Maisie arrives

Having gone to bed at about 11pm, I was woken by Lisa doing her deep breathing at 1:30am and knew the contractions were back. We got up (very reluctantly - I was completely knackered) and switched the laptop on and started timing them. They were coming thick and fast and Lisa looked in a lot of discomfort. I rang the midwife and they said we could come to the hospital. I rang Rona and she wizzed straight over from the Portland in her car and picked us up. We threw the huge hospital bag in and off we went.

3am - We got to Calow. When we got the labour ward, Helen who was a lovely midwife who looked after up until the actual birth said as she saw Lisa zombieing toward her down the corridor "Ooh eck, this looks like the real thing". Rona went home and I stayed. After Helen had examined Lisa she said she was 3 cm dilated and that they would monitor her and wait to see what happens.

5.50am - Helen came to check on Lisa. She was really tired and although she had been coping with the contractions she was beginning to struggle. Helen suggested she had some morphine which would help numb the pain and allow her to lie down and get some rest. She agreed, knowing the pushing baby out would take a final burst of energy and this needed to be conserved. After she had the morphine I wandered outside and rang Rona to give an update. She later sarcastically thanked me for waking her up at 6am to say there's no news. I went to the Dad's room to try and sleep for a bit and give Lisa a chance to rest but I ended up lying on a sofa which was too small, listening to distant healthcare staff nattering somewhere down a corridor.

7:15am - I went to check on Lisa and there was a staff handover meeting but Helen saw me and said Lisa was doing fine, her waters had broken and she was probably not far off a delivery time. I excitedly went in to see her and she was lying down looking much more chilled out than before. She said she'd enjoyed lying there, listening to the rain and the machine which they'd switched on to audibly monitor the baby's heart rate.

8:20am - the new Midwife (and a student midwife called Liz) who had taken over from Helen came in and did a examination and said "Lisa, you are fully dilated and you can push in your own time". Lisa pushed for the best part of 40 minutes, switching between kneeling up on the bed and lying on her back (despite what the NCT woman said about this not harnessing gravity effectively). I was amazed by Lisa's pain threshold and her determination to get the baby out. My job was to top up and hand Lisa water in between pushes and pass the jar of vaseline to keep her lips moist. There was after all a lot of heavy exhalations going on. Lisa removed all garments which she felt were in the way and even switched off her TENS machine and got me to remove the wires which were in the way. My best attempt to offer Lisa encouragement as the head crowned was the unforgivable phrase “C’mon Lisa, it’s all downhill from here”.

9:06 - Maisie was born and I wept tears of joy. I wasn't surprised. I could feel myself going all wobbly leading up to it, watching the midwives working so expertly and efficiently. I hadn't actually cried since the last episode of Heroes but that was a drip compared to today's stream. I think it was due to a mixture of pride (at becoming a Dad), utter respect for Lisa's impressive no-nonsense approach to it all, relief (when she came out and immediately started making noises and moving) and also an overwhelming feeling of gratefulness towards the 3 women in the room who were making it all happen, and so professionally too. When Lisa's waters had broken earlier they had detected some meconium so Maisie was immediately checked (and any poo sucked out of her lungs). Then she cried and I cried and Lisa was the only one keeping it real. If I hadn't been so happy, I might've felt slightly ignored what with people busying about around and not realising that actually the Dad was quite tearful over here.

I didn't get to cut the cord as a result of this hastiness but I can live with that. Lisa's placenta got stuck when the cord broke but it came out soon after and Lisa had some stitches. They put her on Lisa's chest first for skin-to-skin contact and then a bit later I put my special kangaroo top on and had some skin-to-skin, She was smooth and hot like a pebble that had been in volcanic water. Lisa asked a midwife "is she ok? Are her lips meant to look like that?" and she answered "yes, that's the way she is". All in all it was the most moving, exciting, scary but ultimately fantastic experience ever. We are now three and I'm looking forward to watching her grow every day.

They moved us up to the ward where people could visit. Unfortunately there were no NCT-type people but instead a few chavvy couples, nattering illegally on mobiles, drinking fizzy pop, showing off their tattoos and Sheffield Wednesday tops and asking about formula feeding a baby, seemingly without even attempting breastfeeding first. In the afternoon Rona, Bill and Mum came and marvelled at our end product. I went home with Mum since Lisa had to stay in the night just as routine checks due to the meconium. I went out for a gulab with Rona and Bill for tea before returning to the hospital. Graham and Mum came too as did Claire Power.

We did a bit of baby head-wetting at our house and then everyone left and I stumbled into bed for MUCH needed sleep.

Faculty Away Day Presentation

Went in early and met Frances at the station and we went to the heartspace at city campus and finished off preparing today's presentation, which incidentally had to run twice since the "faculty away day" was in fact only a half day for most staff (who could opt to attend either the morning session or the afternoon one). Us presenters on the other hand to be present twice. It was very boring listening to Andy Eckford's financial yearly powerpoint presentation once through, let alone twice. I sat next to the Pro Vice Chancellor, Rhiannon Billingsley and told her about my impending Dadness.

The "sound bite" presentations had to be 3 minutes long at most, and to try and stop people waffling too much we were all being timed up there and the one who got closest to 3 mins won the bottle of Cava. Elaine Brookes got it :(

We showed off Adam's SLOT tool he'd been making and it caused some degree of excitement. People seemed frustrated that we couldn't show it off very well due to only having a limited amount of time. I think whistles were wetted (whetted?).

Had to put my phone on silent for most of the day (which is contrary to what I've been doing of late due to Lisa's impending birthness)

Went off for a wander around the winter gardens at lunchtime for a break and had a starbucks too.

Frances gave me a second bag of baby clothes that were Rosie's hand-me-downs.

I got home and Mum popped in for a cup of tea with Lisa and wasn't expecting to see me but I'd arrived back early. She's hired a hall for a few weeks in Holymoorside and is about to advertise pilates she'll run in it.

Checked my emails to see if any disasters had happened at work and Carol had emailed us all to say Brett hadn't turned up or contacted her all day. Bad boy. I replied angrily calling for him to be sacked. Not sure if I overreacted but that guy takes the piss and I think we'd personally be better off without him. No doubt FG will be more measured and claim we need him too much.

Not sure I agree

Before bed, I logged on to check my emails (I know, I know, I'm sad) and Brett had sent me the
following message ...

"Hi Luke,

I've cut my hand really bad. I cant come in tomorrow morning because I've got to go back to A & E to get it checked for infection. I shud be able to come in in the afternoon though...


I wonder, was it drunkeness? Cooking? Fighting?

Nyah arrives

Last night I dreamed that the house was (once again) under attack from a horde of zombies. The funny thing is, this normally happens after I've watched a film with zombies in it not after watching Fanny Hill. Lisa made me watch it! Anyway, there I was busy stoving in the heads of nasty zombies each trying to find a way into the house when suddenly it was alarm time and I was getting up for a shower. I jumped up and went to turn the alarm off in my sleepy state and there was Lisa already up for some reason. We both went to push the button then stopped like strangers politely stepping out of each other's path in unison. I stopped and then went again. But so did Lisa. At the third attempt I managed to push the off button. I think she'd given up my then.

The snow started just after I'd left the house but it never really amounted to anything all day in Chesterfield or Sheffield

Lisa had a fun-filled day whilst I was busy working. First of all, Ali and Daisy came up and they went off lunching in the park and stuff. Then, apparently my Mum popped around for a cup of tea and to drop of the new baby bath she's bought us. Then, she went off for a walk with Helen Daly and her dogs.

We learned today that Devina had her baby yesterday morning and as I predicting she too has had a little girl. So, that means unless something very surprising happens, 4 out of the 5 NCT babies are going to be girls. Devina and Gareth have called their baby "Nyah" which is nice I think. So, just Lisa and Helen to go. I wonder if, since their due dates are only 2 days apart, they might end up in Calow hospital having them at the same time? Who knows. That would certainly be strange. Devina's baby arrived at 5:42am. Why do they always pop at such ridiculously antisocial times of the day/night.

It was just me and the boys today (Carol was in her room next-door). I always feel drained after a day with them two. It's something to do with only having 20yr olds to converse with all day. Although I feel 20 (or so!) still myself, we seem more than 13 years apart in terms of conversational topics. It's all computer games this and night clubs that and the last thing they want to talk about is an imminent baby.

It is my day off tomorrow. Yippee. This is my first friday off after having re-organised my hours with work to allow me to have a day off each week. In return, I am working 1.5 hours each work night to make up the hours.

Lisa's been having lots of braxton hicks contractions today -they are the small contractions you have which are preparing your body for birth.

Since Lisa and Claire were going out with the ex-Chapel House girls for a Lambarelli's for tea, Noel and I got a takeaway pizza, some wine and watched "V for Vendetta" on HD-DVD. Although it had Natalie Portman in and had had pretty decent reviews it wasn't a very enjoyable film for me. Far too much time was spent watching close-up shots of a character with an annoying voice talk with a guy fawkes mask concealing his face. There was a good end battle scene (the last 5 minutes of the film) which was brilliant but I'm afraid it was a case of too little, too late. 3 stars.

Cold Winds Blow

Wednesday, 2nd January

Today was back to work day after a decent spell off over xmas. The boys came in with fresh diseases acquired over the holidays and promptly began to cough and sneeze their way through the day. The students were still off (as were most self-respecting academics).

It was also very dark and cold today. There's a load of cold winds coming over from Russia over the next few days they say and they've (the experts) predicted snow. Hope it snows really severely and they close Chesterfield train station again. It was such a terrible, terrible shame when they closed it during June's mega-floods and I had to turn around and go back home (not before getting a refund for the ticket I'd bought).
I drew an illustration of a fat patient being called in to a consultation room by a thin carer for use in a learning object we're making for use in an obesity project. I'm being paid to do the rest hopefully so that could be nice little bonus.

Met Tom for lunch. The food on offer at the canteen at 'The heart of the Campus' was very limited, probably due to the fact that they weren't expecting much custom. Me and Tom had baked potatoes with tuna mayo on. Yum. Charlotte was out looking at prospective new houses for them to rent come February.

Lisa had a busy day walking around, buying things and tidying up and was proud describe to me how she'd walked across the nursery floor several times using just her bottom. I saw a demonstration when I got home
Dad emailed us to say that Vally is apparently poorly so he's not sure if they'll be up at the weekend. He then went on to say she was a tough old bird so not to write off our engagement quite yet. The snow may also have a say in it I suppose if it does arrive.
Ali rang. She's coming up with Daisy tomorrow to see Lisa

They are apparently more scared of you than you are of them

How great it is to wake up without a hangover on New Year's Day. Unfortunately this means that my holidays are almost over and work beckons for me tomorrow.
Whilst feeding the ducks today, we noticed there WAS a sign (albeit a small one) which said please don't feed the ducks etc. I think this may be a case of what Billy Connolly refers to as 'beigeism'. Anyway, we fed them anyway. It said that the bread was bad for the ducks. Surely not??

Did two boring, but satisfying jobs today. One was tidying out the cellar and throwing away all the junk which had been living there. The cellar, incidentally, is very small and the ceiling's not very high so you have to stoop and there's cobwebs and stuff dangling down into your hair and it's also a little spider sanctuary too.
After I'd finished enjoying the arachnotherapy, I moved onto my second job, tidying my wardrobe. Another ominous task. I managed to throw away lots of clothes which I simply don't wear. Me and Lisa have really perfected this decluttering malarkey and I think I owe a lot to crap tv programmes for teaching me how.
Mum and Graham popped in for a cup of tea on the way home from birdwatching somewhere. They were apparently on the trail of some rare bird that they'd been tipped off had been seen frequenting somewhere local. Not a nice day for birdwatching, or being outside at all really.
Mum's wondering how to kick-start her pilates business now she is a qualified pilates tutor and Graham's going to be maintaining her website.
We watched Casino Royale tonight. I hadn't seen a Bond film for years after boycotting Pierce Brosnan and his annoyingness. I have to say it was quite good although it's a shame the whole film couldn't have been more like the opening 10 minute chase. Ah well. It was also good to see the Daniel Craig “trunks scene” I'd heard so much about from the ladies in my office. I overheard one of them boasting to a colleague that their husband had the same body as him. I now doubt the accuracy of her statement. It was the wine talking I think. Anyway, just for the record, I don't fancy Daniel Craig. Or any of the James Bond actors. Or any men for that matter.