Saturday, 22 November 2008

Great news

Alexander JamesBaby Alexander was born on Friday morning, just before breakfast. I managed to escape from the hospital in the afternoon, so that by the evening Mr Harris and I were able to celebrate with some 'fizzy pop' in the comfort of our own home.

What can I say about the new addition? Well, he's a decent weight and height and has fairly big feet. He's wrinkly, red and blotchy. He still manages to be cute.

Labour was hard and fast, with no pain relief. That's fairly normal here - the only pain relief option most hospitals seem to offer is an epidural and they only give that when circumstances really call for it. Sadly, laughing gas isn't provided (are they having a laugh?). Still, now I am over it all I am quite chuffed with myself for getting through labour with breathing techniques and visualisation. So, whatever life throws at me I'm going to feel strong enough to say 'Bring it on!'

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Christmas is coming

April and I took a stroll this morning. Well, it was more of a waddle for me. Junior Harris is now 5 days late and every day he delays his appearance my mobility decreases.

On the walk I passed the local Christmas market which was being set up ready for the grand opening on Monday. Chippies were constructing the stalls and others were busy decorating them with lights, garlands and huge Christmas figurines.

Monday is also the day when my labour would have to be induced. So, is Junior going to arrive before the Christmas markets open, or is he going to pop out that day as a seasonal greeting? Christmas is coming, but is he?

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

11th November

Two airline pilots, a monk and a goat herd were chatting outside a coffee shop…

squawsNo, this isn’t the start of a joke. It is what I saw at 8:50 am today. I wasn’t too surprised though. You start to think fancy dress is fairly normal after you’ve been here a while (the photos show just a few of the characters I passed today).

No doubt the coffee shop gents were on their way to celebrate the official start of the carnival season - which kicks off at 11.11 am on the 11th November and runs all the way through to Ash Wednesday, with a little bit of a break for Christmas. The 11th November is traditionally important as it is the festival of St Martin, a patron saint of the poor.

All this fun is a big contrast to what happened in England today – the traditional observance of a two minute's silence in honour of Armistice Day. The celebrations felt a little odd to me, especially as this year marks 90 years since the end of 'The Great War'. witch and prince[The Germans have their own event to commemorate those who died in war. It is known as Volkstrauertag and takes place on the Sunday nearest to the 16th November.]

Anyway, as I had a doctor's appointment near the city centre, which ended about 11, I hopped on a tram to get into the centre in time to see what actually happens at 11.11 am. From what I could see, it seems that the time is the cue to start singing songs in praise of Cologne and its carnival and to begin aimlessly wandering the streets drinking beer. There are also numerous parties organised by clubs in the city, for those who really, really want to get into the spirit of things...

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Strung tight

I had my last physio session on my arm today. The practitioner kept asking me to relax. Now, that’s not easy when you have a small human smuggled inside your central body cavity, kicking and shoving and causing your vital organs to move out towards your extremities.

comforterWhen it was clear that I was not going to relax any time soon, the physio commented that I, ‘was as relaxed as a bow talking to an arrow’. Ie, not at all. The mental image conjured up by this German expression did make me laugh though, which broke some of the tension.

bagI already knew I was just a little stressed. I have been trying to relax and take my mind off things (labour anyone?) by throwing myself into a couple of sewing projects. Sewing is good because it’s a sitting down activity and it can be very absorbing. I’ve just finished making a cheery bag for myself and a little fluffy comforter for Junior Harris (see pics).

Unfortunately, even these tasks made me slightly stressed: halfway through constructing my bag I became convinced that I was going to go into labour that night. Bizarrely, I was more worried that I would have to go to hospital with the bag languishing incomplete on the sideboard, than the fact that I might be facing hours of pain…