Saturday, 18 September 2010

The day I fought and won - or did I?

I dunno what it is lately - I just haven't had the inclination to blog... Maybe seeing people tragically over-sharing on Facebook in bids for sympathy/jealousy/gratuity/acceptance has just about put me off the whole over-sharing malarkey - even if I am doing so under a pseudonym (and have ditched facebook for so many reasons). I guess like everything you fall in and out of love with things - but the other day when I thought of writing, it felt like a chore, when all I wanted to do was lie down, stuff myself with pancakes and indulge in yet another Tim Riggins bonanza.

Maybe I just haven't had anything to say... But that all changed on Tuesday when I had my 28 wks preggers appointment with a consultant at the hospital - where we'd talk about my 'birth plan' Now those who are no stranger to my blog will know I don't do birth - I should, I know, it is the ultimate experience in womanhood - but I watched a video in biology class in about 1985/6 and ever since I saw hairy Mary almost splayed in half squeezing out pure horror - I have had one hell of a phobia. To the point I saw my doc before I even got pregnant back in 2005 and said 'how can you help me?'

Anyway Sproglet came out through a blissful C section and I'm due another this time around. However, lucky me, at the appointment I'd just got a Dr straight from an NHS directive meeting encouraging women to have normal births - even after sections - so he had his little band wagon to jump on. Even though he seemed lovely - wide smile, caring voice, calm manner - the minute we got onto chatting about how this one would come out - he had an agenda. I explained in great detail - the video, my phobia, my long crusade during my last fretful pregnancy to secure a section - baby in breach, all that jazz. He nodded. He cared. I let out a long sigh. I knew the score - it was my choice and one I had already made.

Then he began - with his offers of therapy, chats with community midwife, to try the natural birth thang etc etc - and you know what, I just couldn't face the thought of having to justify myself - AGAIN. My body shook - an involuntary response to such chats - and all I could say as the tears poured down my face was 'don't do this to me, please don't do this to me.'

Clearly the Dr thought I was a basket case. He stopped all attempts to co-erce me into birth, gave me a tissue and then tried to suggest that my phobia would be something that I passed onto my own kids - what if I had a daughter and I passed it onto her? Shouldn't I get help, now, while I could? Later I felt completely enraged - how dare this man make assumptions about how I would choose to bring up this imaginary daughter if I had one? As I told him, I don't plan to have any more kids, I'm never giving birth so why should I resolve this long standing fear? It is my fear - I own it, I get it is irrational, but hey, it isn't harming anyone else. Hell, I am in awe - complete awe - of any woman who has ever gone through birth - something I could never get my head round in a million years. Perhaps my Mother's gynaecological problems when I was growing up - culminating in a hysterectomy - also played a part in my squeamish-ness when it comes to lady bits.

Anyway - I reminded the Doc that C sections cost £3,500 whereas normal births only £1800 on the NHS - so perhaps money could be at the route of all this 'let's have less sections' directive. I also pointed out that we are having bigger and bigger babies these days, with better diets - so no longer are 6lb babies the norm - 8lbs is more regular - rather than the 5lb/6lb ers in my mum's day. 10lb babies aren't that irregular. Yet skelatorially - if there is such a word - we haven't evolved enough yet as a species to push such big babies out - which is why there are more and more emergency sections. In an article I read a while back - 8 out of 10 obstetricians would elect to have an elective section rather than try natural birth. Dr coughed uncomfortably and told me I was well researched. Then I hit him with a government funded study by the college of midwives in 2006 that's directive was purely to prove that birth was best - in a bid to get costs down in maternity wards - the costs of so many sections.

At the heart of every directive, every initiative - is a money saving ethos.

Dr relented, realised there was no point in trying and booked in my section - 6th Dec 2010 baby arrives. I read back over his notes later in my maternity book - describing me as 'agitated' and 'weepy' - 'physically and emotionally distressed' etc and all his great suggestions that I had 'refused.' He had his ass well covered. He wasn't taking the wrap for my choice - clearly he had tried. Yet he had failed to note I am demanding stitches and not staples for the operation. Too busy ticking his boxes I imagine.

The thing that annoyed me most from this whole experience, wasn't the fact as a healthy person who takes care of myself and who has worked bloody hard since at Uni and has paid every tax bill on time - that the one time I need help - a section, I am made to beg for it - no, what angered me was this man's character assumptions about me - and what my phobia will do to my family in years to come. How dare he! When I had mentioned that had I not been able to get section first time around, I would have got a loan and gone privately - he suggested I took this money (which I explained I didn't have - I said 'loan' Doc, as you clearly weren't listening) and re-directed it into therapy for such an 'extreme and deep rooted phobia.' This from a man - who will never have to give birth, who is busy ticking his boxes and dotting his i's and making women like me feel shit about themselves.

I may have won my section, but it wasn't without humiliation and having to justify my choices. Why can't women just choose? Why have we lost the right to the births that we want? Where's the fucking directive that lets us decide what works for us - as people, individuals and not just numbers/boxes?

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Friday Night Lights and nesting

I am still here. Just been working hard, having mini hormonal driven meltdowns and nesting my ass off. I have spent every last spare moment on line looking for a rug, curtains and all things cosy to make our lounge less barren. I have visions of me come December, feeding a small child at 3am, freezing in our sub zero temperature lounge. At the moment it has no curtains. We said we'd get round to it when we moved in. 2 years ago. My neighbours must have loved watching me cavort around to Body Combat (in the days when I could do it) and watching our general sloth if there is nothing on the tube. Our sash windows rattle come winter and let in a cold draft that could freeze your neck solid, so curtains are a must. I've done 2 winters without them - not any more. Thermal lining needed to boot.

It would be a lie if I said I didn't love this time of year though - when the temperature dips a few degrees, the leaves begin their voyage through the colour spectrum and the last rays of summer sun begin to disappear. I get that 'ole back to school feeling - the need to purchase something from Paperchase; I get excited by stationary - embarrassingly so - what that says about me, I don't want to know. When soups and one pot recipes come out along with the blankets and cardigans. Speaking of which, being almost 7 months preggers I can't indulge in any retail therapy clothes wise (not that I have spare cash to do so with all my extreme nesting going on)as fashion may as well be on planet moon at the moment, it bears so little impact on my maternity wardrobe - but I have just ordered a cashmere cardigan that I have coveted for a while. My Mum kindly went halves on it as otherwise it wouldn't have got anywhere near me. But I am convinced this is 'an investment piece' - cost per wear it will work out dead cheap - or so I tell myself to appease the guilt. Plus it is from The White Company - and every time I look in that catalogue, I want my life to resemble it's serenity. It will cover big bump and also post baby bump too. It also is the softest thing I have ever draped over myself and in it I feel cocooned, safe, all ready to bed down for winter.

That is, if I could do any bedding. My god - the heartburn. It rages. And rages. Two ranitidines a day and I am still swigging gaviscon like an alkey swallows whiskey and giving up on any food past 6pm... I wake up at 2am - just for a wee swig as the back of my throat burns. Maybe again at 5am. I wake up with it and go to sleep with it - even though my head is propped up on two plus pillows. I am counting down these weeks with a mixture of fear - what the hell am I doing having two kids, when I barely cope with one (and an easy, well mannered, does as he is told, great sleeping kid into the bargain - this isn't meant to sound boastful, I just hear from other folk that Sproglet is fairly easy to parent)- and the need for it to pass mighty quickly so I can stop feeling this burning sensation so damn often.

What else has been happening in Crummy Mummy's small world? Ok, a confession. I have a new crush - and it is all the fault of my work buddies. They are all big drama fans - as in, tv shows. They chew the fat over what is good, bad or downright shouldn't be on screen. Since I've been back at work I've heard them chatting about 'Friday Night Lights' a tv show about American football - teen drama stylee. I wasn't convinced - I'd never heard of it and series one was shown on an obscure channel over here in the UK. But with the autumn tv schedule yet to kick in - there was honest to god - NOTHING to watch here since Greys and Damages ended months ago... So I bought the box set.

It is brilliant. The characterisation is fantastic - particularly the relationship between the coach and his wife Tammy. I want her to be my best friend. I have equally strong feelings about the tortured, delicious Tim Riggins, but in a more X rated version. It reels you in and makes you care - with mercifully sparse dialogue and without moralistic monologues. Everything is underplayed - giving the viewer the chance to relish all the subtext. It is no West Wing, but it doesn't want to be. Husband agreed to watch the first ep with me - then we did no 2. Next day he told me off for trying to watch one without him and now it is our guilty pleasure. I am relieved to know I still have seasons 2, 3 and 4 to go. I'm not sure my hormones could take the loss of Timmy Riggins from my life right now. Even if he does need to wash his hair. If you have never seen it - go on, treat yourself.

So the highlight of my days at the mo? Snuggling under blankets watching Tim Riggins sweat. Dreaming of curtains and rugs and hot pots. Maybe I need to get out more, but frankly, I just want to stay in.