Thursday, 29 March 2012

Dear Baby

I was thinking the other day about how my life is going to spectacularly change. And that is, in large part, down to you. You have already caused so much fuss and excitement it is unreal, and not just from us, I hasten to add. From our parents, our brothers, our sister, our friends; more and more I am somehow realising that when you get here in August, my position as Cute Adorable One will be under serious threat from you.

And, uncharacteristically, I won't even fight it.

A lovely, dear friend of mine was telling me yesterday about how 'they love you already'. And I suddenly thought... I don't know if I love you yet.

This is not going to turn into some cheesey 80s movie skit where I now declare that my feelings for you run deeper than love or anything.

What I feel for you is different than how I know and understand love to be. It is very primal and overwhelming; a feeling that you are so so precious and need protecting. The responsibility of that protection; of keeping you safe inside me, is almost too much sometimes. I worry if I am doing it right and then think myself silly as how can you really do it wrong.

But I am not sure I love you yet.

After all, we have never been formally introduced. I know nothing about you (well, apart from the fact that you are currently the size of a banana, I tell you, that makes eating my breakfast quite an odd experience). I don't know if you are kind or generous, if you tell lies or are mean. I don't know the colour of your hair (if indeed you have any) or the size of your feet (I'm guessing small though..). I don't know if we will get on. I don't even know if you are a boy or a girl.

Sometimes, when I feel your little kicks inside my tummy, like pokes or flicks, I move my hand to you and you instantly stop moving. Are you scared of me? Are you hiding? Or are you, as I suspect, just being an awkward bugger who won't play nice?

This afternoon we are going to see you again.

I can't wait.

I am very nervous though.

What if they tell me that you are sick? That you will be sick? That there is something wrong? What if they tell me that you will be super right wing? Or not like cheese!

Any situation (well... barring the cheese one) will be ok though. I am strong enough for anything. I know I always will be when it comes to you. Now, if you could be a dear and keep your legs open so we can at least find out your flavour that would be just perfect. And will significantly reduce the name arguments between me and your Daddy, I promise.

And I am looking forward to loving you.

love from,

your Livy Mummy x

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

How it all began

This is the story of how I found out I was pregnant. Yes, Father-in-Law, you may want to stop reading now..

It isn't particularly exciting, or particularly strange but, in true Livy and Steve style, it is a teeny bit confusing.

One Tuesday in early December 2011 I was feeling rubbish. I was tired and cross and cranky, I ached and wanted to cry. I had had a hell of a day and all that was keeping me going was the thought of a bottle glass of wine at the end of the day.

Getting in from work I headed straight to the kitchen (it really had been one of those days), pouring the wine, I was salivating at the thought of the first sip* and was looking forward to sitting down with it and writing some Christmas cards.

I walked through to the front room, sat down and raised the glass to my lips, ready to sip, I suddenly stopped.

The smell. The smell of the wine was just too much. I felt sick.

And I never feel sick when it comes to alcohol. I can put it away with the best of them, I can drink wine like water (not a fact I am proud of, I'll hasten to add). Something was obviously wrong.

I tried again.

Nope. Bad bad badness.

One more go, and I forced a sip down.

Mistake. Oh big mistake.

My body rejecting alcohol was a worrying sign for me. I started to panic at all the things that could be wrong... the words 'cancer', 'liver failure', 'heart disease' flashed through my head** and then I thought of the worst possible thing... maybe, at 27 years of age, my body was simply sick of drinking. Nearly fainting, I staggered to the bathroom and stood over the sink, staring at my reflection in the mirror.

It was at this point that I noticed a pregnancy test just peeping out of the cabinet.

Suddenly my hell didn't seem so hellish; I could just possibly be up the Hilary! I eagerly did the test and waited. And waited. No big fat line appeared but a little shadow did appear where the line should.

This was not good enough! I needed answers! I needed to know whether or not to emergency dial NHS Direct.

So, I did what any Cosmo girl would have done and I legged it to Tesco to buy a digital test to try again.

Bingo. Clear as day. The word PREGNANT flashed up on the screen.

Just a teensy bit giddy, I took a photo and sent it to Steve's phone with the tag line, 'Are you ready to be a daddy....?'

Relaxing with my Christmas cards, knowing that I wasn't dying or even turning teetotal, I awaited his response.

Unfortunately I had forgotten that Steve had just got rid of his iphone and was temporarily using a Nokia brick, circa 2003 which could not receive pictures.

Which is why I got this reply:

"I've been thinking about this and yes, I think I am nearly ready. I mean, do I want to have another big drunken summer holiday first? Yes. Is it a massive responsibility? Yes. But I definitely think we are there. Lets enjoy Christmas and then think about it."

Suffice to say, it wasn't entirely as I had pictured it.

Three hours later, with him home and an unscheduled powercut in play; we sat, cuddling by candle light, Steve drinking the wine and me freaking out that I would be facing a sober, chubbier Christmas time that year.

And all was well.

* I do realise that I am channelling an alcoholic here but please, remember people, that I am now unable to drink it at all!

** So I am not an expert on medical science or the human body. But I am, obviously, a drama queen.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Hello from surburbia

So we had been in Homebase for about twenty minutes, searching and searching, when Steve threw the lightbulb that had gone from his bedside lamp the night before onto the floor and declared,

"That's it. I'm just going to buy a new lamp."

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

To help my sorting

We moved. And, after a rough few days (I cried, A LOT), I am finally feeling a bit more settled and feeling that this house will work for us!

So now I have a question... what do people do with all the extra and superfluous things you accumulate over the years? You know, the sentimental bits and pieces like photos and letters and old birthday cards?

As we have already established, I am a sentimental fool and have a plethora of, well... crap for want of a better word! Last night I unpacked and organised our study (all while listening to The Writing's on the Wall by Destiny's Child), and there, in box after box, were things that were of absolutely no use to anyone but were so important to me; programmes from graduations, ticket stubs from first dates with Steve, pictures drawn by my brothers when they were little, old school projects and lists I made when I was 7 of all the names I was going to call my babies (to be fair they may become quite useful soon...).

Where do they go? Where do they belong? Because they are threatening to take over the significantly bigger house we have just moved to! Answers on a postcard please...

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

It's controversial topic day!

Yep, you are in for one of my rare but ultimately fun opinion pieces.

Lucky you.

This time I am focusing on a topic close to my heart and very much in the press at the moment.

Gay marriage.

Specifically, gay marriage and its current main (and very vocal I might add) opposers, the Catholic Church.

Let me start by saying that I am not a religious person. I count myself as a committed atheist and was raised in the church of Say-Please-And-Thank-You-And-Stand-Up-For-What-You-Believe-In. And I am still there now.

I also want to say that this is not an attack on religious people. I have the utmost respect for someone who can pour their belief and faith into something. I can't though and, as long as you don't preach to me and tell me (and by extension others) that our lifestyles and beliefs are wrong, then we will get along just fine. Some of my favourite people are religious. I am just not.

So here goes...

I was upset and angry to read the letter written by Archbishop Vincent Nichols and Archbishop Peter Smith, respectively President and Vice-President of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, explaining the Catholic understanding of marriage.

Firstly, I understand that the Catholic Church have certain views on homosexuality and, when it comes to that issue, the Catholic Church and I will have to agree to disagree. I believe that there is absolutely nothing wrong with two people of the same sex loving each other and having an adult, consensual relationship. It makes no odds to me and some of the people I love the most are gay. Hell, if Steve and I can be together, why the hell shouldn't anyone else?

In the letter, I took specific issue with two particular lines; the first,

'Marriage is intended for the procreation and education of children.'

basically makes me feel like an incubator. It has reduced my marriage to a means to reproduce.

My marriage isn't that. I would have 'reproduced' with or without a piece of paper telling me it was ok. I have also not conceived a child as a direct result of being married. Steve and I love each other, we loved each other before we were married and we love each other now we are married. The baby I am currently housing did not occur because God told us to and we had ticked the necessary married box. It occurred simply because we wanted a baby and that wanting just happened to occur nine months after our wedding, (it also has something to do with a night of copious vodka shots and a double bluff but that is another story).

The second line that sat awkwardly with me was this,

'We have a duty to married people today, and to those who come after us, to do all we can to ensure that the true meaning of marriage is not lost for future generations.'

The Catholic Church have no duty to me and I find it presumptuous of them that they feel they can speak on my behalf, on the behalf of all married people.

The other issue I have with the church's position on this topic is that it is taking the literal meaning from the bible which, if I am not mistaken, isn't the case for a million other topics. The bible states, for example, that daughters may be sold into slavery, that you are forbidden from working on the Sabbath, that you may not ever eat shellfish and I won't even mention the ban on contraceptives that the vast majority of even religious people seem to happily overlook.

These things have evolved. So has the notion of marriage.

I would encourage you to read this fantastic and intelligent article by Greg Jenner. It details the evolution of marriage and discusses the Catholic Church's arguments against it.

So what does marriage mean to me?

Marriage means loving someone. And them loving you. And you both wanting to stand up and tell each other that. It is something that means everything and nothing. I would not love Steve less if we weren't married; it wouldn't affect the strength of my feelings for him or my commitment to him but I do feel that it has cemented our relationship and, for me, that is nice.

Nice, I said, not vital.

I value our relationship and our marriage is an extension of that.

Steve and I are very lucky.

We are lucky that we met and fell in love, of course, but we are also lucky that we both happened to be one man and one woman and therefore could do pretty much as we pleased without the judgement or condemnation of others. We wanted to get engaged, we got engaged. We wanted to get married, we got married. We wanted to have a baby, we made a simple decision not to use a contraceptive. It was that simple for us.

Isn't that lucky?

If Steve was a Stephanie then we would have had to fight continuously for all of the above. And we would have had to face a host of judgemental people. We would have been left out and excluded. We would have been whispered about and called names. Our lives would not have been our own.

And all because of something we have no choice in; our gender and who we fell in love with.

Because, and tell me if you disagree, I really didn't have much choice in who I loved. I went out with men I didn't love, no matter how hard I tried because they were sweet/cute/hot as hell/rich/had a fab name. And I had loving feelings for men that I didn't even like. My heart led the way. Not my head.

And I don't believe that anyone should be discriminated against just because of that. If you love someone and want to marry them then there should be no-one standing in your way. There wasn't for me and what makes me any better than anyone else?

Monday, 12 March 2012

A reflection

So moving.
It's a bitch ain't it?

I mean, I am a sentimental wuss at the best of times but try moving out of the flat you have lived for five years, the first home you had with your husband and mix in a whole lot of pregnancy hormones and you have a weeping, wreck of a Livy.

Not so cool.

It has been difficult watching the home we have made and love being packed into boxes. It has been even harder seeing some of my things go to charity or in the bin. Hell, I even cried sending off two pairs of shoes that I sold on ebay to their new owners and I bloody made money doing that!

We officially get the keys to our new, lovely, bigger, has-a-fricking-range-cooker house on Thursday and I am a mess of mixed emotions.

On the one hand it is going to become our new, family home. And it is perfect for that; it has a garden with a real life greenhouse, it has three bedrooms, it has a driveway and an open fire place (must buy guard...). It is also closer to our families and in a great village with a lovely village pub and a school and a Co-op. I mean this is what you want and wish for your new family right? Our baby will have a lovely childhood in a happy, safe place.

On the other, it is hard to say goodbye to a flat that really made us. When we moved in together we were 22 and 24 years old. We were babies, just starting out, playing house almost. We had to buy a hoover; neither of us had one. We couldn't work out how to work the washing machine. It was in this flat that we became adults, in this flat that Steve asked me to marry him and, gross too much information, in this flat that our baby began.

And we are leaving it.

It also has a kick ass, so gorgeous I could die brick wall but that is beside the point....

This week is going to be hard.

Told you the wall was gorgeous.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Getting the priorities right

Steve and I were talking about our honeymoon.

Steve: I think that guy in the restaurant had a crush on you.

Me: (feeling secretly smug) Really? I wouldn't be surprised. Most men do.

Steve: Really...

Me: Of course, I am the hotness, super fun and like to drink. What is not to love? I am a man's dream!

Steve says nothing.

Me: (pensively) Although... in my current knocked up state I am going to lose two of those qualities.... can't drink and vastly becoming unhot. Remind me to up the funness when we are next with people, ok?