Come on, first trimester.

Go away. Go away and take all of your anxiety, exhaustion, over analysis of every little thing and nerves with you.

I did wind up going to the early pregnancy unit because of some spotting. According to the scan report, the sac is measuring perfectly. According to my bloodwork, my hormones are measuring perfectly. So why am I spotting? Who knows? Not the ultrasound techs, or the doctors, or the wonderfully stereotypical Afro-Caribbean midwives populating the ward.

It's just one of "dem tings." Same as last time, when The Stoatling was on his way.

The spotting's since stopped -- please God it stays that way -- and I feel fine. Tired, but fine. I just want this trimester to be done, although now I know that getting past 12 weeks isn't the end to worries at all...this is just the beginning.

Roll on, May!


So very, very tired.

I can't rest. My home just isn't very restful. It's a disaster, and covered in cat hair, cat litter, cat wee and -- as I discovered on my way out of the shower -- cat poop. It smells. There's laundry everywhere. The dust is horrendous. It makes me cry.

I would love to clean, but A: cleaning with a toddler around is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos, it doesn't work and your mom always catches you anyway (okay, maybe not the last bit) and B: I have no energy, all I want to do is sleep.

I want my US home back, preferably with the ability to afford a maid every two weeks like we had then.

Is it any wonder I can't relax?

Here I Go, Again On My Owwwwwn (or not)

Or cor, blimey, and indeed bloody hell!

Who has two thumbs and wasn't expecting to be...expecting?

We'd just had a conversation about my getting a full hysterectomy (there's a long history of various ovarian cancers in my family and I've already got markers indicating I'm not exempt), a conversation that included maybe, possible TTC over the next few months and then drawing a line under it on my next birthday.

But then this hit me. And this time, it's very different.

For one, we're in the UK. While I have some (rather positive) experience with the UK maternity system, I didn't give birth here last time and frankly, I know that the attitudes of doctors, nurses and staff towards their patients is far less...I don't know, 'sympathetic' seems to be the wrong word, but 'groveling' is too strong. As in, my OB and the nurses in the US were willing to do just about anything I asked, especially regarding pain relief, because patients there are really customers and the customer is always right, even when they have a head trying to squeeze out of their hoo-haa.

Not so. I love the NHS, don't get me wrong, and it was a large part of why we moved back (after a $1200 bill for routine vaccinations AND we were insured!) but I've sort of been psyching myself out about giving birth here. Even if it's 248 days away!

Another difference is that it's not a pregnancy that happened under an RE's care, so I'm not being monitored any more strongly than anyone else. I did go and have a blood beta drawn, privately, for a cost of £90, just to reassure myself, but hCG betas aren't a matter of course over here. You only get them if you've been through fertility treatment or you're having complications -- which of course I do not want! The lack of monitoring is frightening. I've never been "normally" pregnant before. I can go do another beta any time I like, but I settled for a Clearblue Conception Indicator home test, the digital one up there. At 2-3 weeks, the minimum threshold (according to their patent) is 200 iu, so my beta has obviously risen acceptably. I'm cool with that.

And of course, I'm stressing over being symptom-free. That goes without saying!

I've dug out my pregnancy books. I've even dared going into Mothercare and looking at all of the adorable clothes for newborn squishies. I've told my mom, Kristyn (she's a nurse), Cheryle (she takes care of my horse and I need to find a sharer now), Joosh (because that needed to be handled with kid gloves, I didn't want to trample her emotions), and Johanna (well, duh!). And of course, the Foxy Stoat, and my parents. I know that's way too many people for this early, but I can't help it. I'm excited!

I have my first scan April 10th and my first midwife visit on the 19th. This is going to be a big year!

Four Months Into The Rest Of My Life

My son is beautiful. He is perfect, mostly well behaved, full of smiles and has giggles that make my heart melt.

He's also screaming right now, so this blog post has had to be cut off. Here's a photo instead. Sorry!

Baby Murder!

Dear Baby Stoat,

The following is a list of things that are not baby murder:

-Putting you down to get a bottle
-Putting you down to prepare dinner for those of us with teeth
-Putting you down in your cot/swing/bouncer/any other bit of baby gear designed by clever baby scientists to cradle, nurture, stimulate and support you
-Putting you down to change your nappy
-Changing your nappy
-Changing your clothes
-Listening to music that is not Devin Townsend or the looped classical music on your baby swing
-Baths without Grandma to help

Please work on a more appropriate reaction, since the neighbours have now put child services on their speed dial. Thanks!

I Am The World's Most Rubbish Lactivist

Breastfeeding sucks. And I do not mean that in a cute, literal way because I am watching my son chow down on milk straight from the tap.

Instead of this magical bonding picture (that I have experienced for all of 15 minutes since Baby Stoat was born), I am sitting here with the low fever, chills and "flu-like symptoms" of a plugged milk duct, which is yet another of those "Things they don't tell you about breast feeding." If breast feeding is an area that requires a whole industry to explain and support it, the things they don't tell you about it is the dark side of that Force.

I know breast feeding is best and that formula feeding turns magical, rainbow-pooping babies into axe-wielding maniacs who blame their parents for their failings in later years. As a formula-fed axe murderer myself, I get it. It's just that when you've been through D-MER, a c-section, bad latches, tongue tie and nipple confusion that axe murderer option starts to look pretty good. Believe me, it's looking even better since I came down with this plugged duct and all of the accompanying crappy feelings that go along with it.

I feel like I have the flu and yet I am Mum, so I have to not only allow a small, pointy (need to file those nails!) flailing person access to my aching ta-tas, I have to continue my fight to get him on the breast with more screaming and flailing (from him, not me). When I am not continuing that uphill struggle, I have to sit with my breast pump -- a machine I now spend more time with than I do with my husband. My LC says we *will* get it and reminds me that I am an excellent mother, but holy God in heaven I am tired.

I continue on the path of the not-really-too-militant lactivist because let's face it, if I formula feed and he *does* turn out to be the next Raoul Moat, I *will* blame myself. And probably be first on the hit list.

I don't know a single mother who has not had a problem with breast feeding. That has to make you wonder how we've managed to survive as a species.

A Dispatch From The Front: Further Oberservations On Motherhood

In about twenty minutes, I will have been a mum for one whole month.

If this were a normal mother's blog, this next space would be full of how much life has been changed, cute anecdotes about things the baby did and how being sleep deprived is funny and fun.

I am glad this is not a normal mother's blog!

Life has gone on at the Stoat's Nest with remarkably few ripples. Yes, there is an extra person here full time, and that person demands constant food -- apart from that, Baby Stoat isn't too different from the cats. He likes cuddles, sleeps a lot, wakes me up at night, poops inappropriately (sorry, Christian!), has sharp nails and occasionally does cute things. When we first brought him home, the same people who delighted in regaling me with tales about how pregnancy was going to get so much worse (it didn't) took great pleasure in telling me how much life would change. Like the pregnancy, I keep waiting for these changes and, as life settles into a routine, can only hope it's just as much their need to juxtapose their own crappy experiences onto my relatively placid ones as it was during pregnancy.

Being that I am one month in, here are a few further meandering observations on motherhood that have occurred over the past few weeks:

-Babies are psychic and even a calm Baby Stoat somehow knows it's time to start making stoaty little "I want food!" squeaks just as I get cozy under the duvet again.

-Breastfeeding is aargh. I'll probably be crucified by rabid La Leche League-ers and Natural Mamas carrying flaming torches and pitchforks for making that statement, but it's true. It may not be aargh for magical women who have perfect boobs, perfect babies and who own a pet unicorn, but I have yet to meet these women (probably because I don't go to La Leche meetings). Everyone else I know has had some form of problem -- tongue tie, preemies who won't feed, excessive weight loss (for the baby), colic...This isn't to say I haven't breast fed -- Baby Stoat is getting breast milk, but it is through my tireless devotion to a nipple shield, a breast pump and heavy antidepressants that I can even manage this at all. Baby Stoat is tongue tied in a way the paediatrician refuses to recognize (so correcting it will be at our own expense), he cannot get enough milk using the nipple shield so I *still* have to pump while a hungry baby cries, I am the wrong shape for many "traditional" breast feeding positions and I have raging D-MER. A lesser woman would guzzle more Wellbutrin and buy stock in Enfamil, which is pretty tempting at times. I am persevering despite the panic attacks, pain and continual need to be milked using a professional grade breast pump because not breastfeeding makes one into a social pariah -- all so Baby Stoat can, as a teenager, remind me that he didn't ask to be born. ;)

-Breastfeeding does let you get more sleep. It also burns two Hostess cupcakes worth of extra calories a day. Maybe I'm betraying the sisterhood by admitting this, but my reasons for sticking with it may not be entirely altruistic.

-Baby nails are sharp. Ow.

-Baby manuals are designed to be helpful and impart guilt at the same time.

-Breastfeeding manuals are also designed to be helpful while imparting more guilt than a room full of elderly Catholic nuns.

-Thinking I was going to be able to balance working and parenthood without the help of a full time nanny/Daddy Stoat/grandma was ambitious, to say the least, and Baby Stoat isn't even that demanding.

-A "travel system" is cool but I am looking forward to $15 umbrella strollers.

-It's tough to worry about wee now, except when it is squirting all over the freshly painted walls. You may also want to be careful when sitting on our sofa, too.

-Six weeks is a long time.

Now I must return to gazing adoringly at Baby Stoat...happy birthday, little man. <3

About this blog

The Stoatette, wife of the man known only as The Foxy Stoat, has embarked upon a strange journey during which she has to conquer her fears of pain, loss, heartbreak, and needles.