My belly has gone from looking like a little over-indulgence at Christmas to a very definite baby-carrying shape. A good friend, with a penchant for irony, bought me one of those horrendous ‘baby on board’ t-shirts. Straight into the charity bag with that. It’s almost as offensive as the ‘I’m not fat, I’m pregnant’ ones that were so popular back in the day.
Do you count pregnancy in weeks or months and how do you account for the discrepancy between the two? I hit 24 weeks, called it the 6 month milestone and bought myself shoes to celebrate….. until my husband pointed out that 16 weeks to go, means 4 more months. Wait, what? Maths and biology were my weakest subjects in school so this one has me particularly stumped. My default answer to ‘how far along are you?’ is now ‘I have 16 weeks left’. Said husband (ever the engineer) has gone to great lengths to explain the difference between weeks of gestation and weeks of being actually pregnant and how some months have more days than others but it’s kind of like his detailed explanations about the internet. I just need to know that it works; the how it works goes in one ear and floats out the other.
Speaking of weeks, using my own amazing calculation skills (see above confession regarding maths skills) I was a week ahead of myself so when my GP said I was 22 weeks, and not actually 23, there was a moment of internal crying. I’m quite jealous of those women how are told the opposite. ‘Silly me, thinking I was due in May but it turns out I’ll be having the baby in April’. Is it wrong to wish a longer labour on their smugness?
That incredible pregnancy-induced relationship between coughing, sneezing and peeing. My dignity has left the building. Enough said.
I booked one of those private ‘well-being’ scans. Apparently they can’t call it an anomaly scan once you’re past 20 or 22 weeks. An interesting experience all around. Ultrasound technology has come on leaps and bounds since my last pregnancy so listening to friends, I think I expected to see the baby’s hair. Instead, as the sonographer asked ‘oh look, can you see baby’s hand giving you a little wave?’ I was thinking ‘lady, I thought you hadn’t turned the machine on yet because it’s just all grey’. 15 minutes later and she was still waxing lyrical about all the cute movements and stretches, while I squinted like a bat. To my shame, I eventually just faked it. ‘Yes, I see the spine. Oh yeah, that’s a little foot alright’, as I thought about how I should be recording the entire episode as a Specsavers ad. Later that evening my husband and I showed the scan pictures to our seven year-old, and were completely unable to point out the baby’s head. It would seem that this particular bonding opportunity was lost on us.
What was great was the reassurance that everything is looking good. I’m doing shared-care with my GP so as a pubic patient, there are only two maternity scans – one at 12 weeks and another at 32. That leaves a whole lot of weeks in between where you worry that the never-ending flu or Christmas vomiting bug may have hurt the baby. The alleged hand-waving along with head measurements, counting of the main arteries to the heart and kidneys, etc. provided peace of mind. I also found out the sex of the baby (as I did last time) but as my husband doesn’t want to know, I’m sworn to secrecy. I’m not one for buying or decorating in pink and blue but for me, the baby is a surprise. I don’t need another one on d-day. People become very opinionated on the subject. I was even told that I was ‘ruining it’ for myself. Here’s the thing lady – my baby, my choice, now go bore someone else with your wittering.
A second high this week was the sudden realisation that I haven’t read one pregnancy guidebook. The first time around I had ingested volumes of books in the first trimester and then terrified myself about all the things that I didn’t know. Plus, I bought into a fair amount of drivel. Jules Oliver’s book Minus One to Nine is a prime example. She pointed out that white on babies is somehow symbolic of newness, innocence and serenity so they should be kitted out like little clouds for the first year. Ok, that one seemed easy enough …..until I gave birth to a virtually transparent baby. His pale complexion coupled with a white babygro made him look like Caspar the Friendly Ghost. Add to that the explosive nature of a newborn’s nappy and the white lasted the whole of three days in our house. There was also the Gina Ford series about the importance of routine, routine, routine. Again, all made sense until I was handed this small vulnerable person whose cries would pierce your heart. Would I really leave him cry out to assert myself as a militant mommy? Not a hope.
I don’t know whether it’s because I fit into the older and wiser category or that this is my second pregnancy (maybe both?) but the realisation that I will figure things out at my own pace has been liberating. Sure, I look things up and ask friends and colleagues for advice but I’ve also learnt to work with my gut feeling. You’ll do what feels right for you and your baby and that’s a great start. The books and internet are there for back-up but beware of the Mommy Mafia.