36 in, 36 out – and a year on from a Parentcraft milestone

albs 1 week
Albie at one week old – clearly loving life already!

Babies qualify for milestones that adults can’t get away with – like when I told you about Albie’s 12 ‘birthdays’ in a year. Click here for a reminder.

Yesterday, Hanna introduced another unusual landmark which I didn’t know existed. For the purposes of this blog, we’ll call it the ‘in/out celebration’.

This is when baby has reached the point in its life when it’s been out in the big, wide world for the same time it was festering in amniotic fluid, nice and warm, sleeping and waking up to hiccup or drink said fluid containing its own wee. Nice!

Most babies will reach this mark some time around the 40-week mark – but Albie of course made an early entrance out the sunroof and his magic moment was 36 weeks.

We didn’t mark this with cake, rather it gave Hanna another opportunity to share some cute snaps of the monkey (sorry, folks!). It was a reminder, though, of the 18 scans, 50 CTG monitoring visits and ten weeks of worry before Albie hit the ground running on his outside world stint.

It’s fair to say the ‘out’ phase has gone far quicker than the ‘in’ bit. Keeping our pregnancy news a secret for the first few weeks made the early days pass agonisingly slowly, while the latter period was hellish. At least he was keeping his vomit inside the vehicle at that point, though.

It was another anniversary which captured my attention yesterday, though. It coincided with the day we booked our Parentcraft sessions.

Parentcraft isn’t what it says on the tin. It’s not an opportunity to hone your Blue Peter makes skills before birth, nor does it teach you those all-important lessons, like’what to do when your dairy-free baby’s screaming because he can’t lick your ice cream, or how to get your pride and joy to sleep in his cot when he’s certain your bed’s a better bet.

Parentcraft’s only perk

It’s a journey through the end of pregnancy and getting through the inevitable pains along the way, delivered by the NHS for those of us who are too cheapskate to pay for the NCT posh version.

I was dreading it. A whole day out of our precious weekend time, at a time when such time was soon to be engulfed by a needy infant. Not a great start.

If Albie had come at 28 weeks as he first threatened, Parentcraft would have been avoided. For me, it was the only downside of him sorting himself out and cooking a while longer – though I guess it was for the greater good!

So, semi-cursing our unborn child, a few weeks later we headed to our class and proceeded to learn about the technical inner workings behind what I’d term the ‘perfect pregnancy’.

It was lovely to learn about natural births, pain relief and even the massage techniques us birthing partners can do to help…I’ll try to save it for next time.

I may have dozed off in the afternoon session but I don’t recall the section which covered all I needed to know about our experience. Things like:

  • What to do if the ‘one size fits all’ scrubs I had to wear to the theatre definitely didn’t fit my more slender frame?
  • Why, when walking into theatre, was Hanna on the table shaking like Mr Jelly, with a drape like it had been used as a prop in Psycho? (Answer: not a malfunctioning TENS machine the midwives tried to flog us but a side effect of the drugs/they made a bit of a mess of the spinal)
  • How to deliver the recommended massage techniques with an operating table in the way?
  • What the hell to do when your partner is producing more sick than your refluxy baby would go on to produce, leaving you on your own?
  • Which of the five bags I packed the nappies in when Albie did his first poo? (Answer: the last one I checked)
  • How to sleep in the non-reclining hospital chairs when staying overnight (Answer: sling the chair, sleep on the floor!)

I may not have given Parentcraft my full attention. We knew at that point it was unlikely the stock experience would be our reality.

I do recall winning a bar of chocolate in a parenting quiz, though, and there was tea provided. Every cloud…



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