Wednesday, December 23, 2009

George and Ernest
George seems to have accepted Ernest without too much of a problem. He keeps cuddling him, and introducing him to anyone he meets. He’s basically being very sweet (if you ignore the occasional outbursts of “hit baby Ernie!” and “eat Ernie’s ears”).

George is having the occasional nightmare now – waking up screaming and crying – he usually settles quite quickly, but he’s taken to getting up and trying to get out of his bedroom while screaming his head off. He did that last night, and after trying to settle him, we had to force ourselves to just leave him crying until he went back to bed.

So how is it having two of them? Well, they’re a handful and obviously as Ernest gets more independent that will only get worse, but initially it doesn’t seem too bad As long as we remember to keep giving George attention so he doesn’t feel he needs to demand it, we seem to be able to cope (except on the occasional night when they’re both ill or restless).

Which is a bit of a surprise to be honest because we’d had heard that having two is a bit like having ten…. Still, there’s time…

Plans for Christmas
So, it’s Christmas eve tomorrow… and a sudden cold snap has turned everyone’s Christmas travel plans to sludge. My parents probably won’t get up to us from Cambridge, which is a shame. Lisa’s sister may or may not arrive from Swizzerland, and what will happen for new year is anyone’s guess.

We’ll probably end up with just local people – and we’ve hosting it at home. We’ve decided that Christmas is the ideal day to try out an experimental meal that we’ve never cooked before and lot’s of people don’t like – so we’re going for eel in red wine.

I’m not running quite so often as I have been. A combination of the cold, the dark and tiredness plus the fact that my hip seems to develop a pain every time I go running (probably because I don’t know how to warm up properly before I go) means I’m running slower, less distance and less often.

It’s a bit annoying actually – Just before Ernest, Lisa persuaded me to go to a running shop (there is, of course, a specialist triathlon shop at the end of Melbourne Grove) and get fitted for some trainers.

Buying running shoes isn’t like buying other shoes – you don’t sit in a shop trying to decide whether to go for the ones that make you look like a gnome or a teenager or a pimp. Instead the shopkeeper measures your feet in various places, makes you run on a jogging machine, and then disappears into the back of the shop.

When he returns, he’s carrying one pair of shoes.

“these are yours” he says.

Not “what colour do you want?” or “how do they feel?” or “how much do you want to pay?”

There are one pair of shoes in one colour and one style and they’re the ones for you.

It’s quite a refreshing change.

However, I also asked him about keeping warm while running in the winter. He recommended a kind of skin tight lycra body-stocking.

I don’t think either I, or the other residents of Dulwich, are quite ready for that.


Apologies for not updating this in a while – but now on Christmas eve eve, I’ve finally got a bit of time to get back up to date. If you’re reading this, you’ve probably got a fair idea of why it’s taken me so long.

Here’s the main reason:

The new boy

Ernest appeared on 22 oct at 9:50 in the morning. He was good enough to turn up at a reasonable hour, by caesarean section just like George but unlike George, I wasn’t actually allowed in to watch.

Lisa was in labour for a good few hours and had just reached the point of asking for an epidural (at one point, a midwife came in wanting to take the gas-and-air – assuming that Lisa had already had an epidural because she wasn’t making enough of a fuss) when it became obvious that Ernest’s heart rate was slowing. The decision to go for a caesarean was pretty much instant (after Lisa – high on gas and air – had to sign the release papers) and I just had time to don my surgical clothes and let Lisa know I was there in the operating theatre, when they suddenly realised things weren’t going well, and I was whisked out to wait for the results.

The problem was that Ernest’s heart rate wasn’t returning to normal, so instead of the normal epidural, they decided to go for the quick option – a general anaesthetic. And presumably a general is a lot less gentle than an epidural and they don’t want husbands cluttering up the place while they delve around looking for the baby.

In any case, it was a good couple of hours before Lisa had recovered enough for me to tell her she had a baby boy (I wouldn’t say anything until she was properly conscious because I knew she’d forget!).

Anyway, Ernest is here and making his presence felt. He’s learned to cry pretty loud and practices often. He’s also fairly good at eating and sleeping. He’s started off with a good nighttime routine, giving Lisa a few hours between feeds to get some rest. Although the last couple of days haven’t been great, we’re pretty convinced it’s a battle we can win, and he will eventually get into a good sleeping pattern.

Midwives talk a lot of crap. Throughout the entire process of having a baby, there seems to be a ban on anyone in the medical profession using the word “pain”. Childbirth is described as causing “discomfort” - whatever that means. Occasionally there’s “extreme discomfort” mentioned, but that apparently is rare. It’s usually just bog standard discomfort.

When we dropped in on my grandmother, Grace a few weeks before Ernest was born, she mentioned her experience of midwives.

When she went in to have my dad, she was a little naïve herself. She asked the midwife if she was going to cut her open to get the baby out.

“no” she was told. “it comes out the same way it went in”

“Oh” said my grandmother. “Won’t that hurt?”

The midwife looked at her. “oh, God, yes” she said.