On almost every pregnancy-after-infertility blog that I have ever read, sooner or later it becomes time for the obligatory 'decorating the nursery' post. Even now, I find these posts difficult to read. I look at the photographs of the crib, of the rows of little outfits hanging expectantly in the wardrobe and of the lovingly stencilled bunny rabbits scampering around the newly painted walls, and I wonder, how can you forget so easily? How can you read of the terrible losses that occur each and every day in our little community and somehow assume that you are safely immune from such tragedy?
At a little over thirty weeks, I have yet to buy so much as a bootee. I still find it difficult to make the imaginative leap from 'pregnancy' to 'baby'.
My husband, on the other hand, has decided that we need to start Making Plans For When The Baby Arrives. We live in a teeny-tiny, two-up, two-down terraced house that was initially built by an enlightened Victorian factory owner to house his workers. For the two of us, it is perfect. Factor in a child, however, and it starts to seem very cramped indeed. In the current economic climate, now does not seem the right time to attempt to sell the house, or indeed to take on a bigger mortgage in order to buy somewhere larger, and so Mr H has decided to embark upon a series of home improvements, designed to ensure that we have room for a baby as well as for all of our existing stuff.
I currently use the second bedroom as a study. Now, however, I need to be re-homed so that the baby will have somewhere to sleep. Mr H has hit on the bright idea of turning the cupboard under the stairs into a workspace for me. This in turn means that we have to find somewhere to put everything that previously lived under the stairs. Mr H's master plan is to incorporate into the house as much built-in storage as possible. In addition to my new under-the-stairs workspace, we are having additional shelving built in the living room and new wardrobes fitted in our bedroom. His plans for the re-model have got progressively more ambitious and now also include having new flooring fitted throughout the house, as well as additional lighting in the dining room and kitchen. Last week, he decided that, while we were having all the work done, we might as well also have the boiler replaced and the kitchen ceiling replastered.
Having formulated this master plan, he then promptly disappeared to Geneva on business, leaving me to schedule these various works. The joiner is currently assembling the new bedroom wardrobes, the electrician is chasing holes in the dining room and kitchen walls, while the plumber appears to flit between the kitchen and the loft. Tomorrow, my band of merry men will also be joined by a plasterer, who will begin making good where the other tradesmen have been. I have had no heating or hot water since Tuesday, and the entire house is covered in a thick layer of dust. Various radios, all of which appear to be set to competing stations, are blaring forth, and the loo seat is permanently left up.
The cat and I have retreated to my study, which we now share with a mountain of precariously stacked boxes. In the evenings, we move downstairs to the living room, where, after having wiped up the worst of the dust, we huddle together for warmth under a blanket. Mr H certainly knows how to schedule his work assignments!