Tuesday, 21 January 2014

It's official, there are EVEN MORE things to worry about after birth.

Had an appointment with the obstetrician today.

This was, of course, brilliant, as I got to leave work early to go to the hospital and then got home early enough to watch Escape to the Country.

However, despite the fact that my actual appointment with the obstetrician lasted, as I had predicted, five minutes, and was basically just a chat where he signed my maternity notes and said I was unlikely to have any problems, I was at the hospital for HOURS.  Literally hours.

And this time it was not because I got lost.

First of all I had to queue for ages with loads of other pregnant women while the women on reception faffed about with huge piles of people's maternity notes.  Then I had to go and get a urine sample, and then wait for ages and ages (clutching said sample of my own urine.  I mean, what is the etiquette here?  Does one wrap it in tissue to disguise the offending urine-as I noticed everyone else had done-or does one spend 45 minutes trying to stuff the unwrapped sample up a sleeve to disguise the fact that it's unwrapped, as I did?  And what happens if you get it wrong?  Does a burly midwife escort you from the premises yelling "ALL URINE SAMPLES NEED TO BE WRAPPED IN TISSUE.  THINK OF YOUR MODESTY!") with nothing but a screen showing a rolling film of adverts for overpriced baby products, such as the £19.99 "aid to natural labour" that appeared to be nothing more than a piece of foam to put between your teeth when gritting them during contractions, and a series of public information films on the theme "How to avoid accidentally killing your baby."

Yes, apparently birth is just the start of a lifelong series of hazards that are poised to attack and kill your baby when you least expect it.  First of all, the hospital will not let you leave until you can produce some sort of approved baby car seat, which leaves me more than a little flummoxed as I was planning on taking the baby home on the tube.  Will I have to prove I can hold the baby effectively so that it doesn't slip onto the electrified tracks?  Or demonstrate perfect pram-pushing skills to show that I can "mind the gap?" Then, as if this were not alarming enough, babies can drown in an inch of water in less  than a minute (beautifully illustrated by a distressed mother interrupting her child's bath to answer the phone and then having to run back to dramatically rescue the child), they can be scalded by any water hotter than about 2 degrees celsius and if you accidentally breathe in some cigarette smoke in the street (which I do a lot, by the way, and end up walking around with my scarf covering my mouth as though I was battling my way through a desert sandstorm) then the baby is destined to expire from cot death, as warned by a stern-looking Anne Diamond.  Good god it's a miracle anyone ever survives to adulthood.

Still, if I had got bored of the public information films, I could have spent some time wandering around the hospital pointing out cracks in the walls and unsightly paint jobs, as there was a useful sign in the toilet reminding one that "it's YOUR hospital" and encouraging the likes of me to point out where parts of the building could be in need of improvements; "a light not working, a patch of peeling paintwork."  For Christ's sake have you been to Northwick Park Hospital?  The entire building is an eyesore!  They should just bulldoze the entire place and start again!  It's hardly the place you go to if you want to marvel at one of the wonders of modern architecture, and have a discussion with Kevin McCloud about how well it fits in with the surrounding natural landscape, and you would barely even notice it's there.

Still, I got to come home from work early and watch Escape to the Country, so all was worthwhile.  Even if I do think I may have haemorrhoids.  Pregnancy is lovely.

Monday, 13 January 2014

****Breaking News*****


Well, it was at 8am this morning anyway.  Let's hope that's a promising sign for the future.

Went to my scan today.  There was one awful moment when the sonographer put the probe on my belly that I thought everything had gone wrong, as the baby was lying completely still and flat on its face.  Fortunately, I then spotted the heartbeat and breathed a sigh of relief.  It was obviously just having a lie-in.  May this be the shape of things to come.

Eventually Little One started to roll over and get a bit more active, sticking its tiny little hands in its mouth.  Not before I had fired a few pertinent questions at the sonographer though, in order to show off the wealth of knowledge I had gleaned from The Interwebs during my frantic searching last night.  Things like, "DOES IT HAVE A NASAL BONE?" and "SO IS THAT THE NORMAL THICKNESS FOR THE NUCHAL THINGY THEN?"

One has to keep oneself informed.

Anyway, Foetus does have a nasal bone (yay!) and the thickness of the nuchal thingy was "at the lower end of the scale" (which is good, apparently), so the baby probably doesn't have Down's syndrome.  Great relief all round.  However, as my mother says (rather threateningly, over the phone) "Don't go telling everyone yet though.  You're not going to tell anyone are you?  Give it a few more weeks."

By a few more weeks she means long enough for her to have worked out a story to tell the relatives which doesn't involve admitting that her daughter is such a loser in the world of love, romance and marriage that she had to go and get knocked up artificially in a laboratory with the spawn of an American she had never met.

Anyway, the main thing is, Baby is alive and looks well.  As well as one can when one is a two dimensional fuzzy grey alien thingy that fits into the palm of your hand.  Hooray!

Sunday, 12 January 2014

'Twas the night before the scan and all through the house.....I am stressing out, googling like a hyperactive louse

First scan tomorrow and I am feeling completely calm and zen-like about this.

In other words I have spent the entire day sat in my flat googling the following search terms:
Period pains 12 weeks pregnant (need to know if this is normal)
12 weeks 6 days pregnant stomach flat (and is this normal?)
Chances of missed miscarriage at 12 week scan (it always pays to be prepared for the worst)
Chances of missed miscarriage after 12 weeks
Lower back pain in early pregnancy (surely this is a sign that things have gone awry?)
How do I know if my foetus is still alive

Strangely, none of this googling seems to be able to give me a definite answer to any of these pressing questions, and thus I have come to the conclusion that the internet should never have been invented, as it clearly serves no purpose beyond wasting one's precious time which could have been better spent doing something important, like dancing around the room making myself feel sick or modelling different outfits around the house to see how non-existent my baby bump looks in each one.

Also, in my frantic googling, I have managed to read many scientific articles about the purpose of the nuchal scan, so now when I go to the hospital, not only will the myriad of different fears include the possibility that the baby is dead or never existed at all and is in fact a figment of my clearly over-active imagination, but that the baby has one of the many different "trisomies" or other horrific disabilities the scan is designed to reveal.  What if, for example, I see the little thing on the screen, only to discover that it has a patch of fluid behind its neck, or lacks a nasal bone?  Both strong indicators of Down's syndrome, apparently, and as I am so old surely my risk is greatly increased?  Why oh why did I not have children in my teens?  WHY?  Why didn't I just settle down with the first reasonable person who was interested and start popping them out?  Now I am doomed!

OK so when I look at some of the people I was interested in in my teens as they are now the thought of settling down with someone who was destined to become, twenty years later, an obese chav with an oddly shaped head and eyes that don't appear to line up properly with each other might make that seem like the great juvenile folly that it would have been, but you get my point.  And anyway, it's hardly as if my babyfather is the catch of the century given that I have technically never met him and he may well be awful.

Oh God what if Babyfather IS an obese chav?  I mean, it's not like I would know.   OH MY GOD WHAT HAVE I DONE???!!!

I can't think about this whole situation anymore.  My brain is about to explode.  Need to be mindful.  Mindfulness, mindfulness.  Concentrate on the moment.  Ooh I think Countryfile's on now.  Going to watch that and not think about any of this awfulness.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Knackered. Knackered. Too knackered to do anything. At all.

Knackered.  And it's not even 7pm.  And yet, if I were to go to bed, it would take me ages to get to sleep, and then I would keep waking up and running to the loo every five minutes.  Aargh.  Honestly do not think I can face going back to work tomorrow.

I have, naturally, tried to soften the blow by baking a cake.

The cake is acceptable, but I hope that Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry don't come round and start poking it as I don't think it would stand up to the scrutiny.

Now watching something called Britain by Bike, which is basically just Clare Balding cycling.  God, I live an exciting life these days.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Things I Will Not Be Putting on Facebook

Things I will not do when the baby is born (assuming it makes it that far.  FINGERS CROSSED.  There are a lot of horror stories on fertlityfriends.co.uk which haunt my every waking moment.  And according to some statistics I read yesterday, which were from the fertility clinic not the Interwebs and therefore probably more trustworthy, 20% of singleton IVF babies end up in neonatal intensive care.  Does that sound a bit high to you?)

Anyway, back to the point, IF the baby is born AND successfully survives, these are the things I will not do:

1.) Make the baby-or worse, an ultrasound image of the baby as a foetus inside my womb-as my profile picture on Facebook.  I am not the baby.  We are separate entities.  Or at least, we will be eventually (I hope).  Also, no one wants to see inside my uterus.  Except me, for whom it would be a useful skill.

2.) Bleat on and on about Baby on Facebook in the style of the following:
"Today was (insert baby name here)'s first day at swimming club.  S/he loved it the most out of all her/his activities this week."
Things wrong with this: Firstly, no one cares about this except you the parent; secondly this is clearly an ill-disguised boast about the fact that you genuinely believe your offspring to be a future Olympic swimming champion, and even more blatantly, about how many "activities" you do with your child PER WEEK, all of which will inevitably lead to them being a child genius and member of MENSA by the age of four.
"Had a wonderful afternoon with Baby, who taught her/his grandmother what s/he learned this week in Mandarin class."* (see above for why this is wrong).

I fully anticipate that most afternoons with Baby will not be spent looking at little him or her adoringly while s/he reels off a list of Mandarin verbs, bakes a cake worthy of Mary Berry or names all the stars in the Milky Way.  You can't even see the Milky Way from my flat anyway.

Therefore I will not, I repeat will not, talk about Baby unless what I have to say is funny.  Anything else is just smug and unacceptable.

And that is all I have to say for today.

*Any similarity to real life status updates of any of my friends is purely coincidental.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Cruel and Unusual Symptoms of Pregnancy

I'm back!  Already!  After just one day!

Obviously this means that one of my hundreds of New Year's Resolutions is to write more often.

The other main one is to clean the flat but I still haven't done that. I'm using morning sickness as an excuse, especially since I threw up three times this morning and was feeling too ropey even to go to Topshop, so ended staying in all day, apart from one ill-fated trip to Asda, which turned out to be closed.

Along with the sickness, this morning I noticed a new and alarming Disgusting Pregnancy Symptom.

I have developed weird brown spots on my nipples.


Obviously this required instant googling to check that it wasn't breast cancer.  Kylie wasn't much older than me when she had breast cancer was she?  How old was she?  God I should know this, as a proud owner of the Kylie Annual 1988.

Also, whatever happened to annuals?  Do the youngsters still get them for Christmas every year?  Is there, in fact, such a thing as the One Direction Annual 2014, for example?  I'm going back on the Google to check.

There is, look!


My faith in humanity is restored.

Oh God now I have "One Direction Annual 2014" stored in the saved searches on my computer.  Does this make me a suspected peodophile?  The spelling of that last word there might be wrong, but I am not checking that on the Google.  Definitely not.

Anyway, it's 7.30pm now so I might go to bed soon.  There's nothing on TV to keep me awake, as with it being New Year's Day and all, all the TV presenters and other people involved in putting programmes on the television have got the day off, so all they are showing is films.  Old films I've seen a million times, like the Karate Kid and Big, but not, it would seem, Brilliant Old Films that one would welcome watching again for the millionth time, like Grease 2 or Dirty Dancing.  The other day I thought I had stumbed across Short Circuit but it turned out to be a disappointing modern lookalike called Wall E.  When the baby is born, I will make sure it watches all the old classics.  Especially Grease 2.  Everyone needs a good strong feminist message like "I ain't nobody's trophy."

Anyway, now I am totally off the point.  I was supposed to be talking about the brown patches on my areolas.

What, nobody wants to hear about that?  Well, I'll be off then.