Friday, November 25, 2005

Trying was easy

It's easy to sound smug and gloating when the conception happened so quickly and easily. But I never thought that the Tryingtm would be so much easier than the having. I thought that it would be a time of stress, inevitable disappointment and waiting. I imagined that once we'd got the positive result we would have a few weeks of anticipation and then months of foot-rubs and craving runs (for w2b, I know it would be a bit much for me to ask her to massage my feet and to track down my favourite foods). Then of course, the complete life-upside down, no sleep, emotional wreck new life to look after bit.

But this limbo time that we're going through at the moment has stresses that I just wasn't prepared for. W2b - so often the comfortably and predictably insane one - is waaaaay more volatile than she is normally (her being volatile is normally an absolute rarity). The lack of a concrete clarification from anyone remotely medical[1] has left us feeling not quite pregnant. We're just stuck in a kind of "almost pregnant waiting room".

W2b is knackered, both from the physical and the emotional changes going on with her. She's also struggling really hard to take it all in her stride. My admiration for her just grows and grows. I just hope I can do my bit.

I've done a little searching for info, but it's all pretty lacking from a dad-to-be perspective. This guy's blog provided some insight into things, but unfortunately he blogs less than I do. I have however ordered the following books from Amazon:

  • So You're Going to Be a Dad
  • She's Having a Baby
  • She's Had a Baby: And I'm Having a Meltdown

You've got to love the title of the last one. Reviews will follow.

In the meantime I'll keep looking for advice. I'll keep doing what I'm doing: being supportive, taking the dogs out for their endless toilet trips, maybe painting another room tomorrow, offering myself up as a sounding board/punch bag wherever I can, not pestering for sex ;). Keeping my fingers crossed that this will all stabilise and we can look forward to our potential new family. Before you say anything, no - I don't mean just so I can get some nookie.

On the plus side, the countdown to SA can begin in earnest. We fly out on the 2nd December. Wedding is on the 10th. Back home on Boxing Day. No work till 3rd January. Yay! Just a couple more days work to get through.

If we could just get the medical side of things and the house side of things sorted out, we could breathe easily.

[1] We finally got to see someone today but she was useless. Not only was she very new to the practice nurse position, but she had very little power or inclination to get anything sorted. She couldn't get w2b booked in to see anyone to confirm the pregnancy. She couldn't prescribe anything, or even advise on what kind of anti-malarials were suitable during pregnancy. All in all a complete wasted journey. In the end w2b had to use her legendary tenacity to sort out an appointment herself. There are some downsides to living this side of the border.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

As positive as you can be...

So the trying was fun while it lasted. My soldiers have performed their duty admirably and we were rewarded last week with a dim +. The + has grown stronger and stronger these past days.

Admittedly it's very early days but we're really happy. If a little stressed and nervous.

W2b has consulted all the websites and knows (at least in theory) what the next few months hold for us. This is all provided it all goes to plan of course. Hold thumbs as those foreigners say.

Only thing is - where does that leave me?

I'm trying to do my best in my usual ham fisted way. I'm working hard to navigate the slightly heightened emotion, whether these be hormone induced or just through the nervous, apprehensive excitement that we're going through at the moment. I'm trying wherever possible to make her life as easy and stress free as possible.

But it all seems a bit... inadequate.

Lets face it. My biological job was done over the course of a few minutes a couple of weeks ago. So it's no wonder I (no doubt like a lot of other dads-to-be out there) feel like a bit of a fifth wheel. I want to be useful, but what can I do?

Guess I'll just have to resolve to not make w2b's part in this any harder than it has to be. Oh, and to do what she's done already and scour the internet for as much information as I can find.

Monday, November 21, 2005

This tagging lark...

I've been tagged, apparently. Course it was by w2b so I'm not sure that qualifies as any kind of Blog notoriety.

Ten Years Ago:
I was still at University, studying (yawn) Software Engineering. Most of the time seemed to consist of *ahem* drinking myself into a stupor and trying to work out valid reasons for not going to lectures.

Five Years Ago:
If I've calculated it right I think I'd just bought my first house (not in a big shot property developer way, but in a "this is the first house that I've got a mortgage for and bought"). I think I was also starting to realise that something may be a bit wrong with my tummy.

One Year Ago:
We'd just got our two nightmare pups and were trying to transform the house from the bachelor pad/undecorated hovel that it had been for the four years that I'd lived there on my own. People suspected our relationship wouldn't last, but we were gradually turning them round...

5 Yummy Things
1) Spicy Pizza
2) Tea
3) J2O (Orange and Passion fruit, the nectar of the Gods - if this had been around thirty years ago George Best wouldn't be in intensive care right now)
4) Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Bagel
5) Roast Lamb, Yorkshire Pudding and Gravy

5 Songs I know by heart
1) Everybody Hurts - REM (actually, most of the REM back catalogue)
2) Basketcase - Green Day
3) Jesus Doesn't Want Me For A Sunbeam - Nirvana
4) Friday, I'm in Love - The Cure
5) A Day In The Life - The Beatles

(w2b forgot/neglected to mention that she knows all the words to Ice, Ice, Baby by Vanilla Ice)

5 Things I would do if I had a lot of money
1) Tell everyone at work what I really think of them.
2) Make life really comfortable for my friends and family.
3) Buy a house somewhere hot.
4) Buy a house somewhere cold and dramatic.
5) Start a completely pointless business.

5 Things I would never wear
1) Lycra.
2) Speedos.
3) White jeans.
4) Gold Jewellery.
5) Burberry.

5 Favourite TV Shows
1) The West Wing.
2) ER.
3) CSI.
4) Lost.
5) Star Trek (any of 'em).

5 Things I enjoy doing
1) Staying in bed longer than I should (ideally with w2b).
2) Talking/singing/babbling with w2b.
3) XBox.
4) "Posing" Will (just have to explain here that Will is our incredibly malleable, gay cat. He loves to lay on your knee and have is belly scratched. He also puts up with any amount of manipulation - no matter how stupid the position you put him in).
5) Practicing for what we have just (fingers crossed) accomplished - more in a bit.

I'd love to have Zinnia complete this but understand that it may interrupt the flow of the narrative a little.

Oh, and those of you who haven't been reading w2b's blog won't know our big news. We got our first "+" on Thursday last week. So we're hopeful that if all goes according to plan we may have more than just a wedding to announce next month.

Chuffed? You bet we are.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Just one more question...

This put to w2b by her friend BGA:

  • Q. If I was gay, would my bum still be useful? ("I" as in MyMateSid, not BGA - there's no "if" there)
  • A. I guess so. It would certainly be cleaner than the usual ones you come across. It's a little dented, but otherwise intact. Not sure whether it might fill up quicker than most though. Too much detail?

(Oh my God. Just realised I used the phrase "come across" in reference to my bottom. Ah, well. Too late now)

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Your questions answered

Over the last couple of days, I've been answering more than my usual share of questions about my ileostomy. These have been from various sources (National Statistics, my osteopath and a friend I've met via w2b). So I guess it's worth sharing (some of these I've come up with myself as they are the kind of questions I might have asked myself)...

  • Q. Does the ileostomy hamper your work in any way?
  • A. Not in the slightest. It may affect the kind of work I could do (Nothing that requires me to dip in and out of water all day, to lie prone on my belly or rough physical contact - professional mud wrestler would be out then), but doesn't affect my current job.

  • Q. Do you require any long term medication?
  • A. The only medication I take on any kind of regular basis is Zoton which is used purely to keep my acid levels down.

  • Q. Where is the stoma?
  • A. It's lower than my navel (about an inch lower) and to the right by just over an inch.

  • Q. What does it look like?
  • A. Its around 25mm in diameter and just over an inch in length (do you like the seamless switch between metric and imperial - didn't know I was bi-lingual did you?). It's about the same colour as the inside of your mouth. It's shiny. The opening is quite small but can stretch - varying between about 5mm and well over 10mm.

  • Q. How is the bag stuck on?
  • A. It's stuck to my belly with a stronger version of the adhesive they use on plasters. Luckily I get supplied with a spray that allows you to remove the bag without too much pain - unless I forget to shave.

  • Q. How often do you have to change the bag?
  • A. Roughly every three days. I can tell when I'm pushing it as it starts to get itchy. This is due to the waste starting to eat away at the glue and getting underneath.

  • Q. Does everything go into it (meaning farts)?
  • A. Yes. Wind is actually the biggest reason for having to empty it. Especially at night. But w2b isn't complaining. Rather that than have me farting in bed. Best not to have an en-suite bathroom though.

  • Q. How often do you have to empty it?
  • A. Depends. I can't go more than about six hours usually. It all depends on when I eat, what I eat, what I've drank, how hydrated I am... all sorts really.

  • Q. It must make public toilets a more pleasant experience, not having to sit down?
  • A. Yes and no. I don't have to sit, granted. I do however have to kneel down, which can be unpleasant - light trousers can be a no-no. I'm also a bit closer to the business end of things.

  • Q. Is the other plumbing alright?
  • A. Yep. No problems there. There can be occasions of impotence with some people, but I've been thankfully spared. I do sometimes get unbearable urges to repeatedly go for a wee, but I think this might be a bit more to do with dehydration. Plus, I still need to build up the muscles around there a bit as they were pretty massacred by the surgery.

Phew! I think that will do for now. If anyone has any further questions please post them as comments. I know I would have loads - whether I was facing the surgery myself or if I had just been introduced to someone who'd had it.

Brief round-up of other stories in our area:

  • W2b is back, but doesn't seem to be with child at the moment. So yay and boo.
  • The book on Humanist Weddings arrived in the post and it's ace. I'm more and more sure that I could legitimately class myself as a Humanist. Thankyou Zinnia, it's exactly what we were looking for.
  • We got the phone lines fixed and have now had Sky installed. Woo-hoo!

Bye for now - remember, post the comments. You know how much I love talking about myself.

Monday, November 14, 2005

I'm crap without her

So w2b has gone off to Manchester for a few days (she's learning how to project manage - don't know if it's for work or so she can tell our builder how to get his shit together) leaving me to the inept bachelor life style I was used to before she came along.

So you know what I've realised...?

Without her - I'm useless.

Problem no. 1: Food

Don't get me wrong, I can cook. Plus, now that Sid's come along I like to eat. But without w2b's guidance I forget to eat. Then, when I remember (or am prompted) I can't decide on what to eat. Luckily, before she left w2b popped along to Nando's and got some extra chicken. I can at least have toasted chicken and mayo sarnies. Which leads me to Problem no. 2...

Problem no. 2: I can't find anything

So I went into the kitchen to revel in my culinary expertise and couldn't find the sandwich toaster ("snackwich" machine in SA parlance). Bear in mind that we have exactly 10 cupboards in our compact kitchen. Luckily w2b phoned just as I was beginning my third circuit and let me in on the secret of where she had "hidden" it. Yeah, yeah it was in one of the cupboards (one day I will do an entire entry on what has now been termed "man-looking" in our household).

NB This is also the reason why I haven't posted any pictures, even though there's been some nice progress

Problem no. 3: I second guess the things I say

When w2b and I are together we are disturbingly frank with each other. We speak our minds and never have to worry about putting things across properly - it's kind of second nature. It's also one of the reasons why we never argue (I know, sickening isn't it?). But when we're apart and chatting either on the phone or over MSN I'm always worried about how things come across. I tread a fine line between expressing how much I'd like to be with her and sounding like an obsessive stalker who doesn't want her out of my sight. It makes me wonder how we ever got together when we were going through the Long Distance Relationshiptm stage.

I guess what I'm trying to say is I miss her. Horribly. And can't wait for her to be back.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Food that doesn't digest #1

One of the interesting side effects of having an ileostomy is that you learn pretty quickly which foods do and which foods don't digest. I'm currently experiencing the surreal joy of one of the latter.

Last night I decided (read: was told by w2b) to show my culinary expertise by cooking a stir fry. So I proceeded in Ken Hom fashion to put pre-chopped (i.e. chopped before they arrived in the supermarket) food into a big pan in exactly the correct order followed by covering them in shop-bought black bean sauce. Gordon Ramsey would be proud.

Unfortunately, one of the ingredients was mushrooms. So I am now spending my Sunday morning wishing I'd chewed more, like my mother told me I should. Thanks to the bag I am at least spared the sight of mushrooms emerging like a new born out of Sid's mouth. I am however greeted by the experience of having my bag fill up at an alarming rate and then watching as totally undigested food is pored into the toilet bowl, complete with a dark brown stir-fry sauce. If the noodles and beansprouts hadn't digested I think I'd have arrived at a disturbing new theory on how Pot Noodles are produced.

On an educational level (for those reading this blog in the vain hope that it will give you some tips on living with an ileostomy) mushrooms aren't particularly bad. They seem flexible enough to pass through the stoma without causing a blockage. The food you really need to look out for is sweetcorn. This is the one food almost guaranteed to cause a blockage.

If you learn only one thing from this Blog it is this:

Sweetcorn - Just Say No!

(I promise a less distasteful entry next time - just wanted to share this time)

Thursday, November 10, 2005

You lot are weird

W2b recently did a post about the strange routes that have led people to her site. In this spirit, I thought I'd show you some of the weirdness that has led to the torrent (well trickle) of traffic to my site:

  • lets bitch (from New Jersey)
  • she likes it big (from Texas)
  • get her pregnant (from Colorado)
  • enema (from Washington)
  • bloody women (from California)
  • sid going (from Auckland)
  • she's just a devil woman (from California)
  • bloody women (from Ontario this time)
  • overcome fear of colonoscopy sedation (from Virginia, not so much weird as just very, very specific)
  • decorate my aim profile (from Massachusetts, how did this lead to my blog?)
  • how to be nice to a bitch (from Oklahoma)

All I can say is that the quality of search engines seems to have gone down hill a lot. Oh, and that I had no idea Cliff Richard's fan base extended to California.

Back's a lot better, by the way.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Dangerous profession

Coal miners get dodgy lungs. Carpet fitters get dodgy knees. Brick layers get arthritic fingers (according to our builder anyway).

We geeks get bad backs.

After the weekend's exersion (painting, remember) and the aches and pains yesterday I woke up this morning with much soreness. The whole top of my back, along the shoulders was stiff as a board. So I went into work but it just kept getting worse. My back felt like it was seizing up with tight muscles all down.

So here I am, lying in bed.

Has given me a chance to catch up on "Extras". All the disruption around moving house meant that we missed it first time round. So we popped out and bought it on Sunday.

On to the third episode now and while it's not "The Office", it is good. Glad I'm watching it on my own though. W2b finds Ricky Gervais' stuff excrutiating. She likes it and thinks it's funny, but insists on doing other stuff while it's on. Think it's so she can hide her face whenever it gets too painful.

So anyway, back to the deev. Will try and find a position to lie in that means that my back will sort itself out.

Thanks for the comment Zinnia. You do realise you've opened a whole can of stalking related worms now?

Monday, November 07, 2005

Military Maneuvers

So as anyone who's been reading w2b's blog will know, we're officially trying (and no, that isn't the reason that I've not posted for almost a week).

"Trying" - it's such a cheesy term, but then again this whole baby making thing is a bit of an odd thing to embark on.

Setting aside the fact that my beloved has planned this thing with military precision (requiring us to embark on what we've come to refer to as "binge sex"), it does seem to have turned our sex life upside down. No, I don't mean that we're experimenting with new positions requiring pulleys and hoists. It's just that after all this time of being careful, taking precautions and just having sex for the fun of it we're now doing it for the reason that the non-existent deity designed it for.

So my soldiers now have a mission. They've completed their basic training and now they're finally seeing some action. Confidence is high, but I can't help worrying about the little fellers. They've had plenty of war games to get their tactics right. But they're still untested in the field.

The hopes of a nation are with you.

In other news, we still haven't come up with our vows yet. Thankyou though to Zinnia for your kind offer of help and advice. I may well take you up on the book suggestion. But if that fails I may also be knocking on your door (figuratively speaking) and asking for help.

Oh, and Zin... I've finally caught up with your Blog and can get my head round the style - and it's a very enjoyable read too. I get the feeling that you're in the process of changing it though. Cheeky monkey! Don't you realise how simple my tiny little man-brain is?

In the next exciting episode - pictures of our dining room. Lots of painting over the weekend. Can barely move shoulders. Purely from the painting, you must understand - not for any other reasons ;)

(Note to self, must get cushioned straps for hoist)

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Do you vow to make it your aim to take this woman in secular matrimony into the foreseeable future?

We've been talking wedding vows today. It's so difficult for people like us who are (a) atheists (or at least a-religious) and (b) keen to make a public commitment to each other that matches our realistic views.

So all of the "God willings", "holy matrimonies" and "in the eyes of God" are out (come to think of it, I don't think anyone would put God willing in their vows - kind of non-committal really). Also out are "for all eternity" and "till death do us part". Don't get me wrong, w2b are heavily committed to each other (at least I hope we are... quick get a refund on the rings). But - and I'm struggling to put this into the right words without devaluing our love and commitment for each other - we're also keen not to make the same hollow promises that everyone else does.

We want to show that where we are at the moment and where we've been for as long as we've been properly together is a position where we can't imagine not being together. But we're not arrogant or deluded enough to think that we know precisely what the future holds. There - you see how negative that sounds? Do you see why we're struggling to find the right vows?

We don't want this to turn in to some kind of legal text, e.g.

I <Insert Name> (from here on in referred to as "The Groom") undertake to carry out duties and tasks as laid out in section 8a for <Insert Name> (from here on in referred to as "The Bride").
The Groom also undertakes to have feelings for The Bride as laid out in section 8b. This shall be carried out in perpetuity unless terminated in accordance with clauses 10a to 10e (inclusive).

We want this to be a celebration of the love we have for each other and of the commitment we are making towards each other. So it needs to be quite short, joyful and overwhelmingly optimistic about the future. But it can't be hollow, overly sentimental or sugary-sweet.

The closest I've found so far is this:

"(Name), I promise to love you, to be your best friend, to respect and support you, to be patient with you, to work together with you to achieve our goals, to accept you unconditionally, and to share life with you throughout the years."

It's good, but I'm not sure it's quite there. If only we knew someone who was used to carrying out non-religious ceremonies... ;)


My ugly mug and my beautiful family Geek Stuff