I’m 22 and a bit weeks – 23 on Wednesday. How the flippity flip did that happen? A few things happened this week, the main pregnancy related one being we went for our 22 week scan with the private doctor. For those of you who have been following our story, we have two types of doctor right now – the National Health Service (which all UK citizens have as part of paying our taxes, which is sort of free/tax included healthcare) and the private doctor we’ve been seeing, Dr S, who specialises in reproductive immunology and which we have to pay for.
So at 20 weeks we had our NHS anomaly scan as part of our NHS care and then last week we decided to have an additional private (paid out of pocket) scan with our private doctor. We had had the previous scan privately (I think it was 12 or 16 weeks) and it was really very detailed so we thought it would be money well spent. You can definitely tell the difference between the NHS and private scans in terms of the customer experience. (Not that I am knocking the NHS as it’s basically free.)
Because it was out of town, I decided to take the day off and go and see my parents for the day. I had a nice leisurely morning heading out of town via the boat and train, and then my dad picked me up for the station and I went round to my folks’ house. They only just moved there around the same time as we moved house, so it still feels like their brand new house even though they’ve been there for a few months. It is gigantic! It’s an apartment (as that’s what most people have down south) but it is really huge. We joked that our flat could fit in their kitchen! Anyway I don’t get as much chance as I’d like to see them, so it was nice to spend the day with them.
We decided to go out to their local club for lunch. It is a private health club/tennis club so you can imagine the kinds of people who frequent it. Not just retirees but the younger folk who are too rich to have jobs! It was sort of funny as I definitely felt my non-whiteness as I entered that club! We had a lovely lunch by the no doubt extremely expensive water feature (with swans!) and then headed off in the convertible through the countryside. I had asked my folks if it would be okay to go and see a baby shop which was en route to the doctor. It’s one of those that’s only accessible by car (and I don’t have a car!) so it seemed like a good opportunity.
The baby shop was smaller than I expected but had a lot of stuff crammed in and we spent a nice while perusing the prams (which was my main interest). At the moment I’m completely up in the air about prams (pushchairs, buggies, strollers!) as I can’t decide between wanting something lightweight and portable or something a bit more substantial.
T is in favour of going lightweight. This is the sensible option (as he always is! I’m the non-sensible one!) as we have 8 (EIGHT!) flights of stairs to negotiate en route to our flat. I know, I know… Again this was my choice versus (infinitely more sensible) T’s, who wanted to go for the modern flat with a lift and everything, but I insisted I loved the character and nooks and crannies (wooden beams! sash windows!) in the flat we ended up getting.
The place we are in now is a conversion so it has a lot of old features, including complete lack of a lift (elevator to you Americans!)… But hey, I still love it. Our plan with the buggy is to leave it in the car anyway rather than try and cart it upstairs to the flat every day. So… We are still undecided about whether we need a lightweight buggy or it would be okay to get a larger one because we’ll be leaving it in the car anyway.
The two shortlisted lightweight buggies are the Bugaboo Bee, which we saw in John Lewis, and the Babyzen Yoyo 0+, which we were recommended by one of T’s friends. Actually I had a complete fit a couple of weeks ago when T said that his friend told him to get this buggy. I think maybe I was hormonal or something but I was just like, I want to go through the buggy selection process ourselves and not just get everything his friend tells us to get! I think maybe I was overreacting a bit…
Anyway here are the two lightweight shortlisted buggies.
Babyzen Yoyo 0+
Now my issues with both of these prams are that they don’t look very substantial – they are by their nature super lightweight. And they aren’t really what I was picturing for a baby of mine. I think they are super convenient and I appreciate the space saving qualities of both. The Bugaboo has a really cute carrycot for the first 6 months which is like a little felt cocoon. And the Babyzen folds up so small you could stick it in your handbag! (Purse, Americans…!) And that’s precisely the problem. I kind of think that they look a bit rickety and they don’t feel really cozy and secure – although I’m sure they are.
Also what I don’t like about the lightweight ones is that baby is really far away from you – low down to the ground. And I guess aesthetically I had always thought I would prefer those differently shaped (sort of egg/cocoon like) taller buggies where baby is closer to you.
You kind of have to indulge me here. I realise this is completely not important in the whole scheme of things. It’s probably why I got upset about the buggy suggestion before, because I guess I always thought I would never be in a position to make these kinds of decisions. I was always the one torturing myself trying to recommend baby stuff to friends and buy nice presents for baby showers etc. So it feels sort of dangerous even to start thinking about these things. But since week 20 or so I’ve tried to embrace the pregnancy and be a proper pregnant person (what’s one of those?!) and get interested in these things. Turns out I care about them a bit more than I thought!
T and I discussed the whole buggy conundrum and we are still sort of torn. Same with my folks, who have been lovely about the whole thing and offered to buy the stroller – any one we want (so money no object!). On the one hand, we think the lightweight stroller (like the Zen especially) would be really easy to sling over your shoulder and carry up the stairs. But then we are wondering if we would ever need to do that. There’s no real need to have the stroller in the flat. We are aiming to buy a family car in November or December (before B arrives in January) so we have the ability to store the buggy downstairs.
Also, when we saw both the Bee and the Zen in the shop, it really came across that B would be rattling around a bit and they aren’t so much built for comfort as lightweight/compactness. The Babyzen especially looks like a doll’s pram! They’d be handy for public transport but not so handy for river walks – which we are aiming to do. So I thought I would look for a buggy that’s not so lightweight and see what the alternatives are.
In the shop with my parents we saw a sort of halfway house. Lots of the premium strollers are sort of in the 14kg range and the lightweight ones are more like 6kg. The one we saw was around 9-10kg and also had a narrower profile than the huge ones (like the Joolz and iCandy ones I discounted, and the Cybex one I previously really liked). So it means it would be easier to get through doors and so on, and it also folds more compact – though nothing like the Yoyo, which is the first pram that you can store in an airline overhead locker! The stroller in question is the gb Maris.
As you can see it’s quite nice and stylish/boyish, and what’s cool is that the buggy part lays flat for newborns so you don’t even need to get the carrycot. And it’s a little closer to the kind of high-up-egg style I was looking for. (I guess a bit like Stokke but I don’t really like the handles.)
Anyway we came away more confused than before, but what’s nice is I had time to spend with my parents and my mum especially enjoyed the window shopping with me. (I think my dad was mainly a bit bemused! But he enjoyed seeing the buggies fold!)
A post script to the buggy saga – I saw one in town that I really liked the look of and googled “leather egg buggy” and found it! So my latest buggy love is this one… The Mima Xari. It is soooo style over substance but I love it! The whole egg shape is leather and I think it looks really cool, and cozy for baby… We are reserving judgement right now before we plan to go to the Baby Show in London in October. The supplier list says Mima will be there so hopefully they will have the prams there to see. If not, back to square one!
Two things on the horizon this week. Firstly, my bump has gotten bigger and I now definitely look pregnant. (Though astoundingly, some people don’t notice… I assume this is a symptom of the fact I work in a very male environment!) The funny thing is that people say I have a “neat bump” and I am “nice and small” which is totally not how I feel – my body is a wreck right now with humungaboobs and stretch marks on my stomach. I have been rubbing various unguents in on a religious basis but I figure some people are just prone to stretch marks whatever they do. At any rate I am trying not to get super upset about it as I keep reminding myself that I never thought I would ever be in this position.
I am finally vaguely enjoying doing the bodycon dress thing. I think it is sort of more flattering than baggy stuff once you have a proper bump! I have mainly been wearing dresses from mamalicious which seem to fit me nicely. I also noticed I am not so good at leaning forward either! I’m definitely a huncher at work (over a laptop) and so I’m forcing myself to sit back a bit more as it’s getting a bit uncomfortable.
Also now I’m 22 weeks, B is kicking much more often, which I like! It means I feel a lot better about him actually being in there. I haven’t used the doppler for ages as I figure his kicks are a good sign. Sometimes I think he’s gone quiet and is sleeping but he’ll seem to realise I’m wondering and give me a few kicks (or punches as I imagine them to be) to reassure me. Good boy!
Secondly, my folks dropped me off at Dr S’s clinic and I met T and we had our 22 week scan. It was really great to see B wriggling about! The doc went through all the anomalies that he was looking for, which I guess were probably the same as the NHS 20 week scan but a lot clearer and seemed a lot more detailed. I guess because he is private, he spends the time explaining what’s what. He won’t move on to the next thing until he’s sure you have understood and can see what he’s seeing.
B was super uncooperative as usual! He was wriggling around and he didn’t want to show off the bottom of his spine (one of the anomalies the doc checks for in case of spina bifida) because he was in the breech position. The doctor kept on tapping my stomach to try and get him to move, and eventually he did! It was sort of funny. At 20 weeks he looks much more baby like and the picture is clearer.
Wow, it was sort of emotional. (T’s sister actually cried when she saw the picture.) We both went “aaaaah” and I felt this sort of rush of love for the little blighter, even though he’s already a scamp who doesn’t cooperate with scans! The doctor explained that he will chub out after 28 weeks. Before then he is developing everything and then after 28 weeks he will be fattening up. Right now, B looks more like a little monkey because he just has a thin covering of skin over his skeleton. I still think he looks cute and all, but that’s probably me being biased and he actually looks like a monkey. Oh well!
We agreed that we would pay for another two scans privately because you get a deal (3 scans for the bargain price of just over 2!) and what the heck. I’m only doing this once. The whole Dr S experience (or “the quack” as T calls him!) has cost me thousands of pounds, but I figure I’d only have spent it on a holiday or a silly designer handbag or something and I’m only doing it once so I’m chucking everything possible at it.
My next appointment is with my NHS doc next Tuesday, and L (greatest midwife ever) is going to attend. What’s been interesting is that I have been thinking on the whole thing (my meeting with L a few weeks ago, and reading the Ina May book on natural childbirth) and I kind of feel like I’ve been doing a bit of a Uey (as we call a U turn in the UK, not sure how you spell it!) on the wanting a caesarian thing. I guess this is what my doctor was aiming for!
I think the time to think following my long conversation with L and reading that book has almost converted me to the idea of natural childbirth. Which is something I never thought I would say! I think understanding more about how the human body is designed for childbirth is pretty compelling (sounds stupid but I never really did any reading on it previously as I never was in that position to consider it).
Also feeling a greater degree of comfort with L than with the community midwives. Again it sounds a bit stupid but I didn’t really gel with the community midwife and didn’t feel at all like I would feel comfortable half naked with her (and the rest!) but with L, I felt like she actually cared and would be comforting to have around.
I sort of find it crazy that you have to make a big fuss and get special treatment just to have continuity of care with a midwife. Surely the fact that you are being expected to push a watermelon through your foof would be enough to think you might want an ongoing relationship with someone rather than having to do it all in front of a stranger!
Anyway we shall see.
Finally, two sorts of showers! (My spurious attempt at alliterative subtitles.)
The first one was the spa type. This included some fairly strong water jets but just on my back and shoulders! I mentioned a while back I booked a spa day for my sister and me. We did the same package as I did with my BFF. She lives quite far away so she and her fiancé came and stayed in London for the weekend.
We had a nice time at the spa – I just went in the big pool and the jacuzzi and my sis went in the sauna and steam room. I was kind of jealous as I love the heat. I had a facial (as I’m too big to lie on my front comfortably now) and sis had a massage and then we both had manicures. And topped it off with afternoon tea! Meanwhile, the boys went on a pub crawl. Suffice it to say when sis and I turned up all fresh faced and relaxed, the boys were rather less than their best!
Of course when I looked into this yesterday I found out I wasn’t supposed to have gone in the jacuzzi either! Seriously I think people are totally crazy cautious about what pregnant women can and can’t do. Like the soft rind cheese ban is driving me crazy.
I then felt bad I’d been in the jacuzzi, but truth be told it wasn’t very hot and it wasn’t too jetty because I just sort of lolled about for a lot of it, and spent most of the time doing lazy lengths in the big pool, which is cooler. B is still kicking happily so I am hoping he is fine.
This put the kibosh on my plans for a nice spa related babymoon so T and I are back to the drawing board on that one. We have a week booked off at the end of October and I’d wanted to go somewhere hot with a spa but it turns out spas are banned (although it’s fine to go in a big cool pool) so I guess we will go on a city break instead. Sadly there are no Disney cruises at that time! Otherwise we’d be there! T also wants to go somewhere where we don’t have to do a long flight so we are thinking we may go to Bruges – which we can get to on Eurostar. Apparently their specialty is chocolate so I’m there!
The other nice thing is that I saw my BFF last week. She lives in a different country but was back for an appointment so we caught up for dinner. (Insert gratuitous pictures of food here…!)
Burrata and heritage tomato salad
Burger and fries
Let’s just say I did a “Don’t ask, don’t tell” on the burrata. (Omg burrata – I think it’s almost better than sex.) Eton Mess is one of my favourite desserts. It’s basically smushed up strawberry pavlova. One thing I’ve noticed is my stomach capacity is much smaller than usual – I couldn’t finish the burger! I think B is leaning on my stomach!
It was really lovely to see her as ever. I mean she is like the nicest person in the world. (Would have to be to put up with me!) We talked about how weird it is that so many people have fertility issues and also how many of our friends have depression / anxiety etc. It’s sort of strange how many there are. Of course we are too lazy to have many afflictions other than infertility!
She was really lovely and kept asking about B and so on, (as she has had trouble conceiving so I would never talk about it unless she asked) and we talked about plans for a baby shower. This is so not me but I really want one. I suppose because I never thought I would have one.
I’ve been looking around a couple of places because I wanted to find a nice place to hold it (and the small matter of our flat holding a max capacity of about 5) and then I did some online research (because baby showers are still not super common in the UK) and found out that they’re meant to be hosted by a friend and not a family member or the pregnant person! Go figure!
So of course my lovely BFF offered to host. I hadn’t asked her because she lives in a different country and didn’t want to put that on her, but it’s really a nice thought that she would organise it. Also there are some of my UK friends who would be happy to help too. To be honest I am not going to get all bridezilla (mom-to-be-zilla?) about it as I’m just grateful to be having one. I’ll probably make a cake or something but happy to let someone else organise it!
The most shocking thing I found out about baby showers is that the host is expected to foot the bill! That is so not happening. I never knew that! We don’t really have baby showers so often here and in the UK everyone pays for themselves. The last one I hosted for a friend was at our place (when we lived in a far larger apartment!) and everyone brought food and cakes and drinks so we all kind of shared the costs.
Right now we are thinking our baby shower will be in one of two venues and we will have catering so we will have everyone pay for lunch who accepts (which we figure British people will be fine with – when you go out to dinner you expect to pay for yourself here) but I’ll subsidise drinks and things. Anyway you learn a new thing every day! (Do tell me about baby shower etiquette where you are!)
– We will be 23 weeks on Wednesday. One week closer to the magic viability!
– Next appointment is with the doc and midwife next Tuesday.
– This weekend we have a 1976 themed party (it’s my friend’s 40th) and I’m going as an apple – because it’s the year Apple was founded – and T is going as Bruce Jenner as it’s the year he won his gold medal. Dog is invited too as it’s a weekend in a country manor. Hooray! I don’t have the energy to find Dog a 1976 themed outfit sadly but if you have any ideas that can be sorted out in a couple of days, let me know!