Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Birth Story Part 6

Catch up: Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

So Not-Jac told me that, while I couldn't have an epidural, I could have something else. Remifentanil. She briefly explained what Remi was and gave us a sheet of facts. It wasn't a pain management option I'd heard about at all prior to that moment, which surprised me given all my research. I've since learned that they only give Remi when a patient can't have an epidural.

We agreed to the Remi, which would be self-administered via a pump. They got another cannula put in my hand (this time in a very awkward place, right where my wrist bent) and got me all hooked up. The nice student midwife helped me put my hair in a ponytail. I tried to do it myself, but the IVs made it impossible to manoeuvre. It was a small act, but still sticks with me as a reassuring, and sweet moment from my labour.

the Remi port the day after giving birth

(Overall, despite minor annoyances, the midwives we dealt with were really good. They were calm and competent. In all honesty, I was so focused that I don't remember a great deal about them- but I think that must be a good thing. It means they let me get on with it and provided support when needed, just like they should!)

After the pump contraption was all set up and the port was in, Not-Jac explained that I would have to push a button to administer a dose. I could choose when to release a dose, but there was a time limit on how frequently I could push the button. She explained that I'd need to learn how to time it with the contractions for maximum effect and suggested pushing the button as each contraction started. She then held out the button to me. I remember a look in her eye as she made me reach out for the button and take it, rather than just handing it to me. It was a final moment of "you must choose this". I'm not sure how much that memory is based in reality. I grabbed the controller and, as Ross put it, "pushed the button like I was blowing up China". Nearly immediately, I felt the relief flood my body.

From there, time gets REALLY fuzzy. It was about 4 in the morning, I think. My world narrowed to just me, the button, and anything happening within about a foot of me. Even Ross is quiet blurry in my memory from this point. I was frequently aware of (and very grateful for) his presence, but was so "in" the labour that I don't think I interacted much with him. I know he kept calm by emailing updates to people and cleaning up the ice that we'd brought that had now melted. (Our freezer bag was leaking and he had visions of midwives slipping in a puddle on their way to render aid to the baby with the machine that was next to him. He was meticulous in cleaning it up. In the end, distraction was the only thing that ice was good for.)

Labour continued on unremarkably from this point. (There was one point where Ross overheard the midwives with scraps of "obviously in distress... baby isn't doing well... I don't want to be the one to tell her..." I didn't hear any of this (Thank God!!), but Ross was understandably freaking out. He called over the the midwives, who were on the other side of the room, and asked if everything was ok. They seemed confused why he was asking and replied "Of course" and that "if anything were wrong they'd tell us". Apparently they were discussing someone else! Ross told them that it would be nice to be told that everything was ok from time to time. My poor honey! I've said it before, but I don't envy the husband during labour. It's a tough job!) At some point, our midwives had a break and someone else came in to cover for a while. Then our original midwives went off their shift and someone new took over. She was a young midwife and I don't remember much about her, other than that she was nice. For some reason, I was giving a nose thingie to give me oxygen. I threw up a couple of times.

The next thing I really remember is when things go exciting. I started to feel that things were HAPPENING. I noticed the midwives moving into action. I overheard someone tell someone else that I'd be starting to push soon. I informed them that it was happening NOW. I felt an uncontrollable need to push and that wasn't any stopping it. Someone pointed out that the Remi had run out. My first reaction was that I needed more, but that didn't happen. I decided that I could make it for the last bit med-free. I am so happy with that decision. Because it's such a fast in/out drug, I was able to be really present for the pushing and birth. It was much closer to the birth I'd wanted than I thought I'd be getting!

All in all, I think I pushed maybe 5 times. It didn't take much more than about 15 minutes. When I got to the point of the "ring of fire", I followed the advice of my midwife and panted, rather than pushing. Man, that sucked. In the last few moments of pushing I remember thinking that I could feel the baby's nose squishing against me and jokingly mentally cursing that sweet little nose. And then, I pushed and I felt the most massive relief in my life. Linus shot out between my legs and I felt the umbilical cord follow suit. It felt like a hose unravelling, complete with "bdd-dd-d-ddddd" sound effects. It seemed impossibly long in the moment.

Ross was at my side as we saw our son come into the world. He looked so huge to me. He was slightly purple (which I'd been prepared for), but perfect. He had lots of hair. The midwife quickly wiped him a bit and then placed him on my chest for skin-to-skin. He scored 9s on both of his APGAR ratings. It was 8:25AM on March 1, 2012.

Linus' first picture

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Cheerful Sunday

We had a fun time at the Bolton Food and Drink Festival today, even though it was pouring down rain.
We took shelter in one of the food tents and enjoyed some fresh pancakes (thin, crepe style)- lemon and sugar for me, apple and cinnamon for Ross.

We got some delicious fresh French bread and very tasty crumbly Lancashire cheese.

How wonderful to have fun, even when conditions are less than ideal!

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Word of the Week


Whineywhingey baby

Definition: to be generally unsettled and let people know it by complaining
Used in a sentence: If there aren't any pickles in the house, Ross starts to whinewhinge.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Easily amused

So, I may have mentioned before that Linus is just about my favorite ever. He's so fun and his little personality is really starting to shine through. The other day I had the hiccups and Linus, though initially startled, Linus decided that it was the funniest thing ever.
I was forced to video it for posterity.
Now I'm sharing my son's adorableness with you.

(my mom told me the video didn't work the first time, so I fixed it!)

You're welcome.
Though my big brother has often derided me for being "easily amused", I've always considered the fact that I'm easily amused to be a huge asset. It means that life is usually a whole lot more fun for me than for those constantly suffering from ennui. I'm pleased that it seems I've already passed this trait on to Linus.

Are you easily amused too?
What silly traits do you hope to pass on to your children?

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Better than throwing darts at a map.

Yesterday was Ross' birthday. To celebrate, we went to Wales. Ross tried to tell me that it counted as "going abroad", but I wasn't fooled! It was a nice little trip and Linus' first time to spend the night away from home since he came home from the hospital.

Ross has a strange thing about going out of town for birthdays. Since I've lived here we have always gone somewhere for our birthdays, and have developed an interesting way of picking where we go for Ross'.

2010 in the Lake District/Ulverston

2011 in Blackpool

2012 in Caerphilly

Any guesses?

I'll give you a hint:

Yep. We go somewhere that has a statue of a comedian. Ross is a bit of a comedy historian and it's a been a pretty good way to pick a place to go. The only real problem with this year's trip was the shocking lack of Caerphilly cheese available in Caerphilly! Ross was very excited to get some, but there was none to be found. How very disappointing! It turns out that more Caerphilly cheese is now made in Lancashire.

Here's the birthday boy with his pride and joy.

Don't worry, we weren't letting Linus drive.  
This is while we were stopped at The Services on the way home.

So does anyone have a nomination for next year's trip/statue location?

Friday, 17 August 2012

Visions of Grocers

Yesterday I was visiting with some of my new mom friends (holla Jess, Suzy, and Clare!) and we were talking about the difference between customer service in the US and UK. I said that I'd love to train retail and restaurant workers on proper customer service. Waitstaff who never check on you or act put out if you want a refill of your water irritate me. The people who stand at the entrance of Next (a department store) drive me bonkers. I assume they are meant to be "greeters" a post I filled often when I worked in retail. In the US, this person cheerfully welcomes people to the store, informs them of any sales and encourages them to ask for help if it's needed. In the UK, however, it seems that this person is meant to awkwardly and pointlessly hover by the entrance. From time to time they may shyly make eye contact and tentatively smile. The very bold ones might mumble something about "Do you receive the catalogue?" as you walk past. It seems an utterly pointless thing to have a staff member do if they aren't actually going to do anything.  (Oops.  Are my crazies showing? I think so.)

At any rate, I was relating a story about when Ross and I were dating and he'd come visit me in Dallas.  My apartment was in walking distance to a Tom Thumb.

While I was at work, Ross would work from my apartment and often walk to the store and buy some food. Often times, he would actually cook dinner for me too. He's a keeper! Very early on, we went to the store together and all of the employees made eye contact and said "Hello".  Many asked how we were doing or wished us a nice day. Ross leaned over and whispered to me "Do you know them?" I laughed, confused why he was so bewildered.  After living in the UK for over 2 years now, I get it.  

After telling this story, one of my friends said that they loved that I call it a "grocery store". I paused, caught off-guard, never having thought to call it anything else. I asked what I should be calling it. She declared that I should never stop calling it that because it made her envision me shopping at a quaint little shop served by men in striped aprons, surrounded by fresh fruit and veg. I started to correct her, but she cheerfully insisted that I not ruin her illusion. There are some that are a bit like that. Central Market and Whole Foods are the best grocery stores known to man, even they don't quite fit that image. In my experience, American grocery stores and British supermarkets are pretty similar. 

I learned afterwards that someone in the UK would call it a "supermarket", though most often I find that people say the name of the actual store they are going to (Morrison's, Sainsbury, Tesco, Asda, etc.). Ross and I were discussing that "supermarket" is actually an American term, but it's not one that I would ever think of using in the sentence "I'm going to the supermarket later to pick up some bananas".  It strikes my ear strangely. Just, I'm sure, in the way that "grocery store" strikes the ears of my British friends. I don't find it strange to think of a store a supermarket, but to actually refer to it as one is another story. 

I think Clare is safe as I can't imagine calling it anything but a grocery store... If you need me I'll be spreading false images of the American grocery shopping.

Wait, what would a British person say instead of "I have to do the grocery shopping?" or "Tonight I'm shopping for groceries?"?
I just asked Ross and he wasn't able to offer any clarity...
Would it be something like "doing the weekly shop"?
I don't think I'll ever stop coming across these little fun idosyncracies! Isn't learning about a new culture fun!?

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

It's The Pitts

I haven't ever talked about this before, but there is one huge difference between life in the US and the UK that I totally wasn't expecting. Brace yourselves. It's a big one.

Are you ready?

Deodorant is different here.

BOOM!  Explosive and mind-blowing, right?

In the States, I'd used a soft-solid style for years. I'd rotate between Secret, Dove, Degree.  Usually whatever was on sale, but always a soft solid. Most of my friends used this type too. It seemed like a given. Standard.

Then, I ran out of the one I had when I moved here and went shopping. I looked on the aisle and found this.

(Well, almost this.  I took this picture today, so there's one minor difference.)

Shock! Gasp!

Here's a photoshopped version to make things more clear.

Red= Spray
Blue= Roll-on
Yellow= Body spray
Black= the stuff that didn't used to be there

Not a soft solid, or even solid-solid (the pre-soft-solid US standard) to be found. Here, it seems that the only options were a handful of roll-ons and a majority of sprays. I don't know anyone that wears spray deodorant in America, but it is clearly the hands-down favorite 'round these parts.

And so, I joined the ranks of spray-deodorant-wearing people.  I found I actually didn't hate it.  It's quite nice actually.  But then something exciting happened a few weeks ago.  I saw an add for this:

A television add for my old favorite brand and style of deodorant.  It's called something different (Maximum Protection) and it doesn't mention the words "soft solid" anywhere, but it is.  I'm not sure what changed and why soft-solid deodorant is now available in the UK.  Anyone know?  It's not a wide range.  Dove seems to be the only brand doing it, and it's only the clinical strength kind.  I'm wondering if other brands will follow suit or if this will remain a sort of one off. So that's what's behind the black box in the photoshopped picture.  A shelf of Dove soft-solid deodorant.

And you know what, I've even bought new deodorant since it was introduced and it wasn't this stuff.  It was this:

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Cheerful Sunday

Linus is finally doing all his sleeping in the crib! He's been sleeping nights in the crib for quite some time, but we hadn't managed successful naps in it until this week.
He even threw in some cute "Butt in The Air" sleeping for the first time today!

He's back to sleeping through the night after a cold messed his sleep up last week... though I'd be even more cheerful if he'd stop waking up at 5AM!

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Victory vs. Honour

We've been watching some of the Olympics coverage...
Not a ton, but random bits here and there.  There's coverage on all day long, so I'll put it on when I'm feeding Linus or we'll watch some in the evening.  The only thing I really got into was the Men's Gold Medal Tennis match.  Hooray Andy!  What a match!

I have a few observations about the coverage.  One is that it seems to me that the British coverage involves far more actual coverage of the sports, rather than endless puff pieces on the athletes meant to inspire me.  Maybe I'm just watching at the wrong times, but it definitely seems to be better coverage.  Not that they are immune to the occasional gaffe.  I heard a commentator proclaim that a competitor had "celebrated a birthday just a few short years ago".  I'm fairly confident that she meant days or weeks, but she totally said years. Hahaha!

The biggest difference I've noticed, however, is that when competitors in track and field or cycling events wins they often take an extra celebratory lap.  That's not unusual, but I noticed that this practice is called something different here!  I'd always known this as a "Victory Lap".  Here in the UK, it is referred to as a "Lap of Honour".  I think this difference is pretty interesting and actually says something about the difference in the cultures.  In America, the emphasis is on the victory.  The dominance.  The superiority.  In England, it's the pride and honour brought to the person. and thus their country, for having achieved something amazing.  It's a subtle difference, but it makes sense in my head.  Almost like the American way is about showing off and the British way is about acknowledging the crowd.  It's totally semantic and contains broad generalizations and stereotype.  Oh, well.  It's a true fact that British people don't like to show boat like Americans do.  It's considered fairly egregiously distasteful.  So maybe I'm not reaching on this as much as it seems.  I think there is an actual difference between a Lap of Honour and a Victory Lap.

What do you think?
What's been your fav moment of the Olympics so far?

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

5 Months

Dear Sweet Bean,

I can't believe you are 5 months old today!  You are such a big boy now.  I look at you and see more and more glimpses of what you'll be like as you get older.  I often find myself thinking that you aren't really a baby any more, because you are so different than you were as a tiny new thing.  Then, of course, I see pictures of you and realize you are still very much a baby.

One Week Old

5 Months Old

You have so much personality.  You get the giggles when we blow raspberries on your tummy.  You love Freddie the Firefly.  You are starting to really babble and experiment with sound.  Once you start laughing, if I copy you, you think it's the funniest thing ever!  

Playing with Freddie

You seem to have had another break through in terms of awareness and interaction.  You are so into what's going on.  The other day, you were looking back and forth between me and daddy.  You switched your attention to whomever was talking.  We were insanely proud of this momentous occurrence.  You are on the verge of being able to sit up, but still need a helping supportive hand in order to keep from falling over.  You want so badly to crawl, but don't quite have the upper body strength yet.  You end up doing this funny inchworm movement.  You can actually get surprising distance by doing it and are getting really good at getting to and grabbing toys. 

You're sleeping really well in your crib at night (knock on wood) and we're working on getting you to nap in your crib rather than your bouncy chair.  We've got the first nap pretty much down.  You've had your first real cold the last two days, so that's been a little rough, but your still very smiley considering how bad you must feel.

Daddy still thinks you are the bee's knees.  I can't tell you how often I hear him laughing at some face or sound you've made.  Sometimes he swoops in for a kiss as though he just can't stand not to plant one on you.  He's very good at calming you down when you're upset and he's still magic at getting difficult burps out.  You're very lucky to have him as your father.  Don't call him "Big Dave" though, no matter how much he asks.  He's very silly.

Silly boys!

We think you're gorgeous and strangers agree!  People are always coming up to us to tell us how sweet/adorable/beautiful you are.  We don't mind it one bit and always tell them that we agree whole-heartedly.  I have to say that my mommy-heart bursts with pride when other people recognize what a special little guy you are.  (Sure, they may say it to every baby they see, but I still think they mean it most for you! Right? Right.)  

You've got a little group of friends who were all born within a few weeks of you.  It's going to be so much fun to watch y'all discover each other and really start to play together as you get older.  We went swimming with them this week.  It was your first time in the pool and you did really well!  I can't say you loved it, as you mostly seemed slightly confused about what was going on.  You didn't scream.though, so I call it a win.

Linus and his buddies

We love you so much, Line.  We're very lucky to be your parents. (As a fun fact, Daddy kissed me for the first time 4 years ago today!)  I can't wait to see what the next month holds.  One thing is for sure, I've got about a million kisses to give you.