Clothes companies would have you believe your newborn cares about fashion. They sell the “dressing your child” experience as a chance to coo and giggle together while you robe them in pristine coordinating outfits, complete with shoes, hat and matching accessories.
Newborns do not care about fashion. In fact, they pretty much loathe all clothing regardless of style content. The only thing that newborns hate more than being naked and cold is having clothes put on them. Dressing your child is not so much a bonding experience as practise for wrestling a pissed-off weasel into a wetsuit, if that weasel were on meth and the wetsuit two sizes too small.
And it doesn’t matter what you choose to clothe the child in anyway, as chances are you will be changing it in about 5 minutes when it gets covered in pee, poo, spew or all three.
This is clearly based on the mechanics of babies’ bowels. These distort the laws of time and space to hold an unlimited amount of poo and wee no matter how often you feed the child or change their nappy. And uttering the phrase, “but I just changed it” doubles the chance of a freshly filthy nappy no matter how much the child has eaten that day.
3. Never point a loaded anus at yourself.
Even if you think the child is done pooing, they have often saved you some. They do this so they can do a full-on I-am-fucked-off skunk-spray of poo at you when you have the temerity to try to clean them up.
If you get lucky, they will wait until after you have opened the nappy and cleaned them, and then start to pee. Then – as you bend over, frantic, attempting to stop the new nappy and their outfit from getting drenched – they will fart vigorously, spraying you with both pee and poo.
If you get really lucky this happens at 3am and necessitates an outfit change for you, the child and your partner who was so surprised by the sudden duet of poo-covered wailing that they spilled their bedside glass of water all over themselves. I learned this one the hard way.
4. Assume *ALL* anuses are loaded.
I also learned this one the hard way.
5. You will not get the time to finish anything you started.
I hear wailing. Better run, lest she set the bowels on me.
I’ve been bad at updating again recently but this time I have a really really good excuse.
While the plan was to update last week with gems such as my thrilling adventures with gestational diabetes (spoiler: not actually thrilling) and the joys of having your uterus cramp out your bladder and diaphragm (spoiler: no joy included), it all came to crashing halt on Thursday a week ago when, at weeks 38 and 0 days, my waters broke at 6am and I found myself rushing for the hospital a little earlier than planned.
Due to some complications and previous medical issues it had been suggested I consider a caesarean section. As it happened, Thursday was the same day I was due for an ultrasound and a chat with the obstetrician. Once we made it in there and made the call for a c-section, it all went very fast. My waters broke at 6am, I hit the hospital about 7.15, was in surgery by 8.30, and by 9.34 we had a 3.5kg baby girl on our hands (well, on my boobs) and it was all over bar the stitching up. She came out yelling and balling her fists and has been veering between sleep, boggling and completely losing her shit, raptor-style, and flailing teeny clawed feet and hands at us.
I know c-sections get a bad rep, but I really feel mine was as good as it could have been. My stitches are fecking teeny and, 10 days on, I am having to remind myself that I was in surgery recently and that lifting weights is a bad plan. We spent 2 days at the RPA hospital in Camperdown (I discharged myself early as I a) felt pretty good and b) was climbing the walls with boredom) and they were absolutely great to us as well as being gloriously free with the hardcore painkillers – it’s impressive how stoned I look in the photos. Reminds me of my college years to be honest.
Currently we’re getting by on advice from the hospital and friends, and on remarkably little sleep. Despite the fact that every night is now all night party night, we think she is adorable. She’s already showing signs of both her parents’ personalities; she loves her food, hates being told what to do with her limbs, and managed to perform a push-up and flip when placed on her tummy at three days much to the horror of the midwife who then said she was very “vigorous”.
In between all-night zombie shuffles, we’ve mainly been navigating inventing lots of different things to sing to her when she is grizzling. These are mainly songs based on Gangnam Style and whether she is a actually a baby raptor (“If you’re unhappy and you know it, shake your claws, ARGH ARGH” gets some airtime).
We’ve got lucky with the weather here – we’ve had 10 days of glorious sunshine which is good with the amount of additional washing we have had to do. You would not believe how many outfits and bedsheets a 3.5kg baby can go through in a day when both parents are still learning how to put on nappies effectively. Unsure if The Child is a raptor or aspiring Kardashian, frankly.
With under 4 weeks until my due date, we have spent the last few weekends running around the shops trying to buy everything we need when – and this is the fun bit – we have no idea what we need.
Many of the shops and baby websites supply check-lists of essential items for newborns. This would be helpful if they didn’t appear to be written by the sort of people who recommend you take 12 changes of outfit, 3 weeks’ worth of food and a full thermal sleeping system on an overnight camping trip in summer. I can see that a decent supply of nappies and wet-wipes, for example, are a pretty essential buy. I am just less than convinced that we will also need a “Baby-On-Board” car-sticker, a white-noise generator and a wipe-warmer.
We’ve managed through trial, error and copious levels of swearing at idiocy to cull the lists and come up with a few basic rules along the way. Whether you are buying for yourself or someone else, here’s a few tips on sorting the necessary wheat from the organic-biodegradeable-nonallergenic-biodynamic-chaff for when you are buying for a new baby.
1. It’s HOW fucking much?
If you thought a new home was a big purchase, you have not seen the list of stuff you are expected to have for a baby. If you go for new options and want to buy the items that get the best reviews, expect it to be expensive. Like, bed-wettingly so. Prams – I’m sorry, “baby travel-systems” – routinely come in at over a grand, and that wet bed may come with nearly a two thousand dollar price tag before you have even put a new mattress and sheets on it. You can easily lay out $200 on a swing to soothe your child but many babies won’t have a bar of them and you could end up with another expensive pile of junk in a room already filled with crud you barely use.
The solution? Embrace any offers of second-hand items you get and use them to evaluate what you actually want and need. Even if you do end up deciding you want something with different features you won’t have splashed a few week’s wages on something you – or the child – turn out to hate.
2. What the fuck is that?
Prepare to learn a new language. Nothing on baby-related lists gets a simple and honest description and you will end up googling the fuck out of everything to work out what the hell they were going on about.
It took me a few searches to work out that a burp cloth is just a small piece of cloth that could, more accurately, be referred to as a spew rag as you use it for mopping up vomit. Or that a cellular blanket is not to keep baby’s first phone warm but a simple breathable woven blankets for their crib and for swaddling on colder days.
Apparently I also need a receiving blanket (does it issue receipts?) and some bunny rugs. I still don’t know what a bunny rug is, and why a cellular blanket can’t do whatever it is it does, but according to several lists I need three of them. Is it an image thing? Am I expected to go out and kill rabbits so my child can lounge naked, 70’s porn star style, on their skins in front of the fire? I have no fucking clue.
3. Are you sure that’s a good fucking idea?
It can be tempting to just go mad and chuck stuff in the basket when you have a list a mile long, but it pays to have a think before you grab that item and tick it off the list. Baby shops will cheerfully sell you stuff without informing you that the products have massive drawbacks or are downright dangerous.
Some examples? Walk into any baby shop and you’ll find cute cot bumpers, baby pillows and fluffy bassinet blankets galore. What they don’t mention is most hospitals and most medical research recommend avoiding all these in early infancy due to the SIDS risk of the baby getting stuck under them.
Less deadly but with definite potential to be unpleasant is your choice of thermometer. Before purchasing, check how you are expected to operate it. You can’t use an oral thermometer on a very young child, and underarm readings take an age in addition to being unreliable, so you may be stuck with the remaining option – rectal. And – here’s a fun fact I discovered – rectal insertion of thermometers can apparently have the fun side effect of instantly causing epic-in-your-face-insta-poos which sounds like NO FUN AT ALL.
4. Do babies have fucking hooves?
A final note on buying when you have no idea what half the crap you are getting is or why you need it.
If, like us, you have been lucky enough to get lots of pre-used items from helpful friends desperate to reclaim some space in their home, have a good look through them before you do any shopping. Case in point; we were recently looking through the second-hand newborn clothes we have been gifted and found loads of what looked like oversized floppy socks. We looked at them, bemused.
“What is this shit?”
“Socks? They’re not socks?”
“They don’t look like socks. They’re kind of… big. Lots of extra space. For really big feet. Club feet? Or hooves? Do babies have hooves?*”
“…I really fucking hope not.”
* They don’t. We worked it out eventually. They were mittens.
If anyone is wondering where I have been for the last couple of weeks, the answer is “being poked relentlessly by strangers dressed in scrubs”.
Not that there was any emergency (or I was up to anything kinky), it’s all just standard mum-to-be care complicated by a child as contrary as its mother. At around the 20th week in Australia they do a fetal anomaly ultrasound scan examining the fetus in detail, checking the heart and internal organs and measuring all the various bones including the spine. Normally this should take 30 minutes or so, unless your child is uncooperative and in wrong position the whole time.
I’ve spent about 10 hours over the last few weeks at the doctor’s or in the hospital and the child’s nickname is now officially “Little Fecker” so you can draw your own conclusions as to their cooperation levels. Little Fecker has clearly inherited both my hatred of posing for photos and the bloody-minded sense of humour from both sides of the family.
To get most of the pictures they need the child needs to be lying flat and relaxed face-up or down, but Little Fecker apparently felt in a V with hands by feet was the correct way to pose. And, lacking a bribe of a lollipop if they behave, all I could do was bump my uterus around a bit in the hope of changing their position.
So began the 2-day St. Vitus’ Dance Disco Epic that was last week. I jiggled and joggled, walked, danced and pranced, all the in hope of maneuvering the child. No change. I sprinted up and down stairs. No change. The technician jiggled my belly so violently my glasses fell off. No change. I danced to Baby’s Got Back in the hospital bathroom completed with Beyonce-style butt-jiggling. The child moved to an even less suitable angle and started kicking me in the cervix.
After 3 hours, they tried the joy that is a transvaginal ultrasound which would have worked if Little Fecker hadn’t moved to sit on it, giving a wonderful shot of their arse. After 4 hours, they sent me home to come back in the next day. After 6, they called in the most expert staff member they had, who basically turned me upside down on a hospital bed, and punched my belly and other bits with the various wands until the Little Fecker finally let us get the angle we needed.
It took nine attempts at scanning from various angles, spread over 7 hours in hospital, to finally get the pictures that fdoctor needed. And the result, finally given to me after another 2 hours waiting in a doctor’s surgery where I used the wait to come up with ever more pessimistic and far-fetched reasons (“The child is deformed. The child is a quadruped. Oh fuck, it’s actually triplets.”) for the hospital insisting on the thoroughness of the scans?
Giving birth is no longer optional. Much like Charlie Sheen’s ego, we have gone past the point of no return. This baby is going to have come out somehow. And come out somehow from somewhere about as designed to emit it as an economy plane seat is to take a Samoan rugby player.
The pregnancy has just hit the 20 week mark which makes it both unlikely it will end in miscarriage (which from here on in is called a stillbirth) or that NSW law would allow an abortion even if we wanted one. So it’s full steam ahead on working out the least horrendous method of getting through labour.
Himself has been party to the work-out process but has been informed that I will be doing whatever I decide is best in this case. This is, to paraphrase Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, one joyous sharing experience I can have by myself.
(I’m not insisting I get to make all the decisions. Where the load can be shared, be that childcare, education, or just what type car seat to buy, we’ll be negotiating. But when it comes to 24 hours of trauma where his contribution will be limited to apologising and trying to keep his testicles out of my hands’ reach, I’m making all the calls.)
This is not “our” glorious birth experience. When it comes to the physical aspects of pregnancy, we are not sharing anything, joyous or not. I had morning sickness and fatigue, he didn’t. I get to attend endless medical appointments, he gets the edited version after. I push, puke and possibly rupture: he provides snacks and something to shout at. He has been informed that using the phrase, “we’re pregnant” will result in either beatings or me insisting he share the joy of birth by having kidney stones.
My vaginal rupture, my rules, bitches.
I have investigated my labour options. They are:
A low intervention, low-drug Birthing Centre at the RPAH (Royal Prince Alfred Hospital). They allow for free movement and minimal monitoring in a safe environment but you have to run most of the show and – unlike a good roadie – they won’t provide strong drugs, just gas (which often has no effect) and pethedrine (which often has no effect other than making you loopy and causing projectile vomiting because god forbid you have an orifice that isn’t completely traumatised by this whole thing).
Epidural at the RPAH labour ward. An epidural involves injecting an anaesthetic between the vertebrae, numbing the body from the injection point down. The advantage (no to reasonably little pain) is for me completely outweighed by the disadvantages – being bed bound on my back (as my legs won’t work), hooked up to a drip, catheter and various machines for several hours with people shouting what to do at me while I can’t even feel enough to be sure I am getting it right.
Cesarean: When intensive abdominal surgery is seen as the soft option, you know you are in for a fun ride.
The obvious option, given I have no urge to feel more pain than needed, is the epidural. But for a whole host of boring reasons, it’s out. Short version is I get panic attacks, often brought on by the claustrophia of being trapped and unable to move, and as I am semi-deaf listening to people takes a lot of effort for me. Being trapped in a bed for hours with strangers shouting important instructions at me for ages is about the best way I can imagine to completely send myself off the rails.
So, for the moment, I’ve popped myself on the list for the Birthing Centre. Please note, despite the fact that I have signed up for “natural birth”, I’m not advocating it for everyone or even that enthused about it myself. If it were possible, I would be in favour of the most unnatural birth possible – preferably the removal of the foetus from my uterus reasonably early in the process and then a transferal to a glass womb on the wall where I could watch it grow and sprinkle it with fish food daily. Or having Captain Picard beam the baby out and into a waiting crib while the cast of Next Gen cleaned my home for me.
People who view birth as a joyous sharing experience that allows you to experience the full strength of womanhood through an all-out pain marathon can feck right off frankly. I have done (accidental) pain. I have smashed every bone in my foot while out clubbing, fallen 10 feet onto my back and been kicked in the stomach by a horse. And you know what? That shit HURTS and I have NO interest in doing it again. Only an idiot or a masochist actively goes in search of experiences that will allow them to test the boundaries of pain.
Believe me, if I could share the pain of this with them, they’d all be on floor screaming and I’d be on the floor screaming along with them and cackling occasionally.
My dark and fevered imagination has been trying coming up with ways to share the experience generally. Squeezing your partner’s hand off is merely the start of what it suggested. I could video the birth and force people, Clockwork Orange style, to sit through it. Or I could live tweet the birth. I wouldn’t even need to type – my phone has pretty accurate voice command and recognition. I could just gasp out, “Send tweet – AaaaaAAAAAGH! FUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK AAAAAAAAAAAAGHHHHHHH COCKBADGERING MOTHERFUCKER!” for 24 hours.
I could. Don’t think I won’t.
After all, it’s meant to be a joyous sharing experience. I wouldn’t want to hog all the fun.
This morning I took a tour of yet another childcare centre and I have to tell you, it sounds lovely. Five meals a day, often made with local organic ingredients, prepared with far more care for nutritional balance than my own diet. Large airy rooms spreading out to shaded courtyards and grassy gardens, with lots of space to roam. Each child has napping space, toys to play with, and constant attention from adoring staff who are willing to do anything to keep them happy, up to and including nappy changing.
I could see the other mums in the group, all with bubs in arms, looking impressed too. It all sounded idyllic right up until the Centre Director mentioned to the waiting list.
“So, we have sixteen places for children under two-years-old here. And there’s 500 on the waiting list.”
There was a thunderstruck pause. “Sixty?” asked one mum hopefully, as she jiggled her fretting baby.
“No, sixteen.” the director clarified.
One woman piped up, “I’m looking for a space in January 2015, so I’m okay, right?” She instantly earned a whole heap of hate from the other women there, babes-in-arms, who had just realised that their chances of going back to work or just getting some sleep had gone as tits-up as Lindsay Lohan’s career. But the director looked helpless and shrugged. “Maybe. We really can’t guarantee. We have a long waiting list.”
No shit. About as long a teenage boy’s celebrity-fuck wish-list, and with about as much chance of getting in from what I can see. The whole morning was like being given a glimpse of what life could be like for you if you were Ryan Gosling’s girlfriend, before being informed of the odds on ever even meeting him.
I wasn’t surprised; I’ve been around a few centres now and they all advise you to sign up for as many as possible in the hope of getting a place. Given I’m just a little pregnant – and could just be fat, let’s face it – I get confused looks from the other Mums present. As soon as the insanity that is the waiting-list gets mentioned though, it all makes sense, and I get glares instead.
As a general guideline you can sign up for a waiting lists for a small fee whenever you want. I found one that will only accept women who are pregnant (but didn’t, thankfully, demand I pee on a stick there and then) but some will pop your name down, no questions, in the complete absence of any impending child. In many cases it can take 3 years to work up to the top of the list, if you ever do – I have one friend who was finally offered a space for his daughter on the day she started school at age 5. So if you’re considering children, it actually makes sense to sign up before you throw away the birth control.
The system in New South Wales is that childcare has to prioritise those who need it most; single parents, families on very low incomes, children with disabilities. Which is good and laudable and all that, but means that a working couple on a good income in Sydney’s lovely but overcrowded Inner West have about as much chance of getting the place they want – for the days they want, from when they want it – as I do of becoming Australia’s next Top Model.
I’m not sure why the various centres bother with the tours and trying to impress us as we have about as much real choice in the matter as Americans do when voting. You can want what you want, but you’ll get what you get, and I have every intention of grabbing any spot I am offered with both hands and my bared teeth. If there’s a space available – and the centre doesn’t use the words “gulag” or “penal” in the name – The Child will be going in.
In fact, given how nice the various childcare places seem and the relative dreariness of old folks’ homes, I think I’ll book myself into childcare for my old age instead. Five decent meals a day, lovely surroundings, constant available staff and my nappies changed for me? Sign me up.
And if I sign up now – about 35 years in advance – who knows? I might actually make it to the top of the waiting list by the time I need it.
Don’t get me wrong; this isn’t a “I wish to bodypaint my tummy with spirals and run around rejoicing in the womyn-ly* curves of my mystyryos* lyfe-bestowing* belly” thing. I’m just sick of being too big to look good but too small to be pregnant.
This is mainly my own fault for knowing how best to hide my beer gut. As a natural apple shape (or as I see it, a beer barrel) who likes her food and drink (also a cheese barrel) my abs have been missing in action since my early 20’s. I’m an Australian size 14 (that’s about a UK14-16, or USA10-12) and most of my clothes are a little loose on the waist and designed to skim gently over my porkier areas.
So, at 16 weeks in, I’ve just edged out of my normal clothing comfort-zone and pushed into the “maybe you should try the next size up”. Which is great in some ways, as I haven’t needed maternity gear yet, but crap in others as I just look like I have really let myself go**. I keep catching sight of my tubby tummy and thinking “you need to lose weight!” and then remembering that I only get to lose weight in 5 months after some of it has ripped its way out of my vagina.
And it turns out I was completely wrong about my expectations of weight gain during pregnancy. I figured, if I was looking at a 3kg(7lb) baby, plus a little extra for placenta and fluid, then my probable healthy weight gain should be about 5-6kgs. I was off by about 100%. The average recommended weight gain is 11kg to 16kg (25lb to 35lb) and, even for someone who is already over-weight like me, they recommend gaining between 7kg and 11kg (15lb to 25lb).
Where the hell does all that extra weight go? As it turns out, a lot of weight in infrastructure, and the child itself is about a quarter of the gain.
The actual baby weight. Skinny damn baby in a huge fucking house, I tell you.
The placenta (do not eat, no matter what people say).
Amniotic fluid – like a bouncy castle for your kid!
Muscle layer of uterus (womb) growth as it Hulks up in preparation.
Blood volume increase (about 20%) making you fecking boiling hot at room temperature.
Retaining ALL the water – lots of extra fluid.
Boobs! Pass Go, go up a cup size.
Does my fat look fat in this? Some extra fat for breast-feeding stores.
It’s one hell of lot of belly to get used to, mind. I have read various admonitions that I should be fine with, or actively rejoice in, my change in shape. If being curvy is so bloody womanly, how come no one ever told me to embrace my beer belly, hmm? Where the fuck were “the feminine is a curve” people when I went to the USA for 4 months and gained 5kgs in beer and grease weight? Well?
And truth be told, while I am a long way off doing a Demi Moore and posing naked (you can all breath a sigh of relief), I’m not that fussed about the gain. I’ve put on about 2-3kgs and there’s more to come. It’s for a good reason and I’ll cope fine with looking pregnant. Once I finally look pregnant and not just plain old fat.
* It’s more mystical if you misspell everything, apparently. I know this because of my Wimmin’s Intuition.
** Please note: I’m a firm believer that you should work with your shape and your health, and know that size 12-14 is my fit-and-happy weight. Over that, I start to look and feel bad. I’m not saying it’s everyone’s ideal. Whatever size you are, provided you are happy with it and think you look good, more power to you.
We’re now hitting the point where we need to tell people there’s a child on the way. I am so not ready for this. I am a chronic over-planner and stage-manager so in an ideal world we wouldn’t tell anyone until a month after the whole thing was over and we had a child to show them in a, “And here’s one we made earlier!” style.
But, at 15 weeks in, I’m getting to the point where my usual fat pants are becoming slim-fit, my dietary restrictions ruin every dinner invite and I’m running out of excuses to avoid alcohol. (“I’m on antibiotics.” “I’m ill.” “Fuck it. I’m a recovering alcoholic who has converted to Islam.”) The families have been told, a few mates are in the loop (hi guys!) and my boss has the heads-up, so it’s time to started spreading the news.
But how to tell people? The flat-out “I’m pregnant”? Or the coy “we’re expecting” – but expecting what? Mail? Santa? That Keith Richards will be made pope? I could try “there’s a bun in the oven”, but that risks disappointing friends who were hoping for baked goods.
So I googled for ideas and, as always with everything pregnancy-related in the internetz, found endless amounts of totally-fucking-unhelpful crazy. Here are just some of the “fun” suggestions:
Install an infant’s car seat in the back seat of your partner’s car and see how long it takes for him to notice. Or, you know, he could decide you have kidnapped and murdered a child and he’s next on the list. Or he has stolen a car identical to his. Or you have finally fucking snapped and require a refreshing break in a mental ward. The possibilities are endless, frankly.
Video the result of your home pregnancy test, upload to YouTube and send the link to loved ones. If you really love them, would you send them a video of you dipping sticks in your pee? What if they are eating at the time? Does this really sound like a “fun” idea for anyone who doesn’t have some really specific fetishes?
Invite people over for dinner and bring out a platter of baby foods jars and sippy cups of apple juice to wash it all down. Why wait until after the birth when you can alienate your friends with a complete inability to manage anything adult now? (This is also a great way to tell your boss.)
Put a bun in the oven and when your guests arrive, open the oven to show them what’s inside and say , “Look what we’re cooking! What is that?” And they will say, “A bun. Moron.” and look at you oddly until you explain.
Ask your partner to get the milk out of the fridge for you but instead of the regular milk jug, leave a breast pump or a can of baby formula in its place. Like suggestion 1, but with the added advantage of putting them off their morning beverage, and your cooking, near indefinitely.
Have restaurant waitstaff bring out a special wine list where the only selection is a vintage from the year your baby is due with a description like “a unique blend of the very best of a special couple.” Are you just trying to turn everyone off food and drink? Because it’s fucking working. And the waitstaff is probably pretty nauseated too. And a vintage from the year the baby is due is either going to be a) impossible for most of the year or b) vinegar.That said, I do admire the passive-aggressiveness inherent in this one. “Want wine? Fuck you, if I can’t drink alcohol you’re not even allowed read the wine list in peace. Fuckers.”
In the absence of the urge to purchase car seats and breast pumps, or to send videos of my pee to those I love, I will probably just go with a simple, “I’m pregnant”. Although I may add “bitches” at the end. Just, you know, to make it “fun”.
As an aside on announcing things, a few people I know in real life are reading this (hi guys!), and have asked if will I go public and pop my name on this blog. The answer is no. While I have no shame and no issue tying my name to my words, given this blog is going to contain a lot of anecdotes about both Himself and The Child, I’d rather not tie their good names to what will doubtless be the giggling, ranting and swearing of a sick and sleep-deprived brain.
So, while if you know me it’s obvious who this is (and I don’t mind people referring people on) I’ll be keeping names firmly off this site. I’d rather not have any of The Child’s prospective friends/partners/employers google their name to discover naked bath-time photos and detailed descriptions of their bodily functions.
That, and threatening to go public will probably be a brilliant way to get them to tidy their room occasionally.
And yesterday I spent about 8 hours at Soundwave watching ALL the rock and metal, including some light moshing to a 2 hour Metallica set.
Interestingly, while most of the pregnancy guides are careful to ban any form of fun on the grounds that no one knows if it’s dangerous but it *could* be so best not to (seriously, I have seen this argument applied to everything from riding a bike to jogging to dying your damned hair) not one mentioned metal concerts.
And, to be honest, I would have completely ignored them if they did. I stayed back from the crush, stayed hydrated and my worst injury of the evening was inflicted by my own steel-capped boots rubbing the hell out of my ankle. Some people stay at home knitting baby booties. Some like to attend pre-natal yoga classes. Others like to go to gigs while they still can and don’t have a small child they need to take care of. More power to all of them, as long as they are not judgemental arse-bags who try to ram their uninformed opinions down other’s throats in the guide of “medical advice”.
So yes, baby’s first concert was in utero at Metallica (sadly, not a Nirvana gig, appropriate and all as that would have been). At this rate, my kid is going to rebel by listening exclusively to manufactured kiddy-pop and joining a religion that bans dancing. But not until they are at least teens, oh no. I intend to inform them that no one knows for sure but it’s possible that crappy manufactured pop makes you deaf and religion gives you anal warts.
I went for my 13 week nuchal ultrasound scan last week. This scan comes under the heading of “not fun but highly recommended if you are 35 or over” which I am.
In combination with a blood test and a family history questionnaire, the nuchal scan assesses the chances of some chromosomal conditions – including Down syndrome – occurring in the fetus. It’s not diagnostic and can only give you odds based on the various results (1 in over 300 is good, under that not so much). If your odds are bad you’ll be referred for another more invasive test, probably an amniocentesis, which give definitive results but come with a small risk of miscarriage. I haven’t got the results and have to make yet another doctor’s appointment to get them. (I am very happy I live in Australia where short doctor’s appointments are usually free; go Medicare.)
So, not a happy-joy-time scan but one fun side effect was that we got to hear the baby’s heartbeat for the first time. And it really wasn’t what I was expecting.
In yet another “the movies get this so wrong” moment, the heartbeat wasn’t the normal watery slow “wub-dub wub-dub”, but a Doppler scan made of the various sound frequencies found and all layered together. The result, at a healthy 130 beats per minute, was a catchy multi-toned electronic wub-wub-wub-wub-wub-wub worthy of a pumping dance floor at 1am when the wusses have fecked off home.
(Don’t believe me? Listen to someone else’s one here.)
I found my head bobbing along appreciatively to the speeding beat. The Child themselves didn’t stop moving during the scan. They were mainly upside-down while throwing shapes so it looked like they were also getting into it.
All the articles and books I have read so far talk about the amazing and intense reaction you will have to hearing your child’s heart beat for the first time. Words like “magical”, “ecstatic” and “transcendent” and are thrown around. No one mentioned interest followed by the urge to go clubbing, but there you go.
And The Prodigy are playing Sydney next month. Think I should take it as a sign and buy some tickets?