Always waiting for appointments.
Mar 2, 2009
We finally got the appointment for Charlotte's dental work. It's in the middle of May, six months after the referral was made. In the meantime her bad tooth is getting worse and worse and crumbling away - there'll be nothing left by the time they finally see her, at this rate. Luckily it doesn't hurt her and she's doing a brilliant job of keeping it clean.
At least we got an appointment though. We're still waiting to hear when she'll get her heart surgery and that can't come too soon for us. As long as it isn't while James is in America.
Feb 11, 2009
I was obviously tempting fate when I wrote that I wasn't coughing.
Lemsip is a wonderful invention.
I did manage (while under the influence of said drug) to get Charlotte and Isobel to gym, which was good because it was their last lesson. The class is being discontinued due to low numbers - for the last six weeks there have only been four children there. I don't really know why, my children enjoyed it a lot. We had tears in the car on the way home.
I'll probably see if I can get them on the waiting list at the local club again.
7th February - Birthday.
Feb 8, 2009
Emily is now three years old, hard though it is to believe.
We've had a really lovely day, despite the fact that I'm the only person in the house who isn't coughing horribly. Isobel helped me make a birthday cake, which would have been very nice if I hadn't taken it out of the oven too early. David helped me ice it, and did a very impressive job.
We gave Emily Wii Play, so for most of the day the children have been really happy, trying out the games. They also played Wii sport, with far fewer arguments than usual now we have three remotes. Emily was also really pleased with her new recorder (we gave each of the children one in a different colour) and spent more than half an hour playing with her new dinosaur moonsand, excavating dinosaur skeletons.
Then Nanny and Grandad turned up with a new bicycle, and everything James and I gave her turned to dust in comparison. All that thought and planning, and we were trumped by a toy she can't even use yet (though she did ride up and down the hall: nearly a whole turn of the pedals to the end, get off, adult turn the bike round, nearly a whole turn of the pedals back, get off, turn the bike round...). She's going to be one child who is pleased when the snow is gone.
Then of course Emily went to sleep very early (by our standards), woke a few minutes ago with a bit of a temperature again saying "I'm not scared" - something she's been saying at frequent intervals since she first got ill over a week ago. So now she's sitting up watching Charlie and Lola until she starts feeling better. I'm hoping that tonight will be like other nights and as soon as the calpol kicks in she'll fall sound asleep and wake late tomorrow. Or much later today, as the case may be.
Feb 5, 2009
Yesterday, Isobel was sitting playing with our Connect Four set, making patterns with the counters. She told me "When you start a row with red and do alternate colours, you finish with red, that's how I know it's an odd number. There are four reds and three yellows in this row and four yellows and three reds in the next row, so there are the same number of each colour in two rows and there are six rows so there are the same number of each colour in all of it. that means there must be a red one missing because I have two yellows left and only one red". Then she counted them and told me she had been right, there were 22 reds and 23 yellows, a red counter wwas definitely missing.
A little while later David was sitting playing with a plastic carrier bag, when he suddenly leapt to his feet and said "The more air is in a parachute the more slowly it goes!". He then rushed off try making a parachute to test his theory.
Emily spent some time playing Wii Sports as usual, beating me at a game of tennis; she also spent a long time singing a song from a TV programme she's watched a couple of times and gradually evolving a dance to go with it as she repeated it over and over again.
At bedtime Charlotte came and asked me a question about the Great Barrier Reef so I found her some videos online. She watched them with me, identifying most of the fish she saw and telling me interesting things about them.
I love the way Isobel notices things and works out logical proofs for her observations. I love that David can figure out how parachutes work just from messing around with a bag, and that he gets so excited by his discoveries that he has to test them straight away. I love that Emily learns songs so easily, even though she can't pronounce the words properly yet. I love the way Charlotte can acquire and retain such huge amounts of knowlege about the subjects she finds interesting.
I love love love autonomous education and the effect it has had on our lives.
Feb 5, 2009
We've suspected for a while that all was not well with Charlotte, out eldest. She's extremely small for her age, and given that her father is 6'2" that's odd in itself, but she also has very little energy. She does very well at her gym class, better than many of the children there, but in between turns on whatever equipment they're using, while the other children are running around Charlotte will be lying on the floor. I've taken her to the doctor several times over the last few years only to be told "she's just small, she'll probably have a growth spurt soon, increase her calorie intake".
It came to a head last term, when her new gym instructors introduced stamina training for the children. Charlotte - the oldest in the class - never made it past level five, when the rest of the children would start dropping out around levels 15-20, youngest first. I took her back to the doctor and managed to get a referral and not long before Christmas she went to see a consultant paediatrician who told us she has a heart murmur. She had an X-ray which showed that her heart looks fine but the ECG was abnormal so she was given a referral to the cardiology clinic.
It took two months to get the cardiology appointment (and then it was because they had a cancellation) but a few days ago we finally took her to have her heart properly checked. Naturally the monitor on the ancient scan machine wasn't working so after fifteen minutes trying to get it to work the consultant had to just listen to he heart instead. He told us he was fairly certain what the problem was but we'd need another appointment, this time at Great Ormond Street hospital, to look at her and confirm the diagnosis before they could put her on the waiting list for surgery.
We thanked him for his time and walked back into town towards the car. We'd nearly got there when I had a call from the hospital asking us to go back as they'd got the machine working. We hurried up the hill back to the hospital and luckily didn't have to wait long before we were seen again.
This time the consultant was able to get a good look at her heart and confirmed the diagnosis (so we don't need to go to GOSH). What he said was "she has an extra vessel connecting the vessels to and from her lungs", I think he meant PDA but since by that time I was very conscious that we were taking up someone else's time slot - and the clinic was already running late and should have finished by that point - I didn't gather myself to question him as I should.
Anyway, it will take a simple outpatient operation to plug the extra vessel and the result will be permanent and a complete fix. It's the best diagnosis I think we could have hoped for; I still don't like the idea of my Charlotte having heart surgery of any kind, but it will be nice for her to have the kind of energy levels the others have and maybe grow to a more normal height.
Now it's just a matter of waiting for yet another appointment.
Oct 13, 2008
Charlotte was nine on the 11th. She was one of the very first H2G2 babies, born almost exactly a year after James started working for TDV. We got a very nice card from everyone there and two Winnie-the-Pooh books for Charlotte (which we've managed not to destroy yet), and James had three weeks off which was very generous but TDV was like that. I used to take her up to London occasionally and sit on the couch in James and Sean's office with her while they worked. It doesn't seem like nine years ago.
Now she's a lovely little girl who is so mature and intelligent and, well, perfect. She definitely acts at least nine but I can't believe I've had her for that long.
Sep 20, 2008
Today it is ten years since Alexander died.
Feb 23, 2006
This is a bit late, seeing as she's two weeks old already.
Emily was born on the 7th of February, the third of our children to be born on the 7th and the fifth whose birthday is a prime number. She was very nearly a homebirth baby, but unfortunately I allowed myself to get scared into another c-section at the last minute. I thought I was agreeing to it because she was distressed, but found out after it was too late that she wasn't - the hospital wanted to do a section because she was breech. Unfortunately I'd already told them that I didn't consider breech presentation reason enough for c/s, so I was left thinking right up until I heard her cry that she was dying. I wish I'd never called the midwives now.
Emily is wonderful and even sleeps reasonably well, some of the time. She is as beautiful as her sisters and has already learned to smile.
Right now she's fast asleep on her Daddy's shoulder. They both look very sweet.
A really bad day.
Jan 19, 2006
I've just had an awful day.
It started very early; I was woken up by David singing at around half past five this morning, and when I went in to him I found he had a temperature and was in that maddeningly hyper state feverish children get into. It took two hours to calm him down and get him back to sleep, but then he slept well and woke up hungry.
All morning he was grizzly and a bit fragile, but otherwise O.K., but then in the early afternoon, just as I was getting lunch ready, he suddenly developed a really, really high temperature.
I gave him Calpol, but for the next two hours it seemed to have no effect; he was alternating between crying desperately and dropping into a comatose state, from which he'd wake up screaming and terrified. I lay on his bed with him, sponging him down with coolish water, while he kept suddenly jumping and telling me his sisters were throwing things at him, or please save him from that pirate ship over there - he was completely delirious at times, his heart was racing and beating so hard I could see it and despite the calpol and water he was burning hot. I nearly called an ambulance, but every time I moved he got petrified again and clung to me. It was horrible.
Finally he managed to drop off to sleep for a few minutes and I was able to get in touch with James, who calmed me down enough to ring the surgery, who told me to bring him straight in.
By the time we got there his temperature had come down a lot; I think the cold air outside really helped.
The doctor said it was a virus and there's nothing to do but wait it out.
I'm so glad the baby isn't here yet.
Wedding bells again.
Nov 15, 2005
My baby sister just got engaged.
She's been going out with him for three years, and it's been fairly obvious to all of us that it was just a matter of time, but she is naturally over the moon about it.
She was round here looking at wedding dresses on the internet, and has already decided on bridesmaids and pageboys and most of the music. They aren't planning on getting married for another two years, or they may even wait until she finishes college in 2008 but she'll have planned the entire thing by christmas, at this rate.
Once she's married that'll be all of us. I'll have gone from having no brothers to having five brothers-in-law - which is the best age to acquire them, I think.
I really like Chris; he's perfect for her and I think they'll be very happy.
Nov 15, 2005
I'm sitting here in my usual fit of insomnia caused by someone else's metabolism being in the wrong phase, despite an exhausting day with sick children and collages and pastel drawing and all the rest of it.
My tummy is leaping around visibly and I'm being headbutted in the bladder and cervix.
Does it ever feel natural, and less like I've been invaded by aliens? This is my fifth baby, and it still feels weird to me.
It makes it all real for the children, though. Every time they see this kind of activity they get excited about the baby, and even David said this evening "when the baby comes out of your tummy there will be a real baby and I can touch it".
Not such a good day.
Oct 7, 2005
Well, after two days and three nights of pain I finally decided to go to the doctor this morning. I wanted to be seen as soon as possible so I decided to drive there first; I didn't want to miss my appointment because of traffic.
The car wouldn't start. It was working perfectly when I parked it on Monday night, now it just makes clicking noises at me. So I decided to walk there rather than try and get a lift from somewhere. I started straight away (by now it was nine o'clock, the time the surgery actually opens). It was surprisingly hard work and I was getting light headed by the time I got there, at 10.15.
The next emergency slot was at 10.45, which gave me plenty of time to recover, though in fact, as normal, I wasn't actually seen until after 11. What wasn't normal was that the doctor apologised for the wait.
The upshot is that I probably don't have just cystitis, she thinks I have a kidney infection. I'm rather glad I went now, when the car wouldn't start I almost didn't bother, especially since my pregnancy book says just 'drink plenty of water' as a treatment. The thing is, though, I've been having the same kind of backache on and off for a couple of weeks so I wonder if I've actually had it for a while.
The doctor said a few scary things about what to do if I started having contractions or bleeding and sent me off to spend a further 20 minutes waiting for my prescription. I got a lift home from my father-in-law, and got home finally around 12. I'm really glad James was able to work at home today: the children would have gone mad if I'd had to take them with me.
Now I'm really, really tired. I've got a lot of sleep to catch up on.
Middle of August some time.
Aug 12, 2005
Well, we finally got up enough courage to take Charlotte out of school a few weeks ago. It's made a huge difference to all of us and now we're wondering why we didn't do it earlier - or why we even sent her to school in the first place. I suppose at least we can say we gave it a try, but we didn't realise how much it had changed her until she 'deschooled', which has taken months.
We're expecting our fifth baby on the eighth of February. Of course, this being me, it'll probably arrive on the 18th or later. I really want to have this one at home but because of the caesarian last time the consultant is insisting on the entire labour in hospital, immobilised with monitors and another c-section if I don't make steady progress - which hasn't happened in the last four labours so I hardly imagine it'll happen this time. Especially if I'm struggling with my hospital phobia and lying flat on my back in the position least conducive to natural labour.
The stupid thing is that looking at my notes from last time neither my midwife nor my consultant think that the c-section was necessary. They made no attempt to turn David or speed up the contractions ar try any of the things which may have helped (and I didn't know about) and David when he was born showed no physical signs of fetal distress. Notably his 1 minute Apgar score was 10.
I really looked forward to my last three labours, and was looking forward to this one after my GP said I could have a home birth. Oh well.
The Hitchhiker's Premiere
Apr 20, 2005
We just got back from London after a very fraught trip to watch James go into the premiere.
My sister Miriam came with me, and after successfully getting all the children to Leicester Square we met James, Sean and Tim briefly in Starbucks before going out to find somewhere to stand.
We were lucky to be up against the barrier, so the children could get a good view, but we had to wait for ages before anyone turned up. We called James over and talked to him for a while, and had the satisfaction of other people in the crowd asking "Who was that?" and trying to talk to him too.
Robbie came over and said hello, but he was in a bit of a rush so didn't talk.
After that we had to wait ages. Everyone seemed to go across to the other side and sign autographs there, but Bill Nighy saw the children and came over specially to sign autographs for them, which was really sweet of him. He talked a bit and asked their names and they were really pleased; it made the whole experience much more exciting for them. (Me too, since I wanted to see him more than the rest of the cast; I think he's wonderful). Stephen Fry also heard them screaming and gave them a wave, but he was being interviewed almost all the time he was there.
Then everyone suddenly rushed in to the cinema so we stayed just long enough to gather a couple of posters and then came home.
I don't know if Charlotte will make it to school on time tomorrow, but I think this kind of experience is more important than Registration.
James, lucky pig, is probably at the party now, having a great time and meeting everyone - and hopefully getting everyone to sign the tie I painted as a possible Charity Auction item.
I'm soooooooo jealous.
The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
Apr 10, 2005
I went to see it this morning.
James was invited to the cast and crew screening, plus one, so I went with him.
We drove up to London with Sean and parked near Leicester Square, where there was already a fairly large crowd outside the Empire. We found Robbie and talked to him for a few minutes, then went into Cafe Nero next door where I was introduced to Douglas' brother James; the others had met him before, during the filming.
We were among the first people in the cinema, so we got fairly good seats, and the eight of us - me, James, Sean, Tim, Yoz and his fiancee and Rick (ex TDV) and Alison - were all able to sit together with no trouble.
I loved the film. It was quite intense and I took a while to digest it afterwards, but I found it very funny all the way through. I would have liked to see a bit more of Ford and Slartibartfast, but only because I liked them, not because the film was unbalanced or anything. Some moments were brilliant, but I'm not going to talk about them because they need to be seen cold (for the first time). I'm definitely going to see it again, even if James feels that the first four times were enough for him...
Jun 3, 2004
My sister Clara gave birth earlier to her first baby, a little girl called Natasha.
Since they live in Riyadh we won't get to see her for a long time, and photos on the internet may take a while. It's very frustrating. I don't know any of the details yet; not even when Clara will be at the end of the phone line again.
Daddy has now been around for the birth of two of his 13 grandchildren: apart from David and Natasha he has been in another continent for each birth, and I think he rather enjoyed the opportunity to be the one making the announcement.
Miriam only went back on Saturday to take over Clara's pupils and help out with the new arrival - she was only just in time.
Mar 18, 2004
We've just spent the evening (and half the night) watching 'Turandot' on DVD.
I bought it for James for Christmas several years ago, partly because a short while before we met we sat within feet of each other at Covent Garden watching a Gala performance of it; we found we'd both sat in the same section of restricted view seats for the same performance - we may even have been sitting next to each other.
It is so beautiful it hurts. We've watched it 2 1/2 times - it's impossible to switch it off, and necessary to watch our favourite bits several times.
In a perfect world I would be able to sing the part of 'Liu'. Why didn't I realise how much I love singing before it was too late?
Jul 17, 2003
The most horrible labour so far - twelve hours stuck at four centimetres despite constantly strengthening contractions, followed by a period of constant intensely painful contractions, some of which were 'pushing' contractions, which I literally could not stop, although I knew I wasn't dilated yet. So I started screaming for a transfer to hospital and an epidural. As soon as they were sure that I really meant it and wasn't just in transition, June (my midwife) rang an ambulance and James and Mummy got a few things ready, the ambulance arrived a couple of minutes later and I arrived in hospital and had my epidural only about fifteen contractions later. That gave me (besides total pain relief) control to stop pushing, at which point another examination showed I was still only four/five centimetres. I dread to think what damage I could have done to both myself and the baby if I'd kept pushing much longer.
It turned out that the baby was in a very bad position and appeared stuck, so after another couple of hours with no progress and the baby still in the same position and getting tired, the consultant reccommended a Caesarian section. We agreed, because although we'd have liked to avoid one at all costs, by that point we really felt we'd exhausted the options.
Because I'd had an epidural put in already it didn't take long to get me ready - I was in theatre being operated on within half an hour of making the descision. James was allowed in with me, but Mummy had to stay outside. It was really weird because I could feel it, but it didn't hurt. A few seconds in James said 'gosh, there's a lot of blood', at which point I'd thought they were still not started, but later on I could feel them pulling out the baby, which was extremely exciting. There was a screen to stop me seeing (I was too tired to lift my head to watch anyway) but James was able to see them take him out.
David cried and cried until he was put into James' arms and heard his voice, when he instantly went quiet.
He's a wonderful baby, he sleeps really well - four hours at a time - he feeds constantly and has more or less made up his birthweight. He is getting very good at lifting his head and wriggling into a feeding position and still goes quiet when he hears his father's voice.
He looks just like the other three did when they were tiny, and his big sisters love him and love helping to change him, and having cuddles and generally not leaving him alone even when he's asleep.
Jul 6, 2003
A weird mix of excruciating pain and total delight that it's really happening. I've called the midwife, I've had a show, the TENS machine is halfway up its range, this is absolutely it and the baby will be here in hours.
I can hardly wait, but please make it stop hurting.
Jun 30, 2003
My grandmother died last week and was cremated today. I couldn't go to the funeral because the baby still hasn't come, and I couldn't risk driving all the way to Chelmsford when a week overdue.
Most of the rest of the family was there - even Miriam got back from America just in time to go straight from the airport - so Grandad had lots of support. I don't think anyone will be hurt that I didn't go, but I wish I could have gone. Even though I wasn't very close to her I would have liked to have been able to say goodbye.
To make matters worse, I tried to order some flowers for the funeral online, and my internet connection died in the middle of the order, and didn't recover until I'd missed the deadline and it was too late to send them.
I wish this baby would come soon. I'll miss the wedding as well, if it doesn't hurry up.
Apr 16, 2003
Only ten or twelve weeks left now and everything is going well. I'm hovering between 'I wish it was all over' and 'help, only 3 months left'. My two children are wonderful, good, super-intelligent angels, which I'm sure will make it much easier for me than for most people. I can never quite believe how wonderful they are - how can they be so much more advanced than all the other children I know, and yet still be so well behaved and happy?
Granny is home and coping well - she needs people with her most of the time, but she's making herself coffee and insisting on doing the washing up and looking so much better. If it were anything other than her hip that was broken she'd probably be going for her daily walk again by now. It was only a few years ago that she struggled to the top of the great dune mountain, walking backwards because she couldn't manage it forwards, and only discovered much later that the sore ankle she'd been hiding from us was actually broken.
Mar 19, 2003
Granny is recovering amazingly fast. She is out of bed and even trying walking again already - and now it doesn't leave her totally prostrated with pain. She seems to be mentally back to normal, which is a huge relief, and there's even a suggestion that she might be able to cope with a visit from my kids in the near future.
Clara should be being evacuated but the Saudi government have her passport so she can't leave, and Daddy hasn't got his passport either. From what I've heard things haven't got much worse in the last day or two, but I'd be happier if I knew they could leave if necessary.
Mummy is probably stranded here at least for the duration of the war, since there don't seem to be as many flights as normal. There's something about the route that many airlines don't like...
Apparently on the way over, the map that shows the progress of the aeroplane suddenly stopped working as the plane approached Iraq and didn't start again until the plane was over Europe.
Mar 16, 2003
Nearly two weeks ago my grandmother was rushed into hospital with low sodium levels and a terrible pain in her right leg. This week, after days of trying to get her to exercise the leg, she was diagnosed as having a broken hip and today she finally had her operation. For several days it's been imminent but until today she wasn't well enough; she had two seizures on Wednesday and Thursday.
Apparently the op went well and she is recovering, which after the uncetainty of the last two weeks is wonderful news. We didn't really think she'd ever be well enough. Perhaps now she can really start to heal.
She's 91 but didn't seem a day over 75 until all this happened. The last time I saw her, last Sunday, she seemed really old, but that may have been a combination of an undiagnosed broken hip and well meaning physios trying to get her back on her feet as soon as possible by walking her up and down by her bed.
We still don't know if she'll ever be back mentally to where she was before because she's been on morphine since the diagnosis, so we don't know how much of her confused state is due to that, or exhaustion, rather than the seizures.
Mar 4, 2003
I'm now 23 weeks and 6 days, so I'm past the stage where we lost Alexander.
Our fourth baby is due on the 24th (or possibly 27th according to the scans) of June this year and everything is going well.
The biggest complication is my sister's wedding on the 12th of July. I can see myself missing that. After all, Isobel was 17 days late.
I'm going for another home birth, if the baby will co-operate.
Unfortunately there's no news on the gender, since the baby kept its legs crossed for the duration of my 20 week scan.
Oct 21, 2002
I've finally been diagnosed! Apparently I've got Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome. It's such a relief to know that there is really something wrong - I'm not just naturally lazy, fat and hairy. Maybe now I'm on medication I may find the energy to start updating my page more regularly.
We are well into rehearsals for 'Babes' and it is going surprisingly well. We've finally got a full cast list, after several drop outs, and the chorus have learned nearly all their music.
We're also well into learning our Christmas music in the church choir, and have set a date - the 19th Dec - for a carol concert.
After a very bad start, when she breathed meconium and was in intensive care for a while, my youngest niece, Lydia, is home and doing well. Since she was born in Australia we haven't seen her yet but apparently she looks like her big brother, so she must be beautiful.
Charlotte is now three. I can hardly believe it, except that she speaks and acts well beyond her age. She's a wonderful child. We gave her a camera for her birthday and she's grasped the basics really well. She took it to my cousin Louise's wedding and took some really lovely pictures.
Lou got married last weekend down near Bristol. It was a lovely place but rather a long way away. We decided to drive home the same evening instead of staying for the disco so we missed Jon's band playing, which is a shame in a way because although Lou and Jon have been together for years I've never heard his band. And it might have been cool to be able to say that I was at a private gig with Groove Armada (I'm not even sure that's how it's spelled - I'm definitely past it)
I'm not sure it's my kind of music though.
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