Sunday, 3 October 2010

More items

Yet again nearly two months have passed. And the lovely May has prodded me into doing a few more itemettes. So what have I been doing? In no particular order.

1. I have been spending too much time on rolling news and the Labour leadership election. Nothing like a bit of Greek tragedy in the afternoon.

2. I've started doing a few afternoons back at the office where things are slightly fraught and everyone is holding their breath for 20 October. I'm phasing in my return so not back to full capacity until November but better to be there than being some "on maternity leave" statistic. My team are better placed than most to survive the cull but even so troubling times.

3. I thought about getting into a huge row about a hot topic issue with a VIP blogger but cowardly decided against it. Sometimes life really is too short to point out that someone is wrong on the Internet.

4. We went to France on our hols which was lovely. We stupidly stupidly stupidly drove down in the day to a permanent chorus of "are we there yet?" and "I need the loo". On our return we drove through the night experiencing the joys of the Eurotunnel at 4:30 am and then the Hackney 24 hour Tesco for supplies which was way way better. So you can guess how dreadful the way out was. We were in the Poitou Charentes (half way down on the left hand side for non-Europeans) inland for a week and very near the coast for another week. Inland there were acres of sunflowers and lots of cows but not many people. The coast was crammed with French campers and oysters. Both places awash with Brits. In one town inland there was even a very popular English cake stall in the market where the locals gathered to buy brownies, fruit cake, scones and other exotic delights whilst the English ahhed over the goats cheeses at the next stall. We made an interesting discovery on the coast: forget the little village bakeries, all the best bread was from bakeries out of town on roundabouts on the ring roads and bypasses.

5. School is back. L is 6. She has 5 years of primary school to go. Bit early for parents to be angsting about secondary school you'd have thought. You thought wrong. Not sure I can take years of this. Everyone is obviously making a lot of sharp elbowed middle class calculations about moving into good catchment areas (in London this tends to be code for let's find a nice middle class white area) or robbing a bank for an eye wateringly expensive private school. I am remaining with head firmly in sand.

6. I've started reading cooking blogs. I am hoping this is as good as cooking - you know like photocopying an article was like reading it when you were at university. I find cooking therapeutic but when faced with the fridge all I want to do is slump in front of the tv yet again with a bowl of cereal. Kids luckily seem to thrive on endless bowls of pasta and pesto alternated with humous. (Uggh how ludicrously cliche grim up north London is that?) Main cooking prowess in this house at the moment is with the husband who produces excellent sourdough bread. I can smell some right now...

7. We are arguing about where to live. Husband has fantasies of garages, outbuildings and rolling countryside preferably with a Grand Design in it. Whilst I can see the charms in theory, I am rather fond of London and would rather try and survive in the Victorian terrace we have. Didn't help that yesterday was spent at my jobshare's house in oxfordshire complete with chickens, pigs and a fantastic view. Win for husband. Later that night however met couple who had moved out to Dorset and moved back 3 years later cos they couldn't bear it any longer. Time for Me to crow. Impasse and a bad tempered one at that.

8. F remains adorable. He is a smiley flirt and is a complete hit wherever he goes. He is desperate to be on the move however I am happy for him to remain seated for a bit longer. On other milestones - no teeth yet, weight getting up to respectable when adjusted, practicing speaking or rather shrieking a bit like a demented parrot when his every whim is not me, err that's it.

So there you go. Itemettes mostly of distinctly first world problems. Life sometimes feels rather banal. Although to be fair I do believe drama can be rather overrated.

Saturday, 14 August 2010


As usual the months pass. Some brief itemettes for you. 

On Saturday we go to France for two weeks. Two weeks of I hope sun (bugger forecast looks dreary albeit better than here) and too much good food. Pity we start with hours and hours in the car. Ahh well probably better than struggling to the airport and then hours and hours in some hire car. I used to be fluent in French as my parents lived for years in a French speaking location not in France. Now not so much. At some point I'm going to have to take that big fat lie off my CV. It is unfortunate as the husband speaks no French not even O level French so I will have to do things I loathe with a vengeance even in English like booking restaurants and speaking to locals. Shivers with combination of dread and horror.

The school holidays are dragging. I am on a short fuse. The walking talking children have reached new levels of whininess. They also believe that holidays should be constant round of crisps, other unsuitable treats and outings. I think they would be better off reading books in the garden on a deck chair or alternatively being bored in their rooms. Unfortunately they are winning this particular battle. 

The small non walking child is currently happy to do whatever I want.  Yey! He is also over the colic. Yey again!   

I'm thinking about work and going back in a couple of months. This time I have missed it more than before. I have also realised that an enormous amount of my identity is tied up in my work which is possibly rather sad. I have also been missing an extraordinary time in - hmm in danger of losing anonymity and breaching the no work blogging rules - some bit of central London. But still it is always encouraging to constantly be reminded that those we serve think me and my colleagues are bunch of work shy, overpaid, over pensioned useless idiots. I suppose I should be glad I still have a job mind. It's not the same for many.

Right bedtime. Night all. Bisous.x 



Saturday, 5 June 2010

Catching up - babies mentioned

Its been 13 weeks and I have emerged from the fog. I also have a new toy on which to lounge on the sofa and write. Yup this post comes to you from an IPad. And an astonishingly fine thing it is, I highly recommend it. Although I'm discovering that as there is no iPad app for Blogger using it to blog is not the dreamy easy experience it should be. It is half my birthday present and half a present to self for getting through a grim few weeks at the beginning of this latest babe's life. But first before I tell you why having a ruptured appendix when you are having a baby is absolutely not the way to go here he is at on day one and below at 2 months:

He is adorable. His brother and sister are doting on him, possibly slightly too much in the case of the younger one with mammoth bearhugs and attempts at carrying, but overall they have behaved very well given their spots in the hierarchy have shifted somewhat. Most of their miffedness has been inflicted on me.

In comparison to first two this one's arrival was not exactly how I would have planned. (Forgive me for the lengthy account that follows. It is of pretty marginal interest to nearly everyone but cathartic to write down.) I knew an earlyish birth was likely as the 1st boy turned up at 37 weeks and my consultant was predicting the same and was dragging the baby out in any event at 38 weeks but even so I had planned to work at least one more week. I left the office on the Friday with a to do list as long as my arm, a handover to my stand in to do and plans for haircut, wax and eyebrow threading all set up for week 37 (birth isn't dignified at the best of times but is even less so when as hairy as a gorilla). However by about 3 on Sunday morning I am sure I am having regular contractions so off we go down to the hospital dumping the kids on the nanny whilst my parents hot foot it from the countryside.

As a small political aside I know PFI is supposed to be crappy value for money for the taxpayer but I am so glad that the decrepit Victorian hospital which has treated me for various ailments over the years and which has also seen me through fertility investigations (although the ivf was over the other side of town), miscarriages and births has been replaced by a shiny new one where some thought has been given to what should be where including new shower rooms with better showers than we have at home and decent loos.

Anyhow I wasn't having discernible on the monitor contractions but I was in serious generalised pain. Morphine became my close friend and I was writhing in the labour suite for Sunday and in the ward for Monday and Tuesday. A merry band of Professors and random Drs hovered round my bed scratching their chins and peering at me. Blood tests revealed ridiculously elevated crp indicating an inflammatory response but ok white blood cells and no temp. Medical mystery was declared so more head-scratching and lots of iv antibiotics just in case. Thankfully by Tuesday pm I was actually in full on labour and that bit all went well thanks to a smashing Spanish midwife. I should have realised they were all super concerned as I was visited in the delivery room by what felt like the entire shift worth of drs including the consultant who are rare as hens teeth at the business end unless things are going tits up. Me however swimming in diamorphine so oblivious.

Second political aside - my world renowned teaching hospital would be totally non functional without the enormous numbers of non Anglo-Saxons who treat and care for the patients. Three cheers for immigration from other continents and free movement of EU workers I say. As well as my Spanish midwife, doctors from Greece, Egypt, Hong Kong and various bits of the Asian sub-continent were amongst those who looked after me that week let alone nurses, students, cleaners etc etc.

F (who was at that stage nameless) was born around 11 that night and as a 36 weeker was whisked off after a 5 mins to the special care unit to have a line put in and a load of antibiotics leaving me for an hour to wash and feel like a total spare part with no baby. They came back eventually but that was one long hour. At this point I felt much much better and assumed that the pain was history. Hah. More fool me.

The first night was a haze and the initial euphoria soon wore off. I remained in grim pain okish lying down but incapable of straightening up when I got out of bed to hobble to the loos. More professors peering and chin scratching and testing me for this that and the other. I was incapable of eating much and had caught some vile stomach bug too which was turning what was left in my insides to, how shall i put this explosive liquid. I had ultrasounds, prodding, tests galore and finally on the Friday afternoon a CT scan was done making me even more certain that I was appearing in my own personal episode of House (and secretly hoping that the cause of all of this was my lupus cos as you know on House it never is lupus). After the husband went to have supper with the kids the CT revealed the culprit as my appendix (although the lupus drugs might have been part of the reason I had kept going with an inflamed appendix without keeling over for so long). Late that night I had a surgeon swoop in to tell me I was off to theatre asap. Husband was summonsed. Desperate calls made to close Dr friends. Fit of morbid thoughts meant F got his name as I felt that I couldn't leave him nameless when I went under the knife. Down I went to 3 hours of oblivion.

The next day the surgeon wafted to my bed and told me yup it had ruptured and was "very nasty" and then promptly disappeared before i had the opportunity to quiz him further. Later another two gut doctors came by to say I was ok to go home as soon as I fancied. I fancied soon as regardless of shiny newness I just needed to get out. Plus I was becoming a prize sow as people kept coming by to tell me that appendicitis is super difficult to diagnose in late pregnancy, none of the Professors/surgeons had seen it in x years, no really it is very difficult etc etc so we left that evening. Big mistake but that is for another post as frankly I'll be amazed if anyone is still awake by the end of this!

Just re-read and realised I have left out some very important people in this account - F, who had some minor issues of his own, and the Husband who manfully made the creaky NHS function (somethings don't change with shiny buildings) and pressed, cajoled and generally gave a very good impression that he too was a Dr in order to get people moving on tests, bloods, BPs you name it as I was in no fit state. But more of them in that other post.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

The guilty party

Is my appendix. I am going in to have it out soon. Leaving F in his dad's capable hands. Thanks to eveyone for all the lovely messages. LoveBetty xx

Wednesday, 3 March 2010


He is here! 6lb 5oz. Gorgeous. Mystery ailment afflicting me so both of us are chock full of antibiotics and stuck here till Friday at least. Photo when I get home as phone/ blogger interface eluding me! Thanks for all the lovely good wishes.

Monday, 1 March 2010

35 plus 6

I had been hoping to do a Sock it to me post. But here I sit in a hospital bed. Been here since 8 on Sunday. First day they were convinced it was labour as was I. Now they think it is something else possibly irritable uterus ( bloody furious more like), kidney infection, random other thing as yet unspecified. Unfortunately for most of the last 24 hours I have been barely able to move and dosed up on a zillion painkillers although here at least morphine is an option and the one enabling me to blog. Each time he kicks me the pain intensifies but at least out makes kick counts easier. Hopefully we will have a plan tomorrow. He is looking about 6 1/2 lbs on today's scan so early out may be an option. We'll see.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

My own x-poll post for posterity.

This was my post for the Great Cross-pollination day which was posted over at Katie's blog. Real post forthcoming soon-ish. Possibly after 30w check up later today. Yup 30 weeks - shocking eh.

I was reading a post by Kym the other day where she talked about “passport children” and how for those of us who were either infertile or have had recurrent losses the living children we have are our passport into the fertile world. That’s the world where people plan their children so they have birthdays at the beginning of the school year. Where a decision to try for a baby means a baby is created max 3 months down the line and at that point it is safe to go tell everyone and buy nursery gear. Where it is a given that the number of children you have and their spacing is a deliberate choice. Where detailed knowledge of transvaginal scan procedures and how to inject yourself anywhere from the torso to the thigh is not necessary. Where - I could go on for pages in this vein - but you get the picture.

Anyhow the post said a lot of the things that I felt as well but then I got to thinking isn’t it about time I stopped feeling like this? I have two lovely children (spaced a fertile world style 3 years apart to the week thanks to those failsafe great planning techniques of a few ivf cycles and a miscarriage) a third hopefully safely en route. To all intents and purposes I have leave to remain/a green card (depending which side of the Atlantic you are) in the fertile world. Look come on I am now that annoying woman who conceived naturally at 42 and seems to be having a successful pregnancy - quickly reaching for the copious quantities of wooden coffee tables, lamps etc in close proximity - lets keep quiet about the further miscarriages in between.

Maybe I should just suck it up and move along. Its hard though because it still bloody rankles when its easy for other people. On balance though I think the anger is marginally better than the overwhelming sadness the whole business used to engender. I wonder how much time, energy and life I have wasted on this? Too much? Almost certainly. Would it have been easier just to be public about the whole thing and not suffer in silence? Would it have made any difference to the kids if the world knew about their start in a petri dish? Should I just have got over the fact that I thought they and me and the husband would be pitied for our failings to be a real part of the fertile world? Maybe. Maybe not. Do I really need to add regret to anger and sadness over the way we had to travel to get to where we are? I think not. I think now I need to grab that stamp in the passport or that green card - which isn’t even bloody green you know - and enter that other world as if we all belonged there all along. And in a spirit of multi-culturalism try and do a bit to make it so that for those coming along behind the whole passport issue just isn’t such a big deal anymore because we can all finally get to belong however we get to build our families.

Enough of the maudlin introspection though - serves me right for x-polling whilst watching a Joan Baez documentary. And thank you for letting me take over this space for a day.