Wednesday, 30 December 2009

First Pub

Have we been a little neglectful in leaving it 12 days before taking Penny to her first pub? It was a suitably seasonal choice though - The Reindeer. 

Weight Update

Day 12: 7lb 8oz

That's 10oz in the last week. And 13% increase since day one. That's a tin of baked beans in 12 days.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

More Boxing Day pics

Penelope (aged 1 week) with Abbey (aged 10 weeks). Abbey's hand gesture says it all.

Boxing Day

This was just one room at Abbey Wood. Left to right: Andy, Auntie Jean, Tilly, Uncle Norman, Penelope, Olivia, Tom, Lara, Louise, Bridget, Alice, John, Sophie, Will (Abbey and Maddie behind him), Sam, Gemma, Lauren

Christmas tree

Penny's first Christmas

Around the village on Christmas Day

Taking Paddy his Christmas dinner

Dawn on Christmas day

Very early on Christmas morning...

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Piling it on...

Day five weigh in with the midwife and Porky Penny is now 6lb 14oz.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

First proper outing

Today saw us brave the cold and parade Penny around the village.

She quite liked the idea at first...

...but by the end she had lost interest.

Penelope Grace

The baby was due on 19 December, the day after the end of term. How perfect. Christmas holidays followed by 2 weeks paternity leave – a month for the family to get to know each other. Except she would never arrive on her due date. Having studied the form of the Fox line, a bookie would have given odds longer than those for a white Christmas. Fox babies are late and furthermore, labour tends to be a marathon, not a sprint. So all bets were on for Boxing Day at the earliest (in the hope of repeating last year’s double whammy) and in fact most hovered around the New Year. Pity I’m not a betting man.

On Thursday 17 December, Andy had a show and was a little surprised, until she read that labour may still be ten days away. Ok nothing to worry about. Get the next batch of dinners into the freezer. Then these strange period pains started coming and going. Again, the book said this was not uncommon in the days leading up to labour. Off she went to feed the horse, climbing over gates and hauling bales of hay about…

When I got home at 7pm, the period pains were coming about every 5 minutes and a quick phone call to our NCT lady suggested that they were probably early contractions. Andy’s response: “Oh, really? But I haven’t finished my Christmas shopping yet.”

At 9pm, Andy’s water’s started to break and the tens machine came out. Blimey – this really was happening. Our baby was coming before Christmas. How could that be? Andy didn’t think she’d be able to sleep, so on went the tele and off I went to bed. At this point, neither of us quite believed what was happening and thought that maybe we might end up going to hospital some time on Saturday and perhaps the baby might put in an appearance on Tuesday.

A little after 2am, Andy came and woke me. “I think you’d better get up.” I timed the contractions. Five in ten minutes. At 3am Andy ran a bath and I rang the hospital. The contractions were starting to get much stronger and the hospital suggested we wend our way. Once Andy knew she’d be welcome, she was ready to go. Unfortunately I wasn’t. I had to finish packing up our 3 days worth of supplies, make the marmite sandwiches, look for and fail to find my swimming trunks (we were planning a water birth) and remove what seemed like an inch-thick layer of constantly regenerating ice from the car windscreen. So at 3:40 we got underway, slipping and sliding down the road, feeling every tiny pebble (“SLOW DOWN!”) and watching the clock as much as the road (“COME ON, GET GOING!”).

The roads were mercifully clear of all traffic and a lump in my throat grew bigger as we approached the Nottingham Knight roundabout where a friend of ours had given birth on the back seat of a car at 4am a few months ago. As the roundabout came into view, the most almighty contraction came, accompanied by the first pants and Neanderthal grunts. But fortunately, it passed and there was no repeat performance.

We arrived at the hospital at 4:15am, which was just as well seeing as I managed to approach the main entrance the wrong way around the one way system. We parked right in front of the main entrance and Andy began her stagger to the delivery suite. Well she would have done, had we been able to get in. We pressed buzzers and knocked and waved in front of the movement censors, but the sliding doors just weren’t feeling slidy. Then a small man appeared to our right, clearly off to find his bucket and mop, and walked straight through the adjacent set of doors that didn’t say ‘out of order’ in large letters on them.

So we set off along the corridor, Andy looking more like someone you’d expect to see in the town centre in the early hours of Sunday morning, looking increasingly pale and sweaty, staggering from one wall to the other, propping herself up on anything to hand, and almost taking out the hospital’s Christmas tree in the process.

Once in the delivery suite, we were shown to a room and a lovely midwife asked Andy several questions, most of which she has no memory of. I started sorting our things out in preparation for what I assumed was going to be a three-day vigil. Then at 4:45 the midwife returned and suggested she have a look and see where Andy had got to. Together we psyched ourselves up for something along the lines of: “Well, all seems to be fine, you’re about 2cm dilated. You can go home for a few hours if you like.” Instead, we got: “Oh! The baby’s right here! Have you not felt the urge to push yet? We’ll have it out in a minute. It’s got dark hair.”

It’s impossible to explain how we felt at the stage. Nothing was as we had expected at all, but every surprise was a good one. The subject of pain relief was mentioned in passing and Andy managed a couple of gulps of gas and air, but the midwife pointed out that it was a bit late for all of that now, “so put it down and concentrate on pushing”.

The contractions eased for a while, but soon began again in earnest. After about 5 or 6 big pushes, the baby’s head was clearly visible, but not moving much. “I’m just going to get a bit of anaesthetic ready because I think I’m going to have to give you a small cut.” Whether or not it was the intention, the effect was almost immediate. Andy’s face contorted into a grimace of angry determination and with the most gut-wrenching, primeval howl, out came the head. A few deep breaths and one more push later, at 5:35am, 18 December, Penelope Grace was born. Her eyes were wide open, her arms were waving around, her lungs were full of squawk and her parents were proud, emotional wrecks.

Pity I’m not a betting man. It’s Christmas Eve tomorrow and there’s still snow on the ground. Imagine the odds I’d have got on an early baby and a white Christmas…

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

More cousins

Penny meets Alice, Maddy, Lauren and Sam. 7 cousins ticked off, 4 to go...

New outfit

At last - something that fits. In the leg at least.

Aunty Nessie

Good feet for walking in the snow

Daddy's girl

Today's question

So which smells better - new babies or bacon sandwiches?

Sunday, 20 December 2009


Poor old Paddy is feeling a little bit left out at the moment, so I went and gave him a bit of attention yesterday as the snow got underway again.

Phillip had lit a bonfire which made the whole paddock feel festive.

And the calves were appreciative.

Roast beef anyone?