Sceptimum

One sceptical mother (of two)

Times flies when strangers are probing you with wands

If anyone is wondering where I have been for the last couple of weeks, the answer is “being poked relentlessly by strangers dressed in scrubs”.

Not that there was any emergency (or I was up to anything kinky), it’s all just standard mum-to-be care complicated by a child as contrary as its mother. At around the 20th week in Australia they do a fetal anomaly ultrasound scan examining the fetus in detail, checking the heart and internal organs and measuring all the various bones including the spine. Normally this should take 30 minutes or so, unless your child is uncooperative and in wrong position the whole time.

Transvaginal ultrasounds are pretty much like this.

I’ve spent about 10 hours over the last few weeks at the doctor’s or in the hospital and the child’s nickname is now officially “Little Fecker” so you can draw your own conclusions as to their cooperation levels. Little Fecker has clearly inherited both my hatred of posing for photos and the bloody-minded sense of humour from both sides of the family.

To get most of the pictures they need the child needs to be lying flat and relaxed face-up or down, but Little Fecker apparently felt in a V with hands by feet was the correct way to pose. And, lacking a bribe of a lollipop if they behave, all I could do was bump my uterus around a bit in the hope of changing their position.

So began the 2-day St. Vitus’ Dance Disco Epic that was last week. I jiggled and joggled, walked, danced and pranced, all the in hope of maneuvering the child. No change. I sprinted up and down stairs. No change. The technician jiggled my belly so violently my glasses fell off. No change. I danced to Baby’s Got Back in the hospital bathroom completed with Beyonce-style butt-jiggling. The child moved to an even less suitable angle and started kicking me in the cervix.

After 3 hours, they tried the joy that is a transvaginal ultrasound which would have worked if Little Fecker hadn’t moved to sit on it, giving a wonderful shot of their arse. After 4 hours, they sent me home to come back in the next day. After 6, they called in the most expert staff member they had, who basically turned me upside down on a hospital bed, and punched my belly and other bits with the various wands until the Little Fecker finally let us get the angle we needed.

It took nine attempts at scanning from various angles, spread over 7 hours in hospital, to finally get the pictures that fdoctor needed. And the result, finally given to me after another 2 hours waiting in a doctor’s surgery where I used the wait to come up with ever more pessimistic and far-fetched reasons (“The child is deformed. The child is a quadruped. Oh fuck, it’s actually triplets.”) for the hospital insisting on the thoroughness of the scans?

The child is in great shape. The little fecker.

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Sharing the joyous pain

Giving birth is no longer optional. Much like Charlie Sheen’s ego, we have gone past the point of no return. This baby is going to have come out somehow. And come out somehow from somewhere about as designed to emit it as an economy plane seat is to take a Samoan rugby player.

Push, bitches.

Push, bitches.

Fuck.

The pregnancy has just hit the 20 week mark which makes it both unlikely it will end in miscarriage (which from here on in is called a stillbirth) or that NSW law would allow an abortion even if we wanted one. So it’s full steam ahead on working out the least horrendous method of getting through labour.

Himself has been party to the work-out process but has been informed that I will be doing whatever I decide is best in this case. This is, to paraphrase Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, one joyous sharing experience I can have by myself.

(I’m not insisting I get to make all the decisions. Where the load can be shared, be that childcare, education, or just what type car seat to buy, we’ll be negotiating. But when it comes to 24 hours of trauma where his contribution will be limited to apologising and trying to keep his testicles out of my hands’ reach, I’m making all the calls.)

This is not “our” glorious birth experience. When it comes to the physical aspects of pregnancy, we are not sharing anything, joyous or not. I had morning sickness and fatigue, he didn’t. I get to attend endless medical appointments, he gets the edited version after. I push, puke and possibly rupture: he provides snacks and something to shout at. He has been informed that using the phrase, “we’re pregnant” will result in either beatings or me insisting he share the joy of birth by having kidney stones.

My vaginal rupture, my rules, bitches.

I have investigated my labour options. They are:

  1. A low intervention, low-drug Birthing Centre at the RPAH (Royal Prince Alfred Hospital). They allow for free movement and minimal monitoring in a safe environment  but you have to run most of the show and – unlike a good roadie – they won’t provide strong drugs, just gas (which often has no effect) and pethedrine (which often has no effect other than making you loopy and causing projectile vomiting because god forbid you have an orifice that isn’t completely traumatised by this whole thing).
  2. Epidural at the RPAH labour ward. An epidural involves injecting an anaesthetic between the vertebrae, numbing the body from the injection point down. The advantage (no to reasonably little pain) is for me completely outweighed by the disadvantages – being bed bound on my back (as my legs won’t work), hooked up to a drip, catheter and various machines for several hours with people shouting what to do at me while I can’t even feel enough to be sure I am getting it right.
  3. Cesarean: When intensive abdominal surgery is seen as the soft option, you know you are in for a fun ride.

The obvious option, given I have no urge to feel more pain than needed, is the epidural. But for a whole host of boring reasons, it’s out. Short version is I get panic attacks, often brought on by the claustrophia of being trapped and unable to move, and as I am semi-deaf listening to people takes a lot of effort for me. Being trapped in a bed for hours with strangers shouting important instructions at me for ages is about the best way I can imagine to completely send myself off the rails.

So, for the moment, I’ve  popped myself on the list for the Birthing Centre. Please note, despite the fact that I have signed up for “natural birth”, I’m not advocating it for everyone or even that enthused about it myself. If it were possible, I would be in favour of the most unnatural birth possible – preferably the removal of the foetus from my uterus reasonably early in the process and then a transferal to a glass womb on the wall where I could watch it grow and sprinkle it with fish food daily. Or having Captain Picard beam the baby out and into a waiting crib while the cast of Next Gen cleaned my home for me.

People who view birth as a joyous sharing experience that allows you to experience the full strength of womanhood through an all-out pain marathon can feck right off frankly. I have done (accidental) pain. I have smashed every bone in my foot while out clubbing, fallen 10 feet onto my back and been kicked in the stomach by a horse. And you know what? That shit HURTS and I have NO interest in doing it again. Only an idiot or a masochist actively goes in search of experiences that will allow them to test the boundaries of pain.

Believe me, if I could share the pain of this with them, they’d all be on floor screaming and I’d be on the floor screaming along with them and cackling occasionally.

My dark and fevered imagination has been trying coming up with ways to share the experience generally. Squeezing your partner’s hand off is merely the start of what it suggested.  I could video the birth and force people, Clockwork Orange style, to sit through it. Or I could live tweet the birth. I wouldn’t even need to type – my phone has pretty accurate voice command and recognition. I could just gasp out, “Send tweet – AaaaaAAAAAGH! FUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK AAAAAAAAAAAAGHHHHHHH COCKBADGERING MOTHERFUCKER!” for 24 hours.

I could. Don’t think I won’t.

After all, it’s meant to be a joyous sharing experience. I wouldn’t want to hog all the fun.

The waiting game – getting childcare before they get the vote

This morning I took a tour of yet another childcare centre and I have to tell you, it sounds lovely. Five meals a day, often made with local organic ingredients, prepared with far more care for nutritional balance than my own diet. Large airy rooms spreading out to shaded courtyards and grassy gardens, with lots of space to roam. Each child has napping space, toys to play with, and constant attention from adoring staff who are willing to do anything to keep them happy, up to and including nappy changing.

I could see the other mums in the group, all with bubs in arms, looking impressed too. It all sounded idyllic right up until the Centre Director mentioned to the waiting list.

“So, we have sixteen places for children under two-years-old here. And there’s 500 on the waiting list.”

There was a thunderstruck pause. “Sixty?” asked one mum hopefully, as she jiggled her fretting baby.

“No, sixteen.”  the director clarified.

One woman piped up, “I’m looking for a space in January 2015, so I’m okay, right?” She instantly earned a whole heap of hate from the other women there, babes-in-arms, who had just realised that their chances of going back to work or just getting some sleep had gone as tits-up as Lindsay Lohan’s career. But the director looked helpless and shrugged. “Maybe. We really can’t guarantee. We have a long waiting list.”

No shit. About as long a teenage boy’s celebrity-fuck wish-list, and with about as much chance of getting in from what I can see. The whole morning was like being given a glimpse of what life could be like for you if you were Ryan Gosling’s girlfriend, before being informed of the odds on ever even meeting him.

I wasn’t surprised; I’ve been around a few centres now and they all advise you to sign up for as many as possible in the hope of getting a place. Given I’m just a little pregnant – and could just be fat, let’s face it – I get confused looks from the other Mums present. As soon as the insanity that is the waiting-list gets mentioned though, it all makes sense, and I get glares instead.

This toddler is crying because she has been told she has left it too late to sign up her own children into childcare.

As a general guideline you can sign up for a waiting lists for a small fee whenever you want. I found one that will only accept women who are pregnant (but didn’t, thankfully, demand I pee on a stick there and then) but some will pop your name down, no questions, in the complete absence of any impending child. In many cases it can take 3 years to work up to the top of the list, if you ever do – I have one friend who was finally offered a space for his daughter on the day she started school at age 5. So if you’re considering children, it actually makes sense to sign up before you throw away the birth control.

The system in New South Wales is that childcare has to prioritise those who need it most; single parents, families on very low incomes, children with disabilities. Which is good and laudable and all that, but means that a working couple on a good income in Sydney’s lovely but overcrowded Inner West have about as much chance of getting the place they want – for the days they want, from when they want it – as I do of becoming Australia’s next Top Model.

I’m not sure why the various centres bother with the tours and trying to impress us as we have about as much real choice in the matter as Americans do when voting. You can want what you want, but you’ll get what you get, and I have every intention of grabbing any spot I am offered with both hands and my bared teeth. If there’s a space available – and the centre doesn’t use the words “gulag” or “penal” in the name – The Child will be going in.

In fact, given how nice the various childcare places seem and the relative dreariness of old folks’ homes, I think I’ll book myself into childcare for my old age instead. Five decent meals a day, lovely surroundings, constant available staff and my nappies changed for me? Sign me up.

And if I sign up now – about 35 years in advance – who knows? I might actually make it to the top of the waiting list by the time I need it.

I’m not fat, I’m… well, fat.

I’m 16 weeks in and I don’t look pregnant enough.

Don’t get me wrong; this isn’t a “I wish to bodypaint my tummy with spirals and run around rejoicing in the womyn-ly* curves of my mystyryos* lyfe-bestowing* belly” thing.  I’m just sick of being too big to look good but too small to be pregnant.

Rejoice in my belly, bitches!

This is mainly my own fault for knowing how best to hide my beer gut. As a natural apple shape (or as I see it, a beer barrel) who likes her food and drink (also a cheese barrel) my abs have been missing in action since my early 20’s. I’m an Australian size 14 (that’s about a UK14-16, or USA10-12) and most of my clothes are a little loose on the waist and designed to skim gently over my porkier areas.

So, at 16 weeks in, I’ve just edged out of my normal clothing comfort-zone and pushed into the “maybe you should try the next size up”. Which is great in some ways, as I haven’t needed maternity gear yet, but crap in others as I just look like I have really let myself go**. I keep catching sight of my tubby tummy and thinking “you need to lose weight!” and then remembering that I only get to lose weight in 5 months after some of it has ripped its way out of my vagina.

And it turns out I was completely wrong about my expectations of weight gain during pregnancy. I figured, if I was looking at a 3kg(7lb) baby, plus a little extra for placenta and fluid, then my probable healthy weight gain should be about 5-6kgs. I was off by about 100%. The average recommended weight gain is 11kg to 16kg (25lb to 35lb) and, even for someone who is already over-weight like me, they recommend gaining between 7kg and 11kg (15lb to 25lb).

Where the hell does all that extra weight go? As it turns out, a lot of weight in infrastructure, and the child itself is about a quarter of the gain.

kgs pounds
The actual baby weight. Skinny damn baby in a huge fucking house, I tell you. 3.3 7.3
The placenta (do not eat, no matter what people say). 0.7 1.5
Amniotic fluid – like a bouncy castle for your kid! 0.8 1.8
Muscle layer of uterus (womb) growth as it Hulks up in preparation. 0.9 2
Blood volume increase (about 20%) making you fecking boiling hot at room temperature. 1.2 2.6
Retaining ALL the water – lots of extra fluid. 1.2 2.6
Boobs! Pass Go, go up a cup size. 0.4 0.9
Does my fat look fat in this? Some extra fat for breast-feeding stores. 4 8.8
Total extra weight 12.5kg 27.5lb

All in, that’s an expected gain of about 12.5kgs, of which only 4kgs are actual fat.

It’s one hell of lot of belly to get used to, mind.  I have read various admonitions that I should be fine with, or actively rejoice in, my change in shape.  If being curvy is so bloody womanly, how come no one ever told me to embrace my beer belly, hmm? Where the fuck were “the feminine is a curve” people when I went to the USA for 4 months and gained 5kgs in beer and grease weight? Well?

And truth be told, while I am a long way off doing a Demi Moore and posing naked (you can all breath a sigh of relief), I’m not that fussed about the gain. I’ve put on about 2-3kgs and there’s more to come. It’s for a good reason and I’ll cope fine with looking pregnant. Once I finally look pregnant and not just plain old fat.

* It’s more mystical if you misspell everything, apparently. I know this because of my Wimmin’s Intuition

** Please note: I’m a firm believer that you should work with your shape and your health, and know that size 12-14 is my fit-and-happy weight. Over that, I start to look and feel bad. I’m not saying it’s everyone’s ideal. Whatever size you are, provided you are happy with it and think you look good, more power to you.

“Fun” ways to announce your pregnancy

We’re now hitting the point where we need to tell people there’s a child on the way. I am so not ready for this. I am a chronic over-planner and stage-manager so in an ideal world we wouldn’t tell anyone until a month after the whole thing was over and we had a child to show them in a, “And here’s one we made earlier!” style.

But, at 15 weeks in, I’m getting to the point where my usual fat pants are becoming slim-fit, my dietary restrictions ruin every dinner invite and I’m running out of excuses to avoid alcohol. (“I’m on antibiotics.” “I’m ill.” “Fuck it. I’m a recovering alcoholic who has converted to Islam.”) The families have been told, a few mates are in the loop (hi guys!) and my boss has the heads-up, so it’s time to started spreading the news.

But how to tell people? The flat-out “I’m pregnant”? Or the coy “we’re expecting” –  but expecting what? Mail? Santa? That Keith Richards will be made pope?  I could try  “there’s a bun in the oven”, but that risks disappointing friends who were hoping for baked goods.

So I googled for ideas and, as always with everything pregnancy-related in the internetz, found endless amounts of totally-fucking-unhelpful crazy. Here are just some of the “fun” suggestions:

http://katersart.deviantart.com/art/Here-s-Johnny-188786758

Or you could carve your way in through the door and scream, “…I’m PREGNANT!”

  1. Install an infant’s car seat in the back seat of your partner’s car and see how long it takes for him to notice.  Or, you know, he could decide you have kidnapped and murdered a child and he’s next on the list. Or he has stolen a car identical to his. Or you have finally fucking snapped and require a refreshing break in a mental ward. The possibilities are endless, frankly.
  2. Video the result of your home pregnancy test, upload to YouTube and send the link to loved ones. If you really love them, would you send them a video of you dipping sticks in your pee? What if they are eating at the time? Does this really sound like a “fun” idea for anyone who doesn’t have some really specific fetishes?
  3. Invite people over for dinner and bring out a platter of baby foods jars and sippy cups of apple juice to wash it all down. Why wait until after the birth when you can alienate your friends with a complete inability to manage anything adult now? (This is also a great way to tell your boss.)
  4. Put a bun in the oven and when your guests arrive, open the oven to show them what’s inside and say , “Look what we’re cooking! What is that?” And they will say, “A bun. Moron.” and look at you oddly until you explain.
  5. Ask your partner to get the milk out of the fridge for you but instead of the regular milk jug, leave a breast pump or a can of baby formula in its place. Like suggestion 1, but with the added advantage of putting them off their morning beverage, and your cooking, near indefinitely.
  6. Have restaurant waitstaff bring out a special wine list where the only selection is a vintage from the year your baby is due with a description like “a unique blend of the very best of a special couple.” Are you just trying to turn everyone off food and drink? Because it’s fucking working. And the waitstaff is probably pretty nauseated too. And a vintage from the year the baby is due is either going to be a) impossible for most of the year or b) vinegar. That said, I do admire the passive-aggressiveness inherent in this one. “Want wine? Fuck you, if I can’t drink alcohol you’re not even allowed read the wine list in peace. Fuckers.”

In the absence of the urge to purchase car seats and breast pumps, or to send videos of my pee to those I love, I will probably just go with a simple, “I’m pregnant”. Although I may add “bitches” at the end. Just, you know, to make it “fun”.

As an aside on announcing things, a few people I know in real life are reading this (hi guys!), and have asked if will I go public and pop my name on this blog. The answer is no. While I have no shame and no issue tying my name to my words, given this blog is going to contain a lot of anecdotes about both Himself and The Child, I’d rather not tie their good names to what will doubtless be the giggling, ranting and swearing of a sick and sleep-deprived brain.

So, while if you know me it’s obvious who this is (and I don’t mind people referring people on) I’ll be keeping names firmly off this site. I’d rather not have any of The Child’s prospective friends/partners/employers google their name to discover naked bath-time photos and detailed descriptions of their bodily functions.

That, and threatening to go public will probably be a brilliant way to get them to tidy their room occasionally.

Baby’s first mosh pit

Last week I wrote about how I suspected I was brewing up a budding Keith Prodigy in my uterus.

And yesterday I spent about 8 hours at Soundwave watching ALL the rock and metal, including some light moshing to a 2 hour Metallica set.

Interestingly, while most of the pregnancy guides are careful to ban any form of fun on the grounds that no one knows if it’s dangerous but it *could* be so best not to (seriously, I have seen this argument applied to everything from riding a bike to jogging to dying your damned hair) not one mentioned metal concerts.

And, to be honest, I would have completely ignored them if they did. I stayed back from the crush, stayed hydrated and my worst injury of the evening was inflicted by my own steel-capped boots rubbing the hell out of my ankle. Some people stay at home knitting baby booties. Some like to attend pre-natal yoga classes. Others like to go to gigs while they still can and don’t have a small child they need to take care of. More power to all of them, as long as they are not judgemental arse-bags who try to ram their uninformed opinions down other’s throats in the guide of “medical advice”.

So yes, baby’s first concert was in utero at Metallica (sadly, not a Nirvana gig, appropriate and all as that would have been). At this rate, my kid is going to rebel by listening exclusively to manufactured kiddy-pop and joining a religion that bans dancing. But not until they are at least teens, oh no. I intend to inform them that no one knows for sure but it’s possible that crappy manufactured pop makes you deaf and religion gives you anal warts. 

Choon! And other inappropriate reactions.

I went for my 13 week nuchal ultrasound scan last week. This scan comes under the heading of “not fun but highly recommended if you are 35 or over” which I am.

In combination with a blood test and a family history questionnaire, the nuchal scan assesses the chances of some chromosomal conditions – including Down syndrome – occurring in the fetus. It’s not diagnostic and can only give you odds based on the various results (1 in over 300 is good, under that not so much). If your odds are bad you’ll be referred for another more invasive test, probably an amniocentesis, which give definitive results but come with a small risk of miscarriage.  I haven’t got the results and have to make yet another doctor’s appointment to get them. (I am very happy I live in Australia where short doctor’s appointments are usually free; go Medicare.)

So, not a happy-joy-time scan but one fun side effect was that we got to hear the baby’s heartbeat for the first time. And it really wasn’t what I was expecting.

Career option for The Child, no 1 – replace aging Keith Prodigy.

In yet another “the movies get this so wrong” moment, the heartbeat wasn’t the  normal watery slow “wub-dub wub-dub”, but a Doppler scan made of the various sound frequencies found and all layered together. The result, at a healthy 130 beats per minute, was a catchy multi-toned electronic wub-wub-wub-wub-wub-wub worthy of a pumping dance floor at 1am when the wusses have fecked off home.

(Don’t believe me? Listen to someone else’s one here.)

I found my head bobbing along appreciatively to the speeding beat. The Child themselves didn’t stop moving during the scan. They were mainly upside-down while throwing shapes so it looked like they were also getting into it.

All the articles and books I have read so far talk about the amazing and intense reaction you will have to hearing your child’s heart beat for the first time. Words like “magical”, “ecstatic” and “transcendent” and are thrown around. No one mentioned interest followed by the urge to go clubbing, but there you go.

And The Prodigy are playing Sydney next month. Think I should take it as a sign and buy some tickets?

What You Should Never to Say to a Non-Mother of Childbearing Age

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Yes, this! I get that pregnancy and having kids is hard but some Mums make it sound like it’s actually ruining any happiness they have in life.  I’m pregnant and not exactly all gung-ho-go-go-happy-baby-hormones about it, and every article I read on having kids makes it sound less worthwhile and more like torture. Luckily I’m also very hard of hearing so I’ve decided to just stop reading the prophets of unending poo and doom and slide out the batteries in my hearing aids when they decide to bend my ears on it.

Also, I have discovered the best reaction ever but it’s not for the faint-hearted. When people start getting their schadenfreude on by giving absurd examples of how your life will change with mountains of poo and lakes of wee and permanent penury and NEVER sleeping again just look horrified and say, “Oh wow. I had no idea. Are you saying I should abort?”

 

No food please, we’re pregnant.

If we needed any more proof I am a terrible mother-to be, the evidence is in my stomach. I  have just broken the pregnancy eating guidelines by accident. Again. Third time this month, by my reckoning.

The culprit in this case is my lunch – a chicken schnitzel wrap. It’s not as if it looked particularly evil, being stuffed to the gills with loads of different veggies and minimal mayo. None the less it was a no-no, something I completely forgot when I left my office to forage for food. I wanted salmon sushi – oh, how I want salmon sushi – but remembered the You’re-Pregnant-Bitchface list of things I can’t have include raw fish. What I forgot is all the other stuff that gets pushed off the menu once you actually apply the list.

As an adult or an egg, these chickens are out to get you.

Meet your new nemesis. If you are pregnant all chickens are now out to fucking get you.

The Don’t-Eat-While-Up-The-Duff list doesn’t sound too exhaustive at first. No unpasteurised juices or dairy products. Soft and blue cheeses are off limits (sob!). So are raw eggs. And pate (double sob). Raw fish and any refrigerated shellfish. Undercooked meat. Salami, processed meat, cold meats generally. My old and excellent friend, Mr Alcohol. They also recommend washing the hell out of all fruit and veg, skipping buffet and bain marie items and avoiding pre-made salads full stop.

It seems pretty reasonable, you think. Surely I’ve can beat into my fluffy fatigued omni-starving pregnancy brain into remembering this small list of off-limits items. There are some things I’ll miss in there, it’s true, but not an unreasonable amount of foods to take off the menu for a few months.

Or is it? It’s only when you think about how that list will work in practice when you are out and about you realise how many easy eating options are suddenly on the naughty list. Meat that has been cooked but is now cooled is right out, especially if it’s chicken, so unless you’re a vegetarian most pre-made sandwiches are off the menu before you have even checked if the cheese is safe to eat.

That’s where my poor old chicken schnitzel fell down – I wanted a hot schnitzel, but they had none left so I took a wrap, completely forgetting that the reason I wanted it hot was the “no cooked but cold meats” prohibition. I was half-way through when I remembered it and you know what? I just sighed, and finished my fucking sambo.

The term undercooked meats actually means anything other than incinerated-until-it’s-well-done, making me less than popular at roast meals and barbecues, especially as I have turned my nose up at the pate, cheese and salami board passed around. Swordfish and shark are out due to mercury levels, which is reasonable, but they also recommended you don’t have more than two servings of tuna, salmon, crab, white fish – any fish really – all the while admonishing you that fish oils are something most prospective mothers don’t get but are needed for brain development.

They recommend you avoid food from a bain marie or a buffet table. And don’t think you can just get proactive and bring in your own – if you’re having leftovers at home, they must be under  a day old and reheated until they’re at tongue-burning temperatures.

And if you’re preggers chickens are really out to get you; cooked but cooled their delicious flesh hide naught but listeria and DEATH, and pre-stuffed poulty you cook yourself may have so much DEATH even 2 hours at 200C won’t kill it, and unless their eggs are completely cooked, you are apparently rolling out the red carpet for listeria and salmonella both.

And raw egg? It turns out that it’s in loads of stuff, from mayo to dressings to delicious desserts. I’ve just discovered the tiramisu I had last week was off-limits, as was the gelato the week before. And I don’t care, because they were fucking delicious. In fact, I have no idea about the dressing used in my wrap was okay for me to eat. Did I ask if it contained raw egg? Did I bollocks. I was tired and hungry. I just finished the fecking thing.

And that’s before you even look at all the advice on what to eat for a healthy pregnancy because there are five million tons of crazy out there and all over the internet. One magazine I read insisted I needed to be eating help, chia and seaweed by the bucketload, because apparently I need to both build baby’s brain and be able to shit ropes. Another recommended “whipping up” a warm chicken salad for work lunch, because most people can cook at their desk – just bring in a camping stove if you don’t have access to a Masterchef kitchen! Several suggest going completely organic to get away from pesticides and other nasties, because as someone with a small and terrifyingly expensive child on the way who will need to take almost a year off work my main goal at the moment is to spend as much money as I physically fucking can. Twats.

I will try not to do it again, but I will not be berating myself for today’s slip-up. My pregnancy diet plan is less about obsessive eating and more about chilling the fuck out. I eat plenty of fresh fruit and veg in a varied diet with minimal fast-food or frying, and I take a multi-vitamin. I’ll be grand, thanks. Assuming the chickens don’t get me.

“I wish I could be pregnant forever and ever and ever…”

…said absolutely fucking no-one ever.
"Oh, see if you can get Jazz FM while you are up there?"

“Oh, see if you can get Jazz FM while you are up there?”

We went for our first scan on Monday, which was interesting. The scan was all fine and good – it looks about the right shape (like a small alien or a kidney bean, let’s face it) and has a decent heartbeat going on at 168bpm.  Even better, they were able to get a decent reading from the outside of my abdomen and we didn’t have to go with a trans-vaginal scan which is no fun whatsoever.

(A trans-vaginal scan, for those of you fortunate enough not to know, is when they get a white wand, cover it in gel and jam it right up there and give your bits a good thorough jabbing until they have a decent image of what’s going on. Or get the signal for Jazz FM, whichever comes first.)

An outside scan is still not completely pain-free, even if your cervix doesn’t get shunted about your abdomen like bumper car being driven by a boy racer. In the movies, they always show the scan gently gliding across the belly on a screen of fairy dust and sparkles. In real life the gel is fecking cold and the screen is angled away from you and the ultrasound operator has to give a good hard press down on the abdomen to get a decent pic so it’s less glide-y and more pokey pokey.

Also you have been told to drink 2 litres of water in the previous hour (I cheated and drank about 1.5ish as I am not a fecking camel and started to feel ill) and are not meant to pee for 2 hours before hand (again, cheated and peed with an hour to go) so they are effectively hammering down on your full bladder as you try desperately not to pee on them. The woman operating the scan was very reassuring; she must have used the words “normal” or “good” at least 10 times in 3 minutes so I suspect she gets a lot of very nervy patients when people are at this stage. Perhaps making them less nervous makes them less likely to pee on her?

It all went well but, according to the measurement from crown to tip, I am wee bit less preggers than I thought, so my due date is now Aug 22-ish. I had originally calculated for the 15th, then the doc said the 18th, and now we are at the 22nd. They keep pushing it back. By the time we get to the third trimester, it’s probably going to be pushed back until October sometime, probably pre-Christmas, or definitely 2014 at the outside.

I am going to be pregnant FOREVER.

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