slummy mummy

welcome to the world of capuccinos, childcare and afternoon naps.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


the hubs always accuses me of turning the little thing into a 'mommy clone'. like when she insists on dipping her croissant into her hot milk (so french), or when she refuses to go in the car seat without her sunglasses (well, that's obvious).

but today i saw evidence that she is indeed picking up some unexpected mannerisms. when i asked her for a kiss she leaned over, kissed the air somewhere far left of my cheek and said, very definitely, "mmmmmmmwah!".

not so much a clone of me as already outclassing me. my one and half year old is air kissing like a fashionista.

Monday, August 07, 2006

help! my husband still fancies me ...

yes, it's true. my husband still fancies me. and i'd probably rather he didn't, right now.

i've told him that 10 days after the birth of a child is not the best time to come on to your wife - he agrees with the logic but says he can't help wanting to catch up on all the sex we missed when i was pregnant.

oh god.

despite the jokiness of our exchanges there is a (for me) frightening sub text. from my research into how women feel about sex after childbirth, we fall into two very different camps.

the first group of women (oh, lucky them), think nothing of breaking the six week ban on post natal sex. 'dying to try it out' and 'horny as hell' were two descriptions of how these women feel about sex.

for the other group of women (including me), it's a kind of 'never would be too soon' approach to sex. add this to the fact that the hubs expects us to be having the rigorous, physically unforgiving athletic kind of sex we had as new lovers. oh dear.

we have what nigel, our therapist, would call 'a gap in expectations'. now ain't that the truth.

luckily, i feel in much better shape physically and mentally than when i had the first little thing. but my reluctance to get back in the saddle as soon as possible is nevertheless there.

and damn, my husband still fancies me. isn't it cruel the way the world works ?

Sunday, August 06, 2006

what happened next

so then we spent a few dreamy minutes gaping at our little boy in the delivery suite.

the midwives rushed around talking about placentas and stitches (to which i totally switched off) and talking about a 'heightened heart and respiratory rate'. it was clear they were discussing baby who hadn't yet let out the piercing scream that all newborns need to clear their lungs. instead he was still his funny just born blue colour and making an awful grunting sound as he tried to breathe.

i held him in my arms and was aware of myself almost screaming to no-one in particular "is he ok ? is he ok? is he ok?".

before long he was in special care, wired up to an intravenous drip, taped up to monitors and under close monitoring. with me in a wheelchair (no use of legs due to the earlier epidural) and him in his incubator, i was in tears immediately.

he spent four days in the unit, steadily getting stronger. the drip came out on the day we came home. he still has to go for a check up on his heart in a month or two.

in the meantime, he's on medicine to prevent jaundice - a consequence of our mismatched bloods crossing over during his birth.

now he's home, i realise how much our goalposts shifted during those days in hospital. sleepless nights ? not a bother. endless nappies ? but he's so cute. hard to look after two young children? not when i love them so much.

Monday, July 31, 2006

the war report

so, the new little thing is home with us and already we cannot imagine life without him.

that's not to say i don't sometimes come into the room and find i'm amazed to see a baby in a moses basket, or that my heart doesn't melt when i see the hubs holding him, or that i was so taken by seeing his tiny name printed on a prescription that i had to stick it on the fridge for keeps.

the prescription. now there's a story.

it's hard to know where to start so i'll go back to the moment i guessed the baby was coming. it was monday morning, the little thing was at nursery and the hubs had left for a couple of nights filming in blackpool. given that i spectacularly ruined his last work trip to vegas, i put any thoughts of calling him and telling him to turn back to the back of my mind.

instead i convinced myself that the baby would take ages coming, just like last time. and oh, that trickle couldn't have been waters breaking.

the parents had come up for dinner and seeing as i was planning to deliver the baby in my home town (just as with the first one) i told them i'd go back with them that night. by 8pm the contractions were unmistakable, by 10pm they were coming every 15 mins. i phoned the hubs and he started making plans to get back. the earliest would be by 9am.

i went to bed and by 3am the contractions were under 10 mins and utterly unbearable. my mother drove us to the hospital, every corner was an extra agony, every bump awful and all lived in slow motion ( her fastest driving speed is 'snail').

at the hospital we heard the dreaded words 'no time for an epidural'. trying to catch the midwife's eyes i could hear myself pleading 'no, please ... you don't understand ... is there an anaethetist on duty ? are they nearby ? ... when can they get here? '.

thankfully, georgina ('call me george') the anaethetist was nearby and showed up just in time. all i could think of was that i'd seen her before on a hockey pitch somewhere - and that she would definitely have been the superior player.

ok. so everything is now fine. i ask my mum to ring my best friend despite it being barely past 5am. i've already primed her that the hubs might not make it back in time. also, as her boys rarely sleep i figure it's not too much of an imposition.

best friend swans in some time later looking like she's off to a barbecue. tanned, pretty, smiling and so SLIM (last baby just 3 months old). it was great to see her and by the time she left i was in a euphoric epidural induced haze. hey, if the hubs didn't make it, too bad huh?

then the midwife examined me. she went quiet. told me the baby's heart beat was dropping so they'd need to get the baby out quickly. said they'd break the waters. examined me again and couldn't find the waters. guessed they'd broken without me noticing. yes, kind of i said.

so then there was another problem. the baby was not lying in the right position. it was TRANSVERSE. now, i don't know a lot about medical matter but i'd seen that episode of 'Bodies'. Max Beesley looks gorgeous whilst fighting in vain to save either the baby OR the mother from dying during a transverse delivery.

a doctor appears. unfortunate manner. three midwives are also in the room. emergency c-section is mentioned. but they'll test the baby's blood first to see if they can buy some time.

blood comes back ok, doctor disappears. midwife props me up on one side with a pillow, hoping gravity will shift the baby. she also whacks up the medicine to induce contractions and gives the epidural an extra boost.

as i lie there the clock is ticking past 7am into 8am. all i can think is that the hubs is not too far away now, not far away now.

when he comes into the room he's crying. i'm crying too and i ask him 'have they told you?'. he says yes and sits down beside me.

i feel as if life as we know it is ending. the baby's heartbeat is on a loud speaker and we can all hear the dips and peaks as the contractions come. all i can think of is the emergency operation, or worse of the cutting and pulling and suction of a ventouse delivery. i just want the baby out, i want it to be well. give me the operation, it's the lesser of two evils.

the midwife examines me again. the atmosphere is calm. just me, her and the hubs. she tells me 'you're going to have this baby naturally'. the baby has turned. i can't believe what i'm hearing. 'but' she says ' you're going to have to work hard'. 'i'll do it, i say, i know i can, just give me a chance, i'll work really hard!"

5 minutes later our baby was born. 'what is it? what is it?' i was asking the hubs as he stared blankly at me with the baby on my chest. he looked under the towel that the little thing was wrapped in and said

"it's a boy"

Saturday, July 29, 2006

it's a boy !

born 10 am, Tuesday 25 July weighing 8lb 8oz

he is made of velvet x

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

breastfeeding debate ? how boring ...

i must be feeling more like my normal self these days. the whole 'should we / shouldn't we encourage mothers to breastfeed in public' has been reignited by a petition taken to downing street by big breasted women.

ok, maybe they didn't have big breasts but something about all this makes me think that the ladies protest too much.

sure, there's a lot to deal with when breastfeeding. e.g

1) the pain

2) the embarassment of your boobs becoming PUBLIC

3) the uncomfortable feeling of being devoured by the thing that has just destroyed your body.

but maybe that's just me. which is exactly my point. it's personal.

personal means 'up to you'. personal means 'rough with the smooth'. personal means 'adult enough to know what's best for baby and for you as a mother'. and personal means that if you get your boobs out in public, people will stare.

i admire women who breastfeed, because i know how tough it is. it didn't click for me, so formula was the way forward for us.

i'm happy with this and i'm happy that my next baby will be formula fed from the off. the hubs is less happy but hey, i'm in charge here.

the one thing that riles me slightly is women who 'can't understand' why others would choose NOT to breastfeed.

i'm thinking it's a weird kind of mummyhood nazism, a horrible middle class NCT inspired holier than thou-ism and a real lack of sisterhood where it's needed.

can't we all just grow up a bit ?

the debate should be about making sure women have access to the right information about the benefits of bottle v. breast and breastfeeding techniques. we should also make sure there's access to professional troubleshooters AND increasing numbers of places where it's possible to breastfeed privately in public should you so wish ( bluewater we love you).

what doesn't help is pointing the finger at women who admit they tried and failed. it's simple, it's personal, not all of us can breastfeed. it's not school, we don't have to send in a note explaining why.

let's just focus on making it easier for the women who can and do.

you're working ?

yes, i'm working. but when's the baby due ?

what ? oh, this thing - any time next month. lovely to see you, i'll come and catch up with you later !

yes, i'm working and it's been fabulous. kind of like a little set piece play of my life before babies and marriage. i get up, put on my costume, get on the train and then all of a sudden it's sweet urban me again.

a quick sweep of selfridges, pick up a salad and i'm set to clock on for the day.

i get stuck into the work easily and i try to stay sitting down. that way less people notice (or feel obliged to comment on) my advanced state of pregnancy.

'when is my baby due?' oh do me a favour ... do you really care ? can't we just talk about the weather. "you are such a fabulous looking pregnant woman!" er ... i know, so can we just stop mentioning it ?

maybe i should get one of those t-shirts printed up - "Yes! Pregnant and Fabulous" and on the back comes the pay off "for more details log on to"

Sunday, July 16, 2006

and it's only going to get ...

having your second child means you know a lot of things. not only about looking after a little baby, but what happens to you and those around you when it finally pops out.

as far as the b-word goes, you understand that i have no illusions about what a positive experience this can be. i'm simply hoping for a swift, drug induced delivery in what can only be described as war between your baby and your body.

so, the next thing to realise is that pregnant lady now becomes new mum. whereas a few days ago strangers would have sparked up conversations about 'how long to go / do you know what it is / etc , there's no-one going to ask you exactly how many hours of sleep you managed last night or how you're stitches are doing.

and then of course there's your husband. the poor thing will have either up all night or sleeping in an upright chair during the b-word. he will be tired and in need of sleep, food and most probably sex.

of course, the bonus here is that you do get a squishy squashy teeny tiny 'how come that fitted inside me' / 'how come i squeezed that out of me' baby. last time round i didn't get that delivery room glow - i was just terrified of doing something wrong. maybe it will happen this time round, or maybe it will be a delayed pleasure like with the little thing.

the other bonus, of course, should be that lovely close time with your significant other. images of all of us on the bed together, him taking pictures, fetching drinks and chocolate etc. wouldn't it be lovely?

except that going on my theory of what's good now gets worse later, that's not going to happen.

this morning we've already argued over who should get up with the little thing (who has a temperature) with him suggesting a 'shift system' of parenting is what we need. as in, i get up early and he gets up later.

i asked him several times if he thought this was appropriate with me at 9 months pregnant and counting. unable to answer, he begged me to stop berating him and went, like a bear with a sore head, back to bed.