Monday, July 29, 2013

So nearly there.

It is obvious, but the thing about a planned caesarian is that you know when it's going to be. That's really weird. Since we found out the date, time has been on warp speed - which I wasn't expecting. I thought it would drag.

Now that we're down to single figure number of days, things are becoming increasingly surreal. (I'm being intentionally vague about the date. I'm not sure why it's important to me but a mixture of privacy and still wanting an element of surprise has meant I've tried to keep that information in the family only. I haven't even told the girls.)

The nearer we get, the less it all seems like the brain tumour. Earlier on all I could see were the similarities but now it couldn't be more different. I'm so excited! I can't bloody wait to meet him, and I can't bloody wait to be not pregnant. 

But mostly it's not about me, and that's what sets this apart - not just from the whole brain tumour experience, but everything I've ever known. I was so isolated throughout that whole episode. I had wonderful support but at the end of the day it was just me on a trolley that had to go through with it. Now, it's everyone. As a family. Two families. One massive family and the creation of a new tiny family. It's about all of us. 

We are officially ready. That clever thing that kicks in towards the end of pregnancy which gives you the courage to go through with the birth has most definitely kicked in. The uncharacteristically boiling weather, the permanent uncomfortableness and the lack of sleep (I know I know) has contributed. I'm done with talking about it now, I'm bored of the advice, the condescension and the lack of other topics of conversation. I am ready. We are ready. We have all the stuff. The bags are packed and the freezer is stuffed full of food. We have a buggy in the hall! 

And yet it's still so surreal. We have a buggy in the hall! 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Fish and chips.

Growing up in a small village just north of Whitby on the north east coast of England, I took a lot of things for granted. I was invariably irritated by the way village life means nothing is private, by the sporadic, limited but extortionate bus service, by the lack of jobs and by the permanent freezing wind. It was easy to feel trapped and want to escape into anonymity of the big world as soon as possible. Which I did.

I left after A-levels and didn't hang around to find out the results - I knew it wasn't going to be pretty. And I moved around quite a bit before settling in London. Now that I'm here I really appreciate the things I grew up with - even if I didn't realise it at the time, it was a brilliant place to be.

The sea, on our doorstep. I love the sea and spend a lot of time trying to convince Oliver to come to a beach - any beach - with me, to smell the air and feel right at the edge of the world. The woods, also on our doorstep. We had a den, we actually had the best den in the village and it had a trap hole and an escape route and we threw poisonous berries at people who walked past. The weather, for those few weeks every summer when is was just perfect. That actually did make up for the rest of the (hurricane-like) year.

The pubs - it has been said that there are more pubs per capita than anywhere in the country, although I've since heard that said about many other places so maybe it isn't true. But anyway, the pubs were good in Whitby, for a teenager (although not the - singular - club. Unless you were 14).

And the fish and chips. I cannot believe how I took this for granted. We had a chippy in our village, and it was really good. Still is actually. Sometimes I would have a second tea from the chippy with my friend Sue. I guess I just thought that everywhere was like that. But sadly, I was wrong.

I've lived in various places abroad which could be forgiven for not having fish and chips, but also in Newcastle, Sheffield and Nottingham. Not to mention various boroughs of London over the last ten years. Nowhere can I find a decent fish and chip shop. Even at the coast, I've tried Brighton (good effort) and Bournemouth (don't even bother) and recently somewhere in Suffolk (quite good) but nothing really compares to Fuscos in Whitby. Cod, chips and scraps. With a nice cup of tea and a slice of soft buttered white bread. Seriously. What else could you ask for.

People think I'm joking when I say that you can't get decent fish and chips outside Whitby, but I'm not. I mean it. You can't.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

When I grow up.

It's odd to look back at last year, given how much has changed. The person I was then seems naive, and simple. But I wonder if that would always be the case when looking back at a former self.

Last year was momentous in many ways, we had such a good summer - carefree and excited about the future. Although if I honestly look deeper than the surface, it wasn't all great. I loved the Olympics and we did some really fun things, but I didn't feel well for months and there were other difficult times. I seem to easily overlook this in remembering.

It's easy to feel a bit sorry for the person I was a year ago, I had absolutely no clue what was coming up. In some ways that's the best way to be and so it's also easy to feel jealous of that person. I can never be that again - I know what can happen now, and it's always there at the back of my mind (has it grown back yet?). Also I know that I'll never know what else could happen. And anything could. Things will never quite be as carefree in the same way.

But - that feels like a good thing as well as a sad thing. It feels like we're all growing up. Quite suddenly everyone has stepped up a notch, moved forwards. Not that long ago we would go out and get raucously drunk and sing in the street at 3am. Now we meet for an afternoon drink with our babies and bumps and new boyfriends. Or husbands even.

Which is scary, because I haven't yet decided what I want to be when I grow up. I am now at this point in my life where everything is in the middle of changing. Emotionally, physically and psychologically, this year has changed me. What I want out of life isn't the same anymore - but I don't know what I do want.

This next six months is going to be the most different my life has been to anything I've experienced to date, I can't comprehend how different it will be. But I'm hoping to use it to figure out what the hell I want to do with the rest of my life. Answers on a postcard please - I have absolutely no idea.

Monday, July 08, 2013

A jumble of thoughts on being pregnant.

Maternity leave is frigging awesome. Especially in July. There are so many things to do, I don't know how I had time to go to work before.

I always thought I'd be rubbish at not being at work. The thing is, I've never really been one for housework, so the thought of my days being taken up with clothes washing and cleaning has never filled me with much enthusiasm...

When I was off sick I didn't really enjoy the time I had off. It wasn't a holiday and I felt quite guilty. I couldn't allow myself to do anything fun and actually I felt like shit most of the time so I wasn't really up to much. This time it's different - technically I'm on annual leave at the moment anyway so it really is holida-ay time.

The British weather has really pulled one out the bag - although eight and a half months pregnant in this heat is not quite what I had in mind. Still, it's brilliant. Everything seems so much better when it's sunny. And it's amazing how quickly washing dries in the garden. Who knew?

Seeing friends and family, reading, watching Gossip Girl (I finished Dawson's Creek last week) and generally hanging about in the garden or at Olly's office is really time consuming. But it's great to not be at work as I am so tired. It's brilliant not having to concentrate on anything very hard.

Despite digging my heels in stubbornly for the last half a year, I have had to admit that I have indeed succumbed to the most obvious of pregnancy cliches. I am an emotional wreck. I cried at a bus advert last week, and those charity adverts with homeless dogs in them? Oh dear. I don't even like dogs.

Also the cleaning. I really thought this one would pass me by, but today I felt an irresistible urge to wash the sofa cushion covers. So I did, then hung them out on the line in the garden, and then put them back on (Cohen 1 - 0 Sofa Cushions. But it was a close call). I am right now sitting on the nicest smelling sofa - quite smugly if truth be told.

And much as I hate to admit it, I suppose I have been quite forgetful and a bit vacant. But I will never as long as I live accuse someone of having baby brain - it's so annoying. I will also never touch / rub / pat someone's tummy (pregnant or otherwise) unless I am in a relationship with them or they're a cat. Or they have asked me to - but even then to be honest I'm not sure I would.

So frighteningly, it appears that I've finally got myself motivated and I've got some hoovering to do. I'm actually looking forward to it - I don't know what I've become. Just in time too, it's the final countdown!