I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to do an update – I think it’s because so much has happened in the past week. And it just seems like a lot of updating, but I think it’s safe to say that a lot has happened this week! Have a seat, get yourself a G&T (or a virgin mocktail) and settle in for the long haul…
The end of an era
First things first, last Friday was my last day at work. I wrote in my last post how I did two days worth of cake baking, and Friday – my last day in the office – I was anticipating having a load of time to update my blog, pack up my stuff, etc. Did not happen! I got into work, with a load of the cakes, and I was immediately besieged by people wanting to say goodbye. It went on The. Entire. Day. I’m not kidding! I said to T it was sort of like being at your own funeral… I mean, it was actually really nice how many people took the time to come round and have a chat (and eat some cake!). I suppose it was slightly different to what most people do, because it’s usually a big boozy night out, which I obviously wasn’t doing. So I’d mailed out 120 (!) carefully chosen people (because I’m so not someone who sends out something to entire mailing lists saying “Delete if you don’t know me”) and invited them to pop round for cake. It was awesome!
Here are some of the cakes plus the day 2 (final day) display in the office…
I mean, it was a lot of cake. It was also super touching that people actually took the time to come round and say goodbye, including some people I didn’t really expect to come by. It was half term so a lot of people weren’t in the office. Also one of the partners got me a present! Personally! Which I just felt super honoured to receive (I’m still someone who finds it exciting when partners are nice to me, ha) and she (one of the few female partners) also got me the most awesome card. I totally loved it. She also got me chocolates from Hotel Chocolat (posh chocolate shop) and cake themed tea towels from anthropologie! I was so chuffed!
The card… I love this card so much. It sums me up… I’m never going to be a zebra…
Another thing that was lovely was most of the people who came round to say bye weren’t actually part of my team. (I did have my favourite partner from my team come round and chat for ages, which was great.) It was nice because I felt like I had gotten to know people who weren’t in my direct team. For all that the company treated me not in the best way, I still felt that at least I had a positive impact on some people. One of the ones who came round was a girl who worked for me on a project last year. She’s one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever met – super attractive, probably 15 years younger than me, and super smart… I should hate her but she’s lovely. And she came round and said, “Thank you so much for encouraging me and being so supportive” and I was thinking, wow, she’s going to surpass me in a matter of years! I’ll be asking her for a job in the future, I’m sure! Still, it was nice that she said such nice things!
One of my best friends at work took me out for a posh lunch to Vanilla Black. It’s one of the poshest veggie restaurants in London. I’m not vegetarian but I always sort of flirt with the idea… I love going to somewhere I don’t have to worry about ordering things I won’t like. (I’m very fussy about meat. Honestly I should give it up, but I like it too much. But if I thought about it I wouldn’t eat it.) Anyway we had a lovely catch up because she’s pretty senior so really busy all the time! She said she was really sad I was leaving but I refuse to feel sad because I know we’ll stay in touch.
And finally, I got this amazing bouquet from the girls I sit near – which is so nice because I am not even in their team, but one of them managed to organise this absolutely humungous and stunning bunch of flowers, which incorporates my favourite flowers. I love flowers!
The 20 year reunion
So straight after leaving work, I went to meet up with my friends from school for our girls’ weekend. Turns out I was delayed at the office so my poor friend had to sit in the pub waiting for me to arrive. I couldn’t tell people to leave when they’d come to say goodbye! But eventually I managed to escape. I tried to feel grateful for the flowers and gifts but truth be told, I was somewhat weighted down by all the baggage! Especially as I wasn’t going home until Sunday! So funny! Fortunately my friend was totally okay with it and saw the funny side. And then our other friend turned up. So three out of four were there, and we had a few hours to kill before meeting the fourth at the train station. We had all come from different places – I was the local one who lives in London and the others live hours away, so that goes some way to explaining why we hadn’t been all four of us together since we left school!
One of the first things I did was explain that I wasn’t drinking… because… I’m pregnant! Friend 1 knows about the miscarriage last year and has had two herself. She was really happy for me. Friend 2 has a child and has recently split up with her husband. She was also happy for me. I tried not to make a big deal out of it because I knew Friend 1 would maybe feel bad about it, but actually she was super nice about it. We had a great time chatting and drinking (me: orange and lemonade – so strange as I’m usually the first to have a nice glass of wine) and we looked up and suddenly realised Friend 3 would be arriving at the station in a few minutes and we weren’t anywhere near! (I guess this makes me Friend 4!)
Now, before we met up, Friend 3 had been messaging our Whatsapp group. A lot. Some of it was self-deprecating stuff about being fat. We explained nobody cares, we’re all girls, we’re old friends, we don’t give a s*** how fat you are. Also she just kept messaging small things. A lot. Anyway long story short but OMG it turns out she is completely neurotic. I have seen her in the intervening years but not at length – and we had a full weekend to spend together. It feels uncharitable to talk about her in this way so I won’t labour the point… Just that, wow, girl has problems. She just acted completely anxious and highly strung the entire weekend (for example: refused to drink in a really attention seeking way all the time, because she apparently doesn’t drink until she gets her period, just in case she’s pregnant, even though she admitted it was really unlikely and she’d already done a pregnancy test that was negative… Went on and on about being fat but literally took any opportunity to stuff food down her neck, but also had some specific dietary requirements which again seemed really attention seeking… Spoke in a baby voice the whole time and acted helpless, like she couldn’t negotiate public transport etc…) It was just infuriating. I think the entire other three of us were done with her by the end of the weekend. I felt kind of bad for her in retrospect but she was really hard to be around. (I haven’t mentioned most of her strange behaviour. It was odd.)
Aside from that though, we had a great time. Tbh it’s not that I didn’t want to see Friend 3, but it was just sort of a shock. Particularly as we had all gone into the weekend thinking Friend 2 would be the one needing support, because of having just split up with her husband and the father of her child, but she was completely fine and seemed to be coping well, whereas Friend 3 just seemed to be having difficulty with life. But I think some people are just drama queens. We still had a fantastic time – we went for afternoon tea (obviously – I planned this weekend) and to a show, and to brunch, and it was also really nice to see Friend 2’s parents again, as that’s where we stayed for the weekend. (I live in London but have a 1 bedroom studio apartment so couldn’t easily fit in guests. They live in a 4 or 5 bedroom mansion in the posh bit of London!)
I got everyone presents! I love getting presents. We all had the same handbag in different colours. I was glad I got the rose gold one! I was going to assign colours but then did it randomly (I’d wrapped them all up) and it was cool how everyone got a colour they liked and pretty much how I would have assigned them. Serendipity! I also got us all matching rings from Pandora. Slightly less extravagant than it seemed as they were in the sale, but still serendipitous! They loved them. I just really enjoy being at the stage of life where I can afford to treat people once in a while. It felt sort of sisterhood-y!
On the Sunday we went out for brunch which is one of my favourite things to do. I had pancakes, and a side of crispy bacon… Oh yeah. Lovely.
So all in all we had a great weekend! Lots of sitting around and lying in bed chatting, so it was like being back at school. But in a good way, as I hated school! I guess it was funny about Friend 3 because she was so confident at school… She was the really popular one. I guess it’s sad in a way to see someone who has turned into a neurotic wreck. We all did get a bit impatient with her, but I think we were nice to her, and as the days go by I feel more sympathetic to her (when I’m not directly exposed to her!). It’s funny how life turns out. Friend 2 and I were reflecting on the fact that we were the losers at school and we are probably the most sorted in terms of being able to deal with life! (Well, we’ll both be divorced eventually so I’m not sure if that’s a good thing – maybe it says something about how having a hard time at school gives you resilience to get through tough things in life.) One of the things I enjoyed was showing off London to them – even though I’m not a native Londoner, I am the one who lives here so planned most of the activities and it was sort of fun to show it off to them. I feel like it’s definitely my adopted hometown and I intend to live here until America finally lets me emigrate, so it’s good to feel a bit like a local!
Week 8 scan
I had a few days off work before starting my new job, and the day before my first day was my 8 week checkup with Dr S (the private doctor I’m paying to see who specialises in reproductive immunology – I am following a borderline protocol as tests show I had an elevated natural killer cells reaction to pregnancy).
I was worried, even though we had been discharged by the clinic to the NHS. T couldn’t make it because Dr S is outside of London and it was a weekday… So although T was completely positive, I was worried. My only other experience of this is around this time last year where we were told that the baby wasn’t growing and I was going to have a miscarriage. I did feel slightly better following our 7 week scan, but I was still really apprehensive. I was due to have an intralipids infusion as well, as I need to have one every 4 weeks assuming the pregnancy still goes ahead. I think we have them until 16 weeks.
Dr S’s office is very posh and my sister and I joked about the strawberry water… She had her results the same week with Dr S and is reasonably sure she’ll be going ahead with treatment with him. We both love the strawberry water in the waiting room! (TryTryAgain will be familiar with this! And Dr S helped her become a mama so I reckon strawberry water is good!)
Dr S had to dig around for a bit… I was beginning to feel a bit bad… But our baby was there!
Measuring exactly 8 weeks – exactly to the day!
I also heard his heartbeat which was 167. (Well, I couldn’t really hear it but he kept playing it and showed it on screen so I did hear something in between all the noise.) Apparently that’s good! Dr S said anything between 100 and 200 was good. He said I should be happy because he’s developing exactly as he should be.
Next appointment is in 2 weeks and I managed to get a weekend one, so T will be able to come and see the scan. The midwife said it should be a lot clearer by then. (Baby still looks like a blob. But I did see the heartbeat. And the important thing is, he’s grown!)
I was so relieved!
I am beginning to feel better about the pregnancy. I’ve spent a lot of it in a state of anxiety and trying not to get my hopes up, but lately I have been thinking more and more that it might actually work. I feel like: If we can get to 12 weeks, I will feel a helluva lot better.
T is so happy about it. He just assumes it will happen. I keep saying “if”, but I’m allowing myself to feel a bit more optimism. The midwife who gave me the intralipids was really nice, and said it is completely different this time. I just have to try and get through the next few weeks and hope we can make it into the second trimester (and beyond).
My vein worked this time! Yay. It was quite easy, which is a good thing because the last time I had the intralipids it took ages and was really slow to go in. Phew, as I have to have two more of these if all goes according to plan.
I kind of can’t believe I’m still pregnant. It doesn’t feel real, although of course I have the symptoms of humungaboobs and weight gain. I also feel sick when I’m hungry. I asked the midwife about it and she said, you realise that the steroids will be masking many of the symptoms (like sickness)… That actually made me feel better about not having morning sickness or whatever. And it makes sense as I haven’t had hayfever either. Bonus! I do feel very uncomfortable in my own body right now (massive weight gain; my face doesn’t feel like mine with the steroids as it’s swollen up). I just have to tell myself it will be worth it in the end. I’m sort of becoming used to this new reality of being pregnant, but I’m also aware of how fragile it is; how easy it is for it to be snatched away. I’m trying to take each day as it comes. Two weeks until the 10 week scan…
I started my new job the next day. Crazy. I’m glad I didn’t have to go in on bad news. All change! Well, I had a great first day. It took me a bit longer to get there than expected, but I managed to make it just in time. (Phew.) Then I got a call from my boss. Turns out he’d been called away and couldn’t meet me, so told me just to do all the induction stuff. Usually on first days you have loads of stuff to go through, picking up your laptop and whatnot, so I just got on with that. I also met a load of new people and they were really nice.
Also, as an aside, I felt encouraged when I walked into the office and there were loads of non-white people, loads of women… Just such a more diverse place than I was at previously. It makes a huge difference to how I feel. I explained to one of the guys that I was always the only female, the only ethnic… He had worked there for 12 years and he found that really surprising because he said he always felt the numbers of women and men were the same. At any rate, it was a nice thing to see people of my ethnicity in the workplace.
The other thing is that it just seems a positive place so far! For one thing, they have a lot of smiley people. For another thing… free drinks fridges! (T was overjoyed when I told him they had an entire shelf of ginger beer!) Free nespresso. Free cereal. Free fruit! They really want you to have your five a day! I don’t know, it tickled me. It made me feel like it’s a small thing they can do that cheers up the workers. Anyway, I’m very hopeful about the place.
The second thing is my boss said he wasn’t around on Friday so to take the day off, because I won’t have anything to do! Seriously! He said just to enjoy the weather, because, I quote, “There’s plenty of time to work your ass off – why not kick off your heels and enjoy the weather?” I kid you not! So funny. Also, I picked up all my tech (new nice laptop and phone) and it all worked! That never happens!
I think this may be the best job I ever had!
And finally… New house!
I don’t know if this is just the way things work out, but after about 5 months of waiting and getting frustrated about nothing happening with the house (well, small flat) – we exchanged today!
This means we expect to complete in a couple of weeks! Crazy!
So… It’s all go in the Nara/T/Dog household. Dog is absolutely adorable, and I’m quite partial to T too.
10 week checkup with Dr S on Saturday 24 June. We’re also having the harmony and nuchal scans so I’ll have bloods taken then, and a dose of intralipids. I’m still on all the steroids and supplements. I think we start weaning off them at 12 weeks, if we make it that far.
For today: I’m pregnant! I have a new job! (There’s a separate post somewhere down the line if we make it that far about how I’m not entitled to maternity leave… But we’ll cross that bridge if/when we come to it.) Life is okay for now.
Coming soon: New house!