Tomorrow is the day that the Bean will be born; tomorrow the ever changing point in the future, almost here but not quite. So we wait with excitement, with trepidation, with anticipation, with worry. Not quite sure when tomorrow will come, not knowing what tomorrow will feel like or how it will change us.
But the bags are packed and we are ready for when tomorrow comes.
You can look at the other entries for this weeeks Gallery over on Sticky Fingers.
As a man I find it useful to equate situations to sport as a means of dealing with the stresses or challenges that life presents. Pregnancy and labour is no exception, from a man’s perspective it’s much like being an athletics coach. First you identify the talent and potential, then you put her through her paces and conduct some ‘training sessions’ (This is a family blog so I’ll leave it there). Then eventually you strike the big time and entry into the premier race, I’m thinking 100m final in the Olympics, all that time preparing for (hopefully) a short flurry of activity at the end.
So you’ve got the entry into the race for your athlete and now as coach you job is to provide support and encouragement. Diet and nutrition are important so you have to make sure that there isn’t an increase in junk food or biscuits. Clearly they shouldn’t be consuming alcohol and the only performance enhancing drug allowed is folic acid (you may want to have random drugs tests to check). Training should continue so that your athlete can keep fit and healthy, but it should probably look to taper off towards the end. Some light walking or perhaps a swim are particularly good options. The job of a coach isn’t easy, particularly in those tough first 12 weeks where no doubt there’ll be some tears and a few temper tantrums. Plus of course this training will reduce energy levels so you have to provide regular meals and massage’s to relieve stress. Prepare to become their cook, cleaner and general dogs body.
As you approach the big day you may attend joint training sessions with other competitors for some final expert advice. This is a good chance to size up the competition and judge who you think will finish first. You may decide to invest in new equipment at this time, always brings a sense of re-assurance to have the latest greatest technology even if people have been running for hundreds of years and never needed it.
Then before you know it the day is here, the final push for the finish line. A good coach will anticipate his athletes needs and be ready to reassure her. He’ll know what words of motivation she needs and what will make her relaxed enough to perform to her potential. This is where it gets tough, where grit and determination will be needed. Where you know it’ll be painful, but when it’s all over the pain will be forgotten and the sense of achievement will be everything. You do it, both of you, she may go through it physically, but you’re in this together and as a team you’re going to have to stick together for what’s coming next.
Image via Wikipedia
So now you know how my brain works, I’m off to stock up on Lucozade (other energy drinks are available), dig out my lycra and buy a new stop watch. The big race is soon, we just don’t know exactly when….
Another task on the pregnancy to do list completed; we’ve officially finished the NCT ante natal classes. 18 hours and £120 later I started to ask myself was it really worth it? I missed 3 rugby matches on TV including England beating France in the six nations and consumed my own body weight in biscuits which really can’t be good for the six pack. Some pretty big sacrifices, but did we actually learn things we couldn’t read in a book and were there other benefits? Well to help here is my top 5 things I learned over the 18 hours, in no particular order…..
- Put 8 pregnant women around a table full of biscuits and cake and they will eat the equivalent of another baby.
- Getting in the way of a pregnant woman heading for the toilet after being shut in a room for 2 hours is like facing a charging elephant.
- Learning people’s names is easy, learning which woman is with which man is much much harder and can lead to some very embarrassing conversations
- When asked what you think of when you hear the word Labour you shouldn’t say Tony Blair in response
- Every conversation with other expectant parents turns into a game of Top Trumps – we spent £500 on our push chair, we haven’t even packed our hospital bag yet, we’re going to breast feed and use re-useable nappies etc etc
I consider myself relatively well educated in all things baby having had friends and family with babies who I’ve helped with. The lady of the manor is a children’s nurse and looks after mainly sick babies so can change a nappy in her sleep. So a whole lot of what we covered wasn’t really that useful if I’m being honest. However the labour process clearly isn’t something we have any experience of and I think for me to better understand this and how I can help is really valuable. It turns out my job is to tell the mid wife to bugger off whenever she comes around with her epidural’s or tells us she has a bad back so can’t deliver a baby with the lady of the manor standing.
So some good stuff, was it worth 18 hours in a village hall while the sun was shining? I’m not so sure. But we now have 7 other couples who all live locally and are in exactly the same position as us as first time parents. The ladies are now all meeting weekly for coffee, cake (notice a pattern?) and gossiping. We now are also Monday night pub quiz regulars with a couple who live just down the road from us. Clearly we aren’t going to be life long friends with all 7 couples, but £120 to gain 3 or 4 couples who we will stay in touch with? That’s pretty good value in my view.
So now we play the waiting game, less than 2 weeks to the due date and we are now officially in what I like to call ‘the red zone’. It really could come any day now, I like to tell the lady of the manor that regularly, she likes it, it’s exciting. The car seat is permanently in the car along with the hospital bag. The nursery is even going to have a carpet soon. One day soon we’ll have an answer to all our questions; boy or girl? Like mum or dad? What weight? Good or bad sleeper? Will the dog like him/her?
I. Can’t. Wait.
It may be spring outside, but it sure is winter still in our house. I know you are all avid and dedicated readers of this blog so you will of course know that the lady of the manor is currently pregnant, 36 weeks to be exact. The bump is growing nicely and by all accounts we are on track for a 7lb baby. This means that she’s operating in her own little microclimate where the temperature is at least 10 degrees hotter than anywhere else.
The evening routine
When I get back from work, tired and a bit cold from the run I walk into a house where all the windows are open and the good lady is walking around in short leggings, bare feet and a vest top. Even the merest suggestion of putting the heating on is met with much huffing and puffing about being sooooooo hot. Hence why you can generally find me walking around in thick jumpers and socks in the evening. The dog and I huddle in a corner for warmth while she sits fanning herself. The bedroom is even worse, window is wide open during the night which given how cold it has been recently means waking up in the middle of the night not being able to feel your toes.
But what’s the solution, I’m trying to train the dog to lie on my feet as a foot warmer but he prefers the sofa. What’s the opposite of a hot water bottle? A bag of peas on the bump? Think the bean may choose to stay put rather than come out into such a cold environment. I can only imagine how much worse it would have been if the pregnancy had been over the summer, a key learning for the next one I think, got to time the naughties right…
I’m not an emotional person, I am the Ying to my wife’s ‘I even cry at Neighbours’ Yang, I don’t get overly excited or hyper and definitely don’t get depressed. The lady of the manor and I are a good balance in this regard, until now.
I find myself welling up at the silliest things, be it happy or sad, real or fiction. Show me a dog looking sad a tear forms, same with reading stories about disadvantaged children or hearing my wife tell me about children she has looked after (she’s a nurse). Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a blubbering mess or planning on curling up on the sofa to watch sleepless in Seattle. But still it’s worrying.
You hear of men getting fat bellies when their wives are pregnant in some sort of sympathy (bet a man thought up that excuse!). Given that I run every day I have no chance of doing that so do I have sympathy hormones instead?! Or is this just my brain preparing me for the worry to come once I’m a dad? Any other guys out there experience this?
There is potentially a serious side effect of this though, today I found myself looking at the Bath Cats and Dogs home website. God help us if I ever actually visit that place, those dogs are so beautiful and just need a good home to go to. There is a serious danger that wifey will come home one day to find the house full of dogs! I know where we’re definitely getting our next dog from though, next year hopefully we can get a buddy for the brackster, sure he’d love that.
In the mean time I plan to occupy myself with some many activities such as hammering, sawing and measuring stuff with a tape measure. I leave you with a new photo of Bracken who comes back from every walk looking like this…..
Last night was a big, no massive event; the bean went from being something in a scan photo to a real live moving person. You see for the first time I managed to feel the bean kicking. The lady of the manor had of course being feeling movements for a while (or maybe it was just gas?), but nothing that could be felt on the outside. Feeling a kick is a pretty big deal for a guy, it’s when it all starts sinking in that in less than 3 months we will be bringing a new little person into the world. It really is quite an amazing thing that there is a little baby in there happily growing and moving around and can leave you quite speechless sometimes.
Strangely enough this event has also coincided with us starting to spend the big bucks, being our first child we have to buy EVERYTHING! It would appear that paying my salary direct to Mothercare may be a good idea going forward. Fortunately I planned ahead and have been investing in the share save scheme at work which pays out next month and should hopefully pay for a good chunk of the things we need. Combined with a few donations from family we should soon be ready for the big day.
We are also in the final stages of planning the decorating for the Nursery; this is one of the last rooms in the house that has gone untouched since we moved into the house a year ago. A kind of unspoken rule between the 2 of us that it would be the baby’s room so should be left for now.
Of all the decorating and interior design that we’ve done so far this is the most excited I’ve been, mainly because of the amazing wallpaper we’ve found. The issue with decorating this room is that we didn’t find out the sex of the baby so need to keep the room quite neutral, but really didn’t want to just paint it yellow. Fortunately we spotted some wallpaper from Osborne and Little which is a Quentin Blake collection (him of Roald Dahl fame). I tweeted a picture of this last week and got a quite amazing reaction, in case you missed it here it is again. I think this is such a cool design that will suit a boy or girl and also not just for a baby room, so fingers crossed no re-decorating for a while! We’re going to put it on 2 walls and paint the rest, plus most likely have a blind in same design.
Its funny how sometimes a song pops into your head like a soundtrack to a film, in this case I spent a few hours singing to myself “it started with a kick” to the tune of Hot Chocolates It started with a kiss. I’d suggest you re-read this post humming that tune to yourself for an interesting insight to the workings of my brain 🙂
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Ok, my world only, but it was a big week in the life of this fool. It went something like this;
17 week ante natal appointment, quick health check for the current Mrs T and then we heard the little beans heart beat for the first time. Very cool! Starts to make it all a little bit real when you hear the sound of an actual human being! We had a rough ride getting here (which I may write about some time, but not for now), which I think makes us both value even more each appointment and scan that we can tick off. Unfortunately this does also mean that the sound of cash registers can be heard as we start accumulating everything a new born baby could want. My only hope of ever being able to afford anything again is to look for second hand bargains, obviously within reason, but so far we have a glider chair that is immaculate and cheap.
Had an interview with a hiring manager for a new job and at the end of the interview was offered it! Totally unexpected to get the decision there and then. Obviously I was just so darn impressive in my answers. The new job is with the same company, so not a drastic change, but time for a new challenge. I’ve been in the same department and essentially the same job for 5 years, no matter how much you enjoy your job eventually it loses its excitement. I’d got into that mode where I could do my job pretty well, but stopped looking for improvements or volunteering for projects. This has to flash up big flashing warning signs in your head, if it doesn’t then a tough conversation with the boss isn’t far away…. It’s a great opportunity to learn some new skills and as Mrs T said its one step closer to her being a lady that lunches.
We’d been waiting 2 weeks but finally my sister in law gave birth to a beautiful baby boy late on Saturday night; he weighed a whopping 9.2lbs and was delivered by c-section (no doubt to huge relief for mum!). Both mum and baby are doing very well and of course been inundated with visitors. Our turn is hopefully next weekend. My brother is only 2 years older than me so for both of us to be having babies within 5 months of each other is great. It’s going to be a lot of fun going for days out together and celebrating each birthday.
So there you have it, a slightly crazy week, but also one full of excitement both for what’s happening now and also the building excitement for whats in the future. Now lets see if the coming week can live up to these high standards.