Monday, 26 January 2009

MRSA? Not For Me, Thank You

I'm sure you'll all (especially those of you who come in to contact with me) be very glad to hear that the results of my MRSA swabs came back negative. What a clean bean I must be!

On another note entirely, this time last year hubby & I were in Carmel-by-the-Sea, where Clint Eastwood is mayor. We didn't see Clint, but we did have a nice relaxing stay in this somewhat twee little town with its very lovely beach.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Hello Aubrey; Who's Your Friend?

Oh, this is Bramble, he's my slightly paler cousin. Handsome chap, isn't he? He's off oop north to live with Dylan; I really think he should be wearing a coat and possibly carrying an umbrella as I've heard it can be cold and wet oop north. But you know what these youngsters are like, there's just no telling them.

And why is he called Bramble, I hear you ask? Well, Dylan is a big fan of Wigan Athletic Football Club (although at just under three weeks old, he probably doesn't know it yet), and hubby (also a Wigan fan) suggested this new bear should be named after a Wigan player. Clearly that did limit the options somewhat. I was all set to call him Emile until Mr Heskey hotfooted it to Aston Villa. Other possiblities were Zaki, Lee, Wilson (until he was sold to Spurs), Mario, Paul or Maynor. But I think I was right to go for Bramble. And here is a photo of the man himself - quite a likeness wouldn't you agree?!
And, on a completely different note - this was the bday cake I got for hubby this year. Hubby luuuurves Mr Kipling's French Fancies, so when I saw this giant one nestled on the cake shelves in Strescos, how could I resist?

Friday, 23 January 2009

It's All About Baby

If you have no interest in baby stuff you'll probably want to ignore this post. I know I would.

When Delightful Child is born we know s/he (ha! still not giving it away, although I'm sure most people know by now) will totally and utterly take over our lives (this is the main reason why having children was never top of my agenda - my life is all about me, you see.) But I had no idea how much my calendar would be dedicated to DC pre-birth.

In the space of four days this week I/we (cos sometimes hubby had to come too) have been to the hospital for a 34-week scan and an appointment at the Antenatal Clinic (nearly two hours in total); entertained the midwife at our country hellhole (for an hour and a half); been to the third antenatal class (for two and a quarter hours), and been to the doctor's surgery for a blood test (which didn't happen - long and not at all interesting story.)

At the 34-week scan I got the sonographer to absolutely triply check DC's sex, and it's still what we were told it was at 20 weeks (ie nothing has dropped off/grown in the down below region that shouldn't have, if that makes sense.) At the antenatal clinic I was told that DC is probably going to be a big baby, which comes as no surprise - you only have to look at its parents. The midwife and staff grade person I saw were both in favour of me having a homebirth, but the consultant anaesthetist, who clearly walks round under a grey cloud a la Eeyore, advises against it as she thinks I am at risk of needing emergency intervention. Well, currently I am thumbing my nose at her and keeping my fingers crossed (bet you're impressed by the dexterity of my digits that I can do both at the same time) that she is very, very wrong.

So then the midwife came round to discuss the homebirth with us. She is very positive about it all, which is super encouraging. She brought round two swabs for me which I had to 'do' this morning and then drop off at the doctor's surgery. These were to check if I carry the MRSA bug. Scary! Apparently if I am a carrier and I end up going to hospital to have the baby they will put me in isolation inside one of those plastic bubbles and only people wearing HAZMAT suits will be allowed within 50 yards. Actually, that's a bit of an exaggeration. If I do carry MRSA I'll have to use some sort of special shower gel (presumably made from 100% Domestos since that 'kills all known germs, dead') and that'll sort me and the superbugs out. I had to put one swab up my nose and one down my throat. Since I've only just got over my cold I'm convinced that all they will find on the nose swab is a bogey, and because of my over-active pregnancy gag reflex, all they'll find on the throat swab is a small piece of vomit (probably in the form of a carrot.) Hope you weren't eating when you read that bit.

Then, last night hubby & I trotted off to Marlow for another antenatal class where we learnt all about the joy of the caesarean section, how to swaddle a baby and what baby poo looks like.

This morning it was off to the doctor's for a blood test which didn't happen in the end because there had been a mix-up with the forms they need to fill in. Ho hum.

Sunday evening we get to visit the Labour Ward (assuming nobody is giving birth in it at the tme) at High Wycombe hospital. And then Monday there's another antenatal class to attend. When will it ever end?!

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Happy Birthday Dear Hubby!

Today is hubby's thirty-%^&*$th (not sure he'll thank me if I broadcast it) birthday - poor old chap. Still, as he always likes to remind me, he's not as old as I am (by all of seven-and-a-half weeks.)

This time last year we celebrated his birthday by spending a night at the fabulous Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo, which is just a totally crazy and totally American kind of place. We stayed in the Misty Rock room with its waterfall shower (sorry, no photos I'm afraid), had drinks at the Silver Bar (look at that lovely, delicious, delectable pre-pregnancy glass of wine I was about to enjoy)ate a huge slice of birthday cake in the Copper Cafe and had dinner in the Gold Rush SteakhouseAll in all, quite an experience.
So, hubby what did you do in the year since your last birthday? You visited seven American states (or was it eight?), Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Honduras, Belize, and Canada. Spent a month living in New York. Took a three-week road-trip though Europe with stops in Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and France. You started a new job as an international businessman. And you got me up the duff.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

This Time Last Year

We were in Santa Barbara, where the sun was shining and the mercury was hitting the mid-60s. How pleasant is that in mid-January? Santa Babs was a lovely town with an interesting museum, a town hall which had a lovely grassy courtyard for picnic-ing in and a tower affording great views,a pier, and good shops and restaurants. I think I could live there.
And there was a laundromat... Oh, the glamorous life of the traveller.

Monday, 19 January 2009

A Busy Weekend

Friday morning hubby & I had the joy of a five-hour antenatal class. Yes sireee, five whole hours. Truth be told, neither of us was really looking forward to it, but in actual fact the time flew by and it wasn't too bad at all. We learnt all about different forms of pain relief for labour and practised breathing exercises. The breathing business was quite remarkable - I couldn't feel a thing; it seems that as long as I remember to take a few deep breaths labour will be a doddle... And apparently eating Jaffa Cakes helps too.

After the class we popped to the solicitors to start the house-buying process (did I tell you we've bought a house?!); then it was a quick foray in to Starbucks for a Gingerbread Latte and then back to the car for the three-hour drive to Wigan (hubby's home town), via IKEA in Warrington where we bought some cheap shower curtains in preparation for the home birth (I'll let you figure out why we think we might need these.)

Saturday we popped round to Mark & Fiona's to meet baby Dylan who was born just 11 days earlier. Hubby & I practised our baby-holding techniques and discovered that it can really make your arm ache. Almost impossible to believe that in six or so weeks we'll have one of these baby things ourselves, for real and for ever. YIKES.

Then it was off to Winstanleys Pram World where we finally got round to ordering a pram, which hubby's mum very kindly bought for us. Quite a weight off my mind to have finally ordered it, although hubby was a bit concerned when I started wondering round looking at prams that weren't the one we'd already decided on. He had pretty much lost the will to live when it comes to pram-choosing; it's not easy at all - there are so many different options. And even now I'm thinking to myself have we made the right choice since the one we bought doesn't come with a cup holder, so where on earth am I supposed to put my Latte?

Then hubby & I went to Cedar Farm Gallery for some lunch, a visit to the lovely animals they have there and a look at the craft shops where I bought myself a lovely felt flower brooch to brighten up my wrap. Am thinking that making felt brooches looks like a very easy thing to do. Perhaps this knitting lark is the wrong thing to be spending my time on.

Then it was back to the homestead where I promptly fell asleep til 6pm when it was time to put my party outfit on and make my way downstairs where a 70th birthday party was in full swing. Or in as much 'swing' as a 70th can be. I managed to sustain my party-going until about 10.30pm, but then had to leave everyone to it and wind my weary way to bed.

Sunday we made a quick visit to one of hubby's chums and by 1pm were on the way back down south; home by 4pm and an evening spent catching up with the lovely Sky+; two episodes of Coronation Street - what more could you ask for on a cold winter's evening?

Sunday, 18 January 2009

This Time Last Year

We were spending the day at Universal Studios in LA. We would have spent longer at Universal had we not got stuck on one of LA's nightmare freeways which appear to have no exits, which meant we went miles out of way before having to backtrack across the city.

Universal wasn't bad - the tour around the studios and backlots was really interesting, especially when we got to see Wisteria Lane (much smaller in real life than it looks on the tv), but the rides were a little disappointing. I was most upset that The Mummy ride was closed, since The Mummy is one of my favourite films. Hubby was disappointed because The Mummy had replaced the Back to the Future ride, so it was sad faces all round. We finished our day at Universal with a visit to the cinema to see Sweeney Todd, which we enjoyed. Then it was back to Santa Monica for a takeout pizza and bed by 9pm - jetlag still going strong.

Friday, 16 January 2009

A Major Depression Approaching From the East

Oh dear, oh dear, woe is me. Hubby & I are depressed. We can now commence the game of 'where were we this time last year?', for today is the one year anniversary of the start of our seven month trip to North & Central America and Europe. I can't believe it's a whole year. Hubby has just said 'If someone had said a year ago that today we would be heading off to antenatal classes and you'd be seven and a half months pregnant we wouldn't have believed them'. And I wholeheartedly agree with that statement.

So, this time last year we were awaiting the arrival of the carpet cleaning man and the oven cleaning man; we were rushing around maniacally trying to find homes for all the things that we still hadn't put away so that the house would be ready to be let out to our tenants. Then at 12noon the taxi arrived to take us to Heathrow for our flight to Los Angeles. Once we were on board, that's when it felt like the trip we'd been planning for several months had really started. Until that moment it was hard to believe we were actually going to be travelling for quite a major length of time. We were soooooo excited.

After landing at LAX, we picked up a hire car (henceforth known as Misty), and drove to Santa Monica where we spent our first night.

If you want to read about our travels in more detail, you can have a look at the blog I wrote when we were on the road

Otherwise, you can tune in here for (possibly) daily updates of 'Where were we this time last year?'. Bet you can hardly wait!

And now, instead of jetting off to LA, it's time for hubby & I to head off to a five-hour antenatal class. That's enough time to actually give birth, isn't it?!

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Jack's Back

Yey! Hubby & I are mucho pleased. Last night the new series of 24 started.
We are big fans of Jack Bauer and have been looking forward to Series Seven very much. You can tell how much I like it because I managed to stay up til nearly 11pm to watch the first two episodes, when usually I would have been slumped in bed by 9.30pm.

Scary thing is, by the time this series finishes, there will be three of us watching it. Clearly we'll have to fill Delightful Child in on what has already happened (although perhaps DC can hear the tv from in the safe confines of my tummy and knows what the plot is so far), but it's a very scary thought.

And to top it all, tonight is the new series of CSI; and what a way to end the last series with Warwick being shot! Not to mention the fact that the new series of CSI:New York started on Saturday night. And then there's Relocation Relocation. So there is pretty much no need to ever venture out of the house ever again, which is lucky as I've heard a rumour that when you have a small baby your life pretty much comes to an end.

Monday, 12 January 2009

We Survived

Hubby & I had our first antenatal class on Thursday night. We were a little nervous that we could be surrounded by clog-wearing, yoghurt-knitting, tree-hugging, cross-legged on the yoga mat types but, from first impressions, we seem to have struck lucky. Everyone seemed pretty normal. So far, at least. There are plenty more sessions for people to reveal their true colours.
Out of the eight ladies there, I'm the only one who is hoping for a home birth. One lady was asking me all about it, since she was under the impression that you can't have your first baby at home - don't know where she got that idea from. I think there was a frisson of interest as well when the lady teaching the class mentioned that ladies having home births get two midwives assigned to them, whereas in hospital you have to make do with one between however many ladies decide to go in to labour at the same time. (Actually, it might not be that bad, but hospital births definitely don't get two midwives each.) Keep all your fingers and toesies crossed that I can actually have a home birth, because I don't really want to go in to hopsital if I can help it. Also, keep everything crossed that I go in to labour on a Monday or a Friday so there are two episodes of Coronation Street to keep me occupied in between contractions.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Good Golly Miss Molly

It sure is cold round these parts! -12C last night, in a little town not too far from where we live.
-12C? I don't think I ever remember seeing that sort of number before in a weather-related situation, not in warm and sunny (ahem) England. You'd expect it if you lived in Antarctica (can you live there?) for instance, or perhaps Alaska or Siberia, but not here. BRRRRRRR.

Our nasty rental house is tucked away in such a stupid position in the middle of the woods that the snow that fell on Sunday night (only about a centimetre, so no big deal really), still hasn't melted.

When we first came across the place that we rent, we fell in love with it almost instantly. It's in such a peaceful setting (when you ignore the neighbour's seven, yes seven, dogs barking/yapping), out in the woods. If you use the bathroom at the front of the house you can sometimes hear the cows mooing in the neighbouring field - now there's a noise you don't often hear whilst doing your ablutions. There's no traffic noise, unless you count aeroplanes and the occasional helicopter overhead; there are no drunken youths wandering past on their way to/from the pub. All in all, rural, aural bliss.

Unfortunately though, you have to take the rough with the smooth when it comes to living in the countryside. And the rough comes in the form of being ABSOUTELY FREEZING and being HELD TO RANSOM BY CALOR GAS, who supply the LPG which powers our heating system. So far, in just three months, we have used £500-worth of LPG just for heating and hot water. That is a shocking amount, when you consider that in our last house (in the middle of town) it cost us about £50 a month for 'normal' gas which powered the heating, hot water and the cooker. And, when you also consider for just how many days we were without heating because of the crappy plumber who took so long to figure out what was wrong with the system. Since discovering just how extortionately expensive LPG is, we have been on a cost-cutting mission which involves having the heating on less. And that's just tickety-boo, isn't it, when the weather decides to turn decidedly Arctic? Can't wait to move out. Watch this space to see where we end up...

Monday, 5 January 2009

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, etc, etc

My goodness I've been a slacker when it comes to blogging these past couple of weeks. My excuse: I've been a little bit poorly and totally lacking in the energy to do almost anything, and that even includes eating which means I really must have been properly poorly. I picked up a nasty cold almost four weeks ago now and it's still hanging around; I just can't seem to shift it. It probably doesn't help that I can't take any cold/flu remedies except paracetamol and hot honey & lemon drinks (which I have imbibed by the gallon.) I even lost my sense of taste/smell over the Xmas period and couldn't taste one single mouthful of the fabulous Xmas dinner that hubby had slaved over. I was really disappointed since pigs in blankets and bread sauce really only come around once a year. I also had absolutely no energy and thus Xmas was spent sitting/lying around doing very little and feeling extreeeeemely sorry for myself. I did summon up the energy to unwrap my Xmas pressies, but had to revisit them several days later since I was so out of it on Xmas Day that I couldn't really remember what I'd been given. Not good at all. And then, on Boxing Day, hubby caught The Cold (it deserves capital letters) too and we have been playing cough tennis ever since (but suffice to say, my cold is definitely much worse - it's me who has the man flu this time.)

Had my 31 week appointment at the doc's on Friday; she noted The Cold and thus had a listen to my chest through her somewhat chilly stethescope. Apparently it sounds worse in my cough than it does on my chest, however it doess appear to have contributed somewhat to raising my pulse rate above what is considered normal. A 'fit' person (not that I am claiming to be in that category) would have a resting pulse rate of 70-something. Anything over 80 is considered unfit. Mine was a stonking 132! It's a miracle my poor little heart hasn't burst.

And now, here we are in 2009. Christmas is over, New Year isn't so new any more and it's back to work. But only for six more weeks. Come tomorrow, it's only eight weeks til Delightful Child is due. Now there's a scary thought...