Sugar Sugar

I’m struggling with eating too much sugar. Icing, cake, sweets and chocolate are one of the most exquisite pleasures at the moment – and I’m eating them daily. My colleague’s sister specialises in gestational diabetes, so I WhatsApp’t her and she told me the cake/chocolate/sweets eating needs to be reduced to twice a week as a treat – and to remove the icing from the cakes completely. She recommended substituting with plain biscuits, fruit loaf, melba toast, scones or plain tea cakes.

Going to work is what’s making it impossible, because I don’t include sweets in my home shopping. There is an occassion for cakes and sweets at work about 3 times a week, and in between we eat the leftovers. This week there is a bloody bake-off between the departments. People circulate the office offering cakes and waft their sweet, buttery aroma under my nose. Most people laugh when I decline and insist – seeming to be of the opinion that now I’m pregnant I’ve got a license to eat the world with a Marachino cherry on the top.

Here is a snap shot of some of the delectables in the office:

cake

cakes

sweets

MMmmmmmm.

I really want to be healthy for the birth and the baby, so I need to get a grip. Jake read an article about babies being born and going straight onto sugar drips because of their mother’s eating habits. Not to mention the size she will be when she emerges if I carry on like this. Wince.

In other news, we went to a beautiful wedding on Saturday. I found a stretchy dress from Oasis one size bigger and I felt quite glamorous in it. I love my bump at the moment and feel very womanly and earthy. It’s still small enough that I feel mobile and energetic but it’s noticeable that I’m pregnant.

wedding

I had a really painful abdominal side cramp on Monday and was stuck in a hunched over position for about 15 minutes. We read in ‘What to expect…’ that cramping is normal unless accompanied by fever/bleeding/other symptoms so it’s probably just growing pains.

Other than that, we are booking NCT this week and still debating names. I put a poll up at work for a laugh but it turned into carnage with people adding their own suggestions and voting multiple times. My mum has bought the baby a cot from Mothercare that converts into a little bed for when she gets older and we are starting to collect a small mound of outfits for her and some bright pictures of funny looking birds for her nursery.

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It’s a…

It's a...

GIRL!

We are delighted! It’s been very strange finding out the sex of the baby. Wonderful, but definitely strange. For a start, the baby becomes much less abstract and more like a real, tangible human being – and at 21 weeks she announces her presence further with kicks and nudges of increasing strength.

The other emotion I felt was a kind of fleeting mourning for the boy identity. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t wish for a boy over a girl – but when you don’t know the sex, you think and dream for 5 months of both possibilities. You name the girl and you name the boy. You think of the pros and cons of both and what kinds of activities you can do with both. Making cakes with the girl and your husband going fishing with the boy (Suffragettes are stirring in their graves at my last sentence, I’m sure). We’d agreed on ‘Rupert’ for a boy so we had to wave goodbye to the Rupert that never really existed, but did in our heads. Maybe he will show up one day.

And so we say hello to our little princess of sugar and spice and all things nice. And if my obsession with cakes is anything to go by, she will be the sweetest girly girl ever.

Week 20 Anomaly Scan

I woke at 3am this morning after fitful dreams and surges of nerves – worried about a raft of issues the baby might have being revealed in the scan today. The vivid image I kept conjuring up was of being called away from the scan room to a separate office where a doctor would be seated behind a desk and we’d cling on to the moment before he spoke, when everything was OK, before everything came crashing down. Unable to relax enough to go back to sleep, I admitted defeat and got up, ate some Cheerios and watched House of Cards until proper morning replaced uncivil morning.

By the time we were on our way to the hospital I had turned a corner and was raring to get in there and get the baby scanned. If something was wrong with it we needed to know and deal with it. I seemed to have reached my quota of fret – as though the neurons that conducted irrational worry turned around to the neurons that carried practicality and said: ‘alright lads, we’ve finished our shift, you’re on’. There was no reason to think anything would be wrong, in fact the statistics were wildly in favour of nothing being wrong at all.

There were two sonographers when we were called in, one was a bushy-tailed, enthusiastic student who was keen to practise and I was happy to oblige. She had extensive knowledge of all the intricate parts of the baby and what she was looking for which she talked us through, but there’s a knack to capturing the right body parts which she hadn’t picked up yet, so the senior one would swoop in every so often. They told me my placenta was at the back and away from the birth canal – which is good. They measured the arms and legs and the diameter of the head, they checked the aorta and the chambers of the heart, they checked the baby’s kidneys, lips, spine and feet and the umbilical cord (to check it had two arteries and a vein running through it). It took ages due to the student chasing the baby around trying to capture images of its limbs while it flailed and kicked it’s legs to imaginary techno music. It took so long that we started to worry they wouldn’t get round to checking out the sex, but by the end of the appointment the senior sonographer said: ‘I know what the sex is, do you want to know?’

‘Yes!’ We said.

But I can’t tell you yet because I’m planning a cheesy gender reveal for my friends and family involving cakes with either pink or blue icing in the middle.

Most importantly the baby seems to be perfectly healthy and normal, so I can sleep the sleep of a grateful mum tonight.

And here’s baby face:

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Nerves and niggles

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My latest bump pic taken in the new flat. Despite the fact I’m looking smugly chirpy in this picture, some annoying physical niggles have taken hold – the symptoms of which I’ve consulted Dr Google on. I’m experiencing upper/mid back pain, which Dr Google suggests could be a trapped nerve between two ribs (apparently the ribs get pushed together as the baby grows). I also woke up in the middle of the night last night unable to breathe, as though my nasal passages were swollen closed. I’ve diagnosed myself with pregnancy rhinitis – higher amounts of estrogen can contribute to swelling in the mucus membranes. And finally, my least favourite current symptom – my acne, which has spread from my chin to my jaw and neck, where I now have painful boils festering under the skin. Likely caused by progesterone hormone surges which increase the amount of acne-causing secretions that build up.

Very nervous and excited about the scan on Monday, I can’t believe two whole days need to elapse until then. I’ve just read all the things the Sonographer must check during the scan on the NHS website and it’s quite a list. I’m going to try and be quiet and let her get on with it this time, rather than bellowing frantic questions at her like I did in the 12 week scan. Our conversation went something like this:

Me: ‘is it alright? Is it normal?’
Her: *checking*
Me: ‘is it normal?’
Her: *checking*
Me: ‘what does it look like?’
Her: ‘just give me a minute to finish checking.’
Her: ‘everything seems to be perfectly normal’
Me: ‘so it doesn’t have three arms?’
Her: ‘No’.

I tried to pass off the three arms question as a joke, but in secret it was a serious question.

The Passenger

Over the last 24 hours I’ve started to feel very aware that my lower abdomen is loaded up with something. Up until this point it’s been an abstract concept, but now when I bend over to put my socks on I can feel something like a water balloon filled with something more viscous than water, wedged in there. If I move too suddenly I can feel a haggis-type object bobbing and shifting inside. I’m at once delighted and a little bit grossed out by it. I have visions of the baby’s head being squashed while I’m bending over to tie up my shoe laces. Heaven knows how I will do it when I’m nine months pregnant. Might invest in some Velcro trainers.

I’m pre-occupied with feeling ‘quickening’, because I should be able to around about now. I’m 80% sure I’ve felt it, but I can’t be certain. A tiny thud inside the womb. I’ve heard a lot of descriptions of what quickening feels like – butterflies, gas, an elastic band pinging on your insides. What I felt is hard to liken to anything except exactly what you would imagine it would feel like if a tiny hand punched you outwards from the inside. A less than helpful analogy, I’m aware.

Apparently the baby has patterns of sleeping and being awake now. I read that the baby often wakes when you are still, or about to go to sleep, and is lulled to sleep by the motion of you walking when you’re out and about.

This time next Monday I will be in my 20 week scan and the sonographer will be scrutinising the baby’s groin to see what flavour it is. And then all of a sudden, they will announce it and we will know (hopefully). How strange and wonderful it will be for us to be further introduced.