j4: (baby)
For those who haven't seen the announcement elsewhere:

Imogen Ruth was born at 00:04 on Thursday 7th (weighing 8lb 1oz) in the John Radcliffe hospital.

Thanks to everybody who has already sent congratulations elsewhere, & also to everybody who's given us baby things and advice -- we are very lucky to have such lovely friends!

Photos on my Flickr and on Owen's facebook. I suspect we will add more. :-)

I don't think I can write about the birth yet; the short version is that it didn't really go as planned, & some bits were really quite upsetting. On the other hand, we are all alive & healthy now (if somewhat bruised) & Imogen is the most gorgeous baby in the world, so all's well that ends well.

Got to go and feed her now!

39½ weeks

Mar. 30th, 2011 09:35 pm
j4: (baby)
State of the bump )

So now I guess it's just a question of waiting (hopefully not too long). We'll let you all know when anything happens! (But no, I am not going to live-blog or live-tweet through labour/birth -- you wouldn't believe how many people have asked me...)

37 weeks

Mar. 13th, 2011 09:40 pm
j4: (baby)
37 weeks today. slightly shorter update than last time )

The plan to get the house in order (which should have been started about a year ago, but hey, better late than never) progresses too as we now have SHELVES in the front room! I wish I'd admitted to myself earlier that there was no way I was ever going to put shelves up myself; we finally got a carpenter in and so far he's doing an excellent job for a very reasonable price. One alcove done (and already filled with books), the other to follow next weekend.

Sadly chickened out of going to a schoolfriend's baby's christening this weekend (it would have involved a very early start and a long car journey each way, and I just couldn't face the early rising/sitting/travelling/standing-around) but had a lovely weekend here instead: [livejournal.com profile] jinty (and baby Aphra) called round with a gooseberry bush and a book on breastfeeding; [livejournal.com profile] timscience called round to give me a poem about BADGERS (thanks [livejournal.com profile] cleanskies!) and to borrow piano music; Duncan and Ruth (& baby Zoƫ) called round to borrow our Glee DVD (and reclaim a maternity top that Ruth had lent me but which I'm already too big for); and [livejournal.com profile] addedentry's oldest friend Pablo came up from London to visit (we took him to the Isis for lunch, & the weather was so nice we sat outside to eat ... and when we got slightly chilly we went in & sat by the fire). Times like this remind me how lucky we are to live so near so many friends, to be in such a nice area, to be able to stroll down to the river in the sunshine.

End-of-term

Mar. 6th, 2011 12:37 pm
j4: (baby)
36 weeks today; 4 weeks to my due date, 2 more weeks of work to go, 1 more week until Sprocket is officially at term (not to be confused with 'term' in the Oxford sense, though I think it is 8th week) -- any time before 37 weeks she'd be considered 'premature'.

Long ramble about how I'm feeling, the latest ultrasound scan, my big baby, homebirth assessment, work... as much for my own record as anything else )
j4: (baby)
An update on the iron situation, if anybody's interested: the results from Monday's blood test showed that my iron count was stable at 10 (without having been taking supplements), so I'm hopeful for an increase next week if I carry on drinking blood taking supplements and eating iron-rich food this week. Fortunately iron-rich foods are all really tasty. Clams! Who knew? Not that I have any clams, but still. Blackstrap molasses! Om nom nom!

Opinion seems to be divided on the question of liver, which is why I don't put much faith in opinion. It's currently not recommended in pregnancy (though the disrecommendation is a bit buried in that page, sorry) because vitamin A "could harm your baby if you have too much" ... but I've been struggling to find any actual scientific studies that even look at this, let alone conclude anything. (Anecdotally, I know that my mum was recommended to eat liver when she was pregnant with me because of the extra iron; but I also know that anecdotes are not data.)

BTW, when my GP told me the results of the blood test he reiterated that 10 was "really nothing to worry about", but was (as I suspected) surprised when I told him that the midwife had said that that was the cut-off point for allowing a home birth. He suggested upping the dose of the iron supplements he'd prescribed if I was worried, but he didn't have any opinion on Spatone or Floradix except that both were "worth a try".

Several of you recommended Floradix -- I've tried it and I'm afraid I think it's even more vile than Spatone! YMMV I guess. Hard to know which will work better though -- I suppose I should try each for a week, or something (while keeping diet more or less the same).

Sorry for such a boring post. :-} I would say "normal service will resume shortly" but I fear the boringness is becoming the norm....
j4: (baby)
I had my 34 weeks appointment with the midwife on Monday. Nothing seriously wrong but some niggles )

A couple of days before I saw the midwife, [livejournal.com profile] addedentry and I had an antenatal session from Lynn Banerji (TalkBabyTalk) -- four hours of talking through everything about birth, labour and breastfeeding. Quite an intense morning but she was really good -- friendly and confident and sensible, and she did a great job of demystifying the whole process and making me feel more positive and confident about it. She also said I had a great attitude and she was sure everything would go really well and she wished she could be there at the birth. :-) (Of course then a couple of days after that things turned out to be going not so perfectly smoothly, as described above, which unfortunately has kind of undone some of my positivity ... but I am still hoping that I can sort myself and baby out in time to be able to do things the way I want to.)

O & I are booked on the NHS antenatal course in a couple of weeks' time, too -- always good to have a couple of sources of information to compare (and the NHS one is free anyway). I've heard very mixed reports of them but apparently it all depends which midwife happens to be running the session you go to -- there's no fixed 'curriculum' or anything.

We're also making some small progress on getting the house in order -- with two superfluous desks out of the way we're halfway to having an actual room for baby (there is at least now space for a cot), and in a couple of weeks we're getting shelves built in the front room which will allow us to make lots more space and, crucially, not have so many free-standing bookcases which could easily and dangerously be pulled over by an inquisitive toddler. If we carry on with this kind of efficiency we may even manage to get curtains put up in the bedroom eventually (only 18 months after moving in!), though the first two attempts at that have been stymied by the presence of an infuriatingly un-drillable concrete lintel over the window.

I realise, with... well, with mixed feelings, that I've only got another 3 full weeks left at work (and about 3 months' worth of stuff to do in them). Thoughts about work )

So that's where things are at the moment -- sorry this has been a bit of a long and rambly update. I just wish I could stay awake long enough to think more clearly about things and write more eloquently about them!
j4: (baby)
Just thought I'd do a bit of a general update in case anybody's interested. Contains whinging and mild TMI! 29 weeks )

Think that's about it so far. Still feels like I have ages to go but I realise with horror that I only have 2 months left at work (and about 6 months' work of stuff to do in it) ...
j4: (baby)
As of today I'm 25 weeks pregnant. general update )

I think that's about it for updates. What I really want is a progress bar. 8-) Definitely over halfway now though!
j4: (baby)
I've been feeling the baby moving for a while now -- the first "hmm, was that a tiny wriggle or was it just wind?" was on 1st November, with a more definite wriggle a couple of days later -- and for the last couple of weeks she's been dancing about like a mad badger. On Wednesday night the kicking (or whatever she's doing in there) was strong enough for [livejournal.com profile] addedentry to be able to feel it from the outside (at last!). Then this morning I actually saw the movement from the outside for the first time -- not a foot or hand protruding or anything Alien-esque like that, just a visible blip in the bump as I lay in the bath staring at the increasingly vast (for me) expanse of stomach. I'm now trying to resist the temptation to sit and literally gaze at my navel (still slowly turning inside out bit by bit) for ages, watching for another movement.

This has to be the slowest and most bizarre way to get to meet someone. I'm trying not to project a personality on to her (it would seem odd to talk about 'anthropomorphising' something that's already human, but you know what I mean) before she has a chance to develop her own, but I am definitely starting to think about her as a 'someone' rather than a 'something' -- just before the last scan I was thinking "cool, I get to see her again soon". She was unusually quiet at that one -- ironically, having been dancing a non-stop fandango for the last couple of weeks, when prodded with the ultrasound widget she stuck her thumb in her mouth (at least that's what it looked like) and refused to budge to give them a better angle on the bits they were trying to measure. "She's got a beautiful mouth", said the sonographer -- which was kind of a nice thing to say, but no, I don't know how anybody can tell at that size and resolution (and I can't help idly wondering whether they'd've said something like that about a boy baby, or one where they didn't know / weren't revealing the sex). The views of her face on the scans still look a bit strange and skull-like, to be honest, but as you can see I found one (from an earlier scan) that looks human enough for an LJ icon.

I'm now looking forward to the next scan (I get several more for the Intergrowth study). At this rate we'll have filled a photo album before she's even born!
j4: (badgers)
Just thought I'd write a few notes (partly for my own benefit) about physical/mental changes now I'm 20 weeks pregnant (hopefully halfway through!).

sickness, bump, twinges, mental health, and a baby ninja )

So that's where we are at the moment. Hope this is of interest to someone other than me, but if not, eh, tough. :-)
j4: (knitting)
I reckon it's more predator than alien. That may not be the most flattering photo. But the detail visible in the scan was really amazing (that one doesn't really do it justice) -- we could see all four chambers of the actual beating heart actually beating, every bone in the spine, tiny feet with even more tiny toes kicking, tiny hands reaching out in their first miraculous attempts to punch mum from the inside... :-}

Fortunately, it's also apparently just the right size, in the right place, & with all the right bits functioning as expected. And moving about all over the place. And if you do want to know: If you don't want to know the results, look away from the screen now )

I promise that not all my posts this month will be about babies, honestly. I am still thinking other thinks. But it is quite new and exciting having a small person living inside me.
j4: (knitting)
Tomorrow we'll hopefully find out whether the baby is an alien or a predator a boy or a girl. So far I have been told that:

* it'll be a girl because everybody I know has had girls recently
* it'll be a boy because everybody I know has had girls recently
* it'll be a girl because you get more morning sickness with girls
* it'll be a boy because of the position of the bump
* it'll be a girl because of the position of the bump
* it'll be a boy because 'boy' scores more in Scrabble

So that's two answers from people who don't understand probability, three answers which sound to me more like superstition than something which is backed up by any actual research (though I'm happy to be proved wrong), and [livejournal.com profile] invisiblechoir being silly. :-)

Two of my colleagues have a bet with each other about which it will be. I don't stand to gain any money from this bet myself, unfortunately. On the other hand, since earlier today one of them couldn't remember which way he'd bet (he'd decided at the time by tossing a coin) I don't think he's taking it that seriously. The other one asked me if I'd tried putting a toad on the bump to predict the baby's sex (I'm not sure quite what one is meant to do with the toad, or wait for the toad to do...?), so I guess he's not wholly serious either. I hope.

I confess I'm keen to know the answer, not least because referring to it as "it" feels awkward. Yes, I may get flamed for Gender Fail, but I'm afraid we're just not progressive enough to try to bring the child up without any awareness of the existence of sex or gender, and let's face it, there's a staggeringly high chance that it will be biologically male or female. Also, I'm going to have at least one more scan after tomorrow's, and I don't want to have to "look away from the screen now" for fear of spoiling the result -- I want to see what's going on! Basically, in most cases I will generally choose the path of More Information.

We also want to start thinking more seriously about names, and it'd be useful to narrow down the choices a bit. Other tactics for narrowing-down include: avoiding names with ambiguous spellings; avoiding extremely long names; avoiding alliteration; and summarily rejecting every single name that appears on this site. So that's a big 'no' to Breckin, Maxigan, Skyler Alexander, Cam'ron, and Kaytaquana. Suddenly, my silly suggestion of naming my child Badger doesn't seem all that ridiculous...
j4: (knitting)
A couple of people said in my poll that they wanted me to write about my experience of pregnancy so far. I haven't really written much about it so far -- partly because of the tradition/superstition/pressure not to tell people until you're past the end of the first trimester; partly because there wasn't really that much happening that I thought would be of interest to other people; and partly because I was often so tired that it felt like my head was melting from the inside, starting at the eyeballs, and blogging about this seemed a lot less important than sleeping. But since it's been requested...

I can't say it's been a positive experience so far. I mean, obviously on one level I'm pleased that it's happening because of the (hopeful) eventual outcome; but as a day-to-day experience, I've had more fun at the dentist. possible TMI about physical symptoms )

Then there's the mental/emotional side of things. possible TMI about emotional whinges )

I'm not suggesting that any of these are insurmountable things; worse things happen at sea, mustn't grumble, etc. I did get really really tired of people suggesting "infallible cures" for morning sickness when most things are no better than a placebo; but I did also eventually find things that were less impossible to eat/drink (of course, it was hard to tell whether they were helping or whether I was just slowly getting better anyway). I sort of got used to being sick every day. I do have coping strategies for fighting the various forms that depression takes for me, and I found a few more self-motivation tips in a rather good book called 59 Seconds (evidence-based self-help in easily digestible chunks), though it's harder to keep battling against the emotions when I'm physically tired and achey. But the alternative is sinking into a pool of misery and never getting out of bed.

On top of all this there's been the medical side of things: ultrasound scans, blood tests, midwife appointments, that sort of thing. more about scans and medical trials )

What with all the sickness and tiredness and faff (and carrying on going to work and going to choir and volunteering at Oxfam and just Getting On With Life) I've not had much time to think about the actual baby. But now that I'm starting to feel it move, it's reminding me that it's there, which is good. So far it seems to be most active around 10am, 3pm, 8pm, and midnight -- dunno why, though the first three of those are roughly a couple of hours after I eat, which may be relevant? It also seems to move in reaction to me singing; I just wish I knew if it liked it or not! :-} It doesn't really feel like kicking yet (what I said about being kicked from the inside was just poetic licence), it's more like something wriggling and turning over inside; it's not unpleasant (just a bit odd) but quite distracting.

So that's where I'm up to now. Sorry so much of it has been whinging -- I'll write more about the thoughts and decisions and stuff at a later date, and hopefully that'll be more interesting!

Tyred

Nov. 9th, 2010 11:35 pm
j4: (bicycle)
As mentioned yesterday, I went to a Safe Cycling seminar given by the Oxford Cycle Workshop. It was along similar lines to a recent post from LondonCyclist, and I won't try to do justice to an hour's presentation in a paragraph of LiveJournal, but it was reassuring to know that according to them I'm already doing the right things. The two main take-home points were be visible (not just in the sense of wearing hi-vis jackets and — of course — using lights, but also in the sense of making sure you're not hiding down the side of another vehicle, skulking in the gutter, or lurking in someone's blind spot, but rather claiming your place in the lane you're in) and be predictable (stick to the rules of the road, behave like a car where possible because then cars know what to expect). There was a third not-explicitly-stated rule of "don't be a jerk". I wish more road users followed that one. There's another post in my head about Stupid Behaviour I Observe On The Roads Every Day, but really, who wants to read it? We all see it often enough anyway.

Unsurprisingly, the Oxford Cycle Workshop chap didn't say anything about cycling while pregnant (and I didn't ask, as it was a bit out of scope!). I didn't expect him to (he didn't mention helmets either, interestingly), but I did expect better from a supposedly comprehensive book about pregnancy and birth; however, the NCT's book "Happy Birth Day" doesn't seem to say anything about cycling at all (as I mentioned yesterday, I've emailed them to ask about this). a long ramble about cycling, walking, falling, and risk )

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