Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Contraception The Div Way

Way back in the early days of this blog, I briefly mentioned some thoughts on pregnancy. Specifically I suggested replacing sex education with pregnancy education, as a way of trying to keep the teenage birth rate down.

How naive I was. I barely scratched the surface - and I use that term advisedly!

If pregnancy one was tough for K, and pregnancy two heartbreaking, pregnancy three was an entirely new experience. One which I couldn't write about on here at the time, as it would have given the game away.

K suffers from bad morning sickness, but in pregnancy three this got to the stage of being classed as hyperemesis gravidarum.

Hyperemesis gravidarum is morning sickness on steroids.

Forget a quick puke in the morning then a relatively normal day to follow.

Think instead waking up and being sick; eating breakfast and being sick; having a glass of water and being sick; having lunch and being sick; having a nap, and waking up to be sick; etc.

The doctors prescribed various combinations of drugs, all of which proved entirely ineffective. One of the major drawbacks being they were orally administered and she puked most of them straight back up.

When it gets to the stage that even a glass of water is intolerable, and sucking an ice cube becomes an ordeal, all paths start to lead to hospital.

K finally got to the stage where she was so dehydrated she could barely stand. Her ketone levels were through the roof - as her body ran out of fuel and resorted to burning fat - and she was clearly dehydrated to the point of incapacitation.

The hospital admitted her, hooked her up to a succession of drips - saline, glucose, and a weird yellow coloured vitamin supplement which, she assures me, stings like hell as it enters the bloodstream.

They also injected anti-sickness drugs that had a more beneficial effect - whether through increased potency, or simply because they were actually absorbed into her system.

After a few days she was discharged, and within a few more days she was ill again.

Another cycle of admission, discharge and regression followed, culminating in a third and final stay of four nights in hospital.

By this time the medics were actually contemplating dispatching a midwife to our home twice daily to administer the anti-sickness injections, as they are not normally available outside hospital. Fortunately K made enough of an improvement to manage without the drugs after this last stay.

With an energetic two year-old to look after, and my job being of the pay-as-you-work variety, stressful barely begins to describe the scenario.

Primarily, of course, for her; but there was certainly an increased burden to be shared by myself and our families.

This is definitely not pregnancy of the movie variety. We are not dealing with Knocked Up or Look Who's Talking here!

If the pregnancy was of the horrendous variety, the labour and delivery went fairly well, particularly when taking into account V being 9lbs 1oz at birth and delivered face-to-pubis i.e. head down but facing the wrong way.

This didn't stop us being regaled with various horror stories from unexpected sources. Such as the lady in the local soft play area, who told us how her daughter's shoulder jammed, and 'ripped' her open during the delivery.

Or, my workmate whose child was wedged so tight the pregnancy culminated in him and a midwife pinning his wife down by the shoulders, while a doctor wielded forceps with his foot braced against the bed for extra leverage.

Amazingly she actually had another child after that ordeal. Women ARE tougher than men!

In my previous post I didn't do justice to the true horror of the forceps.

I'd imagined some delicate almost tweezer like instrument, on a lilliputian scale.

The reality is more akin to something a barbecue enthusiast may be found brandishing with vigour on a sunny weekend afternoon.

Add to that the ventouse cup, scalpels, and the possible side effects of an epidural, and we are into Vincent Price territory. For those who missed my earlier post, a phrase to haunt your nightmares - incise the perineum. Enough said!

If all that failed to discourage the average teenage girl from denying her boyfriend a home run for as long as possible, perhaps the ultimate deterrent is less about pain and more about presentation. Stretch marks!

K got off lightly on these, but while she was pregnant we watched a BBC documentary about a girl who had gotten pregnant at thirteen.

By the time she delivered the poor girl looked like she'd had a particularly extreme session with Max Mosley.

Stretch marks is such a bland term. In severe cases they resemble open welts or burns.

If all else fails, the thought of no more hipster jeans or crop tops would surely deter a high percentage of our fashion conscious female youth from allowing themselves to get impregnated, though it may leave the boys with arms like Rafael Nadal.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Old School Poker

These are funny.

There's something pleasingly familiar about poker clips voiced by Jesse May and Padraig Parkinson. I always get the impression a night down the pub with those two would be a riot.

A bit of retro makes me feel all warm and gooey inside.

Time to reinstall my ZX Spectrum emulator on the PC.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Terrible Twos, Tempestuous Threes

If I were to kick this blog off again, I'd definitely pick a different name, as the 'Parenthood' content has proved to be extremely thin.

One problem I've come to recognise is that having only one child, and only limited experience of dealing with other people's children, meant it's been very difficult to know what is and isn't comment worthy.

In business terms, there was no benchmark for E, against whom I could make comparisons. Clearly that situation is starting to change, so perhaps more observations on V will be forthcoming.

For now, there's one area of child behaviour which is so commonly recognised, no benchmark is required. Namely, The Terrible Twos - a time of tantrums, tears, and what I've seen described as 'oppositional behaviour'.

It seemed to me that we were getting off quite lightly in this respect with E. For most of her twos she proved to be fairly easy to deal with.

She does seem to have almost endless reserves of energy, but for the most part she channelled them in entertaining or creative ways.

She loves to go to the park, she loves to go to various toddler/nursery groups, she loves things like painting, drawing, play dough, etc.

One activity I was quite happy to embrace revolved around my return from work.

K observed that regardless of her state at the time of my return, E would always spring to life and be ready to play as soon as I crossed the threshold.

Not only that, but she seemed to implicitly recognise that playing with daddy allows a wider spectrum of acceptable behaviour than playing with other kids, or mummy, or grandparents.

Specifically, there's a bit more rough-and-tumble allowed.

This would occasionally irritate K, particularly if I were a bit late home and E was getting sleepy and she looked set for a relatively swift transition from daytime to bedtime.

Sleepy toddler would spontaneously transform to whirling dervish toddler, and a period of tumbling, rolling, climbing, backflips and other games, would ensue. Not ideal preparation for bedtime.

For me, it was a joyous time. It's always nice to be welcomed enthusiastically after not seeing the family - often since the previous evening - and after spending most of my day stuck in front of a PC, a bit of physical exertion was no bad thing.

However, in the months approaching her third birthday, we noticed a definite change in E's behaviour.

The welcome home behaviour got a bit more manic, the games more frenzied, and a staring-eyed, teeth-clenching attitude became more prevalent on E's part.

Which all seemed terribly incongruous coming from this skinny, curly blonde haired, vision of innocence.

In retrospect I perhaps didn't take it as seriously as I should have. Laughing off the occasional slap or scratch as over exuberance. Even one of two headbutts seemed to be merely accidental - and may well have been.

E being our first child, I'd never realised how strong a skinny two year old could actually be. The punches are hardly knockout material but they do have an impact, and if she sets her mind to, for example, not allowing herself to be harnessed in the car seat, it's a tough job to get her secured.

One thing that started to toughen my attitude was her continual attempts to target my glasses. Which eventually led to them being so wrecked they barely clung to my nose and ears.

Replacement cost - £300. I was not happy, albeit my prescription had changed, so a new pair would have been required in the near future anyway.

K and I were now making a conscious effort to clamp down on the naughtiness - maintaining a united front against any misdemeanours - whilst still ensuring we were doing all the stuff the text books say should be done. Lots of activities to harness and focus toddler energy productively, making sure she didn't feel marginalised by the impending new baby, etc.

Still the teeth gritting and aggression continued, though at containable levels.

Until, that is, a bath time last midweek when, as I was lifting her from the bath, she caught me unawares and sunk her teeth hard into my neck with a vigour that would have made Dracula proud.

The pain was equal to anything I've had inflicted on me by an adult, and made worse by the complete surprise. Roars of pain, shouting, finger pointing, tantrum tears, and an early bedtime followed (for her, in case you're wondering).

It's difficult to strike a balance in these circumstances.

One the one hand I'm perfectly aware the Terrible Twos exists, and equally aware they were never going to disappear from the date of her recent third birthday. E is only a toddler, and mishaps and misbehaviour are bound to happen.

On the other hand, I was genuinely shocked by the calculated nature of the biting incident, and I do wonder if we've been a bit too soft on her so far.

She does seem to be a clever kid, and it does seem to us that she has a good understanding of right-and-wrong, but just doesn't feel compelled to comply with it sometimes. Time for some 'tough love', I feel.

Still it could be worse. All I've got to show for my suffering is a rapidly fading set of teeth marks on my neck.

A friend wasn't so lucky, when an incident involving his twenty month old son, himself, and a Thomas The Tank Engine toy, resulted in a broken nose for daddy!

He reckons it was an accident, but with the benefit of experience, I'm not so sure!

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Anyone in my trade knows that acronym.

For those not in the know, it's an impolite exhortation directed at users/customers to read the manual before pestering us with frivolous queries.

Really then, I should know better.

Decide to get second Wii jOG...and Mario Kart...and why not get a spare SD card while I'm here...hey it's only another four quid to get the 4GB card instead of the 2GB card...bargain!

Receive card...plug into Wii...fail to access...RTFM...only accepts cards up to 2GB...ffs!!

I think I'm addicted.

Would anyone like to buy a second hand 4GB SD card? >:-)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Wii jOG - Cardio or ASBO?

There I was gleefully filling my virtual trolley on Play.com with peripherals and games. Extra nunchuk for controller 2, memory card, games, when I stumbled across something new.

I've already got a Wii Fit on order for K as a belated birthday present - eta God only knows - so I'm well aware of the supply issues with Wii gadgets.

Thus I was immediately drawn to the Wii jOG - a new device which, according to Play.com, isn't due out until the pre-Christmas period.

A quick Google threw up a couple of videos from a UK based company - New Concept Gaming - demonstrating the device in action.

Basically it seems to be a pedometer which hooks up to the system and means the player can drive their character's motion by running on the spot - taking interactivity to a new level.

The video explains better than words ever could.

My immediate reaction was this looked amazing. Fantastic fun, with a decent health benefit too.

When I thought about it a bit more, I came up with a couple of reservations.

From a personal point of view I'm not sure how my hamstrings will stand up to continual running on the spot.

On a more general level, I'd hate to be living in a block of flats when the 16 stone behemoth in the flat above decides to go on a Wii jOG enabled health kick. Particularly when they're on a guilt trip just after returning from the pub.

I can imagine lots of noise complaints on the back of this. Wii ASBOs anyone?

That said, the benefits do seem to far outweigh the potential negatives. Most importantly it looks like a helluva lot of fun, and I can imagine a definite macho element kicking in when playing against pals.

Play.com have them on pre-order for £14.99 against an RRP of £34.99.

Given what's happened with Wii Fit, I was seriously tempted to order dozens of them, in anticipation of profiteering from a pre-Christmas supply bottleneck.

It could be my conscience got the better of my capitalist instincts, or it could be I'm just too lazy, but I settled for pre-ordering one for myself.

On reflection I really should have got two. Might as well get a second one ordered now, and chuck in Mario Kart while I'm there...

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Wii Goes Time

I've a terrible habit of getting involved in leisure activities that are comprehensive destroyers of time.

In my youth it was various Play-By-Mail games, alongside some of the earlier war/strategy computer games.

For a while online poker was my main vice - albeit with the advantage that I actually made some pocket money playing it. Not enough to retire on, but enough to fund the Vegas trip amongst other things.

More recently I've fallen under the sway of computer games again. Civilization IV and Company of Heroes being the prime culprits.

Both these games have a tendency to suck me in and completely negate my comprehension of time passing. Which leads to those 'oh shit' moments when realising it's 3am and I've just spent five hours trying to encircle an SS stronghold in western France.

Fortunately I've managed to avoid the temptation to sign up for World Of Warcraft, Second Life, etc, as I fear my friends would never see me again if I got involved in one of those games.

However I have succumbed to a new vice, and I'm already hooked. Namely, the Nintendo Wii.

Hardly groundbreaking stuff, and I've only got a basic bundle at present - although another nunchuk for the second controller, some games, and a Wii Fit are already ordered.

The boxing and tennis have got me totally addicted already, to the point where my arms and shoulders were aching last night.

This in itself is no bad thing. My exercise/fitness regime is totally out the window at present, and my hopes for stepping it up while off on paternity leave have been scuppered, not by time demands of a second child, but by the number of cakes I've consumed during a stream of family and friend visits to meet the newborn.

Return to work is this Monday, and I'm not sure the work trousers will fit. Unless, perhaps, I can squeeze in another few sets tonight...

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Life Is Good

This blog has been somewhat neglected for quite a while. Partly through time pressures, and partly lack of interesting stuff to blog.

Which isn't to say life hasn't been interesting, just that I've not been willing to put the pertinent parts in the public domain, until now.

Meet the latest addition to the Div clan. Another girl, born 3rd July 2008, who I'll call V for the purposes of this blog...

After we lost our second child to a missed miscarriage I didn't want to tempt fate by mentioning this pregnancy until it was successfully concluded.

There were a few problems along the way, but when V arrived she was fit and healthy, and weighed in at a whopping 9lbs 1oz. Quite a contrast to E's 5lbs 10oz!

Mother and child are both fit and well, and I'm delighted to report V is showing signs of being a good sleeper. No doubt inherited from her daddy.