Category Archives: Prologue

December 2009 – August 25th 2010

Ground-sprog Day

‘I Got You Babe’ might not have been playing on the radio when I got up this morning and I might not have bumped into Ned Ryerson but today certainly had an air of familiarity, Groundhog Day style to it, from people wishing us well at work to a packing things in bags and that whole kind of uneasy stepping into the unknown feeling about it all…again.

This last week has felt like forever jumping from hospital to home and back again several  times but not necessarily in that order, which is mildly frustrating for me but pales compared to how draining all this dragging back and forth and dragged out it has made Sarah feel.

There can be only one...more visit to hospital

Here we are, nearly Tuesday and this time last week we seemed to be going through both the same motions and emotions. Watching TV this evening you’d be forgiven that someone was trying to tell us something as not only is Sam Mitchell in hospital pregnant with Preeclampsia but Highlander was also on later which as you may recall features immortals with dodgy accents lopping offs people’s heads and they then gain in power as their energy transforms to them pretty much blowing everything up around them. Well this, this is called the quickening and apparently the quickening, in real life and not the film as I can’t see myself getting very far at the hospital with sword in hand, is a term for when a baby in the womb shows its first sign of life, its first noticeable movement within the womb. Or perhaps I’ve just got babies on the brain.

Sarah’s mum and dad were round earlier and we said that we were going to have our second final night of freedom, to which Sarah’s mum replied we should spend it like our first. To be honest there was no danger of that happening as I had too much red wine that night and ended up doing various Bagpuss impressions (“The amazing mechanical mouse organ”), such a charmer. We had pizza and a Chinese instead and watched a cheery episode of Panorama that featured parents who were wrongly accused of child abuse against their newborn child. Perhaps an encore of my Professor Yaffle impressions wasn’t such a bad idea after all!

Somehow, after only doing it last week, we found ourselves packing numerous bags again for tomorrow’s trip to the hospital, shoving items with a sense finality about it. All the essentials were there obviously: camera, mini-chedders, Harry Potter on CD for Sarah and a trusty pack of cards. I’d also made sure that my trusty bottle of lucozade was within easy reach in the fridge to help get me started in the morning.

Talking of fridges I’ve also started seeing sell by dates on food not as actual dates as such but as whether they are best before Izzy is born or not, still kind of working round the date of September 1st. Turns out the milk isn’t but the Lurpak is, even though it probably won’t last that long. Lucky it doesn’t run out on the actual 1st though as I’d probably end up keeping it and framing it or something.

Today might be Tuesday again, just, but we are confident of one thing that no matter how similar this day is to last Tuesday this will be our last Izzy free Tuesday ever. To paraphrase Bill Murray, Izzy’s chance of departure,100%.

That was the week that wasn’t

Well, what a week it has been in many ways and what a week it certainly hasn’t been in many others!

Last Tuesday almost seems a whole lifetime ago, this was the day that we went into hospital to have Izzy induced, turns out nobody actually let her in on that little titbit of information…or on Wednesday either.

Obviously Sarah’s more than a little frustrated at the prodding, poking and flitting back and forth from the hospital. Not that the hospital haven’t been great, they’ve been fantastic and each and every person we’ve come into contact with has been massively kind and helpful beyond words. Think we are all sick at looking at those patterned hospital bed curtains though, which in many ways has felt like living in a shower cubicle of sorts for the week.

I can’t grumble too much though as obviously I’ve not suffered the slings and arrows that Sarah has, both mentally and physically, and her mums been great in spending all that time there that I’ve not when I’ve shot off back to work. Her dad has also been fab playing the role of Mr Taxi for all of us which has been a massive bonus.

My mum and dad also stepped up to the plate, ‘jetting in’ from Nottinghamshire as a surprise visit with their support, which was a pleasant shock to see them sitting by the hospital lift, and they have been just fantastic in running errands and sprucing up the flat and just generally being there.

Are you talc-ing to me?

If we turn out half as good as our parents then we won’t be putting too many feet wrong, even if my trying to screw the lid off some talcum powder wasn’t the most auspicious of starts to parenthood for us, in our defence it’s not something we have really previously bought and how we were meant to know the holes we covered by a sticker! The only way is up I say.

In other news we did both spot, at different times, Nick Frost (Simon Pegg’s mate from Spaced, Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and soon to be Thompson Twin in Tin Tin) at the hospital, not to speak to of course, but who knows might bump into him in the lifts next week, but please not the toilets! At least he wasn’t waiting outside in a Jag with the engine running so at least I knew the zombie apocalypse hadn’t started or anything, so that was quite reassuring.

With Izzy having taken up squatters rights in Sarah we are venturing back there on Tuesday for round 3…

You Only Build Once

Its part way through the fifth James Bond big screen adventure, You Only Live Twice (1967), and ‘Q’ has just delivered 007 his latest gadget in a series of boxes. A dumbfounded Sean Connery watches on as bit by bit and piece by piece these boxes contents are magically transformed into ‘Little Nellie’, a fantastic gyro-copter that Bond, complete with missiles and machine guns, uses to battle funky 60s helicopters as he hunts for Blofeld’s secret volcano base.

The machine guns and missiles might well have been missing – clearly not available on our model – but I felt exactly like Commander Bond as I helped my very own ‘Q’, Sarah’s dad Jeff, fit together our buggy.

It all slotted together so easily, take note design persons of IKEA etc, and not a screw, hammer or nail was needed, which is very rare for me, even when hammers and nails are not actually needed!

Colour wise it might not exactly be racing green but it’s the same colour as our Fiesta and should at least see us sticking out of the crowd from those blacks and greys and means we are easy to spot in Bluewater etc.

Of course, this isn’t just a normal buggy it’s a veritable super-buggy that any baby Bond would be pleased with as it transforms from a pushchair to a pram to a travel system that holds the car seat, amazing stuff and seems a world away from what was around when I was little. It’s even got proper tyres – not with lasers or tyre shredders though unforts – and comes complete with its very own bicycle pump!

As the buggy was being put together it did get some serious attention from Max the German Shepherd and Missy the Jack Russell as well. Both were eagerly circling the boxes and tails swishing like loons as the contents of each box was magically unveiled. Max has seen babies and prams etc arrive before so you could almost see the moment when he put it all together and turned to Missy and say: “I knew it, I told you they were having a baby, I told you!” Missy probably replied with something like, “A baby, what’s that? Is it like a baby bell? I like baby bell.”

They were both very excitable and clearly it made them both exhausted as they had to have a well earned lay down once they were happy that the buggy had been built to their liking.

Izzy, you have been evicted…please leave the Big Mother house

You are live in the Big Mother house, please do not swear

First things first she’s still in there kicking away but her days in the diary womb are numbered as Izzy has been given her eviction notice by the Doctor, sorry m’lady no more squatters rights for you and no we aren’t expecting Davina to make an appearance to give Izzy her first interview.

Initially expected to make her big entrance on September 1st it now looks like it’s all going to happen on Tuesday 16th August thanks to the Doctors being worried about mother and baby and the possibility of pre-eclampsia  – sounds like Latin to me and more like mea culpa or something – but it turns out it’s the most common of the serious things that can affect mother and baby and can even be life threatening to both if not monitored and caught early enough – gee thanks scary as shit poster in the hospital, really helped put my mind at ease.

That may not have done but the doctors and nurses have and Sarah’s being monitored daily, after having spent one night in hospital. She’s now resting up in her fetching stockings that help prevent blood clots, but as long as it keeps her and Izzy safe that is all that matters…Pippi Longstocking jokes are clearly out of bounds.

Still, could be much worse as we are watching Legion at the moment which features Paul Bettany as a fallen angel protecting a group of people at a remote gas station from an onslaught of possessed people in essentially what is the end of days. Bettany is there to protect a pregnant waitress and her unborn child who is set to be the saviour of all mankind, so when you put it like that it we’ve kind of gotten off quite lightly! Although if our daughter was the saviour of mankind, we’d of course by very proud parents.

Some mothers do ave em

With a child on her way I thought I’d take a delve through the archives to see what cinematic child I’m hoping we don’t get. I could have gone for people like Kevin from Home Alone etc but wanted to keep it firmly in the realm of horror, so here’s my list of children you’d need a little bit more than the naughty step for.

Cole

He's behind you!

We all want our children to make friends, er just not perhaps the dead kind. At least birthday parties wouldn’t be expensive although pass the parcel might become a little tiresome. You might also have a few issues if you have Nene’s 99 red balloons playing at any parties as well; read being the harbinger of death throughout the film.

Charlie

She’s a Firestarter , a twisted Firestarter. No she’s not she’s Drew Barrymore. This little moppet might get you hot under the collar as a parent down to the fact that when provoked she can quite literally have a fiery temper – I blame all those E numbers. Think Carrie on heat, so to speak!

Carol Ann

To be fair she’s a sweet kid and it’s not really her fault that she is most haunted, not by Derek Acorah or anything, now that would be bad.

They say that children watching TV can have a bad affect on them and never has this been truer than with Carol Ann Freeling who speaks through the dead through the static on your TV (at least it’s better than The Zone: QVC and signed repeats of Country File I suppose).Having a graveyard in your back garden might be good for the plants but to be honest it doesn’t really help the situation. Soon to be featured on an episode of DIY SOS…probably.

Michael Myers

Knife to see you, to see you knife. Young Michael sure did like his dressing up but clearly this was ‘masking’ other problems. Talking of which if they did the remake today would they use a Chris Pine mask?

He, that’s Myers, grew into a strapping young man and that superhuman strength would come in handy for removals and those trips to the shops. I can see him now in those overalls with his bags for life.

Esther

There’s something wrong with Esther, so screamed the posters for Orphan, well there must have been something about her stare as it used to send our Jack Russell potty when she saw the posters. Essentially a reworking of sorts of The Omen where a well to do family adopt a child only to find out everything is not as it seems. As the body count rises so do the doubts. Comes with an interesting twist that helps stop it being a run of the mill shocker.

 

Malachi

If the whole Dexy’s Midnight Runners look of dungarees does it for you then Malachi might be right up your street…or strip of field.

Leader of the Children of the Corn, the original based on a novel by Stephen King short story but now a never ending stream of uneven direct to video sequels, Malachi is probably not likely to be the apple of your eye for long as he and his minions want all adults dead. Clearly they haven’t thought this through as they won’t get pocket money and end up living of all the wrong kinds of food.

The Children                         

Bugs can be nasty, especially when they turn innocent children into rampaging killers. This is a nasty piece of British horror that has massively effective moments and manages to conjure up some wonderful look away now if you don’t want to see the results death scenes. 

Two families spend the Christmas holidays at a remote (of course) house and after a seemingly horrific accident where one of the adults dies in a tragic sledge accident (more you’ve been maimed) it isn’t long before other adults start dropping like flys and end up being outnumbered by their butter wouldn’t melt sons and daughters…well worth a look.

Regan

Shut it! No, not John Thaw in The Sweeney but shut it you potty mouthed pea-green splutter! We all hope for beautiful children that turn people’s heads but rarely one that turns its own 360 degrees.

Steer clear of pastel colours as vomit may well be a serious problem although to give her credit she does have a strong grasp of languages, mostly the dead or disgusting kind. She is undoubtedly a fast learner but could perhaps do with some sex education lessons as well, try explaining those splinters!

Village of the Damned

Most people might be rather pleased for kids for kids with blonde hair and blue eyes…but less so if it is the whole bloomin village of the little tykes. Remade to a lesser effect in 1994 by John Carpenter even Superman, Luke Skywalker and Mikey’s mum from Look Who’s Talking couldn’t even stop them! Gives a whole new meaning to ‘Are you smarter than a (collective) ten year old?’

Damian

The original devil child, Damian comes complete with his own devil dog accessory and 666 birthmark in his hairline – at least you won’t get him mixed up with the other kids! Keep out of reach of three-wheeled trike, goldfish and he’s none too keen on churches either.

Damian shows promise and ingenuity with the way he despatches of those who come in his way, the real reason Cameron kept the toddlers milk running. Specialities include Reverend skewered by spire and decapitation by sheets of glass, oh and the Christening and visits to the zoo may also cause something of a problem.

Into the mouth of madness: bottle or breast?

Almost at every twist and turn throughout pregnancy the message that breast is best when it comes to feeding has been shoved down our throat like a Farley’s rusk. It’s generally been a gentle push but has been a form of indoctrination all the same.

Now it not been like living in Nazi Germany or anything like that but there has been an undercurrent of shock and horror from many healthcare people when you even whisper feeding from the bottle rather than the breast, anyone would have thought you had uttered the dreaded words, Voldermort at Hogwarts, quickly followed by shouts of “your baby will have a lower IQ, slower development and the mum could be at greater at risk to certain Cancers.” Less Hogwarts and more hogwash I say!

 I’m not saying that breastfeeding isn’t good for mother and baby, but it shouldn’t be shoved down people’s throats (no pun intended) if mums, for a whole multitude of reasons cannot breast feed, and I’m hoping to expelliarmus the nonsense that new mums are made to feel inferior if they can’t.

For me, this all came to the fore at our third and final Antenatal class. There was a large group of women, their bumps and the odd man dotted around, including one very odd example of the species, me. Conversation came round to breastfeeding and the Health Visitor hoped that everybody would be giving it a go, she spoke to a woman expecting her second child and frowned somewhat when she learnt this mum had not breastfed her first child, cue the lower IQ blarney.

If I had been one of those women sat there I’d have felt under immense pressure to breastfeed and feel inadequate if I couldn’t. Surely such a hard sell must form a large part of post-natal depression in many women who feel they cannot provide and suffer great anxiety when they try and are perceived to have failed.

Fact is there are plenty of products on the market that can replace all the nutrients that you find in breast milk, it always gives Dads to be, like me, the chance to take a full and active part in bringing up and bonding with baby in the feeding process.

I found myself sitting there and really, really wanting to say something, the way you do when people are talking constantly loud at the pictures, so at the opportune moment (just as I do in the cinema) I said something. I piped up when the Health Visitor asked how the gathered mothers to be would feel after birth, which started with the usual shouts of excited etc, until I threw inadequate into the ring.

Turns out, as is usually the case, it was a great catalyst for other people questioning not so much that breast is best but agreeing that if they couldn’t do it or didn’t like it, or if baby didn’t like it, then they weren’t going to feel ostracised in some way.

Of course, the indoctrination will continue and so will making new mums feel ever so slightly like outcasts if, for whatever reason, they cannot produce the right milk, with even the EU getting in on the act, you try getting Boots clubcard points on formula milk! It’s hardly a deal breaker but it’s those little obstacles and little comments from healthcare professionals, people in a role for whom many, what they say goes, that make a difference. Breast is best? It might well be the most desirable but it isn’t the be all and end all.

Bring on the walls!

Rolf and er, a Roo

GCSE and A Level Art, check. Hours of watching Tony Hart and Rolf Harris, check, Alas I don’t feel any number of hours watching Take Hart or Rolf’s Cartoon Club will help me in my quest of painting Izzy’s room, unless I’m doing giant Tom and Jerry’s (doing stupid panting noises as I do) or planning on doing a picket fence going off into the distance. Which I’m not.

Instead, looking like an honorary Ghostbuster with my trusty Paint pod, I know I’ll be safe as long as I don’t cross my colour streams!

I’m sure Missy, our Jack Russell, will try and ‘help’ in some way shape or form, she’s already fallen foul of hair dye this week so it doesn’t bode too well for her to be honest, so the likelihood is that she is bound to get ‘slimed’, although I must point out the room is not being painted luminous green.

Who let the demon dogs out?

Hopefully there’ll be the cool and refreshing dangly carrot of several cold beers awaiting me in the fridge, although it will be just my luck that Zuul will have taken over the fridge, well just as long as those demon dogs haven’t  swiped my beers! I ain’t ‘fraid of no room!

The man from ante-natal

It’s probably a common misconception but I always thought antenatal classes went straight into the whole breathing techniques side of things, how wrong I was.

A whole array of people turned up, some with their partners and some without. We all paired up for getting to know you exercises, which was all very away day/staff training at the office type stuff but kind of broke the ice.

The chap I was paired up with clearly hadn’t been taking in too much information about me as he thought my name was Jack (obviously a theme is emerging this week as someone thought I was Ian on the phone today) and that our baby was due in January (not true Sarah, don’t worry as he wasn’t a Doctor).

Pain relief was the main buzz word of the day with us all discussing the various options available including injections, gas and air and even things attached to the back that give you a little electric shock and stop the pain reaching our brain, sounds more like shock therapy to me, but alas none of these methods were for us dads but for the mums.

Sarah was very clear that she wants lots of it, and I even may partake in a puff of the gas if I get a chance! To be honest, I think Sarah could do with all of the above at home at the moment as she is in great pain with her sciatic nerve which is at times making even the simplest movement a major logistical operation which at times has been like stop-motion animation on a life-size scale, not that there is a lot Sarah can do about it although I know she’d pretty much do anything to not be like it.

All of this has meant lots of back massages where the pain has been at its most intense and although no Phoebe Buffay in the massage department but my alternate ‘wax on’ and ‘wax off’ technique would do even Mr Miyagi proud.

Mum’s the ward

Had our first visit to the maternity ward at the weekend, which, with several couples present, made you realise that there are others having children at the same time as I think you often feel as if you are the only people going through this.

Matthew Kelly with Tom Selleck

As we alcohol gelled our hands before entering through the double doors it occurred to Sarah and I thought that at some point soon we would be coming through those doors with our daughter, in fact it reminded me somewhat of the dry ice engulfed entrance of Stars in Their Eyes with Sarah waving like a mad woman and saying to Matthew Kelly, “Tonight Matthew I’m going to be in a lot of f*cking pain.”

The ward was quiet…almost too quiet, no it really was as no one was on there. We had a speedy tour of the low risk room, the ward and the birthing pool room, which included a deliver y stool where you basically ‘poop’ your baby out onto something that looked like a dog bowl!

The tour, with all of its devices on show, reminded me of the time we went round Alcatraz, minus the bars you understand. I don’t mean it was like a prison or anything but I think it was just the tour aspect with a large group of people.

I think Sarah, obviously the nurse coming out in her, was disappointed that there was no action to be seen, being Alcatraz-like I did suggest re-enacting scenes from The Rock with us as Nicholas Cage and Sean Connery, but she politely declined.

However we were told to start putting together a goody back for the pair of us for when we are there as tea and toast is about their limit, so even though we won’t be infiltrating the maternity ward with a crack team of Navy Seals like Cage and Connery, we’ll certainly have enough supplies to feed them!

Nic and Sean had clubbed together on a 'new baby' presentUpon departing there was the usual opportunity for questions, with one person asking where you parked if you were in a bit of hurry and not wanting to drive through barriers etc, although it would keep in tune with The Rock theme permeating this article. The answer was obvious…special deliveries of course!

Here’s looking at you, kid

 

Heeeeeere's baby!!!

I’ve seen Avatar in 3D and was suitably impressed, I’ve seen Shrek in 4D at Universal Studios theme park, and again was impressed, but neither were as impressive as the 4D film that I saw today, that of my yet to be born daughter.

Now I’m not entirely sure where the 4D moniker came from as with Shrek 4D we had water and wind blowing in our faces, thankfully the feeling of  being in the womb was not replicated today, although it was a rather small darkened room.

Basically it works as thus, sound is used to create images of how the baby ‘looks’ and it really was quite amazing stuff, even though at first the brown images looked something like several melted Dime bars…but then, after baby settled down (momentarily) a clear image began to show where the hand and features of the face were clearly defined and then rotated in ‘bullet time’ style fashion as if the image before us was something straight out of a Hollywood film.

With sound being used to create the images that we saw it was important that the baby played ball, which it didn’t, and not move  around too much, which it did. She did remain still long enough for us to get some great images, included one of her holding her hand up to her face, almost as if she knew where were looking in on her. We also got a DVD of the whole experience, so perhaps it was a little bit like a Hollywood film afterall, although this was probably better described as a trailer for what was ‘Coming Soon’ rather than the main feature. That’s September!