A book I started writing for Dylan.
1.01.2011 Clear Blue.
Today I pissed on a stick and it said I was pregnant. He took a picture to prove it. We stood together in the hallway cuddling. Waiting for two minutes to change our lives…or not, as could have been the case. Creeping into the bathroom hand in hand, I partly knew what it would say but was stunned as I stared at it. All the bullshit and fakery left my body in a zap of reality. And we stared at each other. I think I said ‘fuck’ and his legs were shaking.
04.01.2011 Bunking Off
Three pregnancy tests later, and everything is still ‘positive’. That little plus sign everywhere I look. And I am happy: in fits and starts. But I haven’t been able to sleep the last few nights and I feel sick all the time. Also, you’re making my tits hurt in an extraordinary way. Which is crazy if it’s true that you are probably right now, no bigger than a poppy seed.
I called in sick today because I slept about half an hour in total and didn’t want to puke and shit constantly at work. I know most people suffer more with morning sickness but think mine (up until now) has mainly been morning shitness.
I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow and I guess everything will seem more real and less conceptual from there.
I don’t know if you will ever get to know this about me but up until recent years, I was the biggest bunker that ever lived. I calmed down once I started work. At secondary school I missed most of the start of the first year. At college I only went in when I absolutely had to. And at uni, I went in a grand total of seven times in the first year and still passed.
In secondary school my greatest scam was getting dressed and going up to the tube station to meet my friend Anna, then coming back home and telling mum that I had fainted and the nurse had sent me home. She believed me.
I just had this thing with never wanting to be where I was supposed to be. Never wanting to follow procedures and join the crowd, never wanting to leave the house, mingle, progress: let’s hope you’re different.
Bunking is about stealing time away from the regimented world and exploring yourself, learning to just be, without any direction.
Make me a promise which has nothing to do with bunking off. Promise me that you won’t make me and Phil love each other less? That sounds like a selfish request but I promise you it isn’t. As long as we love each other intensely, as we do now, then we will both be the strongest we can be and that is surely all the back up a kid needs. In return, I promise we will really really love you, no matter what and we already know you will be the coolest mother fucker on the planet (third to me and him x). I know that’s a ridiculous promise for you to keep because as I type this, you are a tiny spec on the smudge of my innards.
18.01.2011 In the telling.
Remember this my little orange pip: sometimes the greatest news can be ill received. Don’t imagine in this world that everyone will share in your joy of things, because they don’t always.
You aren’t even a month cooked and I have already told nearly all of our closest friends and family. I think people were too shocked at the news to give me the reaction I’d hoped for.
Phil is so affectionate and supportive and wonderful with everything. It makes me feel simultaneously selfish and sharing with him. I want him for myself, but then I can’t wait to share him with you. I know you will love him supremely and if you don’t, then I will be disappointed I think. I hope that the three of us help to reaffirm each other’s love for each other. If that makes sense.
I am stuck on the names Dolores and Rosalita. Although Mike bet Leila twenty quid that you will be a boy. A little Yanakis (if my dad has his way). I don’t care one way or the other which sex you are. I just hope your healthy and wonderful.
I can’t believe I am growing a human being inside my body. I can’t fucking believe that. It bends my head. I am actually beaming from the inside out at the idea of you in there. Earlier on I became overcome with emotion picturing how Phil and I would look at each other during your delivery. It is truly an honour to have his child and I don’t care how sappy or non-feminist that makes me sound.
I have started reading Montessori books too. I read this fucking ridiculous book called the baby book and it’s meant to be like one of the best out there on the subject. Utter bollocks if you ask me. It reads like this: put baby to bed in his own bedroom at 6 o clock regardless if he is tired or not, leave him there alone, feed him at 7.15, 8.15 and 9.10-no sooner or later and leave him again. Even if he cries you must ignore him as the routine outlined is more important than anything, including the risk of cot death…FASCIST NAZI RIGHT-WINGERS. It really depressed me. I couldn’t cope with a world where everything was like that. So the book drove me to Montessori. Let’s see how that works out. Hopefully I won’t fuck up your life but if I do, forgive me, this is heavy shit and who knows how things will work out.
22.01.2011 Doing our Pikey thing.
Howard once said about us, that it was like being friends with Pikeys. We have moved at least once every two years since we left uni. And we moved annually at uni too.
We had every intention of staying in this place, this magical strange cold place, for longer than two years. And then we considered you. It is small here. Not tiny, but small. And a kooky layout. Think you would love the star room with the van gogh type walls I painted but it’s really little. Also it’s up stairs to the flat and then down some rather creepy stairs to the garden.
I haven’t been to work for the last three days. I think you should get two years maternity leave…paid, maternity leave that is. Then you can find out you are pregnant and just leave work for two years, returning once the baby is a round a year or so old.
I keep dreaming about making out with Phil, like when we were students. .
I hope you will always have the strength of character and the confidence to go your own way, when it is right to do so. And don’t ever let the greek guilt stop you from being you.
27.01.2011 The Three Buddhist Truths.
The three Buddhist truths are birth, sickness and dying. Or sickness, old age and dying. Something like that.
I have been off from work sick again the last two days. I have a terrible cold this time. I feel much better today and think I am going in to work tomorrow. I read in the pregnancy books that Rachel gave me that the reason for this foggy headedness, tiredness, nausea and sickness is because of a hormone that keeps you pregnant called ‘progesterone’. That’s why I feel I am permanently hung-over.
And reading more about pregnancy, I am now terrified I will miscarry. Although the other night I felt so dreadful that I considered (fleetingly) that I would have to have an abortion rather than suffer this sickness any longer. I was clearly deluded with tiredness and grumpiness. It’s not something I would ever really consider. It’s safe to say that I think I am falling in love with the idea of you. And as I write this I have a dreadful fear that in a sick twist of irony, I will die giving birth and you will never meet me and these pathetic musings are all you will have to show of me. I pray to god that isn’t true. I have a feeling I might have written that in a previous section, but can’t be arsed to read back now and check. Forgive me if I am repeating myself.
Since being pregnant, I feel the universe has somehow shifted. Or at least my universe has. I don’t know if I care less about things or if I care more. I don’t know if I am starting to become more independent and detached from my friends or whether I am becoming closer with them? I’m not entirely sure of myself and at the same time I feel more confident and insightful than I have ever been. More hormone induced delusions?
There is so much music I want you to hear. Want to teach you the words too. So you will know the feelings those songs conjure in your soul. God that is so important. The intense melancholy that some songs can bring. The fierce happiness others can instil in you, it really is amazing. I hope you inherit the finest of my music tastes and hope that your childhood is filled with the best soundtrack.
Motherhood scares the shit out me. Mainly because I always say and do the wrong fucking thing. Mainly because I am out on a limb when it comes to being in control, when it comes to interacting with others who are difficult to interact with, because I am no good with stress and because I have a foul mouth at times. Ego comes into play, as it always does. I want to be a wonderful, natural earth mother, with all the instinct of those powerful women of history. African. South American. Native American. Nordic. Celt. I want to have all the strength and fight of Bodeccia with all the heart and soul of Maya Angelou. And the reality is that we will probably never be exactly as we are in our heads. I will always play second fiddle to the imagined me. Ha. I hope at least I am a BIT interesting and that I don’t completely suck at it.
Cling onto me with all you’ve got baby because I might not be the smoothest ride you will ever take, but I promise you, I will be worth it in the end.
18.02.2011 Sleep Waking.
You’re apparently the size of a lime. Completely formed just waiting to grow. Like all of us I guess. We will be looking at you through the eyes of technology next Tuesday. We will see you before you see us. But I don’t need to see you yet do I though, because I feel you. Messing with my hormones while you nestle in nice and tight. Bless you. Just stop making me feel so sick and dizzy all the time would you? I guess you can’t help that though can you.
I realised last night that I am afraid of sleep. All my life I have been afraid of it. Uncomfortable with being left on my own, faced with it. I try and think what the reason could be. But I fail to find something that fits and solves the puzzle. Perhaps something before I was aware of what was happening to me happened to me. I really hope it’s not something you inherit. Afraid of something so sinister inherit within me. Something so true and revealing and uncontrollable about the sleep world and the spirits and truths that lurk there.
My lime. I am shitting all kinds of bricks about your arrival. I really am. And whether there is one or two of you in there. Am I secretly hoping there will be two in there? To save me going through this again perhaps? But then two would mean not being able to have a home birth and dare I wish/hope for something that will force me into the realm of the probing man doctor! No I daren’t and so I tell myself, whatever will be will be. And you will be perfect as one or two or whatever you turn out to be. And I will roll with the punches. I WILL roll with the punches.
28.02.2011 Leaving the lavender.
So we’ve moved. And I have seen you in an ultrasound scan. The photo is sitting on top of our TV. That’s my two main bits of news.
Seeing you in that ultrasound, man that was heavy. Exhilarated and shit scared all at once. I heard your heart beat. Much faster than mine. And saw you curled up, your knees scrunched beneath you, your fist near your mouth, facing my vagina. And even though you are only a postcard image from a distant, nearby place: You looked so incredibly cute.
I keep waking around 3 am. Wondering about that Jesus time and that film when it was a bad to wake up. And then I get to thinking about you. About me and him and you. I shit myself all over again. A fresh panic in the early hours. Till eventually I try to lull myself into a calmness, telling myself it will all be fine and wonderful once you are here.
And we have announced the news to everyone now. I did it via Facebook. My announcement followed your first scan photo and said ‘at last I can get fat beyond my wildest dreams: fill up the bath with some ready salteds, here I come!’ and so many people commented. People that don’t even give a shit about me. People that barely know how to pronounce my name at work commented, telling me I would make the best mum…and I thought, how the fuck do you know? It’s just one of those things people say isn’t it. Still I suppose it was nice of them to care.
We moved into the new place.I keep trying to picture myself washing up while you are playing on the floor in the front room, the sun streaming in.
I dreamed about you last night. Or at least I dreamed about having a baby. I loved it and it was cute and chubby. Then Leo scratched you on your head and wouldn’t remove his claws. So I went mental and bit him. You had a horrid scratch across your head and I felt sad and angry. Then I dreamed of a grown up boy who looked just like Phil but was supposed to be my son, who I was having a fling with. Someone recorded our phone conversation and we were torn away from each other. Freaky. Half way through that dream the ‘I’ point of view turned to the third person and instead I was watching a rich old woman falling in love with a gorgeous young man. Jeans low lung and top off, just like Phil. Strange.
Phil has been talking to you. Mainly about the soprano’s and how tony soprano is a complex character but lovable too. I think it’s so lovely how much he seems to be feeling about you. He said the other night ‘I think I love it already’ and I completely and wholehearted agree.
17.03.2011 Son of a witch .
Last night I dreamed that Nana Abba’s mum (she was from Ghana and used to be a nurse) saw me in the street and felt my bump. She then turned into Yiayia (internally and not externally) and started talking to me in Greek. She pushed hard on my stomach and said she couldn’t feel any baby in there and was I sure it wasn’t dead. I think in the dream I went to the doctors and they said they didn’t think it would be a girl child. I awoke. Afraid of my dreams again.
Today was my 16 week midwife appointment and it was the nice black lady from chase farm who was there today. I liked her immediately from my very first midwife appointment. She had a laid back northern vibe about her. She took a urine sample and found blood in my urine. My dream came back to me and I suddenly felt worried. She said she would have to send it off for testing and that I should hear back soon.
I am constantly wondering if my dreams really do partially foretell or forewarn of things to come or whether some of my dreams just stick out in my mind and then I somehow find ways to make them link to my day to day life. I wonder if you will have this spooky possible gift that I inherited from the spooky women in my family?
On the bus ride back to work, I saw little horses in the fields just before oakwood. My heart leapt at the sight of them. It really did. And in the streaky bleak grey sunlight day, that felt very wuthering heights, I realised that I AM maternal and that I AM a naturally loving woman because I have a complete love even for the creatures of this world. The notion of this and the possibility of something going wrong; made me realise just how much I love you…already. Be safe in there, in the dark cauldron of my stomach you little son of a witch.
24.04.2011 The Kick Inside.
And like both Phil and I, you appear to be shy. During the second scan the sonographer proved to be a bitch, jabbing my stomach and trying to jiggle you about so she could make her measurements and do her checks. Like a soulless seamstress she prodded and poked without any kind of care for the fact that there were three human beings in her company. She barely spoke. And made no effort to explain what she was seeing or why she was hacking into my stomach so viciously.
After drinking a pint and a half of water in preparation for the scan: it took all the strength I had not to piss myself right then and there. And pressing her magic xray wand right on my bladder was not helping. I recall staring at every inch of her face, committing it to memory. I had no idea why she was being so heavy handed with my stomach but in a brief wave of paranoia, I thought she might be one of those psycho hospital people that hate babies and do everything they can to kill them. I stared at her long and hard till I felt confident that I could pick her face out in a crowd of thousands, should I ever need to hunt her down and kill her. Such is the nature of the maternal instinct.
Although we asked, she couldn’t tell what sex you are. And if I were you, I wouldn’t have wanted to show her my bits either.
Changes have occurred since last I wrote. I had a urinary tract infection and had to take antibiotics. It made me afraid that you would be affected, although the doctor assured me you wouldn’t. But hopefully the infection has passed. And hopefully everything is ok with you and the flesh and bone house that you live in.
I have also started to feel distinct movement inside. Like the Kate Bush song but less depressing. I am quite addicted to feeling these movements. And Phil wishes he could feel them from the outside. When he places his hand on a particular side of my stomach, or speaks to you from one side, you move quickly and with purpose (so it feels) towards his hand or voice. I love this feeling. My two favourite people in the world: bonding. Leo the cat also comes to lie with me nowadays. He hardly ever did before. But now he likes to lie pushed against the bump of you. And you move towards his purring heat.
I’ve dreamt of you too. Last night actually. You were a small baby and I held you and felt that love for you again: the love that makes me certain that I am doing the right thing. I feel in general more ready, more certain, more distinctly maternal and I can’t wait to meet you at the end of the summer when you’re due.
All sorts of preparations are taking place now. I wonder how aware you are of them? I have been doing prenatal yoga. Phil has been performing the most amazing massages to my neck, shoulders and feet. We have booked our hypnobirthing course and my mum (your Yiayia) has been shopping and knitting incessantly, excited about your arrival.
This long bank holiday week that has passed, I feel ripe like a mango. And although the sickness and ailments still persists, I suddenly feel ready to be a mum.
08.05.2011 Extending the bounce world.
Last night I dreamt about you again. I dreamt that I had a stupidly easy birth. I even went round telling everyone in my dream that it was ‘a piece of piss’. In the dream you were a boy. I think this is twice I have dreamed you are a boy.
It was my friends hen night on Friday. We went bowling to Finsbury park (krapy rub snif). I bowled and was doing really well. Then you started kicking me so frantically I thought I was going to give birth. You either hated the shit pop music (who could blame you) or you hated the loudness of the shit music or else you were having a ball and a biscuit sugar. Who knows, either way I stopped bowling and you calmed down a bit. Your dad is a brilliant bowler: after getting a strike followed by a spare, Ivowed I would breed with him again at the drop of a hat. I wonder if you will like bowling. Hopefully you will have the best of my fluke abilities and your father’s skills and you will be a star.
Yesterday I felt a bit down in the evening. I felt as though I was going on an adventure all by myself. I felt lonely. But not because I don’t have a kindred or a soul mate because I do, I have your dad as the best friend to my heart and soul. All the changes that are happening to me; getting fatter, swelling, even getting freckles! All these things are happening just to me. And although your dad is there to witness them, he can’t feel them or experience them first hand. I feel sometimes like I am trapped under a microscope or in a museum glass tank where I am carefully observed. That sounds stupidly dramatic and it probably is, but that’s how I felt. Your dad made me feel better though. We cuddled on the sofa and he stroked my hair and we talked shit till it was bed time. He has a wonderful knack of knowing how to handle me and my moods. I feel confident he will be the same with you.
So I’m 23 weeks pregnant now and that’s like nearly 6 months. By the time summer has started to wane, you will be here. I bought you two baby grows from Asda. I think they are the first proper clothes that I have bought you. One says ‘super cool baby’ and the other says ‘one of a kind’ with a big green star. Both are cool baby grows with funky colours and no shitty pastel colours (and NO FUCKING WINNIE THE POO!) What is it with winnie the poo? I don’t mind the books or the show but why on earth do they feel the need to stick it on every bit of baby paraphernalia that there is? Idiocy.
I’m nervous and excited and trying to cram in as much info as possible, like a lazy badly organised teenager, rushing to prepare for exams.
22.05.2011 LitTLE RIVER
Yesterday we put your cot up and the spare room is starting to look more like your room. The cot looks so big when I think of how small you will be at first. The sun streaming in through the window, passed louie the plant and the long white flowy curtains and onto your little bed, I suddenly imagined how it would feel to be you, sleeping in there. I hope you will love it.
Full into the swing of this hypno birthing course and I am starting to see how together we can work for a smooth calm birth. For both you and me. And I could have cried when I suddenly thought of Phil holding you, being the first to touch you and hold you to his chest. I just know already how much you’re gonna love him.
I hope it’s that simple and that wonderful and I hope we all carry on loving each other as much as I think we are going to. I’ll be observant and patient and loving, at least I’ll try to promise you that. And I’ll show you all the things I love; like the rain and the way the trees move in the wind and the tallest man on earth and the Hotel New Hampshire and Betty Blue, the scream, Miro and Meg & Mog and that slight soft twilight which makes me think of ‘soft touch of a piano blues mood and suddenly everything about me felt acute’: I’ll show you and you can turn your nose up till you get old enough to realise that I was right all along
Your Grandad brought us round a massive half of a watermelon on Friday night. And you will come to learn that’s what’s so rock n’ roll about my dad. He doesn’t do things by halves. And I spent almost the entire of Saturday eating it, wiping my mouth with the back of my hand while Phil laughed at me.
I feel you moving so much of the time, especially when I’m sat at my desk or in bed. You like listening to Phil playing the guitar and you like it when I sing, although my voice is terrible, I sing all the same. Feeling you move lulls me, makes me feel transfixed, enthralled, bewitched but sometimes alone…just me and you in the dimly lit smooshiness of my inner world. I can’t wait for Phil to be able to feel you kick. I want him to KNOW you’re there as I do. I suppose there will be time enough for your presence to mark his existence in a way that nothing else will. That HE lived and that he passed something on, that together we used all our skills and biological magik and conjured a force like a little river to the golden ground.
01.06.2011 Secret bath thoughts.
I had a bath yesterday and spoke to you, out loud. I closed my eyes and pictured what it would be like to have you, cuddled close to me. I told you I loved you and that you were very much wanted, and I cried, quietly. These are not things I readily admit. And I know myself too well. More like my family than I think I am. I am reserved and find it hard to say how I feel when I really really feel something. Like love. I suppose everyone is like that. But I promise I will try my hardest to overcome this and be an openly loving mum.
You will be tiny and I keep imagining Phil holding you to his chest when I’ve birthed you. I think I have already written this before but it’s such a powerful image. I hope that’s what it will be like in real life, as it is in my head. I can’t wait to make him a dad, to see how he will be with you and how he will forget the whole rest of the world because he will love you so much. To see how protective, nurturing and fun he will be with you. And I can’t wait for those quiet times when you’re sleeping or off with your yiayia and me and phil can be together and get close again, touch base with each other. And I imagine it will be even more precious and intense and romantic and loving than it already is. If I fail at everything else in this whole mental world then let one thing be communicated perfectly and properly to you: you were made with the romance, passion and intensity that all the greatest novels are based upon. You really were. And you will probably hate me for saying this, but fuck it, the sex was always always always amazing and I have never ever wanted to be with another men other than your dad. That’s not pathetic or indicative of how basic and happy to settle for second best I am, demure and accepting: it’s because me and your dad are a match made in heaven and if anything ever happens to make me think otherwise, remind me of it. Ram it down my fucking throat till I remember all this and the way I felt about him for more than a decade before you were born and while I was pregnant with you. Hopefully just looking at you will remind me how you came to be and the process that evolved so deliciously and slowly that made you.
13.06.2011 Bumper to Bumper.
And so while on a driving lesson the other day, someone bumped me and my bump. I was patiently stopped just left of the centre line with right indicator on, waiting for my path to clear before turning right. And some prick comes speeding into the back of me and mashes up the front of his car. A bad combination of him not paying attention and driving too fast meant that my shit day just got a whole lot worse. I sat in the driving seat feeling really embarrassed while my driving instructor sorted things out with the guy. My mind flashed briefly over the events of my particularly miserable day and in that moment I could honestly have cried. But I didn’t. I sucked it up. Held it together. But that night, before bed, I cried like a bitch.
I was so worried that something had happened to you. That the relatively small amount of impact of the shunt that I felt, would have damaged you or killed you. I couldn’t stop thinking about it and I became obsessed with desperately trying to detect your sparse movements. By the next day I could think of nothing else. So after work me and Phil went to the hospital. We didn’t have to wait at A&E thank god, we were sent straight through to the delivery ward where two midwives faffed around trying to hear your heartbeat. Which they did in the end, declaring everything was fine. Laying back, belly and big knickers exposed, a forced smile stretched painfully across my face, I prayed intensely. And when they said everything was ok, the relief was blissful like hot piss down a frozen cold leg.