Topic 5 Posts


I did a thing

Me in the delivery room with my new daughter

OK, Zoe did most of the work, but I contributed.

Our birth story is not remarkable, probably not very different to many other peoples' but it's special to me and it was the most terrifying few days of my life. Which is weird because nothing really went wrong it's just that nothing went particularly right.

We had a plan. Most couples have a plan for how they expect the birth to go, it's encouraged, it's even in the badger app. [1] We wanted a water birth, we did not get one. Luckily step one of our plan was 'be flexible' because oh boy did we flex.

I'm writing this on the 23rd of February 2024 and my daughter was born on the 22nd. She was due on the 7th of March. In one of our last scans it was noticed that our girl's growth had fallen below the expected curve by an amount that had them worried. They decided she'd need to be delivered early. Not overly early, she was already at 37 weeks which is considered 'term' so it wasn't scary it was just ... unexpected.

We were due to be admitted onto the ward for an induction on what turned out to be our daughter's birthday but last weekend she gave us another scare. This time by not moving all day. That had us in the hospital getting things checked right away because that's a scary moment. She was fine (and went back to her normal wriggling at 1am that morning) but the doctor said 'we wanted to induce because there was one thing that worried us, now there's two, so we're just going to admit you today'.

Just like that Zoe was on the ward and we'd started induction but that takes a long, long time. It's also subject to the whim of emergencies cutting the queue infront of you because they can somewhat manage it. A few days of hanging out in the ward followed. Zoe's sister came and visited which was honestly a god send. She's a mother of two herself and a nurse so she was in her element. She basically stayed with Zoe the whole time. With the notable exception of the day we gave her keys to our home and sent her to our place to get some goddamn sleep! The ward stay was uneventful but hardly relaxing. Then, things began to happen.

On Wednesday about 11pm we were moved from the ward to the delivery suite. Because of the reasons we were there the midwives wanted to monitor baby throughout so monitors were wired up to Zoe. She was also put on a hormone drip. And another drip for the pain management drugs. Oh and a nasal canular for oxygen as her saturation dropped a bit. If you've ever been present for a woman's labour you'll know that if your ideal vision is a water birth and your reality is being wired to a monitor, a drip in each hand, a tube up your nose and machines beeping and rumbling all around you then that's pretty much the exact opposite.

I won't take you through all the gory details of what happened for the next eight hours but suffice it to say I hated it. I don't do great with seeing people I love in pain and that's what I was seeing. Pain for a good reason but pain nontheless. It didn't help that I hadn't slept well the night before, or any night this week.

It wasn't all bad though. There were moments of amusement that will live with me forever. The drugs were good drugs. Zoe on occasion would burble the kinds of things only someone very, very high would say. I'll never forget the way the midwife would lean in listening intently when she heard her start to speak, her face contorted in concentration as she tried to decipher what was being said and then morphing into a look of utter confusion when she heard what it was. For example I distinctly remember Zoe saying, slurred and soft, how glad she was our bathroom lights didn't work. [2] When the midwife would hear these things she'd unfailingly look to me and baby's auntie to see if we could make any sense of it. We couldn't.

Hours later, with everyone in the room exhausted, we had a daughter. There was screaming, tears, blood, tense moments and laughs and in the end there was a baby girl.

For her first hour our daughter lay on Zoe, skin to skin. [3] This is an important bonding moment between mother and daughter. After that 'golden hour' though the midwives really needed to see to my partner who had undergone the kinds of physical trauma you might expect when a whole human being emerges from inside you. So the baby was put on me.

Confession time. While there's a lot about being a parent that scares me my biggest fear was at all times that I wouldn't ... want to be. If that makes sense? I mean I wanted to be a parent but I don't like babies. I'm uncomfortable around them. People coo and I am unmoved. I just didn't 'get it' when people talk about babies. So when they put this tiny, fragile, purple blob of person on me I was filled with fear that I wouldn't feel anything.

Reader, if you feel like I did you'll also react like I did when someone tells you 'it's different when it's yours' but, well, it is.

Within three hours of being alive my daughter freely urinated all over me and within three hours of her being alive I didn't care.

  1. if you know, you know, if you don't know then you're probably wondering what the fuck badgers have to do with this. I'm not telling you. ↩︎

  2. They do, I don't make her piss in the dark ↩︎

  3. Another thing I'll never forget was Zoe looking at our daughter as she was put on her chest and saying 'how are you real?' ↩︎

Be a Dog, Empty Head

Be a Dog, Empty Head
A 60s style poster art image (AI generated) of a golden retriever in a field of flowers.

I know what this means. Zoe knows what this means. That's all that matters. 😄

Hurry Up And Wait

An AI generated image of a black cat sitting on moving boxes with a clock.
An AI generated image of a black cat sitting on moving boxes with a clock.(Hey look, I got access to the Adobe Firefly beta)

It's a saying that as far as I know originated in the military but it's applicable all over the place and not least in my life recently.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I'm getting ready to move house and if things had gone to plan that would be happening tomorrow. But you're a savvy reader and probably already picked up on the past tense usage. Turns out that the people whose flat we're buying have run in to a problem with the property they, in turn, are buying. Specifically the title deed is ambiguous as to exactly what property it describes. This is deeply ironic considering that we've had similar concerns about the deed to their property ourselves. The irony doesn't change the outcome though and that outcome is that our move has been delayed.

The knock-on effect of that is that any plans I have to buy new hardware, furniture, etc, etc are all delayed. Which is frustrating. The more frustrating part is that I have literally nothing to do. See, I was made redundant a couple of months ago and while I found a new job pretty quickly and relatively easily1 I delayed the start date to accomodate the move. Now that the move has been delayed I'll be having to take time off right at the start of the new job which helps neither side and I've been sitting on my ass in the meantime.

The silver lining here is that I've got a new home and a new job to look forward to in the near future and I've had a lot of time to play Timberborn.

A screenshot of a beaver village from the game Timberborn.
For real, though, why did I wait so long to start playing this game?

1: I actually walked out of one of my interviews utterly convinced I'd blown it. It's not the first time I've convinced myself I've failed a technical interview only to subsequantly get the job. I should probably take the hint not to be so hard on myself, huh?  

A Moving Experience

An AI generated image depicting a black cat sitting on moving boxes in a suburban living room.
This is not my cat. This is what an AI thinks a black cat sitting on a moving box in a suburban living room looks like.

I guess this is the first post of this blog and it seems a reasonable place to start. I moved to Scotland with my partner right at the end of 2019. We were selling a flat in London and moved into a rented flat, thinking we'd be here a few months while we settled in to Glasgow and found a place to buy. Then a few things happened.

I mean they happened.

First, legislation came in after the Grenfell Tower fire about cladding on high rise buildings. Eminently sensible legislation, let's be clear, but the problem was without a certificate saying your high rise flat was safe it wasn't mortgageable. My buyer pulled out. So now I was stuck renting a place in Glasgow and paying for a place in London which I couldn't sell.

Well, it's not the worst thing that could happen. We'll get the survey done, get the certificate and sell it again.

Of course it turns out there's only a limited number of people in the country qualified to do that survey and issue that certificate and there's a lot of high rise buildings to cover. It also turns out that when a global pandemic hits and everyone is put on furlough those certificates are not getting issued in a hurry.

I think you can probably see where this is going. We've been in that same rented flat in Glasgow for a lot more than a few months. We did, eventually, sell the flat in London. We then found a nice place we wanted to buy in Glasgow and after some legal tooing and froing were just about ready to buy when... it turns out it's at risk of flooding. We consider the risk and the fact that we both believe climate related events are just going to get more common and... pass. We go back to house hunting.

Then we found another place, looks great for us. Even has a great basement. We could finish that and have even more room down the line... except the basement isn't on the title deed. Huh. Commence more delays and more legal tooing and froing. Well, here we are end of March 2023 and it looks like we're really, really close to moving. Finally. Three years late.

Now what that means is my life is about to get interesting as for various reasons I have a fairly decent bit of money stashed ready for this move so we're going to be doing some renovations, installing some new tech and generally making the place our own. Which will give me a lot to document that I'll probably want to look back on in the future.

Hence, a blog.

It's going to be about, well, stuff that happens to me. It's a personal diary more than anything but if you get something out of reading it then welcome!