Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Oh baby baby

So I'm on the last stretch of my pregnancy, the operative word here being stretch. In fact, I don't think there's enough skin left on my belly to do any further stretching, my backside on the other hand is doing just fine in this department.

It's a miracle how we manage to carry these little people inside of us, and just when you think there is no more space, you get even bigger. Then there's the waddling, sore back, aching joints at 3am when you really really need your sleep what with a toddler to see to at 7am. And 24/7 exhaustion accompanied by dark circles under the eyes, that not even industrial-strength concealer can conceal.

We had a lovely long weekend in Disneyland Paris with our daughter recently. A sort of last fling for the three of us before her position as Number Uno gets usurped for ever, and we are grounded for a few months. She had absolutely no concept of who Mickey Mouse was and what any of that Disney malarkey was about. However irrespective of what the character was, chipmunk, mouse, etc, it was as though a bunch of giant soft toys had come to life. For some, especially those on acid, a nightmarish scenario, but for our almost 2.5 year-old animal mad toddler, heavenly.

Then there were the rides, the copious amounts of diabetes-inducing candy on sale, and of course the merchandising. Alas, our daughter became au fait with the expression, 'I want to go to the shop,' and we came home with a toy Pluto, an acid green 'Frog Princess' dress and feathered tiara to match, and a toy white cat which she (strangely) named Tito. Indeed, Tito the good time communist cat - appropriate naming coming from a pint-sized dictator.

No more travel for me now, not until our anticipated little one is a few months old. I have trouble getting off of the sofa, let alone an aeroplane or walking around sight seeing. It's a strange feeling when you are waddling down the street and suddenly experience this seismic shift in your belly - not unlike the scene in Alien, although without the teeth, and bursting out of your stomach and killing people thing, thank god. Plus lots of stabbing cervical pains/sensations which halt you mid step, requiring a few deep breaths to get your bearings back. People on the street have looked at me as if wondering if all their E.R rerun watching may come in handy.

I've noticed a pattern in the stages of both my pregnancies when it comes to personal appearance. It starts off with me being super excited and wearing pregnancy clothes even when I don't need them. Then starting to need them and buying far too many, a lot of which look great on the (tall thin ) model in the catalogue or celebrity (damn you Heidi Klum, damn you!) , but stupid on me. Here's a tip - if you are short and squat, don't go for loud Pucciesque prints. Ditto on leggings.

Then I splurge on expensive cosmetics and makeup as compensation for feeling depressed about my massive weight gain, and to detract from the stupid Pucci prints. And then there's the end bit where I am just so happy to have three remaining items that still fit me that I live in those same clothes. Combined with the discomfort I spoke about in the first paragraph and there's not too much hair blow drying and makeup application going on either. My husband comes home to someone resembling Fester Adams in sweats, albeit with (bad) hair, and shorter.

Julia remains exceedingly excited about the arrival of her little brother. There is a lot of talk about milk drinking, visiting said brother and me at the hospital, and imitating a baby crying. I've been honest with her and told her she isn't going to get an instant 'playmate,' but someone who will need to be fed often, will (hopefully) sleep a lot, cry a lot, and soil nappies. I have however assured her, her baby brother will most likely enjoy being read to, cuddled (gently!), and given bottles of milk. She seems happy with that.

On the subject of bottles of milk a recent piece in the Daily Mail about a local celeb that had required a C-section and had difficulties nursing, had what I thought was an unfairly negative reaction in the form of numerous comments. The usual rubbish by people who have no medical training and a lot of whom, I hate to say, were men.

Having spoken to my consultant, who is a woman and in her late 60's (i.e she's been around the block and has the same equipment), there are a few reasons why a woman may require a planned C-section. It is not, as those opinionated eejits would have you think, only for extreme life-threatening medical emergencies on the spot.

In my case for example, I have something dodgy going on with my pelvis which along with a baby that never descended at all, not even an inch, led to a planned C-section two days ahead of my due date. Two other family members had the same issue and as it went undiagnosed in their cases, landed up having to have emergency C-sections after difficult and traumatic prolonged labour and attempts at natural birth.

Then there's the nursing thing and the usual barrage of comments that women these days just don't try hard enough etc. While I'm sure there are women who choose to bottle feed from the onset, which btw I think they are entitled do, there are also those of us who give it the good ol college try and once again thanks to our physiology, aren't able to continue. I'm sure there are numerous articles on the makeup of the breast and how complications in this area can arise, but hey, why bother with that when you can judge someone from a totally ill informed perspective?

Oh and then there's the whole thing about how women should forgo pain relief during labour, because it's more natural. Yes, passing a kidney stone is natural too, I'm sure, but when my father was taken to hospital on all fours screaming in pain, strangely it wasn't suggested to him that he forgo any pain relief.

It's all down to individual choices, which I just wish people would respect. Go natural, push that baby out without any pain relief, fantastic. Decide you want to pay extra and have your baby via C-section because the idea of natural birth terrifies the hell out of you, great. Who cares, as long as both mummy and baby come out of it safely? Recently I read how a teenage child bride in the Middle East had died after three days of difficult labour. So even the 'natural' method is not without risks, again down to physiology and unexpected complications.

I think at this point, with four weeks to go, I should probably avoid reading the Daily Mail altogether. This is a publication after all that insists on using the word 'Chaos' in at least one of its daily headlines. But whether it's down to pregnancy hormones and growing chronic discomfort, or the fact that I'm just a sad old cow who likes the occasional fight, I think I quite enjoy venting spleen in those comments facilities. There I've said it.