Sunday, June 12, 2005

"Sweet dreams are made of this..."

Last night I had a vivid dream of holding our baby for the first time. It was a girl. I remember being aware of the importance of holding the baby near to your skin in the moments after it is born, though in the dream the baby was already in a romper suit (well, dreams never make complete sense do they).

My dream may well have been caused by disrupted sleep. Hayley increasingly gets back-ache and tosses and turns through the night trying to get comfortable. I often massage her back in a semi-slumbering state in the early hours. Actually, the most sore muscle is probably the top of the glutus maximus. I'll avoid the obvious jokes about being a pain in the.... night.

"Bump" seems to be most active in the night. No sooner have we gone to bed than (s)he starts to move and kick. Annoyingly these movements nearly always seem to stop when I put my hand on Hayley's tummy to feel them. She reckons this is a sign of things to come. I will come home to tales of how he/she has been naughty all day, only to find a placid and well-behaved child. And I won't complain if that's the case! I've read the Mothering In America blog of a new mother in the USA who was finding that their new daughter was at her most unsettled during the evening: the very time she would have loved some time to talk to her husband.

To ease our sleepless nights we've been hunting a replacement for our rather clapped out double divan. We've discovered that bed technology has moved on apace. The latest innovation is "Memory Foam" which was originally invented by NASA for space missions and adapts to the shape of your body. (Why do you need a firm mattress when you are weightless?) You can get mattresses that are entirely foam-based and which feel very strange when you are used to springs. We must have laid on more than 30 beds today in two shops. By the end we were ready to go home and lie down (on anything). We have opted for (but not yet ordered) a bed with springs and a top layer of Nasa's fab foam. Here's hoping it feels as good after 5 hours as it did after 5 minutes lying in a showroom.

The other thing that is keeping Hayley awake is hay fever. She suffers from it very, very badly and the doctor has prescribed her medication that contains steroids (which surprised me given she is pregnant but apprently it's no problem - maybe we'll get an 11lb shot-putting baby). We are thinking of buying a portable air conditioner recommended by the AllergyMatters website. This would also be useful when the baby arrives if August turns out to be as hot as the forecasters are claiming. I never met anyone who suffers with allergies as much as Hayley. If she has contact with cats her face swells up and she sneezes for England. It's similar with hay fever. The sneezing is exhausting, particularly when she is already tired from the pregnancy. At home she can close the windows and cover her face with a damp cloth, clearly not options at work. She was intending to start her maternity leave only 2 weeks before the due date but she may well bring that forward now.