Category Archives: engagement

Shout out to my eggs…

Autumn 2016

The bigger house has been bought. The wedding has happened. The DVLA has been updated. We’ve been ready for, well, years. Let’s get on with it…

A few weeks later the boobs feel a bit off, the gin tastes a bit wrong, and sure enough, the second line on the fragrant stick makes a faint but unmistakable appearance. The Ragu is pregnant. The womble occupied. A bump is once more hitting the road of our lives – and my midriff – and it is time, sadly, to put. the. wine. down.

We were extremely lucky. But there’s always more to the story, and for us, this one began long before the day a week before the wedding when I put my half-finished packet of pills away for good.

Spring 2015

Lara is all cute squishy cuddles* between 12 and 18 months, tottering around but still light enough to pick up without needing to conjure memories of PE teacher instruction first (“lift with your legs, not your back, Sarah**!”), sleeping through the night, no longer breastfeeding, still napping for a good two to three hours during the day. I was writing novels, blogging semi-regularly like a boss, watching daytime TV, taking the delightful offspring for buggy walks in the woods, having play dates… Life was great. Why wouldn’t we want more of it?

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Then Gary proposed. We spent the next 24 hours discussing wedding plans, honeymoon destinations, plotting really-funny-actually-and-not-at-all-geeky-and-lame ways to tell our friends and family, and somewhere between the first and second bottles of prosecco, we realised that none of these plans fitted the next couple of years with a new baby. I didn’t want to be a pregnant bride. I wanted to get drunk, dammit, and I wanted to go on a honeymoon that wasn’t governed by leaking boobs, strict bedtimes, wailing infants and toddler-approved activities. I remembered what it was like when Lara was first born. I didn’t want to have to juggle caring for a newborn and a toddler with, well, anything, let alone planning a wedding. So we decided to wait. It was a sensible decision and, this side of what turned out not only to be a summer of wedding planning but also house moving, I can safely say it was 100% the right one. But I can’t say it didn’t sting, just a little bit. I still had this wanting feeling. It didn’t just go away because I told it no. People around me got pregnant and I swallowed the jealousy. The months began to pass. The babies came and grew. The wedding was finally booked for the following year. Life continued to tick on by. The wanting yawned and poked. I ignored it.

Winter 2016/17

So you see, it wasn’t really as simple as it first sounds. This child might not have been tried for for very long, but it’s been dreamed about for years. And it’s never as simple as wanting to have a baby = positive test = all good, lovely and fine for the next nine months. Pregnancy is bloody terrifying. There are so, so many things that can go wrong. The first 12 weeks are mostly spent terrified of spotting blood everytime*** you go to the toilet, analysing every twitch and twinge south of the equator, not to mention battling sporadic moments of nausea and dry heaving your way around the single, plain cracker that you know to be your salvation (even if your stomach does not). On top of all that, your list of people to complain to is annoyingly short because of the high risks, which brings us round full circle to the ever-present anxiety and knicker-checking. Every day is a hard-won battle. But every day also brings a little more light as you inch ever closer to the time when the risks drop and the nausea goes and it is suddenly, miraculously, OK to feel excited because suddenly everything is actually all a little bit more lovely. You know you will probably get there. You know that everything will probably be fine. But you also know that sometimes, it is not.

We were lucky. We made it out of the first trimester, saw our awkwardly-positioned infant cavorting on the ultrasound screen and smiled through the pain of a full bladder and the really-quite-hard pressure placed upon it by the sonographer’s wand thingy as Bubby Number Two refused to reveal its neck measurements… And now, here we are. The grandparents have been informed. My sister has started knitting. The bump is firmly lodged in my midriff. The anxiety is… well, it’s under control. And, yes, things are looking admittedly lovely.

I just wish I hadn’t lost those bloody scan photos.

*spot the rose-tinted mother-to-be conveniently forgetting all the tantrums and poo explosions.

**naturally my crapness at PE lost me the right to be called by my given name for the five years I took the subject

***and, when pregnant, everytime becomes a hell of a lot of times. Something I had forgotten in the interval of four years.

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The Great Wedding Quagmire

wedding quagmire

Totally not panicking at all in the slightest at all.

In a little under five months I will be getting married. Which means that I am currently neck-deep in the quirky, sticky, confusing and oh-so-expensive quagmire of Planning A Wedding. Or, in perhaps more accurate terms, Planning A Stupidly Complicated And Perilously Open To All Kinds Of Disasters Including Losing Elderly Relatives Off A Cliff Marriage Of Persons. That didn’t fit on the invitations, however, so for continuity’s sake we shall hereby refer to the former labelling.

You see, our wedding is no ordinary affair. For starters it is to take place a sturdy 200 miles away from where 80% of our guests live (including the bride and groom). A ‘destination wedding’ if you will (which makes it sounds a lot more idyllic and palm tree-sy than the cowpatty, sand-in-all-crevices reality). Actually, it’s more like a destinationS wedding, due to our genius decision to locate our reception a good 25 miles or so away from the ceremony – and by ‘good’ I actually mean winding, one-lane, boggy, proper-country-lane miles which will take our guests at least 45 minutes or so to navigate. That is if they don’t go the route with the honest-to-God ford slap bang in the middle of it. (Unfortunately we learned this the hard way on our first venue visit… “It’s not too deep, look it’s just a like really big puddle… Hmm, getting a little deeper now. Is that an entirely normal sound coming from the engine? Oh my GOD there’s a BOAT MOORED IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PUDDLE, TURN THE F*CK AROUND!” Gary’s Passat still hasn’t forgiven us.) Unfortunately this is also the route insisted upon by all satellite navigation systems. But, you know, so few wedding receptions these days lack that air of tense, wrangled, last-nerve-twitching air of harassment among their arriving guests…

My point being, this is not the easiest wedding to plan. But I still think we’re doing ok… I mean, when I sit and plan and make lists and talk myself out of having an attack of the vapours over the mother-fudging cost of every mother-fudging detail, everything does seem to be ticking along ok. There’re a few things left to sort out – the coaches, Gary’s suit, the bridesmaid and flower girl dresses, the reading of the banns, those pesky 5lbs I’d quite like to lose… But the big things are sorted. The invites have gone out. The RSVPs are trickling back. People haven’t yet started turning up on our doorsteps with large mallets shouting about how complicated we’ve made everything with our double-destinations and coach ride options and hard-to-access ceremony location necessitating a one mile walk to the coach pick up point… On the contrary, most seem to be genuinely excited about the whole thing, and those who can’t certainly seem disappointed and not at all relieved…

I don’t have any real cause to feel anxious at the moment. So why, when I have no real reason for it, do I still feel that tremulous, insistent bite of panic when people ask how the wedding plans are coming along? Why do I give that nervy, wild-eyed stare and start barking off my check lists in their faces? Why do I always finish in an incrementing crescendo along the lines of: “I think we’re ok… I THINK so… There’s nothing URGENT I need to be figuring out right now… right? RIGHT? WHAT DO YOU THINK, THOUGH, IS THERE SOMETHING I’VE FORGOTTEN?”

That, I think, is the key point. Planning a wedding is just so undeniably important. It’s fun, it’s stressful, you meet wonderful people, you get frequent bubbles of joy when you plan and book a detail that’s going to be SO AMAZING, you have wine-fuelled late nights with your intended other half and plan details and share brilliance and have those moments when you look at each other and know you’re thinking the exact same thoughts… But it’s all still just so undeniably important and undeniably terrifying. And the most terrifying thing of all isn’t the cost or the potential for things to go wrong on the day or the fact it will be all over far too fast… Those are things I can’t control. I know the day won’t be entirely perfect. I’m not expecting or even hoping for perfection – after all, some of the most memorable parts of a wedding day, the incidents which inspire the funniest stories (shout out to Mrs R-C and the malfunctioning Austin Princess bridesmaid car) are the parts which go a bit haywire…

What I am terrified about is messing something up now. I know how easy it would be for me to forget to do something, overlook some little detail which turns into a glaring, blackly obvious hole on the day itself… So please, please, Gods of all Inadvisably Complicated And Unintentionally Hazardous Events, if something is going to go wrong on my wedding day, please let it not be a big deal. Let it be funny – along the lines of a beautiful vintage car full of bridesmaids drifting to an idle stop in the middle of a busy junction as its elderly driver swears loudly… Please just don’t let it be because I forgot to return a phone call or dress a flower girl or invite a distant aunt at some point during this sticky, expensive navigation of the quagmire in which I, like so many before me, find myself currently residing.


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