Tuesday 23 December 2014

2014: A Year of New

So. We got busy. So busy I haven't updated the blog for about 4 months. Babies really do take over your life! Time for the yearly round up and to see just what happened to House of Peartree in 2014.


When I left off last year we had just completed the purchase of our new house. January 2014 is all about moving in and unpacking: cardboard box after cardboard box is unpacked and our new territory is explored. The first commute - we misjudge and have to stand up until Tottenham. Aargh - have we moved to a nightmare commute? Luckily not. Amusement that the Stansted Express has a trolley service, even when it is packed with commuters and there is noreal room for any trolley to make its way down the train.

Actually, January is not all about moving. We discover that Family Peartree will be growing in the autumn. This is our Otto - so-named because baby will be due in October. Nervous and excited.


Making plans for the future: ordering furniture, booking our first midwife appointment. Is this really happening? It seems so - pregnancy sickness in full swing, particularly during the morning commute (sorry, Liverpool Street travellers). Secretive second breakfasts, furtive making of herbal teas in the office to avoid awkward questions.


Hard decisions about work choices. I have been on a temporary contract on a lower than desirable salary, and there has been far too much dithering as to whether the firm will make my contract permanent. How long do I wait? Is it worth the daily sickness travelling in, sitting at my desk feeling sick half the morning, suspecting that if the firm knows I'm pregnant they could easily find a reason not to extend my contract?

A week off - various pregnancy appointments, a new car and painting what is going to be the nursery.

Cake with AOW ladies - always a happy experience and it's lovely when we get to meet up in real life. I can't help but let slip to one friend our news of Otto. It's lovely how happy she is for us.

Our first scan - there really is a little wriggling human in there. Little arms and legs and everything. We are in delighted awe. I can't help but laugh as the sonographer constantly refers to our 'active baby'.

Finally getting to tell our families and friends - seeing their delighted faces and receiving happy messages. It's weird knowing that the secret we've been keeping since January is fully out in the open. Maybe not that fully, as I am still hiding it from work colleagues.

Eventually deciding to hand in my notice - working up the nerve to send 'that' email.


New books to read courtesy of the #AOWBookSwap again - this time from a lovely lady called Katrina who sends me two books and some Easter chocolate. The latter soon disappears. I love being part of a wonderful community of such smart, brilliant, friendly women.

Last day at work - scary. My colleagues are far nicer than expected and there are gifts and a card. I alternate between fear that I will struggle to find another job in the future and (following another bout of sickness) relief that I won't need to face the train journey any more.


Our first wedding anniversary - celebrated with a weekend in Norfolk. It mostly rains, but we head out for a drive during the brief hour or so of sunlight and stumble across a cafe serving amazing fish finger sandwiches.

We also go for afternoon tea and walk round the grounds of our wedding reception venue. We pop into the hall on our way past - the place feels alive with the ghosts of our wedding. I can picture where everyone was sitting. It's wonderful to relive the day and focus on how far we have come.
Our second scan. The little person is growing well, there are fingers and toes and a spine and organs. It's magical to see, and a relief that everything is still ok. I am still being sick so it is nice to relax and not to have to get out of the house first thing every morning.


A holiday in the south of France, our last before Otto arrives. It is very hot, and not hugely relaxing, but it's good to have the time together. We mostly go swimming, wander round Avignon and eat a lot of icecream.


An appointment with a physiotherapist to try and tackle the pelvic girdle pain which has overtaken sickness/nausea as the most annoying pregnancy symptom. Walking is getting pretty painful.

New task: driving lessons. As the sickness has more or less gone, and I'm short of much else to do with my time except relax, I decide that now would be a good time to tackle the lack of driving licence in my life. Can I do this before Otto arrives?


 Driving theory test passed - hurrah! Booking practical test and I have to pick a date in mid September. I will be over 38 weeks pregnant. This is a crazy idea, surely?!

Celebrating 5 years of Team Peartree by heading into London for a very tasty afternoon tea at the Chesterfield Mayfair. We wander round Green Park for a bit, reliving one of our first dates from back in 2009.

NCT classes - meeting fellow pregnant couples from the area. Feeling nervous at first, but they're all really nice and we seem to get on well.


A new role at work for Alan, who is busy with the handover of old responsibilities and learning about the new.

Lunch with the NCT ladies - by the time this happens one of the babies has already arrived and the next one is due the following week. It's all starting to happen!

We have decorators in to transform the ground floor rooms from their bland white before Otto arrives. I spend a fortnight making coffee and putting biscuits out. The decorators are lovely and do a fantastic job. The house is starting to take shape.

A quiet birthday for me - we have cake, homemade by Alan (and delicious!) and a takeaway.

Day of the Driving Test approaches. I am so nervous, especially after having had a practice session the day before which seems to go disastrously. The test itself goes well, and I perform the best reverse round a corner of my life. This is the maneouvre I was dreading so once that's over and I know it was good I can relax a bit and just drive. Test PASSED! I can hardly believe it.

That's it, we're ready for Otto. As ready as you can be when you feel like you're revising for an exam but the teacher hasn't covered half the syllabus. I try to relax, taking the opportunity for lots of long baths and devouring whole books within a couple of days.

Otto is actually Helena! She arrives just before 1am on 12 October, weighing 8lb10.5oz, to the sounds of the Bob Harris show on Radio 2. We don't get the home birth we were planning for, but it doesn't matter. We are parents. We have a daughter.

A week on, and we are readmitted to hospital because I have an infection. We spend three days camped in a side room on the postnatal ward - thank goodness Helena and Alan are allowed to stay with me. We think we are lucky to have a room on our own - it turns out this is standard for readmissions so that new babies and parents aren't exposed to the risk of infection. Disappointing but hey, we still enjoy the private space.

The rest of the month passes in a blur of getting used to having a new little person in our lives. She is beautiful, but this is hard.


 Things settle down a bit and we get into more of a routine. Alan's birthday, again quieter this year but I still manage to bake a birthday cake. A weekend of food, going out for lunch on Saturday and then homecooked fajitas and icecream sundaes the next day. A fun evening spent with family at home rather than in a restaurant this year.


 Alan has a week off work - we go Christmas shopping in Cambridge and then buy our Christmas tree, a little early this year but we're too excited as it's our first Christmas in our new house, and our first Christmas as a trio rather than a couple. It all feels far more festive this year as we decorate the house, making notes for next year when we will be more established. Helena loves the shiny baubles and wants to look at them constantly.

Our neighbours invite us round for Christmassy drinks - everyone coos over Helena who is entanced by the roaring fire and then falls asleep.

We've been here for nearly a year, and it's been amazing to be able to start building our family and our forever home. We are already making plans spanning next year and beyond.

Merry Christmas everyone - and a very happy 2015 to you.