Friday, 4 July 2014

Get out of my bed!!!

My child, the genius it is, discovered our secret plan. We slept again through the nights. Too many nights. There seemed to be less and less space for the three of us. Child is growing fast and some nights the child sleeps across the bed, wants to share our pillows, kicks. Besides, the desperate times of constant crying and teething are a fading memory. Child has got plenty of teeth, surely we will not suffer so much again?

A plan was hatched. We will return child to the cot. I started familiarizing child with it again. It is standing in the room all alone, sheet slightly dusty, blankets in the closet. When child fell a sleep I took it to the cot. Sleeping child opens eyes and wakes in terror: you put me where???? And screams and screams and screams. We try to calm it. We bring toys. We end up taking child out. The next day I try to put child in the cot with some toys. Screams. Out. Husband tries later. Child plays for a little while but only to fool us. When we try the trick with sleeping again the scenario is the same and we give in.

To top it up I decided to drop morning breast feeds. It was our ritual, we wake up, child gets the feed and then one for a nap, few for the night. I will have to figure out how to get the sleeping sorted but to start with, lets stop the morning feed, lets offer a drink instead. Child likes rooibos tea with milk. It worked for couple of days, we just have to be fast, make sure that the tea is the first thing we make when we get out of bed. No more lazy lounging with a child on my boob. We think our child doesn't mind the change.

But then child throws few famous all nighters. Not falling a sleep till almost midnight. Waking at 3 am. Waking at 5 am keen to play, refusing to sleep again. And finally the all time favorite: teething. The little pointy teeth so important for vampires are starting to show, one after another. Where are the granules? Do we have Nurofen? Our routines and plans are forgotten. We go back to more feeds. We co sleep without even questioning. it. Will we win our own territory again? Who runs the house?

I looked into my old diary. There were days I congratulated ourselves for sleeping whole 4 hours. I thought it was great. Now we moan when we get only 6 hours without disturbance.  How did we cope? And yet we do so much want to do it all over again. I feel very tired when we don't sleep properly because our days are much more busy now. I also heard co sleeping is more controversial than ever. Apparently it is no recommended till the child is older than a year, if that. It is considered dangerous. I didn't want to co sleep. It was a desperate solution when our child simply wouldn't stop crying no matter what we tried. And since then the cot was refused. We have a big comfy bed, we are careful and it works for us. And there is something very primal and reassuring about all of us in one nest, sleeping together, breathing, all cosy and warm. I will always remember it as good time. But I do look forward to the time when our bed is ours again.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Needing my friends

I have to react to the appeal from Mumsnet to write about miscarriage. I did experience it four years ago, it was my first pregnancy and it ended in the 12th week. I was told it happens to one in four women (or couples) and I was the fourth one, because three other couples we knew were expecting, two of them pretty much at the same time as us.
I got pregnant within half year of getting married, it felt like such a natural progression. Life was as it should be: we met, fell in love, moved in together (which in our case meant leaving different continents and countries and settling in a 'neutral base' in Britain), he proposed, we got married and now we were pregnant. We told everybody straight away, well, everybody close enough to us. Parents were pressuring us for grandchildren since we moved in together ('You are not getting any younger!!!!), all our friends were already settled and had their first children, we were catching up with them while they did their 'round two'.
When I talk about friends I mean mostly friends of my husband. He is a peoples' person and he has got a strong base of friends, some of them live here in Britain, too and few of them are now in our close circle, they are the ones we see most often. I spent too much time traveling to manage building such strong and lasting friendships, plus I am very comfortable on my own. So I joined the group and we shared our experiences together.
Until I miscarried. I know the point of this campaign is to get better care from healthcare professionals for women who experience miscarriage. But I can not say the care was too bad. I would say it was average. We visited the A&E early Sunday morning because I was bleeding all night. I had bit cramps few days before and then a discharge for few days. I had a bed feeling about all of it but hoped it was just because it was my first pregnancy. Otherwise, apart from being tired, I felt OK until then. My urine test was positive, blood test was taken and a tired looking obstetrician came to see me, clearly wanted to send me home but at the end he did bring the small scan machine, warned us it may not show anything as it wasn't the proper scan machine and then we saw a baby with a heartbeat. Husband was happy with it and felt reassured, I had mixed feelings. We left with an appointment for a scan the next day.
My bleeding didn't stop and the next day the scan show only tissues, there was no baby, no heart beat. Another blood test was made. We did wait in a separate room and the nurse who took care of us on the day was great, she had very strong empathy. She called me the next day. Both blood tests showed my pregnancy hormones were dropping. I was told to rest, let the nature to take its course and return in a week time for another scan. I was told I can go to the hospital if I feel I needed it but I wanted to be left alone, like an animal, I wanted to go, stay in bed and sleep it through.
So I can not say there was anything wrong. I didn't know what to expect and I didn't demand much. It just happened so fast and I felt so horrible, I didn't think anyone could help me.

What I want to write about are the people around me, the people I needed most. The bad thing about telling everyone the moment you have a positive test is that then you have to tell everyone that you lost the child. The more people know, the more people you have to call and explain. My husband did most of the calls, luckily.
My mother straight away started to speculate what I did wrong. She was great on the phone when I spoke to her and glad that I reached up to her almost immediately (we don't have an all sharing relationship), but in the weeks and months that followed she kept questioning my decisions and abilities, lifestyle choices, and of course my age. I miscarried in July and when we came for Christmas she asked me why don't we try IVF. As if the fact I wasn't pregnant again meant all was lost for me. It took us more then two years to have a baby and during the time she didn't question the health of my husband or his sperm once, it was always me that had something wrong and she even confessed to my sister that husband may leave me if I don't give him a child. The fact that people may live a happy life without having children or that they may adopt didn't cross her mind. Now I am the mother of her first grandchild but it doesn't mean I am any better. When child was six month old she mentioned: 'I was pregnant already when your sister was that old.' and of course I don't do anything right. But that's my mother, I am used to it and, luckily, she lives faraway.
Husband was supportive and great. As much as a man can be. Because I don't think a man can understand the feeling of loosing a child that wasn't even visible. I didn't have a bump, he didn't feel a kick, he was excited about becoming a dad but he wasn't a dad when it happened, whereas I already was a mum. The day we were told it was all over he told me: 'OK, that's it, I accept it. It happened. Lets move on.' But I couldn't. I needed to grieve, recover and accept. But first I needed to loose that child. The baby came out few days later during the night. I woke up, went to the toilet and there it was on the pad. It broke my heart. It was an alien looking thing but it was a confirmation that the 'tissue' which was seen on the ultrasound came out and nature took its cause. I came to the kitchen where my husband was with a wrapped pad in my hand. There was a bin in our bathroom but I couldn't just put it there. 'The baby just came out,' I told him.
'What do you mean? What are you taking about? The baby is already gone.'
'But I just found it. It came out.' I was crying and shaking.
'The baby was already gone,' he insisted and seemed annoyed. I don't think he was ready to go to the very details of miscarriage. For him it was over for few days already, he only needed me to get back to normal. And it didn't go according to his plans, clearly. I felt too confused and hurt to argue. At the end I did put the pad into the bin and went back to bed. He would make me tea, feed me and be nice but I will never forget his reaction. He couldn't deal with THAT, the physical presence of the miscarriage so he left me in it. I don't blame him. Some things are really too alien for our men. In the coming days and weeks he was surprised I wasn't ready to be normal again. He realized I need much more time then he thought.
I can accept his reaction and behavior or my mother's because I know them both. But what really hurt me was our friends. The lot of them acted as if nothing have happened. Apart from one - the pregnant lady from one of us four almost parents who came to me with tears in her eyes and said: 'I am so very sorry Lucinda,' they all acted as if nothing have happened. I was ready for questions, I was prepared for sympathy and unwanted hugs but I wasn't ready for that. So I sat there while they all behaved as per normal and fought tears. I really wanted to cry and I felt hurt. Later husband explained to me that people feel uncomfortable and they are not used to talk about it. Miscarriage isn't something you talk about, end of story. He told me to understand and it really pissed me off and it is still pissing me off today that he expected  me to respect them. Who will respect me? To be honest what hurts me most about this maybe stupid episode is that by being silent our friends denied the very existence of our lost child. So by never being born this child wasn't acknowledged as existing. It wasn't about me, it was about my child. It existed and it was lost. To be honest I still remember that the people who are sort of family replacement in a country we all chose to live in didn't acknowledge my miscarriage and it shapes my relationship with them. I respect them and see them when we meet but there is a barrier between us.
They all went on with their lives, had their second babies and kept asking if we are pregnant yet and pretending they have an idea what we are going through although they didn't because they never miscarried and never struggled to conceive. Before I was pregnant I tried to avoid them as much as I could because they only talked about their kids and it was frustrating when I was supposed to sit through all that while enjoying yet another period. And thanks to their miscarriage denial I really didn't feel I could talk to them so I isolated myself. I went for yoga and meditation workshops or had work to catch up on the weekends they made some plans. Husband wasn't happy about it but he understood that they were his friends, not mine.
At the end we did get pregnant and this time I insisted we will wait with the news. Husband agreed but found it very hard because people kept asking and he didn't know how to swiftly change the subject. So for a while there was a funny situation when everyone knew but pretended they didn't, husband pretended he had no idea of anything and I knew that they all knew and didn't give a monkey. I enjoyed that secret part of pregnancy a lot. Before all the advise and questions. Suddenly everybody had something to say to me.

I am going for quite a while now and I don't want to sound pathetic. But please if you know somebody who went through a miscarriage or is going through it now, please acknowledge it. And make your husband (if you friend knows him) to give her a hug and say he is sorry. You don't have to do much. Just be there. It happens to one in four of us. And it isn't the end.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

As good as it gets....

I was looking forward stealing some time to write a blog again. I realized I miss the typing sensation, the quick movement of fingers across the keyboard, the pride when I don't make any mistakes and just type and type, the wonder of making the mistakes and seeing how many different ways can letters a-n-d go before they end up as and (more than three ways if you make proper mistake and mix in different letters), the sound of typing, the flow of the thoughts.

And then I sat at the computer while child is amusing husband and thought: what to write about? Is there anything worth mentioning? So: I am trying to do a mega load of laundry and dry it outside. The weather report said something about light showers by midday. Rain started after midday when I assumed I am safe and it seems to come and go in strong showers. Every time I empty the machine I look at the sky, believe it is clearing up, start the next load and hang the finished one. As I step into the house the rain starts.
And it is what my life is about now. Laundry. Cooking. Shopping. And fourteen month old darling hanging either on my leg or my boob enjoying separation anxiety.

We had our first overseas trip at the end of May and child was a great traveler, perfect in the plains and trains, amusing all the people we visited. Then, until today we had visitors from overseas at ours, so for a change it was us (me) caring for them, tidying, cooking and shopping. Child was doing its job of being amusing and angelic. Until they left and I realized child expects the extra pair of hands to practice walking with and playing and entertaining nonstop.

Trying for baby number two is still bringing mixed results. All the meetings and greetings means husband doesn't have to worry about super healthy life style, he hears a lot about responsibility, I hear a lot about enjoyment of life and moderation. Now the bloody world cup started I can forget about anything happening because by the time the games end I am in coma. So there we go again. Somehow everything works out for him and I have to compromise. I am starting to think I should let go, count my blessings and be happy for what I have. Maybe having only one child means I could get a job and write a book few years sooner which is good. But why do I feel so broody????

Sunday, 11 May 2014

In May

Manchester is miserable this weekend. It is cold, windy and it rains. We were all hoping to say farewell to Spring and welcome Summer. I went through my tops, skirts and dresses and felt excited about being able to wear all these lovely things again. Last year we had hot Summer but I was breastfeeding and most of my things were not suitable for that. This year is better. Baby has the morning and good night feeds and occasionally a top up but it is so very easy compared to year ago.

But at this very moment it seems like I will not put on any of it and will carry on with jackets, jeans, trainers, rain coats.... I hope it will change.

Updates: not pregnant yet. Hopes were high, baby started to sleep a bit better with all shiny new teeth taking place of pride in its mouth but we still didn't manage to get the timing right. When we were trying for our baby, it was all about following the cycle, doing the right thing and most of all about being lucky. This time around, how am I supposed to do all that when my days are taken with caring for a very lively and active child? How am I supposed to remember to observe my cycle, keep positive mind, rest when needed, eat properly? And most of all, how to make sure that baby is asleep and husband and I are not collapsing from tiredness on the D days?

Husband is very annoyed with me. He doesn't consider my worries and will probably start to compromise on his 'well balanced and moderate' life style after another two years of frustrations. He complains that I am pushing him too much. He probably wants romance, butterflies and me in seductive lingerie licking my lips. Yeah, right.

Baby started napping. While teething and generally grumpy, baby would have a midday breastfeed, fall a sleep and when I tried to slide baby on a bed (not even a cot, our bed), baby would protest. I ended up holding on, watching nonsense tv on iplayer, it was better to have a child napping on top of me for two hours than dealing with a grumpy tired baby. I would not get anything done anyway. Now we are better. When I carefully slide sleeping baby on our bed baby sleeps and I have got ME TIME. It can be 30 minutes, it can be 2 hours. Often it is all about laundry, emails, cleaning, correspondence. But now I decided that first I will do a little bit of exercise, then I will make a cup of chai tea, drink it while hot and write. I need to revise my nanowrimo book. Right now I prefer to open a notebook and put down my ideas. There was  a long break, I need to free my head from all the stories. Also, I need to dedicate a day in my week to proper emails, tweets, blogs and facebook updates. Ah, isn't it nice to have some structure and creative outlet again? And wouldn't it be even nicer with a bump????

Saturday, 5 April 2014

A year ago...

...I was expecting, overdue, walked a lot, ate tremendous amounts of pineapple, run the stairs up and down, tried to relax.... and the baby was not coming!!!
Every day I find myself thinking about a year ago. Our first birthday is coming soon. Baby is growing four teeth at the moment - the bigger ones at the back so we are struggling a little but at least there are more of them popping at once so theoretically it should spare us some future sleepless nights?
We discovered Nurofen for babies. Works (luckily only needed it couple of times but it is nice to know it is there at next 3am wake up scream).

Besides that, I am trying to sort some exercise routine and be more mindful about what I eat and how I relax. Baby is very mobile, figuring out how to stand, crawling at the speed of light. Whenever I try to do something for myself - exercise, type, meditate, baby sees it as an invitation to the great 'lets climb mummy' game. So planning is as far as I can get to a routine.

I am also studying history and practicalities of Britain and being British. How difficult it is to concentrate on anything and not to fall a sleep over the handbook? We decided to become British once baby got its British passport and we realized that each member of our family has got a different passport and nationality. It makes sense, we belong here more than anywhere and baby deserves some proper roots. It has been a while since I tried to memorize important dates and names and it is interesting how differently some big events in history were experienced - like the world wars for example. I am doing trial tests online and often wonder how well would real Brits do if they had to sit one of these tests tomorrow.

I am still crazy broody. Expecting third period soon, munching on Doritos and wondering why husband and I argued three times this week. Baby making attempt: one. Whole One!!! It felt like being seventeen all over again. Back then we would be sneaking around looking for a place, all crazy in love and hormones flowing. Now we are sneaking around trying not to wake up baby, feeling blessed that for a change it is asleep after 8pm so we are not comatose and able to enjoy the greatest 3 minutes of our lives. And as when I was seventeen, I again wonder: what is all the fuss about? Anyway, we will be trying to steal more moments as I am definitely not pregnant.

Will update next month on progress and whether I managed to pass the test. Can not wait to be a royal subject. Is it the right term?

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

For the Love of My Body

While I am busy thinking about trying for baby number two, I only now realized how grateful I am for my new body. Pregnancy changes us a lot, being a mother brings out a whole new identity, a person we didn't know we were.

I was amazed by how much my body can do. I created, nurtured and birthed a baby. One sperm and one egg met and the building work began. I loved being pregnant and I remember how I used to plan my post baby regime: I knew I will be very active and busy, breastfeeding on top of it. I never worried about weight and diets, I am quite lucky in that sense and years of dancing gave me good body confidence - I know what I can expect from myself. Yet I might have been a little naive. Knowing I will be a stay at home mum, I thought I will have the extra time for more workouts, I never had a problem with individual training or with working out at home. I don't need a gym or a friend, quite the opposite, I even opted for private yoga classes as my luxury while pregnant. In my eyes, I saw days when I will not have to be anywhere at certain time, I knew I can organize the household and I assumed even caring for my baby will allow me some spare time.

How wrong I was. Baby care is more or less 24/7 as I am blessed with a baby who doesn't nap very likely and who breastfed almost non-stop. House work somehow ballooned, it never ends. And I didn't know how tired I will be. So, no, I do not use my fancy workout DVDs 3 times a week and I didn't gain a better body post baby. I also didn't shed all my not so good habits, quite an opposite. I now love my morning coffee (used to be hot lemon in the morning), I survived the first months only thanks to lots of sweet teas and chocolate digestives and I will have occasional glass of wine. I was very health conscious while trying to conceive, I assumed I will only become better. I didn't know I will be merely surviving and in a need of many rewards.

So no, I don't have a six pack yet, but yes, I can pass with a body that is back in its pre-pregnancy shape, healthy and strong. And while I still breastfeed mornings and nights, it is slowly but surely becoming mine again. It was strange not to be my own person after I gave birth. Now I am claiming myself back and I can not help but wonder: how will I cope with intimacy? I am aware of the amazing job my body can do, but I am not aware of any sensuality, only desire to go through the madness of reproduction again.

Few days back, my husband looked at some old photos and commented on my then blond hair, how different I was. Yet I couldn't get an opinion out of him. Did he like me more then or does he like me now? I always thought I did things for me: coloured my hair because I liked it, pierced my belly button because I wanted to, had my facials and massages to care for myself. But did I really do it for me or was it an unconscious calculating behavior adopted in order to attract a partner? And is my recent return to simplicity and natural look coming from me - tired of the dictate of beauty pages and trends, disinterested in the style of my favorite celebrity (I can't even name my favorite celebrity, I couldn't care less about them) and more confident within myself, or am I letting myself go because I secured a partner and had a child - mission completed?

I stopped colouring my hair shortly after my wedding because I simply wanted to see again what colour it actually was. I made less money, so I simplified my beauty regime, I found out what makes me happy and comfortable at the same time, and sometimes after I turned 33 I realized I don't care anymore if I am the prettiest/skinniest/most attractive girl in the room. I actually very happily passed the torch to the next generation once I noticed that they care much more then I do and that I look at them with sympathy and warmth, not with suspicion and competitive spirit. Shopping for clothes annoys me and sucks energy out of me so I only buy what I need. Healthy living and good cleansing routine means I don't need so much pampering anymore - plus I don't have the time or money. I like my hair long and naturally brown and I learned how to cut it myself because it is fairly simple to do on long hair plus when I want to cut 5 centimeters I make sure I cut 5 and nobody is talking me into colouring my hair red after I stated I don't want colour, or pushes me into unnecessary visit in 6 weeks time. Simple life gives me all the freedom - I still have enough clothes, accessories and makeup to play with if I feel like it but I don't worry about simplicity because it doesn't define who I am.

I can focus on things I find really important plus I feel I know myself and respect myself. But am I letting the world or my partner down? Am I supposed to be the sexy goddess he felt in love with forever? But was I ever one? Why do we have to define ourselves by the way we look so much? I don't think men care as much as we think. Half time they are unaware of all our efforts or any changes we agonize over anyway and comment on my change was simply that - a comment. With long term relationship and young family comes new sense of comfort - not a lazy one but a practical one. We know each other inside out and we are comfortable around each other all natural. Other people may feel very differently about all that but that is their life and they choose partners who find the same thing crucial. I, for one, don't mind to be settled and makeup free.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Back on Track

Out of nowhere came an urge to dust off electric hair rollers and make up bag, I even found myself considering the possibilities of applying nail polish with an overactive baby around. During the last 10 months my maintenance was pretty simple. I don't see the point to put on makeup for home, I need easy hairstyle that keeps my hair out of reach of grabby little fingers, and when I go out I have to get baby ready and by the time that happens I just throw on something comfortable and head out. I go out to  walk or to the shop anyway, so again, what is the point of makeup and hair styling?

Occasionally, I do find myself planning to make more effort from tomorrow but then baby throws in one of its legendary no sleeping nights and I am happy to brush my hair. I am a housewife. I clean, cook, bake, do laundry and most of all I care for baby. Baby is moving around, I am much busier and have rarely time to do something without assistance. Right now, baby is sitting on my lap. There are toys and some more toys on the floor, but no, not as good as chewing on my pen.

Anyway. I did manage to get the rollers on my hair without my baby trying to eat any of them or grab them. And I did play with drying pot of eyeliner. And then it occurred to me. I may be ovulating.

On my six weeks check (or contraception speech, they might as well send a video link) the doctor explained that while breastfeeding full time my periods may stop and I will not be able to get pregnant until they return. To live without periods during pregnancy was one of the perks, to have not to worry about them for few more months was great. But last month, all of a sudden, there it was again. We are weaning our baby and feeds are less frequent, so I am clearly getting back to normal. Two weeks later, here I am getting all pretty.

My life is slowly returning to me, my body will be mine once my baby is weaned of my breast for good. Baby is a little person now, gaining independence and I find myself discussing baby number two with husband. Then we don't sleep again and wonder why do we want to go through it one more time. But the desire is there, and time is not on our side, if we are meant to have more children, we have to start trying to conceive.

It feels such a long time ago that we went through it with baby and it wasn't easy. We had functional sex for few years - sex with purpose. And I notice that beside trying for baby number two there is no desire whatsoever. We are both tired, too tired to be romantic, to do things just because. I sometimes wonder if he can still see me as a sexual being after being present during the birth (and thanks to prolonged labour and broken bed in the hospital he had to support my leg for a while when I was pushing so unfortunately, he saw the whole deal...). And caring for baby left me feeling different. My breasts are not erotic, they are practical. My body is a tool. Pleasure is a good meal I don't have to cook and a full night sleep. I want to be left alone without anybody climbing on top of me, not to be close to other person... How am I supposed to spark romance in me?? How did I do it before??

Relationships change and evolve and since we settled as partners and friends I noticed how much less importance sex actually has. I think people overvalue it anyway and when I compare my previous relationships, sex was often the only thing that mattered. I didn't have partners before - I had boyfriends or lovers. It was important to be attractive, and when seeing each other only once in a while, sex was often the main thing about the meeting. Living together makes things different. We know each other, see each other in the best and the worst moments, we go through them together. We have future together and are not afraid to talk about it. Values are different and the passion can not last forever. I remember how husband used to stare at me all the time, kept asking me what I do, where did I go, what do I think... I don't think I could stand such intensity for too long.

Having a child means that we are both very busy and tired and we bicker and argue. Sometimes we actually hate each others guts. There were moments when I wondered how can I stay, and my head was trying to plot and escape plan. And then these moments pass and we are together again, a simple smile or a gesture, a touch, can make everything better and something primal deep down inside me reminds me that all is well, that we are meant to be together.

I don't know how it will work out. But I am looking forward to the ride.