Wednesday, December 31, 2008

They call her flipper

I'm renaming the baby. I am convinced I am not giving birth to a little girl but to a dolphin - who likes to flip, turn and wriggle at the bizarrest of angles at any hour of the day and night.
I'm not sure I had these whole belly ripples with Joseph - but I have them countless times a day with the Flipster. She's doing it right now, just so you now, wriggling about like a wee fish - which is ironic really given my pathological fear of all things fish-like. (Apart from Flounder from 'The Little Mermaid' who is very cute).

It's New Year's Eve...

... And I can't remember the last time I went out and celebrated the big night. In fact my last (semi conscious) memory of New Year's Eve is probably the Millennium Eve where I remember singing 'The Fields of Athenry' at the top of my lungs before my other half (not husband just then) told me to be quiet. And there was me thinking I was the Derry answer to Mary Black...
Generally - and I mean post motherhood - NYE has involved me getting the wee man to sleep as soon as possible and then, after sitting and complaining about the lack of decent telly, going to bed at around 10.30 and do my damndest to be asleep for midnight.
It's not that I don't like the hope of a new year, it's more that I don't do so well with the reflection of the year past. Being a born pessismist I tend to focus on the negative more than the positive and that is so not conducive to a good night's sleep.
I also become an emotional wreck at midnight - positive and negative- and tend to stand over the sleeping boy and cry at how much I love him. Which wakes him up and traumatises him - I mean for the love of God who wants to wake to find their mother sobbing over their bed in the wee small hours?
I'm working tomorrow too - at 9am - and given the current hugemongously pregnant state that I'm in, I don't cope well with less than 10 hours of sleep (including frequent breaks for trips to the toilet, the taking of the middle of the night anti-emetic and the rolling over and listening to my pelvis actually pop back into place).
So for all those celebrating tonight - have fun, drink loads and enjoy yourself. I hope your reflections are positive and your hopes are many.
Tomorrow I think I'll ressurect a best of 2008 post to focus on the positive, but for tonight just wish me sweet dreams.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Not for the faint hearted....

Here is a pic of "the bump" at 30 weeks gestation. (Sounds kind of freaky alien like, non? Well she feels like it some times - very fond of the full body swivels this one... most disconcerting when you are sitting at your desk and your tummy moves all over the place...)

Three quarters of the way there...

Just (And I say that with a heavy hint of irony) 10 weeks to go until I'm due to have my baby.
While the thought of pushing said baby out of my fandango in an experience which will probably smart a little does not fill me with joy, I am looking forward to being done with this pregnancy melarky - for the last time ever!
They say they know when you are done with your family and trust me I am SO done. I am over done. I was done 13 weeks ago when I puked on the plane.
That's not to say I can't wait to meet my little girl - and to love her and care for her and enjoy her as much as possible - but lordy I am ready to not be pregnant any more.
I heard from a friend today that her niece has just given birth and while I'm admittedly having duck disease at the prospect of labour, I did feel jealous. It's over her - she has her baby and the love in can begin in earnest.
Still, that said, I'm not prepared at all really. We have a few things in (the baby has two prams... bargains which could not be turned down) but I've not a vest, nor an ounce of cotton wool, nor a coat for the poor pet yet. Still - 10 weeks to get organised.
That's really not very long is it?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

So how was it for you?

It's 9.55pm on Christmas Eve. I'm surrounded by discarded Celebrations wrappers and toy boxes. Beside me sits a Ben 10 Annual and a Wall E remote control thingummy. My other half is watching Top Gear and deciding what to eat (the two servings of Christmas dinner not being enough...) and I'm trying not to sick up the one portion of Christmas dinner I managed.
The boy is asleep in our bed - utterly, utterly exhausted from a day of full on excitement, and I'm here - a little mixture of tired, happy and emotional.
So how was it for you?
Christmas started here early - very early. I got up at 5am to take my middle of the night anti-emetic (Such a fun part of my night-time routine) and was only just nodding back off when Joseph started his morning conversation.
It was 5.25am. There was NO WAY we were getting up at that time - Santa or no. I tried, in vain, to persuade him to go back to sleep and he did really, really try but by 6.30 he was almost crying with frustration.
"Mummy, there is just something in my head which won't let me go back to sleep," he said. "I'm just too excited."
So remembering that feeling well from my own childhood - a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away - I caved. The husband was dispatched downstairs to check if Santa had been and once it was ascertained that indeed he had, Joseph and I followed.
There is nothing as magical as seeing a child's face on Christmas morning - except knowing that they are grateful for all they have got.
"Mammy," he said, "I must have been a really, really good boy this year. Santa has brought me so much."

And you know, Santa hadn't really brought all that much but enough to make my son grin from ear to ear.
After the statutory 7am on Christmas morning eating of inappropriate confectionary (he had Haribo - or "hars bars" as he calls it) and the trashing of our living room, the husband took pity on my pale and sick looking self and allowed me back to bed while he and Joseph bonded over the boys' toys. (I'm crap with Lego. I shouldn't be allowed near it. I only make walls... nothing as fancy as trucks and fire stations).
So two hours later I got up again and we feasted on bacon sandwiches while I played a mean game of Thomas the Tank Engine on the V-Smile.
It was a shower and an application of make up (something I've not done in a long, long time (make up that is, not shower. I do shower regularly)) later we went to my mum's where she was cooking dinner and we would have the family exchange of presents.
And the boy would go into orbit with excitement at the array of gifts he received. The new baby also received some gorgeous bits and pieces.
Dinner (vay lovely) later and a small glass of wine (my first in six months) I felt nicely chilled out and exceptionally fat.
The boy however, having been awake for 13 straight hours, was starting that glazed, manic, huffy thing that only over tired four year olds can pull off. I had planned on staying in my parents a little longer but I know the signs of imminent meltdown well enough to get out of there and quick. I knew when we got the child home, and he was allowed his nightly "nudey rudey" time (he is a exhibitionist at heart) he would be fine.
And he was. He cuddled on my knee, drinking a cup of milk and then we snuggled together til we went to sleep.
"I love you so much mammy," he told me. "I love you every day and not just Christmas. I'm so glad you are my mammy."

I'm exceptionally glad too.
Who could ask for a more meaningful Christmas message?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Random conversations with the boy part something (sorry have lost count)

J: "Mammy, I think you are going to have two babies."
Me: "No Joseph, definitely only one. We are going to have *insert name which for now is a secret* and that is all."
J: "No mammy. Definitely two babies."
Me: "Well, I suppose I have you and you are my baby too I'll have my baby boy and baby girl and sure won't that just be lovely?
J: "Yes mammy. But if baby *insert name which for now is a secret* dies you'll have to get another one."

I'm more than a little disturbed.
Then again this is the child who spent the day asking questions about Baby P after finding an old magazine with a picture of the poor pet's injuries in it. I was going to put the magazine in the bin when the boy started crying.
"Please don't mammy. I love Baby P."

Again not sure whether to be touched or seriously disturbed. Wouldn't you just love to know the thought processes of a four year old?

In less disturbing news he woke in the middle of the night recently to tell me his hand "was fizzy".
I'm thinking that will be my new way of describing pins and needles from now on.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas...

Last week I wrote my column in the Journal about this song - a real blast of childhood nostalgia which can reduce me to tears now, even though it's a stuffed dog and a long gone country singer singing.
John Denver is synonymous with my childhood, as are the Muppets, and their Christmas album WAS Christmas chez Davidson.
This song - with promises that next year all our troubles will be far away - is beautiful and poignant and I wish you all a sincere and heartfelt happy Christmas.

A four year old's perspective on pregnancy...

"Mummy, I'm glad I'm a boy and can't have babies. I wouldn't like throwing up all the time".

In fact every time he hears anyone has a baby in their tummy, he shakes his head in a serious manner and says "Oh dear, they must be throwing up a lot".

I think I have traumatised my child for life.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Putting it all in perspective - an explanation for my general crapness since June

This is going to be VERY self indugent, you have been warned. But for the last few days I've felt I needed to get this all down to put into perspective what has going on with me and the "joys" of pregnancy.
This might, in fairness, be a little TMI at times so you have been warned. Anyone of a sensitive disposition should run away, screaming, at this point.

Anyway, on June 25 (the husband's birthday) I got a very faint positive line on a pregnancy test. However I had managed to get distracted between the peeing and the reading of the result so couldn't be sure it was an accurate result and convinced myself it was purely an evaporation line. This was despite feeling rough as the proverbial badger's arse for the previous 10 days.
The following day, I started bleeding so was convinced it had indeed been only an evaporation line and came home from work - poured a mahoosive glass of wine and drowned my sorrows.
Only I was still feeling sick and, well, pregnant.
I was convinced to test again and a positive line came up straight away (no distractions) so immediately all I could think was that yes, I was beduffed, but feck it, I was already miscarrying.
My head, as they say round these parts, was a marly.

The next day, bleeding having stopped, I bought a Clear Blue Digital test which proclaimed "pregnant" at me in large letters and this was one about 2689 pregnancy tests I did over the coming weeks.
Feeling sick as a dog I soon started to feel sorry for myself but reminded myself that with the boy I had felt sick til 13 weeks and then been just fine for the remainder of my pregnancy. The countdown to 13 weeks started in earnest. I would feel well again then - and be able to eat and do what I wished.

At 6 weeks and 2 days beduffed, I started bleeding again. Bright red blood. Now I'd bled with the boy - but it had been browny and "old blood" and he had been fine and while it had been scary, it was nowhere near as scary as bright red blood. I took a panic, told a colleague tearfully in work and she whisked me to A&E - where I did yet another pregnancy test and was sent for a scan.
Now by 6 weeks you should see something in a scan - but they couldn't. They thought they saw a yoke sack, and possibly a foetal pole (which is basically a dot) but there was no heartbeat or anything discernably baby looking.

I was told to go home, rest, and wait it out for two weeks before a rescan. All the while still bleeding. (With that fecking Leona Lewis song playing through my head the whole time... "keep bleeding, keep, keep bleeding").

It was the longest two weeks of my life. And yet I was feeling sicker and sicker. (I started to wonder was it possible to actually feel any sicker?) But when we reached 8 weeks (5 weeks before the hurrah! 13 week mark) I was taken for me scan.
And lo, there was a heartbeat and a shrimpy shaped thing on screen wiggling at us. Our baby was alive. The bleeding had stopped. We would most likely be parents again.

13 weeks came and went - the sickness just came and came. I went to Dublin at 14 weeks for book promo and ended up violently ill in Bewley's Hotel (entirely pregnancy related). I learned the valuable lesson that day that mushrooms take a long time to digest.

Two weeks later I went to Dublin again thinking I would be safe if I flew down- and spent the day trying not to be sick - only to find on the flight home that there was nothing in this world which was going to stop me puking. All over myself. Twas not my finest hour.

At that stage (16 weeks and three weeks past the magical 13 week mark) I begged the doctor for help and was prescribed metoclopromide for hyperemesis - even though at that stage I was only being physically sick 2/3 times a week - the nausea was becoming a little much to take.

So I took metoclopromide for 8 weeks until I was advised to try not taking it - just to see how I went. By this stage, I should say, even on medication I was now being sick daily.

The day after I took my last metoclopromide I woke in what can only be described as a state of panic. (I should state that two weeks prior to this, partly I think to the constant sickness, I had been diagnosed once again with my arch nemesis depression and put on Prozac- I have thought long and hard about revealing that on this blog but as I have been so open about my depression in the past it would be remiss of me to pretend to be just fine and dandy now).

Anyway, that panic attack didn't lift and was accompanied by constant retching, throwing up and a total loss of appetite. I spent that weekend crying, throwing up and feeling utterly, utterly rotten. I can put my hand on my heart and say that I have never felt so low - so utterly in hell - as I did that weekend.
And yet my brain was addled. By Monday morning - despite not having eaten in three days, not being able to keep water down and bursting into tears at every opportunity I insisted on getting ready for work. I dressed, throwing up into a basin beside me, and it was only when I narrowly avoided fainting that I realised something was seriously wrong. By that stage I couldn't even keep a sip of water down.

Cue me being taken to the doctors and admitted to hospital (see post further down about that).
I was rehydrated, given different medication and urged to keep taking the Prozac. The panic didn't ease. I spent hours staring into space feeling as if I wanted to give up. I saw no joy in anything - I just felt beyond wretched. In many ways I think I had a breakdown of sorts - which I know was contributed to by the dehydration.

Earlier this week, or perhaps last, something changed. Whether it was body recovering from the dehydration - whether it is the new anti-sickness medication (valoid) working, or the Prozac kicking in I have felt able to cope. Yes, I'm still being sick on a daily basis and it does get me down - despite having mastered the art of projectile vomiting - but I see hope and joy again.

I can put my hand on my heart and say in the last week I have finally been able to feel excited about the prospect of being a mum again - and it's not forced or because I should feel that way. It is genuinely and honestly how I feel - and it had destroyed me for a long time not feeling any glimmer of hope or excitement.

So if you want to know why I've not been posting as much, now you do. I felt the need to share so that anyone else going through this doesn't feel quite so alone.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

So I should be out at my work's Christmas do...

But instead I'm in my jammies, sat at the computer with a glass of water and a variety of anti-sickness pills at my side. I've just taken my third 8 hourly dose of Cyclizine for the day and a dose of ranitidine to stop the inevitable puking that the morning will bring being acidic. (I can handle the puking now - I'm so used to it - but when it's acidy, I don't like that so much.).
I've actually managed not to puke today (there was a minor reflux incident when I drank some water this morning but no stomach turning retching).
Nonetheless I knew it would be unwise of me to join my colleagues for a four course dinner. Damn it, if I'm going to throw up in front of people I'd prefer for it to me drink related rather than 6.5 month pregnancy related.
So while I sincerely hope they are having a good time - and I'm gutted to be missing out on discovering who won the elusive 'Rear of the Year' award - I know I'm better off where I am.
And all being well I'll be asleep by 10pm.
The only question is whether or not I order a pink car seat from the Mothercare sale before I toddle off up the stairs. Even though three seperate sonographers have now told me this baby is a girl, I'm still expecting her to come out avec winky. Could I really subject a son of mine to a pink car seat for the first four years of his life? Perhaps not.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

What it is all about...

Forgive the silence of the last few days. I'm still a very grateful person, honest, but have been dealing with some "issues" and not fit for blogging.

However today I went to see the wee man in his nativity play (or nativily play as he insisted on calling it) and I'm so full of Christmas spirit I have to share. The boy - obviously not taking after either me or his daddy - had to sing a solo in his very important role of the Angel Gabriel.

Having delivered his line with great sincerity and a strong voice (despite being sick and awake half the night coughing like a madd'un) he sang his solo beautifully - bringing a tear to my eye and making my heart just about burst out of my chest with pride.

You always love your children - I think - but there are times when you truly adore them and it takes your breath away.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

In a twist of fate..

I couldn't sleep last night. That'll teach me for writing about my bed and how much I love it!
I took til gone 12 to drop off and was awake again at 4. You can imagine how delightful I look today at my desk!
But still this is supposed to be the spirit of gratefulness. Well today I'm grateful for the fact that is now just 3 months til this baby this due. Despite being just over 27 weeks gone, I just hit the 6 month mark today (Baby is due March 9).
I'm officially in my third trimester and on the home straight. I'm sure it won't be plain sailing from here on in - it hasn't been so far - but I am closer to meeting our new edition and bringing her into our family.
It is sometimes hard, when things have been so physically and emotionally demanding, to remember that there is a pot of gold at the end of this all. There are times when I can't see past the next few days or hours - but at the end of it all I will have a beautiful baby girl. She will complete our family, be a daughter to my husband, a sister to my son and hopefully a lifelong friend to me.
I marvelled last night as I made up Joseph's packed lunch at how quick children grow up. He was standing beside me, chatting all the time and exerting his gorgeously bubbly personality and I thought "Oh my God, I'm going to experience this all over again with a new human being soon".
So I'm grateful today for my baby - I probably don't say that half enough.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Gratefulness - the little things

Sometimes you don't have to look for the big things to make you happy. Today I'm grateful for my bed - and for a return enough to health that I don't have to spend the day there.
I'm back at work today - so far, so good. No puking in the loos, mad panic attacks or bursts of uncontrollable hormonally driven crying. But I am tired - vay tired - and can't deny I'm looking forward to home time.
By which stage I will gratefully crawl into my bed as soon as the boy has gone to his and curl up for a big sleep.
There is nothing as blissful as a comfy bed when you are bone tired and feeling a little fragile.

Friday, December 05, 2008

In the arms of the angels

Yesterday I booked myself a Reiki session as a treat. It's been a long time since I had Reiki and I always have found it to be a very peaceful and emotional experience.
Feeling a little bruised and battered lately it was the perfect antidote to my current circumstances.
I was offered the choice between traditional Reiki and Angel Reiki - now whether or not you believe in the power or existance of angels is one thing but having previously had a few sessions of angel healing for a feature article I was writing I was willing to give it a go.
The lovely lady guided me through the session -picking up on my key stress points and worries and channelling messages to me about how I need to relax more and go with the flow.
My life is going through changes at the moment and I'm not one to cope well with change. Even if, like this baby, that change is something I very much desire. I've been waking in the middle of the night thinking we are off our head to change from the status quo and wondering how we will divide our time/money/ affection to another human being (and one who will be very demanding at first).
The key message I got from my session was that just because I don't know where my journey is going right now (and I don't - I face uncertainty in a lot of aspects of my life) that does not mean I won't be safe when I reach my destination. So I'm to trust in myself that I will get there and I will be happy. The control freak in me doesn't like leaving things to chance, but this is what I need to do. Keep doing what I can - and not trying to do too much - and trust that things will be okay.
So today's gratefulness post is about just that - trusting that it will be okay and being grateful for what I have now not what I could or couldn't have in the future.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The gratefulness month

In the spirit of last night's post, and in the spirit of trying to bring some joy into these hard times I've decided that December will be the gratefulness month. Regardless of whether it kills me or not I will endeavour to post every day about something which makes me happy.

Today, it is the lovely new cover I received for the mass market paper back of Feels Like Maybe (which I think is due out in June-ish time). It's a very pretty purple colour and has a lovely quote on the front from one of the good reviews.

Again I'm very lucky to be in a position where people read what I write - fair enough they don't always like it - but all the same I know how tough the industry is and it is nice to be able to make a contribution.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

A lovely award

I got this today from the lovely BFS blog and the best bit about it is that I have to list six things I value the most and then spread some love around.

Given that I'm trying to be very positive minded at the moment and not always getting there this is a great challenge and honour for me.

So here goes,,,

  1. I value my friends. I have the best friends a girl could ask for - friends who would walk over hot coals for me. Friends who inspire me. Friends who are there on the other end of the phone or email if I need a laugh, or a cry, or a chat or just to say some bad words. Some of these friends I've been blessed to make in adulthood which I do think is amazing as adulthood doesn't often bring true friendship.
  2. My family - that includes my husband, son and unborn baby daughter of course. They keep me grounded and make me feel cherished. (Well madam doesn't so much make me feel cherished as make me feel sick - but she is bringing me a lifetime's ambition and making me the mother of a little girl.) As for the boy - he is my light and my soul. Also in the family connection are my parents and my siblings. I honestly struck gold.
  3. My job - which allows me a degree of creativity but also office banter that hilarious, witty and mostly non-repeatable. Without the opportunities afforded to me in my work place I don't think I would have found the courage to write books.
  4. Which brings me on to my talent. Now when I was wee we were told pride was a sin and that we weren't to boast of our talents. Now I don't think I'm any literary giant, but I write books people respond nicely too and that is a great, great honour.
  5. Which links me on to the lovely people at Poolbeg - the most supportive publishing house in the industry. I could never have dreamed of a top ten bestseller without their hard work.
  6. And finally - my house - messy and all as it is, for it provides me shelter and comfort when the outside world seems too much.

Now - I have to share the love - so the awards go to...

Fionnuala at Talksville - Population One

The fabulous Keris Stainton

Emily at Doing the Compossible

Sharon Owens (Okay so not technically a Blog... but she updates regularly).

I'm finally hydrated again

My ketones appear to be under control and I've just been able to eat my first full meal in almost two weeks. I'm hoping it stays down.
Honest to goodness this baby better be worth it!
So I'm trying to get back into some kind of routine. I'm actually (madly) looking forward to getting back to work and having the office banter to keep me going during the day and keep my sanity in check.
I'm also trying to get back on the writing horse - having taken a dehydrated leave of absence (honest, I tried, but it was a bit gobble-de-gooky and rambly) and get my house in order for Christmas. Apart from Santa shopping nothing is done - and I mean nothing, so sorry to everyone who hasn't or won't receive anything from me this year. I think I have a good excuse.
So I'll be trying to blog more and make more of a contribution.
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