Monday, 30 July 2012

Birth Story Part 5

Is anyone surprised this birth story is taking me so long to get through?  You shouldn't be... I mean, remember my Wedding Recaps?!  (I told you I could rabbit on!)

So, when we left off, I knew my intervention-free birth was going out the window.  The midwives inserted a cannula into the back of my right hand.  It had two ports, one to administer antibiotics and on for the Sintocin.  In no time I was all hooked up and ready to get things going.  I steeled myself for the increase in pain, but I was pretty worn out by this point.

The Sintocin did it's job and very quickly my contractions got closer together and more intense.  I started to struggle.  Being unable to move around and the sheer exhaustion were really getting to me.  The midwives were frustrated that they had trouble keeping the baby's heartbeat tracked on the monitor I was wearing and kept re-adjusting it.  After a couple of hours they said that they wanted to up my dose of Sintocin because I still wasn't far enough along for their liking.  At this point, I cracked.  I said, "If you want to up the dose, I'd like to talk to someone about an epidural".  They were words I'd been aiming to avoid.  I didn't want to have one, but I knew I'd reached my breaking point.  If I'd been able to move around or be in the water, or if I hadn't been in labour so long things might have been different.  But that's what happened I asked for the epidural.

Time went on and I assumed that the anaesthetist was coming.  The midwife said they needed to up the dose again and I said, "What's happening with the epidural?"  She said "Oh, did you want one?"  I was so shocked.  I was in disbelief that I'd asked about one a full hour before and she hadn't called for a doctor!  I've heard since then, that they will often really make you work for one and be firm that you really want it in an effort to help you avoid one if they know you hadn't wanted an epidural.  So I guess I can appreciate that she was trying to give me the birth I had wanted, but at the time I was not a happy camper.  I think Ross was even more irritated than I was.  (I think being the husband during birth has to be one of the hardest things ever.  They don't get enough credit for sitting there watching their wives in pain, unable to really DO anything.  Sure they can do some things, but there's not a lot to do except wait and be supportive- while trying to keep calm and positive.  When things weren't going as smoothly as we would have liked, I can't imagine how stressful it was for him.)  I affirmed that yes I wanted the epidural and would like her to hold off on upping my dose of Sintocin again until after I'd had some pain relief.

Not long thereafter, an anaesthetist came into the room.  The was a young-ish woman and in my mind she was Jac Naylor (a character on a hospital show here.  She's known for her no-nonsense attitude and all-business approach to medicine).  I knew, even in the moment, that she really looked nothing like the actress, but I still decided that she was my own personal Jac.

She was very calm and cool.  I remember appreciating how she spoke to me (like a normal person, instead of like a woman in labor).  She politely said that she'd heard I was interested in an epidural.  By this point, it had been nearly 36 hours since my waters had broken.  She informed me in a very straight-forward manner that I wasn't eligible for an epidural.  I was crushed.  My mouth hung open.  I already felt a bit like I'd failed in even asking for one, but once I'd given in and asked for one I hadn't had any question in my mind that I'd be getting one and that relief was imminent.  I think I almost cried when I asked "Why?!?!"  She explained that, because my waters had been broken for so long and I'd spiked a fever there was a chance that I could be paralysed if they went messing with my spine.  Well that, seemed a good enough reason....  I thought after hearing this news that the next bit she would say was "So, you'll just have to keep going... no pain relief for you."  I felt defeated and tired.  Luckily, I was wrong... Not-Jac wasn't going to let me down.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Cheerful Sunday

It makes me very cheerful that The Olympics are in Great Britain this year.  It makes it all so exciting.  The best part, however, is that they are in London and we are in Manchester.  We get all the thrill of being proud to be the host nation without the inconvenience and crowds!

We watched the opening ceremony (well, I made it halfway through the parade of nations), but haven't watched that much else so far.
Are you watching the Olympics?

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Word of the Week


Definition: the colloquial term for dried nasal mucus 
Used in a sentence:  I've got a cold right now, so I'm very pretty with a nose full of bogeyboogers.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Nursery Rhymes Again

I already talked about Nursery Rhymes once.  Let's do it again!

Let's start with the one that Reader Michelle commented about.  I'm not sure whether to call in by it's British name, or it's American one.  I'm talking about "Ring a Ring of Roses" or "Ring Around the Rosie".  In addition to the name/first line of the song being different, as Michelle noted, the final line varies by country.  I grew up with "Ashes, ashes, we all fall down!", but Ross knows it as "A tissue, a tissue, we all fall down!"  Either way, the song is strangely morbid and about the plague, right?  I'm not sure the reason for the difference... Anyone know?

Another tiny difference is a rhyme about a spider.  The Itsy Bitsy Spider to me, is The Eensy Weensy Spider here.

This picture doesn't really have anything to do with this post,
but all posts need a picture and my baby and his toes are adorable.
You're welcome.

The next one confuses me every time we go to Rhythm Time.  "The Farmer in the Dell" is a classic childhood song.  The first time we sang it at Rhythm Time we got to the final line and I realized that the leader was saying something completely different than me.  I was saying, as I'd learned, "Hi-ho the derry-oh".  I leaned over to a dad who was attending the group with his son.  I know his wife, but hadn't met him prior to this session.  I asked him what she was saying.  He looked at me, confused.  I explained that I didn't understand the words she was saying at the end.  He still seemed confused.  I clarified that we say "Hi-ho the derry-oh" in America.  He paused and said, "I wouldn't worry about it.  They're just nonsense words."  Now it was my turn to look confused.  I said, "Well, yes, but I want to say the RIGHT nonsense words."  He remained confused and I let it go and just went back to singing- straining extra hard when we got to the line in question, trying to figure out what words I should be saying.

I asked Ross when he got home that evening.  He said that, here it's "Ee-i, adio".  Alright then!  Progress.  But guess what?  I looked it up on Wikipedia and learned that the line depends on where in England you are.  Apparently Londoners say "Ee-i, tiddly-i" and those in the West Country say "Ee-i, Ee-i".

So there you go.  Some more interesting (at least to me, and hopefully to you) differences in the way we sing to our kiddos.
Anyone know any other differences in nursery rhymes?

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Cheerful Sunday

These two boys are very cute and fun. They make me more cheerful than just about anything.

(edited to flip the picture the right way... silly mobile Blogger app)

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Word of the Week


Definition:  a weaving effect which traditionally uses 3 strands crossed over each other in an alternating manner
Used in a sentence:  There are some really cool hairstyles that use braidplaits, but unfortunately I've never been good at doing them.

*I'd read the word "plait" in British literature before moving here and assumed that it was pronounced "plate".  It is not.  It is pronounced "plat".

Wednesday, 18 July 2012


We recently won a photo shoot and 5x7" portrait after I answered a survey while out shopping in Bury.  I was super-excited about the chance to have a great picture of our little family.  We've got some that we took when Linus was one month old, but it'll be nice to have some that don't involve a box as a tripod and the self-timer.

Well, tonight I spoke to the girl from the photography studio to schedule our session and was left scratching my head.  She explained that they really like to capture the family in their element and put lots of personality into the pictures.  Sounds great!  I don't want cheese pictures of fixed smiles.  In photos like that I always end up looking crazy or you can read the thought "just take the darn picture already" in my eyes.  The best pictures ever taken of me are from our engagement pictures and our wedding pictures.  Granted the professional hair and make up at the wedding helped, but the most important part was that it was a relaxed shooting style that captured us as we really are. 

The scheduler asked me questions about what we are "in to".  I struggled to answer this.... "Um.... our family?  Laughing?... We're kind of boring, I guess..."  She finally managed to get me to say that Ross likes old movies- like Laurel and Hardy and that I like to cook.  I also mentioned that Ross really likes socks.  She said that was weird.*  She then suggested that, in order to make our photos more personal, we should bring some of movies and some pots and pans.  Right. Sure.  Nothing says priceless family photos like props of DVDs and cookware.

Tell me I'm not the only one that thinks that sounds like the worst idea ever?  I'd much rather have pictures of my family laughing and smiling and being goofy.  I'd like us to be the focus, rather than some stuff that we like.  I can't speak for Ross and his DVDs, but I like my husband and my son and heck of a lot more than I like pots and pans!  I do appreciate what they're trying to do: put people at ease and make the photos more individual, but come on... If our family doesn't have enough personality and facial expressions to make a fun photo shoot, then I'll eat my hat.  Or maybe Linus' hat.  

It's cuter.

Anyway, I'll keep you posted on our experience (spoiler: we won't be bringing any props).

Have you ever used props in a photo shoot?
Would you have family pictures taken with a stack of DVD's and pots and pans?

*Ross disputes and takes great offence to the idea that his love of socks is weird.  I explained that, while I don't mind, it is (in fact) abnormal to have an entire dresser full of socks.  He wasn't convinced.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Word of the Week


Definition:  The government employee who facilitates the delivery of mail throughout the land, with varying degrees of timeliness and accuracy.
Used in a sentence:  Our mailmanpostman is sort of surly, so it brings me extra joy when I manage to get a smile out of him.

Thursday, 12 July 2012


It isn't often any more that I get tripped up by word meaning differences, but the other day I had the following conversation.

First, let me set the scene:

Ross and I took our nephew to Katsouri's for lunch.  Katsouri's is a very tasty deli in Manchester (there's also one in Bury) that we like to frequent.  We'd go in for lunch maybe once a week when I was pregnant and have been in once since Linus arrived.  There's one lady in particular who usually takes our order and was very excited when we brought Linus in and made a big fuss over him.  The deli is pretty tightly packed at lunch time with not much room to manoeuvre a stroller, so I was wearing Linus.

We arrived and were standing by the refrigerator case picking out our freshly made sandwiches.  (Side note: I recommend The Olympus [hummus, feta, grilled peppers, olives, lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers] or the Bacon, Brie and Cranberry [those things plus lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers].  Delicious!!)  The woman came rushing over to say hello with a big smile on her face.  She coo-ed over Linus' adorableness and how sweet he looked in his sling.

Woman:  He's been sick.
Me:  No.  He's been fine.
Woman:  (looking confused) No.  He's been sick.
Me:  (even more confused) No.  We've been fine.  Just haven't been in for awhile.
Woman:  (so confused, firmly) He has.  He's been sick!

I finally look down and see some spit up on Linus' shirt.  The woman hadn't been telling me that we hadn't been in because Linus had had a cold or something.  She was telling me that he'd spit up.  I forgot that "sick" here means vomit.  As in "Oops.  You've got some sick in your hair!"  The way Americans use sick is usually called "ill" here.  So if you say to a Brit "I feel sick", don't be surprised if they hand you a trash can.  

Anyway... we had a nice laugh when I explained my confusion and then I grabbed a rag and cleaned Linus' shirt.  Then I ate a tasty Bacon, Brie and Cranberry sandwich, a few olives, and split a caramel chocolate square with my nephew.

The end.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012


"Visitors to Britain are rarely able to grasp - sometimes even after decades of residency - the vital distinction its inhabitants make between complaining and moaning.  The two activities seem similar, but there is a profound philosophical and practical difference.  To complain about something is to express dissatisfaction to someone whom you hold responsible for an unsatisfactory state of affairs; to moan is to express the same thing to someone other than the person responsible.  The British are powerfully embarrassed by complaining... They do love to moan, though... Moaning, a source of entertainment in its own right, is also an important psychic blanket, a way of venting resentment without taking responsibility for effecting change."
- John Lanchester, "Letter from London: Party Games," The New Yorker

I came across this quote thanks to blogger Betsy Transatlantically.  I cannot tell you how interesting I found it.  Mostly, it makes me laugh because my family has a running joke about how my brother likes to moan about things.  (Apparently Matt would fit in well here!)

I have to agree with Betsy's take on it (which I guess make us both stereo-typically American), in that moaning is irritating to me.  It isn't productive.  It gets you nowhere.   And, in my opinion, seems meaner.  I know many people would disagree with me and say that it is rude to complain and make a fuss.  While I agree that there is a rude way to complain, there is also a constructive and appropriate way to complain.  Constructive criticism promotes forward motion and is often the only way to improve things.  If people only moan (also known as "talking behind someone's back"), no one in a position to make the situation better knows there is a problem!

There is a place for a nice moan.  Whining can be a bonding thing.  It can release tension or help you feel better about a situation where you know that change is unlikely and/or complaining is futile.  Sometimes I'm able to diffuse a situation by vocally blaming my complaining on being American.  It tends to make people laugh if you call yourself out for conforming to a stereotype.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Light and Tasty Summer Salad

I made this salad for dinner tonight.  Well technically I made it last night and then we ate it tonight.  The friend who recommended the recipe (as well as some of the comments on the webpage) indicated that it's actually better after sitting for a day, so I made it ahead.

I used Israeli Couscous instead of quinoa and added lemon zest and halved kalamata olives.  It was very yummy.  It tasted summery and fresh and lovely.  Ross was a fan and went back for more after his original helping.  (I have to introduce new kinds of food with caution, as he can be set in what he "likes" to eat.)

This dish was great because it was easy to throw together, with almost no cooking- only the couscous!  It was really nice to know I just needed to pull it out of the fridge at dinner time.  I served with a crusty bread and a green salad.  Easy peasy.  I could definitely see this at a picnic, cookout or covered dish.  

What are your favorite easy summer recipes?

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Word of the Week


Definition:  The itemized document presented at the end of a meal in a restaurant which indicates the amount due to the restaurant in exchange for the food, drinks, and service provided.
Used in a sentence:  When you have a moment, may I have the checkbill, please?

Thursday, 5 July 2012

MVPs of 0-4 Months

Now that Linus has made it through the first 4 months of life, I thought I'd let y'all know what I consider to be our MVPs.  Ross and I made an effort to avoid the pull of "MUST.HAVE.ALL.THE.THINGZ!!!!" when it comes to baby gear and I'm proud to say that we've done a pretty darn good job.

There are so many items out there, but you really don't NEED that many things at all.   Here is my list of stuff that has been invaluable in Linus' first 4 months.

I already discussed my love of them in another post, so I won't go on about them...

The Boppy pillow and the GlamourMom nursing tank are both being put to use in this picture.  I use the Boppy for every feeding while at home and practically live in the nursing tanks.  Linus is also starting to enjoy using the Boppy to be propped up so he can be nosy.

The other big winner for us has been the Fisher Price Precious Planet Playtime Bouncer.  We have about 8 million pictures of Linus in this bouncy chair.  He slept in it a ton when he was a tiny newborn.  I think he liked that it was at angle and sort of hugged him.  Though he sleeps at night in his crib, he still naps in the bouncy chair (I know, I know... we need to transition to the crib...).  He loves to sit in this chair and we've definitely gotten good use out of it.

This product is hardly a must-have, but I love it nonetheless.  It's the one real splurge that I went for, but the ease of using it makes it worth it (in my opinion).  The BabySmart Cooshee Changing Pad is awesome.  It isn't available in the UK, so I contacted the company in the US.  They put me in touch with a supplier in the Czech Republic who worked to ship me one.  The foam material wipes clean easily and Linus strangely love being on it.  I don't know what it is, but he breaks into a huge smile whenever a put him down on it!

After bath time

Early days

The final product that we've used a ton isn't exactly a traditional baby product, but has been very useful.  I don't have a picture of it, but here's one from the Holland & Barrett website:

This is the only product we've used on Linus' skin.  I use it to massage him every night before bed.  I also use it on any redness on his bottom and any little scratches he's given himself with his fingernails.  I've not had any problems that this stuff couldn't fix.  I also put it on his forehead and cheeks to help keep his sinuses clear when he's stuffy.  I even use it on my wrists when they're sore from carpal tunnel pain.  This stuff is miraculous, a great moisturiser, and it smells great!

And that's it.  Those are my top products for our first four months.
What products worked great for you?
Anything that came in handy as baby got bigger?

Monday, 2 July 2012

4 Months

Dear Linilous,

You turned four months old yesterday.  We still love you.  A lot.

You're so fun and smiley.  You have the best facial expressions.  We love to just sit and make faces at each other!  (What can I say?  We lead a very exciting life here at Casa Ameringlish.)  You'll sometimes go through a whole range of emotions and accompanying expressions in a matter of seconds.  Your hair is getting thicker and filling in a lot more and your hairline is more defined now.  You never really lost your hair, but you do have a little bald spot on the back of your hair from rubbing.

Coy baby.

You are developing so much and the last month has been chock full of new stuff.  You have now mastered rolling (both back to front and front to back).  You even rolled fully over one time, but have been unwilling to do it again since then.  You're getting more control over it and figuring out how to do it on purpose which is really cool.  You're also reaching and grabbing for things, like the toys hanging from your play gym.  It's so fun to watch you start to notice the world around you.

You were slightly suspicious of the purple birdie.

This month we went to see the Olympic Torch pass through our neighborhood.  You didn't seem overly-impressed (which was fair, as it wasn't that great...), but it's still fun to take you to things like that.  We realize you won't remember doing them, but we still feel obligated to expose you to cultural and social events.

Just before the torch passed by us.

You are so sweet and loving.  You've started to really get excited when you see us.  The other day I went to the restroom at the grocery store and when I walked up to you and daddy you broke out in the biggest smile.  It almost made me cry right in the middle of Asda.  I have been known to get weepy just looking at you and thinking how much I love you.  I have a feeling this may continue for the rest of your life.

We sing you silly songs and dance around.  You're just starting to make talking noises.  Right now they are the softest sweetest coos and gurgles.  You go for long periods being quiet, but then you burst into a string of noises.  It always makes me smile.  

You make me smile.  

I love you!

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Cheerful Sunday

One song, three ways is very cheerful.

First up, the original.  It nearly reached over-play saturation, but I still dig it:

Next, the Glee-ified version.  With the hawtness of Darren Criss and Matt Bomer:

And finally, a version for all my nerds out there: