Monday, August 29, 2011

Earthquakes, hurricanes... welcome to Maryland!

Where to start? With the incredible wrench of leaving my Mum?! Or the total shock of the heat? Or the earthquake, followed by the hurricane… Welcome to Maryland Lindsey and Thomas! Not to mention leaving Glasgow a month before Brad Pitt arrives to film his new movie, bahhhhhh humbug!

Excuse the blogging hiatus but we are still running on temporary Wifi which doesn’t work very well and all the running around has been tiring me out!

We arrived two weeks ago now and I think I’m starting to find my feet. Our house is beautiful but nowhere near unpacked and there is a lot to do. Thomas is having an incredible time! He sleeps all night in his own room, even before it has anything but a mattress in it! (waiting on carpets upstairs…). Every morning he comes running in to me – “Mummy, Mummy, it’s morning-time! It’s morning-time!”. It just makes my heart melt to see him so happy.

There are bugs galore but most of them hidden and/or small, like stink bugs and mole crickets, some are more eek-worthy, like the mantis on the front door the other morning…

I can now drive on the other side of the road! There are outlet malls and strip malls and BIG shops around, as well as the historic downtown Frederick which has an amazing library and a brilliant toy shop, along with restaurants and coffee shops and museums and a canal (I might do more of a post on downtown, I think we will spend a lot of time there!).

I’ve done some research and found day trips for all of us, pumpkin patches and giant corn mazes, farm visits, hay rides (maybe not for me, being allergic to hay and all), science centres, zoos and the upcoming Dora Live at the Frederick Theatre! Plenty of fun to be had if we can sort the house and buy a car and get social security numbers and a driving licence and a transformer (of the electricity variety, not a robot) and get my head around all of the possible UK substitute foods. I mean seriously, no cordial?! The powdered stuff just isn’t doing it for me! And why does everything have sugar / maple syrup added to it? Why can’t I just buy baked beans? Why are they filled with bacon and maple syrup or brown sugar and other vegetables?! My UK Malteser supply is dwindling (if you know me and know my address, please feel free to send Maltesers, Oxo cubes and Moroccan spice mix… I would be eternally grateful!). The vegetables are amazingly fresh though and the choice is sometimes overwhelming but brilliant. There are pros and cons to everything!

I found a midwife, well two actually, and feel incredibly lucky to be able to plan a home birth in a country with an extremely medicalised view of pregnancy and labour. I love the fact that my list of “I do not want X, Y and Z” was met with “well we would never do that a standard anyway”. I have my first official prenatal appointment this week and feel that this pregnancy has so far been brilliant! I haven’t suffered from any of the aches and pains I had with Thomas, no carpal tunnel syndrome, no swollen legs and painful feet, less weight gain… I don’t know if it’s because I am more relaxed about it all this time or whether it’s because I don’t have to get up and go to work every day! I am getting more tired as the weeks go on (25 and counting!) and am getting bigger and less able to do things, but I feel really well! Oh, and in case you missed it, it’s a boy!

So much to tell and I will try and get better at updating and taking photos. It was a big shock to leave my parents and come here and I really struggled for the first week. I’m getting better, I miss my Mum every day, but there is email and Skype and the world is a much smaller place than it once was.

This week we will venture to the 2-5 year old storytime at the library and see if we meet any new friends. This is the one part lacking so far, but mainly due to not getting out and meeting people. There are so many things that need sorting out so friendship has been low on my priority list for the time being. People are so friendly and so willing to chat, so I just need to put on a big smiley Lindsey face and be brave. If I can remember how!


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Bear with me, move in progress!

Please excuse the blogging hiatus. We are currently mid-move, meaning I am struggling with the reality of moving to another country, sorting out our things, buying new things, making sure Thomas is OK, thinking up midwife interview questions, and all the rest of it. I’ll write soon. In the meantime, David and Thomas worked hard today in the 34 degree heat whilst our sea shipment was being delivered to the new house…

Friday, August 5, 2011

Growing up

He's tall. He is very independent. He likes to play with other children. He is toilet trained and sleeps all night (mostly!).

He talks a lot, says 'No' a lot, likes Pixar movies and playing on the IPad.

He uses a fork to eat, sits on a chair, sleeps in a bed, hates going shopping and screams when he gets a haircut...

But sometimes, just sometimes, he is still just my baby. Soft and small and sweet and beautiful, and oh my goodness how I love him!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Why am I so obsessed with birth? As a doula, I’m allowed to admit that I am – I am TOTALLY obsessed with all things pregnancy, labour and birth.

Mum with Mark (and her magnificent beehive!)
For as long as I can remember, every year on our birthdays, my Mum has retold our birth stories. That means, for as long as I can remember, I have been told four birth stories a year. All of the births were very different, starting with my brother Mark, when my Mum was just twenty years old.  She went into labour but didn’t want to miss the Beatles on TV so held off until after the show. She was then left alone in a hospital room to labour, no partner, no parents, just Mum and an occasional midwife. She was very scared and didn't know what was going on but she never made any complaint - that was how birth was in the 60s - and she always told the tale with excitement and love for this first baby.

Mum & Dad with Nicholas (nice turtleneck dad!)

Nick was a long awaited baby; born three years after Mum & Dad started trying. Early in her second trimester, Mum was told that she had contracted Rubella in early pregnancy and she may not keep the baby. She had to have continual scans every couple of weeks while they checked the development of the baby until being given the all-clear around 18 weeks. Late in pregnancy Mum was given a routine internal examination by her consultant – a man with the “boniest fingers” she’d ever felt – who hurt her and made her bleed. In hospital they suspected a low-lying placenta for which she was whipped into surgery and checked, being told that she would either come out of it with a C-section or her waters broken, depending on whether the placenta was there or not. Mum was convinced it was the consultant who had done something to her and Nick was born five hours after they broke her waters.

Mum and Chris (and Sheba. And some nice flares)
Chris was an unexpected surprise when Nick was only a few months old. Having had difficulties to conceive, my parents didn’t think a second one would come so easily :) Mum had high blood pressure in the last couple of weeks of pregnancy and was put on hospital bedrest. In hospital she again had a routine internal examination, where the doctor chuckled and told her he’d just given her a little ‘twiddle’ with his magic fingers... That night Mum woke up at midnight with a massive pain. One minute later she had another. Another minute, another pain. The nurse on call was chatting up the doctor on shift and wouldn’t believe that she was in labour. She eventually gave her an enema (as was routine practice) and as Mum was on the toilet, the baby started to crown. She was whipped into the delivery suite quick smart and Dad missed the birth (not helped by aforementioned nurse failing to call him as she hadn’t believed Mum was in labour). Chris was born 50 minutes after that first contraction.

Then there was me. Mum was in hospital for the last month of pregnancy with high blood pressure. I wasn’t growing and she was on strict bed rest. She was let out just before my due date then five days later went into early labour – the only labour where she was sick in the early stages. After Chris’s dramatic entrance, they rushed into hospital and everything stopped. Dad went home, a foetal monitor was attached and she was told the baby was in distress. “Nonsense” my Mum replied, “there is nothing wrong with my baby” :) They told her she had been in labour too long and would have to go on the drip. After Dad had missed my brothers’ birth, Mum refused to move until he turned up. She was put on a drip at 2.30pm and I was born two hours later… “Have you thought of a name?” asked the midwife, “Lindsey” Mum replied, “What if it’s a boy?”…

“If it’s a boy, you can push it back”.

Mum and Me!

These are the stories of my childhood, teenage years and now adulthood. I love hearing the stories, all of them so different, all of them so filled with excitement and love. No traumatic, horrible birth stories for me. I was brought up believing that birth hurt like hell but was something that had to be done because the minute that baby came out, the pain was totally forgotten.

From L-R: Chris, Mum, Me and Nick

When I became pregnant with Thomas, I had all of these stories swimming around my head. I craved knowledge of all things labour and birth. I was so excited! I did yoga and Hypnobirthing and read and read and read. I wanted a home birth. I didn’t want this, I did want that. I researched EVERYTHING. I knew about everything. What I didn’t know was that even with all the knowledge in the world, labour and birth is something beyond your control, to an extent.

First photo of Thomas :)
I had a brilliant labour and birth with Thomas, supported by my beloved husband and my amazing mother, and it was an empowering, magical experience. I would do it again in a second. Good job too, seeing as I’ll be doing it again in December!

Hello Grandma! Where am I? I'm scared!

It wasn’t ‘perfect’, it didn’t all go according to ‘the plan’, and this is what I have since learnt. Ditch the plan, have a list of birth preferences. If there is anything you feel really strongly about, put it in BIG LETTERS. Here are my thoughts for my next list of birth preferences:


I’ll keep you posted on how well I stick to them :)

This post was written for week 68 of The Gallery, hosted by Tara at Sticky Fingers. The theme was "birth" so I couldn't resist!
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