Thursday, 30 November 2006

Full-throated ease

Oh lord: inexplicable screaming for the last half an hour - the kind where the baby consists only of a gaping red maw issuing uninhibited yells with the dial set at 11. We've just eaten - in the bath, which worked well - and been winded, and put on dry clothes, so what can it be? Adoring Grandma has gone home and Daddy is back at work, so is it that poor old Mum is already deemed insufficiently entertaining? The sound of unfettered screams is amazingly distressing, and I've already (bad mother) resorted to shouting - "What the hell is wrong, and WHERE'S MY OTHER BLOODY SHOE?" Oh *god*.

And then, as always, it's all over. Turns out darling creature was hungry again although we only ate - oh well, I suppose by now it is actually an hour ago. I've been footling around on eBay, wondering what the heck size I am now. In charity shops - where I buy most of my clothes - I can hold something up and tell if it's my size, and I'm not that fussy about a perfect fit, but buying online is trickier. I'm back to wearing the larger of my pre-pregnancy clothes, but I've also got these BREASTS, and where that leaves me on the size 10 to 12 to 14 thing I don't really know. I've always tended to buy things I like if they fit approximately anyway, and ignore the size labels. Other women seem to be terribly specific about it.

Time to start my retrospective, if I'm ever to catch up with myself. Or something - watch out for temporal paradoxes...

We'd had a scan at 20 weeks that showed a low-lying placenta (mine), and another at 32 weeks ditto, so they'd told us to come back at 36 weeks. Everyone had trouble seeing much, as the - foetus? baby? - had its head stuffed right down into my pelvis and wasn't budging for anyone. This time (Thursday 2 November) the radiographer said she could see the child's hair waving in the amniotic fluid - which A and I found a little freaky - but she still couldn't really see much around the cervix: she thought there was about 3cm clear. This was an improvement on the previous scan, when the placenta had been 'abutting' the cervix, but wasn't enough to let us off a possible Caesarean or at best a hospital birth. The more we'd found out about even our very nice local maternity unit, the more we'd thought home sounded a really good idea. Hospitals are, after all, for sick people. Anyway, after the scan we waited to see the consultant. And waited. And waited. A deeply patronising nurse eventually ushered us into a tiny cell and took my blood pressure. Then she asked for a urine sample, at which point I said I'd wee on a stick if it would get us to the consultant, but did she realise we hadn't actually come for a check-up? We'd come to see the consultant... We waited some more. I propped the door open, in case they forgot we were there and all went home.

The consultant when she came was, inevitably, harassed, apologetic, friendly and extremely competent. The verdict was still that a home birth might mean dying in a pool of a blood and was therefore not to be recommended. But why not come in again on Tuesday and see Mr L, who was very senior? I didn't see how even a very senior radiographer would be able to see through a baby's head if nobody else could, but hey ho. We wended our weary way homeward, pausing only to eat in a pub, bid and win a baby sling on eBay (hurrah for other people's WiFi), and take in our first NHS ante-natal class. We'd already done the NCT course, but were hoping to meet a few more people nearer our area and not quite so precisely the same social demographic at this one. The first class covered what to pack in your hospital bag, which was a useful reminder that we hadn't done this yet. Or written our birth plan. Bother. Didn't seem much point when we didn't know the location for the birth or the exit point for the infant.

We spent the weekend, daringly (I was 37 weeks pregnant by now) in Leeds, where the revamped Grand Theatre was opening with a new production of Peter Grimes. A is a Britten nut and I once played Second Tart, so we were keen to try it. Unfortunately, it was one of those productions where someone is keen to Make Their Mark rather than let the music speak for itself. Enjoyed the gratuitous nudity though - you don't often get to see Peter's bum. Sadly, though, this Peter wasn't the usual rangy type with wayward hair (and fairly pert buttocks, one generally assumes), but a fairly portly tenor who didn't look his best in the bright yellow oilskin dungarees supplied. Oh well: a joke's a joke (and fun is fun).

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