Tuesday, March 31, 2009

It worries me

that I'm stupidly excited about the fact I got a new washing machine.
Mine died on Saturday which sent me into a spin because, ya know, obviously babies create a lot of washing. (I think my washing machine killed itself due to the workload. I heard a faint cry of 'What did your last slave die of?' as it fizzled and died... honest)
We ordered a new one yesterday and it arrived today and now it is running a prewash in the kitchen. It has lots of new buttons and a timer facility so I can set it to work when we are out of the house without fear of it burning us down.

I think this means I'm officially a grown up.

Monday, March 30, 2009

1000 words

Written tonight - of book 4.
I feel all buzzy and excited. Only wish the baby had slept on so I could write more.

Is the mad mammy back?

I think she is trying to come back - or I could just be very tired.
It was a given that once this baby was here I would go on PND watch big time. It didn't help that I had a rubbishly stressful pregnancy due to external circumstances and boking my anatomy on a regular basis. Part of me feels a little traumatised by it all - not to mention the trauma of having your nethers shredded by a super fast baby.
So far I've been doing okay. I have a few times each week where I snottery cry everywhere (generally over my husband, who looks on befuddled). Some times this is because I'm vay tired. Some times this is because the baby is too darn cute. Some times it is because Joseph still needs me and I can't be there 100% for him. Some times it is because I long to write, but can't find the time. Some times it is because there is a y in a day.
I'm a big believer in "better out than in" so when I wanted to cry, I had a big old sob. I don't see the point in letting it all fester.
But what worries me now is that "Robomum" seems to be wanting a look in again. She's the name I gave to the uber efficient mammy who surfaced after J was born. She was deft at getting the bottles organised. She always had milk in the fridge and her laundry basket was always empty (my washing machine has packed up on the pressure of the excess washing, for the record). She did it all - brilliantly - but she didn't appreciate her baby enough.
Up til now I've luxuriated in spending hours hugging my little girl, breathing her in, cradling her in my arms and on my chest. But the last two days I've been handing her over while I clean, or organise or do whatever needs doing and when I hear that cry I cringe a little. (She is colicky and her cry would cut through you).
I'll go to her, of course I will. And I'll soothe her. And I do adore her so very much, but I need to keep Robomum at bay. She's a bit of an uncaring cow and she doesn't deserve her lovely children.
Then again, maybe I just need a sleep and to keep taking the prozac.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

My babies

I'm so very lucky...

The new cover...

For Jumping in Puddles - due out on September.

Don't you once again just love the "bestseller" tag???

I will post a synopsis of the book soon, but it was a big challenge to write - taking on a domestic violence storyline, betrayal, a teenage mother and a male main character for the first time.

All the characters are tied together through being lone parents in a village in Donegal which makes Stepford look like Manhattan.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Things that you know you shouldn't say

So I went to the doctors today because I've not been well (read as that being my usual hypochrondiac self) and figured I should get my bloods checked just in case having the little lady has tipped the balance for me being borderline anaemic to full on pale as a ghost anaemic.
The lovely doctor agreed I should be pin cushioned and I made my way to the treatment room where the lovely nurse asked me if I was okay with getting blood taken.

"Oh aye," I chirped, "I've just had a baby. I'm perfectly fine and dandy with getting blood taken. And there's never usually a problem with my veins.."

You just know I shouldn't have said that, don't you.
Because there she was trying to get a vein in my arm and then doing a stabby jabbing movement while I "eeped" in mild pain and no blood started to flow into the wee tubey thing they collect the blood in. (And she had three of the feckers to fill... here's me thinking if I am anaemic that's blood I really kind of need... but I digress...)
So she withdrew the needle and there was a whoosh of air which I think was my vein screaming in protest and then a delighted shot of blood came whooshing out of my arm.
This was not a good time for her to ask me if she could try again on the other arm. But of course being the polite person I am I assured her the guiser of blood from my right arm was just fine and sure, it was no problem at all for her to stab me again in the left arm. I quite fancied a matching pair.

As it happened my left arm was much more agreeable and there wasn't so much as a scratch and her three bottles were filled and ready to go. And I do have two lovely bruises to show for the experience. Purple is sooooo this season, don't you know.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A mother's place

So Sunday is Mother's Day. I have in my mind an idea of how I would like the day to go.
First of all I'd like my other half to whisk me (and the kids) off to a fancy hotel on Saturday night – somewhere with a huge big bed we can all sleep in and with a night nanny on call to do the night feeds while I sleep soundly in said big bed.
I'd like to wake up – naturally and not to the cry of a newborn or the over excited multiple questions of a five year old – and be presented with a selection of fine pastries and a glass of champagne while my husband gives me that speech from the baby formula ad on TV which always makes me cry. (You know the one – where the hubby promises to tell his wife how she has made him the happiest and proudest daddy in the world, etc)My children will then be presented to me – fed, clean and smiling beatifically (even the baby who only smiles through wind at the moment) and I shall be presented with a huge bouquet of flowers, some tasty chocolates and yet more champagne.
The night nanny will stay on duty so that I can get mildly scuttered on the champagne without having to worry about dropping the baby on her head or falling asleep mid role play with Joseph – who speaks with a permanent American accent these days.
And the hotel will let us stay there as long as we want so that I don't have to worry about dragging my tired and saggy post baby butt out of bed any sooner than I feel ready to – which is fairness could mean I stay there for a year or two.
I might, just, be tempted out of my pit for a bit of lunch with my own mammy – with of course more champagne, or just ordinary wine.
After nine months of walking in the desert I'm quite enjoying the odd glass of vino now and again.I'm fully aware things will most likely be different however. My daughter has not yet mastered the art of recognising what is night and what is day so Mothering Sunday is likely to start almost as soon as the clock strikes midnight.
The husband and I will look pityingly at each other when she is still awake at 4am and only one of us will get the "get out of jail free" card which allows us to clear into the next room and snuggle beside a sleeping bigger boy while the other settles an over-tired baby. Generally the husband is the more miserable looking of the pair of us by the time 4am rolls around so he will get the chance for a few blissful uninterrupted hours' sleep.
Bleary eyed and scare-crowed of hair I will be up early and washing bottles, loading the washing machine and nursing a little lady while trying to role play again with the Americanised Joseph. If I am lucky my husband will remember – at about 8pm – that it is Mother's Day and he might make me some scrambled egg on toast or other culinary delight (my appetite still not having recovered from nine months of hyperemesis).He won't have gone in for the over commercialisation of Mother's Day – arguing that I should know my children love me every day of the year and not just because a card company say they should let me know. In fairness again the boy does tell me every day – the girl is much too young to show any affection apart from snuggling in with her gorgeous new baby smell.
There won't be a hotel for me, or a box of over priced chocolates or even a pair of Yummy Mummy socks. Thankfully, that also means I will escape some of the dodgier Mother's Day gifts out there. For example I spotted a special CD just for the occasion called 'Housework Songs' – I'd rather have nothing than have my other half present me with a soundtrack to domestic drudgery.And believe me, he would rather deal with my sour face at receiving little in return for producing a son and daughter for him than receive the clout around the head he would get with said CD should it land on my lap on Sunday morning.
Of course, my other half has a point. Appreciating your mother should not be about buying a card just because it is that certain time of year. I try to make an effort to tell my own mammy often just how important she is to me (and not just when I'm looking for a favour). We shouldn't need a date in the diary to say thanks to our mothers and tell them we love them.There is no greater bond than a mother's love for a child – and in turn a child's love for a mother – no matter how old the child is.
On Sunday, therefore, I'll try and keep my sour face in check and I'll try and appreciate just what I do have. A cuddle from either of my children will mean more than any bottle of champagne could. A smile from the boy will mean more than a full night's sleep in a very big bed and a the softness of my daughter's hair will feel nicer than chocolate ever could.
But I'll try to remember to do something nice for my own, lovely, mammy anyway – because regardless of the day of the year she deserves it

Thursday, March 19, 2009

If you read one book this year...

...which isn't by me ( of course) then please let it be this one 'The Disengagement Ring' by the disgustingly talented Clodagh Murphy.
I 'met' Clodagh through Write Words - a site which supports writers and she immediately impressed me with her wit and, well, general loveliness.
I've read 'The Disengagement Ring' and it's wonderful. In fact it made me seethe with jealousy. Clodagh deserves every success and this book is well, well, WELL worth a read.
It's currently published by Hachette in Ireland with a UK release (me? jealous???) penned in for November-ish.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Finally been brave enough to get on the scales

And I'm lighter than I was before I got pregnant - to the tune of 4lbs.
And that's 9lbs lighter than my booking in weight (when I was about 12 weeks gone).

Of course I'm still fat as a fat thing but at least I'm not fatter than I was. I had visions of ending this pregnancy mega huge as one of those ladies who can only wear large floral frocks and flip flops which my ankles would still manage to spill over the soles of. Oh and I imagined I would go on the Jeremy Kyle/ Trisha/ other dodgy chat show and need two chairs or a sofa all to myself and I would weep as I told the audience how I put on 200lbs with my second baby and couldn't shift it.

When I had the boy I put on about 2.5 stone (35lbs ish?) - and that was where I was left post baby, you know after he was well and truly gone and could no longer be blamed for my girth.
This time, of course, I had a certain amount of sickness so didn't. And Jeremy Kyle will have to find someone else.

I'm trying not to be smug - especially since I know that it wasn't anything to do with me controlling my own will power or anything of that nature - but I am pleased. I now have less work to do than I thought although I'm not sure I'm ready for a full on diet assault just yet.

A further post will follow later...

But for now, just look at the gorgeousness - 13 days old today and perfect.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Four generations - times you wish you had a camera

I took the wee woman to meet her great granny today. She is very blessed to have two great grannies and one great grandad still with us and it was a big occasion to take her to meet Granny Mary and Granda Phil.
Havcing reared 10 children of her own, and helped in the rearing of about 20 billion grand children and great grandchildren, my granny is just one of those naturals at looking after babies.
And better than that she gets that childbirth is a big deal, and that it hurts and that new mums need pampering. Sure she gave birth 10 times (eight times at home with feck all pain relief) but she isn't one of the older generation of tell us young ones we don't know we are born and that things are so much easier these days.
Her kindness and warmth blows me away.
Anyway, I was sat beside her, and she was holding my baby girl. And there across the room from us was my mother and I thought here we are, four generations of a family - all brought together by this precious wee bundle. And I wished I'd brought my camera - even though I looked awful and haggard. Some things are beyond precious.

Friday, March 13, 2009

So I'm a lightweight

... of course not physically a lightweight. I'm quite hefty in those stakes (but no bigger feet Mimi, yet...) but tonight I had a glass of wine.
After not drinking for nine months it has gone right to my head.
In fairness I had a celebratory glass when the wee woman was born but I so flipping high on adrenalin it couldn't touch me. Tonight though is different. Half a glass and I'm doolally.
This does not bode well.
I'm Irish and it's almost St. Patrick's Day. I should be fit to drown the Shamrock like a good 'un. Instead I'm craving a nice cup of tea. It all feels very civilised. And old.

Tonight I was talking with my sisters about my youngest sister's forthcoming wedding in July. My "baby" sister will be 28 when she marries her beloved and both myself and my older sister told her she was much too young to get married.
"I'll be 28," she replied defiantly.
"Yes," we responded, almost in unison, "but you are our baby sister... you'll always be five."
"You marriedat 24," she countered.
And it made me stop in my tracks.

I'm 32. I'll be celebrating my 8th wedding anniversary soon. We've two kids, a mortgage and all sorts of grown up responsibilities. And I can no longer tolerate wine.
Is this is the start of the decline into middle-agedness or is it a post-baby lull? Will I, as Grace did in 'Rainy Days and Tuesdays' get my bling back or is this as good as it gets?
Then again - this is pretty good right now. Stretch marks, grey roots and annoying mortgage. I'm happy, relatively healthy and have two amazing children who I look at each day and think "oooh, I did good".

Yes, this is wine enhanced brain dump... but what else would I be doing on a Friday night?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Now I know I was smuggy smug yesterday

...about the pre-pregnancy jeans.
But honestly, if you saw me, it's not that big a deal. The pre-preggy jeans are still quite huge in themselves.
So I kind of coughed and swore at the computer this morning when I read this article in the Daily Mail about a lady who photographed herself throughout her pregnancy (Apparantly that's news now... ya know cos no one has ever done it before...)

This line in particular made me spit out my Coco pops in a fit of rage.

When I finally had to accept, at the end of month four, that I was now a whole dress size bigger, I actually cried - and went out to buy a pair of size 12 jeans.

Am I the only the one who thinks this brings smug to a new level? And yes I know it's all relative and she was a size 10 to start with but to be 16 weeks pregnant and have to buy a size 12... it's hardly a hardship now is it?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Two woohoos!

First of all today I wore my non-maternity jeans!
Considering my pre-Joseph jeans are still languishing in the back of the wardrobe this is quite an achievement.
It also means that I don't have to go shopping for big old fat(ter) clothes and can make do with what I have. Although it did feel strange to not have a tummy warming panel to rely on for comfort.

The second woohoo - and probably the biggest - is that I've seen the cover for book three 'Jumping in Puddles' and it is gorgeous! Once again the lovely people at Poolbeg have done me justice and it's going to look fab alongside RD&T and FLM.
Oh and it says "From the bestselling author of 'Feels Like Maybe' on the front which will never tire of being a buzz!

Monday, March 09, 2009

It's very hard...

... to find the ability to write coherently when all you want to do is stare at a baby.

Tried breaking my post baby writing virginity this morning with my weekly column for the Journal. I've written about 500 words - pretty much a baby fest (dear readers, forgive me...) but I'm not sure any of it makes sense.

Still - small steps, little by little.

Will attempt to work back at the book soon too - now that should be the craic!

Thanks to everyone for your kind wishes, here and elsewhere. I'm holding it together. No sign of immiment breakdown just yet although last night was pretty hormone fuelled and everything set me off crying - Dancing on Ice, yep. The boy sleeping, yep. The baby NOT sleeping, double yep. The fact that it was a Sunday, yep.

Feeling a little more human today after snoozing the morning away beside my little lady (between the writing bouts, naturally...)

Can't quite believe today was the day she was supposed to have been born. Feels like she has been here forever already.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Isn't she lovely?


Well, she's here- two days old and perfection personified from her mop of dark hair to her pink bow lips. She does have a hairy back which is hilarious given the topic of my book four and my slagging of Anton (he's bringing hairy back) Du Beke throughout my pregnancy. God has a cool sense of humour.
So anyway here are some of the details - I have omitted some of the more sensitive words like tearing, spurting blood and some of my more colourful language for the sake of more sensitive readers.

A few months ago the boy predicted his baby sister would be born on the "threed of March". Now Joseph is sometimes known as Pyschic Joe round these parts as he does have a certain ability to predict future events (he predicted a rain shower on my sister's wedding day and told us very confidently that his most recent baby cousin would be a boy). So as the threed of March approached I started to get nervous.

The thing is, the threed of March (and forever shall it be known as the threed now and not the third...) is the anniversary of the death of my beloved Granda - whom Joseph was named after. I had mixed feelings - first of all wanting to bring a happy memory to a sad day and second of all feeling nervous that a day which had devastated our family could maybe just be an unlucky day chez us.

As it happened I woke in the very early hours of that day with sharp pains which continued and mounted til about every 5 minutes until around 5am when they died off. I slept for a bit and woke in foul humour and set about a cleaning extravaganza - mopping floors, hanging washing, cleaning skirtings. I did everything short of hoover the stairs.

I went to my mum's in the afternoon and sat with a face on me like a cat's arse before needing - with every fibre of my being- to go to Matalan and buy some new scented candles. I needed them THERE and THEN and my brother accompanied me - standing nervously by as a few pains hit me right beside the St. Patrick's Day balloons.

I had been feeling increasingly nauseous all day so didn't eat at tea time and came home to put the boy to bed. We lay snuggling and chatting when I felt a pop.

It was an ominous pop.

The pop of doom.

The same pop I remembered from 5 years before just before amniotic fluid trickled down my legs and heralded the start of Joseph's arrival.

Now this was awkward. Here was I, lying in bed beside my five year old, aware of a trickle starting to flow down below - heart thumping like a good 'un, and trying to keep calm.

Eventually I said that mummy just needed to go to the loo and I stood up to a larger trickle, called for my other half and told Joseph his baby sister was coming. (I was mildly hysterical despite my plan to keep my demeanour composed).

I then did what every good Derry girl does - and phoned my mammy. She came over and hugged me while I sobbed like a loony in a "Idonwannadothis" snivelling way and we agreed to wait a wee while and see how the pains went. I had a shower and sobbed throughout and then went and hugged Joseph and assured him I was fine and sure wasn't it all just grand and lovely that we were going to meet his big sister.

Pains had kicked in at that stage and were very ouchee although anything from every 7 minutes to every 4 minutes apart and they weren't lasting terribly long. Within an hour hubby had developed an ashen faced look of panic about him while I went into a mild hysteria (this was a frequent occurence during my labour... just so you know) because I couldn't find MY hairbrush to brush my hair. And yes I knew there were other hairbrushes I wanted MY brush and grew very distressed. (In the end it was on the sofa, where I'd left it... but hey, we won't talk about that...)

So after an hour we phoned the hospital and they told us to come in. I arrived, heaving and holding onto my hubby, and my tummy, for dear life. As I walked, at a painfully slow rate to the maternity unit I received the sympathetic glances of many and I felt like crying on them and saying "Yep, yep, I know. It's dead sore" etc. (By now you may have realised I have no pain threshold worth talking about).

So we reached the new unit - I was assessed as being in "early, non-established labour" and I cried (again) and was given Gas and Air which I sucked on as if my life depended on it. About an hour later they took pity on me and sent me to the labour ward, where - four hours in - I was only just in the established labout guidelines. (It's all about dilation and cervixes and as I said, I'm coating this as nicely as possible).

Two hours later I was assessed again - now moved on a further 2 centimetres with another five centimetres of fandango fanning to go. This was at 4.30am.
And here is where it got interesting.

The midwife stepped away from the bed and I had another pain. And felt the baby start to come - and fast. I started shouting like an eejit (Think "Oh God, Oh God, Oh God, help me help me help me!" - I am still cringing when I think about it now) and the midwife ran to the bed, pressed a panic button while trying to open a birthing kit and I felt as if I might actually just die. (Or poop... or both...)
With 10 minutes our little lady was born, and lying on my chest- a complete look of "What was all that screeching about?" on her face.
Looking at her, I couldn't help but feel slightly the same.

Her birth was 10 times more painful that her brother's. I didn't have an epidural, relying on gas and air, tens and pethidine for pain relief. It was a lot less controlled at the end - with him I rested a while before pushing, with her that was never going to be an option.
But it was a million times more positive an experience. And now I'm a very, very blessed mammy with two gorgeous children who complete me body and soul.

But thank feck I never have to do that again.
I will say several things about it all though -
  • I did not say any bad swear words. Although I prayed a lot. (Polite way of saying I took the Lord's name in vain.)
  • Throwing up during a contraction is not fun.
  • I cannot say the phrase "scintiliating conversationalist" while high on pethidine - I tried, and failed. I did mean to say "Sorry I'm not a scintilating conversationalist" to my hubby but it came out only as a random "sinfulating convosayshun" followed by a mutter of "dry wit". He didn't laugh. He should have.
  • Hyperemesis does go away as soon as the baby is born.
  • Natal Hypnotherapy helps up to a point - that point is generally when things started tearing (Sorry, I did promise not to mention that..) Then no amount of imagining a golden light caressing your uterus will make a shag of difference.
  • The nicest cup of tea you will have in your life is the one just after you have pushed another human being into the world.
  • I can sound surprisingly like a real life cow when having a contraction.
  • I am very glad the new labour wards in my local hospital are sound proof.
  • Paracetamol doesn't really do much for labour pains.
  • It was worth it.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Musical interlude part 2

For Cara..

Yours is the first face that I saw
I think I was blind before I met you
Now I don’t know where I am
I don’t know where I’ve been
But I know where I want to go

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

If you think I've gone quiet...

It's because I have a good excuse.
Baby Cara arrived at 4.40am this morning weighing in at 6lbs 9.5oz.
She's gorgeous. I'm smitten. And knackered.

Normal service will resume shortly...

Sunday, March 01, 2009

A musical interlude

From BBC One's Let's Dance for Comic Relief.
This song is one my sister and I like to fling ourselves around to dramatically after a few drinks - it depresses me that a man can look better doing it that we can!

Anyway - enjoy some comedy gold.

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