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Thank You, James Harrison ! March 25, 2010

Posted by Rambling Man in Fatherhood, General Bloggery, World Affairs.
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I came across this wonderful story about this wonderful man this morning … it’s the man we have to thank for the Anti-D vaccine, given to children with a Rhesus blood incompatibility with their mother.

This incompatibility is quite common and happened in our 2 kids – normally the doctors will check for blood type late in the 3rd trimester and then make the decision to administer Anti-D when the child is born … I thought it had been around for years but no !  The vaccine was developed when doctors discovered an antibody in this man’s blood – he has made nearly 1000 blood donations over the course of his lifetime.

So from the bottom of all our hearts Mr. Harrison, go raibh míle mhaith agat !

Read about him here …

Blood donor saves two million babies – Yahoo!Xtra News.

The worst thing I have ever heard a child say July 7, 2009

Posted by Rambling Man in Fatherhood.
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This is well worth sticking in your RSS queue !

The worst thing I have ever heard a child say:

via Alpha Mummy – Times Online – WBLG: The worst thing I have ever heard a child say

I’ll have to think about the worst thing our daughter has said – and there are a few !

Happy Birthday baby ! October 20, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Fatherhood, General Bloggery.
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I can hardly believe it ! Our little baby is 1 years old today … it seems she has been around for ever but it was only 12 short months ago that you came crying out of your Mamma’s tummy and lay there in my arms staring at me with your big blue eyes. You looked cross ! I don’t remember how I looked but I felt like a million dollars.

You poo at the most awkward times and you cry when you are not getting your way and the dog is afraid of you. To sleep till 5.30am would be a lie in … but we love you so much !

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How cute are you ?

Happy Birthday from Mamma o Pappa …

Ja må du leva,
ja må du leva.
ja må du leva uti hundrade år!
Ja visst ska hon leva,
ja visst ska hon leva,
ja visst ska hon leva uti hundrade år.
Hurra! Hurra! Hur
ra! Hurra!

Tummen ! February 4, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Fatherhood.
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This is Tummen … he’s a Swedish cartoon figure and our daughter’s new best friend. Every time he gets brought out, she smiles and giggles at him for ages.

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He came from Sweden via my sister-in-law and is a big hit !
Isn’t it funny, with all the high tech gadgetry available for children, her favourite is a stuffed, pink cloth puppet with black beady eyes and string for arms ?

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Just Ana October 31, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Fatherhood.
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Thought I’d just post a cute picture of “the young wan” ! My God – we have a young wan !

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Crazy little thing called love October 29, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Fatherhood.
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Well the blogging has certainly taken a back seat in the past few days – I’m off from work on parental leave (God Bless it) and all our time has been taken up looking after our little Anabel …

She had a touch of jaundice when leaving the hospital and has now to be fed on 3 hourly cycles – it takes some getting used to this middle of the night business but we’re getting there – when she just lies there and stares at you it kinda makes up for it.

I ventured outside the house today for the first time since God knows when for a visit to the local Tesco and Sundays are definetly bring your kid to the shops day. In a few years hopefully that will be lilla Ana hanging off our trolley knocking chocolate biscuits into the freezer section as she goes …

PS : It’s amazing how fast you lose your nappy changing inhibitions !

We have a daughter ! October 23, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Fatherhood.
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Anabel Sara was born at 8-15 pm, Friday October 20th, 2006 by C-Section.  All good – Dad in bits …

Pregnancy for Fathers : Week 35 October 16, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Fatherhood.
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So week 35 has come and gone and we’re a few steps closer to the arrival of our little one. I just can’t comprehend that in a few short weeks (hopefully) we’ll have a little person to look after – and if I had a fiver (or even a measly euro) for everyone who said that soon I’ll really know I’d be alive, I could start a college fund to send the child to Oxford !

The nursery is complete but still in its most basic form and thanks to some ingenious cut onions, the horrid paint smell is gone. Remember – water based paint people ! We’ve also been in receipt of several most kind donations from members of our family who have now found homes for their unwanted baby items. That has helped us out a lot. So a big thanks to ‘the sister-in-law’ and ‘the cousin’. We’ve now got sterilizers, blankets, baby clothes, hats and stuff coming out our ears and have spent all of the last weekend washing and ironing these items. I still have to put together a flat pack shelf to house them all …

Symptoms wise, the good wife is still finding it a little hard and every day I feel more useless just watching her. I can’t do anything to make the itching stop or the swelling go down – what little I can do in the line of comforting her is, I’m sure, nothing to what she is going through. Test results for one thing and another have all come back clear and the doctor’s, in so far as they can tell, are happy. This does not take away my hatred of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, from which TGW is endlessly suffering.

Ante-Natal classes are going well and I must say I am finding them very interesting. This week’s one was about the role of the partner during labour and what to expect when confronted with the various scenarios. They usually take the form of 10 or so couples in a classroom with a midwife going through the various points. Our midwife spoke very well and was able to get the point across to us first timers who are basically learning as we go.

So there you have it – not long to go now – so near but yet so far. I feel like I’ve been waiting on this child for ever. Oh and by the way, a good tip for relief from itching is an oatmeal bath. Put some porridge oats in a sock and tie the end and pop it into the water – the starch (or something ?) in the oats releases into the water and is very soothing on the skin …

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Life is a Rollercoaster October 6, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Fatherhood.
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Thanks to Gerry O’Sullivan for letting myself and the good wife know about this interesting pregnancy related website,  rollercoaster.ie

It’s an Irish run site (which makes a change) and has lots of invaluable information and advice about what your partner or wife might be going through as well as the solutions to some irritating probems. The title is also very apt – pregnancy is a bit of a rollercoaster for us at the moment … 4 weeks today … Jaysis !

Pregnancy for Fathers : Week 34 October 2, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Fatherhood.
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Overall, this has been a pretty rough week. Our pregnancy is starting to head into the home stretch and the effects of this are taking their toll on the good wife (TGW).  Add into the equation that we are first time parents and don’t really know how to properly recognise “normal” symptoms and aches and pains, and you have the environment for a wee bit of panic.

During the last week, my wife’s symptoms (call them side effects of being 8 months + pregnant) have steadily increased for the worse and become such an annoyance that she cannot sleep.  She has very swollen hands and is uncomfortable at night with itching and restlessness.  This, coupled with a perceived drop in the amount of baby movement caused us to call the local hospital in a bit of a flurry and to land ourselves on them at 8am last Thursday morning.

I cannot say enough good things about the midwives and doctors there – they took us seriously and started from scratch with tests and screens and so on.  We hadn’t really being getting anywhere with our local GP when TGW complained of not being able to sleep due to the increasing discomfort.  We were very impressed by the labour room and ward and were monitored for over 2 hours. Blood was taken to rule out the liver being the cause of the itching and a scan was done to ensure everything was OK.  White coat syndrome kicked in big time of course, and the bairn woke up and started kicking the tummy off his mother ! (or her mother).  We were ever so thankful that we simply had someone to talk to and explain to us what was going on.  We even found that is medication TGW can take to try and alleviate the problems.

On the up side, there is plenty of baby activity, TGW is sleeping better and we’ve finished painting the nursery.  Next weekend is set aside for some sure to be disastrous DIY projects like putting up shelves in there and setting up the cot … bring it on !

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Pregnancy for Fathers : Weeks 32 & 33 September 29, 2006

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I’ve been neglecting my pregnancy blogging for more than a few reasons so am squashing a few weeks together to catch up. I was at the Ryder Cup for the last 10 days or so and haven’t been able to get near a PC.

“Our” pregnancy is starting to enter its final stages now, with the good wife (TGW) showing some of the signs of mid 3rd trimester pregnancy related aches and pains. We’ve had another scan this week and everything looks to be in good shape. As the baby gets bigger there is less room for it to move about, so kick counting has been suggested to us as a way of monitoring baby movement. Ten+ movements per day is a good indicator by all accounts but everyone’s pregnancy is (much) different. We are getting several groups of ten movements together which is a good sign that the baby is wriggling about in there. One problem I’m having is that I’ve nothing to compare this to so a symptom which might to me seem bad or out of place, to the trained eye is normal. I am prone to a bit of panic when I don’t understand important stuff like that but I’ll just have to inform myself and try to help TGW.

The bump is quite big and rounding out now, leading to TGW running out of maternity wear clothes which fit – we live in a small enough town and the choices are limited. For a long time it wasn’t really obvious that TGW was expecting (or “in the family way”) as they say in Ireland, but now theres no doubt! We also completed a lot of our shopping for the nursery. It needs to be painted and scrubbed and so on but it’s a job I will relish because it’s going to be my future son/daughter’s bedroom for God knows how long …

Symptoms-wise the TGW has been experiencing more of some and less of others. Her hands are swelling a little and she gets quite restless and itchy at night sometimes but we are doing what we can to alleviate what I can only imagine is very uncomfortable for her. As one of my friends said the other night “It’ll all be worth it when we see our baby !” That’s true but it seems to me now like time has slowed down and early November is ages away !

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Pregnancy for Fathers : Week 31 September 11, 2006

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31 weeks – bloody hell … as one of my mates said over the weekend … sure that’ll be no time “running in” ! No time is right. No time to do anything and we have so much left to do.

Nursery preparations are in full swing this week. I’ve been delegated a lengthy but necessary to-do list by my lovely wife and I’m happy she’s the kind of woman who will actually tell me to do things about the house and not get crazy mad because I didn’t think of them myself. Guys and being domesticated and all that … she did, however, get me this book [ Household Management for Men ] which apart from being really, really practical, explains all the stuff we need to know in a way that is both entertaining and non-condescending.

This weekend we bought our first baby items, with the thought and hope that we weren’t about to jinx the whole thing lurking somewhere in the back of our minds. Our new travel system rocks ! and we don’t even have anyone to put in it yet. Its one of those all-in-one car seats, carry cot and buggy things – I look forward to not being able to fold it down and put it in the car at the most inopportune time. We also got a changing table and a cuddly toy. The other baby in the house, i.e. the dog, took an immediate liking to said cuddly toy so we couldn’t take it from her !

Baby belly-wise things are plodding along nicely. My better half had her fortnightly doctor’s appointment this past Friday and all was well as far as they could tell. In these appointments they follow a set line of enquiry as to what they test for and look for each time. Each symptom or lack of it is then used to diagnose any potential issues. They test your pee for anti-bodies and other things that could indicate a problem. The baby’s dimensions are measured in so far as measuring a tummy can indicate. The heartbeat is also listened to and it’s pretty cool of you’re an expectant father like me, just standing there feeling pretty useless. It goes much faster than the woman’s heartbeat and is a very reassuring sound when the doctor locates it and plays it back on his Doppler device. Stuff like blood pressure and perhaps blood tests are also taken at visits like this.

Herself is starting to get more regular aches and pains in the places where one would expect the baby is putting pressure. It’s funny when you read through the guidebooks together and kind of tick off to yourself which symptoms you have and which you don’t. They all say it’s not the best idea to compare pregnancies with your friends or relatives as all babies develop differently so just because your partner didn’t feel something or doesn’t have this that and the other, doesn’t mean something is wrong at all. The movements are still banging away quite frequently but because the baby is growing they feel more like twists and turns and swishes rather than actual kicks.

Not long to go now … for the meantime, all I can practically do is give my missus the help she needs (armed with new book) and paint the nursery. Bring it on !

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Pregnancy for Fathers : Week 30 September 4, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Fatherhood.
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It’s week 30 today (well, actually half way to week 31) and things are still going well, thank God.

Visits to the doctor and the hospital are now starting to come around with more regularity. We had a scan last week and will go to the doctor’s this week and then every 2 weeks from then on, alternately.

The service from the doctors, nurses etc. has been excellent and apart from having to wait around a lot, the only little beef I have with the maternity process is that you have to beat the information out of them. On more than one occasion now, we have received letters asking us to come in and make an appointment etc. not knowing what was going on – and of course, in the back of your mind a little light goes off thinking that there might be something wrong. Once inside the offices and examination rooms, as I said, everything is fine but you have to stop and ask the medical person there “What is your name?” and “Are you a doctor or a midwife?” and “What are you about to do ?” sort of thing … I would’ve thought it would be more clearly mapped out but in fairness to them, they see literally 100s of people a day, all with similar concerns. Its only a small issue.

Baby wise, things are great. The missus’s belly is rounding out at the moment and she is feeling more intense movements as the child grows bigger. There is, of course, less room for the child to move about so everything you feel is more pronounced.

The guidebooks say that the child is 15 and a half inches by now so to put that into perspective, from the tops of its head to its heels (stretched out of course) that’s a bit longer than the width of an average computer screen. That seems a lot mind you – and theres no telling whether our child will be tall, small or anything else. We’ve decided not to find out anything until the big arrival day.

However, if I had a fiver for everyone who tells herself that “Your very neat!” and therefore it’s a boy, then we could go mad with the baby items we need to buy.

So it’s all ahead of us … and starting to hit home … I don’t really know how best to describe it … I just want to meet our child !

PS ; I’m presuming its quite normal not to agree on everything relating to the new arrival. We can’t agree on a lot of baby related matters at the moment – names being the most important one.

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Pregnancy for Fathers : Week 29 August 29, 2006

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Well week 29 is here and the arrival grows ever closer. We had an appointment at the hospital this week and all is well – it seems my calculations were (as Laura pointed out) a little off because it seems we are actually 30 weeks and 3 days along … so keep a watch out for Week 30’s post at the end of this week. It’s hospital / doctor every alternating 2 weeks from here on in.

This is a somewhat strange time for me – there is about 9 weeks to go now but it seems that time is slowing down again the way it did when we first found out that we were expecting. I guess when you spend every day with someone you don’t see them changing as quickly as they actually are. At the moment having a bad back and maggoty legs are the only indicators that things are changing. Well at least to my uneducated eye … This time when we went for the scan (which we only knew we’d get once we arrived), they were not just checking to see if the baby was OK but all sorts of things like weight and length and level of fluid around the baby, breathing and so on … is this really happening ?

Having paid a visit this past weekend to relatives with a small 9 month old child (adorable, of course) it has hit me square between the eyes that, please God, in a matter of weeks, we will be in charge of a small little person ! I used the brief time with the relatives to have my first non-botched nappy changing experience – the original one was when the same child was 4 months old and it didn’t go well. Think armpits ! The parents of the child seemed so organised – they had all the stuff, knew what and when to feed the kid and so on … I know none of that but I guess it comes in time. It also surprised me that when said child chucked up her dinner in the middle of crawling along the floor that I sprang up and cleaned it without even thinking … there must be male hormones on the go in sync with the female ones than induce some sort of cluckiness or latent responsibility in me – I dunno … Our little one is now around the 15cm/2.2 lb mark but I stand to be corrected as the bloody firewall in my office has blocked out the pregnancy newsletter I signed up for.

A lot of practical things are now beginning to fall into place to welcome the little one into the world – how lucky we are to be able to afford such things as a nursery and all that goes with it … the painting starts this weekend and the consensus is that it will be an “off-white” (I let her make the colour decisions because to me, mauve is just a shade of red) with a Winnie the Pooh border … Thomas the Tank Engine got voted down in case it’s a girl. Fair enough.

Another interesting thing happened this week and I don’t know whether to put any credence to it at all – the wife was on the phone to her Mum in Sweden and said that people have told her she’s “very neat”. Immediately the MIL said that the child must be a boy … has anyone heard of the way a woman is carrying the child being an indicator of the gender ? Maybe if a midwife said it I’d believe it …

Pregnancy for Fathers : Week 28 August 21, 2006

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Another week gone with several interesting facts learned along the way. After all the books I’ve been flicking through and all the websites I’ve been surfing, it seems you always do “learn something new everyday”.

I’ve been reading up on the subject of “lightening”, which is basically when your baby drops a little into the pelvis in preparation for the upcoming labour. Apparently with first time mothers this can be as early as 4 to 6 weeks before the due date so we’ve got a few weeks to go, but it’s an interesting addition to the thoughts of what the next couple of months are going to hold.

The sprog itself is kicking its mother quite regularly as is moving and wiggling about lots every day, as if to say “stop changing position Mummy !” … it also really reacts to the brand of orange squash the missus drinks as well … sugar free apparently ! The wife has also got creepy-crawly legs at night which might explain the bruises on my legs … the cheese wedge shaped pillow I bought for her seems to be doing the trick supporting the bump though …

Development wise, the books say that this is the time of the pregnancy when the brain is continuously developing so I must make a point of stopping on the way home to get some fish – isn’t that supposed to be good for our brain ?
We also paid our first visit to a nursery shop this weekend – it’s funny because it’s situated in the back of a well known toy store and the only adults who are allowed by the excited kids to make it that far are expectant mothers or first-timers like us. Good niche in the market that – catering for all ages of children, even the ones not yet born !

Anyone got any views on unusual but manageable names for boys ? Traditional Irish names need not apply (her idea, not mine !)

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Pregnancy for Fathers : Week 27 August 14, 2006

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Week 27 is here and almost gone at the same time.  Her good self has been pregnant for 27 weeks !  That’s 189 out of a possible 280 days.  She’s been pregnant for 4,536 hours …  I am obsessed with this whole thing.

The past week has been steady enough – doctor’s check-ups, hospital visit, shouts of “Jeeeeezus, it just kicked so hard it hurt !” and “That’s gotta be an elbow !”   The biggest things I’m noticing are the increase in bump size and her cute tendency to walk with her hand underneath to support its weight.

I’ve also started to examining the bump a bit more to see whether we can determine what position the next generation is lying in.  What we felt yesterday (a really hard round shape) is in fact, its back and not its head, as we thought.  The doc also had a listen to the heartbeat and it’s going like the clappers which is a good sign.  Quite a difference to be heard between Mum’s hearbeat and the babys.

As for the measurements of it and so on, we’re told the baby is about 14.4 inches long and weighs about two pounds. He’s opening and closing his eyes. He can suck his thumb and can dream apparently.  Its getting into quite a kicking routine, being very active in the mornings and not so much during the day.  Then it starts again about 6 or 7 in the evening and goes bananas after meal times.  Herself has also said she’s had to get up and walk around a bit in the middle of the night because he/she was kicking so much.  Thankfully I am a sound sleeper and have been known to sleep through an earthquake !  Can’t see it lasting much later than November 7th though … Another thing I learned was thats why babies cry so much early on during the night – it used to be their time for kicking and squiggling when in the womb !

A friend of my Mum’s said to me the other day to start thinking about school and where we wanted to send the kid !  I mean its not even born yet !  It’s all the rage, apparently to have your kid down on several lists while its still in-utero … schools, day-care, community service as opposed to military service (if we were to move to Sweden – the birth place of my better half) … the mind boggles …

Talk to the Bump August 10, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Fatherhood, Ireland & the Irish.
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As I sit here pondering my impending state of fatherhood, I am drawn to thinking about how it all has changed my observation of the world – and more immediately my daily “people watching” from the balcony of my local supermarket’s café. I think I am becoming obsessed with pregnancy in general, preparations we have to make, ante-natal classes, breathing and a whole plethora of other up-the-duff related issues. But the one thing I have found myself doing is looking at other pregnant women and trying to guesstimate how far “gone” they are. (Maybe it’s my mind that’s “gone”).

All the books say that it’s not necessarily a good thing to compare your own pregnancy (or my wife’s in this case, although sometimes you’d wonder given the state of me) to someone else’s, but of course it’s natural for us to compare and contrast, even if we’re not supposed to be doing it.

All that said, I spotted a woman this morning on my usual tea-break meander through the mall, who when I briefly glanced at her bump, which as it happens along with the rest of her was bet into a pair of jeans that can best be described as non-maternity, came out with the lovely ditty below.  “6 months” I thought to myself, quickly calculating that she was somewhere between 23 and 25 weeks.

My morning was made, for when I had passed she dryly quipped, “If another f*cking man looks at me bump again I’ll f*cking kill him !”. You just can’t learn class like that …

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Pregnancy for Fathers : Week 26 August 7, 2006

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Its getting nearer ! Our due date has now been confirmed for the 7th of November. In months, this is just 3 months from next Monday ! but if you put the figure in weeks its just 12. Somehow that sounds nearer – 12 weeks before there (hopefully) will be a mini human that belongs to us on this earth. Oh my God, my head is just exploding at the thoughts of it … in a good way.

Given the fact that my good wife, her 2 sisters and yours truly were all born premature, doctors have said there is a good chance that she will “go” before the full gestation period of 40 weeks is up. Her good self said only the other day that from the middle of October she isn’t pinning her hopes on having a regular time of it as nature could call at any moment.

Last night we did an experiment to see the baby’s kicking from the outside. We tied a matchstick to the cord of the missus’s sweatpants and stood the knot upright – every time young junior kicked the matchstick would hop ! Sooo cool. I also read an interesting article about research that babies can dream at week 26. It got me thinking – what can someone who has never seen anything other than the inside of a womb dream about ? Sucking its thumb ? Poking Mum in the ribs ? I dunno …

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Pregnancy for Fathers : Week 25 July 25, 2006

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So the missus turns 25 weeks pregnant today and so far everything seems to be going OK.   Thankfully.  I have just realised that I am shitting myself and looking forward to the impending arrival in equal measure. 

The more her belly grows and the more she coos and sometimes winces at the kicking little person inside her, the more guilt I feel for not doing more.  I mean shes the one doing most of the hard work so I reckon it’s up to me to make the rest of her day that bit more easier.   Thats tough work for a lazy sod though.  I am also beginning to rely more on the experiences of previously pregnant friends and family as opposed to the books on the subject.  These, from a father’s point of view, don’t provide much insight into what we, the Dads, might be thinking … maybe I’ll write one ?

What men might need to know …

This week marks the beginning of the end … the third trimester.  Your baby will now be considered full-term at 37 weeks which is just 12 weeks from now.  3 short months – sweet sufferin’ Jaysis !  so much to do, so little time.  The missus is getting kicked by the baby on an increasingly regular basis and shout of “Jesus whats it doing now?” can oft be heard over our dinner table.  It’s a great feeling when you feel the movement yourself and it serves as a reminder that yes, she is actually pregnant and there is somethig really in there.

Your partner’s uterus is about the size of a small football and the baby is about a foot long from the top of it’s head to the end of its feet.  It likes to poke, prod and roll about and we even saw ours yawn into our faces at the last ultra-sound.  With all this going on inside the missus it’s easy I think to lose focus on what we, the men, are thinking about the whole process.  For me it’s not enough to look at endless books and websites (many of whom contradict eachother).  I need to see results and feel things going on and try to imagine how she feels.  Feeling the baby’s movement is a great way of doing this.

Bodily functions far to crude to be mentioned in this fair blog are also changing and one might find the good lady presently more on a culmulative par with 4 lads watching a football match, drinking beer and eating pizza, than her normal “wouldn’t fart in public” fair maiden self !

PS Anyone know what a “pissmire” is ? Totally unrelated to the above ….