Monday, 27 October 2008

give me a light that I may tread safely in to the unknown ...

Me: Tights are so unhealthy, really. I shouldn't buy Eleanor any.
B: I don't know. It's essentially a style choice, isn't it? But I should think it would be pretty inappropriate for her to wear stockings or hold-ups at this stage.

Thursday, 23 October 2008


Did you hear the screaming earlier? That was me, having a full-blown attack of hysteria worthy of a Victorian maidservant. Alternatively you could describe it as the sound of my tether, snapping.

B was involved in an accident last night.

He's fine, basically - apart from seat-belt-induced bruising that means he's wincing as he lifts Leo. And so is the other party. But it looks like my car might be a write-off - it's just been collected on a flatbed and taken to the garage for an inquest. He managed to get it to limp home the half mile from the place in the lane where it happened - but the bonnet is stove in, as are the head-lamps and apparently there's a funny grinding noise as you drive along.

Not good.

They were both doing thirty or thirty-five miles per hour and braked - and he slid downhill on some mud for about fifteen meters in to the other person. The other person had a new car and was really obnoxious, insisting on calling the police, despite no-one being hurt, and calling all her family to the scene of the accident, where they all started yelling at B that he had been speeding and they weren't going to let her lose her no claims bonus over it.

The police didn't even bother to breathalyse him AND they measured the skid marks - so if the other party does try to escalate things beyond knock-for-knock at least the evidence is clear-cut.


That's it.

I am officially unable to cope with this. This is my line in the sand and I am now going to fall apart like a damp tissue.

B was supposed to be going on a job for a couple of days - he has cancelled, because of a) not being able to lift and b) because of the Damp Tissue Effect. Last minute cancellations are often professional suicide and I am now worrying myself silly about that. He's in as much of a state as I am.

Eleanor has caught a cold and has a blocked up nose. She is therefore mouth-breathing and cannot latch on to feed. She's taking bottle feeds - either what I'm expressing or Aptamil - every hour or two, an ounce or so each time. We are on day three now and are all getting tired. However, on the positive side, she is reacting like a normal baby with a cold - so that is reassuring.

Leo is picking up our stress and is clingy and weepy.

I am starting to seriously wonder if someone has put the evil eye on us.

For today, that is all. I need to go and milk myself.

Friday, 17 October 2008

war chest

Necessarily short posts, sorry.

I am exhausted and my baby looks like Nigel Lawson c. 1987.

Apart from that, things are fine.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Monday, 13 October 2008


Did I mention the waves of not-copingness?

We've had a letter from the mortgage people today, saying that we ARE still liable for the mortgage. Technically, this is true. However, once the house is sold, any credit or deficit gets wound up in the bankcruptcy, so actually, it's NOT true.

If that makes sense?

Anyway. It was a rather officiously worded letter and it knocked us both for six.

Leo has been crying all day. Or at least, it seems like it. B and I have both been doing our fair share, too. Sometimes it all gets too much.

Leo has also developed a really yackky discharge from his right eye. I am hoping it isn't something horrible he picked up from crawling around the floor in the hospital waiting room yesterday whilst B chatted to his mother.

Oh, yes, B's mother.

After a couple of weeks of increasingly bonkers text messages, we decided to confront the issue. We met her at the hospital yesterday at a time of our choosing and she got to see Leo and meet Eleanor. She was offensively tactile with me, which I bore with gritted teeth rather than make a scene; and she didn't bring up any of the awkward subjects that we didn't want to discuss, either. Clearly we are all going to ignore what happened and move swiftly on. She thinks.

However, she let Leo crawl around on the floor. Also, she went in to what I can only describe as 'Dickensian Liverpudlian Mode', which involved much wringing of hands and repetition of phrases such as 'Ooooooh, the poor little mite' and 'Awwwww, the poor little thing ....'. I felt that if she had been wearing an apron, she'd have been throwing it over her head and wailing. It took a huge effort on my part not to poke her in the eye.

Being a good Liverpudlian, she will probably start a public appeal, based in cloying sentiment.

'Bring Little Eleanor Home To Merseyside' or 'She Needs To Be With Her Family ...'. The tune will, obviously, be 'Ferry Across The Mersey'; and Gerry and the Pacemakers and Cilla Black will be wheeled out to do a piece in The Echo about their horrible experiences of Special Care Baby Units outside the city. There will be badges, flags on sticks to put in your garden and car stickers. There will be a momentary flood of interest and then the public gaze will move on to the next footballer to break someone's nose on a night out; and that will be that.


Eleanor is a lot better. Her lungs are clear. They have taken her off the antibiotics and the drip; and the canula is out completely. This morning she took most of a whole bottle, sucking. This is an ENORMOUS step towards her coming home. They were going to alternate tube feeds and sucking feeds today so that she doesn't get too tired. And then move on to full sucking feeds tomorrow or the next day. We are not sure whether she will be able to breastfeed - it requires a stronger suck, which might cause her breathing problems. But I am expressing with my electric pump like mad (who knew you could milk both your boobs at once?) and we can always freeze or refrigerate the stuff and give it to her by bottle.

B is working tomorrow and Leo is at nursery. I don't think I am going to go to the hospital by myself - it's quite a long drive and I am still getting very tired in the afternoons. On Wednesday we have arranged to borrow a Lovely Friend's trailer (and possibly the Lovely Friend, too) and get the rest of the stuff out of the old house. And then the Bastard Mortgage People can have the keys back and it will all be done.

I am exhausted. B is exhausted. We are both literally running on empty and it is sheer luck that up until today we have each had a miniscule amount in reserve at alternate times to help each other. That's gone now. We are coping somehow. And we are putting on a cheery face for the outside world. But neither of us know quite how and I suspect that inside, he is screaming as loudly as I am.

Saturday, 11 October 2008



Eleanor is now being fed by nasal tube. She's had the tube in he left nostril; but last night they changed the feeding tube to the right nostril and she is labouring alittle more with her breathing; which implies that it is the left onethat is narrowest. They are waiting until Monday, when her antibioticswill finish, to make an assessment about whether she will be able tofeed by sucking or not.

She is taking feeds well - 36ml every three hours; a baby of thatsize feeding every three hours normally would take about 45 or 50mlapparently, so that's good.

Basically we are waiting for her to get over the chest infection she seems to have been born with, to see what happens.

B has a cold, which means he can't go in to the ICU to see her,and they don't really want us to cuddle her out of the incubatoranyway, so that she can 'chill out and rest'.

We're okay; withinexpected parameters, anyway. I'm awfully weepy, but mostly coping okaywith that, as I know it's the hormones.We have decided to come home and are going to and fro daily, as theyhave said that B can no longer stay at the hospital because sheisn't a 'critical case' and I don't feel able to stay there on my own.
I am feeling better this morning - got verytired last night and had a shit-fit on a bossy sister at the hospitalwho tried to tear a strip off me for going AWOL the night before -apparently the message that we weren't coming back didn't get there. Iended up having hysterics on the Ante-natal ward, packing my back andmarching out, sobbing, trailing a tail of confused midwives.

That my milk's come in, obviously goes without saying, given the above.The unit have lent me an electric breast pump that I'm getting on okaywith. Ma and Sister Natalie are talking about going home for a few days now andmaybe coming back mid-week. I don't think we can make any plans, we'vejust got to take each day as it comes.

Thank you everyone, for all your good wishes. They're one of thethings keeping us going. We are still dealing with mortgage people andthe receivers and all that completely irrelevant bollocks in the meantime, and trying to move therest of the stuff out of the old house before they demand the keysback.

I am trying to look on it all as an opportunity to fund my ability to deal with stress.


Thursday, 9 October 2008

she's here ...

Very quick newsflash:

Eleanor Rose, 6lb 13oz, born Tuesday 7th October at 7.35AM after a 12-hour-ish labour that went very smoothly.


She has a nasal obstruction which means that breathing is hard for her and she can't feed. So we went in an ambulance to Shrewsbury hospital at 3AM on Wednesday morning and she has been in an incubator since then.

She has a shadow on her lungs (speckling) that could be either fluid (which will be naturally reabsorbed) or infection - so they are giving her antibiotics via a drip, just in case.

She has a tube in to her tummy and they have tried to feed her through it; but last night she was a bit sick, so they stopped. They are trying again this afternoon. She is getting everything she needs through the drip, though.

We have been staying at the hospital and have briefly come home for a change of clothes and to see Leo - Ma and sister Natalie have come up to care for him.

I'm fine, physically. Mentally, obviously, we are both slightly basket-casey.

I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

boring ...

Still messing around - contractions not regular or much longer. Have pushed Leo up to the top of the hill and back in the push chair, crawled around on the floor with him and his football and bounced on my ball until I feel a bit sick.

I've just had a nice warm bath and I'm going to bed.


finally ...

Things are revving up - am apparently in the 'latent' stage of labour. I'm going to get a bit  more sleep. Ma is on her way up, B has cancelled his job for today and tomorrow; and the midwife has just been out to check me over.

Contractions are five minutes apart, lasting 30-40 seconds and starting to take my breath away.

The midwives are happy to come out here - or for us to go down to the birthing pool in Newtown later on if we want to.

Watch this space!

Friday, 3 October 2008

minimal function ...

I am drinking a nice glass of red wine; as per the doctor's suggestion to see if it will help me relax. Too much inhibits labour though, apparently. So in moderation. Or maybe not. I'll see.

B has cooked a fantastic pizza, with prostaglandin-heavy pineapple. And we have tried the, er,  other thing that is supposed to induce labour, despite the physical challenge of me feeling like a whale. No joy so far, although getting the hoist in to position was quite amusing.

Incidentally, do you think whales ever feel sexy?

No, I don't think so, either. At least, you never see them in a basque and frilly knickers, acting  out scenes from Cabaret, do you? Maybe grim and unshaven in a roll-neck sweater, doing 'Das Boot' ... or possibly even the Kenneth Moore part in 'A Night To Remember'. But erotica and your whale, generally speaking, do not go hand in hand.

We have finally got bank account details for B, so I have spent a couple of days invoicing for all of September's work. This is great news - we have enough cash in hand to get a tank full of petrol for B to get to Manchester for work on Sunday and then on to Birmingham; and ten pounds left in the housekeeping until the end of the week. It's not that people aren't ready to pay us - just that we haven't had the facility to accept their payments. We do get reimbursed for travel and food for work - but obviously that needs to be paid for up front and that has been a real struggle this last month.

We are still waiting to hear whether we are going to be able to keep the second car. And we are still getting on average three or four letters and phone calls every day generated by our creditors' computer systems, asking us to arrange to make payments on the debts that have been included in our bankruptcy. We are both finding it quite stressful - but presumably it won't last for ever, once the Official Receiver contacts them all.

The final straw for me this morning was an enormous Council Tax bill. In theory we should be eligible for a reduction - but because things were so stressful during the last little while at the other house that we didn't return and fill in the gargantuan claim form they sent us three months ago and they have charged us for a summons. B is sorting it out because I simply don't have the head-space. The good news, though, is that we might also be eligible for some help with the rent. Provided we can find all the bits of paper that they need us to send them.


Not terribly cheerful. But my brain is functioning a bit again, I suppose. I've put some books on eBay - mostly SF literary criticism, with a few other bits and bobs - click here for a blatant pimp :).

I just want the baby OUT. I was chatting to a friend a couple of nights ago on Facebook; and also the Community Psychiatric Nurse who rang to introduce himself (the midwives and the doctor have arranged for him to visit a few times after the baby is born as part of the plan to stave off another bout of post-natal depression). Both of them described the next few weeks as 'a happy time'. I can't see it myself. I just want to get through the next couple of months and not spend most of it feeling like I want to go to sleep and never wake up.

Not very healthy.

I think that now, having gone through the worst of it all, we both have time to fall apart a bit. Which is good. And bad. If you see what I mean.

For tonight, that is all.

Except - Leo is fine. Happy, almost walking. And fascinated by the sheep we have borrowed from a neighbour to keep the grass in the orchard down. We sing Baa Baa Black Sheep every morning to them out of the window.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

sorry ...

... soooooo tired, my brain's just not working enough to write anything. No baby yet. Obviously. Not sleeping, back-ache, front-ache and side-ache, B still working away a lot - although he's got a few days off this week. I've had two sweeps so far, which haven't started anything off. I have another one booked for next Wednesday and an induction booked for the following Sunday (for 'social reasons') at Term +5 if nothing happens in the interim.

Going to bed now.