Wednesday, 28 November 2012

T Minus Two Months (give or take)

I am 32 weeks along with 8 weeks to go. If December goes half as quickly as November, tomorrow will be Christmas and I'll be on maternity leave with my feet up. I don't mind telling you that the putting up of feet couldn't happen to a nicer woman.

We've had three (of five) pre-natal (I can't distinguish between anti-natal and ante-natal so I'm sticking to pre-natal) classes covering a tour of the pre/post-labour and labour wards and an overview of what sorts of things commonly go "wrong" and how they're handled, and an introduction to the advantages of breast feeding. It is illegal in Scotland to interfere with a woman breastfeeding in public, which includes caf├ęs and other such public-access places, so they're taking the incentive to breast feed quite (US sense) seriously. My first pre-natal physiotherapy class was last week with my second (of four) tomorrow morning, and so far we've covered an introduction to pelvic floor exercises which I finally figured out aren't floor exercises for the pelvis but rather a collective euphemism for the vagina and anus. It only took 7 months and finally hearing someone say "exercises for the pelvic floor" to figure that one out. I am rapidly losing patience with all euphemisms. This week I think we're supposed to start on labour positions. I also, this morning, had an introductory meeting with the health visitor who takes over after the midwife is done between the first and second weeks after delivery and will "look after" our little family in conjunction with the GP until Little Djinn starts school.

I've developed an exciting new pregnancy symptom: Charlie Horses. I've had, periodically, really mild cramps in the backs of my calves during the day, the kind that I'm aware are a cramp but don't hurt at all and aren't really worth even stretching out. Starting this past weekend I've been getting the real thing in the middle of the night, painful cramps usually in both legs that require stretching. One night it was just the right leg but so painful I almost cried out and it ached for another almost 24 hours. On the plus side my heartburn, while still present, has reduced a lot so at least I'm not dealing with both at the same time. Pregnancy, the condition that keeps on giving.

Thanksgiving was last week, which as an ex-pat can be a bit of a downer, but we had three friends (two Americans and an Englishman) fly up from London and spent the weekend with us. Our usual feast (turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce, potatoes, green bean casserole, and we bought stuffing and rolls this year as we haven't found a recipe for either that we like, plus whisky glazed carrots) easily stretched to fill twice as many tummies though only a few shreds of turkey survived the weekend. We went out to dinner on Friday, feasted and played card games on Saturday and consumed leftovers and played more card games on Sunday before sending everyone back whence they came. I really enjoyed the company and getting to play games, though Chris, my little introvert, had burned out by Sunday and he and the cats stayed upstairs all day. I think we'll be instituting a "two guests per weekend(month?)" policy going forward.

I have knitting updates, but my my husband has finished work for the day and dinner is ready.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Things are Starting to Come Together

We got a lot done on Saturday. We wandered around looking for a dresser for Little Djinn, both in charity shops and furniture stores, but didn't find anything we agreed on. I liked a squat one we saw in a charity shop but Chris thought it was meh and he liked an almost £400 one in a furniture store, but I'm not willing to spend that kind of money on something that will get treated the way children treat their furniture. So we're still looking. We then went to the curtain place that did the curtains in our bedroom and my FiL's place and made an appointment to get fitted for blackout blinds, both in our room and the nursery. He came around on Monday to take measurements but wasn't able to bring the book of blinds with him as they were being viewed by another customer, so we still need to pick those and curtains for the nursery.

We went to the post office in Tesco's Inshes to pick up the package we missed Friday, which turned out to be from Miss Laura and full of gifts for Little Djinn, including a blanket knit by her mother. Laura also sent us a little stuffed lamb which was on our baby registry which was particularly impressive given that the posting date was before we created the registry. I've always know that Miss Laura has impeccable taste.

We also swung by the new mega craft store in Inshes, though "mega" is a relative term. Certainly larger than anything comparable in the area, though it would be a bit small for a Michael's. I got some sock yarn for Christmas-gift socks (not for anyone who reads this, but one never knows) and some cotton yarn to try and crochet some snowflakes. The secret to happiness here is going to have to be low expectations as the only thing I am less confident in than my crochet abilities is my ability to follow a pattern using UK, and thus different from US, crochet terminology. If only it wasn't the same terms for different "stitches"....

On Sunday we cleaned the house a bit before going to my FiL's for tea (the beverage). He tried to call to tell us not to come as he had a cold, but we'd already left when he rang as I needed to be at work after the shop closed to help prep the shop for a corporate visit which should have happened this morning. My manager was freaking out about getting ready and the only real comfort I could offer was that, given the number of shops they planned to visit in one day, they couldn't possibly stay long. Their plan was to come up Wednesday, visit our shop from 8-10, and be in Aberdeen by lunchtime. Everyone who lives in, and probably most people who have visited, the highlands hears this and blinks. They clearly have no idea the actual distances and travel times involved. Hopefully they'll consider shipping product based on distance it has to travel weighed as a slightly higher factor against volume of the destination store. Promotional material that arrives the day before or day of an event is slightly less useful than one might imagine. Hopefully it went well and my manager can enjoy a highly-deserved virgin cocktail or five (like me, though for different reasons, the poor woman isn't allowed a drink) when she gets home.

On Monday, Chris and I had our first ante-natal class which was mildly irritating in a "why are we using all these silly euphemisms for a straightforward biological event?" kind of way. I'm going to take it on faith that the midwife leading the class (she's not a "community midwife", eg one who might actually be assisting in my labour) did pass courses on anatomy and physiology and is merely operating under the impression that we all failed basic biology. But we got a tour of the post-natal ward where we'll be after Little Djinn arrives, until we're ready to go home. The midwife assured as that being discharged 6 hours after delivery is not SOP here, and that three days is much more common at which I blanched. Three days stuck in a hospital, twiddling my thumbs? Fortunately the recovery ward's own material suggests one day before discharge which seems perfect for learning to nurse and a few supervised diaper changes before returning to the solace of one's own bed and partner.

One of the ladies in my Tuesday night knitting group is also pregnant, a few weeks further along than I am, and her ante-natal class started on Wednesday. The classes normally start around 32 weeks, but they're trying to squeeze us all in before Christmas, so I'm getting an early start.

Speaking of early, they called to cancel my ultra-sound appointment for next week, the one I was so excited about (and impressed to have gotten an appointment notification a month in advance). Apparently it was scheduled in error and they'll send me another letter to reschedule for the week before Christmas. Sadness. Chris suggested we could make private appointment to have an ultrasound anyway, but as much as I love getting to see Little Djinn, I'm not convinced it would be worth it. I'm a lot more used to being poor than he is.

That's the life of a pregnant woman. I'll be 31 weeks tomorrow, with 9 weeks left to go. I didn't take a picture this week, so you'll just have to take my word for it that I continue to look rotund. I'm starting to be exhausted all the time: yesterday I was ready to crawl back in bed half an hour after I got up and I'd actually slept through the night for once. I finished the center panel for the baby blanket I'm knitting for Little Djinn, picked up one of the side panels, and am working my way through the first lace chart (though it's so tiny, I'm using the written directions instead. My kingdom for a photocopier). I also took a picture of the purple blanket I knit way back whenever, blocked and displayed on the bassinet (Moses basket) in the nursery.

Friday, 9 November 2012

30 Weeks Down, 10 to Go

Picture taken sometime in the last week so not quite 30 weeks there. I have tiny tiny stretch marks, but they're extensions of the existing, faded, ones so I'm not worried. I don't want a batch of stretch marks in new places, but adding to the ones I have isn't what one could call a problem. I am thinking of removing my belly ring, though. I bought one of the flexible, plastic ones which I've been wearing since my 12 week scan (the plastic doesn't interfere with the ultra-sound) but the skin above it is looking red and stretched. It doesn't hurt at all, it's not tender to the touch, but it looks unhappy so I'm debating taking it out, letting the hole close, and possibly getting it re-pierced at some point in the future. I'm not sure how likely it is that I'd ever get around to it, though.

My hair has stopped falling out. I used to get handfuls of hair when I wash it and now I get maybe two strands. It's a pregnancy symptom I've been expecting so mostly I'm just surprised it took so long. It'll all fall out with a vengeance once Little Djinn is here and then I'll have to protect little fingers from being strangled by almost invisible hairs. Yippy?

Little Djinn is starting to run out of room and is kicking like a mad fiend. I don't mind the little movements, and I'm getting used to them as a running background to my life, but I really don't enjoy getting kicked. It's starting to hurt, and Little Djinn is quite territorial, protesting any time something pushes against my belly. I know it's cramped in there, but it was my body first and we have to share. I had my 28 week checkup last week (yes, at 29 weeks - I was working all of my midwife's regular office hours weeks 27 and 28) which included having bloods drawn and getting a flu shot. One of the tests getting run on my blood was for diabetes and, if my midwife had mentioned that rather than just a general "blood will be drawn" I would've gotten up earlier and eaten breakfast. My blood pressure continues to be excellent and protein levels in my urine are unremarkable.

We - and by we, I mean Chris - finished painting the nursery. We plan to go look for a dresser (chest of drawers) and curtains this weekend. And travel to the next town over where the delivery company left a parcel they couldn't deliver because neither of us was home yesterday. They couldn't leave it at the little post office up the road or the sorting center from which we could have it re-delivered (or just pick it up, it's right in town). No, they had to take it to the post office in Inches which is very awkward to get to what with us not having a car and all. It's close to the hospital where I will be spending a lot of time later this month, when my pre-natal (ante-natal) classes start (next week for the couples classes but those are late at night, end of November for the "mother" only classes during the day). Not that you can leave a parcel waiting until it's convenient for you to get there in a fortnight. On the plus side, a large craft (hobby) store opened near the post office so I can go take a gander and see how bad it will be for my wallet (pocket book).

Once I have a dresser, I'll have a place to sort out Little Djinn's clothes and see where the gaps are. My mother has been relaying requests for a gift registry and it'll be a lot easier to put one together when I know what I actually have. I suspect the parcel in question has more baby stuff. Part of the problem with building a registry is that I really don't know what all we need and at what point in Little Djinn's development we'll need it. We've only just started looking into it, now that we're in the third trimester. My mother has already made comments about some of the things I have on the registry like a tops and tails bucket ("just use the sink!") and the only onsie I added, "Keep Calm and Cuddle Me" in a summer size ("Is that going to be warm enough?" Yes and if it's not we'll put a sweater (jumper) over it. Same as I do with my t-shirts.). Oi.

I've been knitting and finishing up things that were almost finished. I have two baby cardigans (the burgundy one and the teal one) and one pullover with ends woven in and buttons attached. I have another cardigan that still needs buttons (the yellow one) and another one that I think is premie size and thus hopefully will go straight to the doll wardrobe. Note to self: acquire a doll. I also wove in the ends on some baby legwarmers and a blanket that I knit for other people's pregnancies and never got around to finishing up. The blanket has been sitting in a cupboard for a good 5 years, knit in the days before I was comfortable weaving in ends. I also knit a newborn hat with the leftover yarn from Chris' Greece socks, being modelled by my very patient husband. Mind you, he wouldn't let me use Ginger Kitty as a model which I figure is the same thing as volunteering.

Autumn watch continues. We're down to 8 hours of daylight (7:45-4:15) and after two months of unusually cold weather, we've had an unusually warm week with temperatures around 10C (50F). I wore a scarf chosen for its aesthetic appeal, not it's warmth and had to put the aircon on at work because the shop was too hot for me in my shirt sleeves, let alone the customers in their coats. The picture bellow was taken on Halloween, the orange leaves have turned russet and the yellow ones are starting to drop. Because it was a question, that is the view from our bedroom. Our garden (yard), which is shared with the housing association, ends at the hedge and then it's the river and the island with the trees. I love our garden and our view.