New Year’s Eve

Ahhhh… mango, mango, mango. And maybe a few olives. It’s week 11 of the pregnancy and the nausea has evolved from being a constant, background sensation to being absent, until I smell, see, or think about cooked food – when it surges back. Am totally repulsed by the thought of a hot dinner, in particular fried onions and meat (bleurgh). My poor husband has been pandering to me and we spent an hour shivering in our house with all the doors open to rid the rooms of the smell of a meat stew he had lovingly but misguidedly taken the initiative to prepare. Today I’ve just eaten fresh fruit and salad roughage, which is good because unfortunately my desire for chocolate hasn’t wained at all. As soon as I taste a square of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk I’m like a shark that’s detected blood and proceed to inhale the rest of a 200gram bar in a matter of minutes like a Labrador. Jake (husband) is concerned about the lack of meat I’m consuming, but my friend (who gave birth a few months ago) says you crave steaks in the third trimester, so I’ll make it up then. For now I just want delicious fruit and green leaves.

Other strange pregnancy observations (that probably no one wants to read about) are that I keep doing loads of burps ( I usually only do a handful of burps a year – honestly). And I keep waking up dribbling on my pillow. Rank.

Feeling grotty and frumpy as haven’t exercised much over the Christmas period. I’m back to work on Thursday which entails an hour walk there and back which will get me back into shape and hopefully more energised.

I went to have most of the surface area of my body waxed and preened today, so I’m feeling marginally more glam. I have my eye on a number of indulgent looking massages and facials on their price list which I’m going to treat myself to later on in the pregnancy, seeing as I’ve already saved about a thousand pounds not drinking alcohol in restaurants (exaggeration, probably).

I don’t have any kind of pregnancy belly yet, I’m just getting a thick, podgy middle and love handles. I can’t wait until my bump pops out. We are going on a family holiday to Tenerife in May and I want to show it off in my bikini if my belly button doesn’t look too unsightly.

So, it’s New Year’s Eve tonight and regretfully Jake and I are spending it apart. Before I fell pregnant we’d intended on going to see his family in Canterbury for New Year as we stayed at my folks for Xmas, but I’m just not up to it. His family are a party family – something which I usually relish but right now is completely at odds with the way I feel: delicate, protective of my body, tired and emotional. Nights with Jake’s family go on into the small hours and involve a lot of wine drinking, cigarette smoking, singing, looking at rude videos on You Tube and usually a booze fuelled argument between any combination of himself, his mum or his sister (always resolved and forgotten in the morning). So we agreed that he would go on his own as I really didn’t want him staying in with me and David Attenborough, perhaps feeling resentful. And I am definitely better off here on the sofa watching The Blue Planet, eating mango.

Booking Appointment

Feeling happy and relaxed after my first appointment with the Midwife this morning. The visit got off to a distressing start when I went to the loo to do my urine sample. As I tried to squeeze out a wee I felt a sharp pain in my lower right side, which persisted and continued to grow in circumference until it overcame me and I slid off the toilet seat and lay grimacing on the toilet floor in the foetal position with my pants round my ankles. I could feel myself sweating and my face felt completely drained of warmth. I lay on the floor listening to my phone vibrating in my bag – my husband wondering why I’d been so long. Eventually it subsided and I pulled myself together, managed to pass a measly cm of wee. In the waiting room I told my husband what had happened and he looked worried. I thought at the very least if something bad is happening I’m in the right place for it. I’d handed in my sample and filled in numerous forms, and then it was my turn to see the Midwife. My Midwife is called Scarlett, she’s a lovely, smiley lady – I wouldn’t put her any older than 27. I told her immediately what had happened and she said it sounded very much like a urinary infection and in addition to this they’d found traces of protein in my urine sample, which would also point to a urine infection. She asked if I’d been drinking enough water and admittedly, I haven’t. I’m tired of going to the loo 35 times a day, and I was especially thirsty last night but I was also knackered and didn’t want to get out of bed and go downstairs – not to mention get up again 2 hours later in the middle of the night to go to the toilet yet again. Anyway, I’m pretty relieved that that’s what it most likely is, and nothing related to the grubb. I’m under instruction to carry a bottle of water with me to sip at all times as standard for the rest of the pregnancy. The urine sample has gone off for confirmation of the infection and I have an option to take anti b’s if it’s confirmed.

I’m also under strict instructions from Scarlett to stop Googling things related to the pregnancy. I told her about my neurosis about pretty much everything and the things I’d read online – that you can have miscarriages without blood, that hot baths can hurt the foetus, that organs can prolapse out of your vagina during birth, etc… I feel much calmer now I’ve spoken to a professional. I wish they offered some kind of consultation at the beginning when you’re in prime Google mode.

The great thing about the visit was that following the barrage of medical questions I was asked (including one checking whether or not my husband and I were related!) Scarlett assessed my pregnancy as 0% risk – which means I am eligible to give birth in the Malden Suite. The Malden Suite is down the corridor from the regular birthing ward and has baths for water births, exercise balls and ropes that you can swing from in the throes of agony like a demented Orangutang. You cannot arrange to have an epidural if you are booked into the Malden Suite, but if it turns out you really need one – they can move you into the birthing ward. I figure I may as well start off with the intention of not having an epi, and see how it goes. Naive as I may be.

First Appointment!!!

First appointment!!!

My first appointment is booked!! A medical check on the 28th and the first scan on the 7th Jan – eeeek! Apparently Kingston Hospital is a very popular choice with women to give birth. I was SO excited reading my letters from the hospital. Apparently I have to drink 6 glasses of water the hour before the scan. Lots of leaflets about prenatal classes and yoga came with it as well. I’ve decided already that I don’t want a diagnostic test for Downs Syndrome, not if an increased chance of miscarriage comes with it. My husband Jake is in agreement. The baby will be who he is and we will love him.

Work Christmas Lunch

Refusing wine at my work Christmas lunch was navigated fairly well today. We were seated on two, long tables so only the few people next to and opposite me noticed I was uncharacteristically on the wagon throughout. I was asked at one point whether I was detoxing, to which I answered that I was taking it easy as had been feeling ropey with a stomach bug all week. Considering I haven’t touched a drop of booze or a Marlborough Light for over two months, it’s rather unfair that my pregnancy symptoms are uncannily similar to the feeling you get the day after you’ve been on an all-night bender. Bouts of nausea, an erratic, pounding heart, breathlessness, fatigue, headaches and constant dry-mouth. Just writing about booze is making me want to heave on my carpet. I would honestly rather base jump from the roof of my cottage right now than drink a sip of Shiraz.

According to my health & parenting pregnancy app (which is bloody brilliant by the way), the baby is now the size of a grape, has graduated from being an embryo to a foetus and has grown most of the stuff it needs – including nipples.

Weirdly, I have completely gone off meat. Can’t eat, smell or think about it. Been vegetarian for about a week.

The last few days have been shaky. Visited an old friend who was back in the UK having moved to Doha in the Middle East a couple of years ago for work. It was her first born’s first birthday and her house was full of relatives, friends and bouncing babies. I was planning on telling her about the pregnancy but I’d woken up that morning and felt totally fine – no sickness, no food aversion. Naturally I jumped to the conclusion that the baby had died, and spent the day willing sickness to grip me once again to prove he was still there. Luckily my wish was granted the next day when it returned with a vengeance, but as a result I’ve remained tight-lipped on the matter for a little longer. Still waiting for the NHS to call me with a scan date.

To end I’ll leave you with the amusing anecdote that my husband is claiming to be suffering from morning sickness. I found this titillating to begin with, but now slightly annoyed as I am in real discomfort and he is trying to cash in on my right to sympathy. He claims it is a real syndrome that afflicts men. Something to do with the pregnant woman triggering a similar fluctuation in certain hormone levels within the man. I did a quick Google check and there do seem to be a few other men out there who have been affected, but until my husband gets so sick he has to stop chugging down larger and eating pizza – any sympathy credits with his name on will remain unspent.

Female Solidarity

I have a great boss at work – she’s a couple of years younger than me, testament to her ambition and ability. I’m employed by an agency and she is a client that I was seconded to work full time with on some projects in February, and we got on well from the start. She is a British Indian and very family orientated. She’s a ‘tell it how it is’ person, sees through people and b*llshit from a mile away is very direct – which makes her particularly effective in a business environment, but she’s also a very caring and thoughtful individual. After we’d worked together for a few months we evolved from colleagues to friends. Before she got married in Goa over the summer I attended her hen party and my husband and I attended her UK wedding dinner – our first experience of a large Hindu get-together with around 400 guests and some knock out Indian food. It was prior to this at some post work drinks that she asked me outright whether Jake and I were trying for babies. I’m not sure where she got the idea from because I’d mentioned nothing at work, or in any capacity, obviously very conscious that employers knowing you are trying for a baby can be very detrimental to ones career. It shouldn’t be the case, but of course it is. Why would you continue to invest, train, promote or reward someone with a salary raise if she is planning on buggering off to procreate in the next few months with no guarantee she will ever return? I admitted we were, straight off the bat. Her reaction was one of real encouragement. We talked at length about how raising a family is important to us both, and how invariably and unfairly, our careers will have to go on the back burner in order for that to happen but how women should stick together to minimise how much of a disadvantage being mother can be in the working world.

A fews months on and there I was, staring at two pink lines on a stick. I decided to tell her last week, mainly so she could plan resource after my maternity leave as soon as possible, and also because I feel tired and sick as a dog and I need someone on the inside at work to support me and cover for me at the array of boozy Christmas lunches we have lined up. Aware that I was still very much in the pregnancy danger zone, I figured if something went wrong with the pregnancy I would be on compassionate leave for a few days anyway so she would know. She was every bit as supportive and excited as I’d hoped. She told me nothing had changed in my position as far as she was concerned. It means a lot to me to have her support and for that I am truly thankful. In a few years time I have no doubt she’ll be in upper tier management and it makes me happy to think of women like her rising in the ranks and levelling the playing field for mothers to be successful at work without prejudice.  

 

 

Strangers

My mind has been veering into worrisome places over the last 24 hours. It’s occurred to me that there is a stranger living in my lower abdomen. I’m still on holiday from work, so I’ve been pottering around Surbiton and seeming to notice a litany of horrible kids being dragged around by their bedraggled mothers, shrieking (the kids, not the mothers). One of them had a cry distinctly reminiscent of a Pterodactyl sound effect from Jurassic Park.  I’m terrified my child is going to be a nightmare. Teaching manners can only go so far – he/she might have behavioural or emotional difficulties. It’s psychopath weekend on 4OD this weekend and that got me thinking about ‘We need to talk about Kevin’…

In retrospect, taking the week off to hang out with my own thoughts at such a mind-boggling time in my life was probably a bad idea. I am about to embark on a Christmas shopping mission in Kingston on Thames which will be a distraction and hopefully not too manic on a Wednesday afternoon. Touch wood, I don’t feel too queasy this morning, which is relieving but also mildly worrying because pregnancy symptoms stopping can mean miscarriage. On that note I’m resolving to be less of a worrywort over this pregnancy. What will be, will be. I just wish I could at least hear the heartbeat. All I have so far is this nausea as evidence of his or her existence.

I’ve been heavily researching names. I’ve done a u-turn on most of the names I thought I liked before conception, now considering them too frivolous for a real baby. My clever baby who might be a company CEO one day, or someone else important. I feel a weight of responsibility about the name – as I should. I want my baby to have a kick-ass name, a name that means business – especially if she’s a girl. But at the same time it must be a name for a mysterious, attractive girl, that men will want to fly to Paris and impress – not a terrifying ball-breaker. There is a resurgence of Grandma names at the moment, I’m being careful not to get swept away with it because bizarrely, they are the only names that sound fresh. But they won’t for long I’m sure. I’m striving to find something classic that isn’t ‘faddy’, but also sits slightly leftfield of the most mainstream names. My mum and sister are convinced I am having a girl and so am I. I will be very surprised if it’s a boy.

 

The Grubb

I think I’m in week eight of my pregnancy, based on the numerous due date calculators on the internet I’ve used since I got my first positive pregnancy test two and a half weeks ago. I had my first appointment to see Dr Taki today, and as predicted, he just set me up with an appointment with a midwife in week 12 –  the earliest they will really see you in the UK, on the NHS.

I have the week off work this week, and bizarrely, I’m dreading it – being alone with my nausea, knocking around the house. Last week at work whizzed by. I was busy and distracted working in my marketing job, sorting out urgent problems, travelling, gossiping, laughing with my colleagues and playing Christmas carols in the office. I hardly noticed the nausea, but as soon as I’m on my own it creeps back and I start to feel weepy and sorry for myself. I’ve learned that eating constantly is the only solution. I also read today that plenty of sleep keeps it at bay, and it’s true I felt much less sick after I had a 2 hour nap.

It’s still very early days for my tiny grubb – as my husband and I are so affectionately calling it. We’ve told a smattering of people who are close to us – our parents, my husband’s creative partner of seven years at work, and of course my close friends – who knew as soon as I pushed away the glass of Prosecco they’d poured me (I’d never refused a glass of prosecco in the entire history of my adulthood).

We’d been trying for over a year and a half before the grubb came. In fact, Dr Taki had just referred us to the fertility clinic a few weeks before I got my positive. When the lady called up to confirm my appointment in January, I told her about the happy development, and she sounded genuinely, really pleased, which was nice. Of course, it being so early on we’ve had a lot of words of warning: ‘don’t get too excited’, ‘it’s common that things sometimes don’t work out’, ‘if the worst happens, at least you know everything is working’. I am trying to brace myself for potential heartache, but in my gut I don’t feel it will happen and I feel my baby will grow to term. Still, every day is a small victory for me and the grubb. Me – trying my best to be as hospitable as possible, to sleep, to eat nutritious foods, not to stretch or move too much. The grubb – I guess just clinging on. Seems such a long time until we will meet.