s always, “I wish I’d spent more time with family/friends!” etc. So that’s what I’m doing, at least for a little while. If push comes to shove I can always get an evening job stacking shelves in a local shop, so long as I have my days free to spend with my Little Man.

18.09.09a18.09.09c

These were taken today – doesn’t he look grown up?!

2. Xander will be a year old next week! He’s saying a few words (Mama, Dada, Nana, No) and can sign a few too (drink, yes, no, friend). He also tries to say dog and also his Auntie Leni’s name. His latest trick is cruising round the furniture easily and has taken a few tentative steps (i.e. he launches himself at us) towards me or Dale whilst on the sofa – then when he falls on his bottom, he giggles and applauds himself for being so clever! He’s almost sleeping right through most nights now, although lately he’s been a little more wakeful again due to teething (he has seven teeth through and the eighth one has been giving him some trouble for a couple of weeks now), and is the kissiest, huggiest boy in the world!

So, those are the two main pieces of news. On a more immediate note, I had a bit of a hair disaster today. I attempted to go from being white-blonde to something called chocolate blonde (which is a shade or so darker than Xander’s hair and is as near as dammit to my own natural colour), but it came out purple instead! So I had to don a hat and go out to by a darker dye and came home with French Roast – now I’m a sultry brunette! It’s a lot darker than I had planned, but I rather like it!

purple hair!brunette2

From purple peril to sultry brunette!

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Success!

May 14, 2009 at 10:42 pm (Baby) (, , , , , , , )

Xander – Standing up on Daddy on the sofa 12.05.09

I’m pleased to report that the sleep training has been an unmitigated success! Xander now has a regular routine and goes down for his morning nap some time between 9.00 and 9.30am without a fuss (a few minutes of crying at the very most) and will happily sleep for anything between 30 minutes and 1hr 30mins! He goes down for his afternoon nap some time between 1.00pm and 1.30pm (if at home – and sometimes closer to 2.00pm if we’re out and about in his buggy) and will sleep for roughly the same amount of time (if his morning nap is long, his afternoon nap is shorter and vice versa). He goes to bed around 7.00pm (give or take five or ten minutes) with a minimum of fuss and will only cry for any length of time if he is overtired, but even then, he’s sound asleep inside of 20 minutes nine times out of ten (and in less than one minute most of the time!).

He’s also sleeping through the night! He’ll wake once or twice but will go back to sleep himself, without us having to go through to see to him, after a few minutes of feeling a little sorry for himself.

“Up time” is any time between about 6.00am and 7.00am (although the other day he was awake at 5.30am and complaining loudly – I waited to see if he would go back to sleep, but at 6.00am he was still crying so I got him up after all).

Our day is now far more structured:

Up some time between 6am and 7am
Breakfast starting some time between 7am and 7.15am
Play time
Put down for nap some time between 9am and 9.30am
Up some time between 10am and 11am
Play time
Lunch at 12pm
Time with Daddy when he gets home from work
Put down for nap some time between 1pm and 1.30pm
Up some time between 2pm and 3pm
Play time
Afternoon snack around 4pm
Dinner at 5pm (he has finger food consisting of a little of whatever we’re having and has a go at feeding himself)
Bath at 6pm
Supper at 6.30pm
Bedtime story, cuddles and quiet songs
Put to bed some time between 6.50pm and 7.10pm after final milk feed

When he naps through the day I’m able to actually get things done! I can do some laundry, do prep for our next meal, do a little cross stitch or perhaps do a little reading if I have the time. I’m actually starting to feel a little more like myself again, which is great, and feel able to accomplish things at long last!

Of course, some days we’re out and about, but we always go out either immediately before or after a nap so that Xander can sleep in the buggy (if it’s nap time) or be wakeful and see everything around him (if he’s just had a nap). We’ve been going to lunch once a month with a group of local Mums and babies for a while now and it’s become much easier since we did the whole sleep training thing. I’m able to schedule appointments and meet with friends more easily because I know roughly when Xander will be waking and when he will need to nap – it’s great being able to see windows in my life where I can schedule activities!

And best of all, my return to work has been delayed by almost a month as I have to use up my accrued full-time annual leave before returning, so that I will only accrue part-time annual leave when I go back, as I’ll only be working afternoons till the end of the year. So now I get to stay home with Xander till 10 July (I expected to return to the officwe on 15 June), which is a Friday, so I’ll only have to work one afternoon my first week back – a nice way to ease back into things! I’m so lucky to have such accommodating employers!

Of course, if I win the lottery between now and then, I won’t be going back at all as I would love to be a Stay-At-Home-Mum if we could only afford it (as things are at the moment, it’s just not possible).

P.S. On a different note – Xander has TWO teeth now! His second tooth poked through the gum next to the first one a week ago and he made very little fuss about it. We’re so proud of our toothy little boy!

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36 weeks in…

August 30, 2008 at 7:50 pm (Baby) (, , , , , )

Foetus at 36 weeks

Another week gone and we’re another step closer to Tadpole’s arrival!

Some interesting facts about being 36 weeks pregnant:

  • Tadpole now weighs almost 6lbs and measures 19 inches from top to toe (how on earth does Tad still fit in there?)
  • Tadpole is 2/5ths engaged and is in the cephalic (head-down) position
  • As Tadpole is now a little lower down, it’s easier to breathe and eat, but unfortunately, it means more frequent trips to the loo (honestly, it’s like every hour now!)
  • My Braxton Hicks contractions are getting more frequent and are definitely stronger than they were (which means that when I start huffing and puffing, people start panicking that I’m going into labour!)
  • My back aches a whole lot more than it usually does (especially in the mid-to-lower region) and walking is definitely becoming more of a chore these days
  • I have fat feet (but that’s OK, because most of the time I can’t even see them anyway)
  • There are now just 28 days left till our Estimated Due Date!

This week marked something of a milestone for me – I finished work! Technically, I’m starting two weeks of holiday (my maternity leave doesn’t officially start until 15 September), but the fact remains that I won’t be back in the office until the middle of next June. I was taken out for a lovely farewell lunch on Tuesday, which I was actually able to eat and enjoy, as Tadpole is a little lower down now, and on Friday I was given some lovely gifties from my colleagues (a gorgeous bunch of flowers from the Chief; a black babygro that says “Potty like a rock star” from a collage who was recently in Las Vegas; a pair of baby-sized Ugg boots from another colleague who was recently in Australia; a string of felt frogs with a bell on the end from to hang above the cot; some chocolates and a book). It felt very strange coming out of the office yesterday evening and I was a little emotional, but I just about managed to avoid bawling my eyes out and embarrassing myself in front of everyone (I was determined I wouldn’t ruin my eye makeup!).

I attended a class on how to use my TENS machine earlier in the week too. It was very helpful and made me feel a lot more confident about actually using it (another lovely colleague loaned me hers which she used last summer when she was having her baby boy). There was another Mum-in-waiting there who had been reading all the same books as me and was going to use aspects of hypnobirthing combined with a pool (like me!), although she is having a home birth. Her baby is due the day after Tadpole. It was lovely talking to her and I wish I’d remembered to get her contact details!

I also had another appointment with the Midwife. Dale was unable to attend this time due to a driving lesson, but it went well – my blood pressure is perfect and my pee is also spot-on with no protein or anything in it, and apparently I’m managing to keep well hydrated. I’ve noticed my feet are definitely getting fatter, but the Midwife didn’t seem concerned about it, so I’m not worrying. And it’s not like I can even see my feet most of the time anyway, as my huge bump blocks my line of view! A couple of strange things have been happening though – some areas of skin on my bump seem to have far less sensation than usual. I can feel pressure if I’m touched, but I don’t actually fell the sensation of the contact as much (mostly in the region of my fast-disappearing belly button!); also, my hands have started feeling a little numb-ish on occasion, a bit like getting mild pins and needles and feeling a little tight and stiff. Again, the Midwife didn’t seem too concerned, so I’m not going to worry unless there are major developments. She also reassured me that the pains I’m getting underneath in my pelvic bones are perfectly normal and caused by the bones widening out as Tadpole presses further down in preparation for being born.

The only majorly annoying difference lately has been my old enemy – morning sickness! Over the past week I’ve been feeling rather horrid, but this time really only in the mornings. It has resulted in one or two early-morning bouts of throwing up heartily, but once I’m done I feel fine again. The Midwife’s advice was to have a good-sized bowl of cereal just before bed at night as Tadpole’s ultra-activity in the night means that s/he is using up all my sugar supplies, which is what makes me feel so lousy (even though I have already had breakfast when I throw up in the morning). Since taking her advice I’ve still been feeling a little low, but I’ve not actually been throwing up, so that’s a good start!

Next week will be pretty busy as I’ll have a scan on Tuesday to check on my fibroid, and also a clinic appointment (I’m not sure what they’ll be doing at that appointment, actually). Then on Wednesday I’m getting my hair cut (my last chance to make myself look presentable for all those pictures that are bound to get taken of Tadpole and me in the hospital!), and on Friday the Health Visitor will be calling round to introduce herself (she’ll be the one that takes care of Tad and me after Tad is 10 days old and the Midwife stops coming round). In between all that I HAVE to go and get nursing bras – they’re the last item left on my list of things to get before I give birth ad I want to pack the Hospital Bag within the next few days, just to make sure we’re prepared.

So, my first week of not being at work will be a busy one, but at least I won’t have to get up early in the mornings (well, actually, Tadpole seems to think that 5am is QUITE late enough for me to be in bed, but at least I can then have a nap later on if Tad settles back down again!).


My 36 week bump!

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33 weeks in…

August 9, 2008 at 2:53 pm (Baby) (, , , , , , , , )

Foetus at 33 weeks

Despite only being at work 2.5 days this week, it’s been a hectic week for all sorts of reasons – both in and out of the office. My throat infection cleared up and my voice is now, thankfully, back to normal (so I no longer sound like Kathleen Turner!).

Some interesting facts about being 33 weeks pregnant:

  • Tadpole now weighs just over 4lbs and measures a little over 17 inches from top to toe (which explains why I’m now getting an occasional kick in the ribs from our lanky kid!)
  • Tad is most likely now head-down in my womb although s/he may still change position several times before birth (I really must ask my midwife at the next appointment which way up Tad is!)
  • Tadpole’s head may move into my pelvis this week (apparently this happens at about this time in approximately half of all first-time mums!)
  • If Tadpole were decide to be born today, there’d be a very good chance that s/he would be able to breath for him/herself, as the lungs will now have matured a fairly decent amount (although there’s still more development to come each day that Tad remains inside!)
  • If Tadpole were to be born today, s/he would have a 95% chance of survival (this won’t change again until next week)
  • There are now just 49 days till our Estimated Due Date!

It seems the fabled “burst of energy” that I was promised would occur during my second trimester (which never materialised) has finally happened – although it’s come a bit late as I now can’t actually do all that much with this energy, as I get breathless and tired very quickly these days. This means I tend to get quite restless and antsy a lot of the time and have to get up frequently just to stretch my legs and expend some of the excess energy coursing through me! It has, however, meant that walking to work the past few days has been easier than it’s been in quite a while – I don’t have to stop as often en route, even if I am waddling rather slowly (my pre-pregnancy walk to work took about 20-25 minutes – it now takes me 40-45 minutes!).

My concentration still wanders a lot, but I’m finding that I manage to get through quite a lot in those short bursts of “normal” brain activity time and I’ve actually managed to finish compiling my “How to do pretty much everything” guide for whoever replaces me through my maternity leave from work. I’m going to have to use all my concentration next Wednesday morning, however, as I have a job interview! I’ve applied for a slightly more senior position in my department which, if I got it, would include a raise of several thousand pounds per year (which would come in very handy!). I wasn’t going to go for it, due to very shortly going on maternity leave, but then I thought to myself, “If I wasn’t pregnant, I would definitely go for it, so what’s stopping me, really?” I handed in my application on the last day, about an hour before closing. I’ll let you all know how it turns out…

This weeks antenatal class was pretty good, even though Dale couldn’t make it (he couldn’t rearrange his driving lesson, so he had to miss it – ah well, he’ll be there at next weeks one!). It was all about labour – our worries; our hopes; what we already knew; what we wanted to know; etc. It was at this point that I realised just how relaxed and groovy I’m feeling about the birth now. I was also delighted to find that there’s another lass in our class who’s been reading all the same kinds of books as I have and has very similar ideas about how she wants her birth to happen (she’s opting for a home delivery – kudos to her!). Neither one of us wants to automatically opt for medical pain relief (unlike almost all the others, who are already saying they want to be drugged up to the eyeballs from the start). We’re both going down the “Real Nappies” route too and delighted in discussing the eco-friendly options we were considering (it’s so nice not to feel abnormal for wanting to do the best I can for the planet as well as my baby!). I’m still amazed at the amount of women who don’t even want to consider trying breast feeding and are automatically reaching for the bottle. Sure, it might be easier to be able to share the feeding responsibilities with their partner if they use a bottle, but there’s always the option of pumping to give the baby breast milk – and that way Daddy can help feed too. I know breastfeeding isn’t always an option for every mother, but my philosophy is that you don’t know till you try – it’s best for baby, best for mother and is FREE – and who needs extra expense when you’re already having to pay out for other baby-related paraphernalia AND possibly face the prospect of less money coming into the home due to being on maternity leave and/or switching to fewer hours when you go back to work?

Ah well, each to their own.

Since having my extra-long weekend off work (the first two days due to being ill, the rest due to having annual leave), I am now feeling absolutely fantastic! I think I must have really needed the rest – and that’s what I did for pretty much all of the eight days I had away from the office. Yes, our anniversary was slap-bang in the middle of it, but going out for dinner and a movie was a nice treat and not at all stressful or tiring, and I purposely didn’t accept any invitations to go out and about during that time, so I was able just to potter about the place and do whatever I felt like doing when I felt like doing it. For example, Dale and I decided to take a very slow wander into town on Monday (since we were both off work that day) and look at getting a couple of toys for Tadpole. We specifically wanted a soft toy and a mobile – and we got both.

The soft teddy with gnaw-able feet was spotted first in Boots and we just couldn’t resist it. It’s only a small one and so won’t make Tadpole feel intimidated, is gorgeous to the touch, and the textures on the feet will be both interesting and soothing for when those teeth first start coming through.

After quite a bit of searching, we finally found the perfect mobile in John Lewis. It moves when music is played and all the tunes are by Mozart, Bach and Beethoven. It also has different settings to use at different points in baby’s development to help improve hand-eye coordination (among other things!) and is very soothing to watch and hear. Dale affixed it to the cot-bed immediately and tried it out. It’s just gorgeous!

Our Real Nappy supplies arrived this week (a gift from my Dad and Step-Mum), and we’ve been marvelling over the smallest size of nappy outers – they’re so dinky! The pack has sizes that will keep us covered right up to potty training (and, in fact, also includes a potty!) so it’s an excellent investment. It was also purchased direct from the Nappy Laundry we’re planning to use, which will work out cheaper than buying disposables (as well as being far better for the environment as we’ll not be adding to the millions of nappies that end up on landfill sites – hurrah!). We’ll occasionally use disposables when we’re out and about (just for convenience) but I’ve been sourcing out various eco-nappies which are more environmentally friendly and won’t sit about not degrading for hundreds of years.

I’ve also made some small revisions to my Birth Plan – just little tweaks here and there; the majority of it has been in place for quite a while now – and I’ve started to think about packing a bag ready for going to the midwife unit when Tadpole decides to put in his/her appearance…

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The Lurgy

July 29, 2008 at 8:12 am (Life gets in the way...) (, , )

I have the dreaded lurgy! I’ve called in sick and am staying home today, much to my annoyance since after today I only have fourteen days left in the office before I’m off till the middle of next June (I finish at the end of August, but due to having so many annual leave days, flexi time and various antenatal appointments, my office time has been whittled right down!).

It started on Saturday night. We went to bed and I throat was feeling a little dry – every time I was just about to drift off to sleep, I’d let out a colossal snort which would wake me up again (almost like the beginning of a loud snore, but slightly different as it was in my throat rather than my nose), so I didn’t get much sleep. On Sunday, I was tired, but the dry throat didn’t bother me too much through the day as it was hot weather and I just drank a lot of water. Sunday night I hardly got a wink of sleep and on Monday morning, my throat was feeling rather raw and my voice had gone al husky and sexy. So I called the doctor and went along to an appointment to find that I have a bit of a throat infection (viral, rather than bacterial, so there’s not really anything I can take other than paracetamol for the pain and honey-and-lemon drinks to soothe). I went off to work as, other than feeling a bit tired and a bit scratchy-throated, I felt absolutely fine – except I now had a racking cough too.

Last night I got zero sleep and this morning my voice is almost completely gone, so I decided that, as I’d be neither use nor ornament to anyone in the office (being completely unable to answer phones and being too tired to even walk to work, let alone actually concentrate on anything once there), I’d stay home and try to get some rest instead. Of course, I had to repeat myself several times in order to get the message across as my voice drifts in and out of creaky audibility!

Ah well – at least my colleagues are lovely, understanding folks and I was told to get some rest and take whatever time I need to get well (they’re just so sweet there – I really am lucky!). Hopefully by tomorrow I’ll be feeling a little better and more able to get into work, as tomorrow is my last working day this week!

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30 weeks in…

July 19, 2008 at 7:49 am (Baby) (, , , , , , , )

Foetus at 30 weeks

I can hardly believe we’re now three-quarters of the way there! Lots of exciting things are happening (as usual!) and we’re all being kept on our toes by Tadpole…

Some interesting facts about being 30 weeks pregnant:

  • Tadpole now weighs around 3lbs and measures just over 15.5 inches from crown to foot (adding half a pound and half an inch on last week – crikey!)
  • Tad’s lungs and digestive tract are now almost mature and s/he can distinguish light from dark in the womb and even track a light source (that’s one smart little kid in there already!)
  • Tadpole is currently protected by approximately a litre of amniotic fluid (that sounds like major water retention to me…)
  • My uterus is now pressing against my diaphragm (which explains why I get so out of breath walking to work or going up a flight of stairs – nothing to do with being unfit at all!)
  • I can expect to put on approximately 1lb every week at this point (another 10lbs? I’m gonna be HUGE!)
  • If Tadpole were to be born today, s/he would have a 95% chance of survival (which is excellent news – the odds are getting better all the time – hurrah!)
  • There are now exactly 70 days till our Estimated Due Date

It seems my nesting instinct has kicked in big-time. We thought we were pretty much sorted for everything being ready for Tadpole’s arrival, but last Sunday I woke up with only one thought in my head – I desperately need to repaint the nursery! Now, we only decorated that room eighteen months ago and it’s a gorgeous shade of light blue, but suddenly I don’t want it blue any more – not even if we have a boy! I suddenly had it in my head that the room has to be either yellow or green (and I’m edging more towards green now) and it has to be done as soon a possible. Of course, Dale’s reaction was, “I’m not repainting the nursery – we’ve finished the decorating!” To which I replied, “I’ll do it – you won’t have to do anything except the cutting in at the top!” Of course, Dale has since come round to the idea and has decided that if anyone is painting the nursery, it’ll be him – he’s got it into his head that this is what Dads do. I’m not complaining. Now I just have to go and pick out all the supplies!

Our long-awaited cot-bed arrived yesterday and Dale spent the afternoon putting it all together. It looks gorgeous and we’re both already imagining a baby sleeping in there. It’s funny, the two of us going all gooey thinking about Tadpole like that, but that’s exactly what’s happening!

And other strange things are happening to my body. For example, I’ve suddenly sprung a leak! All the books tell you that your boobs will start leaking at some point, but I didn’t think it would happen this soon – I thought it would just be for a few weeks before Tadpole arrived! It’s only a tiny bit at the moment, but it’s been happening all week, so I’m guessing it’ll get heavier as time goes on. I’m suddenly worried about my massive boobs erupting like a geyser in some unexpected time and place! Dale, of course, thinks it’s fascinating and really very funny. I told him that next time he can have the baby and see how funny he thinks it is when his favourite bra gets stuff all over it! It took me a little while to see why he was laughing so hysterically at that one. Especially since his favourite bra was the first one to get leaked on (his favourite one for me to wear, that is!). I guess I’m going to have to go and buy some new ones in the next few weeks…

I don’t want to jinx things, but it looks like the morning sickness may be on the way out again. I’ve felt fine for most of this week and I’m hoping that things will continue improving and that I have seen the last of my head-down-the-toilet days!

I’ve started looking into something called hypnobirthing too. Dale’s not too keen (he thinks it’s namby-pamby new-age nonsense), so rather than fork out £300 for the one-to-one classes, I’ve ordered the book from Amazon. Seeing as how I’m already familiar with meditation techniques, this could be a rather useful thing to add to my skills in time for giving birth – watch this space…!

And in the middle of all this, I’ve gone and applied for a new job! Not that I’m not happy where I am, but this is a promotion opportunity within the same department. The Head of Policy (who works in the Chief Executive Service) is finally being allowed to have a PA (he’s the only Head of Service who has never had any administrative assistance allocated specifically to him) and the closing date was yesterday. I swithered about whether or not to apply, but finally decided that the worst thing he could say was “No” and I can handle that – after all, I still have my own job which I love, so I wouldn’t exactly be losing out at all. I figured I’d never know unless I tried, so I thought I’d throw my hat into the ring. There is only one other applicant, so I guess we’ll find out soon enough if either one of us is considered right for the position. Either way, I’ve decided not to stress about it at all – if I get the job, that’s great (even though they would immediately have to advertise for maternity cover!), if I don’t then I’m fine with that too.

And I’ve finally decided to take everyone’s advice and have a bit of a rest! Seeing how busy I’ve been over the past few weeks, and taking into account how exhausted I’ve been feeling, I’ve decided that next weekend I am going to do as little as possible. I will not be accepting any invitations at all (so if anyone asks and I say no, please don’t be offended – I just need a little time-out to rest up a while!). The most I will do is nip out briefly to get Dale an anniversary card and present for the following weekend (as we’ll have been married five years on 1 August), and, as I know exactly what I’m going to get him, it won’t take long to do that. I may potter around the flat a little, but I’m not going to make any plans to do anything at all – it’s time to put my feet up for a few moments!

In the meantime, I’m heading out to a chiropody appointment very shortly and then meeting Kerry for lunch – and perhaps I’ll see if she fancies helping me pick out the colour scheme for the nursery this afternoon…

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29 weeks in…

July 12, 2008 at 7:22 am (Baby) (, , , , , )

Foetus at 29 weeks

It feels like time is running very short, with only 77 days till our Estimated Due Date – suddenly I feel completely unprepared for our impending arrival as our cot-bed still hasn’t arrived and we don’t yet have basic essentials like nappies and all the supplies that go with them! Apart from that kind of “have we got everything yet?” panic, I can hardly wait to meet Tadpole face-to-face!

Some interesting facts about being 29 weeks pregnant:

  • Tadpole now weighs about 2.5lbs and measures around 15 inches from top to toe (so, just a little filling out since last week)
  • We’re still at roughly the 90% survival chances if Tad were to make a surprise appearance today (this will go up again at about week 30)
  • Tad’s head will, at this point, be getting bigger, and brain growth is particularly rapid now (which is great, because our Kid is obviously going to be a genius of some kind!)
  • My appetite has increased massively – I’m hungry all the time. However, I can only eat much smaller amounts before feeling full – I guess Tadpole is taking up more room in there that is usually reserved for nosh!

The morning sickness has continued, although not as consistently bad as it was in the first trimester – I had to take a day off work on Tuesday as I was feeling so grotty, and this time the sickness tends to be accompanied by bouts of light-headedness, which aren’t particularly welcome as I am susceptible to passing out at the drop of a hat at the best of times and it’s kind of freaky to suddenly have to get as close to lying down on the floor as possible in order to try and avoid falling all that distance, especially now that I have this big baby bump up front! And the bump is now so big that my massive boobs seem positively dwarfed by comparison! I’ve also discovered that pretty much the only thing I can stomach and have a chance of keeping down in the morning is a bowl of porridge and a glass of milk – ordinary cereal, toast and fruit are all off the early-morning menu, as is fruit juice. So, my breakfasts are now bland, but at least it has a decent chance of staying inside my stomach!

I’m finding I get frustrated with people and situations far more easily these days too. For example, last Thursday at my 28-week blood work appointment, the midwife (not my usual one) told me I should call for my results in a week, which I did yesterday, but it took forever to get an answer. Our surgery opens at 8.00am, so I called the NHS 24 line at 8.00 and asked to be put through to my surgery to get my antenatal results. The man on the other end redirected me, but the number just rang out, so he took the call back and explained they didn’t open till 8.30 before giving me the direct number. I waited till 8.30 and called the number he’d given me, only to discover that got me through to the antenatal clinic at the hospital – not my surgery – so, of course, they didn’t have my results. I called NHS 24 again and asked to be put through to my surgery and this time I got through to the most obnoxious receptionist on the planet. Now, I know se couldn’t just give me my results over the phone, but she was particularly unhelpful I that I had to give my details three times and spell my name twice before being told that the doctor would have to call me back with the results. I then gave her my work number and said I’d be there by 9.15 if the doctor could call me after that point. She, however, bluntly said, she couldn’t specify a time to the doctor, but that he would call at about 9.00. I tried explaining that I wouldn’t be there by that point as I am 29 weeks pregnant and have to walk uphill for 35-40 minutes to get to work; hence, I would arrive at about 9.15. She again reiterated the 9.00 call time and hung up the phone.

So, I rushed along the road at double pace and arrived at work at 9.03am, exhausted and feeling terrible.

The doctor called at 10.20am.

I was furious at having been made to rush around, rather than taking it a bit easier as I’ve been told time and again that I need to do. Fortunately, the doctor who called is one I’ve seen before and was lovely to me. He told me that my blood count and blood sugar levels were absolutely fine, so nothing to worry about there, and went on to check how I was feeling overall before letting me get on with my work.

I seem to be permanently busy these days. If I’m not at the office working my tail off, then I’m rushing around on the weekend trying to get things done in the little time we have left, as well as seeing friends. I never seem to have any time left to just chill out at home. For example, last weekend I was meeting friends for coffee in town, this weekend we have my pregnant sister-in-law visiting (she’s about 10 or 11 weeks behind us). next weekend, I’d attempted to arrange some pamper time and booked a chiropody appointment so I could then go on to have a pedicure, but the pedicure is now out as I’ll be meeting a pal for lunch instead. Now, all these activities are pleasurable, and I look forward to them every time (so if any of those friends read this, please don’t cancel, because I really am looking forward to it – I’m not just saying that!), but I know that come Sunday I’ll want to collapse in a heap on the sofa and watch TV, when what I will actually have to do is housework (albeit lighter duties, as Dale has taken over the majority of work that needs doing around the place – what a star!).

Anyway, I have decided that Saturday 26 July will me a “Me Day” as that will be a particularly busy week, what with an antenatal class AND an antenatal appointment during the working week. The weekend after that will be Dale and my fifth wedding anniversary, so the only person I’ll be seeing that weekend will be Dale!

Right, I’m off to get things ready for our visitors arriving – honestly, since getting pregnant, I’ve never been so popular!

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Green-Eyed Monster…?

July 8, 2008 at 6:14 am (Life gets in the way...) (, , , , )

I never used to be a jealous person, but due to a bad relationship experience in the past, I discovered I was secretly growing a green-eyed monster. I’m getting much better now, although there are still moments when it flares up a little, even though I trust my husband completely (its other people I don’t trust!). My hubby, on the other hand, has never had a jealous bone in his body. In fact, he loves it when other men find me attractive because he is the one who gets to go home with me (isn’t that sweet?!).

However, last night, I got my first ever glimpse of Dale’s little monster…

We were watching Speed Racer (which is pretty rubbish – hilariously bad, actually) and I noticed that the actor playing Inspector Detector (Benno Furmann) looks an awful lot like J at work. Now, J is my favourite of a group of guys collectively known as The Exquisite Boys of Planning – half a dozen of the loveliest-looking guys the Council has on offer and they all work in the Planning department (where I used to work, so I’m quite friendly with them).

Now, Dale has known for a long time that they are called this and that J is my favourite of the crew, and he has always found it quite funny. However, last night, after my comment that J looks very like Mr. Furmann, we later had the following conversation:

Dale: I don’t think I want you taking to J any more.
Me: Why not?
Dale: No reason.
Me: No, really, why not?
Dale: Just because.
Me: Is it because he looks like Inspector Detector?
Dale: (brief pause) Erm. Yes.
Me: Are you a little bit jealous?
Dale: (indignant) No!
Me: It is, isn’t it?
Dale: *Mumble*
Me: What was that?
Dale: Maybe.
Me: It’s OK – J is leaving in a couple of weeks to go travelling for a year and he probably won’t be back at the Council.
Dale: (smiling) Good!

For the record, Benno Furmann looks like this:

He’s a good looking guy, wouldn’t you agree? Now, J is actually slightly better looking and is also younger (being about 25 or 26 years old).

But I have to admit, I fancy Dale WAY more. He has absolutely nothing to worry about.

Still, it’s nice to know I’m not the only one who suffers the occasional pang of jealousy!

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One helluva crazy week!

June 28, 2008 at 6:56 am (Books and Authors, Life gets in the way...) (, , , , , , , , , )

From start to finish, this has been a pretty hectic week with highs and lows all over the place!

Monday: Sick as a dog!
The week got off to a cracking start with me feeling rather queasy when I got up on Monday morning. By the time I was walking to work, the fresh air was doing me good and I felt a little better, but by 10-o-clock, I was flushed, roasting-hot and feeling absolutely terrible. To be honest, I looked rather waxy and horrible so I got sent home pretty quick-smart. I was feeling a little better by that evening and more able to face the day come Tuesday, so I made an attempt on the second day of the week to return to work and managed to get through the day safely.

Tuesday: Meeting MacBride
On Tuesday night, I got to go to the first Posh Club Book Group meeting I’ve been able to attend in months (I’ve been missing it due to attending my short-hand evening class on Tuesday nights until earlier this month when it finally finished – hurrah!) and we would be discussion the latest book by one of my favourite authors, Stuart MacBride, who writes gritty crime thrillers set in Aberdeen. As if that weren’t exciting enough for me, Stuart MacBride himself had agreed to join us and talk about his books and writing in general – I was in seventh heaven at just the thought of it!

Macbride was wonderful – he was friendly and personable, open and earnest, and it was a joy being able to discuss not just his latest book but the previous ones and his future plans too. At the end of the night, after asking about a gazillion questions, I asked him if he would mind signing my copy of Flesh House (his latest novel) and he wrote in it, “To Kell, Good luck on the thing growing in your tummy…” which had me laughing like a loon. Such a nice guy!

Wednesday: Shock Announcement
On Wednesday mornings the Chief Executive has a video conference with all his Area Managers (the Directors are also in attendance, but they work in the same building so they’re physically present). However, after the meeting this week, the Chief called us all into his office and made a shock announcement – he had just handed in his resignation! He was quick to point out that he is NOT retiring (despite being almost 62) but that he hasn’t yet decided what he’ll be doing when he goes in a few months’ time (he’ll be staying in the position till October/November).

I have to admit, there were a few tears in my eyes that were not entirely due to me being pregnant and hormonal, and I wasn’t the only one. The Chief is a lovely guy and a great boss – he’ll be a very sad loss to the Council which has just received an extremely positive audit (so he’s leaving on a high, rather than a low!). Things are going to be very different without him…

Thursday: Almost-Driving Dale
Dale passed hs driving theory test with flying colours, despite managing to convince himself that he would fail dismally. I, on the other hand, was very certain he’d sail through it and I was proven right – hurrah! It gave him a major confidence boost and I think it was just what he needed. We’ll be going car hunting this Sunday, as he’s anxious to get our own car as soon as possible so he can practice in it while he’s taking lessons and get as confident as possible before Tadpole arrives.

Friday: A leaving “do”
Friday saw the departure of my other boss – the PA to the Chief Executive – who is taking very early retirement. It was rather emotional as she is also a wonderful person and a fantastic boss – our team is very close! So, yesterday afternoon we had a big send-off “do” with many colleagues coming along from all over the council to say their farewells to someone who has been a major part of the Council for 15 years now.

Afterwards everyone headed off for a few drinks (I went home and got changed, missing out the “drinks session” section of the affair) and then headed to a nice restaurant for a meal too. The food was lovely but it took forever to arrive. We were seated shortly after 7.30pm and not everyone ordered a starter, but the main course didn’t get served until 9.10pm, by which time I (who was one of the starter-less folks) was absolutely starving! Anyway, the beef stroganoff tasted very nice, but wasn’t particularly hot (which was a shame) and because I had waited so long to eat, I could barely even manage half of it – I’d passed hunger and gone to the other side.

I had a taxi coming to pick me up at 10pm and it wasn’t a second too soon as I was exhausted (both physically and emotionally) and I fell into bed within minutes of arriving home, feeling slightly sick. A sad end to a very sad day.

Saturday: Surprise delivery
I had originally planed to meet the girls for a cuppa and catch-up this morning, but had to cancel as Argos were delivering our bedroom furniture this morning – I had been told to expect a phone call half an hour before their arrival and so I set my alarm for 7am, thinking that would give me plenty time to get dressed and make myself presentable for their arrival.

Not so.

At 6.25am the door buzzer rang. “Argos with a delivery for you!”

I was not only still in bed, but naked and still in bed! So now I had to leap around like a maniac (well, waddle around like a pregnant maniac!) throwing on a few clothes so I could let them in. I thought perhaps my alarm had failed to go off and it was maybe 9am or something, but no – the clock was right – it was only 6.25am! To say I was a little annoyed is an understatement. Yes, I was glad to get our furniture, but I was (and still am) feeling a little sick from the night before and being rudely awoken at such a stupid hour on a Saturday wasn’t what I was expecting.

So, even though I no longer have to wait for the delivery guys, I still won’t be going out as I’m now feeling particularly gross and tired – unfortunately I’m one of those people who can’t just go back to bed once they’re up, so sleeping is out of the question for me right now. Instead I shall sit here and complain. Grrrr!

So, an emotional roller-coaster ride this week from start to finish. Fortunately I have next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday off work and, since I have an antenatal appointment on Thursday afternoon, I’ll only be working the morning that day too – plenty of time to recover from this week’s excitement – I hope!

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Patience and the lack thereof

May 14, 2008 at 8:30 pm (Life gets in the way...) (, , , , )

I’m an easy-going, laid-back kind of gal – always have been – but even my patience has boundaries when it comes to people who just do not listen. Even so, it takes a while for all my buttons to be pressed, but once that slow-burning fuse is lit, it’s only a matter of time before there’s a massive explosion and a body count to rival the goriest of slasher/horror films.

This week at work has been particularly trying so far and it doesn’t look like it’ll get better in the time remaining before the weekend, but there has been a stand-out occurrence that almost had me in tears of frustration – I was on the brink of going postal here!

The situation actually began last week when I was logging the mail. On Thursday morning I logged the complaints, comments and compliments in the database. Usually, I reference number is automatically generated and is noted on the incoming letter before being passed to the appropriate person – no mail gets passed to anyone without first being logged and allocated a reference number. On this occasion, however, each time I logged a letter, a message flashed up saying “A reference number will be allocated shortly”. The log wasn’t updating to show the letters that I had added. Fortunately, I could allocate the numbers as I could see what the last number had been. I sent out the mail, expecting the log to update itself at some point during the day. It didn’t.

On Friday, I logged that day’s mail and got the same message – but this time I couldn’t allocate the numbers myself because I couldn’t remember what the last one had been on Thursday. As I couldn’t note the references, I couldn’t send out the mail. I tried to call the guy who usually looks after the database, but couldn’t get hold of him as he was in meetings all day, so I sent him an email detailing the problem and held back the mail.

On Monday there was no reply to my email, so I called him again and discovered that the messages I had left had not been passed on to him and he hadn’t bothered checking his email, so I explained the problem from scratch. He said I should contact the guy who created the database instead. I called him and left a message. Then I emailed him. Still no reply. So I logged a call with our IT helpdesk – and this is where my blood really started to boil:

IT automated message: You have reached the IT helpdesk. Please leave your name, department, telephone and asset number, as well as detailing the problem and we’ll get back to you.

Me: Hi, this is Kell in the Chief Executive’s Office, extension ****, asset number ********. There’s a problem with the complaints, comments and compliments database. I’m logging the mail and it’s coming up with a message that says “A reference number will be allocated shortly”, but the log isn’t updating. The newly logged mail isn’t showing up and no reference number is being generated so I can’t send out the mail. It’s getting pretty urgent as I have mail sitting here from last Friday waiting to go out. Give me a call please.

Half an hour later…

IT: Hi, this is the IT helpdesk, you called with a problem. Can I just take your asset number please?

Me: I left that in the message.

IT: Yes, but we don’t note that down.

Me: (Thinking: Then why do you even ask for it in the message?) OK, it’s ********.

IT: OK, what’s the problem?

Me: Erm, I said in the message.

IT: Yes, but…

Me: … you don’t note that down. OK. There’s a problem with the complaints, comments and compliments database. I’m logging the mail and it’s coming up with a message that says “A reference number will be allocated shortly”, but the log isn’t updating. The newly logged mail isn’t showing up and no reference number is being generated so I can’t send out the mail. It’s getting pretty urgent as I have mail sitting here from last Friday waiting to go out.

IT: OK, your call reference number is *****. Can I just get your extension number please?

Me: Erm, you called me. You already have it. No, it’s OK, it’s ****.

IT: OK, someone will call you back in a while to try and resolve your problem.

Another hour later…

IT: Hi this is the IT helpdesk, I’m calling regarding your problem – call reference *****. Can you tell me your asset number please?

Me: (Getting a little sick of repeating myself already) It’s ********

IT: OK, what seems to be the problem?

Me: I’ve already detailed it twice…

IT: Yes, but…

Me: It’s OK, I’ll go over it again. There’s a problem with the complaints, comments and compliments database. I’m logging the mail and it’s coming up with a message that says “A reference number will be allocated shortly”, but the log isn’t updating. The newly logged mail isn’t showing up and no reference number is being generated so I can’t send out the mail. It’s getting pretty urgent as I have mail sitting here from last Friday waiting to go out.

IT: So, which database it that?

Me: The complaints, comments and compliments database.

IT: And the mail log is showing the entries but not the numbers.

Me: No, it’s not showing any of the new entries at all.

IT: So all the entries are gone?

Me: No, the old entries are all showing, it’s the new ones that aren’t coming up.

IT: So the numbers are coming up but the entries aren’t?

Me: No, nothing is coming up for the new entries – just the message saying “A reference number will be allocated shortly”.

IT: So the entries are coming up but without the numbers?

Me: No, nothing is coming up for the new entries – just the message saying “A reference number will be allocated shortly”.

IT: So, what’s the problem then?

Me: I need the log to update and allocate the numbers so I can send out the mail to the correct people.

IT: Can’t you send it out anyway?

Me: No – they need to have the reference numbers on them so we can trace it all back, otherwise, what would be the point in having a system with accountability?

IT: OK, so the system isn’t updating. I’ll speak to someone and see what I can do. Someone will call you back later. Can I get your extension number please?

Me: YOU CALLED ME! YOU HAVE MY NUMBER! It’s ****.

IT: OK, bye.

Throughout the last part of this exchange, I became aware of my colleagues sitting, open-mouthed, staring at me. On asking them what was the problem, I was told that I was looking “a bit dangerous.” Apparently my face had gone white and I looked like I was going to grind my teeth down to nothing, while my voice got all steely-edged. There had been worrying thoughts crossing their minds about what damage I might be able to wreak with the various available items of stationery and they were considering removing my stapler for fear I’d hunt down the IT people and torture them to death with it. I hated to correct them – I don’t need a stapler to do that – I could kill them slowly with a few sheets of paper if I so chose!

It took until this morning for the system to be back online. In the interim I had received an email asking me not to log any more mail till it was online in case it didn’t “stick” (their technical term!), so I had three days of mail to log and Friday’s mail to allocate the numbers.

And nobody was maimed or killed as a result of the situation.

Although that was just because I don’t know where the IT department is…

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