The Palace Park

The Palace Park

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Pembrokeshire, ho!

So, little Fanglet, here we are, safely ensconced in Pembrokeshire.  Miles from a mobile phone signal but the wireless works a right treat.  It has only taken your poor Grandfather 5 years to be able to get a decent signal but now that he has one. . . well, you get the idea.

We drove up Christmas morning after a lovely dinner at Miss H and Mr J's.  This has become our Christmas Eve tradition: an early supper with them and then early to bed to drive to Wales.  I awoke after a fitful night of sleep at 0509 and dragged your father up with me, my motto being 'If I am going to suffer, well, it will be a bumpy ride for you too.'  This is compounded by the fact that I should not be spoken to for the first 45 minutes to an hour after I wake up.  It is just easier.

The roads were clear and the car, which had not wanted to start at all the evening before, drove like a dream.  We arrived in time for a trip to the Salutation and a few rounds of snooker (no, Mama didn't play.  I just snarked from the sidelines).

Christmas dinner was a gorgeous affair and we've had a really lovely time.  Everyone has been convivial and genuinely happy to see one another, which is always nice.  Yesterday, I lazed around and today I am making a bit more of a concentrated effort to do some reading on Henderson, Louisiana, for my PhD.  I've purchased Allen Toussaint's latest album "Bright Mississppi" and Joe Henry's latest 'Blood From Stars,' so that you and I have something to contemplate over the next few months.  Joe Henry is, in a word, genius.  Maddening, eclectic, genius.  And dead sexy.  So it is not really a surprise that he'll make up a large part of your musical education.  He records for the Anti record label and has also branched out into producing.

Tomorrow we head back to London where we'll have dinner with Mr B and Miss Z, and possibly your Auntie L.  We'll stop off in Swansea to see a dear friend and then on our way.  Provided we can make it up your grandparents' drive.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

The Holiday Blahs

So, dear little  Fanglet, off we go on a holiday adventure to Wales on Xmas morning.  We will be visiting your father's parents, your Auntie K and Uncle JT.  We'll make them southern-fried, yet, my little darling.  It will be an adventure because a) it snowed this week and England has tried to ground to a halt as a result and b) your  grandparents live miles from a decent cappuccino machine.

This week has -- in a phrase -- sucked ass.  I lost my voice Friday, going quickly from sounding like Lauren Bacall for all of twenty minutes to sounding like James Earl Jones on helium. (Speaking of Mr Jones, who is a hotty, if anyone is thinking about buying me a little present, I would love to see him in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at the Novello. I'm just saying. . . ).  By Saturday evening, I was down for the count and desperate for distraction.  We went to R and E's for a birthday celebration (bringing cake -- of which we ate none) and spent an uncomfortable evening being insulted by a 5'0 Chinese woman who was vocally horrified by the size of my belly ('I wasn't that big until I was 8 months! What HAVE you been doing?') We left early (your father WAS NOT hungover) and watched season 1 of The Wire on DVD whilst I ate copious amounts of fruit sorbet and cried.

Watching The Wire, I have decided that I am most like the Lester Freeman character. Jaded but true blue, with a love of research.  Last night, we watched the episode where poor, sweet Wallace -- the foster child of my dreams -- gets shot and I was quite possibly a bit irrationally upset about this development.  I took it very personally and cried for about an hour.

Mama might need to start watching a different series.

On Monday, we were vaccinated against Piglet's Demise, also known as Swine Flu/H1N1.  The end result has left us feeling like we have. . . guess. Guess! Wait for it!  Yaay! The Swine Flu!  The needs of the many, little Fang. The needs of the many.

Things are, however, looking up. It turns out that I had 2.5 vacation days left, so I am now off on 29 December and 4 January (sadly, these 2 days are slightly marred by doctor appointments) and a half day on 7 Jan, which is just before we go to see your Gigi (which is what I've decided you'll call your Great-great grandma Lo).

Friday, 18 December 2009

20 weeks and 2 days. Or 5 months. Your call.

Dear Fanglet

So, there you are (this is two weeks ago and a bit, now.  The dress was a total find -- how could I have forgotten thrift shops existed in my pregnant haze is beyond me -- from Oxfam and it cost me all of £6. Sadly, the Nokia E71 I thought was such a great little number is a piece of crap so the picture looks a bit odd and you can't see my shoes (also from oxfam, which are this great oxblood brown leather - £5! 5 freaking pounds!) but seriously, I've not been very good at documenting this whole pregnancy wardrobe thing.

Tonight is your first black tie dinner at the East India Club, for which I am wearing an Isabella Oliver gown (black, sadly, although if I had been a bit faster off the mark, you'd be wearing this gorgeous Temperely number in a Teal green. Phwoar), with Hellenic jewelery that your Papa bought for me (read, I bought, handed to him and said 'Give this to me. It is a hanukkah present.' -- In fairness to your Pa, he has excellent taste in jewelry and design but he's been busy and well, I wanted this necklace, bracelet, and earring set and it was on sale, etc.) Your Papa, as I have hinted will be in black tie. We will have fun. I will try not to bare my teeth at anyone.

You've been a busy bee this week, lightly tap-dancing your way across my belly. I feel very enamoured of you, as though you are some sort of wild, exotic creature I've managed to coax into visiting.  We have had no doctor's appointments this week (I know! What will we do with ourselves) but I am fighting off yet another cold -- sigh -- and it promises to be a doozey.

And now, off to the hair dressers. We won't discuss how I've forgotten my evening shoes so will be going around the dining room in stocking feet. The dress is long and my ankles look like chubby hairless dachshunds.       

Next time, I shall horrify and embarrass you on the importance of grooming during pregnancy. I know. You're so looking forward to the outside world.

Friday, 11 December 2009

A little Patsy Cline is good for the soul

'Heart break, heart break. . . What does it matter how my heart aches. . . '

Poor Fanglet.  You are really getting quite fed up with doctors, etc.  And you really dislike ECGs and ultrasounds, so much so, I think if you could have gotten any further away from the scanner, you'd have been climbing up my esophagus.  It must be said, I've had my fill as well.  And we won't talk about how heart-breaking it is to watch little children riddled with illness, their bodies weak and pallid, soldiering on without a care in the world or the agonized hope and love in their parents' eyes as they watch their kids being kids.  Or how painful it is to watch your father sit there, taking this all in, terrified that you're going to be one of these children and he'll have to go on being so brave he might break. 

It is also decidedly unhelpful to make comments like 'Well, the heart looks mostly normal but is missing a flappy bit that we would expect to see,' and then go on to say 'but that might be normal, so we'll just have you come back.'  Nothing definite, just plodding cold-fished, medical speak that I am starting to think means 'We're bored! You're our new play thing until something more ABNORMAL comes along.'  I am torn because I know they mean well and I know how lucky we are -- you and I -- to have access to this kind of care.  But I do wish they'd get a clue.

Tonight is my office holiday party.  I know Mama doesn't talk a lot about her work here. One should not blog about one's employer, so I won't. I will however say that Mama works with archives and records. Lots of them. They are sometimes quite old records but more recently they are things called 'born digital' and no, I don't think Andy Williams will be singing a sequel to 'Born Free' on to the Top 40 with that one.  Mama also goes to school, although it is up for debate how often she is really 'at school' and is working on something she'll tell you all about later. Right now, I need to eat some more of that yogurt, pumpkin seeds and dried banana stuff.  That was too good.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Little Jazz. . . baby that's me.

Or in this case, Fanglet, it shall be you.  In fact, I think I've just come up with a holiday card idea for next year involving you, Josephine, and a Carol Channing wig.  Oh, yes! I do look forward to 'mocking the baby.'  It will be a favorite game, I can already tell. 

I'm not sure what people who were having children did before parenting classes.  One can only assume that they made baby hides into handbags and shoes and stews out of the innards.   Morbid, I know.  But seriously, I know parenting is challenging (I used to be a nanny and dude, some of those kids are FUCKED up.  And yes, your mother just swore on your blog.  Bad Mama! Bad!).  I get that the world as one knows it changes and that I cannot possibly be prepared and blah, blah, ever-loving blah.  I know this intellectually and soon, I will know this emotionally and mentally (let's hope it doesn't involve a padded room, applesauce through a straw, or drastic wardrobe decisions involving an abuse of plaid).  I am not ready as I'll ever be, I'm just along for the ride.  And really, truly, little tomato of mine, what else can I be?  I only know you from the way you move and what you like to eat.  (Or don't -- based on the Jerusalem artichoke soup reaction from last night.  Or maybe you loved it. I know I did. Damn good soup).  As far as I'm concerned, the rest will come along as it comes along.  Fortunately, our class will take place at the Vortex, a jazz club in Dalston/Kingsland where some of the finest Vietnamese food this side of Saigon can be had for a song.  Did I mention salt beef bagels as well.

And ask people who know me: this is a bit unusual. I tend to be a mite controlling. A bit anal. A bit pre-planned. Enjoy the spontaneity whilst its here, kid.  I'm already planning your bar/bat mitzvah wardrobe.  So there.

So,  yesterday we had two medical appointments: one with our Community midwife and one with Dr F.  The community midwife seems to be on her game but really wasn't that supportive about the idea of a home birth at this stage. Or maybe she thought it was just too early to really discuss.  However, it did strike me as foreboding that a) she knew about our rather confusing journey thus far and b) well, I forgot what 'b' was, but there certainly is one. 

Dr F has decided we need yet another round of scans. Seriously, how many ultrasounds does 1 person and 1 baby need? At what point is it appropriate for me to tell them to 'get stuffed?'  You don't like it and I'm not overly keen on the repeated invasion of your privacy (not mention that gel is C O L D, little baby).  And the hospital is a drag; every time we go there, I leave with the sniffles.  Not cool, Fanglet. Not cool.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Doors, Windows and Donkey Flesh

When your uncle and I were younger, our dad used to get so irritated with us for standing  smack bang in front of him whilst he was trying to watch the telly by saying 'You make a better door than you do a window.'  I was talking about this with my colleague at work today and he started laughing.  'In spanish, we have the saying: "La carne de burro no es transparente," which translate 'Donkey flesh isn't transparent.'

Now, one thing you should know about your mother is that I love a bargain. I love well-made, well-crafted as well, but I loathe paying retail. It goes against my principles. So don't be surprised if a lot of what you are greeted with come from places like: Nursery Value. You've also been gifted a huge amount of things from your Auntie A and Uncle JH and their daughters the Swedelets, among all of the others.  We're very luck, my love, to be surrounded by pragmatic and generous people.  It allows Mama to keep her feet in the style they are accustom to. . .

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Don't think of waterfalls, don't think of waterfalls. . .

Dear Fang

For the last few months, I've had a little infection in my urinary tract. I know, I know.  More information about your mother than you ever wanted  to know.  But work with me, here, because there is a story about to unfold.

I've spent a great deal of my life in various stages of such an infection.  Sometimes,  this is due to taking too many baths,  sometimes,  it is because I've changed a laundry detergent or other factor.  Often,  it was because I consumed enough coffee to make even Tourette sufferers  marvel at my twitching and short temper.  A host of reasons, really.  Anyway, I  digress.  

Since you and I became partners in crime,  I've had to give numerous samples of blood and urine.  You'd think I was on probation for dealing or possession,  or the like.   I keep a little log in my phone (I know, I know; again TMI) calendar of these donations.  Not including the 17 pregnancy tests I took with you (again, I know,  I'm a freak but I just wanted to MAKE SURE you were in there to stay),  I've given 5 scheduled samples of urine in the last 4.5 months.  Every time I go for any medical appointment, I give a sample. And each time I give a sample,  I get a letter saying I have to come back and give another sample (if you're keeping count,  that means we're now at 9 'hospital' samples, not counting the one I left today at the hospital).  And the last few times I've been to the GP, I've mentioned 'Oh, by the way, it is very uncomfortable when I go to the loo. I've cut down on sugar, caffeine, etc., to see if that helps, but to no avail.  I think I may have an infection.'  And the GP responds 'You're overreacting. Some people just experience discomfort when they pee.' Yeah, Fang. If someone ever says this to you, you have my permission to thump them and say 'Suck it, TWINK!'  Because a urinary tract infection is like peeing needles of freaking fire.  No lie.

Anyway, last week,  I dragged my pained aching body to the doctor.  The car stalled as I turned onto the road leading to the doctor's office and I stood in the rain, in my pajamas (don't ask; it was a low day), trying to push the car into a parking space.  3 strangers saved me and the car and I walked into the surgery like heavily pregnant walking corpse.

When I finally got in to see the Duty Call doctor -- who was 25, if she was a day -- I gave her my rundown of symptoms and she gave me a vial to pee in. I know! More pee! Woohoo! She then sent the vial to the lab and told me that there was nothing that could be done to make me feel better that I wasn't already doing.  She also said that 'mixed growth' meant I wasn't giving my sample properly and that 'some people experience discomfort when they pee.'

On Monday the Dr called with the results of my most recent sample. I phoned her back. She phoned me. And so it went. I phoned this morning at 0830 before we went to our scan appointment. I left a message. I left my phone number. I left so many different ways to contact me that I made myself and the receptionist dizzy. And after the scan, I stopped in to the clinic.

Finally, at about 1pm the Dr called back to say 'Hey, you DO have an infection! So, I'll prescribe you antibiotics that won't harm Baby.'

'That would be good.' (Me, looking around for Jennifer Gray who played 'Baby' in Dirty Dancing, which is what I automatically do when people mention 'Baby.'

'Are you on any oral contraceptives?'

'Um, no. I'm 20 weeks pregnant.'

'Oh. Did I know that?'


Oh, Fang. It is going to be a long walk to week 40, pettest.

And in other news, you have a very big belly! And you look like a baby now not a shelled turtle! Times are indeed changing. Take that, postal clerk who had the gall to ask me if I was 'pregnant or something?'

Monday, 30 November 2009

198 miles to go

Dear Fang

This weekend we went to Leeds for a belated Thanksgiving dinner with people whom I hope we will see more of, especially since Leeds is only 198 miles away.

One major cultural difference I've noticed through my years here is how the British (and this is all-encompassing cultural comment) have such a different sense of distance and travel. At home, people I know (including myself) rarely think anything of driving 3-6 hours for an overnight. But here, people don't really think along those lines.  In fact, when I said I was going to Leeds for the night, people were a bit shocked.

We spent the evening eating gorgeous food and goofing around with 4 really great kids, and catching up.  I can't comment on what Leeds is like as a city because we didn't spend much time there. But I'm looking forward to exploring Yorkshire more once you arrive.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Almost Perfect

Items I didn't really think would enter my vocaubulary (mainly because I wasn't thinking of them):

Breast pads
Disposable Underwear
Breast Pumping
Lactation Consultant. 

Call me crazy, but I'd always thought of myself as more of a 'wet nurse' kind of gal. 

Of course, I also thought I'd never be sporting a 36-FF bra, so I guess it's a learning curve for all.

This week, I've recovered from my cold (sort of) and registered your father and I for pre-natal course with the National Childbirth Trust.  We've opted for the 'boot camp' version of the course, a 2.5 day extravaganza of baby-training as opposed to the 2-hours-over-8-weeks option.  I just really could not wrap my mind around 8 weeks of fluffy when 2.5 days will give me the same information.  This does not come without potential for trouble and it brings to mind an episode of 'Almost Perfect,' this TV show that was on in the mid-90s that starred Nancy Travis.  The episode I'm thinking of is one where Travis' character is forced to learn to relax and goes on an intensive yoga course that goes awry.  Indeed.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Pain in my head, pain in my heart

Dear Fanglet

For the last 5 days, I have been in a bit of agony. A vice-like pain has descended over my forehead, a combination of sinus pressure and headache.  Then there were the aches and temperature fluctuations. Oh, and the desperate need to be ill but not being able to be ill only to then be ill just when I thought we'd moved passed it.  But you are fine and I seem to be on the mend.

I spent much of the weekend napping. I would have an hour or two peak time and would then crash like a rock to the hard ground beneath.  We did make it to a wedding but had to leave early. And within 20 minutes of getting home, I had deteriorated to a pile of blond-haired sludge. Most charming.

Yesterday and today we napped and napped some more. And I dare say we'll be going to bed soon. But we have managed to finish the last in the 'Millenium' series by Steig Larsson.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Pathological Whines -- in utero

Mummy?  Hello? Hellooooo? I keep kicking to let you know I'm here but so far you seem a bit obtuse.  What is going on out there? Why are you not paying me more attention?! And what is that growling noise I keep hearing in the middle of the night? No one said anything about growling out there. Is that this Josephine you keep parroting on about? Because she sounds like trouble.

Or competition.

And could we get some of those feta cheese triangle-y things you ate for lunch? Those were good and I don't think 5 were enough.

I'm hungry! I'm thirsty! What happened to that lovely pink champagne you were drinking in August? We've not had that in ages. And really, I was told on good authority that champagne was all the rage for babies.  You go get some more of that. Now.  And do think we could read something other than stuff on the politics of indigenous culture? I mean, really, woman. How much can one fetal unit take?

Friday, 13 November 2009

One day, you'll ask me why you don't have fur like your sister

And I'll have to tell you the truth: that you were brought to us by aliens.  Just kidding. Sort of. Josephine is convinced she is human and convinced that she and I are of the same cloth.  Crazy, I know.
The strangest thing I find about being pregnant is how quickly my body changes. I mean, 40 weeks is one thing, but the changes occur so quickly. . . overnight, in some cases. Already, I've grown into a 36 F bra. This, mind you, is from a 32C.

I've been a bit down,  Fang. Just rather listless. Any nesting instinct that is supposed to kick in hasn't done so yet. In fact, the only instinct that has kicked in is the desire to nap. I go to bed about 9pm and then wake up at 2am, lying in bed as I stare at the ceiling, daydreaming idly. At some point, I suppose I'll get up and start doing something -- reading for school or maybe organizing the kitchen.  I do have a list. And I have those lovely pills that keep the toothier, meaner demons at bay. And ginger snaps.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

In Praise of Normal

Yesterday we spent the afternoon at North Middlesex having another scan.  This was supposed to be an anomaly scan but it turns out you're a wee bit too small for that (not a surprise here; these are usually only done after week 18).  We got to watch you turning flips and chewing on your feet when you weren't busy sucking on your hand.  For all intents and purposes, we got the sign off that you're 'normal.' Everything is relative except relatives, sweet pea.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Post-holiday recap

Dear Fanglet,

We have returned from France (albeit reluctantly).  I had a lovely time, at lots of duck (yum), slept a lot, and tried not to be overly annoying (unsuccessfully).  I will publish photos as soon as I can figure out what I've done with the damn digital camera adapter.  I think I may have put it in my sock drawer. Don't ask: the sock drawer is a very useful place.

The weather was amazing every day we were away. We explored Bergerac, Perigeoux, and Riberac, which is the closest town to Felard, where we were staying. The Barn belonged to your great-Aunt Linda and when she passed away, she created this incredibly complicated web of ownership. On Tuesday, you father and I stayed at the Barn, carrying one of the sofas outside to read in the warm Autumn sun and to snuggle and argue. We argue; it is our way of showing affection. You need to get used to it.

We got back late Saturday night and on Sunday I was so exhausted I could barely move. This is the thing about being pregnant that catches me off guard: I feel like I can keep up the same pace I did before and then BAM! I hit a wall and collapse like a rag doll. The back pain that seems to doggedly pursue my right shoulder spread to my right arm and it was agony.  I spent much of the day in bed, so tired I couldn't even focus on my new mystery novel THE GIGILO MURDER by Mehmet Murat Somer.  Can you imagine NOT being able to focus on a murder mystery when the detective is a transvestite hacker?

On Wednesday we went to Great Ormond Street's Cardiac Unit where they spent about 5 minutes trying to coax you out of the tight little ball you'd screwed yourself up into so they could convince themselves there was something wrong with you.  But there wasn't. You were so unflawed, the doctor was in shock. He even said that he'd expected to have to give us 'incredibly bad news' and was so happy he didn't. I can't help feeling a bit smug, as I am convinced they just need to let you be. But just in case, we will now be spending a good deal of time in  various rooms for ultrasounds, urine samples, and blood tests. 

We also met our OB, Dr Fakunde, who seems like a nice man and comes with an entourage. My arch-enemy at Maternity Reception was on he best behavior and. . . wait for it. . . your dad didn't even snap at the doctor. He might be allowed into the delivery room yet. . .

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Le Petit Fanglet(te?)

There has been much speculation this week over what your gender is, my little parasite.  I spent much of Saturday until Wednesday feeling as though my ribs were being cracked from the inside out, which made me wonder what you were up to. That pain seems to have dispersed and we have now returned to my trapezoid on my right arm feeling as though it is being squeezed and twisted by angry imps.

La Grange, the barn we are staying at in Riberac, is lovely. It belonged to your Great-Aunt Linda, who by all accounts was bit a of a bossy boots. The result is  gorgeously restored (but very cold) Old Barn (circa 1600) and a New Barn (circa 1980) that has sleeping room for 8 (comfortably).  You will (I hope) be spending a lot of time here.

Once we return to London, we have an appointment at the Cardiac Unit at Great Ormond Street, so that they can poke and prod at us some more. I don't know exactly what we're looking for now, but I have it on good authority that they may just keep looking until you make an appearance. . .

But back to Riberac, because my lovely, I would happily raise you here. It is lovely and there is something so much more familiar about it than the UK; the buildings in this region are not so different to where I grew up in Germany and in Czech, I suppose. They call a section of Bergerac 'Little Geneva' after all.  And so it goes. . .

We have eaten well this week, you and I. Merguez sausage for breakfast, lots of duck (no pate or rillettes, world, so relax, world. Relax).  We've been to Riberac and will return again (the sewing shop has a lovely yarn section), Bergerac (no sign of John Nettles, sadly, but we are a long way from Jersey) and today we went to Rouffegnac to a set of caves. I've been reading a mixture of things: snotty (for he PhD), mystery (cause who doesn't love a good mystery) and dire (Mills and Boon -- the US equivelent would be Harlequin Romance novels). All in all, not a bad way to go.  The weather has been divine: warm (high 60s, 70s with no rain and loads of sun) and we nap near a sun-dappled vineyard.  Life is very good.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Big plans for a little fetus

A 15-minute stop to drop off a urine sample turned into a 2.5 hour trip to the Ante-Natal clinic on Monday. Apparently, I had 'mixed growth' in the sample I left a couple of weeks ago.

You, my little tomato, are in for a treat: on 4 November, we're going to hear Steve Earle at the Barbican. Earle is over promoting his Towns Van Zandt tribute album.  The last time I saw him, it involved a road trip to Scotland and chortling peacocks. That was almost 5 years ago.  Crazy.

On 9 November, we're going to hear Steve Martin swing out all blue-grassy, and on the 16th, I'm seriously contemplating taking you to hear Pink Martini at the Apollo Hammersmith. The only bit of grit in the shoe of this plan is that I have my theory driving test the next day.

Driving test, you ask?

Indeed. I've only been driving for oh, I don't know. . . 16.3 years!! But thems the rules, those the breaks and, well, we do what we can to keep the Man happy.

Friday is your first Ethiopian meal. I'm really looking forward to this. Mama loves Ethiopian food. I only hope you love it too because that if not, that could make our traveling the next day a bit awkward. . . 

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Viva le France

Now, I know there are things I'm not supposed to eat. Unpasteurized cheese (because of the listeria thing, but seriously, if you already have encephalitis, how much damage could it do? JUST kidding!), liver, pate, etc. (Vitamin A overload), no rare meat, no shellfish unless I cook it myself (like that is EVER going to happen until we're back on the Gulf Coast).   But seriously, we're going to be in La Grange for a week and in that time, I can make no promises about what I consume, mainly because French food is just so much more INTERESTING that English food. And they don't always tell you what is in the food.  Vegetarian? 'But of course this is vegetarian,' the server will say with a Gaelic shrug, completely ignoring that the broth is beef marrow. . .

The big dilemma is what to pack. I know, I know. I am so limited at the moment, hemmed in by the pallet of maternity wear that has been so kindly provided for me.  I will take two comfy wool sweaters in a soft cappuccino colour, two tops in olive, several scarves, lots of woolly tights (thanks, Matalan!) and my new Shitkicker boots (in brown). I will also take a lovely patterned skirt and one or two of my wrap dresses and two pairs of trousers. Trousers are, of course, the most challenging thing about my life at the moment. I have 3 pairs that I can wear: a pair of Ann Taylor Jeans (size 14 from my very fat assed - post-Chicago days), a pair of size 12 Ann Taylor chinos (I know, WTF) and a pair of maternity trousers in black.  They make me look Tony Robbins good.

Ehem.  Not that I'm channeling Jeremy Piven's ego or anything. . .

It is a good thing your dad is going; he can carry my luggage. : )

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Kid, you may think you're funny. . .

But you're going to give me a heart attack. Today Midwife Allison called to say that you do not have the following: Downs, Edwards, Mosaic, or Patau's Syndrome, nor do you have any sex defects. Of course, when she said 'sex defects,' my mind totally went to another place and now I have visions of a fetus-populated BDSM club. Slightly disturbing if it wasn't funny. And it is funny.

I'm learning a lot of new words like microcephaly (a neurological disorder that results in a shrunken head and decreased motor skills), encephalitis (which I already 'knew' but didn't know; it is a type of meningitis and we loathe meningitis), and cytomegalovirus (a form of not-necessarily sexually transmitted herpes virus; you can contract if from sharing a soda with someone, etc).

It must be said that I didn't ask what your gender was. . . I'm trying to give you privacy. But seriously, if you keep this up, we're talking lock down early on.There will be no hiding of diaries. I will be so far up in your business, you'll think boot camp is a holiday.

Your father has been walking around like a dead man the last couple of days, breaking my heart almost as much as the uncertainty of what comes next. We're not all clear yet (there's another 2 weeks before that happens) but things are looking up.

Friday, 9 October 2009

The Waiting Game

Cher Fanglet

What can I say?

Today we had the CVS test.  My reasons were that there was triple the amount of fluid around your neck that they thought. The test itself was relatively painless. But the waiting is one of the hardest things I'll ever have to do.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Don't make it easy for me

Okay, so I love Earl Thomas Connelly. Sue me.

Today we went and had your first picture taken. It was all very exciting and I will post the photo here. It is also a little upsetting because, apparently, your neck is too thick at 5.75mm and they (the Dr and Midwives) want me to go and have a CVS test done. CVS stands for Chorionic Villius Sampling and boy, it sounds like fun! Basically, it is a test for Down Syndrome, Tay Sachs, etc., and they jam a very fine needle into the placenta.

According to one resource, it goes a little something like this: 

           'Depending on your stage of pregnancy, the position of your placenta, or on personal   
            preference, your doctor will choose one of the following methods:

            • transvaginal CVS - usually carried out between 11 and 13 weeks of pregnancy, via thecervix. 

              Your doctor will carefully insert fine forceps or a small tube through your vagina and cervix   
              to reach the placenta

            • transabdominal CVS - usually carried out after 13 weeks, through the abdomen. You may be 
            given a local anaesthetic to numb the wall of your abdomen before a needle is inserted through
            your abdomen into your uterus to the placenta.

After the test is over, I apparently will kick back and wait to  see if I miscarry (there is a 1/100 or a 2/100 chance depending on where you read).  Party time!

This afternoon, I phoned the Ante-natal Results and Choices helpline. They were lovely. I feel very, very pressured about the whole thing: the midwives and your father are very hipped that this happens. I. . . well, I personally. . . I don't give a rat's ass and would actually prefer to let you have your privacy, such as it is, to see if you just don't sort it out yourself. You've got a lot of time left in the womb, pettest and it seems a lot of pressure on you. And you're just a little thing.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Happy Birthday to Me

Dear Fanglet

I turned 32 on Saturday and I had a fantastic birthday. On Friday, I went for Gelato with your Auntie Kristy to Scoop and ate my way through their Chocolate Festival.  Then we went to Foyle's in pursuit of a toilet and books.  I bought myself 3 books: the 2nd Millenium Trilogy THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE; the new PD James THE PRIVATE PATIENT, and an early Robert Musil novel.  Mama loves her German Twilight fiction. 

I spent the pre-birthday evening with your dad, eating Chinese food and watching Telly, before adjorning to bed to read my new books with Josephine, who is being very adorable and very needy of late. She needs to be RIGHT BESIDE ME at all times, physically leaning into me.  Bless.  On Saturday, we had breakfast at the Sweet Tree Bakery, which I hope makes it. Their business model isn't really working; they don't open until 8am on weekdays, thereby missing early morning commuters!! Very silly. Very silly indeed. I then napped the better part of the afternoon in between organizing my clothes, separating out what I can wear and what I can't and unpacking the fantabulous maternity stuff that your Aunt Anna has given to help me make the pregnancy more manageable. 

Your Dad also got me a massage which I was a bit blustery about (because I get blustery about silly things these days) at first but no am thinkng 'wow, I am so going to use that bad boy this week!'

We had a gorgeous Indian meal at your Auntie Helen and Uncle James'.  They are amazing cooks and seriously, kid, you love a good curr, the spicier the better.  You also love Mexican, Italian, Ethiopian (good choice, good choice) and make no bones about love of a good steak.

In short, there is no doubt, mon cher that you are mine.

We also had our first midwife appointment at the  hospital. I am on the fence re home birth and hospital birth. I don't know that I actually like the idea of a home birth but hospitals are kind of  grotty and well, there is a lot to be said for not having to leave the comfort of my own home or cleaning up afterward.  Apparently, other people do that for you.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Bra that could fit on my head

Well, now little Fanglet, things are a changing.

Your Auntie Theresa left last Thursday after a lovely visit. She has put up some photos and I took a few shots of my own (including a great one of her at Flickr.

On Sunday, your Dad and the archivists (Laura, Eizabeth, Richard, Katie, the Consort, and Lorraine) took me for afternoon tea at Wallace House. It was a lovely surprise (though it must be said I still don't really like these kinds of surprises).  I then had to go and get fitted for new bras. I have, it would seem, gone from a 32C to a 36F. Interesting, no?

Monday, 28 September 2009

Mommy on Vacation

Here are photos of your Mommy on our vacation. Sorry I could only get good photos of her from behind for some reason.

Auntie Theresa

Friday, 25 September 2009

Back in the Saddle

Dear Fanglet

So, here we are back in London. Surprisingly, there has been sunshine every day since our return. The British Isles are not known for being sunny, so I feel particularly blessed after being spoiled by the weather in Croatia and Montenegro.

I had a lovely time. The weather was balmy, the Adriatic a twinkling jewel box of sapphire and and aquamarine. I ate and ate and ate. I walked and walked and walked. And I napped and napped and napped.  Theresa was a great traveling companion, driving most of the time and being very patient with me and my bladder as we demanded frequent stops because Pee! often becomes the most important and pressing thing in my world.

My tummy is not overly large but I am starting to not be able to button trousers that would go over my belly and though I don't look pregnant from behind, the bump is taking shape.

Your Aunt Anna has kindly started to supply me with maternity clothes and is also plotting to make sure that you are well provided for both in kit and clothing. I'm on the fence about knowing gender and I'm on the fence about having you tested for spina bifida and for Downs Syndrome because it wouldn't make a whit of difference to me. You're mine and I'm in it for the long haul.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

When the going gets tough, the pregnant go to Montenegro

Dear Fanglet

Here we are: two days before our first holiday together! Your Auntie Theresa has arrived and is looking stunning. She has always been lovely: flawless porcelain skin, thick black hair with a red sheen.

This week, I want sleep, mashed potatoes, sleep, and pineapple juice in that order. Oh, and sleep. Sleep figures in quite prominently.

Not much else to report, except that I am obsessed with taking pregnancy tests 'just to make sure' you're still in there because I'm not completely bowled over with morning sickness. Not that I don't feel like ill, I do. But I haven't thrown up nearly as much as I thought I would.  I'm hoping this passes once we have taken your first media appearance, which is scheduled for 7 October.

Monday, 14 September 2009


So, it may surprise you to learn that, little Fanglet, that I am not overly good at sharing my toys. Well, I'm not very good at sharing a particular toy: money.  I'm not.

I'm gregarious, social and outgoing on the surface but these are skills that were developed in order to S U R V I V E; they are not my true nature. My true nature, my gorgeous little parasitic muffin, is much surlier than that. I am a lone wolf. Okay, maybe a lone golden retriever.  A hostile teenager. A knocked up hostile teenager. I'm so chuffed, little minnow, I can't tell ya!!

There are many things I am not: I am not a morning person, I am not really a constant cuddler. I am also not really into sharing my space or my stuff on a daily basis. Friends borrowing clothes and books? No problem! Husband wanting to know my monthly income or borrow £20: Get stuffed, turkey butt! Now, this comes from my upbringing. My mama and daddy didn't play nicely when it came to money. Mama owned the pursestraps and Daddy spent a great deal of time and energy trying to run rings around said straps. And when that didn't work. . . well, we'll save that for when you're older. Let is suffice to say that your mama operates from the mindset that she's gonna do whatever she wants, whenever she wants. Usually, this is fine. Usually, mama is medicated and can be reasoned with. But sometimes, well sometimes irrationality sets in and that £450 Vivienne Westwood dress just cannot be resisted. It needs me. Truly.  And so I buy Vivienne, I take her home, I wear her, and then I have to hide the tags.

In addition to being tired and craving mashed potatoes (that's all. Just mashed potatoes. For dinner. On their own. They were good. I might have 'em again tonight. Yummmm. Mashed Potatoes), money weighs like a spector. Neither your dad or I are very good at saving money. We're squanderbirds. We don't mean to be and we try to save but every time that nest egg gets big enough to nest on, we need new tires for the car, or the dishwasher catches fire, or we have to throw party. Or mama needs new flooring. I know. Life, as I have already told you, is hard. So are my new floors. ; ) But we try.  I suppose I'm just trying to prepare you for a life of love and warmth and dubious financial planning.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

8 weeks and counting

Dear Fanglet

The next few weeks are going to busy.  You and I are going on our first vacation together to Montenegro with your Aunt Theresa, then I start back to school at UCL. I'm also working on a book chapter on text-based communications and a paper for a conference in Geneva. The conference is right around your due date, so we'll see how feasible that ends up being, although it must be said that I quite fancy the idea of giving birth in Switzerland near the Lake.  All that lovely hot chocolate.

Things are getting a bit squiffy in the mornings, so I am going to have to break the news to the guys at work sooner rather than later. I'm not thrilled about this. . .  I want to wait until I'm into the 3rd trimester but that doesn't seem feasible at the moment.


Monday, 7 September 2009

I love cole slaw

Dear Fanglet

Your great-grandmere Lo makes the best cole slaw. I covet her cole slaw and the last weekend have found myself recreating this cole slaw in epic proportions with a slight twist: a splash of balsamic vinegar. And instead of white cabbage, we are eating our way through North London's stash of red cabbage. Seriously. I have had cole slaw 6 times in the last 4 days. All hale garden grown cabbage and tomatoes! The largess of mother nature bountiful is mine.  I like cole slaw because it is easy: I don't have to cook anything (you will learn that this is par for the course) and I can eat it straight away.

In other news, we got dates for your first doctor's appointments: 1 October and 7 October. Most exciting.  You and I nap a lot, which makes Josephine most ecstatic. She loves to nap and snuggle and is growing quite protective of your cocoon. My witching hours come at strange times: 3:30-5pm and 7-9:30 pm seem to be the most nauseating.

I spoke with your father last night; he has arrived in Las Vegas and is driving a canary yellow Corvette. This amuses me because your father isn't really a Corvette kind of guy. He is also sun-burned on the left-hand side of his body only.

Boys are silly.

Friday, 4 September 2009

So. You're seven weeks and a hair. How does it feel?

Thus far I notice the following: there is this very weird metallic taste in my mouth in the mornings when  get up until about mid-day.  I am also exhausted, though I chalk this up to caffeine withdrawl.

Your father left today for a 10 day  trip to Vegas. He will fly to San Fransisco through wildfires but fret not because I made him write out a will. Now, he'll point out that he had already written a will but this was written the same night he had  to scuttle a plan by your unlce Clarkie and Martin to invade France via lifeboat. What I can say? Those two don't get out much. At least Martin doesn't.

The will is more for my piece of mind. I am also apprehensive about your father traveling and worry that if he were to die the ground might open me up and swallow me whole. That's how I know I'm knocked up: I'm overly emotional. Lesson learned:   Love is hard, life is hard; people live, they die and we move on until we don't. And most of the time, all of this is worth it.

In other news, you've brought with you the gift of vomit. Friday, I felt squiffy and took a taxi home. I barely made it to the front door before I was sick all over the front garden. Bless your father, as he cleaned it up.  On Monday, the same again but with more bite.  But it is manageable and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

In utero

So, here I type. Knocked up. Pregnant. Etc., etc., etc.

Very few people know and we are in early days, you and I. I should point out that more people would know if your father, bless him, weren't such a paranoid worry-wart. Dude, I would take out a full-page spread in the Times, Telegraph and Guardian and it would have read something to the effect of 'Take that, you MutherF*@%rs!' Because, let's face: Mama likes to swear.

Anyway, 6 weeks today. ETA 23 April, 2010. Your maternal grandparents' anniversary. No pressure there, or anything, Fanglet. No pressure.

So far, I feel. . . freaking amazing. My skin is glowing, my hair is long flowing locks, I've just blown your college fund on redecorating the house (that only took 3 years of nagging, emotional blackmail, and full on extortion. Never let it be said you mama doesn't know how to make the world turn). I do get these weird tugging sessions on the sides of my stomach and the usually slightly doughy area of my lower abdomen is, well, not so doughy. And yes, Fang, Mama knows she should work out more. Don't patronize me in the womb. It doesn't suit you.

At the moment, I am told you are about the size of a very small sugar-snap pea. Or a baby tadpole. Already I talk to you and consult your preferences: spicy? Spicier? SPICIER? REALLY?!

Your Auntie C suggested I keep this as a little something something for you to read when you're older and also so that I can actually remember this experience as I have a tendency to block out entire periods of my past. Like most of Sophmore and Junior year of High School. And College.