30 WEEKS PREGNANT: UPDATE

Disclaimer: The week was too action-packed, and stressful (in less than equal proportions) for me to provide an accompanying photographic narrative. I hope it still counts.

At 31 weeks + 2 days pregnant, it is the perfect time for me to reflect on week 30, especially when I consider the last 24hrs of agonising leg cramps/pain/whatever one can class these horrors as, which allow me to look back on the preceding week with rose-tinted glasses.

At the dawn of the third week of the third trimester, both the baby and I began to grow exponentially. As if to confirm my ever-expanding form, the other morning when Rich and I were racing (why am I seemingly incapable of building pregnancy slack into my original routine?! N.B. letting myself go has somewhat mitigated this issue) out of the door to our first antenatal class, my coat popper burst free in the midst of the battle between my swollen calves and unsuitably knee high boots. Fortunately, my fantastically supportive husband, provides me with the confidence boosts I need during such challenging times. Take our walk to the antenatal class for an example of such wife-affirmation.

Me (grabbing my hamster cheeks, and unable to work out if I’m pleased or not…): “Look at my face. I have zero wrinkles thanks to how plump it is”.

Rich: “Yes but you’ve always had a cute button face”.

Me (because we all know a button is generally round…a perfect circle really): “You mean chubby”.

Rich: Laughs in my (button?) face.

It’s okay though, because when we arrived at the session and were asked on our best and least favourite part of pregnancy, Rich said “doing all of the washing-up all of the time”. So whilst I’m still struggling to pull my rotund self out from under the red London bus I was thrown beneath, I’m left wondering whether that’s Rich’s best or least favourite part? In his defence (or arguably anyone that doesn’t scour the literature for endless pregnancy tidbits), he may have been overwhelmed by concepts like ‘episiotomy’ which were being liberally thrown around by us bellies. Also, credit where credit is due. Rich does do all the washing up all of the time, and he appreciates my agency sufficiently so as not to make the mistake of proclaiming that ‘natural’ (meaning in this context without epidural…) is definitely the best way to have a baby whilst staring pointedly at his wife, like one of the other (insert: brave/foolish/insane) husbands*.

Nonetheless, if you still need convincing of a husband’s ability to make everything better, take mine and Rich’s Monday night exchange for the final example. I’d say final straw, but fortunately I’m not a camel (I pee way too often to store more than a thimble of liquid), and (un?)fortunately my back is now too wide to be broken.

What I said (underwear clad with back to Rich): “Look. When I have my back turned to you, you’d think I was just chunky, and not pregnant”.

What I was really saying (underwear clad with back to Rich): “Tell me that if it weren’t for my bump, which is now hidden, I look positively slim, and like my usual self”.

What he said (examining me, and delivering his carefully considered response): “Yes you’re right”.

What she said (since I refuse to be associated with the ogre that suddenly entered my body and declared war against husband): “What do you mean? I’m not chunky am I? You just said I was. That must mean I’m really chunky”.

Needless to say, as quickly as the hormone-fuelled witch entered me, and her embarrassingly unreasonable outburst took place, I simmered down. Because let’s face it, who cares?! So besides emotional outbursts, weight-gain, and the discomfort that comes with my growing baby, I’ve also faced some delightful comments on my apparently still ‘tiny’ bump (more insulting than ever when you consider my apparent weight-gain!). So to the wonderful human who thought it appropriate to inform me I look closer to 5 rather than 7 months pregnant, and to kindly question whether my baby’s growth was okay (“his growth is all on-track though, right?”), I’d like to say “no”.

Last week amidst the flurries of snow, and after half a day of changed strength (albeit not frequency) of foetal movement, Rich and I ended up in the maternity assessment centre with me on a monitor at 1.30am. This was followed by a growth scan which revealed our son not to be growing at the normal rate so as to be the average weight for his age of 2.9lbs. No. The two measurements that were taken provided us with an estimate (let’s remember there’s c.10% margin of error) of him being 3.12lbs and 3.13lbs respectively. So it transpires that my ‘tiny’ bump is safely housing our wonderful baby rhino.

So goodbye, and hello to another week of pregnancy excitement, hormones, wonder, bafflement, and strife. Please let there be no more bump commentary. My hormones will determine whether any metaphorical or actual bird flipping takes place on my part. I claim no responsibility from here on out.


*Kudos to the midwife, who on his fifth attempt at shaming his wife into going ‘natural’, pointed out to the husband that both a birth with, and without pain relief is considered natural. We’ll have to wait until next week to see if he’s convinced.

PREGNANCY MYTHS: DEBUNKED

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So you don’t fall into the trap I did, of thinking everything would be hunky dory, and you’ll feel, and more importantly (at least to those amongst us who are vain) look amazing, I thought I’d cut the crap we’re peddled and tell you the honest truth. FYI, it doesn’t consist of picture-perfect preggos, manicured to within an inch of their lives. These mystical creatures are consigned to the pages of Vogue and Cosmopolitan. But just in case you are, or happen to know a unicorn, please let me know. And then divulge all your secrets.

Disclaimer: These are my realities, and they may not be everyone’s. But I’ve got a feeling they may well be.

Myth # 1: Everyone will know you’re pregnant from the moment you find out, thanks to that magical ‘preg-aura’ you exude.

Reality: If anyone has worked it out before you’ve rammed the news down their throat either in person, on social media, over the phone, in letters, through carrier pigeon, or any other medium at your disposal, it’s because a) you’re puking your guts out at work, b) you’re clutching your bloated 5-week belly (this was me), or c) they’re your mum.

Myth #2: You will cry at everything. Especially cute [insert: puppies, kittens, your other half…you get it].

Reality: You will cry at everything you’re not screaming about. Except when the store doesn’t stock ingredients for the meal you had planned. Then you will cryscream. Think a cross between heaving snotty sobs, and snarling.

Myth #3: You’ll vomit loads, and that proves your pregnancy is healthy.

Reality: Not everyone suffers from morning sickness. These lucky people (I was one), are already panicking they’re doing something wrong, so please refrain from gloating in between sick burps that vomiting means your pregnancy is on track.

Myth #4: You’ll pee a lot.

Reality: You’ll pee non-stop. You could power a hydroelectric plant with your pee, and then some. Woe betide (get the pun?) anyone that breaks that dam.

Myth #5: Your bra size will go up a cup or two.

Reality: Your boobs will expand to a gargantuan size, beyond human-sized proportions (it’s all relative right?!), and you’ll yearn for your flatter-chested days, in between grieving for the flawless territory those monstrous blue veins now occupy.

Myth #6: You will crave chalk and/or dirt. Or you know, just start snacking on gherkins dipped in ice cream.

Reality: The craving for non-comestibles is actually known as pica, which is a) pretty rare, and b) rather dangerous. As for the gherkin-eating, I’ve been known to eat straight from the gherkin jar (not an innuendo) on the walk home, post gym and pre-pregnancy, but not since. On the one occasion I a) had a proper (marked only by its weirdness) craving, and b) marvelled at the ingenuity of aforementioned craving, I was devastated to learn that a bacon, marshmallow and peanut butter sandwich, is in fact known as a Bacon Fluffernutter, and hence I was not indeed a nutter.

Myth #7: Your lustrous locks will grow so long, and so thick. “Rapunzel? Is that you?”.

Reality: Your prince could scale a tower with that mane. That’s if the barrel loads of grease didn’t loosen his grip.

Myth #8: Your nails will grow longer, and stronger than ever before.

Reality: You could enter the Guinness World Records with those armadillo claws. And for those ridges. And for those cuticles (is it normal for them to cover half the nail?!).

Myth #9: You will glow.

Reality: You will (definitely) sweat buckets, and (potentially) develop cystic acne to boot. Oh, and unlike during your teen years, you won’t have toxic chemicals/medicines at your disposal. So say hello to your new zit friends, they’re here to stay.

Myth #10: Cometh the second trimester, cometh the new (old) you.

Reality: Weeks 13-24 you’ll be waiting for your metamorphosis. Weeks 25-27 you will feel like the old you again. That’s it, you’ve had your lot. Move on.

Myth #11: You’ll don a ‘Baby on Board’ badge, and the sea of Londoners will part.

Reality: You got yourself into this mess, and your fellow commuters aren’t about to get you out of it. You will still be tackled to the floor when boarding the tube (non-Londoners should substitute tube for metro or subway) for prime position by the pole. Especially by chippy, middle-aged men. Their taxes are already funding your embryonic brat don’t you know?!

Myth #12: People will treat you with the respect you have rightfully earned from getting yourself up the duff.

Reality: You will be treated with disdain, especially by aforementioned chippy, middle-aged men.

Myth #13: Everyone you know will be as delighted as you are about the bundle of joy you’re cooking, and want to join you on this magical journey.

Reality: Some friendships will fall by the wayside. But don’t despair. These weren’t the Thelma and Louise bonds you thought they were. Plus they’ve got nothing on your new mummy friends.

Myth #14: It’s 9 months of joy.

Reality: It’s 9 months of joy, stress, panic, excitement, happiness, and everything in between. However, you wouldn’t change it for the world. Only the baby that comes in its place.

If I learn of/remember (reality #1: baby brain is real) some more myths to be debunked on my crazy, wild journey, I will be sure to share these with you in due course. Just in case you’re under any illusion, I love (most of the time) pregnancy. And I especially love (always) my baby boy growing inside me.

27 WEEKS PREGNANT AND COUNTING

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My big plan to blog my entire pregnancy didn’t exactly come to fruition. However, I figured that shouldn’t stop me blogging about my experience from this point in my pregnancy onwards. Plus, I have a pretty good memory/have obsessively been recording notes and symptoms (as you do…), so my recall should be sufficient to blog on earlier weeks too!

So today I am 27 weeks and 6 days pregnant. The days bit is super important….I wouldn’t have thought I’d spend 9 months of my life counting down days either, but apparently this is a thing during pregnancy. I’ve come across more women, who when asked how far along they are, can provide pinpoint accuracy to the day, than those that can casually throw out their no. in months. I suspect this is because no single source can agree on a woman’s stage of pregnancy in months?! Some say I’m 6 months, and others 7 months. I’m sure I could even find some claiming I’m closer to 9 months… Of course given how exhausted I feel, and if nothing else but to elicit rage in whoever I’m telling I wasn’t offered a seat on the tube, I’d rather claim to be further along at 7 months. BUT I think that’s one stretch too far. So that being said, I am 27 weeks + 6 days, AKA 6 months pregnant, and entering my third trimester tomorrow!

Given I found out I was pregnant a few days before my missed period, this feels like a long time coming, reinforced by the multiple baby apps on my phone which provide a countdown ‘until the big day!’ In retrospect, I’d probably recommend not using an early detection pregnancy test if you don’t want to drag out the countdown longer than necessary, and certainly not during the anxiety-filled first trimester when fear is the main emotion of the day (or rather 13 weeks) but more on that in a later post.

Symptoms: Braxton Hicks, inability to retain more than a thimble of pee, excitement, and tiredness.

It’s this last symptom which bothers me most actually. The idea of tiredness (as debilitating as the first trimester) returning is quite frankly a little bit terrifying. I’ve enjoyed being able to hold conversations without zoning out into the abyss. I’ve loved doing things at weekends instead of wondering if 2pm is an acceptable time to take to my bed, after lying in until 11am. I’ve also rather liked feeling a little less like the walking dead and a teeny tiny bit more like myself. So yeah, as I’m increasingly fantasising about naps with the same passion normally reserved for a bar of Galaxy after a hormonal meltdown, I am fearful!

Things I’ve enjoyed about this week: I’ve started loving, and purchasing, all things pink and heart-shaped. Given you’d typically find me shrouded in black from head-to-toe this is a little bit exciting! I really hope when my hormones have subsided that I don’t come to regret this decision because a) I’ve spent a small fortune on a pink lambswool jumper, b) I purchased said item in my pre-pregnancy size so it’s not like I can get any wear out of it now whilst my heart yearns for pretty-in-pink shades, and c) I really had to defend my selection of a heart-shaped soap dish to my husband (who over the last couple of years has played audience to me judgementally preaching the benefits of minimalism) not as clutter but as an item of beauty, AND utility- significant Marie Kondo points here!

Things I’ve disliked about this week: People commenting on the size of my bump. Unless you’re my husband or my mum I will take it to heart, and you have been warned! I wish I didn’t, and my god I hope it’s just hormones or I really have become insanely sensitive. Even so, please don’t tell me I’m ‘super neat’ because I may start to build a case against you, and/or spend the rest of the afternoon panicking about whether my baby is growing safely inside me. Before falling pregnant I’d have considered this fairly safe territory, especially if you’re commenting on another woman looking ‘tiny’, but it’s absolutely not. So if you must comment on mine or any other ready-to-explode-in-a-hormonal-outburst-woman’s size, please just tell her she looks amazing, and besides her burgeoning bump you wouldn’t have known she was pregnant. Or better still, don’t go there.

What I’m looking forward to about next week: I will officially be in my third trimester, and another week closer to meeting my baby!! Enough said really.

What I’m dreading about next week: The glucose test. Despite craving all things sweet, I suspect 17 Lucozade glucose tablets may be a little too much for me to stomach. We’ll see, since you never know these days …