They put a balloon thing in to dilate the cervix. Then they broke the waters. Then they put me on this oxytocin drip thing to induce contractions and kept turning it up and up.
Contractions were absolute agony, gas and air did fuck all, epidural didn't do much either - it took away the contraction pain and allowed me to re-enter the human world, and get some rest, but it didn't take away the pressure of ENORMOUS BABY TRAVELLING DOWN **** . I always thought the scary bit of that would be the stretching / tearing feeling but it was more the sense of my bones just not being big enough for it to come out - the sense that my pelvis would snap - that was the most awful.
They kept saying 'Come on! Your baby is nearly here!' but by that point I didn't give a shit. All I wanted was for there to be some way for it to just stop happening, so I could get a rest. I kicked my boyfriend and sister out of the delivery room, btw. I didn't want people who I had to have a social relationship with seeing me in that groaning, growling animal state.
Anyway! Then the baby finally came out, hurrah, and they put him on my chest. And it was a good, quick delivery (if you can call 10 hours of the most excruciating agony a human can feel and still live 'quick') - the induction started at 10am and he was out by 8pm. No external tears (small one inside, 2 stitches), no instruments required for delivery, no episiostomy. Yay.
But then the stupid placenta wouldn't come out because my body just totally couldn't be assed to push that out too. So then I had to have general anasthetic and surgery to remove it, and then after the surgery I had this massive post-partum haemmorhage where I lost 2700 ml of blood - normal amount is 500-1000ml.
So I was lying in the recovery dept thinking 'This sucks' and then they kept coming up and giving me blood tests, and then, most grotacious thing EVER, there was this pulling sensation of something coming out of me, and they were yanking this long, red cloth from between my legs. A blood-soaked cloth. And I was like 'What the fuck is THAT?' and they said 'It's a tampon' but it wasn't like any tampon I had ever seen or ever want to see again. (They had packed the womb to stem the bleeding. Lovely.) And the next day I had to have a blood transfusion as well. And then I stayed in hospital for about four days. And now I am, like, 'anemic', and have to lie around in bed like a consumptive lady and eat iron pills and make my boyfriend do everything for me for a bit. Hurrah.
Anyway. So that is how Jimmy Payne (full name: Jeremiah James Kadri Payne) entered the world. Here are some pictures of him:
Sophie: oh i got you a baby AMP: thank fuck! AMP: this one's clearly not working out properly Sophie: maybe just a little sleepy? AMP: just lazy and hates deadlines can't think who he takes after in that Sophie: no me neither although why your baby would take after ME i have no idea AMP: hee hee Sophie: maybe i am The Real Father AMP: he's born to freelance Sophie: that could be a new bruce springsteen song Born To Freelance Sophie: so this baby shall i get a big poking stick? maybe tickle you with a feather duster AMP: dunno, i've tried everything sex, jumping on trampoline, eating pineapples, eating spicy food nipple twiddling raspberry leaf tea EVERYTHING Sophie: hahah happpppy thoughts little baby come out of your bum come out, come out AMP: yay today i hope GET OUT JIMMY Sophie: maybe i could induce him via IM AMP: do it Sophie: would that be a first? AMP: shove a virtual pessary Sophie: hmm AMP: up my virtual front bum i'm ready Sophie: yeah baby AMP: i'm braced Sophie: PESSARY PESSARY MAKE AMP'S FRONT BUM A MESSARY AMP: gneeee i think it's working Sophie: HERE IS VIRTUAL LABOUR FROM AN INTERNET SAVIOUR AMP: SQUEAL Sophie: JIMMY JIMMY YOU'RE INDUCED Sophie: ITS OVER NINE MONTHS SINCE YOUR PARENTS REPRODUCED SO COME ON JIMMY FEEL THE PESSARY FROTHING AND SLIDING AND MAKE TONIGHT THE NIGHT FOR YOUR WINKIE TO START SUBSIDING DOWN THE VALLEY THEY CALL MAMA ALONG THE FJORDS OF AMP TRY TO JEMMY YOUR WAY OUT DOWN THE BABY RAMP AMP: sophus, you're a geniass Sophie: is it there yet? oof i heard a splat AMP: eep Sophie: little swedish baby AMP: i think the baby is.... BROWN Sophie: OH WOW its like a benetton advert AMP: no wait wait IT'S GINGER! Sophie: a brown, ginger, scandinavian baby OH WOW ITS BROWN AND GINGER it's a double-whammy. a double-jimmy AMP: good old jimmy AMP: GET OUT JIMMY AMP: GET OUT JIMMY AMP: GET OUT JIMMY
I want so much to be upbeat and hurrahtastic about life, in my writing at least. Writing is magic: it turns mundanity to gold. Even the dullest party can seem a little bit glittery when you write it down, even if all you did was watch strangers dance while your best friend gets off with a boy in a toilet and you get rejected by a gay man when you weren't even after anything from him, not even a line.
But the reason this blog's been so dead is because, well, the last few weeks of pregnancy really ARE as shitty as everyone says they are, and who wants to write / read about that?
Well, me. I do. Inspired by Baby on Bored, a whingetastic blog if ever there was one, I have decided to just fucking go for it. Whinge for Britain. I've also been greatly enjoying whinging on Mumsnet with other people in the same boat as I am, e.g., several days past the day when the baby was magically supposed to hear a big ding-dong DEALINE EMERGENCY BEEP BEEP WHUP WHUP bell going off and start heaving itself out of my vagina - oops sorry, i mean 'birth canal'. (Love that image, as anyone who is familiar with Regent's Canal will understand. Though perhaps it is not as distant as I might hope, as several of my friends have drunkenly tumbled into Regent's Canal, and several of my friends have also drunkenly tumbled into my 'birth canal', though the rates of survival do seem to be higher from the latter, cases of infection far more rare, and an ambulance was only required for extraction that one time).
Anyway. I digress. Though I sit here at eight in the morning after another sleepless night, with my swollen feet plunged in a bowl of ice-cold water, and a frozen flannel beside my laptop ready to apply to my carpal-tunnel-plagued wrists and fingers every half-sentence or so, and though my belly is so big with child that I look like Violet Beauregarde just before she had to be rolled out of Willy Wonka's chocolate factory, I must write.
If I do not write, I will explode. I no longer care about public image, maintaining a persona, or turning shit into gold through the alchemy of textual intercourse. Sometimes, shit is just shit. And the last few weeks of pregnancy, with a baby inside you that refuses to budge? It's shit. And it's time I started to admit that.
Not that world is on bated breath for updates of this blog but still. I am alive. I have not given birth. The baby is still inside. It writhes around under the skin like an alien. Its head is slightly engaged, dipping into the pelvis, preparing for escape. I'm not writing because the baby has given me its first body-ruining gift - carpal tunnel syndrome. My fingers are stiff, their tips are numb and frozen. There are a thousand things I want to say but they're all trapped inside and stuck.
Yes, wifey, you can have my uke. You were always better at it than me anyway.
Managed to rouse self from pregnancy-induced writing slumber to scribe two pieces for the latest issue of Plan B magazine. One's a column about, like, MUSIC and PREGNANCY. And one's an interview with my future husband EugeneRobinson about, like, CHOKING and FIGHTING and ROUGH SEX and no music. Hurrah!
It’s finally happened. No, no the baby coming out, dumbass. A WORSE thing. I have… I have… SWOLLEN UP like a fat pregnant fuck. No. Stop that right now. I know MOST women swell up when they’re pregnant. But I am not MOST WOMEN, I am me, miss AMP, and I do not do things MOST WOMEN do unless I am doing them in some kind of retro-kitsch ironic self-observing kind of way (like, “Wow, look, I’m getting dumped while having a miscarriage and the boy would rather DJ than pick me up from hospital and now I appear to be crying as though I have like a broken heart or some shit! This is amazing!”, etc.*) ATYPICAL GIRL
Yes, I have had a totally non-MOST WOMEN pregnancy. Getting up the duff was acheived with ridiculous speed / ease, desite my advanced years (e.g. over 30 omg WITHERED OVARY ALERT WARNING CAREER WOMAN AHEAD SELFISH SELFISH), helped along no doubt by the fact that the baby’s father (a nubile 23 at time of conception) and I had not long been acquainted with each other, were ridiculously attracted to each other and were more than happy to spend our days and nights at it like bonobos luxuriating in a sea of high-sperm-count emissions. (Gross? No, hot.) Then, ok, the first trimester was totally not a blast (knackered and alientated in cold dark country) but hey! no puking or anything much really, and most of all, NO WEIGHT GAIN. Yes, I am different to every other female person, HEAR ME ROAR.
THE WORLD’S FIRST SKINNY PREGGO
Of course, this lack of weight gain was mainly due to me not being a skinny little bastard to begin with. O you can imagine the joy, nay, the smugness, that swept across my curvaceous form as I observed previously skinny women in roughly the same stage of pregnancy as me blossom in hip, thigh, calf, ankle, wrist, elbow, rib, cheek, chin, neck and face while I did not. I bumped into one girl from my Swedish class - we had not seen each other since our first trimesters - and could barely recognise her, she was so puffed of face. How my insides rejoiced! As for me, the scales resolutely refused to budge through first, second and into the third trimesters, while I actually GOT THINNER (apart from the babylump, obvs). Gosh, I would say, observing my newly-emerging cheekbones and collarbones in the bathroom at work, hearing the concerned coos of my co-workers, I am the first person to lose weight during pregnancy in the entire history of the world! This is so excellent! I rule so hard! And I would side my hand over my ‘bump’ and congratulate it for being on mama’s side and helping her pregnancy be awesome.
Yeah well. FUCK THAT IN THE MANGINA. Ever since I hit week 35 last week I’ve woken up with painful joints in my fingers, and a tingling swollen numbness in my hands (a rather unfortunate condition for a professional (hah!) writer, I’m sure you’ll agree.) Googling reveals this to be ‘edema’ (normal preggo swelling) and ‘carpal tunnel syndrome’ (normally an RSI thing, but the edema fucks your wrists up which fucks up your hands and fingers till they hurt so much you can barely hold a toothbrush, let alone type). And a quick peep in the mirror reveals it to be true elsewhere as well - I have POPPED! I have SWOLLEN! I am on verge of EXPLOSION! Fuck it, I am fat. I am repulsive.
FAT - IT’S THE TITS!
Don’t take the last two sentences too serious - I’m down with being less-than-slender normally. Why wouldn’t you be? You have tits, which are basically the best things in the universe. If your stomach bothers you that much you can get into dressing like a 1950s diva in vintage shapewear that smooths out all the lumps and makes you look like Betty Page or some shit (in yr head anyway, and it’s what’s in your head and in your boyfriend’s head that counts, right?) You can take Egyptian Dance classes and learn how to shake yr thang (to experience a delightful inversion of the normal status quo, just take a few classes and observe how much more awesome at the dance are those who can quiver their flesh like a jelly, and just how dejected that makes the taut of belly and tight of butt).
And, of course, your boyfriends are not going to be the kind of Maxim-man that considers Kate Winslet to be a heifer, are they. No, they will be the kind who’ll revel in your flesh and delight in lifting your tits in their hands as though their hands are a human bra, admiring your breasts’ weight and heft, dimpling your stomach with adoring fingermarks, slapping your ass every time you pass, deriding your skinnier predecessors, till you are left in no doubt that, contrary to what every magazine you’ve ever read has said, yours is truly the most ideal and delicious body ever to grace womankind. Futhermore, as someone who is already curvy and therefore not considered acceptable by normal societal beauty standards, you will, if you’re sensible, have learned to locate your self-worth elsewhere (“I may not be a size 10, but fuck it, I can write, hand-code HTML, wire a plug, do the Times crossword in 8 minutes, spot a Bertoia wireframe chair in a junkheap, and tie a cherry stalk in a knot with my tongue...’ No flies on you, fatgrrrl! Just an awesome new stomach that wiggles when the baby moves around inside, and is all hard and peculiar and interesting, and makes you laugh when he kicks you by suprise. What’s not to like?
BIG FAT BLOATER
Yeah right. Nice attitude. And a hell of a lot easier to maintain when you haven’t gained any weight whatsoever during your pregnancy. Now, however, the tissues around my face are engorged; the aforementioned cheekbones are nowhere to be found; suddenly my rump extends in similar fashion to the belly, and the bulges upon thighs and hips prevent the wearing of that bump-clasping frock I was so delighted to sport last week. I AM A BIG FAT BLOATER. So much for being different to every other female pregnant person ever.
NOT LOOPHOLE WOMAN AFTER ALL
We all want to be the ‘loophole woman’**, don’t we? The exceptional one, not subject to normal prescribed rules or stereotypes of the female condition, up there with the best of the boys, moshing at gigs or heading up meetings while eight months pregnant; no different; no challenge; no threat. But it’s bullshit. Being pregnant is about surrender, I guess, and just sitting back and letting the thing inside you do as it wants, and use you as it wants, and ransack your body, as it wants. You’re not in the driving seat any more. As my midwife said to me about contractions last week - it’s going to happen to you anyway, so you might as well learn to relax about it. So yeah. Soap all the mirrors. Lock all the doors. I’m a big fat swollen butterball and I’m fine with it, HONEST. And hey - at least I don’t have stretchmarks!
Readers! Don’t miss next week’s column, entitled: “O MY GOD I TOTALLY HAVE STRETCHMARKS”.
*actual thing that happened in 2005
**Ariel Levy, Female Chauvinist Pigs: women and the rise of raunch culture, Simon & Schuster 2007
Not me, buster. I am little miss TENS machine, as much nitrous as my lungs can handle, anything opiate-based and the earliest epidural they got. I ain't getting conned with no birth orgasm bullstuffs, nosiree. (Insert joke about 'I've never refused free drugs before so why stop now?' here.) For a while I considered an elective c-section because you get loads of morphine, but I've decided a line must be drawn somewhere, and I'd rather it wasn't drawn with a scalpel across my bikini line and through my uterus. But otherwise, BRING THE DRUGS man. I want to hire a midwife to help so that I don't have to have an episiostimy (that's when they basically cut a big hole from your cunt to your ass, everyone!) but I'm scared she'll try to make me not have an epidural. She won't, will she? Anyone had a midwife or doula? I want to know what I'm getting myself into...
So there's this whole birthgasm thing going around, right? Natural birth types going on about how if you squeeze the childe out of your fanj you eventually get the most MEGA ENORMOUS RAINBOWTASTIC ORGASM YOU EVER HAD IN YOUR WHOLE LIFE, etc. And my friend Eleanor M said that after her child was born she felt this 'enormous rush of energy'. In fact everyone I know who has given birth without epidural seems quite positive about it, in contrast to everyone who has given birth in a hospital, had an epidural and then inevitably ended up in surgery anyway having a c-section to remove the placenta or the baby or whatever. (Please note, these are all in England which has an emergency c-section rate of about 1 in 4, compared to Sweden which is 1 in 10). Anyway. Yeah. Orgasmicbirth. (And one more link for luck.) A reality worth going through 12-60 hours of agonising, unmedicated labour for? Or a potentially dangerous myth? If you have any experience of this, I'd love to know about it.
Random quote: "For someone who has, for better or worse, gotten strength and power from being desired, I am now operating unsuccessfully in two parallel universes. On one hand, I have never been so desired in my life. Felix ravages my breasts as no one else ever has. It's not sexual hunger, it's actual hunger.
Even now, at a year and half, he runs from across the room at the sight of them, tackles me onto the floor or couch, climbs up my body until he's within reach, then draws back and takes a good look, grins and goes in for the attack. People always say of breastfeeding, "It's sensual, not sexual."
But it is sexual. He nuzzles and paws at me, grunts, throws his head from side to side as he latches on, his pink mouth warm on my nipple. He tries to get as much as he can into his mouth as his whole body burrows into me, his little heels digging into my thighs and still-soft belly. He kneads the breast he's nursing from with his hand to get more milk, and uses his free hand to tweak, twist and pull on my other nipple. I wonder if he's holding onto it protectively, so no one else can get it.
Who would give up being needed like that? Not me. Because the opposite universe is the one in which no one wants me. I'm a mother; I have little to no value to the outside world."
jimmy's gettting massive, which is kind of ace, because the whole looking a wierd shape thing that's been going on for the last few months isn't really all that. but now he's really pushing out and forwards and I LIKE IT because finally i look like the cute preg instead of just someone who's a bit wrong.
tell you what, though i'm worried about LOSING MY EDGE like you wouldn't believe. like, a horrible thing happened the other day. i'm about to start this new mp3 blog for venus magazine, right, and they asked for a biography so i wrote them one, but at the end i put this thing about... i'm blushing... i can't believe this... about how my new 'project' was JIMMY and stuff...
...and then i emailed frances and i was like um dude, is this ok and she was like NO, HOLY SHIT DUDE, IMAGINE IF SOME OTHER WOMAN WROTE THAT ABOUT HER KID, YOU WOULD TOTALLY DO A SICK!!!. and she was 100,0000% RIGHT, and yet, i nearly did it! i nearly did something henious and uncool! because i am pregnant! because the pregnancy and the mother love made me do it! and i am only six months pregnant! it is not even born yet! anything could happen in the next three months, any kind of hideous momism type naffness could be performed by ME against mine own better non-pregnant judgement! holy fuck, man!
and, like, i am not even talking about things like wearing mega comfy e.g. unsexy bras or whatever, because it is not my job to be sexy or attractive all the time, i am not some kind of model or whatever. but it kind of IS my job *not* to be completely lame and embarrassing. what if i lost my skills at not being lame and embarrassing! i'd have to seek some new kind of employment instead, like, uhm, get a proper copywriting job or something. now that WOULD be emb-- oh shit... wait.....
ANYWAY. EDIT TO ADD! Just so's that this post isn't too me me me, even though you fucking LOVE IT YOU SLAGS, here is a fun pop video from the past that Mr Dickon Edwards reminded me about through the magical power of his blog. Look at young Roddy Frame! How lovely he is! I am glad to see that my taste for coy, pretty, young-looking feyboys was set in stone so early.
I was worried that 'nursing' would mean I would no longer be able to wear frocks... but these have an opening in the front so you can whip the tit out and stick it in without flashing the whole universe.
i'm pretty sure that nursing and whatever won't actually be the fun fetish fest that i am assuming it will be, but don't disillusion me... i've only got four months left, and a girl can dream...
So preggos are supposed to be all about the ‘nesting’, right? "Nesting instinct refers to a biological urge in pregnant animals to prepare a home for the upcoming newborn. In human females, the nesting instinct occurs around the fifth month of pregnancy. It is commonly characterized by a strong urge to clean and organize one's home."
Well, guess what, dudes. I’m in the fifth month… or the sixth month… (24 weeks - it’s so confusing) and this will be no big shocker to anyone who knows me, but, nesting instinct? Cleaning and organising one’s home? Er... no. In fact, quite the opposite.
I was really keeping a lid on my normally, um, ‘freeform’ home stylings until about two weeks ago. I was determined to demonstrate that, despite all expectations to the contrary, AMP could totally keep her shit together when living on her own with nobody to tut and chide and wash and clean. (Admittedly, this was helped by long visits from the babyfather who is cleanliness-obsessed in the extreme and well-versed in tutting and chiding and washing and cleaning, but let’s gloss over that.) But sadly, over the last two weeks things have gone somewhat to shit, and now it looks as though my apartment has basically thrown up on itself after a night on the tiles.
My elegant black patent suitcase is disgorging maternity tights, leopardskin nursing bras (omg have you seen a nursing bra? It’s totally like a hot fetish item) and over-the-knee socks onto the unhoovered bedroom floor. Every day I blink in surprise as I wander to the kitchen and see that the washing-up is, incredibly, still there. And I don’t know why it’s easier to step over the bicycle pump that inexplicably lies in the centre of the living-room floor than to pick it up, but it is. It’s out of control.
So I was just chiding myself for being a chaotic slattern from hell (while secretly feeling proud that I, I of all people, have managed to conquer essentialism and laugh in the face of biological determinism) when it struck me. Sure, the external realm looks like a sack of shit but online - you know, where it counts - things have never been neater.
Much of last week was spent organising my Netvibes: I now have 12 tabs, each organised on a three column basis, displaying four items on each and showing ‘more details’ for all. The first tab is for personal stuff, where I can check my Gmail, view and update Twitter, see my Facebook messages and my friends’ Facebook status updates, and see all recent comments on my Flickr. Then the rest are blogs organised by theme (Feminism, Randoms, Friends, Cooking, Craft, Arts, Music, Tech, Copywriting, Baby - in no particular order, honest guv) plus a tab for Meebo so I can use whichever chat service I want without having to sign in to MSN or Google Chat. How organised is that? It gives me a boner just to look at it.
And then, of course, there’s AMPnet. A friend lured me back to Livejournal, which seemed to open up some kind of posting floodgate, and now the AMP Blog has flared into glorious, gleaming life once more, which, if you’re reading this, you can probably tell. (Of course, the intense Swedish isolation has done a lot to help - it’s amazing how much more time you have when you leave your entire social life, all your friends, and everyone you love behind and fuck off to a different country). I sorted out the labels for all my posts, deleting the ones that contained two words, and I’m trying to shape the rest around similar themes to the rest of the site (feminism, music, vintage clothes, sex - you know, the important things in life.)
I fixed the broken image links that were making the individual post pages display poorly. I organised my RSS feed, set up an email subscription link (do it! You know you want this verbose bullshit in your inbox every day) and started inserting links to both at the end of every post. I finished my Technorati claims (it’s so good to know that this blog has a whopping TWO authority rating - shit like that really makes a girl proud. [Feel free to ramp it up by linking to www.ampnet.co.uk/weblog - I’ll love you forever]). I also updated my Feedburner stats so now I can see who’s surfing on on searches like ‘pale Indian tits’, (hi perverts!).
Looks-wise, I’m going to get the designer at work to help me redesign AMPnet so this blog can reside on the homepage, with the other features reachable from sidebars. I’m also going to optimise the site for screens bigger than 800 x 600 pixels - which means no more huddling in the left-hand side of your monitor.
Finally, I’m about to start an MP3 blog for Venus Magazine, and from next week I’ll be blogging for The Lipster, where I’ll also be doing a pregnancy column so you can read more baby-related crap like this - aren’t you excited?
In short, my internet home has never looked neater, spanglier, or more productive. I am so proud of myself I want to puke. Or maybe that’s just morning sickness. Avoiding the nesting instinct? Maybe not so much. But fuck it. At least I’m doing it in a 21st-century way.
Psst! Subscribe to AMPnet by RSS or email. It's simple and fun.
Check out this kid called Aaron doing skateboarding tricks in his wheelchair. He's the first person ever to do a backflip in a wheelchair as well. I have to admit I did a small cry when the wheelchair backflip was landed, but that probably doesn't mean that much as just 'bout everything makes me do a small cry these days. In fact I'll give a reward to the first person who manages to steer me through a whole day of cultural consumption without showing me something that incites teardrops. What's the word for pregnant + emo? Pregmo? Yeah, that's me.
Just in case you hadn't heard from one of the many online places in which I talk shit about my private life, I'm all knocked up and having a baby in June, assuming all goes well! W00T! Here is a picture of it when it was tiny:
Here is a picture of it now it is medium:
And here is a picture of me doing an impression of a preg: