It's only 9 months... but it feels like Maternity...

Now Known As Postnatal Oppression

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Just a quick one today - I am now Retired! Hussah! Last day of work was last Thursday. So far, I have done sod all constructive with my time.

An interesting point - I was discussing with the husband the other day, about whether he wanted to Cut The Cord. He is not fussed about it. "What's the big deal?" he asked.
"Well, it's meant to be symbolic I suppose," I replied. "You're the one setting it free, bringing it into the world."
"Hmph what a load of crap," he said.
"Well anyway I don't want you seeing it coming out," I told him. "Erm - unless you really want to?" It suddenly occurred to me that he actually might have wanted to.
"But I don't want you thinking of me like that," I said. "It's not something you can un-see once you've seen it, and the next time you're down there, I don't want that to be going through your mind."
He looked up from Top Gear magazine. "If you really think that would stop me going back in, you don't know me very well," he grinned.

We shall see. But I am sticking to my guns on this one.

A last, worrying, point: I think it's got lower. I'm uncomfortable right at the part where my legs join onto me. Like something's lodged behind (as in a HEAD)...

Monday, February 19, 2007

Sorry I haven't been keeping up to date with this blogging malarkey. But then, I know no-one's reading it, so I'm not really that sorry.

A couple of weeks ago I had yet another check-up with Dr. Onymous as the midwife was on holiday again. This time, I was the one who let us both down - I'd forgotten my notes and I hadn't wee'd in a pot. He didn't seem that bothered, in fact he seemed quite pleased that he didn't have to do anything as disgusting as look at my wee. We chatted a bit about my mum (who's managed to get shingles) and the weather, he wrote some stuff down on my medical notes that the surgery have, for the look of it really as he didn't want me to bring in the maternity ones later, and then I toddled off. I've said it before and I'll say it again, blind leading the blind...

Today I had my last scan, to determine whether or not my placenta's moved. It seems very weird to talk about 'my' placenta. This large lumpy organ, which I personally have grown, and which I'll get to meet later on - how weird is that? Don't get me wrong, I'm not keeping it or eating it or anything revolting like that. Anyway, the scan was over and done with in minutes - the sonographer was the same one from my very first scan, and she was pleasant enough, but I couldn't see the screen properly so every time she pointed something out I couldn't crane my neck quickly enough before she moved onto something else. All I could make out was that Spawn seemed to be quite squashed up in there, and was fast asleep. I did get told that he had a very full bladder though, and that the placenta was alright now.

I felt mixed emotions about this - it means that at the moment, I'm good to go for a normal delivery, ie, they don't see any reason why I'd need a c-section unless things go to cock on the day. So I'm most likely going to experience 'proper' labour then. More on this in a bit...

When I came out of the hospital, I suddenly got very upset - the sonographer hadn't asked me if I wanted a picture, and I hadn't thought to ask for one at the beginning, so it was too late once she'd finished. I came out feeling sticky from the blue jelly, and very rushed and unloved, and with nothing to show the husband. I rang his mobile, and he did a good job of cheering me up, even though he was in the middle of Official Police Business. He said that he hadn't thought we were going to get a picture today, and that we probably couldn't see anything much anyway seeing as the spawn was so scrunched up.

So back to Labour then. I have a few points I want to raise on this subject:
  • Why will no-one tell me honestly what it feels like? I feel that, the one thing that binds all mothers together, is this common experience of childbirth. This silvery, intangible thread joining us all together, for thousands of years, uniting not just humans, but all females from the dawn of time itself. So how come not one of the bitches will tell me what happens? All I'm getting is the odd comment, dropped in the middle of random conversations. "I was only four hours with my first one," doesn't exactly make things any clearer.
  • There has been the odd suggestion that none of them can actually remember what it was like. I get the impression that Nature is either very cruel or very kind, and as soon as you've got this thing out of you, it gives you amnesia - otherwise I wonder how many women would go through it all again...? "You forget all about it as soon as you've got your baby," one friend told me. Hmmm. We'll see. I will be documenting everything on here for future reference. The women who come after me need me to do this.
  • In some ways, I am looking forward to it, so I can finally know what it's all about. It is like this big secret (that no-one talks about, because they can't remember) and you only get let in on it if you join their club. I wonder if soldiers who have fought in battles feel similar? A world you could never imagine if you have never experienced it for yourself, and you can't explain to someone who's never been through it. Am I going to have the mysteries of the universe revealed to me at last?
  • In other ways, I am TOTALLY cacking myself. How in the hell am I actually going to get this thing out of me? It's a really big lump now. I tried to ask the husband this. I pointed out to him the size of the intended exit relative to the size of the lump (I turned side-on at one point, for purposes of demonstration), and that the two were not even closely matched shape-wise, let alone anything else. He found the whole conversation stomach-clenchingly, tear-streamingly funny. Nobody seems to be overly concerned about this apart from me - I keep being told "Well, it's too late to worry about that now," or "Oh you'll be just fine!" I bloody won't. We're looking at serious amounts of pain here people... I can't bear to even think about it.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

I am Gigantasaurus Rex. The belly looks like a basketball with legs. The annoying thing is that everything fits until it comes to doing it up over my waist or boobs. Anything with a waistband slides down my bum so that I have to walk along like a cowboy who's just dismounted, hoiking everything back up.

We went to see the labour ward. The midwife collected us from the entrance to the maternity wing, then showed us into a smallish room with a bed and an enormous oval bath in it. There were also lots of bits of machinery and equipment and tubes everywhere.

She began by moving parts of the bed up and down and dismantling it, to show 'how easily' they can get to your business end when they need to. The gas and air hoses were pointed out, as were the monitors and some other stuff that I'd stopped looking at. It was all done in the way torturers show their victims the equipment they're going to use on them beforehand, with probably about the same amount of relish. The enormous bath is what you can use if you want to have a water birth, although the midwife said that you have to get out of it to deliver the placenta (groo). This thing is easily 3 foot high, 7 foot long, smooth-sided, with no visible means of climbing out, so I take it they get their own back on you wanting a water birth by laughing at you struggling with your arse-end on fire, falling out of the bath and breaking your neck. Suddenly she asked us "What's missing from this room?" The husband and I looked at each other panic-stricken, then around at all the machinery, then back at the midwife blankly. "I didn't know there was going to be a test," he protested.
"A cot," was the answer. Oh right, yeah. Oops. "We're so not ready for this," the husband murmured to me.

After this, she whisked us round the postnatal ward so she could show us where we'd be once I'd got the spawn out. I have no intention of being there, I am planning on coming home the very second I'm allowed to. The ward is divided up into little sections - one for women whose babies have had to go to special care, one for ones who haven't had their babies yet, and everyone else. As we were leaving, this poor girl in her pyjamas and dressing gown got wheeled past us into the special care section. She looked like she'd seen the entrance to Hell, with tears and snot still damp on her face and her hair everywhere. There but for the grace of God...

Last antenatal class! Blimey that's gone quickly. I shall miss skiving off work for them.
This one was the one where they're supposed to explain what you actually do with this thing once it's out in the world. Thus, lots and lots and LOTS of lecturing about breastfeeding (blah blah blah yackety schmackety) although she didn't give anyone thinking of bottlefeeding a hard time, and she did acknowledge that doing it "naturally" is really bloody painful and tiring, no matter what all the hippies say. A few hints and tips about nappies, and then a doll in a plastic cot and we had to say all the things wrong with how it had been put to sleep (not in a veterinary sense). A bit of information on cot death - she stressed how important it was not to let it get overheated, and everyone looked quite shocked when she told us how her own daughter had been too bundled up and had stopped breathing, as in those days the emphasis was on not letting babies get too cold. A brief reminder that she would be checking on our chosen method of contraception once we were at home (give us a bloody chance!) and a bit about postnatal depression (oh yay - something else to look forward to).

Finally, she asked if anyone had any more questions. To which the husband piped up with "Yes - can you make her pack her bag?" Everyone's eyes swivelled towards me.
"Haven't you done it yet?" the midwife asked accusingly.
I stopped staring open-mouthed at the husband and replied "No! Last week you said I didn't have to yet!"
Her eyes narrowed. "How far gone are you?"
"34 weeks now... you said I didn't have to worry about it for a couple of weeks..." Clearly once I'd reminded her of this, she'd be back on my side.
"Yes, but you haven't even bought the stuff to go in it yet," the betrayer added. "Shut up will you?" I hissed at him through my teeth.
"34 weeks! What happens if you go into early labour at 35 weeks? Which isn't uncommon," the midwife said sternly. The rest of the group were happily watching this entertaining exchange with expressions of amusement. I opened my mouth to defend myself again, but she glared at me. "Get your bag packed young lady."
I slumped down, with a sideways dagger glance at the husband. I don't know what all the fuss is about, I can sort everything out on the day. It's going to be hours before I have to worry about going into the hospital. And anyway, how much packing does a book and a Mars Bar take?