Sunday, October 26, 2008

Erin sprouts in Brussels

As I last posted, Erin and I were in Brussels last weekend.  Before we went we had a plan that we were going to see no more than two sights on the Saturday and maybe probably only one, which would be the antiques market on the Sunday.  This was because we didn't want to tire Erin out too much as when she went back to home she had to travel to Cardiff for a four day conference.

This is what we ended up doing.   And not on my encouragement - I was happy to get my book out in a few of the coffee shops/bars.

Gare Centrale
Drop our stuff off at the hotel
walked around the Grote Market
Through the Town Hall square
Ate at Au Suisse
Walked passed the Royal Residence
Mooched around the park opposite
Ambled towards the Triumphal Arch
And slumped on to the Metro back to the hotel.
After a little sleep we went to Sablon Square for a mosey around the expensive art shops, chocolatiers which looked like jewellers, and ate a hearty meal. 

We walked a lot - here's proof.

Sunday was all about breakfast bread, croissants, the antiques market and buying a few keep sakes.  We also went in a toy shop, which Erin struggled to get me out of, just after lunch, before leaving for home.  A great weekend.


This weekend we took a trip to Brussels. 

We saw the sights.

Ate chocolate.
And took photos of each other.

This was supposed to be our last trip to mainland Europe before the baby arrives.  It won't be though, watch this space.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Horses or trains

We went to see the midwife for our 30 week check up today.  Kathy was a very friendly but rather firm midwife whose deep throaty laugh could sound fun, a bit terrifying and slightly sinister, depending on the context.

Everything went well.  We were welcomed in with one of Kathy's laughs and were given a  financial advice package to teach us about tax credit, benefits and trust funds - Kathy laughed when Erin asked if there was any money inside the pack - and all was going well.  

Kathy asked if Erin was working.  When Erin said yes she replied: 'Good.  Hard work is good for the baby. A lazy mother means a lazy baby.'  I then told her Erin climbed a mountain last saturday and she belly laughed.

Then came the blood tests.  Erin said that she thought  - and hoped - that Kathy would forget about that.  'Oh, I never forget blood tests,' cue sinister laugh, 'I'm a vampire, I like blood tests.'  She got the blood out of Erin as quick as a flash.  Scarily impressive.

Erin popped up on the bed for Kathy to check the baby.  She measured 32 cm from the top of Erin's belly to the bottom - at 30 weeks it should be 30cm.  Kathy said the baby had probably just had a growing spurt and there was nothing to worry about, really.  She then had a feel around for the baby and found the head.  She said: 'Oh, there's the head.  Do you want to feel it?'  The next thing I knew, the baby's head was between my thumb and forefinger.  Amazing. 

Then she searched for the heartbeat which she found then lost. 'That's funny,' she said a bit worryingly and without laughing.  'The baby just moved.'  Apparently the baby didn't want to be bothered with the heart rate monitor and shunned it.  A minute or so later the heart rate was beating like horses according to Erin and a train according me.  I say this as I asked Kathy if she could tell the sex of the baby through the rate of the heart beat, she said, 'Yes.  If it sounds like horses, it's a boy and if it sounds like a train then it's a girl.'  She wouldn't say what she thought it sounded like and left us disagreeing over which one it was.

I just hope there's nothing wrong with being 32 cm at 30 weeks.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Pregmunity II

I've written about a pregnancy community before.  Pregnant women are instantly friends and instantly give help and advice to each other.  Women who have been though it - mothers - also want to speak others, about their experiences.  They even speak to me and are encouraged by my probably unexpected positive reactions.  

My belief about a pregmunity has been reinforced tonight.

Erin has just walked in from her pregnancy yoga class.  She has been to four sessions in all, but to this one only once before.  And she's come home with a bagful of newborn baby clothes.  The reason? Because last time she went she said that she didn't have her mum or sister close by. This person's sister-in-law had given her lots of things and she has more than enough so decided to give them to us.  She really didn't need to.  We have a good amount of things.  But it's the nicest thing in the world to be thought of.  

If it's you, and you ever read this, thank you very much.

The only problem is that one of the items is an Arsenal Football Club one piece (onesie).  Is that how they get so many fans?  I know I'm northern, but in London we don't even live north of the river.  No off-spring of mine... 

Monday, October 20, 2008

Erin and the arm wrestlers

Unfortunately we didn't take the camcorder with us on the big walk of the weekend up a mountain. It would have been great to chronicle Erin's efforts.

But here she is after Sunday's breakfast with a few extras.

Bunkhouse weekend photos

The v-ewe from the front door
Simon and Sarah get away from the group...with their personal photographer

Is it cold or just Caroline?

Lyndon is king of the world

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Can I have a feel?

Three Welshies, an Ozzie, two 'mericans, two Irish, a Bristolian, a member of indy pop royalty, a chemical engineer, an estate agent, too many journalists and a top ranked UK tennis star joined in on an amazing time in Wales this weekend.

The group on top of Sugarloaf Mountain near Abergavenny, South Wales

Highlights included Chris's home made Bara Brith, watching crows fight over apple cores, and seeing people's reactions when they got to feel the baby kick inside Erin. (And yes Simon, your quiz was, as usual, spectacular).

Back to the baby, we think it's going to be wary around people, a little shy at first, but a show-off when they get to know the people they are around. This is all based on the past few meetings with friends who have tried and failed to feel what's going on inside Erin. The moment they go near her belly nothing seems to happen. This weekend Erin desperately wanted friends, and in particular Caroline, to be able to feel the movements - she's tried for the last 3 meetings without one jab, kick or head roll. But after a little bit of gentle belly holding and calm coaxing a squeal of delight let us know that she had felt it.

On Saturday night, I witnessed a huddle of 5 of our friends around Erin all holding various areas of her stomach. A few months ago that would have been weird, but it's pretty standard fare with friends now. Well, they all got to feel something. Chris was the first to get a jab, then Fred was next. Each person left Erin probably feeling that little bit closer to her. Some did say, however, that they wonder how she puts up with it.

It did take a lot of patience from all concerned to feel the baby, which is why I think he or she will be a little shy. On the way back from Wales with just the two (or three) of us in the car Erin kept saying things like 'oh baby', or 'oh, my baby', or just a 'phew', which told me that there was a whole lot more wriggling to be done than what our friends got to feel this weekend.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Erin and Big Ben

Here's Erin walking past parliament on Saturday. 

Tying shoelaces

Last night we went to an Amnesty International event.  Well, we went round to friends of ours and gave a few pounds to listen to people offer their talents of comedy, music and magic.  It was great fun.

On the way we had to take the Tube, then a train. When we got to Kings Cross station we realised we only had  a minute until the next train.  Erin turned round to me and said: 'I'm not running for it!' 

This follows missing a few buses recently, which we would have definitely run for a few months a go, with Erin turning round to me and giving me a look.  Words aren't always necessary.

Today we went for a long walk at Richmond Park for a bit of exercise.  It's a beautiful royal park with deer and a great view of St Paul's Cathedral from the far side of the park through a strategically placed telescope.  We stopped a few times for Erin to rest her legs, feet and sore back - I'm not saying I didn't enjoy the rest but there were more than usual.  Erin also asked me, as we approached the end of the walk, if I would tie her shoes laces.  I did so without hesitation, if a little over enthusiastically, which led me having to untie them and tie them again less tight.

I guess what I'm saying is Erin's as independent as they come so the difference in her is quite stark to see as she enters her third trimester. 

Saturday, October 11, 2008

This week

This week has been a busy one punctuated by three preggers events.

The first was on Monday night.  I stayed up late so I could try to win a bid on Ebay for a winter maternity coat for Erin.  This was after going to H and M, Zara, Top Shop, Gap, Next, Mamas and Papas (and probably a few more which gladly escape me) on an exceptionally rainy, wintry Sunday afternoon in London; Erin losing a few Ebay bids at the very end for 'the cutest jacket' in some kind of Top-Gun-dog-fight;  and Erin in a slight depression because 'I'll never get a winter jacket and I'm going to be so cold and miserable'.

Well, I felt like a hero, bidding at about 30 seconds to go for a winter coat at a good price. 10 second later though I was out-bid. I calmly scurried away (if you can scurry calmly) to place our next bid. The seconds ticked away to zero and I  walked away unharmed victorious.

The full stop (period - to mark the end) of the punctuation has just arrived,  Erin looks great in her new coat. Now back to a few commas of the week.

Erin had her first pregnancy yoga class at St. Thomas' hospital on Wednesday and met some new preggersmates.  The first five minutes were apparently spent with everyone introducing themselves along with their ailments throughout their pregnancy.  Erin says she didn't remember people's names but how far gone they were in their pregnancy. She wondered to herself 'are we no longer people, just bumps?' She thought the yoga was very easy, too easy and wasn't sure if she shouldn't be doing, at the very least, a bit more.

Yesterday she went to a Women's Only session at the hospital with a physiotherapist to learn about protecting her back and exercise.  Apart from sitting in a class for a few minutes full of Spanish speakers, then finding her correct class a little later, everything went really well.  But with the stories she kept coming out with every now and again last night I'm quite glad it was women's only. Wow.  

She was told at this class that she shouldn't be doing too much more exercise than pregnancy yoga.  And although it might 'seem to be too easy' it will really help during labour and is good for her baby's growth.  She now feels reassured.


Sunday, October 5, 2008

Mind the...pregnant woman

Yesterday Erin gave me a great rundown of how people react to her now she's pregnant while travelling on the tube.

It went something like this:

Women hardly ever stand up for her.
More mature men jump up when they realise she's pregnant and look sheepish if they'd rushed to get the seat.
Teenagers couldn't care less.
District Line travellers don't give up their seat half as much as those on the Victoria Line. And the Victoria Line is the hottest of all the lines.
If people don't give up their seat sticking her stomach out a little further than usual tends to do the trick.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Erin's back

Erin got home safely yesterday from her trip back to the States for her grandpa's funeral but before she did she went for a walk with her favourite niece, Sophie.

That might explain why she's so tired.