Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Just an Update

It’s been quiet around Prawn central for the last week or so. I feel the need to express this only because I imagine that not writing for some time around when one is expecting a baby makes people think that there are better reasons for your silence. However, my excuse is that there’s been bugger all to talk about.

The waiting game at the end of pregnancy is kind of a crappy one. You feel like you can’t really make any plans, but you’re reluctant to completely shut yourself off from any and all social occasions because god knows when the next time you’ll have a chance to talk to grown-ups without having to worry about whether or not you’ve got baby sick on your shirt. However, the desire to socialize outside your own home is hampered by the fact that you are now the size of an aircraft carrier.

I’ve been increasingly frustrated with the level of my care in the past few weeks. While I’m not one for fooling around with medicine when it’s not necessary, (and at this point, it’s just a waiting game, really) it would be nice not to feel like my local NHS authority was being run by The Three Stooges. Two of my last three appointments have been cancelled due to both area midwives being out on call (one cancelled because “you’re the only one on the schedule today and we don’t want to drag one of the midwives in just for you.”) and the one today had to be rescheduled at the last minute due to the fact that my surgery made me an appointment with the midwife from a neighbouring country rather than the one from mine. And even THEN, I didn’t see MY midwife, but rather another who was rather abrupt with me when she discovered that my blood pressure was high. (Yes, surly Jamacian midwife, I’ve been pushing my blood pressure up just to annoy you.) At any rate, yet ANOTHER midwife will show up at my house tomorrow to take my blood pressure to see if I need to be admitted to hospital. All fun and games. It’s hard to enjoy the anticipation leading up to the birth when one gets the distinct feeling that one’s health care providers couldn’t organize their way out of a paper bag.

I’m hoping the blood pressure thing is nothing to worry about- any hint of “high risk” about the delivery and I don’t get my water birth.

An amusing anecdote, however- the midwife I saw today asked me how many movements I had, directly after doing the dip stick test on my wee.

Why medical professionals can’t just ask you, “So, you been pooping recently?” I don’t know, but as I was fairly sure that’s what she meant I told her once a day if I was lucky, once every other day if I wasn’t.

She looked very alarmed.

“You should be having at least 10 movements a day.”

I was about to come back with, “Lady, if I was having 10 movements a day, I’d be on the phone to you asking what the hell was the MATTER with me and how I could get it to STOP!” when I realized that she was talking about how often I felt the BABY move.

Alarm averted. The Prawn is a serious wiggler.

The waiting game continues.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


This has got to be the oddest picture taken of me during the last 8 months or so.

The internet is just so darned magical when it comes to communication these days. Skype, in particular, is just about the coolest thing ever when you live across the ocean from most of your family. So, once a week, my folks and I have a little video chat. This week, my mother took this picture of her computer screen with my big old bump on it. (You just just see her down in the left hand corner.)

I am become destroyer of worlds, devourer of puddings. Fear the bump.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Waiting to Evict the Prawn from the Big Mother House

So, it’s official- the Prawn is now considered to be fully cooked. (37 w, 4d) Any time that he or she elects to stay inside is just “browning the crust,” as Mr. DD puts it.

It’s slightly alarming to think that this whole circus could kick off at any minute. While I know that labour isn’t exactly like someone waiting around the corner to go “BOO!”, I’m still kind of walking around looking behind all the doorframes, if you know what I mean. From what I’ve been told, labour is rather more like an annoying person with a sharp stick who starts poking you gently at first, but becomes increasingly malevolent.

While, after 3 years and two miscarriages, I’m hugely thankful for this giant, uncomfortable bump in my midsection, it is becoming harder to function from day to day. I dare not complain overmuch- I’ve had a blessedly comfortable pregnancy up until around about a week ago when it suddenly occurred to me that it was no longer possible to put on my own socks, stand up from a sitting position on the floor without assistance or not kill things with my flatulence. (Seriously, man, I used to be able to get away with a sneaky, silent, non-deadly toot. Now even I have to leave the room.) Although I know that the time is coming rapidly that I will not be able to spend much time in my unbelievably comfortable new bed, at least I will not be winded any just from the effort of putting my head down on the pillow.

The nursery is mostly finished. Whether we have everything that we need or not remains to be seen. (Like I said, we’re totally clueless and pretty much just dumped everything in the cart that looked like it would be useful) The crib is mostly set up, all of the Prawn art is in place, the changing table is ready and my parents and aunt have generously decided to buy us a rocking chair for Prawn-related feeding activities.

I am vaguely concerned about our choice of wardrobe for the Prawn- looking at the size of my belly and at the size of the newborn clothes that we’ve picked up, I am slightly worried that this child will look like a sumo wrestler stuffed into a schoolgirl’s uniform, so it’s conceivable that we might have to stop off on the way home from the hospital with a completely naked baby to get clothes that do not strangle him/her. “For infants up to 10 lbs” my ass.

There are 2 baby books, sitting mostly unopened on the coffee table and one in my bedside drawer, where I locked it after becoming afraid of it about 3 chapters in. (The New Contented Little Baby Book, by Gina Ford, just so that you know.) People have said that parents fall into two camps with Ford; they either think she’s the Mother of God or the Sister of Satan. Me personally, I think her strict regiment probably works EXTREMELY well for some children, (Mr. DD’s cousin recommended it to me with unbridled praise- not surprising, as she got her first son to sleep through at 6 weeks and will be using the same regimen with her newest one.) but there are probably many MANY more that it DOESN’T work for, leading to feelings of failure on the part of parents. (Ford seems to feel that if it doesn’t work for your child, you’re obviously not doing it right.) Ford has a few good points that I’ve taken to heart, but the truth is, I just don’t like her personally that much. (Using your lawyers to threaten the shut down a useful mothering forum because someone on it said something mean about you is a little childish, in my opinion. Not sure someone like that has the authority to tell me how to wipe my own ass, let alone raise a child)

The other two bits of lit are the standard What To Expect in the First Year and What to Expect When You’re Breastfeeding…And What if you Can’t? Both seem reasonable tomes of parenting knowledge that we should probably have lying around for those three o’clock in the morning questions like,

My child is levitating above her crib, there appears to be ectoplasm dripping down the walls, a high pitched wailing and the smell of sulphur. Is this normal?”

(To which the answer would probably be, “It’s nothing to worry about. 1 in 4 children experiences demonic possession in their first year.”)

So here I sit, feeling the Prawn becoming increasingly pissed off at his or her confinement. Digging heels into my ribs. Bashing head against all and sundry privates. Just generally asking his or herself, “Hey, didn’t this place used to be more like a three bedroom cottage rather than a bedsit? WTF?”

Hopefully this frustration will manifest itself into something useful sooner rather than later.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

ParaPrawns Pt.II

As promised, some decoration photos.

The much touted Prawn mobile. I could barely contain myself when we hung it up last night.

Some little paraprawns to adorn the walls!

Friday, February 09, 2007


I like to think of myself as a pretty creative gal. I have my own fairly successful silver jewelry business on the side and like to engage in artsy, craftsy type shenanigans of all kinds. (Although I utterly suck at sewing. I can manage a fairly simple square bag with little difficulty and no pattern, but if you asked me to make anything that included arms or legs, I could probably successfully create a thriving industry for mutants.) I am rarely at a loss for design ideas, but occasionally, VERY occasionally, I’ll see a design I just have to swipe for my own personal use. Although I would never DREAM of marketing someone else’s design for gain, if I want it on my very own personal wall, you’d better believe I’m going to have it.

This is what I have done in regards to the decorating of the Prawn’s room. A friend of mine introduced me to a very talented design company who I must give 100% credit to for coming up with THE PERFECT PRINT for my nursery wall, the parachuting prawns pictured above. The catch? It was part of a limited edition run and was completely sold out. Well, quite frankly, one cannot mess with perfection and I was damned if I was going to let that fact that I could not BUY this design keep me from adorning my walls with it. So, being the little Photoshopping minx I am, I blew the design up, traced around it and made it printable. I made stencils out of it and have been duplicating the design in several different mediums and colors.

My utter favourite was care of my hugely talented father, who’s woodworking skills have yielded the most lovely baby gift: a parachuting prawn mobile. He has lovingly cut out three perfect prawns with parachutes and two clouds to hang from two cleverly designed mobile attachments and has sent them to me for final painting. I just about cried when I opened the package this morning- they were SO well done; better than I could have possibly hoped for.

I admit it is a vaguely unconventional design for a nursery. Prawns aren’t particularly cuddly. In fact, most crustaceans give me the creeping horrors. Despite growing up in Maryland, famous for it’s crabs, I am still only able to eat crab meat if it bears no resemblance whatsoever to an actual crab. (Let’s face it, they look like giant spiders, you have to boil them alive to eat them on the shell and ANYTHING that still has it’s eyeballs to stare at you with while you’re eating it is just plain ghoulish) Despite this horror of undersea monsters, I adore this design and figure that, if anything, it’ll make the Prawn less likely to ask me to fix him or her Prawn cocktail later in life. (Blergh.) Mr. DD loves the design too, but if you ask me, I think he also likes the idea of our children finding this thing in our attic long after we’re going and going “WTF?”

I hope no one thinks I’m a big, fat thief or anything for skanking this design. Like I said, I would never even consider trying to pass someone else’s work off as my own and would CERTAINLY never try to sell it, but I imagine that the Prawn will probably be called “The Prawn” well after his or her birth, and we liked the idea of being able to celebrate the nickname. Plus, neither of us could live with teddy bears or other fuzztastic baby clich├ęs on the walls.

Monday, February 05, 2007

For Real

Okay, so I’m starting to think that I might actually be having a baby or something.

Mr. DD and I, looking nervously at the calendar, finally bit the bullet and made a trip to the local Babies backwards R Us to pick up…well, whatever the hell it is that babies need. I hate to admit that neither of us have a particularly solid idea and are totally beholden to the evil giant of the baby goods industry to shape our malleable perceptions of what is necessary and what is a load of shit that our kid won’t need in a million years but we better buy anyhow, because OTHERWISE WE ARE BAD PARENTS AND OUR CHILD WILL END UP BLIND, STUPID AND WORKING ON A CHAIN GANG.

Well, we figured a crib is probably a good start, so we got one of those. A changing table also seemed like a fairly good bet, so that went in the trolley too. A complete breastfeeding system from Avent seemed simpler than combing through the shelves for all the individual components, so what’s 129 quid between me and a multi million dollar corporation? (although, to be fair, I did do my homework a bit and it seemed to be the system that was reviewed most favourably by actual, honest to god people who used it.) Baby monitors? Check. Bedding? Erm….yeah, I guess we need that too, but aren’t there like 15 layers or something? What the hell do I know? Just chuck that in there too. The mattress cost almost as much as ours, so it should be comfy, right? A bath set? Why not? INTO THE TROLLEY WITH YOU.

500 pounds later, we felt rather like we’d gotten screwed with our pants on, but at least we felt slightly better knowing that the Prawn wouldn’t be sleeping in one of our new dresser drawers.

To be honest, although the damage to my credit card frightened me, the idea that the Prawn will be here in a matter of weeks was a complete bowel emptier. Although the Prawn is hugely anticipated and very much wanted, I can’t help but ask the question, “What do I know about babies?” Jack, is the precise answer.

I’m an only child and since I lived in the middle of nowhere while growing up, the only kids to baby sit belonged to our next-door neighbors. By the time I was old enough to look after them, they were all well out of diapers. (They are now well out of college, which makes me feel slightly ancient.) So, experience with newborns? 0. Have I ever changed a diaper? Nope. All in all feeling of complete ineptitude? Oh yeah.

Of course, I would be naive to think that I’m the first person to experience this overwhelming feeling of unreadiness for parenthood. People much younger and with far less life experience than me have made perfectly acceptable parents and have managed to make it through the first year without feeding their babies to wolverines or anything, so why should I be worried? Natural, I guess. No matter how old you are, or how desperately wanted the child, becoming fully and wholly responsible for another person’s welfare is a little overwhelming.

Part of it is also wishing that we had slightly more support. One can’t blame a woman for wanting her mother around when her first baby arrives. Mine, unfortunately, is 3000 miles away and my mother-in-law, who in her better days, probably would have been a tremendous help, (she’s a former midwife) has retreated further into a fog of dementia- unlikely to even completely comprehend that the Prawn will be her grandchild, let alone able to dispense advice. Although we have a few friends, it feels very much like Mr. DD and I will be flying solo in terms of support. (I reckon that we’ll be able to win my brother in law around to changing diapers eventually, so that we might be able to go out to dinner once in a blue moon, but it’s going to take some doing.) However, it feels ungrateful to whine. Many, many women go on this journey by themselves, either by choice or by circumstance. I feel hugely blessed to have a partner like my husband.

So, t-minus 4 weeks, 3 days and counting if the Prawn is punctual. Less if he/she is unfashionably early, which I have the feeling he/she will be. Expect more notes from an unready mother…