I was in the US this week for work and have a whole bunch of pictures and have been completely jetlagged since I got back yesterday, so thought I would post the pictures rather than lots of words! (Phew, I hear you exhale with relief!)
London before I left… the commute is nice!
So last year I wrote this post about how I always wished I was the kind of girl who could wear a camel coat.
Reader, I did it! I bought a camel coat. You know what? I’m the fattest I’ve ever been. My belly now has a pattern of stretch marks. My boobs are another planet. And you know what? I thought f*** it. I’m getting a camel coat.
This was me in the changing room. On the right is the coat I got from asos – it’s kind of cool but very long maternity coat, and this camel coat is just a camel coat in a size larger than I usually take. It just does up, and I figure it’ll do after pregnancy too. I also bought the cheerful autumn / fall scarf. T says he likes the ensemble but I look like Dr Who! (Which I’ve never watched.) It cheers me up just to wear something I always thought was stylish!
T and I went for date night – we went to the cinema to see Girl on the Train (I hated the book but the film was fine) and for pizza!
I had my 25 week midwife appointment (with the community midwife). It was a bit pointless. I’m so glad I have my amazing midwife at the hospital who’s taking over my care. They said to get vaccinated for whooping cough and flu so I managed to get an appointment the next day. I got the sticker!
Was actually awful that evening and the days after. My arms really hurt. I had to start taking paracetamol every few hours. It actually made me question whether I can actually take pain… Even T was like, are you sure you want a natural childbirth?! Luckily after a couple of days of pain it wore off. Was really horrible though.
I got a new case to travel with! I randomly took a picture in case they lost it on the plane. Fortunately this didn’t happen, especially fortunate on the way back with it half full of Sephora!
Excellent plane shot. It was a bit hairy coming into Boston though as there was the tail end of Hurricane Matthew so had quite a lot of turbulence. I have flown since I was tiny but the older I get, the more worried I get! The air hostesses were lovely though and kept checking up on me. (Virgin – super nice on way out; nothing on way back!)
Room service on the first night. Those huge things were sliders! In the UK that means mini burgers… In the US, not so much! I was so pleased with the bowl of cream for the hot chocolate! I can’t believe the sliders were meant to be a starter!
On the subject of hotel stays, WTF is wrong with American towels? I thought Americans were on average larger than other people? But they barely fit round me – granted, I’m larger than I normally am but come on, I’m really short and not that big!
I had a hotel breakfast on Columbus day and had the day off – woo hoo. It wasn’t the best breakfast but the bacon was good.
I went on a Duck tour! Finally! I have never been on the London version despite always thinking I ought to. It was funny. The guy was so high energy, I have no idea how he kept it up for two hours. It was a bit chilly but fun.
The mothership! It was like my #1 must do in the US with my limited time off.
This tickled me. Brazilian Bum Bum Cream!
As if I didn’t already love Sephora, you can also take dogs in there. Why don’t I live in the US? (Apart from Trump and whatnot.)
Barnes & Noble. This seemed a bit of a bad idea…
I was impressed they have an actual magazine for diversity. I bought People instead! 😂
Saw the Babyzen Yoyo in a shop… It’s the lightweight one on our shortlist.
Getting 2 of my 5 a day from Godiva after 2 hours, $300 and a brow class in Sephora!
Was tickled to find out there’s a Boss’s day!
And then it was off to Connecticut for work… I stayed in a pretty crazy hotel room in Stamford. I arrived and there was no room service so I had to make do with my emergency Cheetos and trashy magazines. It had a giant bath-jacuzzi in the bedroom! I made use of it after my doc said not to worry about jacuzzis. (I had a quite cool bath and only put the jets on for a short time!) And I thought the Book of Mormon was just a musical?!
Then it was off to yet another hotel, this time in Hartford, Connecticut. They kinda keep me working. Hotel was nothing to write home about but the food was okay. I was disappointed not to see the famous leaves in New England but managed to catch some out of the window on the way back to the airport. The car I had to drive me around was also kind of fancy!
So I found out only when we got to the airport that the clients were returning on the same flight as I was but in Upper Class… I was in Economy! So they went to the lounge and I hung out and had an airport dinner. T and I had been to Sbarro last time we flew back from Newark so I was happy to see there was one there. Truth be told I was actually glad to have a break from my clients. Tuesday night the important one (my main stakeholder) got really drunk and said something pretty racist and offensive to me – it was about my baby and was a bit of a shock. I am not ready to go into it on here but it made me not want to spend too much time with her. I’m guessing maybe she can’t even remember, but I can! Anyway I had a fine time in Economy apart from the guy with long legs kicking my seat the whole flight! He even tried to tell me to put my seat back up because he said his legs were long. I was like, I’m 6 months pregnant and you knew your legs were long! There are loads of extra leg room seats but did he book one? Nah. Anyway I slept for a good portion of the flight…
I spent Friday dozing with Dog on the sofa. Did not get much work done although I somehow managed to sound alive for conference calls! Before pregnancy I needed hardly any sleep and after I need loads!
Finally, this week’s bumpies. I really felt like I properly popped out in the US. Maybe it was why I was so tired! B was having a growth spurt! There’s another one after this that looks absolutely mahoosive but I’ll save that for the next compilation!
I sort of can’t believe it but we somehow reached viability last week. 24 weeks! It’s the division between the medics not trying to save the baby, versus being in with a chance of saving him if he were born prematurely. (I am hoping this does not happen.) Baby B still seems teeny but he is apparently the size of a cantaloupe, or an aubergine (eggplant to you guys!). That seems quite unfathomable to me but something is definitely causing my stomach to stretch!
How do I feel? I feel a lot better than I did earlier in the pregnancy. First of all, I feel like it is somehow easier to be “out” about being pregnant, and it almost makes me feel more positive because when people know, they just assume the best (rather than being anxious about loss and assuming the worst would happen). It is hard to explain, the conflicting feelings but I’d describe it as being too afraid to be excited this time round. We already went through the excitement and the imagining a life last time, and that was lost with the miscarriage (after years and years of infertility). So it seems really scary to hope now… But I am.
It’s easier to have a bump because people actually treat you like you’re pregnant. And people are on the whole pretty nice about it. How I have spent years resenting the pregnant women on public transport sporting their Baby on Board badges (see previous posts… It’s something Transport for London gives pregnant women for free, which is meant to increase the odds of someone offering you a seat)… Now I am one of them. The other feeling is sort of like survivor’s guilt, I guess. Others I know are still in the trenches. Especially my sister, who lost a baby a few months after I did last year. She’s still trying and so I’m conscious of not wanting to hurt her, but she’s been really nice. Another friend is starting IVF soon and again I know what it feels like to feel desperate and hopeless/hopeful and it sucks.
Those things being considered though I feel as if I’m finally gearing up to be properly pregnant. I can only fit in pregnancy clothes now, and I am enjoying having a bump I never thought I’d have. I have a bunch of tight stretchy dresses and I kind of like it! Although every now I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and think What a heffalump! Part of me feels disgusted about how my body has changed and part of me doesn’t care at all because I’m bringing a bloody human into the world. I mean, I have had so many years of infertility and hopelessness, and then a big hope and a big loss last year, that it seems crazy not to embrace it. I envy women who just get pregnant and take it for granted that everything will be okay, but I’ve been working on getting closer to that.
I met up with my amazing midwife last week, and she was just as nice as I remembered. She reiterated her promise not to go on holiday in January! And also I saw the doc and he seemed super pleased with me. He asked what changed and I said, meeting L (midwife) and also reading the Ina May childbirth book and getting my head around it. I think I’m around 90% convinced now to try for a natural birth. I’m not sure exactly why, but it’s a combination of knowing that L will be there (I think I’d change my mind if she wasn’t) and reading all the facts about birth in the Ina May book, which is total hippy dippy s*** on the one hand but also pretty informative and persuasive on the other. Oh and also the eight flights of stairs to our flat and the 24 steps inside between the bedroom and bathroom are kind of encouraging me not to go for an unnecessary Caesarian – although I will feel fine if it has to happen. Doc said that’s the best attitude to have!
Last weekend we went to a big birthday party for a really great friend of mine. She had hired out this huge mansion for the celebrations and it was kind of crazy when we saw it… There were 20 of us so it meant we could afford between us to stay in this massive place for the weekend.
It was really fun, although so weird because of not drinking. I suppose it’s to be expected what with being pregnant and all, but you kind of forget about the drinking thing unless you go out. I haven’t really been going out much so this was the first big social occasion where everyone else was drinking… Apart from the other pregnant woman. It was really fun but also a bit tiring. You realise time goes normally when you’re sober but quickly when you’re drunk! Anyway our fancy dress outfits went down well and Dog was even allowed to stay too so we had a nice family time! It was a fun weekend. The first night we had fancy dress themed around 1976, and then the next night we had black tie catered dinner so everyone got dressed up and it felt very posh. And I made a cake! The birthday girl’s nickname has to do with the size of her bosom so this is what I came up with…
She absolutely loved the cake and we had a great weekend. They are a really nice bunch of people who I met through the birthday girl when I was going through my separation and really needed a friend. The nice thing about that bunch of people is they embrace newcomers and aren’t very territorial about it, which is a refreshing change… I think it’s maybe because they’re not English. In my experience the English can be a bit less friendly than other Brits! (Welsh, Scottish, Irish…) Maybe it’s because those groups tend to drink more and that makes them happier! 🙂 The annoying thing I’ve been afflicted with and had all last weekend was a dead arm. I think I posted a few posts ago about how much my legs hurt that I went to hospital. It was so frustrating… No idea why I got it, but I wasn’t worried – just in pain. Once I managed to get hold of some paracetamol on the way home, it abated some.
Work is going okay, although I have to figure out a replacement for me when I go on maternity leave. I’m only going to take four months off, which is nothing for the UK although I know elsewhere it’s quite normal. In the UK people generally take a year but that’s usually paid, and because I started my job pregnant, it means I don’t get the benefits so I’ll effectively be taking unpaid leave. The government gives you some maternity pay but it’s negligible. We are also hoping that T can take 18 weeks of shared parental leave and that would be paid as he’s been at his work longer, so that would help a lot and we think if we overlap we can cover around 6 months leave for B. I can also take holiday throughout the year so we might try and have a little break when he’s older. He is already signed up for nursery so that’s one thing ticked off the list!
I’m going to have to travel to the US next week – it’s the last time I can travel before the flight restrictions kick in. Annoyingly I have to travel cattle class (economy) so I’m hoping it’s not too bad. I like flying usually but haven’t flown whilst pregnant. I’ve been having a bunch of annoying debates with our travel agency about what flights I can take and what hotels I can stay in… I told them I’m not staying by myself in a different area and taking Ubers at night on my own as a 6 month pregnant woman! Anyway they finally gave in after I got approvals from all the bosses. Maybe they just don’t want to argue with a pregnant hormonal woman!
Hilariously I was sent these cultural tips for visiting the US… Let me know if you are American and can identify with these things! Ha!
In other news, I finally booked my baby shower! Super exciting. We are having it at a local pub onsite. (This probably sounds very horrendous to non Brits but you’ll soon realise everything revolves around drinking here!) It’s not as bad as it sounds – we have a private room and it’s a very family (and dog!) friendly pub. Yay. This means Dog can attend so I am already thinking I need to dig out his tux. My BFF is organising it, although she lives in a different country so I booked the place and did the invitations (e-invitations from Paperless Post) to save her doing the guest list and all that. Although she probably would have happily done it. We are having Christmas dinner which is like my favourite thing ever! She probably thinks I’m a horrific control freak but then she has known me for a really long time so I don’t think she would be surprised! Bless her… She is like the nicest person in the world and never gets annoyed by anything, which is a rare quality!
The other thing we have planned is to go to the baby show in London in a few weeks. It is just before our Babymoon, which we have finally booked! So we’ve booked both those things. Yay. We have this idea that going to the baby show we’re going to miraculously decide on things. It’s quite funny really. T has been talking with a friend of his about it (he met up with her last week or so) – she’s a bit of an earth mother so told him to do all these things… So now he has ideas in his head about “elimination communication” (where you potty train from birth). I’m like, sure, go ahead… You’re welcome! Ha. She was also stressing about how you need to agree on parenting things. I am less worried about this… I mean, it obviously matters – she’s in the process of getting divorced so it clearly mattered to them – but I think if you are both roughly on the same page about it in terms of approach that it won’t be as big of a problem as that (she says, naively!). I mean, we are both quite similar in our approach to Dog… although T does say I spoil him. Oh dear! We’re going to be terrible parents!
We’ve booked our Babymoon to Bruges. I’m very excited as it will be the first place we’ve been to that neither of us have been to before, or with an ex(!) which is quite funny. And it’s the capital of chocolate! At least we don’t have to get a flight and can just enjoy the Eurostar. I’m looking forward to it. We have about 5 days there in a really nice looking hotel and I think it will be a nice break as we haven’t really had a holiday this year. And chocolate! Yay.
My sister sent me some cool shoes to say thanks for the spa weekend. You can’t properly see but the coloured part is gold!
Yeah, think I may be pregnant…
Yesterday we made it to 21 weeks! Which is kerrazee. I celebrated by going to hospital… Which wasn’t exactly the plan, but I guess who ever gets what they planned for?
I think I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was struck by this awful dead leg thing and it was super horrible. Well the day before yesterday it came back with a vengeance. It started Tuesday afternoon and I just thought maybe I’m tired or it was the high heels or something, but it carried on in both legs and got steadily worse.
By Tuesday evening I was in agony. I got home and just put my feet up on the sofa and then decided to go to bed early and try and sleep it off. Except I couldn’t sleep. It was horrible. T even gave me a leg massage to help, which did a bit but I don’t think it’s realistic to expect your partner to massage your legs all night!
When I got up yesterday, Wednesday I still had the awful pain. I don’t know how to describe it other than “dead leg”. In both legs. Not numbness so maybe I experience dead legs differently to other people… It’s sort of a strong ache from within, and also feels a bit like your legs are swollen except they’re not.
Man, it was horrible. I groaned all night and my boys (T and Dog!) slept through it although B did help me out with some of what I imagine were sympathy kicks but were probably “Mum, stop all this and go to sleep!” kicks. Argh.
Got up yesterday still aching. It actually made me walk slower and everything. It’s a horrible constant pain which makes it hard to think about other things (like poor Dog on his morning walk).
I had googled pregnancy leg pains the previous night as I lay awake in agony. It said that it might be circulation – the baby pressing on a vein or something, which is why you’re supposed to sleep on your left hand side. Or it might be vitamin deficiency (I think magnesium or potassium) which can be helped by eating bananas. I hate bananas! Or it might be dehydration, which seems super unlikely given the amount of water I usually drink.
So yesterday morning I got a fruit smoothie including banana on the way to work. I can eat bananas in stuff, but the texture of them makes me bowk. I quite enjoy fruit smoothies though so that wasn’t too bad. I made sure to drink loads of water. It still hurt!
By lunchtime I thought I would ring the community midwives just to check. Also because I need to make an appointment to get my MATB1 form for work – it’s the form to tell them you’re officially pregnant and you can only get it after 20 weeks. They’d told me I would get it at my next appointment at 25 weeks. But my work requires confirmation before then.
They asked a bunch of questions to confirm it wasn’t deep vein thrombosis. I wasn’t really worried about that as my legs weren’t visibly swollen or red and they were both the same size. They said I should go to the hospital day assessment unit and get checked out.
I left work quite gladly as I really couldn’t concentrate with the pain. Headed to the hospital. Apparently I’m meant to carry my notes everywhere with me(!) so I had to go home first and get them. I got seem pretty quickly and one of the midwives checked B with a doppler and pronounced him “perfect”. Which was nice. His heartbeat was really easy to hear and a strong 150. She did some other checks too and said she couldn’t think why I would have that pain but it could be the heat.
Then I had to wait to see a doctor. There was a medical emergency on the ward apparently so it took ages. I didn’t really mind except the hospital chairs are pretty uncomfortable to sit in for a long time, but I thanked my lucky stars it wasn’t my medical emergency and I hope whoever it was is okay.
The doc eventually came by and did a load of checks. I keep getting asked if I have such and such family history and I keep telling them I don’t because I was adopted. I think they feel bad or something but I don’t really mind… I mean it saves me having to answer those questions at least. But I suppose it’s a bit frustrating not knowing your family medical history. I know some adoptees get really upset by this but it doesn’t really bother me as I’ve never had it.
He said he thought it may be the heat or it may be the baby’s growth and pressing on a nerve or something. Weirdly I totally thought yesterday that my belly had grown a lot, almost overnight. When I go home yesterday, T even said he couldn’t believe how much it had popped out. Here’s a picture I took yesterday pm…
Anyway the doc said not to worry and to try and keep mobile and take paracetamol as a painkiller. (That’s known as acetaminophen in the US.) So I went home and ate a banana (urgh… Dog helped) and took a couple of pills.
I also had a prearranged date (girl version) with a girl I used to work with. She had a baby a few months ago and I really wanted to catch up with her, as she lives in my borough and I wanted to get the lowdown on everything. So I took the boat(!) and went to meet her.
Despite the aching legs I had a really nice time. She was over the moon for me and also I think happy to have someone to talk with about the birth and everything. She ended up having an emergency caesarean but had planned a natural childbirth. Even though it didn’t go totally according to plan she said she was happy with the care she received and once she’d gotten over the disappointment of it not going entirely to plan, she was loving it.
It was nice to have someone talk about everything in an honest and realistic way! Plus a good old girly catch up. Sadly she’s moving out of the country soon otherwise B could have a girlfriend!
So anyway, the upshot of it is that the dead legs have sort of calmed down for now. I’m not sure if I am condemned to a half-pregnancy of banana eating. I’ll keep you posted!
Work bump pic…
Here’s Grumpy Cat’s take on it…
As we speak, T has just popped out to the shops at almost 10pm to get some cream for me to put on our sticky toffee pudding. We got the pudding in our meal deal (Waitrose, darling) from our window shopping extravaganza on Sunday, and I couldn’t bear to have it without cream!
I think he’s a keeper. B does too and is kicking to tell me so. And Dog’s looking longingly at dessert… I love my little family!
It sort of feels like everything has moved on quite a lot in the past week, even though it’s just another week. I suppose maybe in terms of how I’ve been feeling about this pregnancy and coming round to the idea that, umm, maybe I will end up having a baby after all.
I don’t know how to describe it apart from I feel like I’ve maybe tipped into feeling a bit differently about things. Like now we are past the halfway mark (just!) it sort of feels like no going back… Or something. (Yeah, not sure I’ve really formulated my thoughts here!)
So I thought I’d tell you about some of the different things I/we’ve been up to in the past few days.
Well the little froggy-who-now-looks-more-human has been kicking me from the inside with escalating frequency and force over the past week. I guess I started feeling the “Are they? Aren’t they?” flutters a few weeks ago. When I first felt them, I really wasn’t sure if they were the actual kicks, or the Quickening as they call it. (Cue horror music. Doesn’t the Quickening sound like some sort of horror film?)
Turns out that B (for baby) has become increasingly kicky. It’s funny because at first I really wanted him to do it, because until you start feeling the kicks, you can’t be sure that there’s actually anything inside, and maybe your stomach’s just growing because you’re a greedy mare or maybe you have a tumour? Hence my enthusiastic use of the doppler (which was very reassuring). I have actually not bothered using the doppler for about a week or so, because of B’s kicks.
In the past few days, maybe even only over the weekend, he got even stronger and it seemed like he had actually got a bit of force behind them! Ha. I’m happy about that, although it does feel a bit weird. Initially it was just flutters like someone gently touching you (from inside). But now it’s more like someone tapping. It still doesn’t feel like I imagine a kick to feel. I guess not having ever felt it I imagined it was more akin to an actual adult kick (or at least a child kick!) whereas L, my midwife, said not to expect anything like that just yet and to remember he only weighs 300g! That’s like just a bit more than a pack of butter!
The most exciting thing about this whole kickathon is that last night T finally felt B kick. We were lying in bed (obviously Dog was snoring between us, and we were chatting) and I said B was kicking a lot. So I told T to put his hand on my lower stomach. (For some reason B seems to kick pretty low. I think because he was in breech position at the last scan.) He held it there a while and suddenly B gave a big kick! He’d been kicking qualitatively stronger than previously for the whole of yesterday. It was kind of exciting as I had heard from my midwife that you wouldn’t expect someone else to be able to feel kicks for a few weeks yet. I could feel the flutters but T couldn’t, but now B is actually making himself known!
What’s in a name?
One of the things we sort of agreed on over the last week or maybe just over a week is the potential name. We have a nickname we call B/the baby, and the chances are it will take a while for us to think of him by a different name. But we kind of vaguely agreed on it at least. We did decide to reserve judgement until he comes out because we thought he could look like he doesn’t suit it! I don’t think there’s a big rush. We’ll probably just call him Baby!
We’ve had some funny chats about names. For example T said I absolutely could NOT name B after Dog. Now, I love Dog more than most people in the world and he’s the most precious thing to me! (I actually worry seriously how the arrival of a new human might make him feel.) T said B would feel super insulted to be named after the dog! I said I wouldn’t be if it were me! We also joked if B was a girl we could have gone with the female version of Dog’s name. It’s actually a perfectly nice name and I don’t think anyone would have guessed! Haha. Anyway at least we won’t have to deal with that moral dilemma – we saw B’s manhood on last week’s scan and I’m pretty sure he’s a boy!
Another question is what we call each other as parents. I mean there’s Mum and Dad (the UK version!). Or Mummy and Daddy (usually in the UK younger kids call their parents this and then they graduate to Mum and Dad as they get older… I guess it’s the same in the US/Canada/Aus/etc?). Or Mama and Papa which I like, but I’m not sure if that sounds a bit affected. Or you just make up some name that the child calls you. I don’t know. I think it’s interesting as you kind of introduce yourself to the child as that and then they take your lead (or invent their own). I guess I just find the idea of being called Mum or Mummy a bit weird. I more think of my own mum as that! (And I have nicknames for my parents so don’t really call them Mum and Dad!)
Anyway it’s an interesting idea to think about. Plenty of time yet!
Wowsers… It’s been ages since I actually read something educational. I mean, I tend to read for fun and haven’t read an academic / educational book (other than pop sci which I love) for ages. So on my last post someone suggested that I read up on childbirth through Ina May Gaskin’s book. And I am a sucker for real life stories so I thought why not? Ordered it on Kindle and got it delivered straight away.
Well… What an education. (Thank you for recommending it Notabroodychick!) There is probably a lot more to say on it but suffice to say that it really has helped me open my mind to the possibilities of maybe… Not a Caesarian?! I was dead set on it but I’m about 2/3 through the book and it has definitely provided me with food for thought. Firstly because I like real life stories which is the whole first section, so that got me interested (even though some of them are hippy dippy as anything!). And then because the second part explains the whole mechanics of birth and what is actually involved with childbirth. I mean we know from biology at school that it involves XYZ but I honestly hadn’t had such a straightforward description of it. It is helpful to have that. And thirdly because a lot of what she say in the book is really aligned with what L, my Best Midwife Ever is saying.
The good thing I guess is that L seems very aligned with the whole midwifery model and so it helps me to realise that the extreme levels of medical intervention in the US (at least at the time that book was written which was probably 2003 or something) are not very widespread to the same extent in the UK, which makes me feel more that the midwife led model might be onto something. I guess I’ve always had preconceptions about doctor intervention and pain management and there are a lot of good points in the book about how human female bodies are designed, etc. It is sort of about unpacking your preconceptions.
Anyway I’m not going to say that reading one book and having a chat with a nice midwife (BEST MIDWIFE EVER) is like a magic bullet and I’m going to get down on all fours and neigh like a horse and have an unmedicated natural childbirth.
But… There’s still time! 😉
T and I had an awesome day yesterday as we decided to go and look at prams! (Strollers, pushchairs, buggies. So many names for them!) Well I think partly this was an excuse for T to look at gigantic televisions because we went down to the west end and looked in Selfridges and John Lewis (big department stores) but it was really good fun. The funny thing was I decided to dress like an actual pregnant woman rather than pretending to disguise it a bit (as I’ve been doing) or just wearing my very casual ripped maternity jeans (because all bloody maternity jeans have rips in – why?!) and t shirt. So I wore a stretchy pregnant bump-enhancing dress and I enjoyed being properly pregnant!
We spent ages looking at prams and trying to figure out how they all worked. The one I had my eye on was the Cybex Priam. It’s super expensive and classy. My parents had said they’d pay for ANY pram we wanted and I was like, ooh I want this really expensive one that I didn’t think we would afford!
Anyway we finally managed to get some help and the assistant was like, are you crazy? That pram is really heavy and you will get annoyed with it in the city! She showed us the Bugaboo Bee 3 which is about half the heaviness and FUGLY but practical… So we had fun trying to decide what we’d rather have. I think right now the Bugaboo Bee is the front runner (easy fold, lightweight, suitable from birth) but we are still looking. No need to do anything just yet as they can get them to us within a week, and some even the next day.
What was fun and what I enjoyed was just being expectant parents. Like, actually looking at some of the other bumps of women looking at prams, quite a few were earlier than me. So I felt like, well I actually have a reason to be here… I belong here as much as anyone else. Also we looked at baby carriers (T wants a carrier and I will probably get a sling, because we are vastly different sizes and we don’t want to keep adjusting one – also I fancy trying a sling as I think it looks closer to hold the baby) and baby clothes (we decided he needs things with sailing themes on or dogs!). I mean it was just sort of fun to window shop and enjoy it.
I guess the thing is, I’ve never window shopped for MY ACTUAL BABY. It has always been shopping for someone else’s baby, and tinged with sadness that I might never have one and (later) that I lost mine. So what I am inexpertly trying to describe was I really felt it was a joyful experience. We didn’t even buy anything but it was fun, and we belonged there, and we can take our time choosing because I’m actually beginning to believe that there will be a real baby who needs this shiz at the end of it!
So I really keep feeling like I am stretching now. Especially the last few days I can sort of feel my skin of my stomach stretching. The good thing was, when T was following me up the stairs (our eight flights of stairs… I’m sure I mentioned how practical the new flat is for a baby?!) he looked at my bum and said “It’s funny your bum hasn’t got any bigger even though your stomach has!” It was funny because I do feel like I’ve properly expanded but it’s quite nice to think that my arse still looks a similar size! (I’m sure it has grown too but I’ll take it.)
My stomach has now got stretch marks on the underside of it. Weirdly they started more on the left (even though B seems to always be on the right when I listen with the doppler) and I could totally feel them coming. I have been slathering myself with lotions, including Bio Oil, cocoa butter and Mama Mio expensive stuff but… I just kind of think that some people are prone to them and some aren’t. I mean I’ve been pretty religious about them and still got them. At the moment I am okay with it. I certainly don’t like them (or the humungaboobs) but I figure they are signs that my body is preparing for something big.
Coming out as… Fat?
Today I decided I would tell some people at work. I told my client (one of them, a woman, who has a young baby). She was super happy for me. I also told both the guys who report into me. It was partly through necessity as my work wants me to do a work trip somewhere that involves flying somewhere I don’t ideally want to visit (inoculations etc). So that was fine. Also I just wanted to be able to breathe out and be pregnant at work! Instead of doing the scarves and cover ups. And for logistics because I’ll have to do some recruitment to get someone to fill in for a few months when I’m away on maternity leave. Getting past halfway seems like as good a time as any to mention it.
Now I don’t know if they’re lying but they all said they hadn’t noticed! Actually when I told one guy I said, “You may have noticed I’ve put on some weight lately!” and he actually started saying things about going on a diet! Maybe my disguise dressing worked better than I thought! Anyway I figure the lady will tell a bunch of the other women and I’ll just mention it casually if it comes up with other people. At least I am “Out” now and I don’t have to concentrate on uncomfortably hiding it! I don’t want to wear scarves!
In a final spree of Getting Into The Mindset, we are planning a holiday in October. We aren’t calling it a babymoon or anything. But it would be a nice getaway before B is born. I have said I just want to go somewhere relaxing and ideal with a pool/beach. We are thinking Greece as there seems to be a lot going there. Anyway it is a nice idea. We’ve kind of decided on the week and now just have to figure out a good deal!
So… Back at work today (well, yesterday, Monday… It’s late now!). I am really starting to look forward to a break! My next appointment is our 22 week scan next week. Eek! Until then, it’s just plodding along… And doing my best to embrace the new, pregnant me. One step at a time!
WTF, OMG and other acronyms… Holy potato, we are 20 weeks!
How the hell did that happen?!
Answer: I think I’ve got to the stage where I just sort of try to live my life without thinking about it too much, and it just sort of crept up on me.
How on earth did we get that far? It seems like only yesterday I was comparing lines on pregnancy tests and trying desperately to hold it together and not freak out before our first scan.
So this week we had our NHS 20 week scan, also known as the anomaly scan (I think). It is the halfway house for the NHS (National Health Service in the UK) whereby they actually start assuming that everything’s going to happen. As the title says, sh*t just got real.
20 week scan: froggy no more
The 20 week scan actually took place 2 days ago so technically speaking I was at 19+6, but I’m not going to worry too much about that. We went along to our local hospital – I worked from home that day so I wouldn’t be stressed about getting there, and T came from work, as it was lunchtime. They kept us waiting aages (about 40 minutes) and then we were called in.
My belly actually seems to be a belly now, which is sort of comforting in a way, and sort of comical because they still haven’t said anything at work. I’m sure they are thinking that I’m a bit suspicious but hey. I have got a few little stretch marks on the underside of the “pot” bit of my belly, but at least they aren’t too bad. My boobs on the other hand are another story. They’re absolutely horrendous. But I am trying not to deal with them and hopefully they won’t get any bigger! My friend sent me some Mama Mio boob tube cream which is meant to help. She has giant bazookas and she’s not pregnant but she uses it and swears by it! She sent me it in a little pack of Mama Mio stuff which was really lovely of her. Anyway, I digress.
Flopped my giant belly out (although scary to think that if everything goes right it’ll double in size) and the ultrasound lady got to work. At least we are past the stage of the TV (internal) scans! Fortunately, B was in there, wriggling away. It was really cool to see him because this time he looked more like a small human and less like a frog. Now, I like frogs and all but I have to say I’d rather have a human baby. (Well, I’d rather have a dog baby but I think that’s biologically impossible and probably something to worry about if it happened.)
The scan itself was very NHS-y. By which I mean it involved us staring intently at the screen trying to decipher what was going on, and the two technicians talking to one another and saying acronyms and measurements without explaining anything about what they were doing. The strange thing is, as I later said to T, they give you about as much information in a Good News scan as a Bad News scan. (I love the NHS but I suppose that’s what you pay private clinics for… Information and a slightly higher level of interaction.)
The scan lasted aaaages as they couldn’t get a good view of B’s head. I was sort of worrying as they kept coming back to it, but apparently it was because he had his arm in front of it for the whole time and wouldn’t move, and he was in a breech position, and also he sort of had his legs folded back on himself so his feet were in his face. They also had to search for ages to try and see his face as I think they need to confirm he has a mouth etc. Anyway, by the end of it, T and I were both almost falling asleep. I mean, it’s nice to see your baby wriggling about but there’s only so long you can stare at it and 45+ minutes without any commentary probably isn’t it.
On the plus side, we got print outs! And they are much clearer pictures. At our hospital you have to go and pay for a voucher (£4 per print) and then you get given them in a little holder. It’s actually very cute. Our private doc just adds them to our USB stick. It’s nice to have actual prints you can see (and then take a photo of!) as usually I head to Boots afterwards to print the best ones out. We also got a printed sheet to add to the now slightly bulging medical file I was given during my first midwife appointment, and it showed that all the measurements were within normal ranges. (Me being me I started to worry his head was slightly small, like what if he had Zika, but it’s probably just me being stupid because it was only slightly to the left of the mid point and well within the safe range.) Sometimes I wonder whether we actually need to be given information as I think sometimes it makes you worry more!
Here he is. The first decent scan pictures we have that aren’t complete blurs! These are pictures of pictures but I think you get the picture!
After the scan, T went back to work and I headed off to my midwife appointment. If you recall this was recommended by my nice doctor who said that he thought I’d benefit from speaking with a midwife, mainly because I had expressed a load of concerns about v- birth and wanted an elective caesarean! So I booked in with the midwife straight after our scan appointment.
Midwife appointment: Best midwife ever
So the midwife appointment was so not what I was expecting. I suppose I have a slight aversion towards hospital settings. I don’t mind getting stuff fixed, and I don’t have an issue with surgery (hence my request for an elective caesarean) but I sort of get a slight icky feeling if I have to spend too long there. Like I have visited sick relatives in hospital and it’s always a sort of pull between wanting to make them feel better and showing I care, versus the horrible hospital feeling.
Anyway, the good news is my midwife lady resided in a separate part of the hospital that doesn’t really look like a hospital. More like a budget hotel. It is called the Birth Centre and it’s a separate wing of the hospital. So it’s quiet and quite nicely decorated. She turned up and she is this super glamorous tall slim black lady and from the outset she was really nice and didn’t make me feel at all like I was taking up her time unnecessarily.
We went to one of the birthing rooms to chat and I was a bit blown away. First of all, it is like the size of our flat. I mean it’s huge. (Probably just the size of a room not in London, but still. You could pretty much fit our flat in it.) Secondly it did not look like a hospital room at all. There was this giant bath thing in there, and a bed, and a cot and a desk and an ensuite bathroom and none of it looked particularly hospital like.
We sat down and talked. For TWO HOURS. OMG, I wonder if she ever gets bored of her job. I had like a million anxieties and questions and she just headed them off and talked A LOT (she could talk for England!) and shared a lot of experiences and tried to reassure me by explaining stats for each thing. (Like episiotomies which she said happen maybe 3-5 times a year in that centre.)
She explained all about how the midwife led birth centre is different from the consultant led ward – which is just down the corridor in case you need to be transferred. So doctors are on call, but unless anything bad happens then there is no doctor intervention. In the birth rooms there is gas and air (yeah I’ve had that, does nothing!) and pethidine and oxygen and they also recommend use of the pool for pain relief.
I won’t go into everything we talked about as it was two bloody hours, but she was really nice and I felt a lot better after meeting her. She said she thought I was the kind of person who would benefit from seeing her more often (*I think she means crazy) and offered to see me every two weeks or once a month, whatever I preferred. (Seriously, does she have nothing better to do?!)
Turns out she’s the Head Midwife there and she is absolutely passionate about giving mums a great birth experience. She said she wanted everyone to feel like they’d had the best possible experience when they left, and even if there was intervention or if something didn’t go to plan that they would know it’s all under control and the risks are minimised.
She also said she thought I would be better and less anxious if I had the baby delivered by someone I knew (ie her!) and then she said if I wanted her to do it then she promised she wouldn’t take any holiday in January! Ha! I mean she really was lovely, and I’m quite a cynical type.
The whole conversation brought up a lot of feels. I mean I am not the most demonstrative person (other than to T and Dog) and I even had a bit of a cry. I think it was when I was explaining about my history of infertility and my failed marriage and IVF last year and the miscarriage. It really was the most awful thing that has ever happened to me and I am sh*t scared of anything like that happening again. Which is why I feel like I haven’t properly gotten excited about being pregnant. I’m scared that if I do, something will go wrong.
Also it brought up feelings about being adopted. This baby is the ONLY person in the world I will know who I’m genetically related to. I can’t really explain how big a deal that is. It’s like, he’s so precious already and I haven’t even met him yet and I’m scared that I might not. So yeah, I had all the feels that day. L (the midwife) was really sympathetic and even gave me a hug. I’m sort of squeamish about people I don’t know giving me hugs, but it was okay. I think it was a relief just to voice some of those fears.
She said she would take over care from the community midwives at around 28 weeks if I was happy with that. (I so was. She’s like a million times nicer and less perfunctory.) We decided that I’ll see her again in a month and she’d come and see the consultant with me. Mainly to do a double act with him around how giving birth naturally in the birth centre is a much better idea than a caesarean, haha. I’m still not 100% convinced but we had a long talk about the different things that could happen and I don’t know… I’ll consider it. (I am a sucker for the superficial things and I like that birth centre private room a helluva lot more than I like a hospital ward.)
She ended by giving me her mobile number and telling me to call any time. I don’t think I will call her (well maybe I will in 20 weeks) but it was nice of her to do that. I sort of feel a bit better knowing that I could potentially have someone familiar and nice with me every step of the way.
L told me she had never had a complaint in over 20 years of midwifery. She really loves her job! She also said that a lot of her patients call her the Best Midwife Ever and I think she might just be right.
Generally I feel less anxious now. I think it’s partly because we have reached this milestone, which I know doesn’t really mean anything other than halfway, but in my head feels a bit more real. Also seeing the scan and that everything seemed okay. And meeting L, the best midwife ever.
It’s strange because I don’t really consider myself an anxious person. I think that label is more for my weird friend (bless her) but I suppose circumstances make it what it is. I have definitely been kind of uptight about things and I think it has prevented me from enjoying it too much, but I am starting to relax a bit more.
I have definitely acknowledged the pregnancy outside of work and it helps that people are really excited and nice about it. I even met a guy on my dog walk who has a 5 month old baby and he kept saying he was “over the moon” for us, which was really sweet. He said it was the best thing that ever happened to him, even though she was a complete accident, conceived on the coil. (Yeah, fertile people, eh?!)
The other thing is that I have been thinking more and more about adoption and the fact of me having been adopted. And race too. It is a weird feeling as I am used to being adopted; I mean I’ve been adopted for the whole of living memory. But it does feel strange and I mainly worry that B will look more like my ethnicity and I won’t be able to give him anything from my birth culture.
I worry because stereotypically people consider females from my race to be more attractive and males to be less attractive. T said that’s why he wanted a girl, because he didn’t want his kid to have a hard time in the looks department. So I’m very aware of that and it does make me look out for males of my ethnicity. I want B to have some positive role models if he doesn’t come out looking white. (I think odds are that my genes will wipe out T’s white genes, but we’ll see.)
The good thing is that there are quite a few people who are racially similar to me in the area we moved to. And they have boys and girls as babies/kids so I figure he won’t be the odd one out. And I’ve checked and they are cute!
Also I find I notice men of my race a lot more now (I guess now that maybe I am having one, or at least half of one). The funny thing is, I don’t think they are unattractive at all. The media tells me they are but it’s b*llocks to be frank. There are just as many ugly white men as any other race. So it stands to reason that all the good looking guys in the world are not white. It p*sses me off really because we are always held to white beauty standards and I don’t want my kid to feel the way I did about our race. There’s nothing wrong with us! Maybe my mama bear grizzles are coming out.
Anyway, for one reason or another this 20 week milestone makes me feel like things are realer now. We are halfway. The risks are decreasing all the time (although they probably increase at the point of actually getting the baby out of you, yay) so I am trying my best to relax into things. The bump and B’s little increasingly strong kicks are helping.
Other stuff… and cake!
It’s not all pregnancy and whatnot. I mean it really isn’t. I have been pretty busy at work. Things sort of went a bit pear shaped when the awful new guy I got resigned this week. The thing is, we’d probably have had to put him on a performance plan because he’d done nothing in four weeks of being here. In week 5, all he did was he wrote his resignation email to me and that’s probably the best piece of work he did! The guy was so strange. I mean, it’s odd to accept a job and not even try to get on there. He literally did no work. (I don’t think I mentioned him drunk texting me in week 2.) I don’t know how he can live with himself.
Anyway, last weekend was the bank holiday weekend in England which means we got Monday off. Yay! Like a mini holiday. Apart from the fact that I had to make my mum a cake on the Saturday, which took me all day! It was for a big birthday (politeness prevents me telling you exactly which one!). We then went round to their new place on Sunday and had a little gathering. It was really nice and everyone was super complimentary about the cake, and people were all excited about my bump (which was weird as I still feel odd about it) and my sibling who lives outside the country was there alongside the partner I’d never met (but feel like I know on FB anyway) so it was really nice.
Here is the cake. It’s a four layer chocolate sponge with chocolate buttercream on top of a vanilla sponge with strawberry jam. (The latter insisted on by my little nephew, who then ate chocolate cake instead. Go figure!) All of the decorations are made out of buttercream. To be honest, I wasn’t that happy with it (because it’s really hard to work with buttercream in the heat and we had a heatwave) but it’s the first one I’ve made in our new kitchen.
I had to spend half of Saturday getting the ingredients (up 8 flights of stairs!) and making space to bake the cakes and ice them, so it really took a long time. Our new oven is built in and it’s quite small so it’s a different experience than my old industrial oven T bought me a few Christmases ago which you could bake 3 or 4 cakes in at a time (which wouldn’t fit in the new place, sob). So I feel like I did an okay job with the resources I had available. I was very out of practice!
The whole day with my folks was really nice. I got to see all my siblings and in a way it was the first time I could feel a lot more okay with the little ones. I think lots of other times it has felt like a kick in the teeth to have to spend time with them. Not that I don’t like them or anything but it was always hard.
I wonder if my sister was okay with it. She seemed really happy for me all the time and asked how I was doing in the pregnancy, but I know what it feels like and I worry for her. We have planned a little sisters’ spa day in a few weeks so hopefully that will be nice.
Also, my folks gave me this. It was really sweet. I love it. It’s a Peter Rabbit soft toy that plays a lullaby and a whole little outfit, plus a blanket. Knowing my mum, it cost a fortune! It was really nice and the first thing we had for B. Freaking baby Armani. Poor B will have to get used to a lot less fancy stuff! He’ll be begging to run off to the grandparents!
My sibling from overseas also brought B a present too which is a sort of tradition in our family. It felt really nice that they did that even though it’s the third nibling so not a novelty any more.
And my mum finished up by insisting that we must buy the buggy (stroller) we wanted and they would pay for it, even though I said it was really expensive and we were weighing up whether we actually needed one and whether we could just carry B around!
It is really nice to think we could get a nice one without worrying about it. So maybe we will go to John Lewis and look at the different models. (At the moment I’m torn between the Joolz Geo and Cybex Priam, with the 4moms Origami (motorised folding/unfolding) as an outlier. Of course we will need a car to store it in, a I’m not carrying it up and down 8 flights of stairs several times a day!) I suppose if we did that, we would be properly acknowledging being pregnant!
So it is beginning to feel like B is properly real now. Well I have been feeling more and more flutters which are his little kicks, so I guess he’s got to be.
So after my pep talk from various people including our very own Courtney (love her!), I decided this week to combine not caring if people noticed I am pregnant with the unseasonable London heatwave… I broke out the maternity frocks.
I don’t know if it’s just the maternity clothes that make me look more preggers, or if I’ve actually gotten bigger, but T said to me last night, “OMG! You really have grown!”
I have definitely felt a sort of stretching sensation in my ribs that I think is a sign my body’s expanding. It really feels now that what was a sort of maybe-it’s-too-much-pizza tummy is more of an actual bump now. Previously it was lower hanging but now it feels like my ribs have sort of made a bit of space for B.
My various apps tell me that B is now the size of a grapefruit. En route to being a mango next week! I think he’s going through a growth spurt because bump suddenly seems more noticeable. Also I’m what’s commonly known in the UK as a “short arse” which means there isn’t very much room for B to grow apart from outwards. Oh dear. I’m obviously never going to be one of those graceful gazelles with long lithe limbs and a tiny neat bump!
Anyway because you were so nice about my previous “bumpie” I thought I’d show you my “Is she or isn’t she?” shots in my work clothing this week. Note this is the first week I decided to wear actual maternity dresses although I did wear a maternity dress last week which isn’t very bump-ish and is more like a conventional work dress which is a bit stretchy. This week is a bit of a “heat wave” here (yes I know you’ll laugh, about 30 degrees C as a top temp) so I really couldn’t be bothered to sweat it out in wintery clothes.
This dress is from Mamalicious via Amazon. Note the very cunning use of the silk scarf. Doesn’t look too pregnant-y from the front…
I actually got complimented by one of the women at work on my kimono! So either they’re just saying nothing or haven’t noticed! The dress is from Zeta Ville on Amazon and was the first maternity dress I wore (to the family gathering a few weeks ago).
In other news, I took delivery of my Dream Genii pregnancy pillow last night. (I love our new place – 24 hour concierge!)
The good news is it’s really comfortable and it’s also not insanely big like some pregnancy pillows. Also I didn’t wake up with back ache like I have been doing.
The bad news is it’s useless at keeping me sleeping on my left, as I just ended up rolling back over on it and happily sleeping on my back!
The latest symptoms which may be related to that is an awful aching in my legs. Apparently this is common in the third trimester (B is an overachiever already perhaps) as the weight of your belly presses down on some nerve that aggravates back pain and circulation. Fab news! Not.
So I really felt quite horrible even coming home last night with a sort of dead leg feeling. Dr Google says it’s pregnancy leg pain or leg cramps and I just have to keep my circulation going.
I had been out with my girlfriend for Thai. Now my main named pregnancy craving has been chicken satay, and last night I finally got a good one! T and I have been all over London finding one to satisfy my craving. The one last night was good… But not THE satay I was looking for. The search continues…!
So the single “dead leg” last night translated into double dead legs overnight. So horrible! Every time I got up to go to the bathroom (about 3-4 times) I had these horrible heavy legs. It’s probably me not sleeping on my side as I’m supposed to.
My main pregnancy food cravings have been:
- Fruit, especially apples and nectarines.
- Asian food, like fresh food not my usual deep fried and pizza! And particularly chicken satay.
- Fruit juice like orange juice and pineapple juice.
Fortunately where we’ve moved to also has an awesome and really cheap Vietnamese restaurant that I was overjoyed to discover. So that takes care of my need for freshness. It’s really cheap for London and you can get an entire meal, table service, for under a tenner.
We took T’s sister there as she came to visit. It was really nice to see her. I was terrible and did a pregnancy afternoon nap but hey! I’m sure that’s allowed. She said that T’s parents keep calling her to tell her about The Reveal… which is funny as she was “there” (on FaceTime!). It’s nice to know they are excited! She said she was also super excited and vowed to keep B in trainers (sneakers) because she loves baby shoes!
Also… I do think B is doing lots of fluttering now! I’ve definitely noticed more over the past few days. Either it’s a weird sort of indigestion or it’s our actual baby trying to make his presence known. We saw on the app that apparently he can turn upside down and still has room for acrobatics so I guess he’s taking advantage before it gets more cramped.
T has been funny. We always have our talks in the morning (walking Dog, and on the boat) and I told him that B could now hear our voices and start to recognise them. We said we should get Dog some baby tapes so he gets used to the sound. And then T came back with a story book that he decided he will read B every night! It’s about dogs in the Arctic or something like that!
I am glad he is getting into it because I think that guys can feel a bit uninvolved… Also I was worried he would find the bump disgusting but he does talk to B through it, and he offered to rub cocoa butter into my boobs! (I rejected that kind offer! They’re still inflamed!)
So… Work is busy and summer is yucky but I’m feeling strangely upbeat. Maybe I just have got a bit more “in the zone”. I want to do what people have said to do and embrace this pregnancy and try and be happy and not imagine terrible things happening. So it’s a bit of a Jedi mind trick but I will try!
And to top off today: Here’s another boat pic of London in the summer!
I’m still here! I have like a million excuses as to why I’ve been blogging so seldom, but I’m sure you’re all sick of hearing them so I’ll just say sorry (because I’m sure you’re waiting on the edge of your seat for my update *British sarcasm*) and hope that I can remember all the stuff I need to catch you up on!
Firstly I’m glad that you all seem to be going strong! Blogging is sort of weird for me as I only started about a year and a bit ago, and I’d never done it before, and it’s not necessarily a reciprocal relationship like Facebook, but it’s different and more detailed than Twitter. I still have people who I follow who never comment on my blog, and then there are probably people who follow me who I don’t follow… So it’s all a bit strange. (I pretty much follow people who comment, though!) It is really cool to know that lots of you are making progress. And I hope for some of my infertility blogger friends who are still trying that it is all looking good for you. I know it was really tough this time last year knowing everyone was making progress and I was recovering from a miscarriage, so I absolutely don’t take it for granted. I still don’t think I have fully accepted this pregnancy, but as each day goes by, I hope a little more.
Anyway, excuse number 1: my commute! I mentioned this on my last post I think but it is super fun, and it means I get to spend quality time with T, because we travel partly the same route, and we get seats next to each other (and he always lets me have the window seat! Ain’t he a keeper!) and so we chat and eat our breakfast apples (how coupley!) rather than me reading and blogging. Sorry! But I’m glad to spend some decent quality time!
Here’s a pic:
Oh heck, here’s another one… That big sticky up building is called The Shard, a London landmark (where you may recall I took my team a few weeks ago!). The tourists get super excited when we see this! And Tower Bridge which is nearby. This is my window view from the boat!
It’s especially lovely to have had a little dog walk round our nice new area with Dog, and have a fun boat ride… all before 9 o’clock! It also gets me in nice and early to work, even to the point that I have time to go and get a nice breakfast. I seem to have a bit of a craving for hot breakfast rolls (bacon!) or maybe it’s just greed… I have to leave a bit earlier than getting the train, but it’s a much more pleasant way to travel!
Anyway, believe it or not I’m at 18+5 weeks. That’s crazy. It’s pregnancy update time!
- The most mind blowing thing is that over the past week and a bit, I’ve had something that I think might be the flutterings of B (for baby!) kicking… I still am not 100% sure, but it’s a few weird sensations and I’ve been doing a lot of paranoid googling and come to the conclusion that it might just be The Quickening, as they call it. I guess I’ll have more of an idea if they get stronger and more frequent. It sort of feels like bubbles popping, as some people describe it, or a few little flutters, or twinges. I can’t really tell. Also, I think The Quickening sounds like a horror movie…
- OMG THE BOOBS. Seriously. I went last week to go and get some new bras, because they’re just getting out of control. Aside from the itchiness, which is seriously not fun, but decreasing a bit, they’ve been super sore and sensitive and they look like giant red beacons. Anyway, for reference, my usual size is 32C. I went to Mothercare (a maternity/baby shop in the UK) and what do I come away with but nursing bras in… 36DD! WTF I have giant bazookas. I think the lady on the till was actually laughing at my concern and told me that I’d probably be back again as they’d grow even more! WUT?!
- Related to the humungaboobs, Welcome To Stretch Mark City. Population: ME. OMG, my boobs are just like a giant red stretch mark, despite my judicious morning and evening application of supposed stretch mark decreasing condiments (okay they’re maybe not edible but the cocoa butter sure smells like it). I even splashed out on some Bio Oil just in case it works. It definitely hasn’t so far. I just smell of chocolate and my general texture is greasy-boobed. Nice. Also, I discovered a few days ago I’ve got some stretch marks on my stomach. Woe is me.
- I actually have a big belly now. T finds it partly funny and partly (my interpretation) a bit alarming. See pics below. Quite honestly I’m amazed nobody at work has noticed, but I’ve taken to wearing scarves (so not me!) which maybe detracts from the bump. Or maybe I’m kidding myself. I’m “out” with my boss but I haven’t told anyone else yet. I feel like I might be willing to do that after our 20 week scan, only to work people. There will be no pregnancy announcement on FB!
- I’ve actually had a slightly lesser appetite, or maybe it’s more that I don’t want to eat the same things I usually want to eat (like pizza). If anything my cravings have been more for fruit and relatively healthy stuff, like Asian food. I’ve had a big thing for chicken satay, but despite various hunts round London, I haven’t found the perfect one yet!
- It’s boiling here so lots of discomfort. Oh and the eight flights of stairs to our new (still quite new!) apartment! Seriously what were we thinking! I still love the place though and at least I feel motivated to get home all the time because Dog is here. I definitely feel quite breathless a lot of the time.
- Hayfever. The heat is NOT helping this. I can’t take stuff so I have an attractive nasal spray which sprays sea water(?) up my nostrils! Quite funny but it does help. This means I’ve not slept very well the past few weeks, because as soon as I lie down, my head seems to fill with snot. Super attractive! Apparently you get increased nose bleeds too, and I’ve definitely had bleeding issues due to the nasal irritation. Not fun but I’m hoping hayfever season is over soon.
- The sleeping! Terrible. The hayfever combined with the backache from having to sleep on my left hand side (as recommended) is so bad. I have ordered a DreamGenii maternity pillow because I am really hoping I can get more sleep and less backache! I basically wake up with back pain and unable to breathe because my nose is bunged up and it’s not ideal at this stage.
In summary: Generally though I feel okay in myself, apart from feeling much larger than I usually am. I mean, I’m only 18 and a bit weeks (nearly 19!) but I feel like I’m double my usual size, which is quite discombobulating. As T and I were discussing… There are 2 types of pregnant woman – the ones who look just the same with a bump, and the ones who go double the size and morph into Jabba the Hut… Guess which one I am?! Sod’s law!
Okay so I’m sort of shy but I wanted to show an illustration of how sort-of-pregnant-maybe I look. (Don’t be mean!) This was taken last week in Mothercare (because I have no actual full length mirror in my house… Yeah, it shows) and I thought it was worth pointing out the belly. I think you could say now that if I’m fat, I’m pretty amazed that it’s all gone on the stomach.
Funnily enough those jeans are New Look size 8 UK (size 4 US I think) which is sort of hilarious but goes to show that a) New Look knows how to do vanity sizing, and b) maternity jeans are super stretchy! Oh well… I’ll take what I can get!
Whilst we’re on the case, we can talk about: My TOMS addiction… I think when everything is so growing and out of control that it’s nice to have shoes! TOMS are these kind of basic canvas shoes which have a bit of a social conscience, so if you buy a pair they give a pair to someone who needs them. Quite aside from that nice aspect I love TOMS because they are slip ones and I don’t have to find any socks! And hilariously I now have a TOMS tan on my feet. (I’m not showing you that though because it looks demented.)
They had a sale on so I got my latest pair, a new kind I hadn’t tried before in leather. I love them!
Aside from that I have bought a few things to try and ease me into maternity wear. As I’m not completely “out” at work (ie I work with a client and I haven’t told any of them, but my boss knows and HR knows) I have not really been dressing the bump. For the fun of it, here’s my list of what has and hasn’t worked for me so far.
Maternity buys (UK focused)
- Maternity jeans. I have some blue jeans from M&S which were my first purchase, but I am now living in the black ones in the picture because they are a bit more flattering (possibly) and I generally prefer black anyway. They were about half the price of the M&S ones (New Look is a cheap high street store) and I think they are great, apart from the annoying rips in the knees which they seem to put on all maternity jeans. Weird. Maybe I should sew them up! (I’m short though so the holes don’t show that much as they bunch up around my stubby legs.) £22 each from New Look; the M&S ones were something like £38.
- Maternity Breton tops. I kind of live in them anyway (stripey French inspired tops in two colours, usually blue and white) and so I have the maternity version too. I can still wear the big ones but the maternity ones like in the picture are quite handy. They were from New Look too – 2 for £12 so really cheap.
- Maternity sleep/casual soft bras. I got to the point the other week where my boobs were SO SORE that I needed to wear something that wasn’t a too-tight bra. I tend to wear non underwired bras anyway – or I have since starting IVF the first time, last year, so it’s not that (they usually come from Uniqlo) but more that my boobs are super tender and sore now. So I did a bunch of Amazon searches and found bras from Kindred Bravely. They are really soft, like t shirt material but a bit stronger, and really comfortable. I have one in M and one in L! They’re great for sitting around the house… Usually I am a bra-free person at home, but they’re just uncomfortable like that now, so it’s good to have something that works. I have even worn the bras out and they survive, although don’t really give enough support now I’ve moved into DD territory! About £12 each.
- Maternity shorts. These are seriously unsexy but so necessary when wearing a dress! They’re like cycling shorts crossed with shape wear. Usually I do wear shape wear with light support under dresses, because since I started IVF and put on weight, I don’t like to have my thighs rub together (ugh). But the shorts I had were getting too tight to contain the bump so I had a silly interim solution with a belly band, so it’s nice to have some shorts that are all one piece! I got mine from Be Mammy via Amazon (I get like almost my whole life on Amazon!) – I have size M but I’ve ordered S as I think that I’m still at the stage where I could cope with a bit more support. £12.90 each.
- Nursing bras. My gosh I needed some larger more supportive bras, and nursing bras seem to be more structured – you sort of get nursing bras all the time at this size, so I figure I might as well. They’re so big they fit on Dog’s head. Poor Dog! I got mine at Mothercare in a double pack, 2 for £30.
- Lotions! I have a few now. Cocoa butter lotion for stretch marks, cocoa butter belly butter (which I don’t really get as it’s rock hard and I think that may be a fault with the seller – on Amazon – I got it from), and Bio Oil. Cocoa butter was quite cheap, around £4. Bio Oil is insanely expensive! £8.99 for a tiny bottle!
- Scarves! So funny as I am sooooo not a scarf person. I always used to sort of laugh at the fact that senior women at work always wore scarves. But… They really do detract from the bump. As long as I wear black in the background, and have a bright coloured scarf on, I don’t think people notice so much. Lots to choose from! I got a couple from Primark (the cheapest shop in the world apart from the pound shop) for about £4 each, and one on, you guessed it, Amazon for £9.
- Maternity dresses. I now have a few… The first one I got was from – wait for it – Amazon! It’s from Zeta Ville, a black wrap dress, and I wore it to my family do a couple of weeks ago. £13.70. I have a couple from Mamalicious on Amazon that were super cheap, £9-£15. And then I have a couple of expensive ones from Seraphine which I haven’t even worn yet because… Well, I don’t like them. Urgh. I think I just got them because it’s what’s expected here in the UK if you want some sort of high end maternity wear. I guess I’ll maybe wear it eventually but tbh I should have sent them back. They’re more expensive, around £40 in the sale. And I got some stuff from Jojo Maman Bébé – half of which I sent back, but I did keep one tailored black dress which has proven a lifesaver for work now that I’m squeezing out of my non-maternity work clothes. It’s very subtle and bump brushing rather than bump hugging so you don’t really tell I’m pregnant whilst I’m wearing the scarves! Weirdly I didn’t like any of the others I ordered, and sent them back. It was £39.
- Pregnancy pillow. I got the Dream Genii as it seems to be the most popular. I don’t know as I think I might need something bigger. But T will be glad of still having a tiny space in bed! £36.99 on… Amazon!
We have the 20 week scan (NHS) next week. I can’t believe we might make it to 20 weeks! Also I have the appointment to talk with the midwife after that, to talk about my birth anxieties (because my doctor wants to reconsider my idea of wanting an elective Caesarian). She was super nice on the phone. Like, I am so not into the idea of going through natural childbirth but… I am willing to be convinced. We will see!
After that – next milestone is the private detailed scan at 22 weeks, mid September. It’s optional, but we would like it after the guy did such a nice job at our other scan. You definitely get more time and attention if you pay for it!
We are also thinking we will get a 3D/4D scan once it’s advised – most of them say after 24-25 weeks as apparently before then B will look like a skeleton! We are keen to find out what his face looks like!
I would also love to have a baby shower, and my friends and sister have said they’d be up for organising it. It’s really not such a big thing in the UK, so we don’t so much have rules or anything, and the mums probably won’t get overly involved. We definitely don’t get expensive stuff on registries like in the US/elsewhere! It’s more of a little gathering. So I’m wondering when we would have that. Probably November or December as I’m due in January. Here’s hoping we get to do that!
17 weeks today*. Crazy to think. I’m still in that hinterland of wondering if this pregnancy will “stick”, and trying to disguise my growing belly. At the moment, I look properly pregnant in casual clothes (ie fitted tops and maternity jeans with a belly band) and just fat in work clothes (the few clothes that still fit me, because they’re loose). I have bought a few maternity dresses, but I don’t feel comfortable wearing them yet (possibly ever… They’re a bit horrendous!) as I’m not “out out” at work. (*It’s after midnight so: yesterday!)
Anyway, lots of updates so here are some vignettes.
“We were getting on so well!”
So this week I had my first appointment with the consultant. The NHS (the UK’s National Health Service) gives you a set number of appointments in a fairly standard format. I had my first appointment with the midwife – the “booking appointment” where they ask you loads of questions and get you in the system, and last week I had my first community midwife appointment. So I’m in the system for midwives! Astoundingly, they don’t want to see me again until 25 weeks, so that feels a bit weird. If I didn’t have the private scans and things it would be weeks and weeks between seeing people. As it is, it’s already several weeks between appointments.
But anyway. I meant to show you this… Which is all the palaver you get from the booking appointment. I was quite gobsmacked as it seems like a lot of stuff. I guess it varies from trust to trust (depending on where you live) but I think everyone gets the booklet (the purple thing) which contains all the notes on your pregnancy. Also included was a bunch of stuff sponsored by Bounty (I think it’s a parents’ club, not the chocolate bar!) which included a magazine and a load of information and a folder to keep your stuff in. It also had a sample of Sudocrem (for nappy rash), washing detergent (like we non-parents don’t wash clothes?!) and three packs of pregnancy vitamins, which the midwife told me were “just like Pregnacare”. That saves a bit of money then. (Pregnacare costs quite a lot.)
I thought it’s interesting how you get so much stuff just for getting knocked up. I mean, apart from us infertiles, people do this without a problem all the time. Seems a bit OTT. But I kind of enjoyed reading the magazine. Apparently I’m due four more throughout the pregnancy, so we’ll see.
Anyway, back to the consultant. I turned up, got my urine tested with the nurse – good news, the antibiotics seem to have done the trick and I had no sign of a UTI. Then in to meet the consultant.
We had a great appointment! It was really quite funny as he seemed very sympathetic and we sort of joked around a bit and I enjoyed speaking with him. He was nice when I said I’m apparently obese – he said I looked fine, and then looked up my BMI (31 at last measurement – so much higher than I’ve ever been) and started muttering about how BMI was useless. He was really reassuring and was sympathetic about our loss last year, and it turns out he actually works part time at the hospital where we had IVF! So he was really pleased to hear it had worked. (He wouldn’t have assumed we had gone to that hospital as we have moved area since having IVF and are now quite far away.)
He gave me some tips about scans. Apparently in our NHS hospital, you have to pay for prints of your scans. Annoyingly, they didn’t offer us this option last time. We’ll know for next time. He also advised us to go and get a 3D scan (“It’ll do no harm and put your mind at ease”) so we will probably do that at some point soon.
Also when I told him I was really anxious, he was sooo nice. He asked if I wanted to have any extra scans and I said, “Sure!” and he booked me in for a bunch of extra scans. He offered to listen to baby’s heartbeat, but then I told him I’d just listened to it on the doppler that morning about an hour earlier, so we didn’t bother. He asked about extra medication and I ‘fessed up about the immune protocol and he was perfectly fine with it! I said I just wanted to throw the book at it and he said he completely understood. He was so nice about it that I thought I would introduce…
“I’d like an elective Caesarian, please!”
At which point he laughed and said, “But we were getting on so well!” He explained that it’s not supported by our trust and that if there are no contraindications, there wasn’t an argument for it just for maternal request. He said that he really thought I should talk to a senior midwife about it, and said he’d write a letter. I said I’d seen One Born Every Minute and it looks awful, and there are like a million things I’m scared about natural childbirth, including: not wanting to push an entire human through my foof and get possible incontinence, episiotomy, lack of sex life, etc etc; really not wanting a forceps birth having studied neuroscience and seeing the stats on how risky it is; a probable paranoid feeling that the baby might die in natural childbirth through being in there too long, getting stuck in the birth canal, etc… And generally just the fact that I have a really low pain threshold and I am a lot less scared of surgery (of which I’ve had a fair amount) than baby and foof damage.
Anyway, he was quite sympathetic about it. He said he wanted me to talk with the senior midwife and understand more (“One Born Every Minute should be banned!” he said, and “Childbirth is the most natural thing in the world!”) and if I consistently wanted a Caesarian all through my pregnancy (“It’s still early!” he said) then he thought that it would be possible for him to help me get that. (He warned me, “I’ll have to write a load of scary things about you on your forms” – I said I would be fine with this! T says I’m a psycho anyway!)
I don’t write this because I want any of you to persuade me one way or the other. I have fairly firm ideas and fears about this, and I know that in other countries, childbirth is highly medicalised. Also, there is a difference between an emergency Caesarian and an elective one. It’s just the way I’ve always felt about childbirth, but I’m willing to be persuaded otherwise (although I am never going to want no pain relief, or an elective episiotomy, or anything to do with incontinence…). I genuinely think it sounds horrific. This might sound crazy considering I really have been focused on having a child but it has nothing to do with the child – just the method of entry into the world! But feel free to tell me your lovely natural childbirth stories. (No need to give me the gore.)
“What the heck have we done?”
I’ve noticed my emotions are a bit odd lately. I want to cry quite often… I feel emotionally charged. And I get angry too. I haven’t actually cried, but it’s weird. Like I got my sandwich at lunchtime and it had lettuce on (ugh! I didn’t ask for lettuce) and I almost cried. But I was sitting in the office, so I just sat there, miserably picking lettuce off my sandwich. I even feel emotional at adverts. Usually I am stone cold hard so it’s a bit weird for me to be all emotional and whatnot.
Also, I’ve found myself looking at other people’s kids and thinking, “What the heck have we done?” – it sounds stupid, but I’m trying to be honest about my feelings here, and other people’s kids are really quite offputting. Tonight on the commute someone had about 7 kids and they were all screaming and the littlest one kept intermittently shrieking and I felt crazily angry and wished they’d just somehow shut them up. Also I think of how tired I am in the mornings and thinking how am I going to get by on less sleep?! Anyway, yeah, emotions are all over the place.
“When, will I, will I be pregnant?”
I can’t answer… I can’t answer that!
Actually I can. I figure I’ll feel properly pregnant when I can a) feel some kicks (none yet at 17 weeks) and b) be publicly acknowledged as pregnant. I do sort of get it with the Baby on Board badge, but I decided to change my commute to one where I don’t have to wear the badge (see below!) and so I don’t really actually get acknowledged as preggers yet. As someone who’s been immersed in (in)fertility-land since April, I think it’s so weird people don’t notice that I’ve practically doubled in body weight. (Okay, slight exaggeration. I felt somewhat better than I have been doing since IVF drugs turned me into a baby elephant, when I managed to squeeze my 20kg heavier than normal body into size 8 maternity jeans from New Look. ** Size 8 UK is size 4 US and 36 Euro, for clarity. Thank you New Look for your vanity sizing and your stretchy maternity jeans!)
“Something happened that was somewhat unexpected”
Speaking of being publicly acknowledged, I was trying to get something sorted for an important meeting, so my boss suggested I come and meet him yesterday so we could prep for it. I thought, it’s now or never. I had already told HR. Also, my work clothes are probably going to last about one more week before I have to switch to maternity stuff, for my own sanity. I mean, today I wore a skirt and it kept slipping down over my bump till I was almost being immodest. Still, I think people don’t really notice things and they’ve never known me thinner, so they probably just think I’m fat.
In the end we worked on the presentation and I thought I’d just focus on that, until he started talking about our plan for next year and what would happen in the new year. (Err, I’m having a baby.) So I took that as a cue: “Actually, we really should talk about next year… Umm… So something happened that was somewhat unexpected, and it was really unlikely and…” I blurted it out.
The good thing is, he didn’t spit out his Coke or anything. He said, “Congratulations!”
At which point I started blethering and trying to explain and he said I didn’t need to explain and that we would deal with it. I did at least tell him I had no intention of taking a year off (I mean, I couldn’t afford it) and so I managed his expectations around how it would be about 4 months at most and we’d look at doing Shared Parental Leave (where T can take some of my mat leave). I said how I’d had lots of ops and medical interventions and lost a baby last year. He actually looked really sympathetic and said I didn’t need to explain anything, but I wanted him to know I hadn’t planned it. I mean, it was always a faint possibility but after 16 years of infertility and loss, it seemed a long shot. And I gave up a job where I would have had 1 year of paid maternity leave, for a job with next to no maternity benefits!
I even said “Please don’t hate me!” In a kind of desperate way. He is my favourite boss so far and it’s my favourite job and it pays well and I don’t want to screw it up! He kind of joked, “Of course I hate you… I’m that sort of person!” And said we will start planning how to cover my time – I can pick my second in command from the team and train that person up. We have time. He said we should keep it on the down low for now and I agreed. I said I didn’t want to have to tell people if it all went wrong and he again looked sympathetic and said he understood. I don’t know how I ended up with a nice boss like that. (He’s actually awesome, like a mad professor, and he swears like a trooper, which suits me fine because I do too! Just not online for some weird prudey reason!)
After we’d finished our meeting and walked out of the meeting room, he mouthed at me, “Congratulations!”
He’s a keeper.
“Don’t tell anyone…”
I changed my commute. T has been telling me for ages that it’s much nicer to commute by boat. We live by the river. There is a boat service practically outside our back door. So, I decided to try it. We’d already been on the boat plenty, but not to get to work.
This is the life! It’s amazing. That was the Shard and the city of London from the Thames this morning. It’s soooo civilised! I have a longer walk to work at the other end, but the whole thing is so much more pleasant. You get a seat! No standing! No other sweaty person pressed up against you. River view! I don’t even need the badge because everyone just travels in a properly nice way.
“I don’t understand why everyone doesn’t go this way,” I said to T.
“Don’t tell anyone… They’ll all start doing it!” says T!
Let’s hope they don’t realise.
I’m not really a pro at this…
To wrap up this mega-update… There’s a shedload of pregnancy info I had no idea about.
- Apparently the itchy humungaboobs I’ve been suffering from is A Thing. At least I’m not an itchy boobed freak. They smell of chocolate having been slathered with cocoa butter on a regular basis. I think they’ve doubled in size. The sheer size is very uncomfortable. I’ve been through a bunch of new bras and they seem to grow out of them on a weekly basis. They are like huge, stretchmarky melons. I have new sympathy for big boobed women. (I’m usually a 32 C which I was completely satisfied with.)
- You’re supposed to sleep on your left hand side. This is bad! I sleep on my back! I have to keep trying as I read a study that not doing so increases the risk of stillbirth. (I won’t give the citation as it’s from the horrible DM.) Though you only have to start doing this now, in the second trimester. (WTF Second trimester, how the heck did that happen?!) I’ve now briefed T and told him if he wakes up and I’m not on my left, to roll me! He said that’s why people have those weird pregnancy pillows. I’ve got one eyed up in my Amazon basket but going to try sleeping that way first.
- There are pretty much no nice smart maternity clothes. They’re all hideous! The New Look and M&S maternity jeans are fine. New Look is super cheap for casual stuff but doesn’t have anything for work. All pregnancy jeans seem to have rips in – not a look I usually go for, and not one for the office. I ordered 2 dresses from Seraphine which I haven’t worn yet, but seem okay (definitely not my usual style). One dress from Amazon which is cheap as chips. And today I cracked and ordered some dresses from Jojo Maman Bébé – so we shall see. I have this extended family do at the weekend so I think it would be an ideal opportunity to test drive a maternity frock. We shall see.
- I need to learn to accessorise. I saw a show with a pregnant woman on – one of those house hunting shows – and she was wearing scarves and they looked great. I’m not really a scarf person but I think a bit of colour and pattern can distract a bit. I’ve also been wearing bigger necklaces, not least because I now seem to have a giant slug neck. So I ordered a load of chunky necklaces to see if I could detract from my drab work clothes and the is-it-isn’t-it bump!
“Lion King or Frozen?”
So I told you a while ago that we knew the gender of our baby, and I’d been holding off saying anything because T wanted to tell his parents. We did that and they were super happy. And I told my siblings, and we told a few friends through necessity, but we are sort of holding off telling people until we have to.
Anyway… The important people have been told, and more importantly, Dog has been told (though not 100% sure he understands!) and even more importantly, T has told me that I can tell you guys, so…
“Lion King or Frozen?” was the question I asked on the phone after our Harmony test, as apparently the midwife couldn’t tell us over the phone – we’d have to wait for the official test results in the post. However she said I could ask her a question that wasn’t “Boy or Girl?” – clearly, being Disney nuts – this was the question we’d thought of.
The answer: “Lion King!”
It’s about time I did an actual pregnancy update rather than a load of random blethering. So if you’re bored by those things, feel free to skip!
I’m 16+5 weeks pregnant today*, which is nuts. According to my pregnancy app, baby is somewhere between the size of an avocado (week 16) and a navel orange (week 17). Right now there is at least that in my stomach!
(*For the sake of accuracy, I wrote most of this yesterday but then got tired and didn’t post it, so I’m posting it today en route to the hospital for my consultant appointment. Seeing my boss later today. Not sure whether to break it to him before or after we work on a presentation together. Wish me luck!)
Now I’ve reached 16 weeks, there is a lower risk of miscarriage, which is something that has made me feel cautiously better. I still worry my ass off about this, but I’m getting gradually to that stage where I think, well I am probably pregnant now. I think I’ll feel even better than this if I manage to make it to week 20. That’s when we get to do a longer NHS (standard) scan and we have a private scan at 22 weeks. I’m guessing by then I might actually look pregnant!
So the last week has been a bit about feeling a bit more “in the club”. It’s starting to do those things that actual real pregnant people do.
Firstly, I had my community midwife appointment last Wednesday. It was okay. Bit weird tbh. I mean it was just more to get me in the system and she didn’t really do any checking at all. You get this book at your booking appointment (the first one, at hospital) which you then take to all NHS appointments (NHS is the National Health Service – UK healthcare) and she just sort of went through that and filled in forms. She was perfectly nice but also it didn’t really seem like a necessary meeting. We don’t have another meeting until 25 weeks! So I suppose they just have to get you in the system or something. At least I know where the centre is now.
Other news is that they decided I did have a UTI. They test your urine each time you go to the midwife. I was really worried about this last week, but apparently it’s something that is really common in pregnant women. I didn’t really have any symptoms so it hasn’t bothered me. Except I do go to the loo loads of times overnight – I have always done that. It’s been really hot (for us!) these past few weeks so I’ve been drinking lots of water, so it could be that. Anyway, my lovely GP/doctor (the old one where I used to live as I haven’t changed yet) managed to get me a prescription for antibiotics so I’ve been taking those.
Last Friday I went to my private doc for my last ever infusion (hopefully) of intralipids. It’s always a bit of a drag as they find it difficult to get a vein for me. The lady had to try a couple of times and it was a bit unpleasant as it ends up being wrist or hand which is a less nice way of having an IV! There was one lady there who was really upset as they couldn’t get a line in. They’ve usually had to try more than once with me, but fortunately never sent me away to come back the next day. I think that would be really upsetting. I felt bad for her. I guess everyone who’s been to the private doc has experienced infertility/loss of some sort so we know what it’s like.
I also had a brief scan with the private doc. This was nice to see although T could not attend as he was at work (intralipids take hours!). I saw the little hand waving and it was really cute! The slightly disappointing thing is that the stills taken during the scans are not clear at all. I see everyone else’s and our scans really aren’t like that at all. So poor T had to take it on my say so that baby was waving, as the still is really fuzzy and barely recognisable as a baby. I think they just focus on checking the baby is alright and not about getting a nice photogenic picture!
Next scan is the NHS one at 20 weeks, and then at 22 weeks we have the private scan. That should be a bit more detailed and hopefully we will get some better pictures. We are also keen to have a 3D scan but we have to wait until 24 weeks and we can do that privately.
In other news, I saw the second nursery. Almost didn’t see it because they had to cancel at short notice in the morning, and both T and I had taken time off work so were pretty annoyed. They managed to get us a slot in the afternoon but T had to go back to work, so I did it on my own. Bear in mind we really liked the last one. I guess we were quite open about expectations having no previous experience of nurseries!
It was just like the other nursery but it’s even bigger, equidistant and has about three times the outside space. I really thought that was great as we are in a small apartment with no garden, although there’s a park directly across the road from us and lots of grassy areas on the estate. So it’s nice that they get that. The babies even have their own playground so they don’t get trampled by the toddlers! And they also can take the kids for longer hours than the other nursery, so it works out great. We have filled in the form (Baby name and DOB Tbc!) and we will pay the deposit and then baby can have a place there next year, all things being well.
(Note: Baby doesn’t have a nickname on here. Baby does have one in real life, but that might be the actual name, so I’m leaving it off for now!)
We also got to thinking about leave. I have to speak with my boss about it. I hardly ever see him but hopefully will be seeing him tomorrow… I am a bit worried but I’m planning on being super reasonable and saying I’ll take hardly any time off. At the moment it’s looking like between 2-4 months which is nothing on the UK (where mat leave is usually a year). T looked up his terms and apparently he could get up to 4 months leave with shared parental leave, which is where the mother gives up some of her maternity leave to the father or secondary caregiver.
I do get leave, and am entitled to a year off, but because I have been there only a couple of months it would be mainly unpaid. (I get a few months of statutory but that’s about £200 which is nearly nothing if you live in London. And a lot less than my monthly salary.) Anyway we thought it would be nice if we both had 4 months off together before baby went to nursery. We could probably just afford that. Or maybe I take 2-3 months and T takes 4. It could be good. Since I earn more, it’s better if I go back to work and he can take more time off, if his company allows him to.
Other than that, it’s just pregnancy symptoms. I am now very definitely preggers in the sense that I have a bump when I wear certain clothes. I don’t have very pregnancy like work clothes right now though, so I just look fat.
Symptoms wise I’ve felt a bit sick off and on. They did warn me of this because of coming off the steroids. Also I’ve had hayfever which I didn’t have on steroids. Another thing is that my humungaboobs have turned itchy! Not sure what that is, but it ain’t pleasant. I was absolutely shocked when I actually looked at the size of them. I’ve been rubbing them with cocoa butter morning and evening but other than making my boobs smell like chocolate, I don’t think it’s been doing much. I now have stretch marks, which are horrible. I’m considering getting some bio oil to see if that helps.
I’ve definitely noticed a decrease in appetite this trimester so far. Maybe because I was eating loads before, in the first trimester. I just don’t feel like eating so much any more. Like I have to spend ages deciding what I want to eat. Weirdly it’s not the things I usually like, like pizza! More fruit, cheese, juice, simple stuff. I suppose it’s a bit healthier than normal. Oh and I’ve had a craving for chicken satay! I don’t know if that’s an emotional rather than physical thing. I haven’t managed to satisfy it as all the chicken satay I’ve had recently was disappointing!
I’ve had breakouts too. Fortunately not too noticeable, but again not pleasant. I guess it’s my hormones going haywire. It’s quite weird as it’s different sorts of spots from when I get my period. Sort of smaller, harder and angrier. But… I’m coping. I really am trying not to complain about pregnancy. I’m aware how much I wanted this when I wasn’t pregnant and had next to no hope of being pregnant, and I just thought pregnant people were really ungrateful.
That said, I still don’t fully believe in this pregnancy, but I’m getting there day by day. It’s hard to explain for anyone who’s never been through looooong term infertility and loss. I thought I was finally in this situation last year and it didn’t happen. And it really was the worst thing that’s ever happened to me. That might sound melodramatic because “It happens to everyone” but I hadn’t been prepared for the pain (physical and mental). So it’s self preservation in a way.
So part of me is happy about this pregnancy, and part is scared that it won’t last. I do know that as each day goes past, the more likely it is that we will see little bub eventually. I want to be one of those expectant mothers who just expects that it will all be fine. I think maybe everyone is, unless they have a loss.
T keeps asking me when I’ll feel okay. At first I said 12 weeks – and I did feel a bit better. Then 16 – and I feel a bit better still. So the next milestone is 20 weeks. The “big” scan. And 22 weeks, the private version. And 24, when we can get a 3D scan… I suppose I just want to be reassured that baby is still alive and wriggling every now and then. I haven’t felt any kicks yet at almost 17 weeks, but they say for a first pregnancy that it can take up to 20 to feel anything.
I think I’ll feel better when I can feel some kicks (although T says I will probably regret wanting that!). Also when I am actually publicly acknowledged as pregnant. Right now it’s a bit ambiguous in work clothes, and not that noticeable in casual maternity clothes, although others say it is! I feel like it will be nice to have a proper preggers lady bump! This weekend we have a big extended family do and I will wear one of my pregnancy dresses and we shall see. I think it’ll just look like I’m fat!
One good thing is that the little one is getting better at hanging out by the doppler site. In the beginning it would take me ages to try and find the heartbeat, but now I can find it quite quickly.
(Ignore the counter and listen to the noise!)
I don’t know why it’s so hard to update nowadays. I think it’s because I’m actually pretty busy at work, and then when I’m outside work, I’m quite busy too. Tonight I went to a book reading for a book that I partly crowd funded! Very exciting! (I was one of hundreds so it’s not like I did it on my own.) It was really brilliant but then not so fun travelling back late night in the rain and pregnant.
Anyway, I wanted to do an update because it’s hard to describe this feeling of tipping over from being not-pregnant to sort-of-pregnant to, s***, I think I might actually be pregnant!
The reason I say this is because today I told the HR lady at work. This really wasn’t as bad as it sounds. I really get on with her – and it feels weird to call her “HR lady” but sort of disrespectful to call her “HR girl” so anyway, I told my friend at work who works in HR.
She was excited for me! Which was nice. I also said I was worried about telling my boss and whatnot and she said not to worry and he’d just have to deal with it. We will have to figure out how we divide up the leave – I’ve not been there very long so I’m entitled to some very low paid maternity leave (statutory maternity leave which works out at next to nothing so is essentially unpaid leave) but T might be able to take some Shared Parental Leave (this newfangled thing in the UK where the mother gives up some of her mat leave and the father/partner can take it). So – it might be an option.
We have been doing some sort of pregnant-y things too. Like we went to see a nursery. Believe it or not we have to sign up ASAP to be sure of getting a place for little bub – especially if I’m not taking the (usual in the UK) year mat leave. We saw our closest local one (pretty much at the end of our street) and it was so nice! It would be great. Seeing another one on Wednesday and then we’ll sign up for one of them. You have to pay a deposit but then you’re going to get a place. The earliest the nurseries take babies is four months, so we need to take four months off between us, which should be achievable.
HR lady said I should just try and speak with my boss when I can. He’s notoriously elusive so I’ll have to ambush him one day I think, which I’m not looking forward to. We get on SO well and I really don’t want to jeopardise that. But I’m definitely beginning to show and have been for a few weeks, but I’m sort of disguising it with baggy clothes. Eventually I’ll have to start dressing pregnant rather than fat!
In other news we told T’s parents. We did a reveal, which was really fun, and they were thrilled. It took them a while to get it… They didn’t quite understand! It was a balloon in a box and also a banner and the ultrasound picture. I suppose we didn’t realise that they had never had one (as T is adopted like me) so they didn’t quite understand what it was supposed to be, especially as the baby looks like a blob! But they were super happy. It was really nice. Also my parents were happy and my dad kept asking if I’d told them yet. I think he’s more excited than I am!
I had an unexpected nice day out with my dad last week. He was supposed to be doing a London trip with my mum, but then she had to go and look after a sick relative. (I might do a post about that, but not right now.) So they’d already booked to go to a show and my dad asked if I’d go instead. It was Carole King, the musical Beautiful. Well – I would never have picked to go – it just didn’t sound like my thing, but I absolutely loved it. Straight to the top 3 of my musicals list. (Matilda, Les Miserables and now Beautiful, if you ask.) Firstly it had music I liked, from the 60s, and secondly the story was really good. It was sort of funny as everyone in the audience was my dad’s age, and I probably looked like his girlfriend or something, but I really enjoyed it and it was a nice unexpected outing with my dad. He definitely seems the most excited so far and keeps talking about his next grandchild.
We also told my brother and got a video message from him and the kids. We sent a card for aunts and uncles day which was last Tuesday. I also sent one to my other sibling overseas but that probably won’t get there for ages! And my sister already knows. So… We are sort of telling more people. We went out with friends at the weekend and we told them.
Half of me is happy but half is still scared.
I’m definitely porking out. I even had to order some Palmer’s cocoa butter as I suddenly realised I was getting stretch marks on my boobs. They are humungous. I am sort of shocked when I see them. And I definitely have a belly. Also I did the Doppler yesterday and found the heartbeat straight away. Usually it takes me a while. So that cheered me up. I suppose we are gradually adding in pregnancy type things. T wants me to make a list of stuff we need so he can figure out the best place to get it.
Really when I was speaking with HR lady today I said it didn’t feel real. She said I would have to get used to it! I think I’m still so scared something bad might happen.
Wednesday is my midwife appointment. The first one in the community after my booking appointment. And Friday is my appointment at the private clinic so at least I will get a scan.
I had an alarming call today as in anticipation of the midwife appointment they said they checked my file and apparently my routine urine sample last time (about two weeks ago) showed an “equivocal” result which means that I *might* have a urine infection. They left this message whilst I was in a meeting at work! I panicked, obviously. Anyway the upshot is that I managed to speak with my GP and he said it was unlikely if I had no symptoms, but has prescribed me antibiotics… Both he and the midwife said not to worry if I was asymptomatic. But obviously it’s a slight worry. I’m trying not to as they said not to!
Anyway, here I am, almost 16 weeks (currently 15 + 5). That’s something. To put you in the picture, I’m lying in bed with T and Dog, humungaboobs smelling very chocolatey (from the cocoa butter). What a mental image!