Friday, January 30, 2009

Hospital Update

Some of you might think I'm a bit nuts, blogging and going on Facebook while I'm here at the hospital but it's keeping me sane and I really want to keep family & friends up-to-date. In the old days new mums probably spent this time washing cloth diapers and knitting mittens. Most were probably home by now too but they'll keep me here till tomorrow because of the surgery.
Danny is in the nursery right now - I waved the white flag about 4am this morning and the nurse took him, to give me a longer sleep than 2 hours. I felt so guilty but ohhhh, so in need of some sleep and I've been in quite a bit of pain too, seeing as I really over-did it yesterday (sorry mum, never could rest).
So what's planned for today?
  • Well, I just took a shower and then blow-dried my c-section wound.
  • My milk will probably come in today or tomorrow and I'm bottle feeding, so all instructions tell me to avoid touching my chest area unless I want severely painful engorged boobs. Here's what I do to try and avoid it - no hot water from the shower, don't touch them. Probably not a good idea even to look at them. Wear a sports bra. If they still hurt, wrap them in cabbage leaves for 48 hours. Ahem, what? Cabbage leaves? Wonder why?
  • Jack's back in child care so Craig will be coming to spend the day with me and Danny. Wonderful. Yesterday all the kids from child care made cards for us. I'm going to make them into a collage and take a picture later.
  • More visitors hopefully. We had about 20 yesterday which was great and I feel so spoiled. I'll post visitor pictures later.
  • Enjoy this time because when I go home it'll be bonkers and I'll certainly not be blogging or Facebooking for a while! Right now I'm living in a luxury private room with all my needs met. This whole experience will cost my insurance company about $16,000. What's even more amazing is that my portion of the whole cost will be a flat-fee of $350 because my health insurance is so good. Question - How on earth do people without health insurance have babies???
That's it for now. I'm going to toddle off and find a cup of tea*. For those of you that don't like too much graphic information, stop reading now ..
* I passed wind last night!!!!!! This means that after 2 days of beef broth and Jello I can now eat and drink like a normal person. Hurrah!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Danny's Birth Day

Thank heavens for friends! With 8 inches of snow and 1 inch of ice landing in Ohio yesterday we really had to rely on the good will of others to help with our lad's birth. Day care was closed so Brian & Emily took care of Jack. He thought it was Christmas, getting to spend the whole day playing with his 2024 prom date, Katy. Thanks guys - much appreciated!

Once we got to the hospital everything went tickety-boo. Unless of course I mention one of the nurses, who I nicknamed "the butcher". This woman must have been raised to handle wild boars because she made the IV and catheter insertion so painful I shouted out "Christ!" at one point and poor Craig had to sit down because he got a bit wobbly watching her try and shove things in me. Also, her version of "I'm just going to shave your c-section area" feel like I was being thrown onto my back and sheared like a prize Welsh Mountain sheep.

Anyway, the rest of the c-section went GREAT. Sorry to sound all chirpy about it but this has been my second c-section where the spinal tap and the surgery and everything else that's supposed to be horrific was actually a fab experience. Craig was great, keeping my mind of things that were happening behind the blue curtain. After about 30 minutes we heard the doctor exclaim "my word, he's a big one!" and we looked at each other and got choked up as we heard him cry out for the first time. Here he is, with his dad. He's about 2 minutes old...

I didn't get to see him then for 4 hours as I was in the recovery room, but Craig went up to the nursery and cuddled him for a while. Last night I got myself up and my recovery is going great. He's been so quiet and sleepy so far but today he looked me right in the eye for about 5 minutes and I fell completely and hopelessly in love with him. He's got really soft, downy blond hair that smells wonderful, and he's got slate-blue eyes and kissable chubby cheeks.

Talking of completely in love with things. Here's our two lads together for the first time ...


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Look What's Coming!

Blizzard conditions in the Midwest have caused a state of emergency to be issued for Oklahoma. And it's on it's way HERE, to Ohio. I just captured this picture off the weather channel and they are forecasting 5-11 inches of snow in the next 24 hours.

Why am I concerned you may ask? What aren't I donning my fluffy slippers and hoping for a day off work to take Jack sledding?

Well, because I'm having a baby tomorrow and am kind of relying on the fact that we (me, Craig, doctor) can actually get to the hospital.

I think the word for these occasions might be "arghhhhh!"

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Letter "H"

Clippy Mat gave me a fun task. Here's the guidelines:

1. Write about ten things you love that begin with a given letter
2. Post the list on your blog.
3. When people comment on your list, you assign them a new letter, and the game continues.
As she said, fun right? And it saves you the bother of thinking of something to blog about for one day.

Here's my list of 10 things I love beginning with the letter "H"

My darling Husband of 13 years, Craig. He'll be a trooper this week, like he is all the time. I admire single mums and women who choose to live alone but it's fabulous to have someone to change furnace filters, kill big spiders and tinker with the cars.

Clinton. I am excited about Obama but I'm sleeping a bit easier knowing she's behind the scenes.

The name Harry was on the short list for our new baby. It's Craig's dad, my uncle, my step-sister's son, and the lad that's 3rd in line to the British throne (okay, not a good example)

Being blonde, I like that I have never been Hairy. However, as I'm getting older I realise that hair pops up in unlikely places in unlikely colours and comical shapes. I have one little intruder that pops up on my chin periodically, prompting my husband to nickname me "the bearded lady"

Hawthorn hedges remind me of my childhood - the smell that the blossom brought each year, the bird's nests within and the big hairy caterpillars that dropped from the branches and squiggled their way across the garden.

There's no place like Home and I've always been a homebody. I am guilty of hiding behind curtains when people call round and not answering the phone as much as I should.

Horticulture keeps me sane and is the one true thing I love about the coming of spring. Each winter I am fidgety with impatience to get outside and get my hands dirty

Hedgehogs. Why aren't they in America? And why aren't there raccoons in England? Seems to me we should make things more interesting and do an exchange of varmints

Haworth & Holmfirth - two beautiful Yorkshire villages I miss and would readily retire to if I ever win the lottery.

Happy people. I shirk from the rude, moody and hypochondriac folks among the human race. In life you sometimes meet people that say "I call a spade a spade" - I think that's just an excuse for being an arse. Please lie to me if it means being kind :-)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Headless Chicken

My doctor called this morning and asked if we could change the c-section day. My initial reaction was "noooo!" thinking she meant to make me wait longer, but she actually brought it forward a couple of days. So, yikes. He'll be here two days earlier than I thought. He's coming. Soon. *Gulp*.

I have so much to do at work that it's actually better this way as it forces me to say "you know what? I can't possibly get it all done, so f*** it!".

My boss has been great. He came to my office tonight at 6pm and ordered me home. My mum ordered me home and told me not to run around like a headless chicken this weekend. Friends have emailed and offered help and support with Jack. Makes me realise just how lucky I am to be surrounded by these people even if I don't have family support like I would if I lived in England.

I still have a few must-do's though:
Make the music cd
Pack a coming-home outfit for him
Gather toiletries, pyjamas, camera charger and big knickers
Make Jack feel loved as usual. My heart aches with love for him. He won't be left out will he? He'll understand that we love him just as much?

As you can see by this blog, my head is in bits.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Day in the Life of Sausage Fingers

While getting Jack ready this morning he told me his bum hurt. I had all sorts of alarm bells going off in my head of bullying and falling over etc. at day-care. I asked him why his bum hurt. He said a dinosaur bit him.

It's official - my fingers have turned into big fat sausages and the rings came off today. Feels funny without them.

Having tons of contractions but God, please don't let this little fella come before next week. I'm not ready. Too much work. Bag not packed. Not hoovered or polished. Boss will have a conniption (he will anyway - America is not too "maternity-leave friendly" compared to Europe)

As promised, here is the link to the BBC Radio 5 "UK versus USA" debate last night on Expat Mum's Blog. Interesting stuff. Particularly liked her "puppy" comment and his observation that it's probably better to be shot than stabbed and set on fire. You'll have to listen to it to understand!

Obama's first day as President and someone sent me a funny video of Bush's goofs over the last 8 years entitled "you'll miss him really". Errrrr NO, I really won't. REALLY. I won't.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The End of MLK Weekend & I'm Knackered!

It's the end of the long weekend (it was Martin Luther King Day today) and I'm ready to get back to work tomorrow.

Entertaining Jack for 3 days has been fun but exhausting now that I'm the size of a woolly mammoth. We took him to a play area today at the local mall but I only lasted an hour, what with a gazillion screaming kids and some parents that need a good slap. I have a sneaking suspicion some parents dump their kids and run off to shop too. At one point I called some of the kids savages (to Craig of course, not to their faces, tempted as I was).

It's the inauguration tomorrow (hurrah!) so I've spent my time in the kitchen tonight getting ready for the festivities. We've got a party tomorrow at work so I made little egg triangular sarnies - typically English and they always go down a treat. I've also made a batch of chocolate cup-cakes for Jack to take to day-care as a treat. Don't I sound American? Baking cup-cakes! My English friends will think the real Pam has been abducted by aliens seeing as I used to spend my evenings drinking wine and talking bollocks. Talking of which, the picture at the top is of a t-shirt I got from Char & Jan, which is going to be packed into my hospital bag.

Well folks, baby number two will be here before the end of the month. People have gone from asking questions and being friendly to looking downright scared in my presence. You can see them thinking "please don't go into labour while I'm in this elevator with you!"

Lastly, I have 3 blog-related things to share this week: Clippy May tagged me with the letter "H" which I will respond to in the next few days, Strawberry Jam Anne gave me an award that I will pass along this week, and two great people in the blogosphere, ExpatMum & Mike H, will be doing a BBC Radio 5 interview about living in the UK versus the USA, which I will try and link to later in the week. I can't wait to listen to it - Mike is American living in the UK and Expat is English living in Chicago. Should be interesting!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Music for our Boy

I just got back from our local shop where the proprietor got shot last month. His son said he's doing a bit better but isn't walking, probably won't. They never did catch the robber or find his car. I ventured out in this freezing weather because I wanted to enquire about the owner and get my lottery tickets (it can only be a matter of time folks, surely). While I was there I picked up some Cabernet Sauvignon for Craig. It was funny how many people gave me disapproving looks as I waddled my big pregnant bump out of the shop carrying a bottle of plonk!

Anyway, not long now before the little fella gets here. He must be as uncomfortable as me at this point. He's started having hiccups too.

Tonight I'm making a start on his music cd. We made one for Jack, as well as a journal, a scrapbook and enough photographs to wallpaper the Empire State Building. As much as I don't have quite the energy to do it all again to that extent we don't want this little boy to be treated differently.

Danny's music cd will include our current favourite songs and some classics. I also want to include songs that our friends like. Here's my list so far...

Really want but can only find on YouTube (see below) ~
Ray LaMontagne & Damien Rice: To love somebody

Recent Favourites ~
Ray LaMontagne: You are the best thing
John Mayer: Free fallin'
The New Pornographers: My rights versus yours
Elbow: One day like this (the song from my best friend's wedding last summer)
Oasis: I'm outta time
Coldplay: Viva La Vida
Ben Folds: You don't know me
The Verve: Rather be
Keane: Perfect symmetry
Amy Winehouse: Back to Black

A couple of cheesy songs, but must-haves ~
Johnny Cash: Father & son
Shane McGowan: Danny boy

Okay, anyone know how on earth I can snaffle music from YouTube so I can get this fabulous song on Danny's cd?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire a Big Hit for Us!

We watched "Slumdog Millionaire" last night. What a fabulous film!! 

If it was my decision between Slumdog & Gran Torino (another beautiful film) for the best film Oscar I think my vote would be for Slumdog.

My only slightly incy-wincy niggle with the film was the lead actress. I just didn't feel really warm about her - even at the end she didn't seem like she was in love like she should have been, and I don't think that was the character she played - I think the actress just didn't quite capture it somehow. 

BUT, I'm a hopeless romantic and I like to see outpourings of love, like the kiss in the poppy fields in "A Room with a View" or the desperation of Heathcliff. 

The lead actor the the two little boys who play the brothers when they are young are just amazing. What a great great film!

Here's the Slumdog trailer ...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Snow Storms & Man Trees

It snowed today! Then snowed and snowed and snowed ..

The drive home from work was a bit hairy. I took this picture on the freeway but don't worry about safety - I was stopped at the time so I could re-balance my coffee cup, tune in my radio and call Craig on my mobile

Got home, wrapped up and ventured out before sunset at 5.30pm. The evening was so pretty and deathly quiet like it is when there's a blanket of snow everywhere.

The snicket near our house. I love the snicket for many reasons - I can let Cody off his lead to chase squirrels, there is a fantastic lightshow of fireflies down there each summer, there's a secret rock where two star-crossed lovers leave notes for each other (we did read one once but it was cryptic so we stuffed it back in the envelope and put it back on the rock), and there's some neighbours with a fabulous garden that I can stand and chat with about plants.

Jack loved sledding tonight. He didn't remember a thing about last years adventure but certainly got into it again this year

My neighbour's tree. Must be the 5th time I've posted a picture of it but it's quite the celebrity tree in our little part of town and I feel very lucky to get to see it from my kitchen window every night. Takes Dave about 5 weeks to put the lights up and constitutes him teetering on a 30 ft. ladder with a big pole. He's out there in freezing weather, radio on, listening to local sports and smoking his cigar. Sometimes he'll crack open a cold beer too. I think Craig secretly wishes he had a "man tree" that was all his own, that he could escape to.

And lastly, a short video (34 secs) of our lad sledding and poor Craig lugging him back up the hill for the 20th time. I know these videos are a fantastic bore, like looking at holiday photos or baby pictures, but I post them on here for his English grandparents, who are missing these moments and want to see him "in action". Of course bloggy friends who want can watch them too:

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Toddler Tug O' War

Craig had a dentist appointment today so I picked Jack up from daycare. To set the scene - I'm now HUGE, tired, waddling, had a rough day at work but ohhh, so looking forward to seeing my boy, seeing his little face light up and have him run into my arms shouting "mummy, I love you more than anything in the world!" Okay, slight exaggeration but you get my drift.

He was being a little rascal and wouldn't put his coat on to come home. His day care worker Serkalem said "Jack, do you want to come home with me?" and he said "yes!"   

I looked at her in disbelief.  Then she repeated it and he said "yes" again and she picked him up. 

Now I have my child crying "I want to go home with Serkalem!" It took me a few minutes of me shouting at him, prying her from his arms, to get him to the car. By this point he's crying properly and I'm unbelievably pissed off. And really upset. My child loves Serkalem more than me. Wants to go and live with her. I tell him he can go and bloody live with her, then take that back and tell him he can't live with her, that he lives with mummy and daddy and he's upset me and I don't want him to say it anymore. We argue all the way home. He's bawling. I have a little cry and feel like strangling the day care worker.

Phew. Sorry about that folks but it was therapeutic to type away like a mad woman and get it of my chest. I was typing so frantically I had about 1,000 typing errors and even pressed the "Caps lock" button without noticing for a couple of lines (don't you just hate it when that happens.)

I ended up ringing the owner and telling her about it, because this is about the third time this girl has done this to us and I think she's dead wrong. I'm told it's a cultural thing - that she means no malice, but it invariably ends up with Jack crying and me feeling like crap and tearful all the way home.  Is she being an insensitive little trollop or are my pregnancy hormones turning me into a tearful idiot?

And if she does it again, what should I do?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Death O'Clock Ramblings

I've been awake since about 3am but didn't want to wake the house so have come down to the basement to do laundry and blog with a big cup of Rosie. As I'm sat here I'm clutching my left side as my doctor told me this week that Danny's foot is not lodged under my ribcage as I thought but my stomach has been squished up there into the size of a walnut. Hence, every time I eat anything I'm in pain. Nice. I've also been having mild contractions but am hoping the little rum'n stays put.

I found this picture this week. Look at the eye colour! Jack's are green (same as me), but Craig's are blue. I wonder what Danny's will be like? Maybe he'll have brown eyes and dark hair like his 3D picture suggests. Maybe he'll be ginger with hazel eyes, like the postman :-)

I've got two parties today. A 5th birthday, which means I've got some "Transformer" toys to wrap upstairs and I'm going to have to put on my best happy face when surrounded by scores of screaming toddlers, and my friend Gina is throwing a baby shower for me this afternoon. That might be a wash-out though, since we're expecting blizzards and ice and 3-5 inches of snow today. Not much else planned for my weekend except nesting.

Craig will be pottering around in the garage with his new boat. He got a great bargain on a canoe and trailer last night and is very excited about the whole thing. He promises me he won't be a smart arse and try to rock it while I'm in there (on the water of course, not in the garage). It looks sturdy enough I suppose. But still, the thought of tootling down a river in a bit of fiberglass that's longer than it is wide doesn't make me feel so much like Lady of the Lake as it does Frank Spencer. Talking of which, I just started to watch his clips on YouTube - so now I'm sat here clutching both sides, laughing! Enjoy this little clip:

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

See You Soon, Danny Boy

One of the big advantages of being an old lady when you are pregnant is that the medical profession spoils you. Today I had my 6th and final ultrasound and once again they gave me a wonderful 3D picture as part of the service. This is Danny's lovely little face. He doesn't look too much like Jack I don't think. He has a bit of hair and his chin is elf-like and pointed, rather than Kirk Douglas-style like Jack's.
They're saying he weighs about 7 lb 14 oz already so will be over 9 lbs at birth. Everything looks great.
Well Danny my love, I'll see you in the flesh very soon.
Love you already, Mummy XXX

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Bits n Bobs This Week

My beloved Buckeyes lost another bowl game last night. Craig and I sat bolt-upright in bed until midnight, chewing the ends of our fingers until the last, excruciating Texas touch-down that put an end to our hopes of a victory. My boss was so upset by the whole thing he wrote out his 4 major game complaints, taped them to his door and then refused to discuss the game. 

Doctors appointment today went great - Danny's BIG, probably already 8lbs. Thank God my cervix is clamped shut, which means no "any day now" surprises, because I'm not ready and I have a ton of stuff to do at work before my maternity leave. His room is nearly ready though and I'll post some pictures later. Jack's getting excited about coming to the hospital and meeting his little brother & he's taken to kissing my belly - very cute!

Last week my local corner shop got held-up at gunpoint and the owner shot. He was 73, a grandad, a lovely man who gave us little gifts and always asked after my mum. A robber shot him in the upper arm, piercing his chest, then entering his spine and rendering him paralyzed from the waist down. The robber didn't get any money, ran away with nothing.  How utterly senseless and sad.

I have already broken a NYE resolution. As  part of my 2009 economizing plan, I was going to cut out Starbucks. Not only have I been twice already this week but I bought a pay-as-you-go card.  I have the willpower of Edward the Confessor.

I just read the 3-book story by Dave Pelzer (A Child Called It, The Lost Boy, A Man Called Dave) and have mixed feelings about him. He suffered terrible abuse at the hands of his mum, went on to become a successful speaker and author but there's something so unlikable about him, so self-loathing maybe that it's hard to take him into your heart once he becomes an adult.  I found myself thinking, "you're 40 mate, get over it" but then feeling terribly guilty because maybe you just can't get over it. Maybe you spend the rest of your life messed in the head, no matter how much therapy you get. It's a story that will stay with me forever and I'm still trying to understand his mum, to get inside her head and find out why she did those things to her middle son, and yet leave his siblings alone. Why did he have to sit in the garage each Christmas Day, sitting in the POW position (sat on hands, head back), starving and freezing cold, listening to his brothers opening presents and eating dinner?  As a mother that's unimaginable to me.

I just started Barack Obama's book "Dreams of my Father" and I'm really enjoying it. He's only in 6th grade and already had a colourful life, full of characters and exotic places and funny stories. The fact that his family call him Barry and he smokes also makes me smile, because it makes him sound so down-to-earth. 

Weather here is pants - freezing rain mainly. This morning I had to dodge at least 2 cars careering wildly across the lanes as they tried to get to work on time, no doubt still drunk from game-time last night and late for work. Do I sound bitter? You bet I am. I spent another Buckeye football game sober, and we lost. 

Thursday, January 01, 2009

It's all About the Bump

Happy New Year everyone! We've been to 2 parties in two days and I've eaten  a lot but obviously been tee-total, though I did neck a whole bottle of bubbly grape juice last night which made me feel like a rebel and sent me to the loo ten times. The topic of conversation around me now is babies. Whether I want to talk about world affairs, music, films & books matters not - inevitably people steer it back to the most obvious subject in my presence - the large bump that sits out front.

The questions are always the same and generate the same discussions. Here's a small sample:
  • I'm having a c-section. Not by choice, because regardless of what my cheeky husband tells you, I'm not 'too posh to push".  I'm having a c-section because I've had one before, the baby is big and I'm old. I had one before because I'd had a "procedure" for pre-cancerous cells, the baby was big and I was old.
  • No, I am not going to breast feed this time, but hey, thanks for asking nosey-parker. I did last time & had a terrible time. Kudos to women who do.
  • Jack knows he has a baby brother coming. He asked me today how baby Danny is going to get out of my belly. I told him I'd hiccup him out. I was cornered so panic-answered but hopefully I haven't scarred him for life.
  • This is it - no more kids for us. During the section, my Doc is going to tie my tubes. She assures me that it's just another 5 minutes and as she says "well, I'm in there anyway so may as well...".  I hope I don't feel sad about this afterwards, like a choice has been taken away from me. 
I also find that most women want to talk about their experiences too, to share stuff with me and and tell funny stories of obnoxious nurses or embarrassing moments or goofy husbands. I love being a part of it all - it's a club all mothers belong to that unites us and gives us things to talk about, even when we haven't even met before. I'll miss that part of my pregnancy.