Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Route 66

There are many paths through labour but Hayley's friend Kerry took the long and winding road at the weekend: 66 hours before an emergency caesarian section.

As a result, Hayley spent much of Bank Holiday Monday looking slightly concerned and fretful. And when I happened to spot our midwife in Tesco she made a bee-line for her, grabbed her and proceeded to tell her the tale. Poor woman. And she only went in for some salad.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Like buses

It's always the same isn't it. No sooner have you managed to find one course of ante-natal classes than another one comes along.

In this case the course is the NHS Parent Craft course of classes. At our latest appointment with the midwife this morning she rang and discovered that there is space on these classes despite the fact we have consistently been told otherwise. So we are now quite relieved to have a choice of the NHS and NCT classes to choose from.

According to the midwife (actually there were three of them there this morning!) everything is on track and Jane (our regular midwife) made a point of telling Hayley that she is doing everything right. We heard the baby's heart beat again. This time it was a musically brisk 132BPM (beqats per minute). I found myself working out the heart rate by trying to think of a song that goes at around that tempo. (For the record, on this occasion I thought it was similar to an old DNA song called "Paul Lee" wheich was 130 BPM. Not far off then!)

One of the midwives measured the fundal height (which I think corresponds to the size of the uterus) and from that they predict the baby will be 7 pounds and 12 ounces.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Furniture fiasco

Index have completely messed up our furniture order.

First they fail to deliver it.
Then they say they have damaged it and so can't deliver it.
Then they say they will refund our money so that they can replace the order, but they fail to do that too.

After I got them to sort all that out they replaced the order and.... nothing happened. I rang them at the weekend and was assured the delivery was due by the 21st. Of course the 21st came and went without the so much as the silhouette of a furniture van on the horizon.

As they are closing down, what's the betting they will have run out of stock before I can get them to fulfill my 6 week old order?

At last!

We have managed to get onto NCT classes that do not require us to spend half our evening traveling to them. They are in Prestbury which will still probably be a 45 minute drive from home but at least it should be reachable after work and a nice place into the bargain.

BBC NEWS | Health | Fertility success gulf revealed

BBC NEWS | Health | Fertility success gulf revealed

An article about the varying success rates of fertility clinics across the country.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Roll up for a roll end

We have bought the carpet for the nursery. We got a rather nice "roll end" at half price from Carpet Right in Stockport. It's quite plush and dark green in colour. We took some of the lemon paint in and it seems to go OK with it. I can't help thinking that nature is full of plants with green stems and yellow flowers and that the room might be evocative of green grass and yellow sunshine. Well, hopefully a baby might see the logic of it.

We were torn between getting the carpet we eventually bought - which is rather soft and needs underlay - or another cheaper carpet since we are not planning on staying in the house long-term after the baby is born. In the end I couldn't resist the idea of a nice soft carpet for the baby's room. Call me an old softy, but I couldn't bring myself to buy something I wouldn't want to crawl about on myself!

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Happy birthday to me

On a brighter note we celebrated my 41st birthday yesterday.

I started the day in a daring way by getting onto the bathroom scales to find that I am near the top end of my acceptable weight range with a BMI just under 25. (That was a relief!) I feel pretty good in general these days as long as I get a good night's sleep. Sleep deprivation is one of my biggest fears about the coming arrival. (If you are squeamish look away now! I suffer from IBS and lack of sleep can make it decidedly worse. So I am making the most of restful nights while I can.)

We celebrated my birthday with a trip on the Folk Train from Manchester to Hathersage. This is a regular train with folk musicians playing in one of the carriages. Our friend Sophie put in a request which resulted in the musicians treating me to a rendition of Happy Birthday sung by the whole carriage. Nice.

The musicians and audience alighted at a sunny Hathersage for a pub lunch which I enjoyed with a pint of the guest ale. On returning to Manchester we paid a visit to Urbis in Manchester which I have to say I found pretty disappointing. Still, we then spent the evening in semi-slumbers and watching movies. Which, all in all, seems a very happy birthday to me.


Ten days on and still no joy getting onto an NHS ante-natal class of any kind. Worse still the NCT classes are also oversubscribed. The nearest we could get onto at the moment is in Buxton which is completely impractical. However, we have a few NCT area co-ordinators looking for a space for us. We are top of the waiting list for a course in Crumpsall at the moment. Again, hardly an ideal location but we are starting to get desperate.

We've been told now by several people that the midwife is obliged to ensure that we get the encessary ante-natal instruction, but at the moment her re-assurances have extended only to "if all else fails I will come round and answer any questions we may have"!

"Any questions we may have"!!! If she were expecting to get mountain biking lessons from me I wouldn't deem it sufficient to just "answer any questions" before rolling her off the top of a hill. As complete newcomers to childbirth we don't even know half the questions to ask, that's why the NHS have classes in the first place. And given that the NHS doesn't throw away money on luxuries it would tend to imply that as responsible parents we should attend these classes. So I am still left bewildered and annoyed at the position we find ourselves in.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Feeling let down by the NHS

We have discovered this week that the NHS ante-natal classes are so oversubscribed (or under resourced) that we can't get onto them. There is a waiting list of five couples for every place before our Expected Delivery Date and in August there are no classes anyway as too many staff are on holiday. I'm annoyed at our midwife for not telling us to apply for this as soon as possible. We only found out that there was a high demand for them through other couples.

This is not the first time the midwife has been less than perfect in my opinion. She failed to book our first scan correctly and if we had not chased it up we would have had our first scan at week 16 or 17 (instead of week 12 or 13). And at the first meeting she also made a remark that was a bit of a red flag to me. When I said that this was a first child for me as well as for Hayley she said "I should think so too". What a pompous remark in a world where there is an ever growing number of step families. But more worrying is the fact she seems to tell Hayley little or nothing at the appointments. We find out most things by reading up or talking to our friends who have already had children.

So the upshot is that we are trying to register for National Childbirth Trust classes which we will have to pay for (£126).

Anyway, at the risk of sounding churlish, it has hardly gone down well with us to find all this out in General Election week as Tony Blair bangs on every day about how great the NHS is these days.

Mellow Yellow

Mellow Yellow
Originally uploaded by Steven Townley.
This is how the nursery looks today, a lot better than it did before it was painted but still with plenty left to do. There are no carpets on the floor and the door (out of shot) looks a bit shabby now the rest of the room is spruced up.

Yellow is meant to stimulate the intellect, but we chose it more because it's cheerful and "sunny". It's quite a bright colour for a bedroom but this shade looks warm to me.

I'll post the finished product when we get to that point.

Lemon 1 Spring 0

On Sunday we got some sample colours and painted them on the wall of the nursery: "Apple" green, "Spring" green, "Warm yellow" and "Lemon". After some debate Hayley persuaded me away from "Spring" and towards our final choice of "Lemon".

Hayley's Mum has come up to help us this week and has painted the whole nursery over the last two days. That's two coats of "lemon" on the walls, two coats of white on the roof and skirting boards and she's also done the radiator to boot. (Oh and she ripped up the old carpet which can't have been easy with the sofa bed still in the room!) I'm not sure if the walls were completely dry when I first saw them tonight but they looked fantastic in the evening sunlight. She's done a great job.

The furniture should have been delivered yesterday but the delivery company couldn't knock loud enough to be heard by someone who was listening for them. (Where do they find these people!)

Next step: carpets.

First visible kick

Tonight I saw the baby kick for the first time. It was only a small movement of Hayley's tummy but it was clearly visible. What's more Hayley was able to predict it was coming as (s)he had been doing the same thing all evening: making a few small kicks followed by a large one.

Apparently the baby kicks persistently like this when (s)he is uncomfortable. At work today Hayley had to stand up and walk around periodically to stop the kicking.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Three in a bed gymnastics

Not the stuff of tabloid scandals but the best way to describe how me, Hayley and "bump" try to get comfortable at night these days.

Unsurprisingly I can get comfortable in about 10 seconds so all I have to do is wait for the rest of the family to settle.

Hayley has several pillows under her head, one between her knees and a special wedge shaped pillow under her bump. It takes her about 5 minutes and several attempts to get comfortable. Then she usually decides she needs a wee and gets up again. She also has a large U-shaped pillow but that is usually reserved for the sofa with only occasional nocturnal use when all other combinations of support devices fail.

"Bump" is often "up" and kicking around bedtime. This sometimes prompts a (further) trip to the bathroom for Hayley. The kicks are getting stronger. A few days ago she was standing outside the house talking to me when she suddenly let out a small yelp and bent over slightly. "Oooo, bump kicked me in the bladder!" she said. Then (s)he did it again. "Ow! Sorry, I'm going to have to run to the loo...!" and off she shot!

Back in the bedroom, Hayley will get up to go to the loo at least 4 times and more usually 6 times during the night. She's now at 23 weeks. Goodness knows what she will be like at 38 weeks and beyond.

Another bedtime ritual that has developed involves the Baby Mozart CD we bought. I've renamed it "Hayley Mozart" as she has taken to playing it at night to help her go to sleep. It works like a dream. Let's hope it's as effective when bump arrives.

Isn't bathtime fun!

Isn't bathtime fun!
Originally uploaded by Steven Townley.
The modern day baby has a significant number of options when it comes to bathtime treatments! This is the fabulous (not to mention bewildering) selection of oils and lotions that Hayley's Mum bought for all the baby's bathtime needs. (She bought at least two of each but I'd need a wide-angle lens!)

This photo can be seen in all its glory by clicking the photo to visit its page at Flickr.