Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Funky baby beats!

Photo of me by Martin Rondell
So there we were sitting with the midwife (a different one to last time) explaining (and feeling like apologising) that we didn’t get what were supposed to from yesterday’s scan, when she took us both by surprise by saying ‘so, let’s see if we can hear this baby’s heartbeat’.  Just like that, no warning, no warm up; nothing!

I had no idea it was even possible to hear the baby’s heartbeat yet, and I studied pre-natal development for three years when I was on track to be a nurse!  Em dropped her kecks for the fourth person in two days (not including me) and out came a little karaoke microphone (from a box the midwife had, not from Em’s kecks, although she does carry a lot of weird stuff, and always inexplicably has a box of matches about her person) and after a bit of rummaging around there it was, and very loud and clear it was too!

Em had been quite focused for today’s meeting with the midwife - there had been some confusion in her notes (over just how pregnant she really is, which was weird because I thought you either were or you weren’t), but once she heard that heartbeat she totally relaxed.  It’s a cliché to say someone ‘melts’, but I can’t think of any other way of describing how my lovely wife reacted to the sound of our unborn child’s heartbeat.

After a few strong perfectly rhythmic heartbeats the baby moved, causing a noise that sounded exactly like a Fender Jazz bass down-tuned to B being struck with a medium thickness Tortex plectrum, fed through a Electro-Harmonix Big Muff fuzz pedal.  But Emma disagreed for some reason.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Would you mind shoving that thing somewhere else?

Photo is unrelated
Taken (by me) in Christiana in Denmark
We’ve just got back from our twelve week scan, and you were probably expecting to see a photo of the scan, and to tell the truth so were we!

The baby was perfectly healthy, very active but just wouldn’t pose to have the back of its neck measured (a routine test for downs syndrome), and certainly wasn’t interested in having its photo taken.

Baby started off by mooning us from an upside down position, I ‘think’ it might also have flipped us the bird.  Em was asked to drink another half litre of water to see if we could get the baby to lay in the right position, but that didn’t help, so Em emptied her bladder, and still the baby wouldn’t comply.  The final attempt at pre-natal compliance involved Em lifting her bum off the couch and jiggling her hips about, and all that did was rock the baby into a sort of ‘Andy Capp’ asleep on a settee position.

So no photo I’m afraid, but the good news is that the baby appears to be nice and healthy, and is certainly active.  We’re already booked in for the twenty week scan, and because the back of the baby’s neck couldn’t be measured Em needs to have her blood screened to check there are no abnormalities.

Oh, and the baby is now 72mm long, meaning it is three times bigger than it was just three weeks ago!

The phoney war, and poo on the patio.

I know I haven’t written for a while, but that’s because not a lot has happened, and I know that’s not the most gripping start to a blog post, but bear with me...

The last couple of weeks have been taken up with us trying to come to terms with our pregnancy, whilst not really seeing any signs of it.  Em has been getting odd sensations in her belly (well, womb I guess) but nothing terribly dramatic has been happening at all.

I’ve realised that the way I look after Em has stepped up a gear; I’ve always looked out for her but since I’ve found out she’s pregnant my level of concern has gone into overdrive. Last week we were staying in a holiday cottage in Dorset, and on the third night we were there (Valentines night no less) the bathroom flooded.  It didn’t seem like a big deal at first and Em waded in with towels to soak up the water, but then I noticed that the small patio out the back of the cottage was littered with foul water and toilet roll.  So my mild annoyance quickly turned into well managed panic as I ran through the cottage yelling ‘GET OUT, GET OUT’ at my confused wife. 

The extremely lovely agents who manage the cottage we were in put us up in their own house for the night, and then moved us to a new cottage.  It turns out the entire row of cottages shares a single waste pipe, and later that night I drove past the cottage and the entire row (and a nearby pub) was busy with water-board trucks and plumbers vans, so it looks like we got out in the nick of time!

We both managed the situation with a clear-headed logical (and reasonable) urgency, with no anxious panic or muddled thinking, hopefully this state of mind will continue throughout our pregnancy, but I somehow doubt it, we’re only human after all.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

A plea for my plums

“Ha ha, you’re going to get kicked in the nuts!” ejaculated my darling wife, totally out of the blue.

This alarming claim didn’t shock me quite as much as you might think it would, you see my testicles have been on my mind quite a bit of late. I know that might not be news to anyone who has ever been a man, been in a relationship with a man, or even seen a photo of a man, but there have recently been ominous omens pointing to the he fact that genital discourtesy’s may be a routine part of fatherhood.

Like most men I learnt at an early age to do whatever it takes to avoid any harm coming to my plums, and if memory serves me (and believe me, getting hit in the cags for first time isn’t the sort of thing one forgets) I was was running along holding a long stick in front of me and horribly misjudged the flatness of the path in front of me...

Over the years I have also learned the hard way how easily harm can come to my cobblers, and I’ve learned things like not jump onto my bicycle seat too fast, to make sure my feet don’t slip off the pedals when cycling down steep hills and to avoid the biggest threat to childhood genitalia (for those of us growing up in the 1970s and 80s) the gear lever on the crossbar of a Raleigh Chopper. But not all threats to my ahem, ‘productivity’ have been bike related; I learned at a very early stage in our relationship never to ask Em to throw me anything. Ever. Being a bassist also has its risks, but I won’t trouble you with them now, I don’t want you to think I’m obsessed by my testicles or anything...

So you’re getting the idea here - I’ve spent thirty four years trying to protect two friends who are very dear to me, and I thought I was getting a pretty good handle on the threats there are out there (and there are many), I hadn’t ever considered that my own flesh and blood might be the cause of plum pulverisation. But two of the parenting books I’ve read in preparation for this baby (‘Parenting made difficult’ by Phil Hogan, and ‘Punk Rock Dad’ by Pennywise frontman Jim Lindberg) both warn against parenting related gonad pouch punishment. I was particularly alarmed by the mention of getting a kick in the nuts in the Punk Rock Dad book because I’m only a few pages in so far. I assume the urgency in which Mr.Lindberg mentions his kids accidentally striking his stuff means it’s a very real and serious threat!

So a pedant might argue that now Em is pregnant my plums have played their part, but until a doctor takes them in hand and gives me the snip I’d really rather avoid the need to have them exposed in a medical environment thank you very much!

Kyuss, meet your future.

This weekend we had my dear mum staying with us (dad was off chasing steam trains in Poland), and after an afternoon wandering around looking at snowdrops at Anglesea Abbey (the flowers not, the frozen water type of snowdrops) we settled down for a Saturday evening of doing nothing much at all.  While I was reading a National Trust information board at Anglesea Abbey I learned that the former owner had the rather marvelous christian name  ‘Huttleston’, which Em immediately vetoed as a possible name for our baby.  But she’s not an unreasonable lass, and you’re about to find out...

My mum is tee-total (remarkable given the stress of raising me) and Em can’t drink (because she’s full of baby), but both insisted that I enjoy a tipple or two.  I cracked open a bottle and showed great restraint, even although I’m now drinking for two.

Long story short (you’ll be relieved to know) we got to talking about baby names, and then looking them up in a baby names book that a single male friend of ours had for some reason.  It’s important to check that ones progeny’s name doesn’t mean anything too bizarre, because giving your younguns a silly name that will get them picked on at school because it rhymes with something like ‘poo’ is one thing, but bestowing a name that officially means something like ‘eats poo’ is pushing your luck.  We were most amused to learn that ‘Cameron’ means ‘crooked nose’, who knew!

I like the idea of using a name from the Old Testament, but Meshack, Shadrack and Abednego were vetoed, as wereMethuselah, Boaz and Abimelch, although Eli and Caleb got some nods from Em and my mum.

I was starting to think of sensible names like ‘Orwell’ and ‘Lloyd’ when Em threw a total curveball into the mix,
“How about ‘Kyuss’ as a boy’s name?”
Well yes, that’s amazing, especially because ‘Kyuss’ is the name of one of the best bands ever to have existed!  But she got scared, and I saw reason and agreed we’d drop Kyuss as a suggestion.

The night ended with me drinking some stale port that I found in the back of the cupboard, and everyone agreeing that we’d leave the names debate for another time.  But if our baby is reading this in the future you should probably know that you were nearly called Kyuss, and whatever we end up calling you might be pleased to know that Kyuss was one of the more sensible suggestions!