Monday, 29 August 2011

22 Weeks

MUMMY

I'd like to start by taking a few moments to express my disappointment in the medical profession this week. On the whole, I think we have a pretty fantastic system in Britain but I have to say, I've not been impressed by GP visits for a few years now and this week, I was particularly miffed.

As I mentioned, I had another appointment with my midwife this week. As per every other visit to date, her phone went off literally every 2 minutes, she was totally distracted and just wanted me out of her room as quickly as possible ensuring she just about did enough to tick some boxes. On doing her standard taking of blood pressure etc., she asked if there was anything else, as if I really had outstayed my welcome already and I said, yes, there is actually, there are quite a few things!

I explained to her about the severe shotrness of breath and fainting episodes and that I had read this could be related to lack of iron so she offered to try to quickly take a blood sample. She failed miserably and after wiggling the needle about in my arm for a good 30 seconds or so (this was very painful) she gave up and said the best thing to do was just go and see my GP and get some blood samples taken there.

I then told her that I didn't feel I had enough information about what would happen next in the local area with regard to classes, options I should be considering for birth, basically, what I should be doing at the moment (as I'm not really doing anything and some friends have asked me if I have registered with a hospital yet etc.). She very hurriedly told me the best person to ask when classes are on is the receptionist as she didn't have the details to hand.

Grrr, so basically, no joy with the midwife. Taking her instruction though, I made an appointment to see my GP where I wanted to discuss with him the fainting, shortness of breath and the ongoing eye infection I am suffering. After explaining to him the three things I wanted to talk to him about, he told me I would need to make an appointment with the nurse to have my blood taken and that with all three ailments, I should just monitor them and go back if the conditions continued. This seems to be a standard line every time I go to the GP. I don't go to the doctor's lightly so normally it is after something has been hanging around for far longer than it is supposed to and having already monitored it, it hasn't gone away.  I would have thought that fainting three times was enough monitoring but apparently not. Likewise, with the eye, which is no worse but no better after about 3 weeks, I am to continue monitoring!  Awesome.

So, after the third attempt and three separate appointments, I finally got my blood taken on Thursday (to give credit where it was due, the phlebotomist was a genius with blood taking and I was in and out within a couple of minutes and I barely felt the needle - a true pro). I won't get the results for a week or so but I get the feeling I will just have to live with the shortness of breath and dizzy spells.

On a more positive note, the lady who takes aqua natal, who is a retired midwife, is really great and I am so glad I have been attending her classes. I have learnt far more from her classes than from my own midwife and she really seems to care about how we are all feeling about giving birth and has divulged some very useful information. I am really enjoying the classes and have met a couple of ladies who are right up my street so I'm looking forward to getting to know them better. I've been really missing normal female company (not something I get in my job) and being myself around people (rather than a very angry work-frustrated lady). My only complaint was lack of jelly babies after the class. It did not go unnoticed. Hmph.

I have one final thing to moan about this week (as if you would expect any less of me!) and then that's it - I think. So, God, yes, work. Did I ever mention that I HATE my job? Blimey, this week, I was ready to walk out. I must work at The Most Unsupportive Workplace in the World. Apart from the fact that the department is full of oddballs (but not the kind of geeky IT oddballs I have very much enjoyed working with in the past - there is a special breed in the finance sector - socially awkward AND extremely arrogant) where there are literally only a couple of people that I actually enjoy the company of, there just seems to be no support or understanding whatsoever from my manager or the project managers (who like to think they are my managers and have failed to identify the distinction between managing a project and managing the people) I work with. People at work only ever ask me how I am feeling, and this is rare, when they are about to follow it up with a request to take on more work, more responsibility, perform a task quicker, stay at work later, work the weekend etc. etc. My response to the question doesn't seem to be have any bearing on the request that follows and this week I have felt particularly under pressure. It's tiring enough commuting for 2 hours each way and dealing with people who are intent on doing IT the wrong way at the best of times but when I am pregnant as well, it is bl00dy exhausting. The department I work in is almost entirely male and I think they have literally no idea whatsoever what happens to a lady's body when she is pregnant. I think they think we are just carrying a bit of extra weight. Well, gentleman, let me tell you something, we aren't just carrying a bit of extra weight. We are doing things like trying to produce an extra 30 - 40% of blood to normal without necessarily being able to keep up with taking in enough oxygen for this extra blood and, well, we are doing a whole host of other things, we are creating a little person for goodness sake so, believe me, we aren't just carrying a bit of extra weight!

Anyway, I am literally counting down the days and have submitted all my forms now to start maternity leave so have an official leaving date of 5th December which absolutely could not come soon enough. It's a shame that it is the place I ended up at when falling pregnant really as I have had some great buddies at previous work places. I keep in touch with people, pretty regularly in some cases, from ALL other places I have worked but I couldn't have ended up in a place with people that bring out the worst in me and make me as unhappy as this particular set do! Still, if I hadn't worked there, I wouldn't have met my little angel so I guess I will have to thank them for that (although I still think me and Ron would have found a way to find each other no matter what).

There - rant over. Phew *sigh*

Other than that, well, I have had some crazy pregnancy dreams this week. I have disturbing dreams most of the time anyway, most of which I could never repeat to another human being so this week's are not that unusual but still worth mentioning. It seems very common for pregnant women to dream about giving birth to animals, dolls and well, anything that isn't human and I dreamt earlier this week about giving birth to one of those plastic trolls with long brightly coloured hair. My child looked a bit like this:


Quite cute really, so I shouldn't complain. I've seen babies much uglier than that! Then, a couple of days ago, I had a really disturbing dream that after birth, the nurses took my baby away and switched it for an evil little boy who was about two, claiming he was my baby. No one would believe me that he wasn't, even though clearly, my newborn baby shouldn't be two, but I was stuck with him and he was like Damien from The Omen and kept trying to kill me. Nasty little boy! I was disturbed for hours!

I've also been doing some research this week on 'things no one tells you about being pregnant', particularly after birth, after only just learning from a friend that your hair usually falls out after giving birth. I had never heard of this before and set about trying to find out what other treats I was in store for that people generally don't tell you about. I found out some quite interesting information and have added a new link to the useful links section.

Two other exciting things have happened this week. Firstly, I have started feeling kicking and lots of it! It's strange, people are always talking about how exciting this is and desperately waiting for it to happen and whilst it is nice to be able to feel your baby moving about, I have to be honest, it's quite an uncomfortable feeling. Today, Shrimpy kicked me really hard when I went to the supermarket and it almost felt like it winded me! The little man is very active though so that's a good sign I think. It will be nice (I guess) when Shrimpy is kicking hard enough for Ron to be able to feel it too.

Also, we came to the realisation that my very old and compact Renault Clio was not going to be suitable for mine and Shrimpy's adventures and my own personal experience of driving with my brother's daughters had taught me that 5 door cars really are a must for family life. So, ironically, we can't afford a second hand car and have had to go down the hire purchase route on a new car - something I swore I would never do but needs must and now we know we have to do that I am actually very excited about getting a new car. We test drove a Citroen C3 this weekend and really liked it so that's what we are going to go for. I can't wait to finally have a car with air conditioning and electric windows!

So, generally, apart from me not feeling on top of the world healthwise, things are good though and Shrimpy appears to be coming along nicely. I continue to get more and more excited every day about meeting him and having cuddles on tap all day long. I like cuddles. Shrimpy WILL like cuddles too.

Current Symptoms:
  • Toilet stops through the night
  • Fainting
  • Bleeding gums
  • Shortness of breath
  • Eye soreness and unable to wear contact lenses anymore - just call me Spoddy

DADDY

This week seems as though it was really short, but it was actually longer than normal; very odd. As usual, Natalie seems to have covered most of the baby related things - from a medical standpoint anyway. Since I have started the new job, I really don't have the opportunity to take much time out during the week and although I get to work from home one day a week generally, I seem to be busier for the entire day than I would be if i were in the office. So it's a bit of a double edged sword in that I miss the non-critical appointments with midwives etc. but I do get to finish early enough on a Thursday to go swimming during the aqua-natal session.

Aqua-natal is really good fun for me - even though I just go for the swimming. There's a couple that does a similar thing to Natalie and I where the husband just does some swimming during the class and I think they seem pretty normal so hopefully we'll have some new friends over the next few months since we will definitely have something in common as their due date is only a couple of weeks after ours.

We live in such a great place, I can't wait to take shrimpy all around and show him these great things and places. I had a chance to see my middle daughter on Sunday and we went to Greenwich to hangout at the market, go for some lunch at Tai Won Mein and walk up to the observatory. All in all, it was a really great day! We picked up some "up-cycled" cat toys for Boog and Zoog that are filled with catnip and they've been going mad for it all weekend. As a bit of a contrast, Natalie and I went for the "Two Creeks" walk and really enjoyed being out in our local area. It's so nice to have the variety of city and country and all within an hour of travelling

As for the kicking, I can't feel anything yet - although I think Natalie might have kicked me in my sleep a few nights ago (kidding!) it's hard to think of the little fella in there kicking away - it seems a bit mean really but it won't be long and it's really sinking in that we only have a few more months left - for me, we're really in the best part of being pregnant and all the time we have really is great. I only wish I didn't have to travel so long to get to work, but those pesky bills just won't seem to go away otherwise!

BUMP

I'm about 28 cm or so tall now from top to toe and weigh about a pound.  I am continuing to explore this week and am much enjoying kicking Mummy and pulling on the giant chord. Sometimes she says 'Ooh', when I kick her so I think Mummy can feel it now but it won't stop me doing it - it amuses me (and what the hell else am I supposed to do in here).

My skin continues to get thicker and everything is basically maturing, preparing me for the outside world. I now have a full head of hair and even have little eyebrows. I have been informed by a reliable source that until Mummy plucked her eyebrows in to virtual non-existence, she used to have a rather severe monobrow thing going on growing up. Currently, I still have two separate eyebrows so I really hope that continues.

I can hear pretty well too now. Mummy swore a lot this week. I am learning new words like 'w*nkers' and '@rseholes'. I'll store them for later though and make sure I say something more predictable like 'mama' or 'dada' as my first word.

Anyway, back to my workout. I feel like The Italian Stallion!

Sunday, 21 August 2011

21 Weeks

MUMMY

Generally, it's been a very pleasant week, although I am feeling very sorry for myself with a very poorly eye today so if there are any negative undertones in this week's blog entry, my apologies in advance. It is my eye's fault.

I have had a couple of requests for latest bump pictures and, always one to satisfy my fans, I will deal with these requests first. Below is a picture of me and Shrimpy.

Me and Shrimpy in the Garden
I like my bump the size it is right now, although I'm looking forward to it being ever so slightly bigger. Before you know it, I'll be wishing it was smaller again!

I've been hearing more about the joys of the third trimester from some of my friends this week. It sounds fairly unpleasant and generally, apart from three ailments I will get to shortly (one non-pregnancy-related), I'm feeling really good right now. I've been told to expect backache, leg ache, cramps, heartburn, extreme fatigue and a number of other fun things in the not to distant future so that sounds like fun. The time is still flying by though so I'm sure before I know it, it will only be a few weeks until Shrimpy pops out - I can't wait for that!

So, yes, there are three ailments I would like to moan about this week. I will start with the two pregnancy-related one.

Firstly, I'm getting really fed up with being so out of breath all the time. I literally can't walk more than a few meters without being seriously out of breath and it is so bad I can barely finish a sentence without being out of breath either. I'm particularly annoyed about this as, having given up smoking, which was really bl00dy hard, I now actually feel worse! My friend has suggested this might be due to iron levels being too low so I'm going to discuss this with my midwife when I see her next week. I'm taking the usual pregnancy pills with, like, 57 things in them that are good for you and your baby, including, allegedly, 100% RDA of iron so I'm a little surprised if I should be taking extra supplements on top of that but I'll happily try it if it makes me feel better.

Secondly, I appear to have become quite prone to fainting. I had an incident back around December time last year where I inexplicably fainted walking home and bashed my face and hands fairly badly. I hadn't experienced anything since then until very recently but now, twice in the last 3 - 4 weeks I have had fainting spells.  The first one was just in an Indian restaurant where, similarly to the first incident, everything went blurry and then black and my ears were ringing and, as I was already sat down, had to put my head between my knees (which is harder than you might imagine with a bump in the way) until it passed. Yesterday, at a wedding, I had a similar experience. I was outside and in fairness, it was extraordinarily hot and I hadn't eaten anything for a few hours and, if I am being honest, I had had a couple of glasses of champagne also (although I'm not convinced that was the cause) and then talking to the father of the bride, I basically just passed out on the lawn.  It passed a minute or so after that but it was terribly embarrassing as everyone gathered round to see what the commotion was and people were calling for a doctor in the house etc. while I tried to convince them all I was fine! Anyway, I don't like it and I hope it doesn't become a frequent thing. I have been reading up about it and feeling faint is very common when you are pregnant but actually fainting not quite so much. Our bodies, with all the extra work they are doing, are apparently much more susceptible to fainting so I think the heat, lack of food and, well, being pregnant are probably the cause. It also seems iron could be responsible for that one too though so I am not going to let my midwife shovel me out the door until we have discussed this at length.

Finally, I have this b@stard eye infection that I have had for about 2 weeks now. It got so bad last weekend, I went to Moorfields Eye Hosiptal on Monday and sat there for a joyous 4 hours while I waited for a doctor to be fairly dismissive and tell me it was just conjunctivitis and it would either clear up on his own or I could just take the over the counter medicines you can get in the pharmacies. I explained to him that none of the over the counter ones were deemed suitable for pregnant ladies, which is why I had come along, and he pretty much told me to ignore those warnings as it highly unlikely they would harm my baby! I thoroughly agree with him but can you imagine if something happened to Shrimpy and I had done something I was recommended not to do? I'd never forgive myself. Anyway, so, I went for the do nothing option and didn't wear my contact lenses all week and my eye felt fine yesterday and pretty much back to normal. Then, for the wedding, as I feel like a right spodulum in my specs, I popped my contact lenses back in and by jove, by the end of the night, my eye was bright red again and in severe pain. I took my contacts out as soon as I got in but today, my eye is half-closed, weaping and bright red still so I'm going to have to go back to the docs again. Urgh - and more wearing my spodacles. I really hate doing that. Ron says I look pretty in them, but he's a very good boy and always says nice things about me.

Other than my eye though, things are very wonderful and I'm just so excited about meeting our little man. We picked up the cot today from an eBay seller and Ron has already made it so the nursery, whilst it has now run out of space completely, looks pretty much like a nursery!

Oh, and Zoog found a new favourite place to sleep this week as well:

Zoog getting in touch with her biblical side
So, more swimming this week (I finally have a maternity swimming costume - this makes a huge difference). Aqua natal was off but Ron and I went for a swim anyway and it was really lovely. I was thinking about some of the things the midwife who takes aqua natal was saying the week before this week about our precious pelvic floor muscles. She was explaining how one in three women struggle to be in full control of their solid and liquid bodily excretions after they give birth and that the only way to counteract this is to do about 50 pelvic floor muscles exercises every day! I hadn't been but I've been right on top of that since so if anyone at work sees me rising and falling whilst talking to them, I'm just working out, try not to be distracted by it. It's necessary though as, in my mind, pooping myself in a meeting at work is bordering on plain unprofessional!

As I mentioned, I went to a wedding yesterday. It was the wedding of a good friend I went to school with and was such a fabulous day. An Alice in Wonderland fancy dress theme was mandatory so we dressed up and many other frivolities made it a wedding to remember. It was great to see some old school buddies but I must admit, I did struggle after about 9pm and it reminded me how much harder I find social events these days. Partly it is probably the not drinking but also the tiredness contributes and I think until Shrimpy pops out, socialising is never going to be quite the same (well, it will probably never be quite the same when Shrimpy pops out either but I can't wait until a few months have passed and Ron and I can palm Shrimpy off on to Grandma for the night and go out for a few glasses of the red stuff - Grandma will like the quality her and Shrimpy time anyway)

Next week, just another meet with the midwife where I will get issued with the MAT1B form (the form your employer needs for maternity pay) and hopefully hear a lot more about the NHS antenatal classes so I can make my decisions about whether to pay and register for NCT classes also and then it's always good to hear little Shrimpy's heart beating so that will be nice.

Current Symptoms:
  • Toilet stops through the night
  • Fainting
  • Bleeding gums
  • Shortness of breath

DADDY

Another eventful week but nothing especially out of the ordinary. I don't think there's been too much specifically baby related news. Now that the name has been decided and we still agree so that's that. As official as can be.

As Natalie mentioned in her section, we went to a wedding on Saturday, which was really amazing. It was the first English wedding I've ever attended. Surprising really since I've lived here to twenty odd years but there you go. This wasn't just an ordinary wedding though - Alice in Wonderland themed and although I originally had my doubts, the entire day was really magical. From my perspective, it really gave me some great (well I think they're great) ideas for our wedding (Natalie & I of course). I'm not sure if I mentioned it in a previous entry, but we had planned on getting married this September - just a few weeks away. Unfortunately, weddings are incredibly expensive and we had to sort out the house etc. first. Rather than have something we wouldn't be happy with, we decided to postpone the wedding until next year. In many ways I'm glad we did postpone, as I have a much better appreciation of the whole wedding structure now. Obviously I get the reasoning behind it, which is the most important thing, but there is a lot to be said about all the rest of the things that let others join in on the day and celebrate the event.

It will be a very special day next year - even more special with one more person there to celebrate with us!

BUMP

I am actually about 27cm long now! Yes, I know what you're thinking - wow - that's quite a growth spurt from last week! It would have been but the difference is that from around now, I get measured from the top of my head to my heels rather than just to my botty.

The fat continues to come on too. I was a little worried this was just due to Mummy's eating habits but apparently it is perfectly normal and essential so that I can get myself ready for the big exit!

My face is starting to turn in to the handsome little face it will become eventually also. Daddy is always saying how handsome he is so I'm hoping I'll be handsome too anyway.

The giant skipping rope in here with me is getting thicker too and giving me most of the nutrients I need now. I get a little sugar from swallowing this fluid stuff in the bubble I currently call home but mostly the skipping rope is the key provider. I still skip with it but that's going to start becoming hard soon as it becomes bigger and as the space starts running out. It's a good job I don't suffer too badly with claustrophobia actually. I was just thinking about that the other day and wondering how babies with this kind of fear cope before they pop out.

I'm still kicking Mummy pretty hard but she still can't feel it. Every time I kick her she mumbles something about how another windypops is coming but it's me Mummy, just reminding you I'm still in here - as if you'd forget!

Sunday, 14 August 2011

20 Weeks

MUMMY

Well, I'm officially half-way there this week! In some ways time has flown and in some ways it has really dragged but I still can't believe half the pregnancy is already done! The first trimester really, really dragged actually and I thought about being pregnant every moment of every day. I think it is because you can't tell people for most of it, no one can see you are pregnant and you worry a lot about miscarrying but the last few weeks has definitely flown by.

I'm continuing to get a bigger belly by the day and I think strangers would probably be able to tell I have a bun in the oven now. I'm continuing to get a bigger @rse too, but that's entirely self-inflicted.

I had a couple of pregnancy firsts this week. I had my first person offer me a seat on the tube - a lady of course. It was more due to my little TfL 'Baby on Board' badge rather than the bump but I was pleased it worked. I have started wearing it on my handbag as a) it is more at the level it needs to be for people in their seats to notice it and b) I feel like far less of a plonk wearing it there. Secondly, I finally managed to find a pair of maternity trousers that actually fit and don't look ridiculous. I bought some jeans that are more comfy than any other jeans I have ever had so I'm really pleased. I'm still really struggling with work trousers so am currently resorting to elasticated skirts but hopefully I'll find some soon. I really wish I could wear dungarees to work - I always dreamed of wearing dungarees when pregnant. It's definitely time they were back in fashion.

Generally, I am really getting in to the swing of things anyway and really starting to enjoy being pregnant. It feels like something that will actually happen now so we've started thinking about the essentials we will need for Shrimpy's arrival and yesterday, I bought Shrimpy's first toy! It is super cool and there was no way I could resist. I was walking around Faversham town centre with a number of items that were not the two items I had gone to town for (mostly, the extras were sweets - yummy, I like sweets) and outside one of Faversham's many charity shops, they were just placing a caterpillar thingy that you can actually sit in, rock and, holy smoke, it only plays music and says things when you press on those little antenna things that come out of its head (what are those things anyway - are they ears?). Awesome. It was only £4.50 so it had to be mine, I mean Shrimpy's. Here it is:



We also found a couple of real bargains at a local car boot sale today which I am really pleased with so we have a moses basket now and a cot to collect from an eBay seller so slowly but surely, the nursery will start looking like a nursery soon rather than a guest room. Most of all, I can't wait to get my hands on all the toys. I saw a number of toys this week that I NEED to buy urgently. Shrimpy won't be able to use them for a few years but I have promised to keep them warm until then. If they are broken by the time Shrimpy is 3 from overuse, I'll just have to buy him some new stuff. Did you know you can get an ice cream factory for play doh? Way cool.

With all the excitement over children's toys, I almost forgot to mention I had the 20 week scan this week. As I mentioned, if we hadn't already been impatient and seen the little man's pecker, this would have been the day we found out Shrimpy was a chap but as we already knew that, it was just a chance for me to check in on the little guy again and make sure all was proper and correct. Ron wasn't able to make this one as it is trickier to take time off his work right now so I was on my own and missed him being there a bit but it was really cool to see the boy somersaulting about again and skipping with the umbilical chord. All was developing well and the presence of a pecker was confirmed, as you can see for yourselves below (bum, lower legs and todger):


And, another spooky one of Shrimpy looking straight at the camera (but look, I think that looks like a smile, in fact I am sure of it and I am also sure he is smiling because I give him cream cakes and make him happy):


Anyway, no other real news this week. I've had an eye infection for the past few days which is getting worse and is a major pain in the butt (and eye) but other than that, all is groovy and I am very much looking forward to feeling that first kick any time around now. Still no firm kicks yet but lots and lots of fluttering so I think it's getting close.

Oh, and aqua natal again, which I am loving and now that Ron can join me each week to perve over the pregnant ladies get in his weekly aqua exercise, it's even better. And he didn't get a jelly baby and I did (although I'm still p1ssed off we only get one - it's a bl00dy good job I have my own supply of sweets at home).

Oh, oh, and just one more thing, we now have a name for Shrimpy!  And no, Mummy and Daddy (as in my Mummy and Daddy), I won't tell you what it is, you'll just have to wait for another 5 months or so!

Current Symptoms:
  • Toilet stops through the night
  • A growing tummy again
  • Bleeding gums (my gums bleed every time I brush my teeth now which isn't very pleasant but apparently very common)
  • Shortness of breath (this continues to be quite bad so I have to be careful about walking too far without a break)

DADDY

We have a name! Finally. It seems like ages, but really only a couple of weeks but anyway, I think the search for a name is complete. To be honest, I thought it would take a lot longer and require a lot more … how should I put this … debate I suppose. I had visions of shrimpy being born nameless until the very last minute and coming up with some odd compromise or even just going for Shrimpy Shrimp Hatcher or something like that.

About mid-week, I was at work - working away - when Natalie sent me a mail (I don’t recall now what it was about) and suggested a name at the very end. We had kind of agreed to forget about names for the time being and to be honest the name she suggested didn’t really seem that great. Anyway, a few minutes later it happened. An email with a subject of “or”. Or what I thought. And there it was … the name. Cool but not crazy. Unique but not completely made up. Easy to spell. Easy to pronounce. Perfect.

So that was a major achievement and quite honestly more than enough for one week but we did have a great evening on Thursday. I’m sure natalie will talk all about her Aqua natal class and while she was doing her thing, I managed to swim 65 lengths of the pool. I really got my moneys worth out of that session! It was also the first time I got to wear my Orlebar  Brown swim shorts.Very stylish indeed - perhaps a bit too stylish for Faversham. Anyway, I got them as a leaving present from work and it was nice to have something really extravagant that I wouldn’t be able to bring myself to buy for myself. I would highly recommend them to anyone though.

So now all we need to do is agree on a middle name. I think shrimpy sounds good …

BUMP

I am a staggering 16½ cm or so now and will probably grow about a cm a week until launch time! The size growth slows down a bit now so that all my internal bits and bobs can mature, and my brain will need a lot of maturing as I am going to be super smart.

Hair is actually growing out the top of my head now and generally, everything is just getting thicker and stronger. My senses are all developing too so I can taste much better than before and am really enjoying some of the creamy, sugary goodness that Mummy is giving me.

I'm kicking Mummy as hard as I can and prodding her a fair bit but she says she can't feel it yet. I'll just have to keep kicking harder. I enjoy being particularly active when Mummy is resting - she'll thank me for that later!

Mummy and Daddy told me this week what they are going to call me. I'm pretty happy with the name actually, it sounds kind of cool, so I'm not at all disappointed. And no Grandma and Grandpa Wood, I won't tell you what it is, you'll just have to wait!

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

19 Weeks

MUMMY

Another week and a slightly bigger belly.  It is growing slowly now and just about edging on the verge of me actually looking pregnant rather than just really lardy (obviously the bump doesn't hide the fat @rse and the thunder thighs but it, at least in part, accounts for them).

It is fascinating how differently women carry their little ones. On Thursday last week, I went to my first pregnancy-related class and attended a session of aquanatal, which is basically aqua aerobics for fatties. There were women there of varying stages of pregnancy and it was remarkable the difference in belly size.  There was a lady there that I bonded with most probably who had a huge belly and looked like she only had a few weeks to go but it turned out her bubs wasn't due until mid January, making her only about 16 - 17 weeks and then there was another lady there who was due beginning of October and her bump was about the same as the lady due in January. Mine was the smallest bump of them all but between now and 24 weeks, I think I am set for huge growth.

I was sceptical about the class, I must admit.  Partly because I hadn't done any real exercise since finding out I was pregnant (having previously done loads) and partly because I'm not really in to that whole lots of pregnant women getting together and talking about nothing but their bumps - graduating later to talking about nothing but their babies but I must say, I was pleasantly surprised.  It was a small group, only about 7 of us all together and the class was actually great and really quite energetic and the ladies all seemed very pleasant. There was a fair bit of bump-related discussion but not too much and we even got a jelly baby at the end. I did feel a little guilty though as I was fairly near the front of the queue for jelly babies, as one would expect, and not for a moment believing someone would insult me by giving me just one jelly baby, as that would be just plain wrong, I took two but the lady running the class had only laid out enough for everyone to have one each so the lady at the back of the queue didn't get one. Silly lady, that will teach her to wait at the back, she wants to be more of a predator like me when sweets are on offer. I left rather red faced discussing with the other mum-to-bes that it was a bit mean of the lady who was taking the class to not put out enough jelly babies for everyone to have one! I don't think anyone suspected a thing. Anyway, I'll definitely be going again and a couple of the ladies seemed like my kind of people so it will be great if I end up with a couple of local buddies do hang out with when Shrimpy arrives.

I am loving being able to work from home again. I worked from home two days last week and it struck me that actually, I don't hate my job at all. What I do is quite interesting and challenging, it's just the people that p1ss me off so much! When I am able to get on with my work without all the crazy nutters I work with acting crazy, it's totally bearable. Let's hope my boss lets me work from home more and more as I get fatter.

Today, for the first time, I tested out my TFL 'Baby on Board' badge. Fairly unsuccessful on the whole. No one offered me a seat and I just felt like a total plank so I'm not sure I will continue with it. I think I'll just have to accept that London commuters are generally not that considerate and I'll just have to carry on standing.

We had a fairly pleasant weekend this week with a nice mix of DIY and non-DIY so we made more progress on the house - I was very pleased with my paint job - and we had a nice day in Canterbury on Sunday. There's lots still to do but we just need to carry on and little by little, we're getting there. We still haven't bought anything at all for Shrimpy (which greatly surprises some people) but for me, we've got ages to get cots, pushchairs etc. It doesn't feel right buying anything just yet really but I've started to keep my eye out.

Anyway, Canterbury was very pleasant and then the oldies came to stay over Sunday night on their way to France so we had a most pleasant Indian in our lovely little town and I remain as in love with where I live as ever. It's a very special place. I can't wait to spend more time there walking around with the little man in my brief interlude away from the working world. I'll have to go back of course so I'll make sure I enjoy it while it lasts.

Pregnancy-wise, my coffee aversion has pretty much gone now and my eating habits are almost back to normal (well, apart from all the extra donuts and cream cakes but that's just me giving Shrimpy all the vitamins he needs). I am particularly disappointed that I didn't get any bizarre cravings.

The other notable thing is that I have been getting really out of breath. This has been going on a few weeks actually but I forgot to mention it before. I get really out of breath just walking down the corridor at work and even talking wears me out! It's really common apparently, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, with all the extra stuff in your belly, the diaphragm doesn't have it's usual full range of movement so you can't ever really take in a full breath of air. Secondly, pregnancy hormones cause your body to try to take fuller breaths of air more frequently to increase the amount of oxygen you can provide to your little one. It takes a while for your body to catch up and produce enough extra oxygen in the blood to cope with the demand so it makes you feel very short of breath.

Otherwise, the only real change is that I have started noticeably feeling heavier! I haven't weighed myself for ages and ages. Since I managed to completely recover from a couple of years of being bulimic between the ages of about 16 and 18, I completely changed my outlook on how I looked and one of the consequences is that I rarely ever weigh myself - to the point that I have no idea what I weighed before I got pregnant and no idea what I weigh now. I do know that I weigh more though as my poor little ankles are starting to ache if I am on my feet for too long. Perhaps it might be wise if I spent the rest of my pregnancy lying in hammocks, eating cream cakes. Ron can I spend the rest of my pregnancy lying about in hammocks watching Judge Judy and eating, please?

I've also been feeling more and more flutterings in my belly this week. Still nothing that I could be sure was Shrimpy punching and kicking but I don't think that time is far away. As I said, my placenta is at the front of my belly so it's unlikely I will feel proper kicks for a few more weeks anyway. It's all quite remarkable though. I find myself often looking down at my belly now thinking what a little miracle it is having a little person growing inside my tummy. Aren't people clever?! That reminds me of one of my favourite cartoons from xkcd.com:


That's all for this week. Tomorrow, I have my 20 week scan so it will be nice to check in on the Shrimpster and make sure he is all OK. He must be the most photographed little person ever!

Current Symptoms:
  • Toilet stops through the night
  • A growing tummy again
  • Bleeding gums
  • Shortness of breath

DADDY

Another week gone and things are beginning to pick up pace. This whole process is quite strange - strange in so many ways - but strange in how the psyche changes so drastically but so gradually and - to be honest - a bit insidiously. It’s like your body and brain are conspiring to build you up for this tremendous event but in really subtle ways. I noticed the other day, as I walked along Richmond High Street at lunch time, that there was an infant crying quite loudly (I have no idea what about - you know what children are like). It occurred to me though that although that sort of thing would greatly disturb me previously, it didn’t really bother me at all. I know this is natures way of making sure that parents don't kill their offspring due to their incessant crying, but it really was an odd realisation. It’s easy to go through the initial stages of pregnancy and just think that nothing has really changed; overtly, nothing has. The human machine that we are never ceases to amaze me.

So, I was going to say that nothing much has changed this week, which is obviously not the case as pretty much everything has - and continues to - change on a daily basis. I’m feeling much more tolerant of crying children and I have also noticed a greater tendency for storing and organising things. I have no idea if that has anything to do with being pregnant or just my natural OCD kicking in for some other random reason. Either way, it reminds me of the story of the ants and the grasshopper, which was always a personal favourite. It may be that summer feels like it has had its best and Autumn is on the way or maybe something to do with some weird nesting instinct but the desire to store and organise is quite strong at the moment.

The DIY is coming on well and we’ve been making great progress on all fronts so everything should be ready soon and - hopefully - we’ll have at least a few weeks of relaxing before the big day.

It’s nice to see Natalie starting to get noticeably larger now. I want to make it very clear that when I say larger I mean in a pregnancy bump kind of larger and in absolutely no way do I mean fat larger. I need to qualify every reference to big, large or round - no matter what I’m referring to - as Natalie seems a little sensitive to these words. When I say sensitive I mean, well, let me give you and example.

Ron: Well, it’s a lovely evening …
Nat: Sure is
Ron: Full moon I see…
Nat: Are you calling me fat?

That sort of thing. Anyway, the bump is very nice and I’m really looking forward to the next few weeks.

BUMP

I am currently about 16 cm tall - about the size of a cantaloupe melon (less rounded I hope!). I've really been exploring this week. Unfortunately, there's not much to see in here. Talk about deja vu! I'm still producing lots of that white creamy stuff I was telling you about - vernix I think it is called - and I've also been swallowing lots of the fluid that I am in here with in my bubble. All this stuff I am swallowing now, mixed up with digestive secretions and dead skin cells will all build up to the first big dump I do in my nappy when I finally enter the world. That will be a nice treat for Mummy! I'm actually breathing in the amniotic fluid as well as I need to build up my lung strength so I can breathe in real air when I pop out.

Also, I apparently actually have a second set of teeth growing behind my milk teeth. How amazing that the set of teeth I will end up with are already forming. Aren't human bodies fascinating.

Mummy's been eating cr@p as usual, lately, I've been getting the taste of almonds, sultanas and coconut. I think Mummy has been eating peshwari naan again. It's pretty nice actually, I'm looking forward to trying some first hand.

Anyway, I'm off to prepare myself for more photographs tomorrow. It takes time to look this good you know!

Monday, 1 August 2011

18 Weeks

MUMMY

Hoorah - a triumph this week. We finally now have broadband connected at home and what a relief that is. It's been really quite crippling so we are both very relieved to finally be fully connected to the world.

It's been a very slow week on the pregnancy front. This is an odd stage at the moment and, as mentioned last week, it's almost possible to forget I am pregnant completely. I haven't seen much growth in the tummy area over the last week and there have been no rumblings from within (well, there have but they have been wind-related rather than baby-related) so, well, not an awful lot has happened.

I guess since last week, the main change is that I have had time to get completely used to the idea of having a little boy. I'm actually far happier about it than I expected to be and can now totally picture the little fella. We continue to hugely struggle with names and haven't come up with a single name yet that both of us really quite like so I think I'll just stop thinking about it for a while and wait for some divine inspiration. I'm confident something will come to our attention that just feels right to us both before Shrimpy is born. Don't worry, once he is out in the real world, I'm not planning on calling him 'Shrimpy'.

This week, I have also spent some time researching the very important subject of innies becoming outies. I am very happy with my innie and was slightly disappointed that at some point during the pregnancy, it was going to become an outie but I was delighted to discover that this is not necessarily the case. I have now read accounts from many ladies who didn't experience the innie to outie change at all during their pregnancies. For some ladies, it happens fairly early, some fairly late in the pregnancy and some not at all. So, here's hoping that my innie holds on to its fabulous inwardliness as per some of the other mums-to-be in this forum.

At this point in the pregnancy, I thought it might be useful to write about some of the decisions we have made so far in the pregnancy / things we have done and bought and consider whether I would do them again in the same way (not for my benefit - more for the benefit of others), so here are some considerations thus far:

Things I would have done the Same:
  1. Have private scans at 7, 11 and 17 weeks - these have all been invaluable to me and in total, set us back £150. At each point, for one reason or another, I have really needed the reassurance of the scan
  2. Bought the AngelSounds heartbeat monitor - whilst I couldn't hear a heartbeat until about 14 weeks using this, I made sure that I bought it knowing that if it didn't work, it didn't mean the baby had died. It is only really useful between about 14 and 20 weeks, until you can feel bubs moving but as long as you can buy this and not panic when you can't find a heartbeat, I recommend it. This gadget was about £28 on Amazon.
  3. Written this blog - I am so pleased we wrote this blog from the beginning. Apart from the fact it gives us both a place to share how we feel each week, it has been great for sharing our experiences with friends and family and will be something we can look back on in years to come to remind us of it all.
  4. Given up smoking - I am very proud of both of us for giving up smoking. We needed to do this anyway but it wasn't easy so well done us.

Things I would have done differently:
  1. Research on forums - this is dangerous. Whilst forums can be very comforting, what must be considered when looking through forum posts is that, generally, people who are having good experiences with pregnancy are too busy having good experiences to write on forums whereas people who are having a negative experience will write quite a lot. It gives you a very warped view of pregnancy, the chances of having a miscarriage etc.
  2. Take weekly photos of the bump - we started doing this but with one thing or another, we just ran out of time each week or forgot. My plan initially was to take one every week and put together a video once Shrimpy was born showing the growing bump and then Shrimpy popping out (not literally!). I would recommend trying to do this to any other pregnant ladies.
  3. Convince myself Shrimpy was a girl - in future I will be far more open-minded about the sex of bubs. I went with my instincts and was convinced he was a she and this left me in a bit of shock. Next time, even if my body tells me it is one particular sex, I'll know it means nothing!
  4. Buy so many maternity trousers on-line - this has been a disaster! I must have bought about 8 pairs of trousers now that just don't fit at all and never will. It has been hard trying to find time to actually go to a maternity clothes store but you really need to try things on so for other pregnant ladies, I recommend resisting the urge to buy everything on-line even though it can be more convenient.
  5. Move house while pregnant - this was really, really stressful at a time when we really could have done without it. Still, these things can't always be avoided, but if you can, do!
That's all I can really think of for now. I have no doubt that after Shrimpy has arrived, we will have bought a whole range of stuff that we really don't need so I will pass on my recommendations later!

Still no kicks from the little man but, again, I don't expect any for a few weeks so all systems normal currently.

We've had yet another weekend of DIY and hardware store visits which is becoming a real drag but we are continuing to make good progress on the house so soon I think we will really start to see a difference.

Next week, I have another NHS scan, which ordinarily would have been the exciting one where we find out the sex but as we already know this, it will just be another chance to see Shrimpy moving about and make sure he is OK, which is always nice.

Current Symptoms:
  • Toilet stops through the night
  • Bleeding gums still
  • Uncontrollable wind (I no longer get any warning - it is not my fault though, this is Shrimpy's fault)

DADDY

Last week was - as Natalie pointed out - very light on new baby news and updates. I can't remember the last time I did so much DIY though! In some ways it's very rewarding to see a job well done but in other ways it would be nice to just relax for a day sometime! It's all worth it though and the house is beginning to look much different (and much better I think). Hopefully a couple of months will see most of the hard work done and give Natalie and I some time to just enjoy being around the house instead of working on it.

Names are also under debate on a daily (almost hourly) basis. It's an amazingly difficult thing to agree on and I find myself liking a names (or set of names) one day only to really hate it the next. I'm reluctant to even suggest any at the moment since I might change my mind only to have Natalie love it; that would be a disaster! So ... I think I've been through about 1000 names in the last few days alone and quite honestly I'm getting fed up with the whole thing. I have a terrible feeling that shrimpy will actually end up being called shrimpy.

I'm sure we'll find the perfect name soon. In the mean time it's more DIY and pondering ...

BUMP

I am now about 14½ cm long - about the size of a large mango! What a big boy I am. I am starting to experience distinct periods of activity and rest now so I am getting a bit more in to a routine. Actually, I say that, a lot of the past couple of days, I've been trying to rest and Mummy has been jiggling about a lot. I've been giving her the legendary 'Wood Glare' but I guess unless she is looking at me on camera, she can't see this!

I actually have my own unique set of fingerprints now, which is quite amazing given how tiny I am. Apparently, my ears are also finally in the position they are going to end up in, so that's nice too. Daddy has quite big ears so I hope mine don't end up being quite as sticky outie.

All over my body, I am starting to be covered in a sticky white substance that I am told is called 'vernix'. This protects me from the fluid I am in here with. It will be gone by the time I enter the world but sometimes, when little babies like me are born early, you can still see it on them. I hope I am not too early and it has all gone.

Mummy seems happy now that I have a willy so I am feeling much better and looking forward to all the lovely things she is going to buy me. What a lucky boy!

Anyway, I'm off for a snooze as Mummy seems to be not moving much at the moment, I think she must be at work. I need to make the most of this.