Thursday, 27 May 2010


This week is a celebration of the 70th anniversary of the evacuation of Dunkirk.

52 of the surviving 'Little Ships' are part of a ceremonial cruise to remember the volunteers and their boats who evacuated British and French troops from France in 1940, during the German invasion of France. In 9 days, more than 330,000 soldiers were ferried by pleasure boats, fishing boats, merchant marine ships and Royal Navy Lifeboats from the shore to waiting ships in deeper water. It had originally been thought that only 20,000 could be rescued.

There is just no comparison between the whiny culture of today and the bravery of most generations of the entirety of history. It makes one quite ashamed.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010


So, today I got to hear Squeak's heartbeat for the first time!

It was pretty darn cool to see the heartbeat at the 11-week scan (like a prettily fluttering fish fin in the middle), but hearing the whoosh-WHOOSH leads me to wonder if I need one of those little dopplar things. I could become kind of a Sneaky Spy Mother before Squeak even enters the world (could anyone be eating paste in there?). Squeak was moving around quite a bit, indicated by the midwife's inability to keep track of the heartbeat in one place. To me, this indicates future weariness on my part. My mama and daddy threatened me with a hyper-active child when I was young; foolishly, this threat failed to calm me down then. Payback's warranted, I suppose. :)

During the appointment, I met two more of the midwives in the community team who are looking after me (there are 6 in all). They were absolutely fabulous and, even though my list of questions was a little long, we got on like a house on fire. In the past week (since hysterical giggling began over my 'Elderly' status), a complete change of opinion has swung. Originally, my thought was to definitely plan for a hospital birth since I am fully aware that I am old. However, after talking to a useful panel of people from knitting, yoga, work, and Ms. Teresa... I think it might not be unreasonable to attempt a home birth.

For any US readers I have at this point, the maternity culture here is quite different (AND has a more favourable infant mortality rate than the US, before anybody gets too uppity). It is not an obstetrician culture but a midwife culture. One may never see an obstetrician at all -- unless there are complications. When one attends pre-natal appointments, one meets with a midwife, and the midwives one meets over the course of the pregnancy are likely to be helping at your birth, which is quite nice. There are two types of midwives (I think): community midwives and hospital midwives. Community midwives are in teams attached to medical practices and will be sent out in teams of two to home births. Hospital midwives are (quite obviously) the midwives who work at the hospital and deliver whoever is there. One might be able to have one of one's community midwives at the hospital, but it is not guaranteed.

At a home birth, there are two professionals constantly monitoring the birth and who are probably going to more likely honour wishes in a birthing plan. If at any point, the mother feels uncomfortable staying home or the midwives note something concerning, then the whole thing moves to the hospital. We are about 10 minutes from Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. It all seems pretty unintimidating. The only logistical kinks that could send me to the hospital are: 1) someone else goes into labour and gets the shift team before me or 2) there is no incoming cover if the shift ends before Squeak emerges. My 'head midwife' thinks that I seem perfectly normal (little does she know at this early stage) and that my  'elderly' condition is also laughable -- her confidence was the final seal of approval.

I think the most interesting thing about my mental state is that my absolutely concrete terror of birth, which for some reason has always been in my consciousness, has absolutely and concretely disappeared. It was not lurking about when my condition was determined not to be an exotic illness, so it has to have wandered off at some point during the first month. What an oustanding blessing is that?!

Today was also my second week at pregnancy yoga. I am the earliest phase person there (at only 16.5 weeks), but my OCD nature makes me happy to be starting early. Having never done yoga before, my brain had no idea what to expect last week, but it is really good and They say that the techniques learned can be helpful during phase one and phase two of parturition. There is no worship of foreign entities. There is a lot of breath control, which is good as mine is currently weak to non-existent, and lots of stretching, which I love. My knees are very bony.

This week, we did the Camel Walk around the room (to move the pelvis backwards and forwards for flexibility) -- and I must admit to almost breaking out in a fit of giggles at the thought of someone peering through the door to see variously pregnant women in leggings stalking around the room like a Monty Python sketch. Giggling, though, does nothing for one's balance (especially mine) and so this was quickly quelled before a trauma occurred.

Now I must rest.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Elderly Primigravida

This is my classification.

Revealed to me at knitting this week, we have all had a good giggle about it.

It means 'a woman older than 35 years who is pregnant for the first time'. One good thing of being an Elderly is that one theoretically gets more attention and monitoring. After all, if I weren't Elderly, we wouldn't have been able to have a scan of Squeak a month ago! Apparently, (after talking with Ms. Teresa) one is classified as 'elderly' in the US if one is much over 30 years.

Note: I shall expect due respect in deference to my elderly status, despite the elegant henna currently hiding my grey hair.

Now, my creaky self needs some sleep.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Two Babies and a Pirate

Right. So, this may be my bestest excuse for blogging laxity ever.

It has been mentioned (and honestly self-recriminated) that we all are tired of reading about squash blossom quesadillas. Well, the extreme mental exhaustion that fell over me during the Mexico marathon was not the unfortunate result of food-borne parasitic infestation, as we have discovered. And the abdominal muscle pulling feeling was not the positive side-effect of my cleverly-devised triceps brachii exercise of hanging upside down and half-off the end of the Hampton Inn bed (whilst watching a compilation of NCISCSI and Law & Order... of course) and hoisting my table display stands to a right angle to my torso. And the comatose state that tended to settle on me within 12 seconds of becoming seated or prone was not related to either the tsetse fly or to jet lag (yes, they say that the tsetse fly only lives in Africa, but flies are sneaky).

No -- this lethargy (and accompanying psuedo-exercise symptoms -- it was pretty amazing that the muscles were still tired a week after the last hanging-upside-down event) has been discovered to be the result of the presence of Squeak. 'Squeak' is the temporary classification I have given to the very small sentient soul who is currently resident behind the non-toned muscles of my tummy (It just is too horrible a nomenclature).

[Admittedly, the title of this entry does indicate the presence of more than just one Squeak, although this is not true. There is a long story: Lady Lindsey was unable to locate any non-sicky-sweet or non-ethnically-congratulatory cards, so she instead sent one congratulating us on our Triplets -- E only had a momentary swing towards coronary failure, I believe. Then the newest honorary Cousin, claimed to see definitely 5 legs in the ultrasound, leading to the query: 'So what's up with that? Two babies and a pirate???' And this has stuck. We are shopping for a parrot as I type.]

Shortly after discovering Squeak, several things became (and continue to become) clear(er):

  • initial distaste for wine was not due to an ulcer;
  • muscle tiredness is not always the result of feeble and ludicrous 'exercise' attempts;
  • even a being the size of a butterbean is capable of reducing bladder capacity to quite a significant degree;
  • the necessity to politely request that E take his beer to other side of room was not due to petulance, but to a psychotically heightened sense of smell (and accompanying nausea);
  • constant nausea is just as bad, or worse, than being physically ill;
  • Mamas know things when they are not necessarily supposed to, but they are polite and don't mention them when there are strangers around (mostly).

At this point, Squeak is at 13 weeks of development (but THEY claim it is the 15th week of Pregnancy). I am unsure if Squeak is 4.5 inches long and kicking or 'the size of a peach' (apparently peaches don't kick). Some more research must be done now that overseas work Travel is over for a significant while (and my biology textbooks are in storage in Louisiana), but it is so confusing -- e.g., exactly what kind of peach is this? Is this an early-season peach the size and texture of a baseball or is it a gorgeous, juicy gigantic Georgia peach the size of a grapefruit? And if a grapefruit, then the size of a Bruner orchard grapefruit or a piddly little Texas one? SOOOOOO many questions.